Drumbeat: May 16, 2012

U.S. energy independence is no longer just a pipe dream

Every president since Richard Nixon has called for the U.S. to wean itself from needing oil from unstable or unsavory countries. The nation's new-found energy riches are likely to bring that ambition closer to reality in the next two decades, according to many forecasters.

It's no pipe dream. The U.S. is already the world's fastest-growing oil and natural gas producer. Counting the output from Canada and Mexico, North America is "the new Middle East," Citigroup analysts declare in a recent report.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency says U.S. oil imports will drop 20% by 2025. Oil giant BP projects the U.S. will get 94% of its energy domestically by 2030, up from 77% now, as oil imports fall by half. Energy billionaire T. Boone Pickens, a major investor in oil and natural-gas companies, said the U.S. can at least end oil imports from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, about half its total, through new drilling and by shifting diesel-swilling trucks to natural gas. Any other oil needs should be from politically stable allies such as Canada, Pickens said.

Most enticing, a team of analysts and economists at Citigroup argues that the U.S., or at least North America, can achieve energy independence by 2020, as more domestic production and doubling down on conservation produce a virtuous cycle. The U.S. can make itself a net exporter of crude oil, refined products and natural gas — says Citigroup energy strategist Seth Kleinman.

Oil Drops to Six-Month Low on Rising Stockpiles, Greek Crisis

Oil dropped to the lowest price in more than six months in New York after U.S. crude stockpiles increased and talks to form a coalition government in Greece collapsed, raising concern the region’s debt crisis will worsen.

Budget-minded consumers skimping on summer travel

Gas was averaging around $3.85 per gallon when AAA spoke with 315 would-be travelers from April 20 to 24. The survey showed that those making under $50,000 a year will make up about a quarter of all Memorial Day travelers, down from nearly a third a year ago. Higher gas prices eat up a larger share of lower-income families' household budgets.

AAA says the 66 cent increase in the average gas price from January through early April made many people skittish about taking long road trips. The average trip will be 642 miles this Memorial Day, compared with 792 miles. Half of those surveyed said they'll travel less than 400 miles.

Petrobras Quarterly Profit Beats Estimates on Oil Export Growth

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the world’s biggest oil producer in deep waters, said first-quarter profit topped analysts’ expectations because of increased revenue from crude exports and higher fuel prices.

North Dakota passes Alaska in oil production

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota has passed Alaska to become the second-leading oil-producing state in the nation, trailing only Texas, state officials said Tuesday.

North Dakota oil drillers pumped 17.8 million barrels in March, with a daily average of 575,490 barrels, Assistant State Mineral Resources Director Bruce Hicks. That compares to 17.5 million barrels in Alaska, though still far behind Texas.

North Sea oil output at 2012 low, supporting Brent

LONDON (Reuters) - Crude oil output from the North Sea will fall by 2.8 percent in June to its lowest this year due to oilfield glitches and natural declines, helping support the price of global benchmark Brent crude.

Supply from 12 North Sea crudes will average 2.11 million barrels per day (bpd), compared with 2.17 million bpd in May, Reuters calculations based on shipping schedules showed on Wednesday.

Gas prices fall as main Norway supply restarts

(Reuters) - British prompt gas prices fell on Wednesday morning ahead of the scheduled return from maintenance of Norway's Ormen Lange gas processing plant, which is expected to boost supplies.

Tom Murphy: Time to Be Honest With Ourselves About Our Looming Energy Risks

What we are really missing is the liquid fuel. It is very difficult to transition from solar, nuclear, whatever you want into the liquid fuels that allow us to move ourselves around, it is very important in agriculture. And it is, I think...that is where the pinch point will come. There are certainly sources that can be labeled as abundant. The gulf is really one of practicality more than one of the sheer energy scale. That is a little bit harder to quantify. So you can quantify the abundance and how much you might get out of a certain source. But it is very hard to quantify things like public acceptance or how difficult it will be to pull off things like intermittency, how to deal with the storage, practical storage solutions. All of these are very tricky.

And one perspective is that we have known since 1970 roughly that fossil fuel peak was coming at some point. We knew that we needed alternatives in the 70s. We had lots of discussion of alternative energies. Forty years later we really aren’t that much further along. We sort of don’t have any new players, and it feels to me that if the liquid fuels decline in the next few decades, which I think is likely, we have already got the players on the stage right now.

Acknowledging the Arrival of Peak Government

The twin peaks of oil and government are causally linked: central government's great era of expansion has been fueled by abundant, cheap liquid fuels. As economies powered by abundant cheap energy expanded, so did tax revenues.

Peeking at Peak Oil: book review

The leader of the world's foremost Peak Oil research group is Kjell Aleklett, Professor of Physics at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He has just published a book on Peak Oil that summarises a decade of scientific research.

Kjell's book is truly remarkable but not only as an unparalleled analysis of the reality and implications of Peak Oil. The book is also a unique example of how art can be used to assist the understanding of science. For these reasons I believe Kjell's book will soon be recognised both as the definitive work on Peak Oil and also as a unique scientific text. I simply do not see how it can be surpassed – unless there is another person who is willing to devote a decade of their life to building up a research enterprise that has now published over 30 peer-reviewed scientific papers on Peak Oil and related issues. Of course, there is no other person than Kjell.

How high priced oil is changing our lives: Fewer cars and commuters, but also lower emissions

TORONTO Only rich people will be able to afford cars. Everyone else will be taking public transit.

Commuters will move into Toronto and other urban centres, leaving the suburbs to revert to their former status as farmland.

The only provinces creating jobs will be those with oil. The poorest regions may resort to job-sharing.

Such is the controversial/bleak/contrarian view in Jeff Rubin’s latest book The End of Growth, published by Random House Canada.

Book Review: The End of Growth

What would happen if world economic growth, on a real, aggregate and average basis, stopped? Would houses be built? Would cars be purchased? Would people still work gainfully and consume? Richard Heinberg’s The End of Growth argues we’re nearing a watershed moment—“transitioning us from decades of economic growth to decades of economic contraction.”

UAE to merge with 'Gas OPEC'

The UAE has won cabinet approval to join the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), an intergovernmental organization of the world's leading gas exporters, said a report.

Moody’s maintains negative outlook on Chesapeake Energy

Moody’s is maintaining its negative outlook on Chesapeake Energy, despite an announcement late Friday of a $3 billion unsecured loan that the company will use to pay down its $4 billion revolving credit facility.

Chesapeake Energy Said to Increase Term Loan to $4 Billion

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK), the second- largest U.S. gas producer, increased the size of a term loan it’s seeking to pay off a revolving credit line to $4 billion from $3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“That level of demand is an encouraging sign of the market’s demand for Chesapeake debt at these price levels,” Brian Gibbons, an analyst at CreditSights Inc. in New York, wrote in an e-mail.

Chesapeake's Rapidly Declining Stock Is Putting Employees' Retirement Savings At Risk

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The woes of Chesapeake Energy Corp are hitting shareholders hard, including its employees.

Thousands of Chesapeake workers have retirement portfolios that are heavily invested in Chesapeake stock, which has declined sharply following revelations about Chief Executive Aubrey K. McClendon's business dealings.

But while retail and institutional investors have sold the stock, employees don't always have that option.

China Doubling Gas Use Makes Ex-Clothing Retailer Target

China Gas Holdings Ltd., the utility that began life as an online retailer, has become the industry’s hottest property as China plans to double use of natural gas and replace coal in the biggest-polluting nation.

Naftogaz Ukrainy forecasts average annual imported Russian gas price at $440 for 2012

Each month, Ukraine shells out around $1 billion for imported Russian gas, which greatly surpasses the price of the acquired modern SEFDR, with the help of which Naftogaz counts on significantly expanding Ukrainian gas production, Bakulin said.

"Ukraine pays around $1 billion each month for imported natural gas. For the year, that ends up being an amount equal to the cost of 28 drilling rigs like Petro Hodovanets. Therefore, at the current natural gas price of $425, the first billion cubic meters produced with the help of this rig will compensate for its cost," he said.

Genel Energy takes chance with another stake in Kurdistan

Genel Energy, the company headed by the former BP chief executive Tony Hayward, is expanding its operations in Kurdistan.

The move comes despite a renewed bar on exports from the autonomous region and an unresolved payments dispute between Baghdad and Erbil.

Korea Gas, Shell Start Discussions on Canada LNG Project

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and three Asian partners will jointly develop a liquefied natural gas export project in Canada’s British Columbia province and are in talks with local communities to win their support.

Trafigura, Mercuria Said to Rent Vopak Singapore Fuel Storage

Trafigura Beheer BV, the world’s third-biggest independent oil trader, and Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. rented fuel-oil storage in Singapore from Royal Vopak NV after Westport Petroleum Inc. ended its contract for the space, according to four people with knowledge of the deals.

Keystone isn't the only pipeline

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- At least a dozen new oil pipeline projects are slated to move forward in the United States over the next few years, bringing controversial sources of new crude to market despite the holdup of a portion of the Keystone pipeline expansion.

Some of the projects reverse the flow of existing pipelines.

Angola's crude exports set to fall in July

LONDON (Reuters) - Angola's crude oil exports are expected to fall in July from June, marking a drop in volume for the third consecutive month, a provisional loading schedule showed on Wednesday.

Traders attributed the fall in overall volume, which they said was significant, to the reduced exports of Angola's key Girassol crude due to maintenance at the oil field.

Shell seeks to cut targets in Iraq

Royal Dutch Shell is in talks with Iraq to cut its output target for the giant Majnoon oilfield, a move that could prompt other companies to seek similar revisions.

The European oil major won the rights to develop the giant oilfield in 2009, and is contractually obliged to increase production to 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). But in a meeting held with government officials last month, the company proposed to cut the target to 1 million bpd, reduce spending, and extend the period under which peak production will be sustained, documents seen by Reuters show.

Experts differ in assessing Iran's oil and gas opportunities in Caspian Sea

Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend / Iran has stated about launching the oil and gas extraction operations in Iran's sector of the Caspian Sea.

Iran's oil minister Rostam Qasemi said earlier that the first "oil" torch will be sparked on the "Amir Kabir" platform (Alborz).

Iran seen losing 500,000 barrels of oil shipments daily

Iran's oil exports have the potential to fall another 300,000 to 500,000 barrels a day or more when the European Union's embargo takes effect in July, Reuters reported referring to Barclays Plc.

The decline will extend existing losses of 500,000 barrels a day, Barclays analysts led by Helima Croft in London said in an e-mailed report yesterday.

Iranians feel the pain of sanctions: 'Everything has doubled in price'

TEHRAN – The economy here is in shambles, according to Iranians, whether the government will admit it or not.

The United States, the European Union and the U.N. have imposed tough economic sanctions against Iran –- blocking access to the international banking system and hurting sales of Iranian crude oil -– as a way to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

Will have more talks with India on Iran oil import: US

Tweet WASHINGTON: The US has said that it will have more consultations with India on New Delhi reducing dependence on Iranian crude.

"There is more progress to be made and that's what Carlos is talking about and we will have more on his consultations after they are complete," US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Tuesday.

Libya currently producing nearly 1.5 mil b/d crude: NTC official

Dubai (Platts) - Libya is currently pumping nearly 1.5 million b/d of crude and expects to achieve "normal" pre-war production levels of 1.6 million b/d by mid-2012, Abdulbaset Abadi, a member of the oil committee at the National Transitional Council, said Wednesday.

EU carries out strikes on Somali pirates

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union naval force patrolling the Indian Ocean on Tuesday carried out its first air strikes against pirate targets on shore, with a pirate reporting that the raid destroyed speed boats, fuel depots and an arms store.

Do we know enough to ensure safe Arctic drilling?

FOR the oil and gas industry, the Arctic Ocean is the final frontier. Beneath the ocean floor lies an estimated 90 billion barrels of recoverable oil - about 13 per cent of the global total. As the sea ice retreats and traditional sources of hydrocarbons dwindle, the pressure to drill is becoming irresistible.

It now seems inevitable that this harsh environment will be opened up to oil and gas production, which poses a big question: how much scientific research is "enough" to ensure safe drilling in the Arctic Ocean?

Total stops gas leak at N.Sea Elgin platform

(Reuters) - Total has succeeded in plugging a well at its North Sea Elgin platform that has been leaking gas for more than seven weeks, the French oil group said on Wednesday.

Ukraine sees 2017 for commercial shale gas output

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron Corp, Ukraine's partners for exploring and developing shale gas, will start commercial gas production in 2017, a government minister said on Wednesday.

"Drilling is likely to start next year," Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eduard Stavitsky told a news conference of plans which focus on two potentially large shale gas fields.

Taxpayers Pay as Fracking Trucks Overwhelm Rural Cow Paths

A surge in hydraulic fracturing to get gas and oil trapped in rock means drillers need to haul hundreds of truckloads of sand, water and equipment for a single well. Drilling that added jobs and tax revenue for many states also has increased traffic on roads too flimsy to handle the 80,000-pound (36,300 kilogram) trucks that serve well sites.

The resulting road damage will cost tens of millions of dollars to fix and is catching officials from Pennsylvania to Texas off guard. Measures to ensure that roads are repaired don’t capture the full cost of damage, potentially leaving taxpayers with the bill, according to Lynne Irwin, director of Cornell University’s local roads program in Ithaca, New York.

Some attack plans bolstered, others eased at nukes

The U.S. government has adopted the first set of comprehensive changes in the emergency planning program for communities near nuclear power plants since its creation after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

Sustainable energy for all focus of summit

Nearly two billion people, about one-third of the world’s population, don't have access to energy, according to the United Nations.

So the leading goal for the upcoming 2012 United Nations Earth Summit is “energy for all” by the year 2030, mostly from renewable and sustainable resources.

Britain is rising to the challenge of greening our economy

It's clear that with unprecedented pressure on our natural resources and our climate, the world economy needs to "green up". I want UK businesses to be in the vanguard of that move. On Wednesday, I'll take my seat alongside British business leaders at the Aldersgate Rio +20 Business Summit where we'll debate the opportunities – and the challenges – of transforming our whole economy to one geared towards long-term green growth.

Can we please just declare the end of 'peak oil' and start worrying about something important?

Apparently something terrible happens when we get to peak oil. I've never really quite understood the argument myself, but when we've used half of all the oil then civilisation collapses or something. I'm not sure why this should happen: we don't start starving when there's only half a loaf of bread left. But I am assured that something awful does happen.

Small Wind Farms to Grow as U.S. Tax Incentives Expand

Installations of wind farms with less than 20 megawatts of capacity may rise to a record this year if lawmakers expand a federal tax credit.

At least 44 wind farms were built last year to serve individual U.S. communities, often with financial support from local residents. They made up 6.7 percent of the total capacity installed, up from 5.6 percent in 2010 and the most to date, according to data compiled by the American Wind Energy Association.

Surprise! SUVs are more popular than ever

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- If you thought the "SUV craze" was over, you're wrong. Very wrong. Market share for SUVs in recent months is the largest it has ever been.

During the height of the so-called "SUV craze" in the late 1990s and early 2000s, about one in five vehicles sold in America was an SUV. Today, in an era of near $4 gasoline and heightened environmental awareness, nearly one in three vehicles sold is an SUV.

