Drumbeat: April 28, 2012

For Egypt, gas deal with Israel was bad business

CAIRO, Egypt — While much of the world sees Egypt’s decision to cancel a natural gas contract with Israel as a threat to peace, Egyptians say it just makes good business sense.

Last week, Egypt’s government unilaterally cancelled the 7-year-old natural gas deal, citing the failure of the Egyptian-Israeli consortium East Mediterranean Gas Co (EMG) to make regular payments.

Not so, says EMG, which told Reuters on Wednesday that the gas supply was interrupted because Egypt failed to protect the feeder pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula from militant attacks.

But politics and peace treaties aside, experts here say the deal — clinched at below-market prices under the notoriously crooked regime of former President Hosni Mubarak — makes little sense for Egypt, a nation scrambling to boost its tumbling foreign currency reserves. Egypt is also struggling with a ballooning demand for energy that will soon outstrip supply.

Oil Advances in Last Hour of Trading, Reversing Decline

Oil rose to the highest level in more than three weeks in New York as the biggest gain in U.S. consumer spending in more than a year and better-than-projected earnings overshadowed lower-than-forecast economic growth.

Futures climbed 0.4 percent after the Commerce Department said household purchases increased 2.9 percent, exceeding the most optimistic projection by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Gross domestic product grew at a 2.2 percent annual rate, missing the 2.5 percent projection. Equities increased after Amazon.com Inc. posted earnings per share that quadrupled.

U.S. oil imports rise in February-EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil imports rose for the fourth time in five months in February, climbing 545,000 barrels per day from a year earlier, the Energy Information Administration said on Friday.

Crude imports averaged 8.558 million bpd in February. Excluding a drop last month, the United States has imported more oil every month since October when compared to a year ago.

The rise in imports coincided with a much smaller-than-expected decrease in February oil demand, with consumption down just 0.72 percent from a year ago.

Mexico Oil Opening First Time Since 1938 Shows Revival

For the first time in 74 years, Mexico may allow private investment in its oil and gas, the third-largest reserves in Latin America.

Need to rationalise petroleum prices: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India needs to rationalise the prices of petroleum products while insulating the common man from its effects.

Dedicating the Rs 20,000 crore-Guru Gobind Singh Refinery, he said with imports accounting for about 80 per cent of the crude supplies, the spiralling prices of crude in the international markets have put a serious strain on the import bill.

HPCL head says no decision yet on Pakistan fuel trade

(Reuters) - Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) (HPCL.NS) has not finalised any agreements with Pakistan on exporting fuel to that country, the company's chief said at the opening of a new refinery on Saturday near the border between the two countries.

HPCL is in talks with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for long-term crude oil supply contracts for the Bathinda refinery, chairman S. Roy Choudhury added.

TransCanada seeks switch from gas to oil

TransCanada Corp. TRP-T is “actively” pursuing a move to ship oil rather than natural gas along a key pipeline network, as prices for the Alberta gas fetch low profits.

Russia warns EU Iran oil embargo will be costly

(Reuters) - Russia pressed its case against new sanctions over Iran's nuclear program on Friday, saying an European Union ban on purchasing Iranian oil would end up hurting the bloc's member countries.

Japan Cosmo Oil resumes ops of quake-hit Chiba CDU

(Reuters) - Japanese oil refiner Cosmo Oil Co said it has restarted the 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) No.1 crude distillation unit (CDU) at its 220,000 bpd Chiba refinery, east of Tokyo, on Saturday, marking the first operations in more than 13 months after the facility was shut following a massive earthquake.

Venezuela to Construct 3 Oil Refineries in China

Venezuela will construct three oil refineries in China, the state-run Venezuelan oil company PDVSA said, quoting Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez.

“Our goal is to give an impetus to Venezuela’s energy cooperation with Asian countries, which is in line with President Hugo Chavez’s policies aimed at building a multipolar world and diversifying the oil market,” Ramirez was quoted as saying.

China firm to build part of refinery in Nicaragua

(Reuters) - China's CAMC Engineering Co Ltd will build a 1.08 million-barrel oil deposit tank and submarine pipelines for a refinery in western Nicaragua, authorities from the Central American nation told local media on Friday.

Norway’s Arctic Oil Bonanza Gets Reality Check in Pipe Limbo

Norway is grappling with how to turn last year’s oil and gas finds in the Arctic Circle into real money as the world’s seventh-largest crude exporter seeks to sustain output after more than 40 years of extraction.

Aftermath: The Deepwater Horizon, Two Years on

For 87 days in 2010, the nation and much of the world watched transfixed as tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day gushed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Explosions aboard the offshore drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, killed 11 men on April 20, 2010. Seventeen people were injured. More than 100 people fled the vessel and survived.

ConocoPhillips to compensate for oil leaks

US energy giant ConocoPhillips China and its partner the China National Offshore Oil Corp have agreed to pay 1.68 billion yuan ($267 million) for the oil leaks off northern Bohai Bay, China's maritime watchdog announced on Friday.

Japan to Model Trillion-Yen Tepco Bailout on 2003 Bank Rescue

Japan intends to take control of Tokyo Electric Power Co. in return for bailing out the beleaguered utility, following a model it adopted to rescue the nation’s fifth-biggest bank.

Edison, Scripps join to study offshore faults near San Onofre

Southern California Edison announced Friday that it will collaborate with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on seismic studies looking at offshore faults near the San Onofre nuclear plant, beginning later this year.

A California Startup Taps the Sun to Pump Oil in the Middle East

When Rod MacGregor launched GlassPoint Solar in Fremont, California, in 2009, he tried to sell its solar technology to domestic oil companies. His pitch: By harnessing the sun to power their pumping equipment, they wouldn’t have to pay for the natural gas they typically used to extract heavy crude. Few deals resulted, but MacGregor persisted.

Now with natural gas prices at less than $2 per million cubic feet, a 10-year low in the U.S., the Scottish-born serial entrepreneur is packing on the frequent flier miles, focusing on Middle Eastern countries with abundant sunlight and hard-to-reach heavy crude, where many oil companies pay $10 or more per million cubic feet for the liquid natural gas that powers their extraction machinery.

Vestas Appoints Andresen as CFO, ‘Significant Tightening’ Needed

Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) hired former Vattenfall AB Chief Financial Officer Dag Gunnar Andresen to take up the same role at the world’s biggest turbine maker after the predecessor quit amid worse-than-expected losses.

A123 Rises as Army Testing Its Batteries in Prototype

A123 Systems Inc. (AONE), a U.S. maker of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, rose the most in more than three months after the U.S. Army introduced a prototype vehicle that uses its products.

Good-for-Nothing Polluted Land May Be Good for Renewables

EPA estimates there are 490,000 contaminated sites covering almost 15 million acres across the United States, in both urban and rural areas. Reusing this land for renewable energy projects could provide economic and other benefits.

"Tapping sun and wind power at brownfield sites, rooftops, parking lots, and abandoned land could provide untapped gigawatts of clean energy," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, in a statement.

More singles living alone and loving it, despite the economy

The swelling percentage of single-living people is changing the way cities grow, homes are built and businesses operate. The trend line has been noticed by developers and economic observers in many corners of the country.

A Daunting Emissions Quest for U.S. Cities

More than 1,000 American cities have voluntarily committed themselves to ambitious targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. A recent case study focusing on Allegheny County, Pa., home to Pittsburgh, highlights how hard it will be for some to meet those goals, however.

EPA faces crucial climate decision on diesel made from palm oil

Quick quiz: Which country is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the United States and China?

The answer, at least in recent years, has been Indonesia. That’s surprising. It’s not the world’s third-largest economy. It’s not an industrial powerhouse. But Indonesia has been clearing its vast rain forests of late, releasing huge stores of carbon into the air. One culprit has been the country’s fast-growing production of palm oil, an edible vegetable oil that’s increasingly being harvested to make biodiesel fuel for cars and trucks in Europe.

Germany: Fighting Climate Change And Phasing Out Nuclear Power Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Instead of repeating myths about Germany’s nuclear phase-out, the editorial board of the Washington Post would do better by looking at the facts. It would also help to expand the article’s narrow focus to include a question about whether nuclear is even the most cost-effective or safe option to fight climate change. It is not, says even the Economist.

Carbon Price Needed to Halt Warming, NASA Chief Says

Putting a price on carbon is the world’s best hope at staving off runaway global warming, said James Hansen, the top climate-change scientist at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Carbon emitted from cars and factories will have to be reduced by an average of 6 percent a year to stabilize Earth’s climate by the end of the century, Hansen said late yesterday in Vienna. Government subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies, worth up to $500 billion worldwide each year, have impeded the transition to alternative technologies, he said.

Re: For Egypt, gas deal with Israel was bad business (uptop)

Dr. Ibrahim Zahran, international petroleum expert and former CEO of Egypt’s Khalda Petroleum Company:

“I am happy with the decision to stop exporting gas not only to Israel, and to other countries as well,” he said. “Because our production is very limited, our reserves are limited, and our demand is high. We have to satisfy the local market before we export a single foot of gas to another country.”

Wonder how they are going to pay for food imports?

What boggles the mind is that they have the fertile Nile Delta all to themselves. But like all things, the Nile has its limits and 60 million people is way beyond what it can provide.

And its more 80 than 60, by the way about the nile delta, quite imprressive to look at it in google maps or earth, you get this big green area with a very even distribution of town/villages, each one with a very defined frontier between housing and fields.

Ten countries and 160 million people in the Nile river basin alone. Egypt has 78 million of these:


Yep. In each of the last four years, Egypt has imported just at ten million metric tons of wheat, and five million metric tons of corn. At 80 million people, that works out to -- if I can do my sums right -- about 410 pounds of grain per person per year. There's only a handful of countries in the world where you can buy grain on that scale. Best not to piss them off, I suppose.

They built this damupriver. Good for hydropower,but the delta is suffering, with its natural feed of sediments cut of. Add sea level rize of 3.3 mm/y, and you have a big problem. They need to start taking care of their delta ASAP.

Just curious, I'm seeing 3.1 mm/yr here: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

Where are you finding 3.3 mm?

I am rounding of from 3.26 wich I got last time I looked at NASAs web site.


It waries from time to time. Now it is 3.17. I like 3.3 cus it is one cm every 3 years, nice and round.

You nailed it. They are running out of energy, cash, food, water, ....

I think the key was that that natural gas was being sold at way below market price. They might end up selling it anyway...but at a higher price.

There was an agreement a few years ago between Saudi Arabia & Egypt to build a 1000 MW HV DC line between their two nations under the Red Sea. (by pass Israel).

Build a second, larger HV DC line and use combined cycle natural gas fired power plants in Egypt for seasonal power in KSA. Water cooling from the Nile (cooling water is an issue in KSA away from the coast).

For several months of the year, burn NG in Egypt to replace burning oil

As an adjunct, install solar PV in Egypt. I think it is more than an hour offset from where most KSA solar would be. Use most at home, but send some in the mid & late afternoon to KSA (even if it means local blackouts).


Instead of feeding the merchants of death $3 Billion a year for War and military rule how about for building solar energy in the Egyptian desert??
When are the elites going to realize their Wars will not mean a thing if we do not invest in the planet and civilization survival postPeak Oil Climate Change?

Just who were those "elites" that started that Egyptian rebellion, and the one in Tunisia or the one in Libya? I believe those wars were not started by any "elites", but instead by those who opposed them.

I see your point Orbit but your I think your logic is flawed. There was ever a choice in Egypt, or anywhere else for that matter, of either "war or solar panels in the desert".

Ron P.

Just who were those "elites" that started that Egyptian rebellion, and the one in Tunisia or the one in Libya?

One can always find a claim of a 'common thread' if one goes a-looking.


“The U.S. government had been planning to topple the Egyptian president for the past three years _ that is, according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks,” RT reported Saturday.

http://spookterror.blogspot.com/2011/02/cia-was-involved-in-tunisia-revo... has a chain of events listed that sure seems plausable. Has a spot of the TOD Iron Triangle.


There was ever a choice in Egypt, or anywhere else for that matter, of either "war or solar panels in the desert".

Sometimes war is on the solar panels.

And somehow Nuclear reactors won't be a target in a war?

For years after the Camp David Accords the US gave Eqypt $3 Billion a year in
military aid. Much of that went into the pockets of Mubarak and his army henchmen, some into unneeded weapons bought from the Merchants of Death, a small amount actually went into some beneficial economic projects whose profits went to the military but some of which benefited ordinary Egyptians. After the Egyptian Arab Spring the US stopped military aid to Egypt. But 2 weeks ago Hillary Clinton reopened the spigots even though the Egyptian population does NOT want to aid the military and is trying to escape their rule. The main reason is the Merchants of Death military contractors want to send the weapons to line their coffers. First off, I do not see why the US should send military aid to anyone,
but especially not oppressive regimes like Eqypt's military. Or to Saudi Arabia AND Israel, India AND Pakistan, ie fueling Wars and known rivalries.

IF we are going to send anything and profit domestic industry it SHOULD be solar energy systems, and things which benefit the World, Egyptians and humanity in the long run.

There is ALWAYS a choice when it comes to public policies.
Who expected the Arab Spring, Occupy, the Berlin Wall to fall, a black President in the US to get elected, the end of Apartheid in South Africa?
For a sign of hope against the gloom and doom predominant in much of TOD consider the inspiring sights and sounds of tens of thousands of Norwegians singing
Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Race"/"Children of the Rainbow" in Norwegian in response to the crazed killer who killed 77 people and said it was the "multiculturalism" of Rainbow Race which led him to his massacres.:


I became an activist years ago when my cousin was one of the first activists on Pete Seeger's Sloop Clearwater, sailing around the US to clean up the Hudson and our rivers. My cousin kept me and my brother up all night in awe as we learned about the radioactive elements found even in the Arctic, water pollution etc.
Now you can swim in the Hudson and the Cuyahoga no longer lights on fire.
Cynicism is the tool of the elites against the people so they give up fighting for a better world. I am reading 2 very inspiring books about social change at the moment: Adam Hochschilds "Bury the Chains" about the small group of crazed abolitionists in 18th Century England at the height of its slave trade who started the movement which ended slavery in every country on Earth. No country now accepts that legally one person can OWN another person as property. (Of course they can and have been increasingly exploited) The other book is Jonathan Schell's "The Unconquerable World" about the incredible successes of nonviolent revolutions and changes in the 20th Century even in the midst of global bloodlust and carnage.
Back to Pete Seeger, in 1989 my community hosted the Soviet-American sail to break down Cold War barriers between the Soviet Union and the US:


Then the Soviet Union and Cold War ended.
My own belief is that the world's people have had enough of the banksters and Warfare States. Change is coming.... in a flood which will surprise us all...

My own belief is that the world's people have had enough of the banksters and Warfare States. Change is coming.... in a flood which will surprise us all...

If one reads the WuJo series over at George Ure's website http://urbansurvival.com

Maybe it's a slowly propagating realization via a huge mass of humans communicating on the internet resulting in some self-realizations that as a species we might wish to repress. Namely, that we're lost our sense of time, and we've left many things undone, wrongly done, resulting in a global "out of placeness" which now presents itself to us for inspection and correction.

I became active in the environmental "movement" more than 40 years ago. The main reason for my concerns was the fact that I found that the smog in northern California made me ill. There was no way that I could have survived in southern CA. The main reason for that problem was cars and the fuel they consumed. The other factor was the rapid growth in population, which resulted in massive suburban sprawl, which has continued and spread across the entire US, producing a society locked into a lifestyle of massive consumption of liquid fossil fuels. Even though most of the air pollution has been reduced with strict regulation of newer cars, air quality is still a serious problem.

It's rather obvious that the world's population can not live life as we think to be normal in the US today. As the fossil fuels will ultimately be consumed or (hopefully) not used because of concerns for climate change, the US must undergo a massive re-direction in the way we live. I am not the least bit optimistic that such changes will happen. I just spent 3 days at a local music festival, the most prominent observation to be taken away was the very large parking lots filled with the cars used to move the people to the show. It was great fun and all that, but it was also an orgy of personal emotional gratification that was entirely pointless from the larger perspective of human survival on a finite planet.

I'm sorry to say, I think you haven't understood the problems facing humanity. Do the numbers on population growth and the energy available, including the solar energy used by plants in agriculture, compared with those for a sustainable society, then come back and show us that your optimism is based on a realistic scenario. How long do you think that humanity can continue on our present course, starting with a population of ~7,000,000,000, adding more each year? If your calculations show many fewer people, how do you propose we get there???

E. Swanson

BlackDog - I have had the great good fortune since I moved to New Jersey of
attending Pete Seeger's Clearwater Festival which has always been years ahead of its time.

It gives me a refreshing dose of hope every year to attend and see how life CAN be lived! Ever since it started the Clearwater Festival has had recycling but that has now been taken to the point that only 10% of the trash is left. They have compostable utensils and very little waste. A few years I volunteered for the Recycle crew to make sure the Park was clean and there was so little litter left by festival goers that we dug up cigarette butts which had been buried for years. The stages have been powered for a few years by solar energy and vehicles are primarily powered by biodiesel and electric golf carts.

Unfortunately the biggest flaw for the Clearwater Festival is that although they have always supported Green Transit shuttle buses to take people to the Festival from the Train station and parking lots, the Green public transit connections to upstate New York from New Jersey and other places are woefully inadequate forcing people to drive their cars across the overloaded Tappan Zee Bridge and get stuck in hours long traffic jams to get into the Festival.
Otherwise for most people coming from New Jersey they can either take 4 hours to take a train to NYC to Grand Central station to MetroNorth or take 1 1/2 hours to drive. As I have pointed out in earlier posts to TOD the long-term solution to this issue for NYC / New Jersey region in general would be to add Rail across the Hudson River at the Tappan Zee Bridge, connect some existing Rail lines and Rail yards on both sides of the Hudson and ultimately build Rail along I87/287 to connect all 10 of the North/Central New Jersey Rail Lines to Amtrak and MetroNorth Railroad. This is a major infrastructure project which would require billions and take years to complete but would unite all Rail in the region.

Re: Carbon Price Needed to Halt Warming, NASA Chief Says

Adding to the price of carbon based fuels to make them more expensive relative to the alternatives might seem to be a good idea at first glance. Over the short term, that would likely reduce the consumption of such fuels and thus reduce the emissions of CO2 which would result. However, as people become accustomed to the higher prices, they would tend to return to the use of such fuels. We already have nations with high fuel taxes, yet these nations still see much automobile traffic and CO2 emissions.

Then too, there's the political side of the equation. If our political systems are to continue to respond to consumer demands, it is highly unlikely that the massive increases in fuel prices would survive for long. The resulting political upheaval(s) would quickly kill such efforts and any other approaches would also be expected to meet rejection as well, due to the general sense that such austerity is painful. Witness the present unrest in Europe as the result of various austerity decrees from governments attempting to reign in the excesses of their populations. The latest turn in the story is the collapse of the government in Romania, which adds to the Dutch parliament 's rejection of the austerity budget last week.

The only possible option, IMHO, is a system of fuel rationing with a white market for trading allocations. The problem is, how to get-er-done before it's too late...

E. Swanson

"The only possible option, IMHO, is a system of fuel rationing with a white market for trading allocations."

Especially in our political climate that goes nuts when the word "tax" or anything close is mentioned right now.

The problem of course is that we would have to persuade people that we can't have a virtually infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base--while we seem to be seeing something of a contest between the Cornucopians to see who can provide the most optimistic outlook for our virtually inexhaustible fossil fuel resource base.

While we are talking about unicorns, fairies and rational energy policies, my favorite idea has always been the tax shift proposal: Abolish the highly regressive Payroll (Social Security + Medicare) Tax and replace it with a tax on energy consumption, at the retail level.

Yeah that makes sense. The payroll tax is a killer for small businesses and the self employed.

But since it makes sense, it won't happen. We're Americans, remember! We'll use however much energy we want to use, and we'll all become millionaires in the process.

I think that any tax applied to fossil fuels will loose it's effectiveness over time due to the resulting inflation in prices. Thus, the tax must be increased faster than the rate of inflation in the rest of the economy, which is clearly an unstable situation. That said, a stiff tax dedicated to fund a large fraction of the defense budget might make sense, as most of our "defense" involves defending the flow of oil which is imported into the US every day. That way, as our oil imports decline from the substantially higher retail prices, the defense budget and the tax might be reduced accordingly...

E. Swanson

And eventually the establishment would have a vested interest in preserving that income stream, and therefore energy use just to get the tax money.

And meanwhile the government backed enforcement will be structured in such a way to reward the present parasite class.


Note how every time you spend money on actual Carbon reduction - a unit goes to the parasite class of "investment bankers".

In this low-energy world one is envisioning - how are the parasites going to be removed?

In this low-energy world one is envisioning - how are the parasites going to be removed?

Killing the host is fairly effective!

Would agree with the tax replacement if it were on carbon-based energy consumption and products used to consume carbon only. If the fossil fuel cornucopians are right, then climate change just looks worse and worse. IMHO, they're in denial about both peak oil and climate change.

Been thinking about conventional oil a lot recently. We've been bumping along at 73-75 mbpd since 2005. But even that oil is composed of higher quantities of unconventional fuel or fuel produced by unconventional and costly means:

2 mbpd = Tar sands at 50-70 dollars per barrel to profit (EROEI of 3-5 to 1)
6.5 mbpd = Deep water at 40-60 dollars per barrel (EROEI of about 5 to 1)
1 mbpd = Tight oil at 50-70 dollars per barrel (EROEI of 5-6 to 1)

That's 9.5 mbpd of the 75 mbpd total which equals 65.5 mbpd of lower cost conventional fuel. That's also now a 12% fraction that's entirely composed of low-energy return fuel.

Now let's compare with 2005...

1.5 mbpd = Tar sands
4.5 mbpd = Deep water

So you have a net decline in conventional, low cost, high energy fuel of 69 mbpd in 2005 to 65.5 mbpd now = minus 3.5 mbpd low cost, high energy conventional fuel.

Then there's your net exports model, which I've also had some thoughts on. The primary concern is that most of these countries are economically dependent on their oil exports. The result is, that as exports decline, you have the exporters demanding higher prices just so they can keep their economies running. This is evident now with Saudi Arabia now saying they need $100 per barrel to keep production 'high.' So what happens over time? More economic instability, conflict within oil exporting countries, and failed states as their exports decline. At a point, political and economic tension in country may constrain oil production that would otherwise have freely flowed. And it's not just the smaller exporters that are at risk. Russia, Saudia Arabia, Iran and Iraq (as we have already seen) fall directly into this hot zone.

Where are we on net exports since 2005 anyway?

Global Net Oil Exports (GNE, BP & Minor EIA data, Total Petroleum Liquids):

Available Net Exports (GNE less Chindia’s net imports):

The two minute version of my "Midnight on the Titanic" presentation on a ASPO-USA webinar:

The IUKE (Indonesia, UK, Egypt) case history  

The UK went from their final total petroleum liquids production peak to zero net oil exports in 6 years, Indonesia in 12 years and Egypt in 17 years. Their combined net oil exports, at their respective peaks were about one Gb per year (one billion barrels per year).   Their combined (post-peak) CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) were 4.6 Gb.  

So, the ratio of (post-peak) CNE to peak net exports for IUKE was 4.6.   

If we use the first three years of declines to estimate (post-peak) CNE for IUKE, the combined estimate precisely matches the actual value, 4.6 Gb. 

Saudi Arabia, Top Five, GNE (Top 33) and ANE

With that as background, I estimated the (post-2005) CNE for Saudi Arabia, (2005) top five net exporters, GNE (top 33 net exporters) and for ANE by extrapolating the 2005 to 2010 rates of increase in their respective ratios of (total petroleum liquids) consumption to production ratios (C/P), in order to estimate when they would approach zero net oil exports, and I then estimated the area under what tends to be a triangular shaped net export decline curve.

Note:  GNE = Global Net Exports (Top 33 net exporters in 2005) and ANE = Available Net Exports (GNE less Chindia's net imports).   For ANE, I extrapolated the rate of increase in the ratio of Chindia's net imports to GNE. 

Here is the data table showing the results of extrapolating the 2005 to 2010 rates of increase in C/P ratios:


For Saudi Arabia:
The ratio of estimated (post-2005) CNE to 2005 net exports is 9 to one (11 to one using 2011 estimate).

 For Top Five Net Exporters:
The ratio of estimated (post-2005) CNE to 2005 net exports is 14 to one.

For GNE:  
The ratio of estimated (post-2005) CNE to 2005 net exports is 21 to one.

For ANE:
The ratio of estimated (post-2005) Available CNE to 2005 Available Net Exports is 12 to one.

Let's assume that James Cameron's movie was correct and around midnight on the night of April 14, 1912, Thomas Andrews (chief naval architect of the firm that designed and built Titanic) informed Captain Smith and Bruce Ismay (Chairman of the White Star Line) that the ship would sink.  This would mean that three people out of about 2,500 (about 0.1%) knew that the ship would sink, but this did not mean that the ship was not sinking.

I think that this scenario  is analogous to the number of people (around 0.1%) in the world who have some clue as to the implications of what I call "Net Export Math."

I like the idea of gas stamps, largely electronic, loaded into cell phones,ipod touched,ipads, and assorted android devices. Set up a market whereby the frugal can profit from their frugality and the profligate can pay dearly for their need or desire to consume above the allotted ration. Throw in a little incentive for those who choose to hoard their stamps by conducting a monthly lottery, the winnings payable to those holding their tickets.

Conservation could be downright fun if we put our minds to it and actually gave a damn about out impact on the environment.

But I'm so frugal that I don't have a cell phone, ipod, ipad or an android. And don't want one.

...my favorite idea has always been the tax shift proposal: Abolish the highly regressive Payroll (Social Security + Medicare) Tax and replace it with a tax on energy consumption, at the retail level.

I've always thought there were three political problems that had to be solved for this to happen. Not saying they can't be solved, but am interested in hearing ideas about how.

  • Absent the dedicated taxes, it's easy to perceive Medicare and Social Security as "just" welfare for old people. FDR insisted on the payroll tax so SS would be a program for former workers, paid for by workers. Attitudes haven't changed all that much in 80 years. Medicare not so much, as parts are paid out of the General Fund, but at least similar.
  • Energy taxes are also regressive. If I remember the Census Bureau's numbers correctly, households at the poverty level spend 16% of their income on energy, households at the median level spend 6%, and wealthy households 3%. Those are from their last comprehensive survey; the sketchier versions done since suggest that that spread is getting worse.
  • In the case of a more-specific carbon tax -- and I know you didn't say that -- there are geographic issues. New England gets hit hard for their use of heating oil. Idaho's electricity prices barely budge, but Indiana's are hammered.

The least regressive taxes are those that tax assets - an annual capital gains tax, if you will, except you tax the base itself, not just growth in wealth.

Plus it should stimulate efficient allocation of funds to effective and productive investments. And it's much harder to hide and launder asset ownership, than income or company profits or dividends.

Who defines "effective and productive investments"?

And an asset tax will mean not only do you have to find an investment that will keep up with inflation, but you also have to stay ahead of the asset tax, and possibly even the capital gains tax (since you said tax the base itself, not 'just' the growth in wealth). So a consequence of an asset tax is to drive money into highly speculative ventures, which is at odds with the majority opinion that there is too much speculation already.

Who defines "effective and productive investments"?

No doubt the same gang of all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful politicians always needed to implement any kind of overarching statist scheme. And after all, even the most cursory look at history will show that that sort of thing has invariably worked out so scintillatingly well that any rational person clearly ought to want more of it, no?

However, even that is probably missing the forest for the trees. Drastic change inevitably creates winners and losers. A typical voter will probably figure - with some justice - that by the time any such change is run through the political botulism-laced-sausage mill, he or she will end up a big-time loser.

So at the very minimum you need an answer to the question "why even take the chance?", an answer both credible and comprehensible to a typical voter. I would suggest that no such answers exist to date, even if answers do exist that are credible or acceptable to self-appointed activists who wish to rebuild the world in what they fancy to be their own image, or to the crowd that holds that no sacrifice is too great for someone else, especially evil, rich "others", to make.

Yeah I agree.

In case anybody here hasn't noticed, we are in fast global collapse.

Hypothetical question...let's say that you heard that millions of people halfway across the world were starving. Or homeless because of a natural disaster. Or killing each other in civil war. Would you go to save them? Would you use massive amounts of fossil fuel energy to fly over there and bring relief to them?

Or, if you aren't willing to do that, do you believe that the costs should all be socialized, the world over? That everybody must be poor to save every last 7 billionth person on the planet? That we must have euthanasia of the middle class?

Seen in this light, the only solutions are going to be local and essentially libertarian in character. There can be no "global" solutions, or arguably even national solutions, unless we all go broke.

This is the result of the do gooder "we are the world" philosophy which nobody, not even the traditional right wing, has challenged, mostly because people are afraid to be labeled as greedy, selfish, or cynical, or perhaps even evil, a "nazi." We screwed up, people, big time, and there's no going back.

The "heroes" are mostly people who consume large amounts of resources to feel good about themselves. In their supposed sacrifice (which is never genuinely a sacrifice, since they too believe they will live forever), they actually end up sacrificing everybody.

We screwed up, people, big time, and there's no going back.

Yeah, we surely are in a mess. With oil production apparently on a plateau, the illusions of our modern life styles are beginning to unravel, since we are entering a "zero sum" situation. That is, for one individual or group to enjoy increased energy consumption, others must suffer a decline. Or, worse yet, as population continues to grow, there will be less oil available for the average person, thus the plateau effect will hit even harder. For the moment, the US enjoys the benefits of our dollar being the world's "reserve currency", but the stresses in the world economy may come back to bite us on the rear, as things are looking very bleak in Europe. The entire banking system may collapse, which will likely take the dollar and the US economy down as well. I doubt the result will be a peaceful transition to a tranquil, sustainable, low energy society...

E. Swanson

However, even that is probably missing the forest for the trees. Drastic change inevitably creates winners and losers. A typical voter will probably figure - with some justice - that by the time any such change is run through the political botulism-laced-sausage mill, he or she will end up a big-time loser.

Which is, I argue, an excellent reason for not muddying the waters with combinations of policies unless it becomes absolutely necessary. For example, a carbon tax may be a fine idea, particularly if phased in gradually so people have time to make adjustments. But combining it with the Social Security system/tax is, IMO, a terrible mistake. Keep it simple; keep it energy-related; don't mix in other large programs from a different sort of policy area.

Not that SS and energy aren't really related. As I suggested here, honoring future pension promises appears to be intrinsically linked to energy-based productivity gains. But it's not the case that you want to present in public, at least not at this time.

Political leaders are due to take a big political hit regardless of how these things are dealt with; as a group, paying for the sins of the past that kept them in office (or that was the idea). Any backlash will be worse if there's the perception that these energy/carbon/fiscal austerity measures aren't being shared by all. If the 90% is forced to cut back (which is inevitable, IMO) while watching the top 10% continue to do as they please (big cars, yachts, multiple homes, coporate jets, etc.) most will feel entitled to do the same. Reduced aspirations must be society wide. This is why the lies of growth must continue, at least until the political elite cement their places at the top; a game of musical chairs for the elected, 'til the music stops.

"...due to the general sense that such austerity is painful."

Austerity and resilience on a personnal and local level is the only solution I can think of; put as much distance between your life and the insanity as possible. Cut one's own carbon footprint, reduce one's reliance on complex, fragile systems, avoid debt, remain active and build social capital locally, don't support wasteful activities; ... setting a different example that makes sense for society. Top down approaches seem to have a much lower EROEI these days, perhaps negative returns overall.

Correction: the Dutch parliament did not reject austerity measures. The ruling coalition did: It collapsed because one of the parties (the far right nutjob party imho) suddenly pulled out during talks on an austerity package. Afterwards, the remaining coalition parties and some opposition parties (in parliament) got together real quick and put together an emergency austerity package.

For context, a short overview of that package:

  • Government employees' salaries are frozen for 2 years
  • VAT increases from 19% to 21%
  • jobless benefits will be paid by employers the first 6 months.
  • Bank tax is doubled.
  • Pensionable age is increased earlier than planned.
  • Excises on alcohol, tabacco and soft drinks are increased.

A CO2 price doesn't have to be implemented as austerity, it could be implemented as tax shifting, cut one tax and make up the lost revenues with the CO2 tax. [Obviously rates would need to change if you want to maintain tax neutrality over time]. Most political rhetoric focusses on the place where someones expense goes up, but you'd have winners and losers -and by cutting your emissions/(power needs) you can move from the loser to the winner column. Also it changes the way the bean counters see different alternatives (continue to buy now more expensive fuel -or take measures that increase efficiency). And of the guy proposing to generate power (PV or fossil fuels), his calculus changes.
The problem is overcoming the political rhetoric. The political mind is very emotional, and easy for the unscrupulous to manipulate.