Ferrari goes green

The Italian firm, one of the most elite names in motoring, indicated that one of its glitziest products, the Enzo, will be released in a hybrid version.

Economic growth sows unhappiness in China: study

"There are many who believe that well-being is increased by economic growth, and that the faster the growth, the happier people are. There could hardly be a better country than China to test these expectations," said lead author Richard Easterlin, professor of economics at the University of Southern California.

"But there is no evidence of a marked increase in life satisfaction in China of the magnitude that might have been expected due to the enormous multiplication in per capita consumption," said Easterlin, who is known for his work in the 1970s on how happiness is often not linked to wealth, coined the Easterlin Paradox.

"Indeed people are slightly less happy overall, and China has gone from being one of the most egalitarian countries in the world in terms of life satisfaction to one of the least."

Grads, pursue a realistic dream

Finding cheap housing is the best thing you can do to improve your balance sheet — freeing up far more cash than cutting out those lattes. The trick for young grads is to keep that same mindset through life, as the huge house that will eat up a third of your income starts beckoning. Rethink what's sold as the American Dream— ownership of a house you have to stretch to afford — and you might discover the real American Dream. That is, the freedom to pursue happiness.

Stocks-to-Use Ratio Updates for Corn, Wheat, Rice, Soybeans, Cotton and Sugar

Twice a year, I try to update my ongoing stocks-to-use ratio charts using the latest available data on U.S. and global crop supplies. The stocks-to-use ratio reflects the excess of supply against demand. It is calculated by dividing the ending stocks of a commodity by the total demand of that commodity and is one of the most useful statistics that we have for measuring supply and demand of food commodities. Of course, these ratios are only as good as the data that goes into the calculations, but in our electronic information age these numbers are hopefully improving all of the time.

Q. and A.: The Most Endangered Rivers

Q. Of these 10 rivers, there seem to be some patterns. Several are threatened by the same types of activities: energy development or dam- and reservoir-building.

A. There’s a threat from natural gas development and fracking in the Grand River in Ohio and the Hoback in Wyoming. There’s a threat to water quality as chemicals are injected into groundwater and the disposal of the fluids is not regulated, and also a threat to water quantity because massive amounts of water are used.

Your Heart on Air Pollution: An Olympic Case Study

Although the period of blue skies in Beijing may have been fleeting, researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and colleagues have found that even such a small window of cleaner air may have proved useful for residents' cardiovascular health. That's according to a new study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dam Project Threatens a Way of Life in Peru

BOCA SANIBENI, Peru — Along the murky waters of the Ene River, in a remote jungle valley on the verdant eastern slopes of the Andes, the rhythmic humming of an outboard motor draws the stares of curious Ashaninka children.

With encroachment from settlers and speculators, and after a devastating war against Shining Path rebels a decade ago, the indigenous Ashaninkas’ hold is precarious. And they are now facing a new peril, the proposed 2,200-megawatt Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam, which would flood much of the Ene River valley.

Pondering That Green Label

Recently I stopped at an upmarket cafeteria near Rockefeller Center in Manhattan where plaques and posters proclaimed that it had been certified by the Green Restaurant Association, a nonprofit group that is endorsed by the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Resources Defense Council and the New York State Restaurant Association. After buying a sandwich, I asked for tap water. They informed me that the cafe only offered bottled water.

How can a restaurant with a green rating not offer tap water?! I was floored.

Only biofuels will cut plane emissions

We need something that can deliver emission reductions from existing fleets of planes – and the solution already exists.

UK climate experiment cancelled on patent concern

LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists have abandoned an experiment to test the possibility of spraying particles into the upper atmosphere to stem global warming, largely due to concerns over a patent for some of the technology, the project's leader said.

UN to Help Give World’s Poor Fairer Share of Carbon Credits

Efforts by the United Nations to ease rules for carbon-cutting projects may encourage investments in small-scale projects in solar water heaters and efficient cookstoves in Africa and Asia.

The UN Clean Development Mechanism’s Executive Board, regulator of the world’s second-biggest carbon market by traded volume, agreed last week to consider ways to quicken the approval procedure for some emission-reduction activities. The new process would help ease difficulties facing projects that produce fewer emission reductions than others, including those that create usable fuel from animal dung and renewable energy initiatives small enough to power a light-bulb.

Bangladesh seeks $10 billion grant to tackle effects of climate change

Bangladesh asks donors and development partners for a $10 billion grant as financial assisstance to tackle the adverse effects of climate change and to protect the country's existing infrastructure.

Hawaii’s Beaches Are in Retreat, and Its Way of Life May Follow

Little by little, Hawaii’s iconic beaches are disappearing.

Most beaches on the state’s three largest islands are eroding, and the erosion is likely to accelerate as sea levels rise, the United States Geological Survey is reporting.

'Nobody is exempt from climate responsibility' (interview with Christiana Figueres)

To keep below this 2 °C target, the science says we have to peak our greenhouse gas emissions before 2020. But we won't have an agreement until 2015, or global binding targets until 2020. Doesn't that make keeping below the 2 °C target impossible?

That very much depends on what effort is made now by governments. They must move forward with their negotiations for legal agreement by 2015. But they mustn't wait until 2015 to start their mitigation efforts, but rather accelerate mitigation efforts right now. They must also adopt the policies that give the right signals and incentives for the private sector to come on board.

Re: U.S. energy independence is no longer just a pipe dream (uptop)

It's no pipe dream. The U.S. is already the world's fastest-growing oil and natural gas producer. Counting the output from Canada and Mexico, North America is "the new Middle East," Citigroup analysts declare in a recent report.

Combined net oil exports from the seven major net oil exporters in North & South America, inclusive of rising net oil exports from Canada, recently fell by 1.4 mbpd, from 6.2 mbpd in 2004 to 4.8 mbpd in 2010 (BP, total petroleum liquids).

If we extrapolate the 2004 to 2010 rate of change in the combined ratio of consumption to production of total petroleum liquids (C/P) for the seven major net oil exporters in North & South America, they would collectively approach a 100% C/P ratio, and thus zero net oil exports, in about 21 years.

Regarding rising US crude oil production:

Re: North Dakota passes Alaska in oil production (uptop)

Following the WSJ version of this article, I posted the following:

The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) sums the reported production from Texas producers, and it has been doing so far decades, while the EIA apparently uses a sampling approach to estimate Texas production. For annual production in 2011, the RRC shows Texas crude oil production at 1.12 mbpd (million barrels per day), while the EIA shows it at 1.46 mbpd, a gap of 340,000 bpd. The gap between the RRC and the EIA for monthly production is even more pronounced, on the order of about 500,000 to 600,000 bpd. 

If the EIA is this far off for Texas, what about the other producing states, and what does it say about the EIA's global data?

The shale promoters are saying that the US is a test case for the world, to-wit, that improved technology has allowed US producers to offset the underlying production decline, and to show a net increase in production. And therefore, we can look forward to rising global production as this technology is applied around the world. 

If we use the RRC data for Texas production, instead of the EIA data, it puts US crude oil production at 5.3 mbpd for 2011, which would be no increase over the 5.3 mbpd rate that we saw in 2010. 

Based on the Texas RRC data, it appears that a thousand rigs drilling for oil in the US in 2011 served to keep production flat year over year. Note that--based on the RRC data--all of the cumulative expenditures by the US oil industry from 2005 to 2011 inclusive only served to bring US crude oil production back to the 2004 pre-hurricane rate of 5.3 mbpd.

Incidentally, we have also seen sizable discrepancies between the EIA and other data sources for regions like Saudi Arabia, where the EIA's annual 2010 total petroleum liquids production number for Saudi Arabia is 500,000 bpd higher than what BP shows.

Art Berman will be doing a webinar on US Shale Oil plays tomorrow. For more info: www.aspousa.org

US crude oil production, 2002 to 2011, EIA data only versus EIA + RRC (substituting RRC data for Texas, instead of EIA):


Replaced the image with a link, because it was displaying really ugly.


I think the weekly petroleum update supports something fishy going on. From this weeks numbers, domestic production was up 531 kbpd over last year, yet imports were up 306 kbpd, with total crude input to refineries up 697 kbpd. Yet, gasoline production is down, distillate flat, jet fuel down, residual fuel oil down, with all the extra supply ending up in the "other oils" grab bag.

These trends have been consistent over the past several weeks. If production is up so much, why are we still importing more oil year over year with demand flat to down?

BTW - if the oil production data from the RRC is worrisome, the gas data is positively terrifying. From 17.5 bcf/day last February to 14.6 bcf/day this February (gas well gas), all this before the real decline in drilling over the past few months has taken hold. It wouldn't surprise me to see storage back in the "normal" range by sometime in July...


Art Berman estimates that just to maintain current natural gas production, we have to replace the approximate equivalent of total 2010 Texas natural gas production--every single year.

Regarding current RRC numbers for natural gas, note that the preliminary data show a decline from 15.6 BCF/day in January, 2012 to 14.6 BCF/day in February (in other words, the decline in Texas natural gas production appears to have accelerated).

I'm not a numbers guy, but could the difference come from the fact that we are exporting the finished product to other countries?

Headlines like that came up at a recent dinner with friends. I told them that yes, the US will be energy independent, possibly in our lifetimes, because other countries will not have any spare capacity to sell.

Yes, they may not have any extra that they want to sell but that does not mean we won't get it anyway. And if we cannot increase oil "production" then we can reduce the amount of oil used by others and try to capture that for ourselves. The Involuntary Export Land Model and the Involuntary Conservation Model.

Well, it's good to know that our vast military spending goes for something, I guess.

Well, what did you think it was for?

Just to be clear, I was not endorsing the strategy, just pointing it out.

Didn't I read here a while back that all the USA's oil wars have not actually seen another barrel of 'liberated' oil land back on USA shores at all. Instead lots of USA oil companies and other infrastructure companies have done very well out of the exclusive contracts they were gifted to run the liberated oil facilities. So it was money that the boys brought home; not oil.

Of course most of that money would have ended up under the nice fluffy mattresses of the 1%; but I could be wrong there!

I think the US military's foreign presence has more to do with ensuring that global oil transactions, particularly in the ME, remain conducted with US dollars. Once the shift away from the dollar as the reserve currency (if oil exporters started accepting Renminbi for oil payments, for example) begins, that would be the end of the dollar. I'm not sure to what extent this has already happened; I remember reading last year that China and Russia were setting something up but I haven't been keeping up.

Yes, there are other motivations too, and the results of the empire's efforts to keep the wealth pumps running are no longer very effective. That's where you can see the diminishing returns of doing the same old things that used to work to keep the empire running - it's the definition of collapse.

For the US, the most important aspect of the petrodollar is the currency peg to the US dollar. Without this, the US wouldn't have the ability to export inflation. It is what allows the US to run trade deficits of $500B - $600B a year. Whether the peg can continue for awhile will probably depend on how well $100/b oil works to prevent the next Arab spring.

The desire to protect the US dollar as the world's currency is probably a major motivation.
Saddam Hussein had converted Iraqi oil sales out of the US dollar the year before the Iraq invasion so that was probably a factor in the Iraq War decision. On the other hand in Paul O'Neill's (Bush Treasury Secretary) book "The Price of Loyalty" he reported that he was shocked at the very first meeting of the new Bush Security Council that Cheney and Condoleezza Rice laid out detailed maps of Iraq's oil fields. Paul O'Neill did not see the relevance to National Security as he thought the debt a more important issue. And of course Paul Wolfowitz claimed that the War would pay for itself as Iraq was lying on a "sea of oil".
This is where the myopic and limited vision of elites probably comes in. These people really believe some of their own snake oil and that there will be some cornucopian solutions, that the US would make billions off seizing Iraqi oil to pay for the neo-cons quixotic crusades.
This is where I am skeptical of grand conspiracy claims of some all-knowing elite. The elite has a huge amount of power but they only see things in their own elite gated security bubble, have no idea how most of humanity actually lives, and believe that just as endless wealth has always been there for them their whole life, surely it must be true for the planet?
Never underestimate the stupidity of elites in the long term...

At the heart of it an empire is about using force to take more than your share, although the methods vary. I'm not sure a "grand conspiracy" of "some all-knowing elite" is required for that. It's a simple idea and been going on for a very long time, so apparently people grasp the concept fairly naturally. On top of that, people certainly do conspire, we do it all the time. Those conspiracies are not always coordinated nor do they always work, but it happens constantly.

Take a look at Libya - it wasn't about democracy and freedom, and it wasn't an accident that everyone's military showed up all at once with a coordinated propaganda campaign. And they sure as heck didn't have anything else we wanted. I don't know how effective it was though - how much oil do the Libyans use now compared to what they did before, and how much of their oil goes to China now compared to before?

There's also an elite, but there is no reason to think they are coordinated. Probably most conspiracies have to do with one such group trying to get an edge on another. And while they fight with each other on one front they may work together on others. And all the while, decade after decade the 5% manage to get 30% of the worlds riches. Now the source of the primary resource needed to keep it going is failing but the biggest guys still get it and the smaller, weaker ones, regardless of whether they are suppliers or consumers, lose out. Clearly there is a mechanism to make it work.

Libya has oil and water. Also, Libya was going to start a bank for Africa with a gold backed currency this would have shut out the global bankers. So, three reasons for the destruction of Libya.

History rhymes...The Romans first practiced pre-emptive war upon threatening nation-states, with the invasion of North Africa and the complete destruction of Carthage in 149 BC. Per the Wiki, those who believe that the stories of the Trojan War are derived from a specific historical conflict usually date it to the 12th or 11th centuries BC, often preferring the dates given by Eratosthenes, 1194–1184 BC, which roughly corresponds with archaeological evidence of a catastrophic burning of Troy VIIa.

Yes, I read about that too. Apparently Gaddafi had a big gold hoard which the bankers could use to stave off the flow of gold from west to east for a while.

It's interesting what Orbiter and Twilight point out about how far does the conspiracy extend. I've often pondered that. I think we can be certain that the elites do not understand the physical reality of Peak Oil and how it impacts economies to the extent that many people on this site do, so their plans to rule the world according to some grand strategy will at some point fall apart. But if you look at the monetary system it is so obviously a gigantic ponzi scheme. The bond bubble is astronomical, unprecedented in the history of humanity. There is no rhyme or reason to market moves anymore, there is clearly some central force actively juicing the system to manipulate it up. And to brainwash the masses to maintain faith in that system because without the masses on board it is game over. But at some point the physical reality of Limits to Growth will strain the system so much that the elites will lose control because they just don't understand how the real world works beyond what they have historically done to manipulate things using an intact financial system. When this happens it will be a dramatic and violent shift, one could say the dividing line between pre-Peak Humanity to post-Peak Humanity (as opposed to pre- and post-Peak Oil, which will likely be separated by only a few years, if any). I don't subscribe to John Michael Greer's assertion that there will be no violent collapse, that humanity's demise will instead be a relatively constant grind down. I side more with Chris Martenson's crash scenarios because ponzi schemes don't end quietly. And monetary collapses frequently involve war. You think our leaders are trigger happy even today?

Just how far does this conspiracy extend? How much is the President involved? Have the elites become so delusional by their power that they can't see the damage they are inflicting? Who knows but we may find out the extent to which they will try to maintain control once their financial terrorism is no longer effective after the monetary system collapses.