The great example of the mistaken assumption that running Cars by other means will help with greenhouse emissions is Sweden -

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

Orbit, thanks for the article, albeit there is no data reference for transport emissions I can find within to justify the author's zealous headline. Of course, the Oil Drum has remarked frequently how cars that run on ethanol, are not energy efficient replacements, but I digress.
What I have found for Swedish emissions data most recently, is total emissions in 2010 vs. 2009 did exceptionally spike up (approx. 10%) due to colder weather, otherwise the trendline is convincingly south


PS: transport emissions are segregated in the chart from my link above and do appear somewhat constant, despite overall population increasing 6-7% in the past decade


I am not surpriced. You can't "green" a truck. Sweden have a low population density (21/Km2), in the EU only Finland has lower (but they have a lake systemthat alows them to transport at water to a much lower cost, timber is moved around that way). Also Sweden is long, much the proportions of a short sossage. Our economy is based on for-export industry, and we have the raw resources (iron, timber) as well as the mid and final stage production facilities in the country. We mine iron ore, and export cars. Often different stagesof production is in different locations. Our economy is depenant on long transport with trucks to function.

My sugestion is we build a system of cargo harbours around the baltic sea, and ship bulk loads around to a fraction of the price.

OPEC production continued to clime last month as Libyan production comes back on line. OPEC Crude Only is up over two million barrels per day since this time last year. I believe all OPEC nations, including Saudi Arabia, are producing flat out. However non-OPEC production is way down in the first quarter. Non-OPEC, in February, was down about .6 mb/d since December. And the IEA says non-OPEC Non-OPEC supply fell by another 0.5 mb/d in March.

There is just no way that the world can do without Iran's oil when and if the embargo goes into full effect. Anyway from Reuthers: Oil report seen supporting Iran sanctions

The U.S. sanctions and a pending EU embargo on Iranian oil have already trimmed the OPEC member's oil output by 400,000 barrels per day compared with a year ago, the report said.

That was published yesterday and it makes no sense at all. As I said above OPEC production is up more than 2 mb/d since this point last year according to OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report. However JODI has OPEC up only 966 thousand barrels per day from February 2011 to February 2012.

World Crude + Condensate production in kb/d according to JODI with EIA data from countries not reporting to JODI. The last data point is February 2012.


Ron P.

An item brought to my attention by an ASPO-USA member:

Peak Oil? Not in Norway:

(It appears that you can find the full article by doing a Google Search.)

My comments:

The EIA shows that the 2010 to 2011 year over year decline rate for Norwegian crude oil production, 6.5%/year, is higher than the 2001 to 2011 ten year decline rate, 6.1%/year.   

I frequently use the North Sea (principally UK, Norway, Denmark), which showed an overall peak in 1999,  as an example of making an incremental difference versus making a material difference.   North Sea oil fields whose first full year of production was in 1999, or later, had a production peak in 2005 at about one mbpd.  These post-peak fields helped, but they only served to slow the overall North Sea post-1999 decline rate to about 5%/year.  In other words, increasing production in some sectors of the North Sea made an incremental, but not a material difference.  

As we all know, Peak Oil does not mean that we stop finding oil.  It means that we can no longer offset the declines from the older larger fields, which tend to be found in the early decades of the exploration in a given area. So far, this has been what we have seen in Norway.  We shall see what happens in the next ten years.

Yes, Norway recently discovered new reserves and this is to be expected based on a stochastic search model. Yet this guy Oystein of course thinks that it disproves Hubbert. Well, the Hubbert curve is a heuristic so it is automatically disproven anytime the data changes.

Once again the problem is that Hubbert never attempted to use a realistic model that one could run Monte Carlo simulations against and demonstrate how these occasional new finds will occur. And so it goes -- every time that an argument comes up, it becomes pitting one person's intuition against another's. It then devolves quickly into politics.

Instead, if we can place that in a non-heuristic modeling context, immediately the terms of engagement change. It becomes a falsification exercise, and the opposing side has to put up or shut up, instead of engaging in endless rhetoric.

However . . .

Based on the HL (logistic plot), the North Sea peaked in 1999 at about 50% of estimated cumulative production, Hubbert did pick the right five year time period for a Lower 48 peak, and the global C+C plot (inclusive of unconventional production) that Ron showed is interesting, in light of Deffeyes' prediction for a global (conventional) C+C peak between 2004 and 2008, most likely in 2005.

Here is my favorite excerpt from the World Oil article:

“Declining output no longer seems inevitable; some scenarios indicate sustained growth.”

There you have it. An infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base is no problem, "To infinity and beyond!"

The logistic curve only shows a smooth curve and never any kind of fluctuations. The reality is that events occur sporadically and they can be large or small. A realistic model demonstrates how the two kinds of curves represent the same underlying process.

In terms of ELM, which has a better mathematical foundation due to its simplicity, the exporting trend could temporarily reverse due to a large discovery that a nation makes, but no one can use that information to dispute the ELM model itself.

That does not happen with the Hubbert logistic because the mathematics behind it are misguided, and data are then used to rightly dispute its applicability. This makes it look like oil depletion analysts don't know what they are talking about, cue up Michael Lynch and now Oynstein. That is a hole that needs to be plugged, and why I am interested in plugging it.

But the people denying peak oil are arguing that you can use a finite resource forever - what additional mathematical rigour would help defeat a belief like that? You are not dealing with analysis, you're dealing with emotion (and manipulation of emotion), and better proofs won't help.

Unfortunately Twilight is righton. The sciences involved are psychology and propaganda, not geology math or physics.

Twi/EOS - I have a more cynical view of those folks. Except for the profound ignorant they don't beleve in an infinite resource base per se. IMHO what they beleive (but aren't honest enough to admit) is that they feel the resource base is infinite with respect to their needs. IOW if 99% of the world's population has no energy resources (or any other comodity for that matter) that resouce/commodity is not finite for them but still infinite for those who have access and can afford it. And that has been true forever IMHO. Many economies reached severe access restrictions to energy decades ago. Decades ago when gasoline was selling for $0.50/gallon in the US there were countries where motor fuel was well beyond the mean of most of the population. So was tha resource reaching its finite limit then or not? Obviously yes/no depending on which subgroup you fell into.

Thus I think what the finite deniers are saying in their own stealth language is that energy resources really are finite but as long as they can carry on BAU it doesn't matter. IOW a resouce isn't finite based upon how much is left to produce but whether you have access to that which you require. Of course, if they were honest they would be admitting their selfishness. And, of course, they couldn't do that. I also think many of the AGW deniers fall into the same category.

Rockman - your insight is right on. On TOD we so naturally think about the long term (and others) we often forget that most folks frankly only care about what will happen to THEM in their lifetime.

As long as an energy crisis does not interfere with this weeks Desperate Housewives episode who cares.

But the people denying peak oil are arguing that you can use a finite resource forever

Some people refuse to accept reality. An old example is the infinite Sæhrímnir. I think Sæhrímnir had been quite a good name for Ekofisk if they had known beforehand.

"Forever" is a long time - a very long time indeed, so long as to be unworthy of consideration. After all, the sun will certainly not last "forever". Even the universe may not last "forever", at least not with anything still in it that we need to care about. But so what?

All that the pundits really need to consider is some practical time scale that - whatever is chosen - will be infinitely shorter than "forever". And the choice of time scale seems to lead to a philosophical muddle that's a matter of taste, something indeed not susceptible to analysis. So it would seem that the fairly common engineering/science/Marxist instinct to insist vociferously on "planning" everything and anything out to infinity is simply maladaptive or inapplicable. Maybe it's time to give it up.

In the Old Testament, a king is informed by a prophet that after he is gone, destruction will come upon the land. The king replied "Good is the word of the LORD you have spoken, for this will not hapen in my time."

Nothing new, in other words.

WestTexas, I thought you would find this interesting from Sprott. It is basically ELM as applied to gold. Big changes happening.

Sprott Asset Management

Although the paper gold price has been range-bound over the past month, the physical gold market has been undergoing staggering change. Earlier this month it was revealed that Hong Kong gold imports into China totaled nearly 40 tonnes in the month of February, representing a 13-fold increase over the same month last year (see Figure 2) 40 tonnes annualized equates to 480 tonnes per year - a massive number in a market that only produced 2,810 tonnes of mine supply in 2011

If there's one thing we now know for certain, it's the fact that the market has completely missed the importance of the demand-side changes currently taking place in the physical gold market. China has now imported 436 tonnes of gold through Hong Kong over the past eight months This compares to imports of a mere 57 tonnes over the same eight month-period a year earlier (July 2010 - February 2011). The net new demand implied by this increase is 379 tonnes, which when annualized equates to 568 tonnes of new demand in a market that supplies 2,810 tonnes per year in mine production. These are astounding numbers. Recent IMF data also shows that at least 12 countries increased their physical gold reserves by 58 tonnes in the month of March, with Mexico, Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan making sizeable purchases. 58 tonnes annualized equates to 696 tonnes of demand per year. We know that central banks bought 439.7 tonnes of gold in 2011, and if the pace of recent central bank purchases continues, it will equate to another 256 tonnes of net new change in the physical gold market.

The significance of this demand shift is striking. If we combine China's implied net change of 568 tonnes with the central banks' net change of 256 tonnes, we're left with a demand shift of over 824 tonnes vs. an annual mine supply of 2,810 tonnes. That represents close to a 30% net change in the physical gold market in 2012. If we remove the portion of global gold production produced by China and the other non-G6 central bank gold buyers (like Russia and Mexico - because we know they're not sellers), we're now dealing with over 824 tonnes of demand change hitting an annual global mine supply of a mere 2,170 tonnes - representing a 38% shift. Although we have been continually reminded that 'fundamentals don't matter' in today's marketplace, there isn't a physical market on earth that can withstand that type of demand increase without higher prices over the long-run, and the gold market is no different.

There are no sellers of physical gold that we know of who can satiate that scale of new demand, and global gold mine supply has been virtually flat for over the last ten years. Even if we incorporate the estimated 1,600 tonnes of "recycled gold" that the World Gold Council insists on including in its annual gold supply estimates, the numbers above still suggest a net change of 19% Who is going to give up their gold purchases to make room for this scale of new demand? Where is the gold going to come from? We ask because we don't actually know.

We have written at length about the disconnect between the paper gold price and the physical gold market. If the demand changes stated above applied to any other market, the investing public would lose their minds. Could you imagine, for example, if the demand shifts described above were applied to the global oil market? What would happen if a single country came in from nowhere and increased its oil purchases by a factor equivalent to 30% of the world's annual oil supply? We are students first and foremost of the physical market, and the numbers stated above speak for themselves. We remain confident about gold for the simple reason that the demand we are now seeing for physical is completely unsustainable without higher prices, and we do not see that demand abating in the coming months. The US recovery is not happening. Europe is poised for yet another full-fledged economic crisis, and the BRICS countries continue to aggressively convert to hard assets like gold in order to protect themselves from currency debasement. The paper market for gold can continue its charade, but demand in the physical market will soon overpower it through sheer momentum - there's only so much physical to go around, and it appears that there are some very large buyers that are eager to take it.


What would happen if a single country came in from nowhere and increased its oil purchases by a factor equivalent to 30% of the world's annual oil supply?

Up the thread, I posted some projections for the ratios of post-2005 Cumulative Net Exports (CNE) to post-2005 annual net exports. For the special ANE metric (Available Net Exports or Global Net Exports, or GNE, less Chindia's combined net oil imports), I extrapolated the rate of increase in Chindia's net imports to GNE.

In any case, based on extrapolating the 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in Chindia's net imports as a percentage of GNE, I estimated that the ratio of post-2005 Available CNE to the 2005 ANE value is about 12 to one. In other words, at the 2005 ANE rate of 40 mbpd, estimated post-2005 Available CNE would be depleted in 12 years. Of course, ANE have fallen from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2010, and I estimate that ANE could be down to between 16 and 21 mbpd in 2020, versus 40 mbpd in 2005.

What would happen if a single country came in from nowhere and increased its oil purchases by a factor equivalent to 30% of the world's annual oil supply?

You did not specify whether you meant total production supply or total export supply. 30 percent of the total world supply of C+C would be about 22 million barrels per day. It would be impossible for any country to do that unless they wanted to crash all the economies of the world at the same time. To get that much oil they would have to bid the price up to at least $400 a barrel.

Total world crude oil exports were in 2009 about 40 million barrels per day. Probably less today but that is as far as the EIA goes. Anyway 30 percent of that would be 12 million barrels. So some country wants to increase their oil imports by 12 million barrels per day. They might be able to do that if they offered $300 a barrel. That would still crash all the world's economies. Not just because of the price of oil but also because they would not be able to get the oil necessary to keep their economies going.

Of course all this will happen anyway, but not next year.

Ron P.

Isn't the difference between gold transactions and those of oil that when (physical) oil is traded it is usually consumed? Gold, on the other hand, may be re-configured but it is not destroyed. So gold flowing from one country to another is not necessarily an increase in demand but, perhaps, just a change of ownership.

It is an increase in demand if the new owner is willing to pay a much higher price and that induces the old owner to sell for cash.

With estimates for the resource ranging from 1.7 to 3.3 billion barrels, I don't see how a rational person could claim that it's a challenge to peak oil in Norway. The peak production estimates are currently for 500,000 barrels per day. Norway's highest level of production was 3.4 million barrels per day. At current rates of decline, you'd need about six fields of this size (or the resource to be about six times as large), developed within 10 years, all at about the same time, to challenge that peak.

Here's a good TOD report with Norway's production curve estimates shown in a graphic:


And I have some questions about this field. How deep is it? What's the porosity? What's the cost of development and extraction? In other words, how difficult is this oil to extract?

500 kb/d would put them about where they were in 2009, or at about 2.2 mb/d. That is still over one million barrels below their peak.

Norway production in kb/d according to the EIA. The last data point is February 2012. The last two months were taken from Norway's website.


Ron P.

This is based on the Norway discovery model that I did in early 2006.

The yearly chart:

According to the curve, dividing the yearly by 365 puts it at about 2 million barrels/day production for early 2012, right on schedule according to compartment flow depletion theory.

The caveat with the model is that I did not extrapolate toward future discoveries, having truncated it with the known discoveries circa 2004. The tail will not be so steep with new discoveries coming online.

IMO, we can model production trajectories to the gnat's behind if we have good historical data, something that forward-looking countries such as Norway have always provided.


Where did you get the discovery data for norway? Could one use a monte carlo simulation with an appropriate guess at the URR to fill in the future discoveries (like your montecarlo simulation from
http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2009/12/monte-carlo-of-dispersive-disco... on December 10, 2009) to make the model a little more realistic? I will try it if you point me to the data and you can correct my mistakes if you would like.


The discovery data is in the figure in the link.
Good luck, I can help as needed.

Analysis is better for a statistical expected value than monte carlo simulation, but the simulation looks better to the eye and could capture an actual instance if and only if you get lucky. That is the nature of simulation versus analysis. An ensemble of sampled simulations will converge to the analytical result.

I realize the analytical result would be better, but i was unable to wrap my brain around where you got the analytical discovery curve. So I used brute force and did 10000 monte carlo simulations and then averaged the 10000 simulations together to approximate the analytical discovery curve. I should have followed the link, so did you average the IHS and WM data? It seems the IHS data is often higher than WM and maybe a little more optimistic. Thanks for the reply.



I have created a slight variation on your Oil Shock model for Norway by extending the Discovery Data using a dispersive discovery model. I used Fallow, Build, and Maturation times of 5 years to match your original model.


Extraction Perturbations


I have used the Data for Norway discoveries found at this link,


to create an oil shock model which compares well with data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) found at the link below for C+C+NGL (2011 data from US EIA).


I used the analytical Dispersive discovery model as you suggested. For anyone who is math challenged (like me) the analytical model turns out to be relatively simple.

Cumulative discovery = URR/(1+(k/t)**6)

(note that ** indicates exponentiation so k/t is being raised to the 6th power)

URR is Ultimate Recoverable Reserves

t is time in years (make start year = 1 and rescale later)

k is a constant which depends on the shape of the discovery curve. For the world k=110 works well, but for Norway (which ramped up production quickly) k=24 for a URR of 3.6 Billion barrels. I basically played with different values of k that gave a close match to the actual cumulative discoveries up to 2004.