Why do you think the monetary system will collapse? I can see capital controls, selective defaults, a lot of additional printing, inflation but in the end the same people and institutions being in charge. Maybe their piece of the pie is bigger or smaller but their control of power remaining intact. Eventually, the public will figure out how badly they have been screwed but, realistically, what are they going to do about it?

Exactly. With two trillion dollars spent each year on control (police, sheriff, state troopers, fbi, cia, nsa, dhs, dia, etc...) there will be no change.

When inflation gets going 2 trillion will buy you a cup of coffee.

There is no way the debt can be serviced. They either 1) default, or 2) print to infinity. Either one destroys the purchasing power of America and soon after that it will not be able to import oil in excess of the value of anything else it exports (ie, food). Then we will see oil price really rise. No one will trust money anymore as a store of value and the markets will be forced to revert to genuine supply and demand fundamentals which are horrible.

Capital controls may slow the hyperinflation. Otherwise the only thing that will stop it will be a gold standard which means the dollar would be devalued likely at least 10 times. Then all those bonds go to zero

Granted there is about 20T - 30T of debt that needs to be eliminated and eventually will be by default, printing and inflation. Defaulting on debt is deflationary so it tends to counteract some of the printing. To the extent that banks and Fannie and Freddie can hold assets to maturity and continue to make coupon payments, the losses can be slowly realized over a long period of time. When bond holders are making 5% in a zero interest rate environment they don't complain.

The slow destruction of living standards in the developed world can and probably will continue for quite awhile. It has been going on for about two decades already without too many people noticing so I'm not sure why it will matter now. The reduction of benefits and pensions can be phased in slow enough to make the changes palatable to a society that doesn't really have any other choice and is too afraid of any alternatives. In the US, even with high unemployment, we are still allowing 1 - 2 million workers a year to immigrate into the country. It isn't even controversial even though it is quite obvious that it exacerbates unemployment and depresses wages.

When it comes to the value of the dollar and the ability of the US to import oil as well as all other traded commodities, the issue is the dollar pegs of the gulf states and China. As long as the dollar pegs are maintained the dollar can't fall all that much. The system also relies on the western concept of maximum resource extraction even if the resulting balance of payments is detrimental to a countries economy. To keep this system intact going forward will require a more forceful foreign policy. Defectors from the dollar based monetary system and maximum extraction approach can't be tolerated and won't be.

So, I guess I see the current game continuing for quite awhile. Eventually, just like the British and others, the US won't be able to hold it together any longer and the dollar will probably fall. I just don't see the catalyst for that in the near future.

The founders of the Federal Reserve might have been surprised to learn that the dollar would eventually come to be the most important currency on earth, while also having already lost most of its original value by that time.

The point I am making is that the dollar's worth is separate from the dollar's stability and common usage. Just because it loses most of its value that does not mean the world must therefore switch to another currency. I see major inflation coming but that does not automatically bring a reduction of the dollar's power/relevance on the world stage.

The question is not, "Will everyone's faith in the dollar be shaken?" The question is, "Is there any other currency more likely to take its place?" I don't think there is. As long as they inflate the dollar at a non-catastrophic rate I don't see things shifting away from it.

(Non-fiat currencies don't apply IMHO. The masses might be pissed off about the damage done to their lives by fiat currency manipulation, but that is not the same thing as being able to do anything about it. Expecting the world to widely switch to a currency with concrete backing is expecting TPTB to voluntarily give up a lot of power. Not gonna happen as long as TPTB can keep things from going truly Mad-Max.)

That seems to be the conventional wisdom. As CNBC put it, the dollar is the prettiest horse at the glue factory.

Eventually, the public will figure out how badly they have been screwed but, realistically, what are they going to do about it?

Time will tell. Time will tell...

And if we cannot increase oil "production" then we can reduce the amount of oil used by others and try to capture that for ourselves.
~ Twilight

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

You are you, Twilight, and I am me. We are most certainly not the dubious (to be charitable) gangs we call government.

When I use the term "we" in this sense it is not an accidental usage, nor does it imply my endorsement or that I actually identify with the state. But make no mistake, it is truly "we" who are doing this stuff, "we" who are responsible. None of the victims of our actions in future or in the present will ever know you or I. They know what "we" do or did. It is "we" who have wrecked this planet's climate and ecosystems, and "we" who have subjected millions to misery to make our lives comfortable or even possible. Regardless of how much I despise much of what the state is doing or has done in my name, the entire society that produced me, and my very existence, is a product of those actions. I don't get out of responsibility by playing semantic games. Neither do you.

When I use the term "we" in this sense it is not an accidental usage, nor does it imply my endorsement or that I actually identify with the state.
~ Twilight

I understand that language affects perception/thinking, which affects behavior, which seems to make semantics less of a game.

I'd rather speak for myself, and avoid appending my identity, words, and/or actions, etc., and those of others, with gangs/states/governments/corporations/whomever.

Taking appropriate personal responsibility, or appropriately rejecting it, seems to begin with self-identification.

On the other hand, when one self-identifies with a group, it can be very easy to blend in, and blend out of responsibility...

Deindividuation is the perceived loss of individuality and personal responsibility that can occur when someone participates as part of a group... Deindividuation can occur in as varied instances as in the police force, the military, sports teams, gangs, cults, and social organizations... It is thought that the abuse and torture in the Abu Ghraib prison prison in Baghdad may have been a result of deindividuation.
~ Wikipedia

Insofar as the Abu Ghraib prisoners were not their torturers, nor responsible for their torturers' actions, nor am I necessarily responsible for the state as a "glorified prison".

The U.S. of A.

"...doesn’t exactly have the most stellar reputation in the world these days, and while the vast majority of the people you’ll run into will be able to differentiate between a U.S. citizen and the U.S. government, some American travelers are still concerned about announcing where they’re from before they get to know their new foreign friends.... Jennifer Carillo asks, 'Should Americans pretend to be Canadians when they travel?' "

"I have heard on a couple of blogs that American travelers have been getting harassed (esp. on bus travels) in foreign countries. Before when I traveled in Australia, I also heard of Americans sewing a Canadian flag on their backpacks."

Insofar as the Abu Ghraib prisoners were not their torturers, nor responsible for their torturers' actions, nor am I necessarily responsible for the state as a "glorified prison".

I was not going to reply, but this comparison is really bugging me. The Abu Ghraib prisoners were also not the beneficiaries of their torturers' actions, which is more than just a small difference. I find your comparison of your plight as a citizen of the core of the empire to that of the external victims of the empire to be somewhat offensive. The two situations are not really even close.

The two situations don't have to be close. That's creative license if you will, or lateral thinking if it makes you feel better.

The Abu Ghraib prisoners realize they're prisoners. And they don't seem to be paying any slave-wages/taxes-as-theft for it either for their cells, meals, torture, spent fossil fuel, depleted uranium, genocide and cultural destruction, etc., that others back in the corporate oligarchic gilded cages are getting their gold fillings pulled for-- apparent beneficiaries of, so the propaganda goes.

It's the oil I guess.

And you seem to want to bind your identity with that and infer others' to boot? Somewhat offensive you think?

I was not going to reply

I've taken valuable time out of my day for this/you. In any case, I'd rather have you take your "reply" to "your" government, given your previous elaboration on 'we'. I trust it was sincere. That's a reply to/for yourself. You are you, I am me.

You need to work on reading comprehension. I already said I despise what our government is doing in my name and how this system works, probably at least as much as you do. But I recognize my responsibility as a recipient of the benefits of being part of the empire, whether I like it or not. Everything in the world around us is built from that, and until I can exist outside of it I am part of it. You seem to think that simply objecting gets you off the hook.

Your identity, your history and your existence is already bound with that, whether you like it or recognize it or not.

It is one thing to philosophize about how we are all part of this and that in this contemptible context, but yet another to seem to go out of our way to accept some questionable notions of 'responsibility' and 'benefits', etc., of or from that which we-- you-- despise.

What benefits, what responsibility, anyway, in the final analysis?

'The oligarchy' has existed for our entire lives, but not an eternity. Our heritage goes much further back in time than that. Much further back. This is our true or pure 'we' identity if you wish. Let's honor that.

Your identity, your history and your existence is already bound with that, whether you like it or recognize it or not.
~ Twilight

'The oligarchy' is a carcinogenic festering blob on all our overpopulated posteriors that needs to be removed.

There is an oligarchy, there have been many throughout history. The sociopaths are always there. However, you seem very focused on who to blame for the mess we're in, when the biggest factor by far is the simple existence of the regular folks living what they believe to be normal lives. So they're all coerced? No, of course not - they can't wait to get the new Dodge hemi pickup, and they want no part of a peaceful, sustainable life in the Shire. So then it's not just the oligarchy, is it? Blaming will do nothing, including absolving any of us from responsibility for simply living our lives of comfort at the expense of others in the present and future.

Those who are taking energy away from others so that we can have it - my original premise - are doing it because simple citizens of the empire keep using it. When you're sure they're not getting any for you, then I guess you can say you're not responsible. Until then "the oligarchy did it" sounds pretty lame.

The issue in this thread is with your 'benefit-reaping responsible' "identification" with your maniacal oligarchy (assuming you're American), and with my recommendation that you speak for yourself, so to speak. ;) At the very least.

The rest of this thread seems like just so much contortions ('the oligarchy did it', etc.) on your part to obscure/sidetrack the issue and rationalise your oligarchic-responsibility 'we' fetish.

While we're at it, if you lived there, what would you say about Mubarak's or Ghadaffi's gang?

So they're all coerced? No, of course not - they can't wait to get the new Dodge hemi pickup, and they want no part of a peaceful, sustainable life in the Shire.

Of course they're coerced, and brainwashed. They think they're making a difference by voting Democrat, they pay taxes, wage-slave and get scanned/patted-down/searched/etc., when they try to cross the border. Stuff like that. Like cattle.

Written by U.S. energy independence is no longer just a pipe dream:

The U.S. Energy Information Agency says U.S. oil imports will drop 20% by 2025. Oil giant BP projects the U.S. will get 94% of its energy domestically by 2030, up from 77% now, as oil imports fall by half.

Energy independence is the new doublespeak to describe Export Land Model. They just do not bother to mention that we will get there by reducing our consumption because there will not be much available to import. If the USA becomes a net crude oil exporter, then it will be because some other country, like China, outbids Americans for the crude oil leaving Americans to suffer without.

Energy independence is the new doublespeak to describe Export Land Model. They just do not bother to mention that we will get there by reducing our consumption because there will not be much available to import.

Reduction in consumption may occur ... but that is not the point of all the booster articles cited above.

Their claim is that US (or "North American" - it's amusing how they use that inclusive term when it suits them) will boost production enormously over the next decade or two ... so it seems to me the main point is to argue against that projected increase - not just to argue reduced imports being available, or declining national economic activity leading to less demand.

The point of the articles is to pretend that oil production is increasing while the amount of oil available for export and American consumption is actually decreasing. It conveys false hope. Extend, pretend and install inaction to keep Americans addicted to crude oil to the last, bitter, overpriced drop.

The comment on accuracy between RRC and EIA interests me, but then you choose to end note with a reference to Berman in the same post? Remember Berman from 2009, "...difficult to imagine that the Haynesville Shale can become commercial"? You credit greater accuracy to his reporting than EIA?

Re: Taxpayers Pay as Fracking Trucks Overwhelm Rural Cow Paths

Not paying attention, were they? If any officials had visited NW Colorado or SW Wyoming, where similar gas booms occured, they would have noticed the locally-maintained roads being rapidly pounded into gravel. Just in case they still haven't made a visit to any of those places, the next things that happen are drugs and violent crime go up, prostitution becomes a booming industry, and the local police and jails are overwhelmed by the increase in business.

Both Wyoming and Colorado route a share of the state's severance tax revenues back into the locals' hands, but it's often still not enough.

Taxpayer subsidies, though I'm sure some will say the benefits outweigh the costs :-/

I believe that most people in Wyoming feel the benefits greatly outweigh the cost. They currently enjoy zero state income tax and their public education is still funded much better than neighboring states. If I was depending on a state pension for my retirement I would feel much more comfortable in Wyoming than nearly any other state.

As Rockman points out in a post quite a ways down the thread, the oil and gas business and the other mineral extraction businesses in Wyoming pay a very significant state severance tax. They also provide many high paying jobs.

Link up top: Can we please just declare the end of 'peak oil' and start worrying about something important?

(Referring to the Green River Shale) Yes, we do know how to get this out: these reserves are similar to the Bakken shale in North Dakota that is spurting out oil as you read.

Well, not quite. One is a liquid and the other is a solid, among many other differences.

It is a pity that someone this ignorant is allowed to write for The Telegraph. I guess this tells us something about this publication as well.

Ron P.

At least he got one thing right ..

There is no such thing as "supply" or "demand" (for oil). There is only either of them at a price

Indeed. I made that point among others in their comment section as PeakSigns. Some commenters were making the same points which gives me hope.

I also made some rebuttals to some shale gas cheerleaders. The delusions never cease...

My favorite line in the whole article though was:

"It's true that if we really do reach some production plateau, then it's likely that the price will rise."

I seriously laughed out loud when I read that. IF we reach a production plateau...hahaha!

They don't call it the "Torygraph" for nuthin'.

Yeah.. 'where to start'?

"It is indeed a bit of a strain filling up the car, but other than that I don't see any more signs of the imminent collapse of civilisation than we normally have with politicians in charge."

It reminds me of a line DiCaprio says in THE AVIATOR, when being bludgeoned by Kate Hepburn's overbearing family..

Mrs Hepburn: We don't care about money here.
H. Hughes: Well, that's because you have it.

He's not just writing for the Telegraph, he's: "Tim Worstall is a Senior Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, and one of the global experts on the metal scandium, one of the rare earths."

And the drum get's mentioned as well as cited quite a bit in the comments. Apparently we're "nutters".

I am sure there is an "unseen hand" comment that is entirely apropos to his position at the Adam Smith Institute. I just cannot find it.


"Apparently something terrible happens when we get to peak oil. I've never really quite understood the argument myself, but when we've used half of all the oil then civilization collapses or something." From Tim Worstall, a Senior Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London. And "one of the global experts on the metal scandium, one of the rare earths".

Maybe Tim needs to stick with what he appears to know about: scandium. Except for a few wackos who pop up on TOD I don't recall anyone here saying terrible things will happen when we get to PO. Lots of talk about down turns after PO hits, of course. Or even when we're on that Peak Plateau that some of us subscribe to. It's pretty easy to refute a foolish statement. Even easier to attribute it to folks you're debating when they never made that statement to begin with. I'll take it at face value that Tim is a commodity expert and thus won't call him stupid. But that leaves with just conclusion: he understands PO but for his own reasons he's trying to discredit the idea.

But you must give him credit for noticing that nothing unusual has happened in the world economy since 2006. [/sarc]

We will likely soon see increasingly violent financial problems as a result of PO, even if we remain on the plateau for a while, because the monetary system is a ponzi scheme that was held together while energy was increasing but, as all ponzi schemes require growth to continue, even if we merely maintain oil output for a while the ponzi scheme will crash. Throw in a 10% reduction, and certainly it's doomed -- it won't be about becoming 10% more efficient in how we use oil as many commentators like this guy seem to suggest. When the financial system crashes, the public loses faith in the ability of the central state to hold things together. It's a self reinforcing downwards spiral because the whole thing is held together with scotch tape, rubber bands, and most importantly, faith in the system on the part of the average person.