Annual Discovery for year t2 is found by subtracting cumulative discovery up to the year before (t1) from the cumulative discovery up to year t2. One can also take the derivative of the cumulative discovery function.

I believe that you truncated the discovery curve at 2004 where the data from Jean Laherrerre ends. I filled in the discovery curve beyond 2004 out to 2067 using the analytical dispersive discovery model for years 2005 to 2067 a link to the data in spreadsheet form is below:


A second spreadsheet contains data generated for the oil shock model for Norway, the bottom line is that leaving out the discoveries from 2005 to the future does not change much for Norway as there is relatively little left to find, 3.3 billion barrels had been found up to 2004, if Laherrerre’s 2005 estimate of 3.6 Billion barrels is correct, then there is only 0.3 billion barrels left to find.

My model results in 3.67 billion barrels produced out to 2064. The link to the spreadsheet is below.



That's pretty cool. I will link to this whenever I talk about the north sea area.

You are right in that I only had a graphical representation of the discovery curve.

In one sense the monte carlo is much easier to implement as all one needs to do is draw samples from a generator.

There is always more than one way to skin a cat and you found a few.

And thanks for extrapolating the discoveries as I didn't have a working discovery model at the time.


Thank you for your great work! I want to make it clear to anyone reading this, that my post uses ideas formulated by WebHubbleTelescope at his Mobjectivist website, especially the ideas summarized in The Oil Conundrum. See the following link if you are interested:



Thanks. It is all open access research, meant to be improved upon and extended.

Using OPEC data rounded to the nearest 0.1 million bpd, Iran was at 3.7 million bpd in March 2011 and 3.3 million bpd in March 2012.

I'm wondering if the 0.4 million bpd difference is translated to 400,000 bpd. Rounded to the nearest 0.001 million bpd the difference would only have been 0.312 million bpd - 312,000 bpd.

Yes that's probably it. I misread the article in my haste. I read "OPEC" when the article actually stated "the OPEC member" meaning Iran, not all OPEC. Had to do a chore for my wife and she was on my back. (Is that good enough excuse? ;-) Anyway I get Iran down, according to the OPEC's OMR, 304 kb/d March to March. 3,652 kb/d in 2011 verses 3,348 kb/d in 2012.

Ron P.

Hi Ron,

Although the EIA Data may be suspect, I believe the Jodi Data for most OPEC nations is under reported because they often cheat on their quotas, if they are producing less than their quota then they report the full amount produced. Only when the Opec nations are producing at full capacity, will the Jodi numbers be accurate. Also Canada seems to report their crude to JODI differently than the EIA assesses it, maybe the bitumen or syncrude is not included, you could look at the numbers from the Canadian government to determine that I guess.

I've looked at the discrepancies between Canadian government and JODI data, and haven't figured out where the differences really come from, although they are substantial.

Most Canadian oil production is now non-conventional (oil sands, EOR) and Canadian regulatory agencies use different definitions of what might constitute "oil" than JODI does, so that may account for much of the difference.

Another factor is that oil companies report production to Canadian provincial governments who have constitutional jurisdiction over natural resources, while it is the Canadian federal government that reports data to JODI since it has jurisdiction over international relations, and there may be a jurisdictional disconnect in the process.


Thanks for the input. Have you ever compared the Canadian governments numbers with those of the US EIA? I am wondering if they agree and if not which you would think would be a better estimate. It seems to me that neither country would benefit by over or understating oil output unless climate change agreements would enter into it (in the case of Canada). Do the numbers which the federal govt reports agree with those from the Alberta Govt? I appreciate any insight you might offer.

I went and tried to answer my question. I looked at NEB, EIA and JODI data for Canada specifically, but I did not dig into any provincial statistics as reported by the provincial governments. Basically most of the difference between JODI and Canadian data is the non-upgraded bitumen (JODI does not include those in C+C, but the NEB and EIA do include this in C+C (crude + condensate). This does not eliminate the discrepency entirely, even when the non-upgraded bitumen(NUB) is subtracted from the Canadian total the result is still a little bigger than the JODI data points, but the discrepency is only around 10 % so it is close enough for me.


The Canadian government gets its date from the provincial governments, which have constitutional authority over oil and gas production, except for offshore and Arctic production. Thus, the provincial government numbers would be as good as it gets, and they are probably very accurate.

There is a problem between Canadian and US and international data on data definitions, though. Most Canadian production is now non-conventional and much of it is bitumen from oil sands. In addition, there are significant differences from how the US government handles natural gas liquids, and the accounting fudge called "refinery gain" which accounts for a substantial amount of US production seems to be completely ignored in Canada.

What is happening with the C+C production from Sudan and South Sudan where war should be disrupting the supply? The EIA had them listed at 505 kb/d in December 2010 and 350 kb/d in December 2011.

The EIA data is only out to December 2011 but their Short Term Energy Outlook has their "All Liquids" like this in mb/d:

        Nov     Dec     Jan     Feb
Sudan   0.42	0.41	0.35	0.11

I have no idea what their C+C looks like but I would guess it would be about 300 kb/d for January and 80 kb/d for February. The EIA had their December C+C at 350 kb/d.

Ron P.

If we force Iran to keep their oil in the ground now, they will be sitting on a percentually much larger share in the future, making them even more powerfull then. If they realy are a threat, is this wise? Would it not be better to buy their oil as fast as possible to drain them off of their resources, if we want to beat them?

I take a different view of time versus enemies. Seventy years ago, Germany, and Japan were arch enemies whose destruction we were planning (and they ours). Now we are best of buddies. Given a few decades international alignments change. So if Iran is considered an enemy today, might that change?

So if Iran is considered an enemy today, might that change?

One of the 'sources of friction' in 'relationships' is the building of civilian Fission power.

Back in the 1970's Iran's contracts with Westinghouse to build Fission power plants was a topic worthy of print advertisements in magazines.

Somehow that changed......my memory on the chain of events resulting in that change is a tad murky - anyone care to provide clarification? ;-)

The Shah falling in 1979 and being replaced by the mullahs?

So the lesson is states based on religion should not have nukes?

I wish that could be enforced. And even just secular nuclear states that happen to have seriously religious leaders kinda scare me. When Reagan had Hal Lindsey advising the Pentagon, that was a bit scary. I don't want apocalyptic religious guys with their fingers on the button. We've seen what they can do with just a little power in places like Guyana and Waco, Texas. :-/

Yes. The mullahs were able to make the case that the US was responsible for the nasty repressive Pahlavi regime. It helped their case that it was true.

During the overthrow an over-enthusiastic bunch of revolutionaries invaded the US embassy and held the staff hostage for about a year. It was instrumental in the election of Ronald Reagan as president over incumbent Jimmy Carter.

Bad blood ever since.

Well, to be historically accurate, it was the British that put the Shah on the path to becoming an absolute dictator while successfully duping the US into supporting its policy. The US has been suffering the consequences ever since the Iranian Revolution.

Starting to replace helium with nitrogen for balloons

I don't know how we will ever get helium to replace the stuff that is depleting.

The issue is that helium was a byproduct of the large natural gas reservoirs. The helium was trapped similar to how the natural gas was trapped, and in large enough volumes to be able to be collected separately. With natural gas now collected by hydraulic fracturing, the helium is no longer there, free for the taking.

This is not just a problem for party people and Steve Martin, but for medical and physics research. I have used helium for the cryopumps and general purpose uses such as detecting ultr-high vacuum leaks.

Unlike precious metals, helium is actually a non-renewable resource. I have no idea of a way that it can get recycled, unlike gold or platinum [or name your precious metal]. Once it escapes into the air, that's it. Goodbye helium. It diffuses to the top of the atmosphere and there it stays, occasionally getting enough kinetic energy to escape the earth's g-forces.

Is this the real helium shortage that we have been anticipating for a few years now? The economists are now trying to prove their rules for substitutability. Nitrogen for helium, sure that will cut it :(

The economists are now trying to prove their rules for substitutability. Nitrogen for helium, sure that will cut it :(

Hey, psst, all you economists out there, there is an element in the periodic table, Pb, it boils at around 1740.0 degrees centigrade... I'm sure you can figure out a way to fill your balloons with it!

Fred, What is really comical is the way that the suppliers are cutting their helium with nitrogen. Nitrogen has essentially the same density as air so all it functions as is dead air.

So the suppliers are functioning as drug dealers that are cutting their stuff with seeds and stems. The balloons are not getting as high as the customers thought they would and the high doesn't last as long.

Next, we will see gasoline suppliers cutting their fuel with junk. Wait a minute, that is already happening.

If this shortage is real or not, we will just have to see.

Somebody said that one hope is to get fusion to work and then collect the helium from the deuterium byproduct
d + d → 4He + γ

"What is really comical is the way that the suppliers are cutting their helium with nitrogen."

It won't be comical to the welders. Sometimes nitrogen works as a shield gas, sometimes it does not. But it it did work for a given application, then you wouldn't be using helium.

Yep, my thought to. No more He shielding gas for me :c( I guess welding with stick may have a comeback again...

Yair . . . Jedi

( I guess welding with stick may have a comeback again...

I don't understand mate . . . did it ever go away?


No, off course not. I have used it a lot. But it have lost out in many applications. The downside is the welder will melt down fewer Kg steel in an hour, so if you can change to other more efficient methods, you can make a dime. These more efficient methods do require shielding gasses though.

When welding outdoors, you have to go old school. Stick, or accy/oxy torch is the only way to go. So stick will never go away completely, but it have lost in proportion to other methods.

Another reason stick will stay around is you can make sticks in very small series. This alows for the production of special sticks for special applictions in very small series, still economical. I have seen 2 mm sticks sold in 12-packs. Theoretically, you can mix your own powder in your kitchen, put it in a bag and go down to the factory and tell them to make a batch of sticks for you.
If you manifacture solid core wire, you will never produce less than a train cargo if you wanna make profit of it.

Yair . . .Jedi. I agree . . . mostly. People here seem to get carried away with wire feed . . . especialy farmers who do a little job every now and then and end up with feed problems due to rusty wire. They soon go back to stick.

Dunno about your manufacturing scenario and the economics of it all. Over here a 2.5 kilo pack of premium local or US made 2.5 mm 6013 costs about $60.00 Australian.

A certain stick with the same certifications out of China can be bought for about $22.00 for the same size pack and is a nicer running rod to boot . . . how does that work then?


I just junked a couple of bundles of stick, the humidity here spalled the rutile. The replacements are living on top of my computer to keep warm and dried out.


Yair . . . thats pretty Hi-tech NAOM . . . I used to keep the low hydrogen on the exhaust manifold of the Perkins on the 400 Hobart.


Well, as I check out TOD the waste heat may as well do some useful work ;)


If I had a farm I would do all my welding with stick. Mostly because it is reliable. Í have been welding in a snow storm. And in rain. And when it is windy. With a stick.
I have been weding indoors with a wire feed, having to close the door a sunny day with a mild breeze; the wind was strong enough to remove the shield gas.

The most anoying thing with wire feed welding is every time the wire stuck in the electrical contact. Then you have to spend a few minutes fixing it up before you can go back to working. Welding with a stickjust goes on and on and on until the handleis worn out after a million sticks or so have been welded through.

My mothers grandfather was a smith, old school. He was one of those who saw his smithy close down due to the welding process taking worka way. But he got a stick weld and learnt to weld with it. I took some sticks to school when was at trade school and welded with them. From the early 1960'ies I guess. Welding worked, but I doubt it would have passed an X-ray exam.

I tried a wire welder at one time. Works great if you get everything going right, as easy and neat as caulking. But most of the time I couldn't get wire speed right, or I was welding rusty or painted metal.

Finally traded off the wire rig and went back to stick only. Once you get the arc going, paint & rust don't matter.

So the suppliers are functioning as drug dealers that are cutting their stuff with seeds and stems.

If one takes out the seeds and plants 'em you at least get more seeds, stems and other stuff.

I don't see a way to plant Nitrogen and get Helium.

YouTube : Miniature hot air balloon

Would be fun at parties, except that it doesn't pop and is a fire hazard.

Spotted a shop, yesterday, selling candle powered hot air balloons. Think about it, dry season, forest covered mountains, lots of dry tinder, ummmmmm!


Chinese lanterns.

cringeworthy to launch. Cross your fingers.

Candle Powered?! You should see what they do in Brazil, here's a 72 meter tall un manned Balloon being launched, note the huge fire burning inside the mouth of the balloon. There are thousands of this kind of balloon launched every year to celebrate St. John's or perhaps a soccer victory. They are a huge fire hazard, no pun intended. It's tradition!


MAN! Now that is what I call a hot air balloon, makes me think of leviathan. Obrigado. At this time of year, everything here is so dry that fire is a big hazard, the bomberos go nuts at the slightest fire, even burning a little rubbish. We lost a chunk of forest recently with a lot of Primavera, a beautiful tree that produces a very nice wood that is resistant to bugs :(


Sorry to hear about the loss of your trees, NAOM!

Primavera is known to me as Bougainvillea.

I'm guessing that you are calling some other tree by that same name, possibly a Flamboyant?

We call the Bougainvillea a Bougainvillea and the Iguanas love to feast on them. The Primavera is the 'White Mahogany' Cybistax Donnellsmithii. It is a very attractive tree and is currently shedding its papery seeds around here, some are blowing into my garden and I planted a few this morning. The wood is excellent for furniture and doors as it is not attacked by the pollia and other bugs we have, it also resists our climate well. Google images have a lot of good pictures.



Ah, the ubiquitous Ipê-amarelo, gorgeous tree! Did you know there is a purple version called Ipê-roxo. The yellow variety is quite common here in Florida and they just finished blooming too.

Edit: Hmm not so sure now... The Ipê-amarelo is really the Tabebuia chrysantha Whereas the Primavera is the Tabebuia donnell-smithii, the sure look very similar to the non botanist...

Very interesting. The wood we have here matches the colour of the Primavera images rather than the Ipe and, no, I don't intend to cut one of these to take a look. OTOH the seeds and pods I am seeing are like the Ipe rather than the Primavera. The images I have found where I can see the bark of the Ipe show a rougher bark than I recall here but I can't find a decent one of the Primavera. Maybe we have both and the locals are misidentifying them. I will try and get a better look at these trees tomorrow. Whichever, they are both spectacular in bloom. I put some Coapinole seed in, too, today. Only found out afterwards that the flesh is edible though I have no idea what animal evolved to eat and disperse them unless it was a Guacamaya or Toucan :(


Checked those trees out. The seeds and pods match the Ipe, the one I looked at before had smoothish bark but another had rough bark. There were a few flowers left and they were pink so they are probably Ipe-roxo or Tabebuia impetiginosa. We definitely have Primavera here as we use the wood which is different from Ipe and I see the bright yellow flowers around. I think I know where the reference specimen Primavera is and I pass there often so I will take a good look at that too, the specimen tree we have here is a Parota.

They may have been made popular by a climactic scene in the recent Disney movie "Tangled" that featured thousands of such lamps. (The movie was excellent BTW. That scene was quite well done in 3D.) But yeah, such lamps should not be used due the risk of igniting fires. Well, when they land, hopefully the fire should be out but there could still be a hot ember.

Party balloon problem- simple! First, you get a bunch of minihydrogen bubbles, fill your balloon with the hydrogen bubbles, then fill the rest of the volume with good ol' nitrogen. You are good to go, lift, and at absolute worst case a mere fizzle if you strike a match to it.

Now that you have solved the party balloon problem, go on to greater things with exactly the same idea- a super huge zeppelin jam packed with hydrogen bubbles, all surrounded by nitrogen so that any diffusion rate is very very slow. Then use these things to continuously float around the world on prevailing winds while lugging megatons of what's needed downwind.

Is that because the He is now Over the Hills and Far Away?

Good Times!

That, and the fact that the economists solutions tend to go over like lead ballons...>;^)

What about extraction of helium from natural gas in other parts of the world? When the prices are high enough, do Qatar and Russia simply ramp up production? Or at higher prices, can we extract helium from other natural gas fields where the helium fraction is lower? Or is it a matter of the difficulties of moving helium over intercontinental distances?

Good questions. It depends on how highly other countries respect scientific needs. I am sure if the price increases enough they will start to capture the helium.

As far as moving helium long distances, this is what I know.
Storing helium is really problematic. I have used cylinders that seem tight but they still lose contents over the course of a few months. Had a cylinder just devoted to leak detection and the amount used would be miniscule yet they would still need to be replaced. That helium is slippery stuff and it will escape through the tightest opening. That's why it is so effective for detecting leaks, as it can find any kind of crack or imperfect gasket seating in a flange.

One thing I don't understand. Since it is impossible to store helium long term, how did there ever come to be helium reserves? I would think the helium would just escape through the cap rock.

It does.

If you think about it, helium should be extremely abundant, comparable with hydrogen and more abundant that nitrogen, oxygen, etc. Yet its rare; because it can escape and float away.

Also it don't like forming compounds that can hold it in place.


(Disclaimer, yes I know it forms a few)

I grew up in Amarillo. I don't ever recall hearing a claim that there was significant leakage of the helium?? We have previously discussed the use of helium in MRI units (magnetic resonance imaging).

WHT wrote:

Once it escapes into the air, that's it. Goodbye helium. It diffuses to the top of the atmosphere and there it stays, occasionally getting enough kinetic energy to escape the earth's g-forces.

Do you have a reference for that statement? It is my understanding that the atmosphere is well mixed, that is, there is no fractionation heavy vs low mass molecules due to gravity. One often sees claims that CFC's sink to lower levels in the atmosphere, but such happens only when they are released as a liquid in a locally closed space, where they are often colder than the surrounding air mass. If fractionation occurred, all the heavy CO2 would end up on the bottom of the atmosphere and we would be dead from asphyxiation. In the troposphere, there is no fractionation. In the higher elevations above the stratosphere, things are different, AIUI, but I don't know the details. Does CO2 "pool" in the lower elevations of the stratosphere???

E. Swanson

You are right about mixing. There is a critical molecular or atomic weight whereby gases will tend to sink and reach the lowest potential energy state. I think this is around 100 atomic units or so.

Therefore radon with an atomic weight of 220 will sink on its own accord. OTOH, nitrogen with 28 will mix, CO2 at 44 will mix, and Argon at 40 will mix.

Helium (AW=2) in a balloon rises because of buoyancy. If it was released as individual atoms it will diffuse instead of rising. However, what eventually happens is the gradual displacement of lighter elements with heavier ones. The helium that does reach the top of the atmosphere has a small chance of leaving the earth's gravitational pull. That is the general trend and this is magnified over millions of years.

Argon is one of those gases that we can harvest from the atmosphere, but I don't think we can with helium as it is just too well dispersed. Argon is historically more prevalent in our atmosphere than helium because it has a much lower probability of escaping.

The concentration of atmospheric helium is about 5 ppm and argon is closer to 10,000 ppm I think.
That's what helium farmers will be up against.

A helium extraction plant is being built in Qatar
and here is a pdf with some more He info


I doubt there is any such thing as a critical molecular weight. All gases are mixed or fractionated to a greater or lesser extent based on how strongly entropy wants to mix them and how much more potential energy there is in fractionated state then in the mixed state.

Mixing increases gravitational potential energy, but allows for far more possible states (ie., higher entropy), whereas fractionation allows the heavier components to sink, decreasing gravitational potential energy at the 'cost' of increasing the order of the system.

The degree of separation is directly proportional to the density difference, the height of the column of air, and gravity, and is inversely proportional to temperature. Helium is very light, and the atmosphere extends for thousands of kilometres under nearly 1g of gravity. It's more than sufficient to allow the helium to rise to the top of the atmosphere and eventually escape into space.

As a note, this is true only for air free from convection. Fractionation is a _slow_ process - similar to but even slower than sedimentation of turbid water. Even modest amounts of convection is mix the air back into a well-mixed state, as is observed in the troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere.

On another note, radon may have a greater tendency to differentiate, but that's not why it accumulates in houses. The reason is that diffusion is a very slow process and the radon starts off concentrated (since it's produced by the house). Once the radon is vented to the atmosphere, it will be well mixed and remain that way in the troposphere until it decays - there is far too much mixing.

I've encountered the same claim with CO2, heavier than air, it will form a narrow layer at the surface -where it won't function as a greenhouse gas. Well, even in the absense of mixing, gases don't form layers, each gas has its own scale height, dependent of temperatue and molecular weight. Helium will be slightly more abundant in the upper reaches. And its molecular weight is low enough to lose it to space -but I think the timescale is millions of years (not human timescales).

You forget about one important fact: Up there, the air is thin. At 30 Km or so (or 100, the numericals are not the main point here), the average molecule will travel some 500 meters between every time it bounces into another molecule. Thus, the molecules up there will no longer behave like a uniform gas, but more like tiny canonon balls. They will then be sorted up by weight, the lightest ones on top. At the very highest atmospheric layers, hydrogen for example is heavily overrepresented.

I don't know the atmospheric residence time of helium, but I bet it is pretty long. The total number of molecules in the upper atmosphere is tiny, and the Helium has to diffuse upwards to reach your altitude where sorting can happen. I doubt the loss is significant on a human timescale.

"This is not just a problem for party people" Hydrogen is a very good alternative and then it come to a parties it has some advantages.

Helium has long been used for welding aluminum and stainless steel alloys. The gas is blown over the arc to shield the molten metal from air which can put oxides into the weld and cause inclusions/porosity. Both oxides and inclusions weaken weld a great deal. Using an inert gas like helium to "shield" the arc weld produces smoother and stronger welds than using gases such as Argon or Xenon, both of which are also rare.
Helium provides a better arc path for a hotter pinpointed arc, thus greater fusion of the base metal.

I see no substitute in welding processes that use helium (TIG and MIG) that can produce a quality weld and do it efficiently. Some manufacturing processes will cease once helium becomes sufficiently rare IMO. Been involved in welding for 34 years and I see no workable solution.

Wyoming apparently has significant helium resources.

Such is the claim of Denbury Resources:

Riley Ridge is a naturally occurring resource that contains natural gas, helium, CO2 and hydrogen sulfide (“H2S”). Initial production is anticipated in late 2011, wherein the natural gas and helium will be separated and sold, and the remaining gas stream (CO2 and H2S) re-injected into the reservoir. We ultimately plan to separate the CO2 from this residual gas stream and use it in our CO2 EOR operations. The field contains proved reserves of approximately 185 Bcf of natural gas, 6.6 Bcf of helium and approximately 0.9 Tcf of CO2, net to our acquired interest.

Helium is also used in gas chromatograhpy and a standard gas analysis does not include helium.

As Argon and Xenon are extracted from air and are released to the air in the welding process they are being recycled, unlike Helium which will be lost. We really need to get our act together as to whether Helium is more important for these uses or parties:(


Anyone who argues for restricting helium for critical industrial activities like welding will get pilloried by the Faux News crowd. I can hear it now: "Get'cher government hands off mah' party baloons, Socialist!" "Why do you hate my freedom (to waste valuable helium)??" "That's helium REDISTRIBUTION, Marxist!"

If you really want to bring out the McCarthy in them use the phrase "peak helium" ... ;)

It is the resource use problem in miniature: save it for later... or sell it now for money now and party on.

If I ever get married, I will tell my grand children about this. "Granddaddy used to weld with helium", and they will go "woooow!". I will not personally miss the car, once the oil is gone. But this is surpricingly saddening to me.

"But this is surpricingly saddening to me."

That's because you are a Jedi Welder!

If I ever get married, I will tell my grand children about this

You don't have to be married to have children. And just because you are 1/2 responsible for a child (or more than 1 child) that does not mean 'your' child will have children.

I know, but when it comes to family, I am old school. I am a divorce-child my self, and see few benefits with it. Statistics show that married couple have a larger succes rate, so if I and a woman decides to have kids (or if it just happen) I am gonna push for some rings and a priest.

Unless you could recapture it from free air? We don't actually consume it, although the upper atmosphere does lose some to space (thats why we don't have much), by mass Helium something like 25% of normal (not dark) mass. Its just that our planets gravity was too wimpy to retain it for the long haul. I suspect recapture would be very very expensive (and energy intensive), although not impossible.

Just create it from combining hydrogen in cold fusion! lol

Terrestrial Helium is a bit of a mystery. The He3/He4 isotope ratio varies considerably in rock compared to atmospheric ratio. It also varies with the age of the rock and this isn't due to half life as both Helium-3 and 4 are stable.

The georeactor theory suggests that a natural fast breeder fission reactor has been operating at the centre of the earth virtually since formation and is a major source of Helium (eg He-4 from alpha decay). Oak Ridge ran reactor simulations for the produced ratio from the reactor over the earth's lifespan and found they matched the isotopic content actually found in rocks over time. Slightly worryingly they and other researchers suggest the reactor, if it exists, is coming to the end of its life - on a timescale of between about now and the next billion years.

There have recently been attempts to measure neutrinos produced by such a reactor at the centre of the earth, if it exists and published results so far are consistent with a reactor of up to several Terrawatts range (roughly the same as modelled by ORNL) but do not prove it. A major problem has been filtering out the "noise" from above ground reactors and it has been suggested that detectors need to be built in Antarctica or similar (to be far enough away from NPPs_ to get absolutely certain results.

However, it has occurred to me that the Japanese can now repeat their georeactor detector experiment now that virtually their entire source of NPP neutrinos is turned off. It must have occurred to neutrino researchers as well but I can't find any mention of any recent results.

Nuclear georeactor origin of oceanic basalt 3He/4He, evidence, and implications

J. Marvin Herndon*

+ Author Affiliations

Transdyne Corporation, 11044 Red Rock Drive, San Diego, CA 92131

Communicated by Hatten S. Yoder, Jr., Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC (received for review November 21, 2002)


The helium observed for the past three decades in oceanic basalts has been demonstrated to have been produced by a nuclear reactor at the center of the Earth. The nuclear georeactor numerical simulation results, even for the simple, preliminary cases shown, yield a narrow range of 3He/4He RAs that encompass the entire 2-SD (2σ) confidence level range of tabulated (24) measured 3He/4He ratios of basalts from along the global spreading ridge system and lead to substantial 3He and 4He production.

Nuclear georeactor produced 3He/4He ratios are not necessarily constant, but rather appear to be related to the extent of actinide fuel consumption at time of production. High 3He/4He ratios are produced near the end of the georeactor lifetime.

Nuclear georeactor numerical simulation results and the observed high 3He/4He ratios measured in Icelandic and Hawaiian oceanic basalts indicate that the demise of the georeactor is approaching, but the time is not yet precisely determined. As the georeactor dies, the geomagnetic field that it presumably powers after a time will begin to collapse. But unlike previous geomagnetic collapses, that have restarted and re-energized the field, a time will come when the actinide fuel of the georeactor is too diminished to initiate self-sustaining neutron-induced chain reactions; the georeactor will die and sometime thereafter the geomagnetic field will die and will not restart. At some point in time after the georeactor dies, there will be no geomagnetic field and life on Earth will never be the same. The challenge now is to determine precisely the time of georeactor demise. Within the present level of uncertainty, one cannot say whether that time will come in the next century, in the next millennium, in a million years, or in a billion years. But one thing is certain: georeactor demise will occur.

It goes without saying that the georeactor theory is controversial. Maybe the Japanese already have the answer as it would appear they now have the required signal to noise ratio to answer the question once and for all.

Edit: Status of Japanese kamLAND detector after the quake

High-Energy Physics Experiments in Japan Weather the Crises

by Sara Reardon on 17 March 2011, 5:53 PM

During an earthquake, tsunami, or nuclear meltdown, the safest place to be is in a mine.

So says Stuart Freedman, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's spokesperson for the KamLAND neutrino experiment, whose 1879 glass photomultiplier tubes emerged from the earthquake unscathed. Both KamLAND and the Super-Kamiokande experiment, which contains 11,146 glass bulbs each 20 inches in diameter, are ensconced 3300 ft underground in the Mozumi mine. This is to protect both American-Japanese collaboration experiments from solar radiation that would obscure their data.

Although the KamLAND detector uses Japanese nuclear reactors as its neutrino source, Freedman says that the loss of the Fukushima reactor and ensuing radiation will affect the experiments little.

Written when nobody assumed that virtually all Japanese NPPs would be shut down within a year.

If anyone has lived near a large (e.g. 1.5 to 2.5 MW) wind turbine, what has your experience been?

There's a farm I've been looking at buying that has a number of positives. One complication is that the current owner has signed a contract with a wind developer. My guess is that the turbine (although it could be more than one) would be about a quarter mile from the house (~400m). The house would not be directly downwind of the turbine when the prevailing wind was blowing, nor would it be shaded by it.

There would likely be other turbines in the general area (these things are usually many or none projects).

From two points on the political spectrum:

(originally from The National Review)

It’s tempting to dismiss the complaints about wind-turbine noise as little more than NIMBYism. And to be clear, not every wind project is causing problems. Further, the most problematic noise generated by the turbines — low-frequency sound (20 to 100 hertz) and infrasound (0 to 20 Hz) — has varying effects. Some individuals feel the effects of the noise quickly and compare it to motion sickness. Others may not feel it at all.


In a week-long series, Heather Goldstone, reporter for the blog Climatide, and Sean Corcoran of WCAI on Cape Cod, Mass., look at the debate in one Massachusetts community where a 400-foot tall turbine has been turning for less than a year. While little scientific research has been completed to substantiate the claims, many residents living near the turbine are complaining of sleep deprivation, headaches, and tinnitus, or ringing of the ears. And they explore tricky questions such as: Is annoyance a health impact?

I get a bit disscusted with the level of NIMBYism these days, but there are sometimes issues. Most folks don't want to look at PV panels everyday; my backyard is full of them. Then, again, I managed a horse farm for a couple of years, and my cabin was about 75 meters from large high-voltage transmission lines. I'm convinced that there were effects, especially pronounced during periods of high humidity. I could walk out on a foggy morning and the hair would stand up on my arms. Frequent headaches disappeared when I moved away (they may have been due to dealing with spoiled, rich equestrians ;-/

Few choices are perfect. I would much rather have a wind farm a mile away than the nuke plants 50-100 miles upwind that I have now.

I thought they solved the HV powerline mystery about 10 yrs ago? I notice reporting of it disappeared straight after the discovery. Apparently the problem wasn't the voltages directly, but as the breeze blew over a line, particulates, pollen etc. would pick up a charge and stick to your lungs, skin etc. Sufficient to show up in health statistics.

It doesn't matter what the vector is. For all I know, my symptoms were psychosomatic...

As for noise from wind farms, some folks may find the low frequency vibration debilitating, others may not even notice. Some turbine designs may be more inclined than others to produce frequencies folks find objectionable, and some folks will object simply because it's a "left wing scheme to rob them of tax dollars". Some nearby structures, homes and such, may be more susceptible to transmitting or amplifying the vibrations (I parked near a wind farm once, couldn't really hear the low frequencies, but the tailgate on my truck started buzzing like crazy). I imagine all of the above apply to some extent.

The small wind turbine we had was quite noisy at times, but when it was, we knew it was charging the batteries. It remains off-line because it was a lightening magnet.

I have seen some smallish wind turbines where the blades are arranged in a vertical array: essentially a bladed cylinder.
Why isn't this configuration used more?
Seems like it would, size for size, have a smaller footprint and be a better design to engineer as all the bearings are at ground level and horizontal, supporting the loads in a more effective and less stressful manner. Also, doesn't need to be rotated into wind direction.
Missing something?

The consensus has been that vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) are less efficient. On the other hand:

Caltech Study Says Vertical Axis Wind Turbines 10X More Efficient Than Horizontal Axis Turbines

A recent study of turbine placement and output found that because VAWTs can be placed closer together, they're capable of generating ten times as much energy per square meter than HAWTs.

In a series of field tests that placed six VAWTs in different configurations, it was found that a spacing of four turbine diameters apart (about five meters) got rid of any aerodynamic interference between the turbines. HAWTs require 20 turbine diameters of spacing in order to eliminate aerodynamic interference, equaling more than a mile between each turbine. The six VAWTs were able to produce 21 to 47 watts of power per square meter, while a comparable HAWT farm only produces about two to three watts per square meter.

The study also found that having each VAWT spin in the opposite direction of its neighbor allowed them to spin faster because the opposing spins reduced the drag on each turbine, which upped their efficiency even more...

More efficient is a bit misleadig, IMO. A more efficient use of space may be more accurate, and there are other considerations.