Here, people have already lost faith in the currency. No bank runs but people are beginning to see the futility of hoarding cash.

Where are you old wise one?

Edit: Duh, India? I always presumed you were native American, aka "Indian".

You haven't read my other comments then. Anyways the currency fell (compared to USD) from 51 to 55 in a matter of weeks. Panic buttons are being pressed. Although as rightly pointed out by some people, currencies are falling almost everywhere.

They are talking about raising oil prices again (in less than 3 months). Parts of my brain are rejoicing at the thought of seeing everyone ride bicycles again, though the rational part of my brain is worried about the economic consequences of this on poor people.

If people, over there, are losing faith in their currency then what is their alternative? Gold, grain something else?


Yes. Gold is being looked at as one of the alternatives, so is anything that is imported. Grains are not being hoarded, most of it is rotting in the warehouse because of over production.

I read it's not so much overproduction as insufficient dry storage. Proper storage containers apparently are lacking in all but the least productive years. Grain can not be expected to last piled on the ground in a wet climate. Only a matter of years ago China's grain was predominately stored on farm in earthen jars and vessels. Not sure if this still holds.

Righto. Inefficient supply chain more than over production. (As a part-farmer) With my subjective samples I can also say that about 20-30% of people have reported a poor harvest due to unpredictable (and mainly unwanted) rains during flowering period in the past 3 cycles.

"seeing everyone ride bicycles again"? When did it happen the last time? :) From what I remember of the last time (2008), India came out more-or-less unscathed (maybe it was to India's advantage since businesses in the west preferred to 'cut costs' through outsourcing to India). This time though, I think we're going to see some pain (and I hope some kind of waking up will happen but the more I have hoped (since the past 4 years about various things related to peak oil and LTG) the more I get disappointed).

I think "everyone riding bicycles" may never happen (until some fundamental tipping points are crossed that prevents cars from being on the streets[*] anymore). Not trying to 'predict' here, just thinking aloud my observation: I think the gap between the wealthy and the poor will continue to widen (while BAU goes on). This can be already seen at both a micro as well as a macro level.

At the macro level: Today, in Tamil Nadu (India), due to a fundamental shortage of coal, smaller cities and towns experience more "power cuts" while the big cities experience very little. Classic case of 'widening gap' - this may just be the most rational thing to do from the point of view of the macro economic planners of the state (because most "high level" economic activity happens in the big cities). In contrast, fuel prices are a bit cheaper here (because most 'low level' economic activity, like agriculture or mining or transport and storage of goods) can be done well with fuel and doesn't need Electricity as much.

At the micro level: As a result of this prioritizing the 'big cities' over the smaller ones, I (living in a small town) get to experience enjoy 8 hours of power cut every day (and I believe I'm the only one here who 'enjoys' it :P) There are now many new "solar power" businesses who cater to these wealthy ones - big hospitals, big utilities and companies are moving to solar and other forms of non-grid power due to 8 hours of power cuts killing their existence. It is expensive, but I guess it again makes rational sense since without power they (big ones) are bleeding a lot more. If solar power is an extreme example, an array of batteries + inverter/UPS is a moderate example (since its way cheaper). The end result is the 'consolidation' of wealth by the wealthiest while the poorer ones are disadvantaged. Using this, they do more and the ones who used to do (with normal grid supplied power) end up going out of existence. The really poor ones ride bicycles now (and believe me, it sounds nice for a fantasy; it is harsher and painful practically, but do we have a choice? :) )

[*] The doomsday scenario of no fuel or The Asimov imagined[+] scenario of cars being destroyed by angry mobs
[+] http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,918862,00.html

By "people" do you mean your select few peak-oil-aware friends? If not I'd really like to know which part of 'here' are you talking about. Except those who are peak oil aware, I don't see *anyone* losing faith in the currency system or the government or Big Businesses. Everybody I talk to (and I still indulge in pointing out (despite the cost of being perceived as a 'nut case') LTG, PO, etc., to anybody who seems smart) has their delusions and stories to assure them that this is all a 'temporary' downtrend from which things will recover.

PS: I may not be fully aware of the happenings in big cities since I moved out of a big city to a marginal place. However, from what I see on 'facebook' and from phone calls to my friends in the big cities, nothing really has changed. Yes, rupee continues to get weak - but everybody is dreaming of / applying for a loan for buying SUVs and houses with swimming pools. Even here, the ones who are really affected (the ones who are fruit sellers and such) strive even more to get money, thanks to the continued big doings of big businesses as opposed to hoarding gold or grains or whatever.

Well, not quite. One is a liquid and the other is a solid, among many other differences.

Do any of our "oil patch" veterans have a clue as to what all would be involved in extracting all of this gooey stuff from the Green River Formation?

Also, how much much water would it take, keeping in mind that they would probably be competing with Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix as well as California and Arizona agribusiness for this precious resource from the Colorado River??

I am not an "oil patch" veteran but I have read many reports on the Green River Shale. There have been many attempts to extract oil from the shale and all have failed, to this point. Shell's "in situ" experiment is still in progress but no one really has much hope for it. Anyway a pretty good explanation can be found here:
What Every Westerner Should Know About Oilshale

Two Methods of Extraction

Of the 6 RD&D leases awarded, the one in Utah proposed a conventional surface mine and retort method at an existing mine site, while the 5 in Colorado were for in situ operations. The conventional mine and retort method (sometimes called ex situ) relies on digging the oil-bearing shale out of the ground, crushing it into small pieces, and separating the oil-like kerogens from the rock by heating it in a centrally located piece of machinery called a retort. In situ refers to a method of recovering the oil contained in shale rock by heating it in place underground and using wells to extract it.

As for the "ex situ" method, that would require a lot of water, likely even more water than the Canadian tar sands require. That is because the kerogen must be heated quite hot and for a longer period of time to turn it into oil. And the only water available in the area is the Green River, which is also one of the ten most endangered as another post today tells us. Also all the water from the Green River, a tributary of the Colorado, has already been spoken for. In fact they are fighting over it and the oil people are not even part of that fight.

However a really great piece can be found here: Geo Destinies - Walter Youngquist There is too much here to copy and paste but it is really a great read, and not that long either.

Ron P.

[T]he recent striking demand in industrial life for oil in its many forms, the failure of domestic wells to meet this demand in full, the rapid advance in the price of petroleum, the warning of geologists and government experts that the underground supply of oil cannot much longer be depended upon to supply the ever increasing demand, all unite in pointing unerringly to the one permanent supply of the raw material which we have-the deposits of oil shale. Whether we wish it to be so or not, we shall soon be forced to resort to the oil shales for our supply of oil. Regardless of the number and complexity of problems to be solved in establishing the oil shale industry on a commercial basis, yet they must be solved, and it remains for the American mining engineer, chemist, and inventor to provide the solution. . . . The successful retorting of oil from shale and the establishment of the oil shale industry on a permanent and profitable basis is the great problem of this decade. No other phase of our industrial life can compare with it. The finger of fate points towards it.
- Victor Clifton Alderson, president of the Colorado School of Mines, in The Oil Shale Industry, 1920.


Thanks for the link to "What Every Westerner Should Know About Oil Shale". It was an easy and informative read. I found the above quote on the same site. It would appear that Mr. Victor Clifton Alderson realized as early as 1920 that petroleum was a finite resource. And now 90 years later we are still looking for the same solutions!!

The Swedes had a severe oil shortage during WW II, and hydroelectric power. They heated up some oil shale in the ground with electrical resistance. In 1947 they got a trickle of oil.

In situ takes a minimum of four years and temperatures of 650 to 1,000 C (from memory).

Shell adds a frozen wall around the heated center, to prevent oil (formed by heat from kerogen) from migrating. Which adds cost & energy.

The Hirsch Report assumed 1,000 MW coal fired plants for each site. After 4 years, they start producing 100,000 b/day.

In a fantasy of mine, 4,000 to 6,000 MW wind farms are erected "nearby" for each "field" with HV DC lines towards the coasts. When there is demand for wind electricity, it goes to replace coal & NG. But when there is a surplus, it goes to heat oil shale. Maybe 5 or 6 years to production, instead of 4, but much more sustainable and less total carbon impact.

Best Hopes for Fantasy,


Comments for discussion purposes only...

  • Shell's method heats the rock to 650-700 °F, rather than °C, which helps.
  • Electricity for the frozen wall (in Shell's case) is not optional; the ice is necessary to prevent contamination of the ground water. One of the unanswered questions at this time is how long refrigeration must be maintained after "baking" is finished before the heated remains are no longer soluble.
  • Shell systems engineers' estimates were (from memory of a presentation at Colorado School of Mines) that a million bbl/day operation would require just about as much electricity per year as is currently generated in Colorado. Cooling water for any thermal generation source on that scale will be a problem (yes, you can air cool, but you give up efficiency). Also from memory, Shell's estimate of 3:1 energy gain required 60% efficient combined-cycle natural gas generation. Coal gasification might approach those efficiencies, but at higher costs, and there are some potential issues regarding gasification at altitude.
  • Given free choice of what to do with funding for wind power on that scale, I'd much rather see the development on the other side of the Continental Divide, feeding primarily the Front Range demand from Cheyenne to Albuquerque/Santa Fe, replacing NG and coal, with excess shunted towards the West Coast as available. Multiple large transmission projects -- High Plains Express, TransWest Express, etc -- have been proposed for this purpose.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) would appear to be a better technology for this - heat generated at (or above) the temperature requirements, no need for any cooling water....

However, cost per bpd of capacity, and capacity limitations (land requirement) would be significant inhibitors.

I've no idea what Colorado's per annum electricity generation is, but I imagine they must have several GW of installed generation capacity. Scaling CSP up to that kind of size is not conceivable and, in any case, CSP heat generation would have to be proximate to the mining operation to avoid thermal losses....

I dug this statement about the Canadian oil sands out of the YOungquist article:

" it takes the energy equivalent of two barrels of oil to produce one barrel."

This is certainly no longer true in any meaningful way about the Canadian oil sands. This may have been true when the article was written (1997?)but technological progress is something not to be dismissed.

So, while I agree that the Green River shale deposits are not an economical source of liquid petroleum today, we need to be careful making statements about the future that could be contradicted by development efforts. I think the major issue regarding the Green River marlstone is the actual energy density of the ore. That is what is ultimately going to determine it can ever be economically used as liquid fuel.

My concern is that it will ultimately used as solid fuel, probably much more polluting that coal.

I noticed that too. Based on my analysis I think the energy return of oil sands is about 5:1. Others like Ropert Rapier peg it at 8, while on the other end some people say 3. Still, though, there are thermodynamic limits to what can be produced from this stuff and generally the first innovations produce the greatest gains with diminishing returns afterwards. If this oil shale has a return of only 2:1 then it's basically useless because you can't sustain a society with that. All it's useful for is burning to get some heat (assuming you can get at it), which will be good if we revert to caveman status but it won't be able to provide for all the manufactured items we have become accustomed to. You won't be able to manufacture the equipment and support all the surrounding society necessary to turn it into oil at that energy return.

Oddly enough though, the economics could work at an energy return of 2:1. If the input is natural gas (which I think is the case for a lot of the energy input), you are talking about something like $15 worth of natural gas to make a product that sells for around $80/bbl. Obviously there are other costs involved, but that feels like a bankable return.

Now, suppose natural gas went to $7/mmBtu? Input fuel at $40/bbl would be a lot harder.

There must be a bit more to the story (i.e. improving efficiency perhaps), since oil sands production has steadily increased despite some boom cycles in natural gas. We could get a pretty good read on energy inputs to oil sands if natural gas prices spike again.

And the other thing with oil sands is that most of the invested energy is to produce heat (some to produce hydrogen too), which is currently supplied by natural gas but as you say if it gets expensive then it's not so economical. But they could instead take 1/5 of the synthetic crude produced and instead just recycle that back into the system to burn for heat (the less valuable heavy fractions). What would the EROEI then be? 4:1? But no external direct energy was required so does that bring the traditional EROEI calculation to infinity? Would the operations be fully energy-independent, with the only required inputs being secondary things like equipment, labour, and the national economy necessary to support that activity? This infinite EROEI calculation doesn't make sense to me, since all they did was substitute heavy crude for natural gas for producing some heat. I haven't figured out how that math works.

And say the natural gas was produced with 40:1 and oil sands are 5:1. Then for the whole process the EROEI is 200:1? Then if they substitute heavy crude for nat gas it goes to infinity?

ERoEI would not go to infinity. It is a ratio, (energy returned) / (energy invested). For example:

5 barrels of synthetic crude oil are produced,
1 barrel of that syncrude is used to heat water to separate the bitumen from the sand,
.5 barrels of oil equivalent is used to manufacture, repair and power the excavation equipment,
.01 barrel of oil equivalent is used to pump water to the upgrader and dispose of the waste;

then ERoEI is (5 barrels) / (1 barrel + .5 boe + .01 boe) = 3.3

Is that just producing the oil out of the ground or does that include refining?


Thanks for the reference.

The opening of the post is a bit confusing. You state, "Shell's "in situ" experiment is still in progress but no one really has much hope for it." [my highlight]. But you open with I am not an "oil patch" veteran ... and link to a reference that states:

..in situ recovery appears to be the most viable approach to oil shale under the current economic and environmental regimes, offering lower recovery costs and a more limited footprint on the landscape compared to the conventional mining methods. The idea is not new, but the in situ techniques being developed at public RD&D leases and on private tracts today represent an original and innovative phase of thought and technology.

Wow. That article is so stunningly bad that it deserves to be at theOnion.com.

Green River oil shale is the same as North Dakota tight oil?
*If* we reach a plateau then prices will rise?

spec - I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not. If not...No: the GRS is not the same as the Bakken oil reservoir in N. Dakota. First, there is no oil in the GRS. The bakken oio is oil. The GRS contains a solid hydrocarbon that has to be refined to turn it into oil. As Ron described Shell is trying to do it while the shale is still in the ground. The other method is to dig it out, seperate the solid hydrocarbon from the shale (takes a lot of water) and then refine it into oil. Second, the GRS is not a reservoir per se. The Bakken, though low permeability and is best drilled horizontally and frac'd, is still a reservoir rock none the less. No hydrocarbon, solid or liquid, can be produced through the shale AFAIK. That's why I wonder how Shell will produce the oil from their in situ refining process: the oil will still be trapped in rock through which little or no oil is capable of flowing AFAIK.

It was sarcasm. That article shockingly bad . . . how can people publish such deceitful material?

Because they are PAID to?

The US is the Saudi Arabia of BS.

That is actually an abundant renewawable resource that we much of but it appears impossible to convert into useful work. But this particular BS arose from the UK.

The US is the Saudi Arabia of BS.
That statement is the MOAUS (Mother Of All UnderStatements)!

Does anyone else have problems posting comments on The Telegraph? I made an account weeks ago and I can log in but it won't let me comment for some reason.