The best type of wind turbine is ...
Of the 59% possible efficiency available to convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical energy:

Horizontal Wind Turbines: close to 50%
Vertical Axis Wind Turbines: around 10% (though an excellent design could reach near 15%)

The bottom line is that while vertical axis wind turbines can make a great do-it-yourself project, and on a small scale they can even be a worthwhile project -- in reality they are far less efficient than horizontal axis wind turbines.


You also could couple the tops of Vertical axis towers with guys and outriggers to support bending loads making them far more stable with less steel

The debates rage on.

Horizontal Turbines (Propeller Style) Turbines have many advantages, and like with Tide and Wave, there are few Vertical Axis wind turbines that have actually made it onto the market, but there are still advantages to the Verticals, and many still are delving into them.

What they lose in efficiency, so it's claimed, some make up in windspeed range, storm survivability, noise output, complexity etc..

www.windside.com .. they make verticals, and have some of their arguments for them posted there, as well as examples.

OK, thanks. I'll read up on them.
To be honest, standing anywhere near one of the full size horizontal ones scares the bejeezus out of me.

Yes, they are surely huge, industrial creatures, and need to be considered on far more than just the merits of their decent CO2 and Acreage Footprints..

.. this was a PS I wanted to add to the above comment regarding the Windside turbines.

I'm personally interested in systems which have fewer complex bearings and high-pressure structural parts, simpler design and presence.. so these VAWT's in particular seem very solid and effective to me, even IF (and I don't know whose comparisons I should trust) they produce less wattage per dollar or per pound of material than the others.. I'm likely to put money down for the Draft Horse over the Thorobred, since the race is likely not going to the 'swift and fragile' - in our coming stormy days.

Yes, that was my intuitive non-industrial engineer read on the two designs: relative simplicity trumps complexity, even complexity that gains more efficiency/output.

I have always thought that a wind turbine ought to be just a water pumper- real simple, no gearbox, no alternator, just a huge crank slowly pushing huge pistons. The water goes to a really big-multimegawatt turbine fed by the whole field of windmills. These are very well known, very efficient, cheap.

In addition, the water power system could include storage of any size desired, to give full-time power.

BTW, this has been tried in a couple hundred kW size, and shown to outperform standard gear-alternator by quite a bit, as I remember, about 1/3 better over all. Forgot who did it.

Alas, I could not find the actual island doing that. Foudn this however.

There is a new store selling one down here but I don't know if it will handle our wind speeds as they are low. Costco used to sell a normal one but it would have been totally usless as it needed wind speeds 3X higher than we get. I wondered about trying to build one but, like Gung, those big sparky things in the sky put me off.


Who is selling these and where?

Don't know, try googling them. I will try and take a look but I tend to pass the store when it is shut, I do want to take a look in there. I did pass yesterday but I was otherwise occupied and could not stop. This one had two drum like collectors, each two half drums offset, and two long curved blades outside these.


A couple of reasons - the 3 blade verticals scale "better". More swept area - more power and cheaper per watt output for material use. This is part of the reason government money goes to big wind and not Bergey.
Another reason - a HWT has part of the structure pushing back VS the wind and that can cut into the energy extracted.

HWT can extract energy from more 'turbulent' windflows and are less likely to 'throw a blade' making them an option in urban environments.

Then you have designs like Doug Selsams. http://www.selsam.com The floating in the water design is 'interesting'.

Another MAJOR reason - wind speeds are higher the further one goes above the ground.

Wind loses speed by friction with the ground (forests & trees worst). Energy is the square of wind speed.

Ground mounted wind turbines are losers at most sites.


Actually energy per unit mass (essentialy volume) goes as the square of the windspeed. But, a given swept area samples a volume (per unit time) proportional to the wind speed, so the power goes as the speed cubed.

I think the verticals were abandoned because of the effects of off axis torque, i.e. the wind pushes sidewards, which creates a bearing damaging off axis torque. Its all about optimizing the economics, the most cost effective design wins out.

wind speeds are higher the further one goes above the ground

Which is a big reason why bigger turbines "win" - the cost of the tower.

A limiting factor - the cost of a crane BIG enough to service a tall turbine. Sometimes you can't get an erection to the heith you'd like due to something as simple as no bridge can hold your crane.

Figuring out the economics is a complicated mess.....

Sometimes you can't get an erection to the height you'd like due to something as simple as no bridge can hold your crane.

That sounds like a personal problem, Eric. Anyway, thank you for sharing with us.

I hope Leanan doesn't mind a little humor on a slow Sunday afternoon.

You could always make the self erecting.


I've never been near one of these large turbines, so I don't know anything about the low frequency/low level sound emissions. I do know how low level sounds affect me, though.

I am extremely affected by the bass thumping of music, if that's all I can hear. It's one thing to be in the room where I can hear the full range but if I'm at a distance, in another room where I hear only the low frequency components, even if at a very low level, they have a profound effect on me.

If I'm trying to sleep and hear this from a neighboring dwelling or similar, I'm totally unable to sleep. My blood pressure skyrockets and I tense up. Hearing a loud TV with limited bass from an adjacent room has nothing like the same effect, I can still fall asleep without much difficulty.

Most people I know aren't affected in this way, but if this is anything similar to what some people experience from the large turbines, I can completely sympathize with them.

There's a nuke plant about 40 miles upwind of the farm as well... makes me uneasy. Despite this the area is attractive because I'm familiar with it and know some people not too far away.

Generally I'm supportive of renewables - I actually like how wind turbines look, just like I enjoy watching sailboats. But I've never lived near one, which might give me a different perspective. Plus there are issues re. access to the turbine and several unknowns which the landowner is to be consulted on, but ultimately can't control.

I would certainly get a copy of the lease agreement and any easements or rights-of-way granted. Let an attorney look at it since these can be a nightmare for landowners and have serious effects on future property values. A friend didn't realize that he had bought land subject to a blanket easement for the power company. Shortly after he moved in, the powerco brought through a large distribution line and cut most of his trees. They later sublet the easement to a water company who plans to bring a water line across his land. Looks like there's not much he can do. Worse yet, he doesn't receive any compensation for the intrusions.

While the lease may be subject to renewal at some point, any easements are likely perpetual.

Here's a link to a story about local opposition to a wind project in south California.
I have been camping and hiking in this area for many years and it deserves protection from industrial development.

McCain Valley is another site slated for development that should be preserved/protected.

What's needed is a national policy to renewables, rather than an ad hoc approach, so power is produced in the most rational locations. For example, much of the best Wind resources are in unpopulated areas (read: grazing/farm land) of the MidWest, where Wind Turbines could be located without spoiling the scenic or recreational value of the area.

From above...

TransCanada seeks switch from gas to oil

The largest challenge with swapping commodities would be pipeline “integrity” issues, he said, noting it is too early to speculate on the timing of any possible conversion. The switch would cost billions to pull off.

What could possibly go wrong sending something that is corrosive and abrasive and heavier than water through a fifty-four year old gas pipeline?

Canadian natural gas production is declining and Canadian non-conventional oil production is rising. TransCanada would like to adapt to that by converting some of its natural gas pipelines to run oil instead.

Irving Oil has been moving oil from Alberta to its 300,000 bpd refinery in New Brunswick (the biggest refinery in Canada) by rail in recent months. Moving it by pipeline would be safer and certainly much cheaper than moving that much oil that far by railway tank car. It's about 5000 km (3000 miles) from Edmonton to Saint John, New Brunswick.

All the blathering about "diluted bitumen" notwithstanding, with the decline in world sweet light crude oil production, the global crude oil feedstock stream is becoming increasingly heavy and high in sulfur, which is why the Irving refinery is already capable of processing it. If you don't like that trend, I guess you have to move to some other planet because that is what is happening on this one. Welcome to Peak Oil on Earth.

What I don't understand is: why don't they move the refinery to Alberta and then send the gasoline and diesel through a pipeline? Wouldn't that be easier than moving that nasty bitumen?

Refineries don't have wheels to them.

It's not that easy to move a refinery - although I have seen it done. They have moved a couple of old refineries from Alberta to China, and I think the Chinese have bought other old refineries and moved them there.

When Imperial Oil made the first really big oil discovery in Canada near Edmonton in 1947, they moved a new but mothballed refinery from the Northwest Territories that had been built in WWII to supply Alaska south to Edmonton to refine the oil.

The existing refineries were built where they are because they are close to markets. The issue in replacing them is one of sunk costs - why build new refineries when there are already existing refineries which have more than enough capacity to meet the current declining demand?

Refinery Row near Edmonton already supplies half of Canada from Western BC to Western Ontario. That's already a pretty big market area.

It would be tough for Alberta refineries to displace the refineries in Southern Ontario because of the sunk costs issue. The same companies own both the Alberta and Ontario refineries, and they don't want to spend money to build a new one on Alberta while closing a similar-sized one in Ontario.

There are only two refineries left in Quebec, and both of them are somewhat at risk of closing, in case of which Quebec would be supplied by Ontario refineries. The big Irving refinery in NB mostly supplies the US market, with Canadian consumers being something of a side issue for them. All the Eastern refineries are suffering from expensive feedstock costs, so in the long term they may all close.


In the article about Germany/nukes/CO2 above it references another Economist article about the high cost of nuke plants as a reason they may lose out to renewables in the future. I am curious why it still costs so much to build a nuke plant. These have been built for over 50 years and are all over the world. Why haven't costs dropped greatly? Is it the labor? Materials? Fuel? What? I have heard of mini nuke generators and that the Chinese will be going into the market big time soon. Given what they did to wind and solar prices, will they crash nuke plant prices too? Anyone who has insight into the cost mechanisms would be very welcome to comment. Thanks.

Part of the problem is the design chosen high pressure, high temperature water. This in turn requires a huge concrete containment building so if the pipes spring a leak the steam can be contained. Lots of concrete and lots of rebar and lots of labor.

I prefer a molten salt reactor design. It has no high pressure in the reactor. Hence no need for a massively expensive containment building.

The other hard thing is the need to cool the core 100% of the time. Not 99.9999% of the time. Once the core has been running for a month or so it is radioactive. Even if the control rods are put in it is still producing lots of heat. If not cooled it will melt. At least in the designs in use today. It is possible to design passively cooled reactors that will not melt at the lose of primary cooling. So in current designs they put in multiple cooling systems this cost money. We should demand all reactors be updated or replaced with reactors that have passive cooling.

I prefer a molten salt reactor design. It has no high pressure in the reactor. Hence no need for a massively expensive containment building.

You've been reading the sales brochures. If these things are going to be built they had better be built with serious containment.

There is a very simple solution to the nuclear reactor safety problem. When something big goes wrong, evacuate the site. Now... this might seem counter-intuitive to some of you, but history shows the deep wisdom of this action. The only deaths that count are those that occur on-site and have been duly recorded on a toe-tag that says "Died in a nuclear power plant accident". All the other casualties are denied with the epithet/epitaph of "inconclusive". If the crew had immediately abandoned Chernobyl, the official number of casualties could have been reduced from 31 (thirty one) to 2 (two). Immediately and for all time, through this one crucial metric, this simple act would have rendered the reactor nearly sixteen times safer than it already is.


The only deaths that count are those that occur on-site and have been duly recorded on a toe-tag that says "Died in a nuclear power plant accident".

To the degree the bones of the dead were replaced with broomsticks just to avoid radiation questions.

this simple act would have rendered the reactor nearly sixteen times safer than it already is.


Russian Gov’t Radio: “The number of victims has reached one million people today” — Consequences of Chernobyl meltdown are endless and uncontrollable

Not an hour ago I came across a recent talk by Dr. Helen Caldicott.

It was an impassioned and emotional presentation, but she reminded me that we haven't even begun to factor in the true costs of nuclear power.....

That said, she is hardly impartial, but I first thought that Germany's pledge to shut down their nuclear industry was a just knee-jerk reaction. Now I'm rethinking that. The lack of transparency regarding Fukishima and Chernobyl is criminal. TMI was not much better.

Yes, I know that LFTR designs have been touted as a much better alternative, but considering the potential aftermath of an accident, are they that much safer and is it worth the risk? Even if they are, LFTRs do nothing to address the legacy designs.

At present I'm trying to to keep an open mind.

Thoughts anyone?

Here's a short version re: Fukshima. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPB_KxGlaV0&feature=related

BTW they are saying 1 million deaths have been attributed to Chernobyl, don't take my word for it., download the New York Academy of Sciences Report on Chernobyl. You can download it for free, chapter by chapter here:

BTW, As she says Fukshima is orders of magnitude worse.

Of course the report from the NY Academy of sciences could be one big lie, or the Russian doctors might be incompetent, perhaps something was lost in the translation? Who knows, right? I have read some of it and certainly would like to know more.

Ah, Yablokov.

Do read that report, then compare his results against the actual death rates from all causes for Ukraine and the Caucasus.

It's the only way to see how ridiculous his results are.

In 1986 the Ukrainian annual death rate per 1,000 was 11.1 (not too far above the world average). Annual death rate then climbed for about the next 20 years to peak at 16.6 per 1,000 in 2005 (double the world average) and has only now started to decline again in the last few years. For the world as a whole the death rate dropped from 9.61 to 8.26 between 1986 and 2005.

In 1986 Ukraine had a population of 51.1 million. By 2010 this was down to 45.9 million people.

Similar patterns are seen in Belarus. The "traditional" answer is that they all drank themselves to death following the break up of the USSR. Yablokov argues that a proportion (not all) of these additional deaths were Chernobyl related.

So if they didn't drink themselves to death they were killed by Chernobyl?

What a lovely sense of subtlety you are displaying here.

There are particular causes of death by radiation, the Ukranians track those. Strangely enough they have some of the best oncologists in the world.

Those doctors publish real, peer-reviewed papers, yet these aren't referenced even where they are translated, because the only way to get Yablokov's numbers is to take the worst cancer rate in the worst group from the most contaminated area, in total, and apply that rate across all of Ukraine and Belarus to get a million deaths.

that you credulously accept Yablokov's work *because it agrees with your position* is why I do not believe you when you say nuclear is such a serious threat.


Yablokov et al argue that most of the excess deaths are not cancer fatalities. The figure of 1 million is an extrapolated cumulative total world figure from their estimates of more local deaths. One suggested mechanism is radio-caesium building up in the heart muscles from internal exposure, leading to early heart attacks. Many deaths by heart failure are recorded (especially amongst the clean up workers) but again these have traditionally been put down to "stress" and or alcoholism.

I don't accept Yablokov or anything else at face value. I am not satisfied, in my own mind though, that the death rates in the region climbed to double the world average purely from the break up of the Soviet Union - especially as some regions of the former USSR far from Chernobyl do not show such a marked increase in death rates.

I asked you a long time ago to actually read Yablokobv et al and not just repeat what you read in critical reviews (which often seem to have little relation to what is actually in the report). I still suggest you do that.

Btw, personally I believe you probably do a lot of harm to the view of the nuclear industry, held by a lot of TOD posters, with the tone of many of your contributions here anyway.

There are so many confounding factors in that time and space, and by my reading of Yablokov he doesn't make a serious effort at disentangling them.

I'm pretty sure the radiation effects are adequately accounted for by the WHO review (within an order of magnitude at least), but there are certainly non-nuclear effects due to relocation, depression of the economy leading to less healthy conditions generally in the area, and many other factors that are due to the Chernobyl event as well as the concurrent collapse of the USSR in the time period of interest.

The assertion that it's all due to Chernobyl radiation effects is so obviously a blindered analysis that I simply cannot take any of his other claims seriously without much stricter analysis than I have thus far seen.

The assertion that it's all due to Chernobyl radiation effects is so obviously a blindered analysis

But Yablokov et al. don't claim that "it's all due to Chernobyl radiation". That's a myth although one frequently repeated. The total number of excess deaths claimed would be hugely greater than one million if they just assumed all excess deaths (based on pre 1986 death rates) were due to Chernobyl.

Monbiot for one has widely publicised this mistaken belief


In George Monbiot's recent exchanges with anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott and John Vidal on the matter of the total death toll of Chernobyl, Caldicott and Vidal made reference to Yablokov's book. Monbiot responded by saying:[15]

A devastating review in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry points out that the book achieves this figure by the remarkable method of assuming that all increased deaths from a wide range of diseases – including many which have no known association with radiation – were caused by the Chernobyl accident. There is no basis for this assumption, not least because screening in many countries improved dramatically after the disaster and, since 1986, there have been massive changes in the former eastern bloc. The study makes no attempt to correlate exposure to radiation with the incidence of disease.