So the USA imports about eight million barrels of crude per day (it varies of course) and energy independence is right around the corner? I'll have what that journalist is smoking.

Tremendous amounts of fossil fuels shall be used to convert the entire truck fleet of the US, as well as building a different kind of infrastructure to attend to this new fleet, in order to have the trucks drive on a different kind of fossil fuel. It's a perfect plan!

I think you meant, "Tremendous amounts of money shall be used.........."

But... money is simply an amalgam of time, ideas, energy, and raw materials.

There's a way to build trucks without using energy or resources, now?

Back to the Land for the Occupy Movement

When hundreds of people took up the banner of “Occupy the Farm” on April 22nd and laid claim to a patch of urban farmland owned by UC Berkeley, it was not the first time this 5-acre parcel had become the flashpoint of a struggle between the University and local communities. But it was the first time anyone had done something as brash as simply taking the land without asking.

I wish Occupy would put some focus on employee owned corporations as a way to offset some of our glaring inequities.

Anyone know of any employee owned oil companies?

Harmac Paper comes to mind.


Edit: sorry, that's not an oil company. Geez, I need to pay more attention this morning.

Hippie Capitalism: How An Impoverished U.S. City Is Building An Economy On Co-ops

With sky-high unemployment, Richmond, California, is not a place where traditional business models alone can dent poverty. The city has turned to co-ops in hopes that people who might be unemployable in the traditional economy gain access to both jobs and control over their own labor.

Two years ago, Green Party mayor, Gayle McLaughlin went all the way to Spain in search of another economic model that might reinvigorate her city, once the locus of bustling shipyards that produced hundreds of boats for battle during World War II.

The Basque Country in Spain is home to the world’s most famous worker-owned co-op, the Mondragon Corporation, based in the town of Mondragon. The 55-year-old corporation includes some 250 smaller co-ops, with more than 80,000 employees, the vast majority of them members and owners themselves. Mondragon is today the seventh largest company in Spain, with its fingers in finance, retail, and manufacturing, and it has become a kind of Mecca for far-flung groups eager to learn how to create their own co-op businesses.

“I found that the values of people in Mondragon were very much in line with the values that we were putting forward as part of our political movement in Richmond: standing for equity, standing for justice, standing for community empowerment,” McLaughlin says.

also http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/ENG.aspx

Don't hold your breath. Richmond is very poor, and very violent. Though it has a good mayor, and a bare majority of liberal city commissioners, the best real hope is the recent landing of a new consolidation center for Lawrence Labs. I live in Richmond. The current co-op has three immigrant cooks and serves the weekly farmers' market.

More to the point, two murders and a 2100 plant pot farm bust, just today. I used to think things were improving, but the economic crash has wrecked all that.

More to the point, two murders and a 2100 plant pot farm bust, just today. I used to think things were improving, but the economic crash has wrecked all that.
~ ormondotvos

That might be "good" if you believe that the economy is, itself, like a bad drug-trip and where bad withdrawal symptoms are inevitable.
(One wonders if there hasn't already been a delayed overdose and that it's too late.)

2100 plant pot farm bust

I wouldn't blame Richmond for that. Who criminalized pot (and keeps it criminalized)?

I think this is one of the few models that is capable of holding together the social fabric in the framework of capitalism without exponential growth. It yields a far more equitable distribution of wealth and gives the citizenry daily practice with democracy enabling them to better utilize the larger democracies of state. The worker owned business elegantly resolves the conflict between capital and labor by making them the same person.

For worker-owned businesses to survive, they need to make a profit. To enable profit in the long-run requires growth, not just any kind of growth but exponential growth. Capital must accumulate. And so one is back to square one.

For worker-owned businesses to survive, they need to make a profit.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get different results!

The point is that the infinite growth based capitalist profit motive, seems to be antithetical to the long term survival of the human race. Perhaps a different paradigm which holds things like happiness, healthy ecosystems and community as more important than profit is what needs to be implemented. And no, I have no idea how to get there from where we are now but it seems pretty obvious, at least to me, that unless we do, it is game over...


I always thought Chevy almost got it right with their Vega... except it should have been "vége", eh? As in, "játék vége (gyorsan)"!

That's about how she looks from here, after having spent most of the last 6 weeks or so on financial sites researching the economic side of the multi-crises convergence.



Jo mese VOLT, (multilingual pun intended) Itt a vége, fuss el végre!

That's about how she looks from here, after having spent most of the last 6 weeks or so on financial sites researching the economic side of the multi-crises convergence.

If you have insights you might like to share drop me a line.



To enable profit in the long-run requires growth


Simply put, Marx argued that increased investment in and growth of constant capital (factories, machines, land, buildings, raw materials) relative to variable capital (labor) reduced the margin of surplus labor time relative to the total production capital invested (constant capital plus variable capital). Since surplus labor time is, according to Marx, the source of surplus value, and since the general rate of profit equals total surplus value divided by total capital, then the tendential fall in surplus labor time relative to total production capital owned results in a tendential fall in the rate of profit for newly produced commodities

- Wikipedia

The argument starts from 'growth of constant capital'. If the constant capital does not grow, the argument does not hold.

IMHO, all these very theoretical economical arguments make very little sense. A look at the world tells us that the most prevalent worker-owned business, the family farm, has been sustainable for thousands of years. Why can't a bigger organisation do what a family unit can?

"Why can't a bigger organisation do what a family unit can?"

They can, it's just more complex and fragile. Families have a built-in, natural hierarchy, generational bonds, loyalty. Artificial hierarchies beget competition for leadership and influence which begets growth; they lack the organic social glue which prevents fracturing. Family members gain status simply by being born into the family. It's a tribal thing.

I agree holding together a worker-owned business is more difficult than a family business. It may still be a better alternative than our current system however. Henriksson seemd to imply that worker-owned businesses are unsustainable. I do not agree with that.

"the family farm, has been sustainable for thousands of years. Why can't a bigger organisation do what a family unit can?"

You should chose a better analogy than the farm.

Sustaining the family and the farm has historically been it's oldest nemesis. Usually, only the first born male was sustained. The other children were cast out, in one form or the other.

Look at the religious colonies of today-Amish, Mennonites, Hueterites-the colony is always calving and searching for new land.

Ironic that the traditional US non-corporate farm today is facing the exact opposite problem-no children that wish to continue such a venture.

If it is worker owned, what is the difference between profit and pay? Retaining some of the excess cash flow for maintenence and retooling efforts that will be needed in the future is not profit. If you pay out "profit" to the shreholders then you risk separating labour and capital again, as anyone with more shares than they supply labour starts to look like an owner. Do workers sell their shares when they retire/quit? If so who buys them?

There are several different ways of doing this. You can have a normal corporation where employees own stock and then concentration of ownership and thus dividends is possible. You can also organize it so that each employee owns one nontransferable share.

Not so. Profit requires only that revenue exceed costs whether you are talking about modern worker owned businesses or small family farms. The acreage of a farm does not need to grow for agriculture to be possible. In point of fact cooperatives tend to outperform other business models in times of economic downturn.

Profit is simply a claim on ecological productivity. Since there is finite ecological productivity available on the planet, then it's not possible for everyone, or even the majority, to realize a profit, because each profit comes at the expense of some other living organism. Throughout the rise of humanity, those other unlucky organisms have been all the animals we displaced. Now we have grown so large that we are competing against each other's profits. Long term, each profit must be offset by a loss.

Our economic leaders have historically down all they can to ensure that everyone makes a profit -- this is equivalent to economic growth. This is not possible going forward.


The attempted slight "Hippie Capitalism" is in poor taste, but I recognize it is not your title. In my comment's link is the following quote:

The NCEO will unveil its 2012 list of the 100 largest majority employee-owned companies in the United States in its upcoming July-August newsletter. Should your company be on that list? Your company qualifies if a majority of your company's stock is held by an ESOP, stock bonus, profit sharing, or similar plan, or if you have a stock purchase plan in which at least 50% of full-time employees participate and if you have enough employees. In the 2011 list, companies needed to have at least 1,200 employees (where the term "employee" counts all full- and part-time employees in the U.S. and overseas).

(The Homeland Big Brother Plutonomy). It doesn't take much intellect to see that this is a serious matter, or that businesses like Bain Capital could use better techniques than bankruptcy and job destruction to help an ailing U.S. economy long term.

Book Review: The End of Growth

My wife and I both read the End of Growth when it was first published. We were impressed with how well it was researched and written. My wife is the retired academic who has lectured on "The New Normal" when it comes to economic growth issues. I'm the retired engineer who has been following Climate Change for many years and Peak Oil for the last several years, thanks to TOD.

When one looks at the global economic issues (EU, Greece and the PIIGS in general) there isn't much to be cornucopian about. AGW is real and with each passing month, new data shows that we are about to reach a tipping point, if we haven't already. Regarding Peak Oil, one doesn't need to be an economist, scientist or engineer to understand Westexas's ELM. The liquid fuel crisis is here and it is now.

For anyone who has not read End of Growth, I strongly recommend it.

As far as trusting ingenuity to solve all of our problems, I have no doubt that there will always be a few new techonologies and improvements on existing technologies. However, at best they will only help to nibble at the edges of our most serious problems.

Which one are you talking about? The one by Richard Heinberg, or the one by Jeff Rubin? (I know you can't copyright a title, but it sure would make for less confusion if they'd chosen different ones.)


I was referring to Richard Heinberg's book. His premise is that economic growth will be impeded by three major factors, being; Debt Crisis, Climate Change and Resource Depletion.

This book review is highly critical of Heinberg's book, and all other such books for that matter:

Trouble is, as popular as these types of books can be, throughout history, books projecting an impending end to growth, prosperity or even humanity are ultimately proven wrong (or, at least, much too dire) as economic growth continues, humanity finds new solutions to previously insurmountable problems, longevity extends, etc. These would-be prophetical books tend to rely on static (and sometimes faulty) assumptions—ignoring the dynamism of human ingenuity, innovation, undiscovered resources, profit motive, etc.

In other words, human ingenuity, innovation, undiscovered resources and the profit motive will fix everything. After all it always has so why shouldn't it continue to fix all problems in the future? The problem is there are some problems that these things have not fixed, and in fact these things listed by this book reviewer have made things much worse. Exactly what have they made worse is listen in this article: World living beyond its resources,

Biodiversity has decreased by an average of 28 percent globally since 1970 and the world would have to be 50 percent bigger to have enough land and forests to provide for current levels of consumption and carbon emissions, conservation group WWF said on Tuesday.

Unless the world addresses the problem, by 2030 even two planet Earths would not be enough to sustain human activity, WWF said, launching its "Living Planet Report 2012", a biennial audit of the world's environment and biodiversity - the number of plant and animal species.

Overshoot is a problem that is never addressed by these cornucopians such as Naj Srinivas, author of the "Book Review: The End of Growth". They can't of course because they deny its existance.

Ron P.

"...humanity finds new solutions to previously insurmountable problems..."

The quote: "All of these problems began as solutions" is largely ignored and perhaps more pertinent than any concept I can think of. This is the most critical aspect of our poor ability to predict the future; the cure is often worse than the disease. That said, many of these "problems" are now predicaments.

It's unfortunate that few people get the concept of "predicament" in spite of Greer and many of us pushing it and when many people experience predicaments many times in their lives: Do I buy food or refill my prescription? Do I pay the credit card bill or pay the mortgage?

Everyone understands being between a rock and a hard place but they can't translate that to many of the problems society faces. No one, it seems, wants to accept that these problems will not be solved but rather resolved by choosing the least bad choice.


Trouble is, as popular as these types of books can be, throughout history, books projecting an impending end to growth, prosperity or even humanity are ultimately proven wrong

I am guessing that the author's history begins at the dawn of the industrial age. Never bothered to read about Babylonia, Rome or the Maya.

It's a game of russian roulette - you never really learn that your societal paradigm can end, because you are too busy trying to save your own skin.

Eventually every society has a bullet with their name on it.

"Eventually every society has a bullet with their name on it."

Does that include Britain?

Britain is still convalescing after taking two world wars to the chest.

It's interesting to note that Germany which suffered far more devastation than Britain during the two world wars now has the strongest economy in Europe.

And German oil & gas production is zero & trivial.


Which wouldn't have been the case if the Allied powers hadn't been so benevolent as to simply forgiving Germany's debts and not demanding any concessions.

if the Allied powers hadn't been so benevolent as to simply forgiving Germany's debts and not demanding any concessions.

Because the demands made after WW1 worked so well to prevent the next one of course.


I have a book at home, written in 1973, that predicts a lot of very bad stuff. Rughly half of it has already happened or is begining to happen now, and half of what is left is now in the "possible to happen" domain.

In short, I wonder why those who say these things will never happen don't just look around in TODAYS world. It is going on all around us.

The Late, Great Planet Earth? (paperback 1973)

Up top Pondering That Green Label

'Going Green' has become a scam of late. I can't remember how many ads I have seen where they take a product, color it green, throw some leaves and flowers on top and have kids and dogs playing around it and voila it's environment friendly. Imaging painting a Hummer (it's cliched) as green.

Case in point: Ferrari Goes Green!, uptop.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 11, 2012 [PDF]

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending May 11, 302 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging nearly 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging just under 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 8.9 million barrels per day last week, down by 86 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.9 million barrels per day, 60 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 675 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 81 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.1 million barrels from the previous week. At 381.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.7 million barrels per day, up by 0.4 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 8.8 million barrels per day, down by 2.6 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 0.5 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 8.2 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

From the last paragraph in the summary, the 4 week average of total products supplied is up slightly over last year's data, yet the supply of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel are all down. Looking at the tabular data, some of that increase in the total is from propane, but the rest is credited to "other oils". The blip in propane might be the result of the weather, which was very warm in March, but turned colder in April, thus shifting some of the demand to a later date. I wonder exactly where those "other oils" are going...

E. Swanson

Cushing Oil Supplies hit record high even while West Coast gasoline and East Coast fuel oil stocks near lows

In a dichotomy that most Americans would find counter-intuitive, US oil supplies continued to increase last week even as the West Coast region barely had enough gas supplies to avoid some local shortages. Gasoline inventories in that region hit their lowest level since 1999, following a series of refinery problems and shutdowns due to seasonal maintenance. Although the build-up of oil inventories in the Cushing, Oklahoma region was very likely intentional - in preparation of the re-opening of the Seaway pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf Coast – it prodded many energy ‘analysts’ to comment there are more than adequate supplies of oil.

There were additional indications this week from the EIA and from MasterCard’s gasoline sales survey that retail gasoline sales have indeed improved – somewhat surprisingly to most industry observers - to new highs for the 2012 year to date. Still gasoline demand has consistently lagged behind the pace of 2011.

Industry reports from the West Coast indicate that most major refiners will resume normal operations (see below), which will probably lead to lower regional retail prices in a week or so.

Export demand for various oil products remains very strong – up 25% year over year. South America has been the main source of extra demand for gasoline, diesel, and in particular, has caused Eastern US refiners to drain their stocks of fuel oil.

The real test for the US refinery industry will be whether or not they can cope with additional demand for gasoline and diesel in the upcoming summer ‘driving season’. Recent reports from the nation’s largest liquids pipeline system, Colonial Pipeline, is that it is already shipping gasoline and diesel from the Gulf region cross country to points north and east at or near its maximum capacity.