The passage Monbiot is referring to comes from Charles' review, and actually relates to the 2006 Greenpeace report on Chernobyl, not the book by Yablokov et al.[10]

Funny, I didn't get that from Monbiot. I didn't even know he said it.

I looked at the published mortality figures sorted by cause of death and did the math myself. I could have made mistakes there, lord knows I'm not perfect, but I'm not much of a follower.

I also looked at some Ukranian medical papers that had been translated into English to see what was going on with cancers in the area.

Did I mention that they have a lot of serious world-class oncologists?

I will. However I did a search on reviews of his work, I have to say that from what I've seen so far the overwhelming majority of his critics are pro nuclear and seem to have an agenda. I'll keep reading!

Yes, I know that LFTR designs have been touted as a much better alternative, but considering the potential aftermath of an accident, are they that much safer and is it worth the risk?


The reactor facility, called “Ole Salty” by some, was converted to lab and office space as the reactor lay in stand-by status. Then, in March 1994, samples of the off-gases in the process lines unexpectedly revealed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) and fluorine, a highly reactive gas. Where surveyors expected to find part-per-million concentrations, they found concentrations of UF6 of up to 8 percent and fluorine of 50 percent.

...Engineers then had a more protracted challenge: How to remove both the UF6 that had collected in the piping and the very radioactive and chemically unstable uranium-233 that had collected in charcoal-bed filters for off-gases. Those filters were surrounded by a water-filled chamber, raising concern of a criticality accident that could have spread contamination for miles.

Ole Salty may have been quiet for more than 20 years, but there had been ruminations in its old innards.

...“We discovered a highly hazardous situation in 1994,” Rushton says. “The uranium in the charcoal beds was in an unfavorable geometry that could have led to a chain reaction. If the system had burped, the contamination would have been dispersed over a wide area.

The more studies we did, the more they showed that it could happen. There was a significant potential for disaster.”



On the one hand, gamma radiation from U-232 makes the U-233 from high-
burnup U-233-thorium fuel cycles more of a radiation hazard than plutonium.
On the other hand, because of its low rate of spontaneous-neutron emission,
U-233 can, unlike plutonium, be used in simple “gun-type” fission-weapon
designs without significant danger of the yield being reduced by premature
initiation of the fission chain reaction

The necessity for remote handling of heavily U-232 contaminated U-233
in a closed fuel cycle provides a strong incentive for integration of reprocessing
and fuel-fabrication. Such integration was envisioned for plutonium breeder
reactors in the integral fast reactor proposal.

In the case of the molten-salt
U-233 breeder reactor, it was proposed to have continual chemical processing
of a stream of liquid fuel. Such an arrangement also offers a way to com-
pletely bypass the U-232 contamination problem because 27-day half-life Pa-
233 could be separated out before it decays into U-233

In any case, no fuel cycle involving the separation and recycle of U-233
would approach the proliferation resistance of unreprocessed spent fuel from
which the radiation dose rate is on the order of one thousand rem per hour at
one meter for decades after discharge.


By 1954, the Laboratory’s chemical technologists had completed a pilot plant demonstrating the ability of the THOREX process to separate thorium, protactinium, and uranium-233 from fission products and from each other. This process could isolate uranium-233 for weapons development and also for use as fuel in the proposed thorium breeder reactors.


ORNL-4191: Aug 1967 Progress Report

For Period Ending August 31, 1967


12.1 Extraction of Protactinium from Molten Fluorides into Molten Metals

Here is an article on the 'reverse learning curve' of nuclear plant construction.

edit wrong url


ET- That's interesting stuff- and unexpected. Usually technology progresses to finding cheaper ways to build things. You have to wonder if the Chinese come up with a less expensive reactor if people will trust it or just feel they have to buy it anyway. Cost cutting may reveal that nuclear power can be economical or it may lead to a bunch of time bombs. It might well lead to a renewed anti-nuclear movement, people carrying signs like: "no budget nukes here- our lives aren't cheap!" and "radioactive death: made in China". But first they will probably cover their own nation with these plants. Japan won't be pleased given the way the winds blow if something leaks.

But unless that even manages to happen, the 'Anti-nuke' crowd today is really the financiers.. tho' they get to hide behind the Treehuggers and not suffer the direct PR effects of their 'activism'..

I wonder if the insurance industry could play a supporting role as well.

NB Power 'recklessly' pushed Lepreau's refurbishment
Lloyd's Underwriting says NB Power 'ignored' expert advice during refurbishment

A group of insurance companies being sued by NB Power for failing to pay for problems at the refurbishment of its Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station say the utility is far more responsible for delays at the project than it has been admitting.

The insurance companies, all operating under the banner of Lloyd's Underwriting, say in court documents that NB Power officials ignored expert advice to halt the installation of the reactor's calandria tubes after several failed leak tests early in 2010.


The project is now three years late and more than $1 billion over budget.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2012/04/26/nb-point-le...

Originally estimated to cost $750 million, then $935 million and ultimately $1.4 billion, it's now $2.5 billion and counting. Someone is going to be left holding the bag and my money is on the ratepayers.

Now imagine if those same dollars had been spent on energy conservation, load management and additional renewables. Better insulating New Brunswick homes, most of which are heated electrically, would have been a good place to start.


Originally estimated to cost $750 million, then $935 million and ultimately $1.4 billion, it's now $2.5 billion and counting. Someone is going to be left holding the bag and my money is on the ratepayers.

Now that's what I call too cheap to meter... Maybe NB Power officials were the ones trying to be too cheap!

NB Power which owns the reactor, and AECL which built it and refurbished it, are both government-owned companies - NB Power by the government of New Brunswick, and AECL by the government of Canada. Neither company is particularly noted for their competence, and obviously nobody has any overall authority for controlling costs.

They would like to foist the costs on the insurance companies, but the insurance companies are balking at paying for the costs of out-and-out bureaucratic incompetence. NB Power had lots of warning that AECL was screwing up the refurbishment, but did nothing to put a stop to it.

The Canadian government has since sold the reactor design side of AECL to the private sector, with no commitment that anybody is going to keep their jobs.

One of the problems with nuclear power is that it exposes utilities to more risk than what most can reasonably manage, and when mistakes are made the costs are often astronomical. I would propose that Lepreau is a good example of this.

To believe in nuclear power is to believe in the infallibility of man.


"To believe in nuclear power is to believe in the infallibility of man."

The other side of this coin is the view Renewables are Anti-Intellectual. Many engineers and scientists are against Renewables because Renewables are just too easy to understand and just too simple in their technology.

Renewables are just Low Brow [sarcasm].

Sarcasm or not, I believe you have a point. Not complicated enough, not grandiose enough, not centralized enough, not mysterious enough...

not mysterious enough...

Well to most people PV is a bit mysterious. In goes sunlight, out comes electrity. Some king of "magic" inside.

I always figured it was little gnomes...

IF they belive renewable is simple,I urge them tobuild a comercial functional wood chips to liquid fuel plant, and then come back and talk about it.

Maybe this is a good place to drop in the "news" on the project to finally finish a nuke reactor that's been sitting partially completed for some years.


Hmm. Maybe the DOD needs more tritium for nuclear weapons.

Watts Bar Unit 1 produces tritium for military use under an NRC license. This ended the supposed US separation of civilian reactors and nuclear weapons production.


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received an application from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to produce tritium at its Watts Bar nuclear power plant for use by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The application specifically requests that TVA be permitted to install tritium-producing burnable absorber rods at the Watts Bar facility, located near Spring City, Tenn. The DOE has developed technology that would produce tritium using lithium, rather than boron, in burnable absorber rods to be installed in commercial pressurized-water nuclear reactors, such as Watts Bar. The irradiated rods would be removed from the power plant and shipped to the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, S.C., where DOE would extract the tritium.

The license amendment would allow, for the first time, tritium production by a commercial nuclear reactor to ensure future tritium stockpiling for military use.

Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station

The Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant is a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) nuclear reactor used for electric power generation and tritium production for nuclear weapons.

We saw the same thing with the space shuttle. It was supposed to get cheaper with time, but meeting percieved safety levels was not possible, so we kept piling on new requirements/proceedures in a vain attempt to reach an unreachable level of safety. I'm not saying such systems might not be desinable with the required degree of safety, but that trying to get there after a design has been locked in is a fools game. Sometimes you just gotta start over from scratch, but thats never easy when billions have been invested (and the delay for going to a new design will be long).

You have to wonder if the Chinese come up with a less expensive reactor

Or perhaps it does not exist.

"I've heard that" is a rather low bar.

I've noted upthread the willingness of Man "in a state of war" is willing to attack solar panels. What happens when one of these rumored reactors is deployed and is made a target of war?

Japan won't be pleased given the way the winds blow if something leaks.


Among the most frightening is the fact that the government was preparing for the possibility of having to evacuate Tokyo while assuring its millions of residents that everything was ok. Officials revealed in interviews that they were grappling the possibility of a “demonic chain reaction”: If Fukushima collapsed and released enough radiation, it was possible that other nearby nuclear power plants would have to be abandoned and could also collapse, thereby necessitating the evacuation of one of the world’s largest cities.

But go ahead - keep worrying about how Fission reactors can be made more cheaply. Because a cheap Fission reactor will make all the Human factors of Man vs Man, delayed/deferred maintenance, and normal greed all go away.

Sorry eric- About the "I've heard that.." part. I get lazy at times and can't remember where I've read a story but I try not to invent stufff. Here is the link on the increased Chinese focus on nuclear power


I also rememember seeing a story on mini nuke facilities but can't locate it

Thank you for posting a link.

26 is hardly "mass produced" and the Human factors of greed, war and the willingness of regulators to 'look the other way' when bribed or pressured are not addressed. Humans being Human makes safe Fission reactors beyond Human’s ability to manage. Best I can tell, China isn't making better Humans.

(might as well enjoy the link posting while one can - eventually with CISPA that may not be an option)

Well, for some points costs have been going down, on others, they can go up.

For starters, lets check some data on operation1.

Regarding the points which have made the cost go down:
-Centrifuges enrichment (for better or worse)
They are about twice as cheap as the diffusion process. You can check at page 15 of the document2, the SWU price3 is expected to go from $130/SWU to around $70/SWU when centrifuges go mainstream.

That cost is about half of the price of nuclear fuel4, though US values are much lower, that may be because of the Megatons to Megawatts deal, or because of current contracts which takes times to expires.

Starting from 1971, we can say that the US operators have successfully doubled the amount of electricity generated from their power plants, by getting the capacity factor from 45% to 90%. Of course, that contribute to the cost reduction of everything.

Several designs too where discarded, especially the ones which where refuelable on-line (magnox, rmbk), some of which where also designed for plutonium production. The light water reactor (boiling or pressurized) is now the preferred model. The upside is also standardisation, plants are cheaper to build because their are all the same, you can reuse the workforce and lots of things doing this way.

Regarding the things that may get the cost go up:
-Political or regulating instability.

The best example I can give is Shoreham island, they build the plant but it turned out they couldn't operate it, so of course when you go nuclear you can't change your mind as quickly as renewables, it is a much bigger commitment.

-Exiting the business or getting into
The south koreans, which now have a building industry designed specifically to build nuclear power plant are now getting good prices on theirs reactors6. The french, which are getting back into the buisness, may have some problems, you surely heard about Olkiluoto. Finally, there is also the Japanese. Which, by shutting down their reactors promptly, had their natural gas, coal and oil bills go through the roof.

In conclusion:
As a rule of thumb, building more plants is the way to make them cheaper. You pack lots of them on a single site and your price get really low. If you build a few isolated ones you won't get the volume reduction. The bigger they are the bigger the reduction is. You sure can't get them too big neither, but they tend to be generally big.

You can check page 34,33,32 of this oecd document7, for some info on plant construction. It basically say to build them big8 and build lots of them.

1 http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/table8.2.cfm
2 http://web.mit.edu/stgs/pdfs/RothwellBraunEnrichment.pdf
3 http://www.uxc.com/review/uxc_Prices.aspx
4 http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html
5 http://www.nei.org/filefolder/US_Nuclear_Industry_Capacity_Factors.ppt
6 http://www.flickr.com/photos/60714657@N06/6140293537/in/photostream
7 http://browse.oecdbookshop.org/oecd/pdfs/free/6600031e.pdf
8 There is also some movement toward building small reactors (under 300 MW), thoses are basically build off-site.


Former Shin Bet chief suggests Israeli leadership possibly insane (or on a mission from God - take your pick).

Israel ex-security chief says leadership 'misleading public' on Iran

The former head of Israel's domestic intelligence agency has accused the country's leadership of "misleading" the public on the merits of a possible military strike on Iran.

Yuval Diskin said an attack might speed up any attempt by Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb.

...Mr Diskin, who stepped down as Shin Bet chief last year after six years, said he had "no faith in the current leadership" of Mr Netanyahu and Mr Barak, according to Israeli media reports.

"I don't believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings," he said at a public meeting.

...The former Shin Bet chief's comments come days after Israel's military chief said he did not think that Iran had yet decided to build nuclear weapons.

Chief of Staff Lt Gen Benny Gantz said he believed international sanctions against Iran were bearing fruit in dissuading it from taking such a decision.

In March, the former head of Israel's foreign intelligence service, Mossad, publicly opposed military action against Iran.


Governor Tarkin: "The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."

Good for the opponents.. I hope there is a groundswell of sanity in the Isreali public that can hang onto the Knesset's lurching chain.

I saw this not just on Juan Cole, but also on AlJazeera. Apparently this is getting a lot of airplay in Israel. maybe all the war talk in Israel is gonna blow over without intiating hostilities. This is a hopeful sign.

"We're not all in this together."

Sunday Times Rich List shows UK's wealthiest defy recession

The UK's richest people have defied the double-dip recession to become even richer over the past year, according to the annual Sunday Times Rich List.

The newspaper's research reveals the combined worth of the country's 1,000 wealthiest people is £414bn, up 4.7%.

It means their joint wealth has passed the level last seen in 2008, before the financial crash, to set a new record.

Apologies if this has already been posted here, but I think some will be interested in efforts being made to save the SUNOCO refinery in Philly:

"PHILADELPHIA – Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE: SUN) announced today that it has entered into exclusive discussions with The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager, regarding a potential joint venture involving Sunoco’s 330,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Philadelphia. If a transaction were to be consummated, Sunoco would contribute its Philadelphia refinery assets in exchange for a non-operating minority interest in the joint venture. In addition, Sunoco would have no on-going capital obligations with respect to the refinery. Carlyle would contribute cash to the joint venture, hold the majority interest and oversee day-to-day operations of the joint venture and the facility. No other financial terms of the potential transaction were disclosed and there can be no assurances that the two companies will come to agreement."


My question: Who does The Carlyle Group get to run a refinery? Do they run it at half staff to make it more "profitable"?

Well, the fundamental problem is that the economics of the refinery are underwater. Certainly, Sunoco would like to dump its interest in it onto someone else for something resembling money, but the basic question is, "Why would somebody want to buy a money-losing oil refinery?"

The Carlyle Group is one of the most shadowy and politically connected investment groups in the country, counting former president Bush I as a prominent partner. If they get involved in anything they know exactly how to pull whatever strings need to be pulled to make it work. Read the press release -- the most important part of the press release is this:

Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steel Workers, said, “The USW is more than willing to work with all levels of government and any willing party who has the common goal with us to keep these East Coast refining facilities in operation.

In short, if the Carlyle Group can shake down the union for highly favorable labor costs, they might be able to make the deal a lot sweeter. Also, the Group might have the political sway to get some favorable legislation passed to help them out. Bottom line -- the Carlyle Group makes Goldman Sachs look like amateurs. If they do anything, there's a real good reason for it.

I doubt they can cut costs enough to make the refinery profitable by stiffing the union. More likely they have some plan concocted for getting lots of government money to keep it running.

One thing governments will have to watch out for is getting stuck with the environmental cleanup costs if companies manage to walk away from it. This is the oldest continuously-operating oil refinery in the world, the ground contamination must be horrific - and crude oil is the least of it. The ground would be saturated with lead and all kinds of nasty toxic chemicals that refineries use or produce.

Oil companies will typically never sell an old oil refinery site due to environmental liability issues - they will convert it to a storage facility or truck terminal instead, which defers the cleanup issues indefinitely. The cost of a cleanup would probably be in the range of hundreds of millions if not billions.