BP Cherry Point restarting after fire, could be ready by end of May
Posted: 1:01am on May 16, 2012; Modified: 9:26am on May 16, 2012

Re: Surprise! SUVs are more popular than ever

The Mazda CX-5 mentioned in the story achieves much better gas mileage than one might expect, 33 MPG for the 4wd version in the combined driving of the report. That's the result of the use of the latest direct injection and variable valve timing, coupled with a 6 speed transmission. There is a diesel version for sale overseas. It's still an SUV, with rather poor aerodynamics, which will hurt at freeway speeds and that result is a long way from the required average for 2025...

E. Swanson

I think the stated mileage values are all but useless. If they are still based on anything near traveling at 55 mph then they no way reflect reality. Drive on nearly any interstate and everybody is pushing these things up hills at 75, 80, 85 mph. And on the true 55 (and lower) mph state routes - 65 or 70 seems to be the norm. I'd guess that those getting the stated mileage are less than 20% of actual drivers.

Bottom line is that I think the mileage tests - even for combined driving - assume a much more conservative style of driving which I absolutely do not see out there in the "real world". Another case of running to stand still as I see it... all kinds of technology and innovation to allow tons of horsepower and marginally better fuel economy... which then doesn't hurt quite so much and empowers the drivers to crank it up. So essentially there has been no disincentive produced through higher fuel prices - we'll just create something that will allow us to pretty much do the same thing we've been doing all along.

"We" don't create the cars. The car corporations and their shareholders do. As for those buying them these days, it's even more skewed to the top 10% of the population than it used to be (and that skew has always been under-appreciated). So, even there, it's hardly a plain "we."

The real message of the linked story is that the car capitalists are simply adapting their designs to continue to sell the biggest cars possible under evolving conditions. Hence, SUVs are now high-riding cars, rather than tricked-out trucks. But the basic business plan marches on, as it certainly will until the real "we" intervenes.

The whole problem can be tracked back to the govt trying to control the gas consumption by dictating car construction rather than just letting gas prices rise.

It is a society-wide issue for America today. Low-flowing toilets & shower heads rather than higher water prices. New light bulbs & energy-saving appliances rather than higher electricity prices. Ever-crappier food quality rather than more expensive food.

The pattern is very clear. Keep the masses placated by the illusion of prosperity. Water down the quality of life rather than let people feel the price increases directly.

Water down the quality of life rather than let people feel the price increases directly.

spectator, good examples.

Also, companies packaging in smaller quantities rather than adjusting the price upward.

Once you get to 30mpg, the delta savings beyond that are really pretty small. Savings from driving slower to beat 30mpg has poor returns too.

Let's say we're driving 120 miles. At 60mph and 30 mpgs, that's 4 gallons and 2 hours. Bump up to 80mpg and say 24mpg, that'd be 1.5 hours and 5 gallons. Spend $3.50 to save half an hour? Sure! Go slow at 40mph and get say 40mpg, that'd be 3 hours and 3 gallons. Take an extra hour to save $3.50? No way! Between the extremes that's 1.5 hours to save $7. As long as income exceeds $5 per hour, why make the trade?

Just for the record I have a hybrid that you have to drive nicely to get 40mpg, and a cheap car that I can drive like heck and get 34mpg. I always drive as fast as I can reasonably safely, with few regrets. I'm still getting twice the mileage of most trucks and many SUVs. It's only sensible, and absolutely an example of the Tragedy of the Commons.

It's only sensible, and absolutely an example of the Tragedy of the Commons.
~ Paleocon

Unsure about that...

Hardin's essay has been widely criticized. Public policy experts have argued that Hardin's account of the breakdown of common grazing land was inaccurate, and that such commons were effectively managed to prevent overgrazing. Referring to Hardin's crucial passage on page 1244,17 Partha Dasgupta, for example, comments that "it is difficult to find a passage of comparable length and fame that contains so many errors as the one quoted."

More significantly, criticism has been fueled by the application of Hardin's ideas to current policy issues. In particular, some authorities have read Hardin's work as specifically advocating the privatization of commonly owned resources. Consequently, resources that have traditionally been managed communally by local organizations have been enclosed or privatized. Ostensibly, this serves to protect such resources, but it ignores the pre-existing management, often appropriating resources and alienating indigenous (and frequently poor) populations. In effect, private or state use may result in worse outcomes than the previous management of commons.
~ Wikipedia

The term 'tragedy of the commons'

...was coined by microbiologist Garrett Hardin in a 1968 Science article, in which he asked what happens when individuals compete for a scarce resource. Hardin argued that when people are faced with a shared resource, they will be overrun by their own selfish desires to consume it, even if they know that they’re destroying it in the process. So, propelled by animal urges of self-satisfaction, in a world of scarcity, people will end up destroying the thing that they depend on for survival. Hobbes couldn’t have said it better. Hardin’s views weren’t, however, based on any experimental or observed evidence, and they ignored history. Despite this disconnection from the past, his essay became one of the most widely cited think pieces of the 20th century...

If one is looking to affix the word tragedy to the commons, the nightmare began not with the creation of the commons, but with the process of its destruction.

Sometimes piecemeal, sometimes sweeping, enclosure was the process by which land was once again taken out of public hands. Surveyors used chains to rope off areas of common land and formally assign title to a single individual. Not only fields but also forest and water were similarly enclosed—with lords preventing access to ponds and streams well stocked with fish, and to forests teeming with game that had provided the poor with meat. By 1500, 45 percent of cultivable land in England had been enclosed and took on a new logic—not only to provide private land for individual landlords, but also to drive up the price of rent for those landlords... Within a generation, these displaced peasants were to become the proletarian backbone [wage slaves] of the Industrial Revolution.

The Eden that Europeans described

...when they reached North America was not a wilderness, but a well-managed resource, a complex combination of nature and culture, ecology and economy, a system so subtle and effective that it eluded the settlers who saw only natural wealth free for the taking. The result of this land grab in North America is that only 2% of the land is now wild, its major rivers are polluted, its lakes have caught fire, and its forests are dying from the top down. The tragedy of this commons was that it never really was a commons after colonization, but was surrendered to plunder, privatization, and exploitation in the name of Manifest Destiny and progress.

I just read a first hand account of the annual sheep gathering & slaughter on Tristan da Cunha.

Sheep are marked with spray paint from the year before. Each extended family gathers their sheep - and each islander is allowed to release two sheep for next year. The surplus are slaughtered and shared amongst the family.

He worked with one extended family of 13 members (including elderly). Gathered up close to 40 sheep and released 26 with orange & black markings.

Sustainable and workable.


Precisely! Nicely managed "commons"....which probably also managed the population during long, hard years.

The trouble is that we can readily borrow "commons" area from the future, and from the past, and use it all up NOW.

Honestly, I have two choices: change jobs and lifestyle to live in a TOD area (and I probably could quite easily do this, once kids are out of high school), or run the rat race where I'm at and be hurried and wasteful. I'd love to commute via train for work, but none go there. No buses either. Carpools are hard due to uncertainty -- too many days run long.

I assume my life is like many, and our struggles are due to people just doing what comes naturally and seems reasonable, day by day. And yet it's ruination in the making, unless population control and cheap, clean energy miraculously manifest.

Culture has us by the ball.

Nice, thanks for sharing.

If a tree satellite falls in a forest to Earth, and there's no one to hear it left, does it make a sound difference?

The satellites are failing. They are not being replaced. We are going blind... unable to see the damage being done.

And I wonder how deliberate that is? A form of shooting the messenger?


Remember when the Repugs claimed that that NOAA and the Weather Service should be cut back, since the private corporations could easily provide the information for less money? They didn't understand that those private companies, like the Weather Channel or Accuweather were just re-selling data from NOAA. Trouble is, the military still needs those weather satellites. If the Repugs in the House are trying to "kill the messenger", they better tell the DOD about it. Not that the military will be willing to release data to the general scientific community...

E. Swanson

Move to Amsterdam or Copenhagen?
You might not earn as much after tax as you would have done in the US, but you should have more than you would doing some sort of back to nature thing.

Have more money? The belief that one 'should have more' - money, energy, things, conveniences - is the root of our problem. Doing the 'back to nature thing' could lead to more connection, community, peace... in other words, real wealth.

Reminds me of the scene from the movie "Key Largo" when Rocco, the gangster, is asked what he wants in life. He's speechless so one of his hostages (played by Bogart) says, "He wants more."

Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. The word wealth is derived from the old English weal, which is from an Indo-European word stem.[1] An individual, community, region or country that possesses an abundance of such possessions or resources is known as wealthy.

The concept of wealth is of significance in all areas of economics, and clearly so for growth economics and development economics. Yet the meaning of wealth is context-dependent and there is no universally agreed upon definition. At the most general level, economists may define wealth as "anything of value" which captures both the subjective nature of the idea and the idea that it is not a fixed or static concept. Various definitions and concepts of wealth have been asserted by various individuals and in different contexts.[2] Defining wealth can be a normative process with various ethical implications, since often wealth maximization is seen as a goal or is thought to be a normative principle of its own.

The idea that we are controlled by our concept of wealth is a powerful one. Allowing others to define wealth for us is allowing them to control everything, our motivations, our desires, and our actions. I see many folks, even here on TOD, trying to strike a bargain with their wealth deity; deeply invested in the accumulation of meaningless things they are. Even things that they deem necessary and essential are often only necessary to support their continued enslavement to their concept of wealth, which has been increasingly predefined by a disfunctional, extractive and unsustainable social order, led by the masters of desire, who are, in turn, led by their concepts of wealth.

I'm not sure why so many of us give so few so much control. The rewards are artificial and rarely earned, especially when stolen from the past and future. Once one's EROEI decreases to 1/1, one begins to understand; wealth, needs, and rewards become real again.

Discussions of national and global well-being are more controlled by Gross Domestic Product, rather than wealth. GDP measures the rate of production of final goods and services, rather measuring accumulated assets. That is why natural disasters tend to increase GDP due to spending on repairs, although they destroy wealth.

I've always had my own definition of wealth or "being rich".

Rich people don't have to work. Poor people do.

You can get rich by needing less or acquiring more. Your choice.

Problem with the former approach is, you cannot realistically "opt out" of food, shelter or medicine.

I'm pretty addicted to things like food, shelter, water and health care.
I hold my hand up to that.

Seems to boil down to locality and small, human scale again and again.

The larger and more complex our systems seem to get-- energy, food, government, you name it-- the less they seem to work for us. Those who suggest otherwise seem to be missing the forest for the trees. (Despite that, there are those who insist on what Kunstler might call, 'technological narcissism/grandiosity'.)


...is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence gave rise to social stratification, coercion, and alienation. Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return to non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of the division of labour or specialization, and abandonment of large-scale organization technologies.

The Olduvai theory

...states that industrial civilization (as defined by per capita energy production) will have a lifetime of less than or equal to 100 years (1930-2030). The theory provides a quantitative basis of the transient-pulse theory of modern civilization. The name is a reference to the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

I suspect that this is where we are going, only, if history is to be less than symmetrical, this time, we will taking nuclear waste, environmental degradation, and anthropogenic climate change, etc., with us.

Hey hey Tribe of Pangaea,

I think you are misrepresenting Hardin. He wasn't arguing that the commons, in the historical sense of the phrase, was prone to abuse. There are numerous historical examples where the commons have been well maintained by the cultures that 'owned' them.

The problem arises when there is a resource that is accessible to multiple agents but lacks a compelling cultural convention which moderates the use. Hardin argues in the conclusions that the solutions to the tragedy of the commons is mutual coercion. Mutual coercion is the cultural/legal/social/moral/etc. convention that prevents the individual incentives from overwhelming the commons. The world's oceans are a fine example of a commons that lacks effective mutual coercion to protect it.

The commons are only tragic when the people using it lack an effective constraint on their behavior. Historical examples of cultures managing a commons successfully are not hard to find. The challenge is to create that culture/mutual obligation in the present hyperglobalized world.

The challenge is to create that culture/mutual obligation in the present hyperglobalized world.
~ team10tim

I'm tempted to agree, (irrespective of whether I think that's possible or not) which is in part why I have my concerns about the (non-mutually-coercive?) centralized corporatocratic nation-state, or anything else that might somehow distance or interfere with people's (natural rights to and control over) basic life-sustaining necessities like land, air, water, and control of their own lives.

In any case, I suspect that the world, as many do, is about to get a lot less, as you say, hyperglobalized. (See this Drumbeat entry on peak government for example.)

the paradox of the "Tragedy of the Commons"

...is actually an application of the "tragedy of the free-for-all" to the issue of the "commons"...

As Allan Engler points out, "...common property is not the problem. When property was held in common by tribes, clans and villages, people took no more than their share and respected the rights of others. They cared for common property and when necessary acted together to protect it against those who would damage it. Under capitalism, there is no common property. (Public property is a form of private property, property owned by the government as a corporate person.) Capitalism recognizes only private property and free-for-all property."

Therefore, as Colin Ward argues, "[l]ocal, popular, control is the surest way of avoiding the tragedy of the commons."... Given that a... society is a communal, decentralised one, it will have little to fear from irrational overuse or abuse of communally owned and used resources...

In reality, the "tragedy of the commons" comes about only after wealth and private property, backed by the state, starts to eat into and destroy communal life. This is well indicated by the fact that commons existed for thousands of years and only disappeared after the rise of capitalism -- and the powerful central state it requires -- had eroded communal values and traditions. Without the influence of wealth concentrations and the state, people get together and come to agreements over how to use communal resources, and have been doing so for millennia. That was how the commons were managed, so "the tragedy of the commons" would be better called the "tragedy of private property."

...These 'rich' claim they own land, and the 'poor' are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper... Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.
~ Derrick Jensen

"We're living at a dangerous moment because... 'empire', is in its last gasp, and empire, when it's in its last gasp will do anything to sustain itself... The US does not want to see the indigenous view of water, or natural gas, or oil, or resources in the ground to prevail... I was in a meeting of U'wa people who are fighting oil development in Colombia... and [the way] they talk about oil... [is] completely alien to the western development and corporate development model-- it just can't be understood even. So as a result, corporations, and US and prevailing western powers, don't think anything negative at all about going in and overpowering that if they can get away with it."
~ Jerry Mander, 'Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World Is Possible'

The Tragedy is not really a Tragedy of the Commons, where the commons is owned by a group. If that was a problem, consider that all Corporations are common property of stockholders.

The Tragedy arizes from the philosophical and legal principle that whatever is not already owned can be claimed as exclusive property by the first person to make the claim.

So the first colonists can claim land that Native Americans are living on, because Native Americans don't have a concept of surveying and private ownership. Homesteaders later can claim land from the government, provided they improve it. Miners stake claims on ore veins that they discover. Drillers claim gushers. Fishermen claim schools of fish. Inventors of square corners on smartphones claim a monopoly on square-cornered smartphones.

This principle is the root of unfettered exploitation of anything that isn't already individually owned.

No, that is not really what Hardin was talking about. He was talking about a commons that was not owned by anyone, though a commons certainly could be owned by a town, or township. He was talking about a commons that has general public access. Land owned by a corporation would not have public access. A perfect commons, Hardin would say, would be the ocean.

Land that has squatters rights, like is still found in some Central American countries, or was until recently, would not be a commons. That would be more like a wilderness.

The original Tragedy of the Commons.

The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy.

As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize his gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks, "What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to my herd?" This utility has one negative and one positive component...

Ron P.

Thanks for the link. I had never read the original.

The subheading reads "Tragedy of Freedom in a Commons". Unfortunately, Hardin shortens this in subsequent phrases to "the tragedy of the commons". Had the phrasing of the subheading been kept, the meaning would have been clearer.

It appears to me that Hardin's "pasture open to all" is functionally equivalent to terra nullius since there is no person or group of persons who "own" the pasture in the basic sense of being able to prevent the pasture from being despoiled by the more selfish herdsmen.

The gas guzzler bubble continues to inflate. I still predict that eventually we will have a rise in gas prices that causes a lot of people to try to dump their SUVs and big trucks such that there will be price collapse in the used car market for gas guzzlers. Right now, many cars will cost more in fuel costs over their lifetimes than the sticker price of the car. People just don't realize it because they don't run the numbers.

Moreover many of those SUVs and trucks were bought by people who can barely afford them with sub-prime Auto loans which were exempted from what little financial regulation was passed in Dodd-Frank. So I can expect besides many of these behemoth gas-guzzlers being sold a significant percentage will be repossessed. And it is a lot easier to send the REPO man out to repossess a car or truck than a house... lol

And that is exactly why I call it a 'bubble'. They can repo the cars but when they realize those cars are worth less than the loans on them then things will really start getting ugly. Like with houses, they might be better off trying to get the people on some type of reduced payment plan instead of just getting a car that is worth less than the loan.

You have to work the tax angle correctly:

Buyers of new heavy SUVs put to use in 2012 can get even larger write-offs, thanks to 50% bonus depreciation. Assume your business buys a new $60,000 SUV with a loaded gross weight over 6,000 pounds and places it in service before year-end. First, the firm can expense $25,000. Half of the remaining $35,000 cost...$17,500...qualifies for 50% bonus depreciation this year. The company can also deduct 20% of the $17,5000 balance...$3,500...as regular depreciation. Assuming that the vehicle is used 100% of the time for business, the total write-off in the first year is $46,000. And if 100% bonus depreciation is revived for 2012, the full cost would be deductible.

Kiplinger Tax Letter

Regarding Q. and A.: The Most Endangered Rivers, (List here)

This article caught my attention for a couple of reasons: Having fished 4 of these rivers I have personal knowledge of their beauty and value. I caught my first Steelhead on the south fork of the Skykomish (#7), I've fished both the Green river (#2) and the Coal River (#9), and grew up along the Chattahoochee (#3) north of Atlanta; "the nation's southernmost trout stream". I was active during the '70s in the movement to have it designated as a national river park. We had to settle for "National River Recreation Area", with fewer protections.

I've often feared that this unique habitat and superb trout stream would eventually be deemed 'disposable' since its current properties are largely man made: The periodic releases of cold water from Buford Dam north of Atlanta keep the water cool enough for trout, and flush the silt downstream. I urge any trout fisherfolk who may be in the area to fish the sections between Buford Dam and Roswell (about 35 miles) before it's lost to developement, re-regulation dams, downstream demand (water wars) and global warming. Chest waders and belly-boats recommended, and take both fly and spinning gear; once the hatch starts, the big fish start rising and spinning gear becomes useless.

The Skykomish is truely one of our great wild rivers and should be left alone. Washington has plenty of hydro power, and many of their rivers have suffered from damming and runoff from logging, etc.

King coal, etc., will likely doom the Green and Coal rivers to continued decline, as regulation and enforcement lose out to industrial demand, water withdrawls, climate change and catabolic collapse. So it goes...

I grew up wandering the banks of the Chattahoochee. I watched as the river changed after the dam for Lake Lanier was built, which stopped most of the flooding for a while. The population center of the Atlanta metro area has been moving toward the north for decades, which has placed considerable strain on the river. The drainage area isn't very large and this has limited the yearly runoff into the river. The construction boom below the dam resulted in the addition of more hard surfaced areas, with the result that flooding can still happen as the result of hard rains. Some fools built houses on the flood plains and the now faster runoff has caused them considerable trouble. One creek in my territory which drains the Sandy Springs area used to be narrow enough in places to almost step across, but the increased runoff eroded the banks out to a distance of more than 10 feet, last I saw it...

E. Swanson

One of the worst effects I saw over time was when they built the large, gated communities ('Country Club of the South', jeez), especially in North Fulton (now John's Creek and Milton). The covenants basically required repeated chemical lawn treatments which ended up in the creeks and river as "non-point-of-source nutrients". The slime algae blooms after storms were remarkable. Big Creek and Long Island Creek (south of the river) both ended up as little more than drainage ditches.

Sandy Springs, huh? One of my Eagle Scout community service projects was to clean up and put a small fence around the "sandy spring" (what was left of it).

I do not want to go into this in detail but the Grand River is a premier trout and smallmouth river in Canada. I've fished it for over 40 years. Some very nice ecological improvements BUT it is a losing game --- always the 'let's make a compromise' that inevitably degrades the resource.

The New River is an open sewer that flows from Baja California into California and empties into the Salton Sea.
Raw sewage and industrial waste from Mexico combines with agricultural runoff from the Imperial Valley farms to create a toxic brew that routinely kills fish and wildlife.
The Sea has become a stopover for migrating birds but since it has no outlet, all the harmful chemicals are concentrated by evaporation due to the 100+ degree temps from May to October. Large die-offs of fish and birds have occurred.
Never seen so many dessicated fish. From the water line up twelve feet or so, dead fish as far as I could see.


Link up top: Peeking at Peak Oil: book review. This is not a book review at all as the author of the article explained in the comments section. It was mislabeled by the moderator of the "Online Opinion Forum". It is an article by Michael Lardelli explaining how he came to be the English translator of this Swedish book written by Kjell Aleklett, Professor of Physics at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. Anyway it looks like a fantastic book. I am looking forward to it. It is should be available from Amazon later this month.

Ron P.

I will not be able to buy it untill august, since I live by the idea to read books in the language they were written in, if I speak it, and the swedish original will be on the book shelves first in august.

Also the first Bilbo-movie will come in december. Lots of waiting this year for me.

RE: "Total stops gas leak at N.Sea Elgin platform"

I can't even imagine the risks the crews took to make this happen.
Great job guys. Thank you.

I see that WTI is pulling away from Brent again. We must be more scared about buying oil in the future, than China is.

Remember when we were going to start the "TOD Trucking company", to bring WTI to the gulf coast? Well, by my calculations, if we had started that company last year, by this date we would have made exactly A LOT!

From the North Dakota passes Alaska in oil production article:

Natural gas, a byproduct of oil production in North Dakota, also was pegged at a record 620.8 million cubic feet in March — but about a third of it is being flared because the state lacks collecting systems and pipelines needed to move it to market.

What a waste! Where is that American entrepreneurial genius that can put some of this wasted gas to use?


Just a thought, can't companies use this NG to run portable water purification systems and recycle the water that comes back out of the ground or is it too expensive to do.

...or use it to offset ND's use of coal in electrical production. Flaring gas while producing most of their electricity from coal is idiotic, unless you're in the coal business :-/

It looks like Capstone Microturbine has already developed the technology:

The technology developed using a ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) can operate off any heat source, with a minimum of 125 deg F temperature differential between the heat source and sink. Geothermal energy is only one potential application. Similar systems are already in operation off heat generated from landfill flares and gas turbine exhaust. Other applications may include using biomass as a fuel.

If it's worth doing with landfill flares then surely it would work with frac well flares.

Stringing electrical lines is way cheaper than building out a natural gas pipeline infrastructure.

Anybody in North Dakota listening?

You should pass some legislation to fine companies that flare natural gas and provide rewards for those that contribute electrical power to your grid.


The Lignite Energy Council is a powerful lobby in ND, and likely opposes any competition, especially to their Great Plains Synfuels Plant:, 5 miles northwest of Beulah.

Plant description: Great Plains Synfuels Plant is the only commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the United States that manufactures natural gas.

Produces about 160 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, plus by-products such as phenol, anhydrous ammonia, ammonium sulfate, cresylic acid, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, naphtha and krypton/xenon. The Great Plains Synfuels Plant is part of the world’s largest CO2 capture and sequestration project.

As usual, special interests and economics trump common sense.

Several interesting comments upstream from here. I would simply add that most of them require large capital outlays. NG collection pipeline network (eg, compare ND and the traditional gas-producing areas on this map). New NG-fired generating capacity. Stranded investment in coal generating capacity. Alternately, investment in transmission to carry excess electricity to other areas. None of these are things that ND is likely to be able to fund.

Make the energy companies fund it. As ROCKMAN often points out, there are many costs of doing business. While I don't profit directly (or indirectly much that I can see), they are using my atmosphere as a convenient sink for their wastes. It's time to add in ALL of the costs of doing business, preferably at the source.

Those turbines do cool stuff, but they are hugely pricy (I lost money on the stock a decade back!). Kind of like fuel cell cars. Sounds great on paper -until you ask how much it will cost.

One other point about fact checking this article.

The EIA has made some excellent improvements to their web site over the last year and I encourage people to try out their new graphing capabilities. For instance, anyone can go the the EIA Crude Oil Production data page and, with a few clicks, generate this chart of the US top five producing regions:

While the very recent increases in crude oil production from Texas and North Dakota are impressive, the unrelenting declines in the other major producing regions are equally impressive. It looks like the increase in Texas is just making up for the decrease in GOM offshore while the increase is North Dakota is only beginning to outpace the decreases in Alaska and California.

Yes, at $100/bbl we have some newly profitable ways to scrape the bottom of the barrel of oil resources. But it's hard to get excited about any kind of "new era" or "energy independence".


As noted up the thread, the Texas RRC data show about 500,000 to 600,000 bpd less production for Texas than what the EIA currently shows. And we see a similar pattern regarding Texas natural gas production.

If the EIA has to make the kind of large revisions you suggest, you will get a lot of credit for calling this out early and often!

I think that Art Berman was there first.

My first impression looking at the chart was to marvel at what kind of "success" was represented by ND surpassing Alaska production, as mentioned in another article. LOL.

There is a clear pattern of an anual glitch in that diagram. When in the year does this re-occour? Winter or summer? And why?

It is a major deal...

Image: Thermal plumes from gas flares in Siberia:

Image: Gulf of Mexico:

It is easier and cheaper to do nothing. Total has a system that saves 100,000 cubic meters of gas per day at an installation. That is worth $7000. From there, it has to be transported.

Image: Gas Flare:

Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership:

Total's flash gas compressor:

"The concept of flaring is not only to remove excess gas out of the liquid stabilization process, it is also a very important component for safety measure, i.e. to handle situations in case of any emergency, such as during blow down or relief situation."

Image: Stealing gas in China:

A cigar shape may not be the best shape for that balloon. Careful shaping could use the airflow from flying to increase lift.


Forget Segway: Honda introduces new UNI-CUB personal mobility device (w/ Video)

Honda Motor today unveiled the new UNI-CUB personal mobility device. Featuring a compact design and comfortable saddle, UNI-CUB offers the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking.

... kinda like a bidet on wheels

Wow! Mental image: thousands of ?riders? traveling along IH-635 on UNI-CUBs, in the rain, all projecting their umbrellas forward to protect themselves, meanwhile restricting visibility. One goes down...

NO!!! I will not imagine that...

too late. :>(

Ya gotta love TOD!


p.s.: Does anyone really think UNI-CUBs and Segways are the future? Not even for a trip to the store!

The tourist tours have switched from segways to bicycles - I have not seen a tour guide leading a dozen plus tourists on segways in a couple of years.

OTOH, I do routinely see people in motorized wheelchairs going down the side streets of New Orleans fairly often. Some have a small orange flag on a pole for visibility.

Best Hopes for narrow, 25 mph streets with as many walkers & bicyclists as drivers,


Yeesh.. I hope it gets knicknamed the "PudKnocker", and that people riding it register to our eyes as just as lame as those on Segways..

Yes, I still think there is a role for a variety of Electric Vehicles.. and this is NOT it.

I was brainstorming with my dad last night about the Mobility Scooter/Wheelchair I want to develop for him, and it would be a bit like those European E-Bikes that demand the rider is using the pedals/handles, before applying the electric motor into the drive-train.

Otherwise, I would expect the Pudknocker to be released in a growing range of sizes, to accomodate the passengers as they steadily magnify their 'waste-lines'.

This is actually a DOD program to develop a way to get obese Americans into combat. The military versions will be in camo colors and have a large LCD screen and a PlayStation controller. The cool part is that if you get hit, you just hit a button a re-spawn in 20sec. Just picture it - rows of camo UNI-CUB's rolling off into combat, making the world safe for capitalism.

I... I can see it...

It's like a dreamworld...

This is just an evolutionary step ...

One Step Closer To Wall-E Society With This Kinect-Powered Chair

... now all they need is a built-in flush toilet like in Idiocracy. Wait! ...

No, That Wasn’t The Leather Squeeking

... voilà.

I saw a video for something like this but a combo unicycle, motorcycle, segway that some guy in the NW is building. It does 25 mph. maybe on Barry Ritholtz's blog

Looks like a penguin - in negative! Just wait till a few out-of-control riders have been propelled into a traffic stream.


NIST hydrogen fuel materials test facility starts delivering data

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have published their first archival paper based on data from the institute’s new hydrogen test facility. The paper examines the embrittling effect of pressurized hydrogen gas on three different types of pipeline steel, an important factor for the design of future hydrogen transportation and delivery systems.

NIST: Hydrogen Pipeline Safety

Greeks withdraw $894 million in a day: Is this beginning of a run on banks?

Political leaders in Athens were due to discuss an emergency government Wednesday to deal with a possible run on banks as it emerged Greeks withdrew almost $900 million in a single day, fearing their country could crash out of the euro currency by the end of the week.

At least according to one scenario that I saw, if (or perhaps more accurately, when) Greece goes back to the Drachma, existing Euros in banks would be stamped as "Drachma," and existing Euro denominated accounts would be converted to Drachma.

One would think that a scenario like this may have encouraged the capital flight out of the country.

In any case, it seems to be a game of chicken between some of the newly elected officials in Greece (of course, if I understand what's going on, it's all in a flux right now) and Germany.

Breaking news:

Exclusive: ECB stops operations with some Greek Banks

(Reuters) - The European Central Bank has stopped providing liquidity to some Greek banks as they have not been successfully recapitalized, the ECB said on Wednesday, confirming news earlier reported exclusively by Reuters.

The news sent the euro lower against the dollar, fanning concerns among investors and in Greece that the country may have to leave the euro zone.

Commodities are showing a fairly dramatic drop, excepting grains/food, and natural gas - up about 4 1/2%. Volatility, or realization that this economy is going nowhere but down?