One wonders if this isn't a similar tactic to selling off old nuke plants to companies like Entergy, who has bought ten (?) aging plants; defering decommissioning and cleanup costs. The eventual costs of shutting down these facilities will be enormous unless these new owners have ways of subverting regulations or socializing the expenses. Bears watching... since these sites are just one bankruptcy away from becoming EPA Supersites (a program which seems to have been stuffed in the back of some file drawer). We've amassed an environmental debt that is unpayable, and continues to grow, all-the-while gutting any collective ability to hold corporations and society accountable. These refineries are just one example. All that matters is that we can keep the messes swept under the rug, at least for our lifetimes.

Has anyone actually calculated the combined costs of undoing the damage we've done?

companies like Entergy

Harry Shearer does weekly show (podcast) called Le Show and his nuclear power segment regularly features Entergy.

As in 'this press release shows how they have violated this rule and gotten this fine'.

Has anyone actually calculated the combined costs of undoing the damage we've done?

Yes, but this exceeds out pay grade so "we" won't be told.

FERC in recent years has allowed pipelines to collect "asset retirement costs" or ARO as part of their rates. Transco is one example. It was my understanding at the time that the concept came from the nuke regulations.

I hope FERC is a bit more effective than the NWPA was:

The Nuclear Waste Fund receives almost $750 million in fee revenues each year and has an unspent balance of $25 billion. However (according to the Draft Report by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future), actions by both Congress and the Executive Branch have made the money in the fund effectively inaccessible to serving its original purpose....

...In Obama's 2011 budget proposal released February 1, all funding for nuclear waste disposal was zeroed out for the next ten years and it proposed to dissolve the Office of Civilian Waste Management required by the NWPA. In late February 2010 multiple lawsuits were proposed and/or being filed in various federal courts across the country to contest the legality of Chu's direction to DOE to withdraw the license application.[17] These lawsuits were evidently foreseen as eventually being necessary to enforce the NWPA since Section 119 of the NWPA provides for federal court interventions if the President, Secretary of Energy or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fail to uphold the NWPA.

$25 billion? ... As of 2008, prior to the Yucca Mountain SNAFU, estimates were coming in at $96 billion,, and up. No wonder the administration, and most everyone one else, including my pro-nuke friends here, doesn't want to talk about it. Just one more card in my doomer deck. For the most part, our collective ability to manage industrial waste and contamination in general, and nuclear wastes specifically has been (nods to JHK) little more than an expensive clusterf$ck. Feel free to call me cynical anytime.

Very Slight Correction: The Carlyle Group is one of the most shadowy and politically connected private investment groups in the Whole Wide World! I have read that they are also the largest.

It will be interesting to see if their "talks" result in a deal--and if so, just what that deal ends up being.

Sunoco's press release:


"In light of these on-going discussions with Carlyle, Sunoco intends to extend its previously announced timeline and operate the Philadelphia refinery through July 2012. If a suitable transaction with Carlyle cannot be completed, the company would proceed with idling the main processing units at the refinery in August 2012."

Just a quick question, anyone else getting the feeling that the whole recently announced idea of 'mining asteroids' by spacex and those 6 billionaires is a 'going galt' stunt?

I have been reading around a bit on the idea for a long while and even if the asteroid was 20% gold by volume the venture would not turn a profit and they claim they are doing it to mine 'water'.

Seems bizarre. Money disposal scheme ? Publicity stunt ?

I'm of the opinion they are nuts. Of course asteroidal water isn't worth much on earth, but in space it is a useful material, i.e. a kilo of water in space if worth many many times as much as a kilo on earth.
I doubt any mining will come of this. At least phase one is pretty much just to do a better job of finding NEOs (near earth objects), which is something we should do anyway because of the impact possibilities, so at least the first few million dolars aren't "wasted".

good point.. though the mined water is useless if they are the only ones up there?

If they mine stuff to bring it down to earth I am with you on that it is not practical. Possibly if they found asterioids with large amounts of pure rare earth metals we can use to build a enewable energy system. But basicly this belongs to computer games, not reality.

Should we on the other hand actually go to space, htese asteroids will be a critical source of a long list of natural elements, and minerals, for those expiditions. And water.

If they mine stuff to bring it down to earth I am with you on that it is not practical.

It all depends.

A refined material powered by AI and unshielded fission reactors might be profitable - once one has space elevators along with AI that exceeds "the average" Human's ability along with mining tools that don't wear at the same rate as tools here on Earth.

Should we on the other hand actually go to space

Meh. Humans are not a good 'space' traveling technology. The radiation, the mental problems of limited interaction with other Humans, the Human failure rate if something goes wrong - sending out probes/robots is a far better idea in the foreseeable future.

Any mining operation that would be "profitable" needs far better AI, better material science, and will be powered by directionally shielded reactors. All of these exceed MAn's ability ATM.

the mental problems of limited interaction with other Humans

Send geeks.


but there's no credible design for a space elevator, since there isn't any material available to build the tether. Material science, like any other science, has limits and the lack of a suitable material is just one problem which would kill the space elevator. Others include the fact that there's no way to launch into low earth orbit and the fact that powering the lift and providing braking during return would limit the speed of travel to a very slow turnaround...

E. Swanson

I'm a little mixed about this adventure. If industrial man is to have a long term, we will need to do this someday. But, unless our space technology becomes orders of magnitude more cost effective, its just throwing money away. For roughly a billion dollars today we can roughly do the following:

(1) send a small probe to land on an asteroid.
(2) pick up a random rock sample (i.e grab whatever is in reach).
(3) and return it home.

Thats a long way from being able to prospect, mine, and refine, and return at least a billion dollars worth of stuff.

But. It would be a fun job, while it lasted!

I agree with you. I have said for a long time tht if we want to continue beeing industrial, we must go into space. But I now belive it tobe more and more likely it is to difficult to ever achive. Also with declining resources here down at the surface, I doubt strongly we have the time to develop it, if it was ever possible.

I'd totally construct a doomsday bunker if I came from money. :)

Not that it'd be any fun without the internet, eletricity for any length of time, girls, etc.

The Jamaican electricity cost saga continues.

Two years, US$6 million wasted in LNG delays?

But industry insiders are livid that after a two-year delay and the spending of an additional US$6 million, the Government could find itself turning back to the company that won the bid in the first place.

"In the first tender it was said that companies were excluded from bidding, and the Government spent US$6 million to hire consultants and to write a new bid document, and it appears that Exmar is again going to win," the source said.

"Exmar submitted two options for the Government to consider, both of which are lower in price to Samsung, and while the evaluation still has to proceed, did we just waste two years of Jamaica's time? Did we just waste more than a half of a billion dollars of taxpayers money?" added the source.

The Bruce Golding administration had canceled the initial tender process after the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) suggested a conspiratorial relationship involving two public officials and the Exmar Consortium, which was chosen to build FSRU.

Choosing the right technology

For decades we have been debating the issue of what fuel options should be pursued in order to secure Jamaica's energy future, without arriving at a decision. The result of this inaction is sharply evident today. When all the options are considered, the natural gas fired combined cycle plant offers Jamaicans the biggest savings in the shortest possible time. Now that the Government has selected natural gas as the next step in fuel diversification, let's act on that decision. We have gone through a lengthy international tender process, and an informed decision has been made on the technology for the next phase of electricity generation expansion in Jamaica. Let's act on that decision.

Electricity generation in Jamaica uses oil, bunker C for the steam plants and I think automotive diesel or jet fuel for the gas turbines, for something like 97% of the installed capacity, the balance being mostly hydro. This whole process is about replacing 360MW of very old inefficient generating capacity. I have tried to post a comment implying that they could easily get at least one third of that 360MW from privately owned, residential and commercial/industrial solar PV installations, if suitable incentives were put in place. This could probably have been added in the two years it has taken the powers that be to re-asses the bids for the LNG re-gasification plant. I suspect that this newspaper would prefer if I spent some advertising money with them to further the cause. Either that or they just think I'm a nut case since, the moderator hasn't allowed most of my pro solar comments.

In the mean time, electricity generated from solar PV in Germany yesterday, April 28 was in the order of 15GW at it's peak.

Alan from the islands

Please give me an eMail. I have some ideas.


Alan_Drake at ju no period conn (eliminate space and use normal ending)

if suitable incentives were put in place

This also cost money and need to be included in price. I once heard someone say "old gas fields do not fade away they just die" and this might be a risk but of course there is plenty of gas and it is cheap.

With retail electricity at 41 US cents per kWh, the only incentive is necessary is to institute net meetering IMHO. The PTB in their wisdom(?) have decided to use net billing instead. This allows the utility to profit from every kWh generated by each installation while the PV system owner only gets about 10 US cents per kWh, the same as all other (non-renewable) generators. The PV system owner will still have to pay retail for all the electricity they consume. Where's the incentive in that? Invest in solar PV to earn 10c/kWh, I don't think so.

I wonder if people will start doing PV w/o grid connections then. Why connect to the grid if they are not going to compensate you decently?

A Hybrid Inverter ( Xantrex, Outback) can supply power to loads from Solar 1st, then Grid, then Batteries. Unused solar is still Sold. Any Chemical Battery power is costly > .30 kWh. In many cases you may need to wire most loads thru a subpanel.

Some energy can be inexpensively stored in a refrigerator/freezer in the form of thermal mass minimizing the number of batteries.

Shhhhhh! ;^)

Alan from the islands

Perhaps because they want to use power whenever they wish, rather than whenever the sun shines?

Various U.S. PUC's have held that if a regulated utility has incurred debt on your behalf due to your existing load, you are required to compensate them for the departing load if the load remains, but is fed from another source. Regulated utilities are a collective enterprise. If use of the grid is not a subsidy, then dispense with it. Billing is in kwh's and kw because that was easy to meter and collect, not because that measures all of the value obtained from the grid.

I had lunch today (after meeting on another matter) with 3 folks from a progressive (solar incentives and on bill financing) rural co-op (24,000meters) that is increasingly detecting unauthorized solar installs via the load profile of their 'smart' billing meters. In a few cases these have been grid-connected solar which used inverters not equipped with anti-islanding who had been warned not to connect but did anyway. They were curious as to how I handle similar problems. I told them to let these folks see how they like living off-grid. It's not for everyone and may sober them to their life safety responsibilities.

karl - It’s a wide range...too wide for a useful generalization IMHO. First, two extremes of reservoir drive: water drive and pressure depletion. In water drive the pressure decreases a bit but in general holds steady until the water level reaches the perforation in each well. Such a well could decline significantly in less than a year. The distribution of the multiple perfs in a field relative to the original NG-water level determines how fast the field “fades away”.

In pure pressure depletion it’s similar to a scuba tank air bottle. The gas is at X psi. Open the valve (or produce a well) and the pressure falls. As the pressure decreases the flow rate also decreases. If you had a very large NG PD reservoir and could only flow the production slowly such a field might “fade away” slowly. Now consider two special DP reservoirs. First, fractured shale reservoirs. The fractures tend to allow a very high production rate. But the volume of NG filled pore space in such a rock is relatively small compared to a conventional reservoirs. Think of a small air tank with a very large valve. Thus why we see decline rates of many shale plays of 70% per year or greater. Such wells don’t fade away slowly. This can cause some confusion when folks talk about a fractured shale “field” decline rate. Such wells close together may share portions of the same fracture pattern. But as the distance increases there eventually will be no communication between two wells.

Thus there may be thousands of wells in the Eagle Ford “Field” but it won’t show a field wide decline rate. In one way such a “field” may show no decline rate as long as new wells are drilled to replace depleting older wells. That’s the good news. The bad news pops up when the economics of drilling new wells falls to low to justify enough new wells. In that case such a “field” will exhibit a very dramatic decline rate. IOW that decline rate will mimic that of an individual.

One more unique and relatively small trend: organic shales that produce NG via the release of methane absorbed on the organic matter in rocks like the New Albany Shale of the Appalachians. The NAS trend was the first NG play developed in the US. A typical might have an initial flow rate of 400 mcf/day…about $700/day at current prices. The well could decline to 40 mcf/day quickly but may produce for more than 40 years at that rate with no decline. In fact, some may show a slight increase over time. There are such wells in KY that produced commercially for over 60 years. There was a small surge in NAS drilling about 10 years ago but the big players couldn’t focus on it: wells were too cheap and too small a reserve addition to benefit the likes of Chesapeake et al.

This is kind of amusing in its way, although the title is quite misleading:

U.S. has excess of crude oil, but no drop in price

At midnight on April 11, a 940-foot tanker maneuvered into the dock at the oil terminal in Valdez, Alaska, carrying an unusual cargo for a returning ship.

Sloshing in its tanks was more than 12 million gallons of Alaskan crude, at least a quarter of the cargo the ship had carried away from Valdez two weeks earlier.

The Alaskan Explorer had sailed to a Washington state refinery, but it had to return to Alaska with 300,000 barrels because the onshore storage tanks were too full to accept it

What happened was that the refinery was shut down after a fire in February, its storage tanks were full, and all the other Washington state refineries had full tanks as well, so the ship went back to Alaska with the surplus oil since it had nowhere to offload it.

However, the unstated fact is that Washington State refinery tanks were full of imported Canadian oil since they are at the end of the TransMountain pipeline across the BC Rockies from the Canadian oil sands. Canadian oil production has been slowly and steadily rising for the last 30 years - and is now quite a bit cheaper than Alaska oil.

Alaska Production of Crude Oil
1988: 2,017,000 bpd
2011: 572,000 bpd

Imports of Canadian Crude Oil
1988: 681,000 bpd
2011: 2,207,000 bpd

GE, Arista Battery System to Back Up Commercial Wind, Solar

General Electric has partnered with Arista Power Inc. to develop and sell systems that can store electricity from on-site solar and wind sources and release it during periods of peak demand, to help commercial customers cut their power bills.


The Durathon battery developed by GE is the product of a $100 million investment by the company’s transportation division and is marketed for telecommunications, utilities and uninterruptable power supply applications. The nickel salt batteries, which are manufactured at GE’s recently completed plant in Schenectady, New York, are 50 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than traditional lead acid batteries, according to the company. The batteries last up to 20 years, operate in extreme temperatures, are recyclable and require no cooling.

See: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/04/27/ge-arista-battery-system-t...


Requires no cooling!!! Operates at 350C, hmmm, no cooling.


Probably requires heating, it needs to be 350C to work correctly, the salt electrolyte must be molten. I think these are called Nickel Sodium batteries. They have great properties, except for the fact the salt has to be in the molten state, otherwise the battery is inert.

I read up on Wikipedia, the military does use similar batteries for some single shot weapons systems. First a pyrotechnic fires and that melts the electrolyte, then after that "warmup period", the weapon can be used, along with its high power battery. Of course the things are rechargeable, so in is different config they might be usable for grid storage. The other chemistry in use is about twice as hot, and there have been some fires, which are hurting its chances at utility storage =perhaps this somewhat more friendly chemistry can work?

Are you thinking of a sodium-sulfur battery?

Google the Durathon Battery.


GE's Durathon battery is a sodium metal halide battery which might be Na-NiCl2, possibly some modification of the ZEBRA battery which operates between 270 C to 350 C according to Wiki: Molten salt battery.

GE Launches Durathon Sodium-Metal Halide Battery for UPS Market, Green Car Congress, 18 May 2010:

The cathode structure of a sodium-metal halide cell consists of a conductive Ni network, molten salt electrolyte, metal current collector, carbon felt electrolyte reservoir, and the active sodium-metal halide salts.

There is a graphic on the page that shows detail, but it might be referring to the ZEBRA battery. Reading the comments of this article they are stating that the battery can be allowed to cool and the molten electrolyte solidify without damaging the battery. Some electricity and time would be needed to reheat it to operating temperature. The commenters might be referring to their experience with the ZEBRA battery. I suspect a Durathon battery is a rebranded ZEBRA battery.

Arista Power Inc. is an unprofitable microcap trading on the Bulletin Board (ASPW.OB) with quarterly revenues of less than 1 million and working capital of less than $400K.
Needless to say, I'm not rushing out to buy the stock.

The Durathon battery developed by GE is the product of a $100 million investment by the company’s transportation division and is marketed for telecommunications, utilities and uninterruptable power supply applications.

Paid for by the transportation division and marketed for stationary applications sounds like a huge failure for the transportation division.