The MIP projection this month once again got the direction right (down) was off slightly on magnitude. Our projected worst case low was 2.35% and it came in at 2.30%. The monthly inflation was 0.30% compare to 0.64% for April 2011.
May is the final month of this up-cycle with May of 2011 having 0.47% monthly inflation. June through December are all either small or negative except August. So as these numbers fall out of the equation inflation should rise for the remainder of the year, especially if the effects of QE2 begin to kick in. This is why the MIP is indicating the inflation rate will decline through May and then begin rising. We have said in other places that it may have taken QE1 longer to kick in because we were in the throes of Deflation at the time. This time the effects will probably be quicker to take hold.

And that is the good news...


Greece will run out of money in 6 weeks, warns deputy prime minister

Greece's deputy prime minister Theodoros Pangalos said he was "very much afraid of what is going to happen" after Greek voters rejected the deal in elections last Sunday.

"The majority of the people voted for a very strange mental construction," he said. "We want to be in the EU and the euro, but we don't want to pay anything for the past."

"We will be in wild bankruptcy, out-of-control bankruptcy. The state will not be able to pay salaries and pensions. This is not recognised by the citizens. We have got until June before we run out of money.

"In the places where the police voted, the fascists got 25 per cent," he said. "They are a serious threat. They have used violence already – you don't know where it will stop.

"You know how it happened in Germany – it started with the Jews, then the Communists, then everybody – it could happen here.

... what is striking about Athens beggars is how clean and well-groomed so many are: not stereotypical street-dwellers, but working and professional people deep down on their luck.

Greek banks may be nearing complete collapse

There are indicators that the run on Greek banks is already over, leaving many institutions near complete collapse. Depositors have pulled out a record amount of money in the last 10 days and there are reports that the ECB is no longer willing to lend to either them or the Greek central bank, which is also in a precarious situation.

Since May 6, depositors fearful over a Greek exit from the Euro have taken more than $6.42 billion out of the nation's banks, with $898 million coming on Monday alone. Prior to this run of withdrawals, Greek banks had lost between 25 percent and 30 percent of their deposits since 2009.

Greece's banks are now believed to collectively owe about $128 billion more than their assets are worth, according to the Financial Times.


Flight to safety: 10-year yield at record low

The Bond Bubble inflates!


Probably more like the end of the run.

Anyone with any sense got their saving out of the Greek banks ages ago, this is more the day-to-day money getting removed.

I wonder if anyone has thought of getting a loan from the bank, then waiting for the bank to collapse and the loan to be converted 1:1 to nuDrachma. Repayment via euros with the 50% devaluation that's expected would net a tidy profit.

Court official to be appointed Greek interim PM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece appointed a senior judge Wednesday as prime minister of a caretaker government that will lead the country to repeat elections next month. The move comes as Greece lurches through a political crisis that has threatened its continued participation in the European Union's joint currency.

Syria Pipeline Explosion to Have No Market Impact, Lynch

An explosion at a Syrian oil pipeline yesterday will have no impact on global crude markets because of the country’s declining output, said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research.

“Syria isn’t a major player in the oil market on a good day and with the current unrest and embargo it’s even less so,” said Lynch in a phone interview from Winchester, Massachusetts. “This is trivial. If the rebels blew up every pipeline in the country nobody would care outside of Syria.”

Reinventing Fire: Amory Lovins Free registration required.

How many people know, for example, that there is now more renewable electricity generation in the world than nuclear? That reliable electricity can be provided by a diverse, distributed, mostly renewable system? That Portugal's electrical generation is already 45% renewable? That the retrofit of the Empire State Building paid for itself in 3 years by saving energy? That carbon fibre electric cars will be for sale next year? That big energy savings are often cheaper than small ones? That peak oil demand may come this decade, i.e. that demand for oil could start to fall before its supply?

And in this Ted Talk he tells us how to get completely off both oil and coal. This Ted Talk is basically a greatly expanded talk of the same subject as the article above.
Amory Lovins: A 50-year plan for energy

Ron P.

Ah, I remember watching a talk from that guy (on Swedish television's "knowledge channel" of all places). I find him quite annoying, with his "where they talk about problems, we talk about solutions" kind of all-American hubris. If the techno-fix attitude could be amalgamated into a person, it would be something like Amory Lovins.

There are all sorts of 'techno-fix' people, however.. so there's a reason to look at the ones who have strong points to offer and are working with tools that can be of real value.. and not just try to amalgamate them all into one class.

Sorry if he's annoying.. I agree that he's got a 'know-it-all' flavor to his presentation, and looks like a classic cartoon caricature of a silly little inventor guy .. but I think you might consider that there are some babies in that bathwater.. be careful before you dump it all out for annoyance's sake.

There are things in their Mission that irk me, and other things that I am very much on board with.

From their Mission-plan.. http://www.rmi.org/Whole-Systems+Design

Whole-System Design: Optimizing Not Just Parts, But Entire Systems

Our lives are embedded in systems: families, communities, industries, economies, ecosystems. The machines we rely on are also systems, which have increasingly profound effects on the human and biotic systems around them.

Understanding the dynamics of systems is integral to RMI's approach. Not only does systems thinking point the way to solutions to particular resource problems, but it also reveals interconnections between problems, which often permits one solution to be leveraged to create many more.

but I think you might consider that there are some babies in that bathwater.. be careful before you dump it all out for annoyance's sake.

Yes there are babies in that bathwater, babies, babies and more babies. What you are talking about is the very thing Craig Dilworth points out with his Vicious Circle Principle

Key to this whole process is our constantly meeting vital needs through the application of new forms of technology to both renewable and non-renewable resources, combined with the fact that there have to date always existed resources amenable to that development....If technological development were truly an aid to the survival of the human species, it would not have led to the elimination of a significant part of the population's resource base, only to have replaced by an inferior substitute. There is something wrong with the development of technology in the hands of humans...."

As the link I posted above says: "Biodiversity has decreased by an average of 28 percent globally since 1970 and the world would have to be 50 percent bigger to have enough land and forests to provide for current levels of consumption and carbon emissions."

There is no techno-fix for declining biodiversity. But there are lots of babies.

Ron P.

There are also a lot of tools, including the one YOU are typing on today, the ones you cooked with today, or went to the store with.

The convenient sneer behind calling any improvement a Techno-fix is that it gets you off the hook for taking any responsibility for the Techno-Blunders that you are still using.

Amory Lovins has designed houses so efficient that they don't NEED furnaces or air conditioners in them, and the added insulation costs are directly offset by NOT having to install all of the large environmental equipment. Both economically and environmentally beneficial, right out of the gate.

Who knows if this will help save any species at this point??.. but really, is that special for you to grumble about people who are figuring out what they can do to make these things clearly better performing?

Look at HEREINHALIFAX's work. Is that a 'Techno-fix', and should only be gauged on whether it has fixed all the devastation we've wrought, or could we please acknowledge and praise the people who are doing work that can be categorically shown to reduce carbon emissions, and by considerable amounts at that?

Bob, I do not place blame (responsibility) nor do I take blame. Telling it like it is does neither. What I was trying to imply was that techno-fixes, along with techno-blunders are all part of the vicious circle that allows us to continue to destroy the planet and... sooner or later... bring calamity down upon ourselves.

But... I could not help notice that you declined to even acknowledge my point, you only accused me of sneering at techno-fixes.

Who knows if this will help save any species at this point??.. but really, is that special for you to grumble about people who are figuring out what they can do to make these things clearly better performing?

Really? Had you bothered to read the link I posted, Overpopulation and the Vicious Circle Principle----by Craig Dilworth, you might have understood my point. But I can understand you not bothering because it is about six or seven pages long. But it is a very good summary of his 450 page book: Too Smart for our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind Anyway, from the link. Bold his:

The vicious circle principle (VCP) is both easy to understand and in keeping not only with modern science but also with common sense. Briefly put, it says that in the case of humans the experience of need, resulting e.g. from changed environmental conditions, sometimes leads to technological innovation, which becomes widely employed, allowing more to be taken from the environment, thereby promoting population growth, which leads back to a situation of need. Or, seeing as it is a matter of a circle, it could for example be expressed as: increasing population size leads to technological innovation, which allows more to be taken from the environment, thereby promoting further population growth; or as: technological innovation allows more to be taken from the environment, the increase promoting population growth, which in turn creates a demand for further technological innovation.

If I had used the term "technological innovation", as Dilworth did, would you still accused me of "sneering"? I was not sneering, I was making a valid point that these "technological innovation" fixes only extend the vicious circle, allowing our population to keep growing, other species to keep disappearing until they will most all be gone, and finally causing the total collapse of our 7, or by then 9 billion human civilization.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Ron P.

Unfortunately, the "vicious circle" encircles us completely, no matter how much we might
wish we were part of a solution rather than a part of the problem.

Rationalization are us.

I'm afraid I did not have time to read the linked article, but the exerpt seems to have made that point well enough, and it is apparently summarized with the ASSUMPTION that any and all technology has the same net effect.. I don't believe it's nearly as simple as that.

I have tools from my grandparents that will be in fine shape to hand to my daughter or her kids someday, and I don't think the extraction of those resources can be given the same devastational weighting as the cheap, chrome-plated walmart Kitchen Utensils that are being sold down the road. They will be dull or bent in a few months and landfill in a couple years. Same goes for all manner of things we build.. some of the better creations are there precisely to Take LESS from the Planet, both in their operation and in their end-of-life schemes.. like a well-made house that doesn't produce GHG or CO2..

Not every cycle we engage in is Vicious. Not every consequence is a downgrading of the world. That VCP sounds like a theory that is about as pessimistic and overbroad as the recurring claims of Jeavon's Paradox, taking a couple unique observations and exploding it into a law deriding any attempt to improve efficiency, performance or behavior.

RON Said;
"I was making a valid point that these "technological innovation" fixes only extend the vicious circle, allowing our population to keep growing, other species to keep disappearing.." - the Validity of the point has yet to be proven. When you say 'THESE' Techn. Fixes, do you really think this statement somehow covers all 'Technological Activity' .. That's simply intellectually dishonest. I'd swear it on my grandpappy's axe, my mom's Electric Chainsaw and on the very reasonable and shrinking amounts of wood that gets cut with them.

Wise choices with tools and their uses are possible.

IMHO, there is no moderation, based on technical and practical reality, is his proposals.

For example, carbon fiber is "nice" but it is far from perfect - see the problems Boeing has had with the 787 (which is more expensive per kg than cars, etc.). And Boeing had built aircraft that were 15+% carbon fiber before the 787.

Repairs to minor "ramp rash" were a major issue at Boeing.

Now, he assumes that all cars will be build out of carbon fiber.

Cars do routinely get more collision damage than aircraft, they sell for far less per kg, etc.

Ignoring these details of implementation hurts the usefulness of his ideas.


I've heard about the high quality of the Lovins "projects" for many years. What I've never heard about is any of his ideas making their way into improving the lot of ordinarly people or having any impact on major environmental problems or human misery. What am I missing?

The take home message is to do nothing and keep burning fossil fuels [wink]

The take home message is be practical and use mature technology as the default.

A lot of his projects (why the quotes?) have been to make buildings and systems that work far better by reapplying familiar components in unexpected proportions to do so.. here is a snippet from their site.. it is substantially different from what most of us have been puzzling over here for several years?


In his last TEDTalk filmed in 2005, Amory Lovins laid out an ambitious plan to wean the U.S. off oil. In a followup article published by CNN in 2010, Lovins describes progress made in translating these ideas into private sector innovations.


Our addiction to oil remains a central threat to our economic health, security, and environment. I, for one, was less than thrilled to spend $62 to fill up my Jetta Sportwagen this morning. But this is only one of many signs that we are nearing a tipping point where alternatives to fossil fuels can compete. In this context, RMI has again armed the market with a new vision through Reinventing Fire. This time, we show not only how to end our reliance on oil, but coal and nuclear as well.

Do those apply to Environmental and Human Costs and Our Energy Future? I think so.

I'm not sure why I used quotes! That was yesterday;>)

I have seen enough of Lovins work to appreciate that he has a highly optimistic view of how human society can be improved with application of technology in areas of improved efficiency of resource use.

But I still haven't seen any indication that his work has reached any widespread application that would matter in the very areas where he seems to have spent a huge effort.

Yep. I love the work they do there at RMI but they need to be a bit more realistic and economic. Not all of the ideas work effectively such as using carbon fiber in all new cars. At this point, the time/cost of carbon fiber just cannot compete with stamped steel panels.

They need to prioritize . . . carefully analyze all their ideas and then take the top 5 that make the most economic sense and push those 5 like crazy.

One of the design philosophies Lovins talks regularly about in his buildings, and presumably throughout his designs, is to 'have every component possible serve multiple functions' .. allow for and encourage the compounding advantages that develop from this. This part of 'systems thinking' in his approach seems like it wouldn't go well with your 'Pick the top five and push them like crazy' .. it's the multifaceted approach itself that has allowed him to find ways to make involved and cross-connected systems have better economics than the world where a house, for instance, is built by separate specialists who don't have the time, expertise or budget to tie their system in with the others where they can share resources, structural components, feed off each other in various ways.

This is a form of biomimicry that I think makes a lot of sense. It does take more time and hence money to design, but once better compound designs are in place, then reproducing them becomes easier, and he shows how these compound elements are replacing numbers of separate pieces, making the energy and materials and space consumed by making them 'all' become considerably less.

Like with McDonough, I don't think he's 'all about carbon fiber' or other such materials and concrete endoints, as much as he is about reworking the development process and the thinking behind our designs.

However, this approach (which I do myself0 can be carried to impractical extremes. Things that are too complex to build and/or operate without detailed knowledge. And it can optimize one goal without optimizing a balance of goals.

What I have seen of their work, seems too "extreme".

One example, carbon fiber cars. In the real world they have collisions. Repairs are not considered AFAIK.


Could well be, Alan.

As with the challenge up above about 'what is he doing about human misery?' .. I am not defending Lovins because I think he has all the answers and covers every base.. but instead that he has some great points from a good (engineering) perspective, that should be brought into the conversation.

But I do think he could also answer any concern you brought up about Carbon Fiber. I don't know that you would necessarily accept his answers, but he doesn't slough off on the details. He jumps right into the comments after articles about him and takes questions the way RR does. Calm and Factual.. the Barbs and Counterjabs are all in the Data.


As an engineer who also spends a lot of time in hand-on work, I find that people often fail to understand systemic complexity. While an individual concept/product/process may seem simple, often that is deceptive. We tend to think people of the past didn't do certain things because they had not figured it out, when often it was because they lacked the ability to support the required systemic complexity. The future need not (and won't) be just like the past, but people of the past had much more experience functioning at lower levels of complexity than we do.

If you want to tell Lovins that he doesn't understand systemic complexity, feel free, just let us watch the debate, ok?

And what would be the point of such a thing? I've little interest in getting in between a cornucopian and his visions.

Thermoplastic panels would be better. write them off then recycle them.


The Think City car used thermoplastic panels. The Think City's main problem was too high of a price but I don't think the plastic panels helped them. I liked them but I think they suffer an image problem . . . people don't want to drive "A plastic car". Never mind that it is a great material that is cheap, lightweight, and easy to repair. A plastic car is viewed as a toy car.

That was one of the concepts that was supposed to make GMs Saturn car special. They dropped the idea after just a few years.

Amory and RMI do some good things. OTOH, Amory has a tendency from time to time to say things that are completely outlandish. One that I remember in particular was his claim that China could have Japan's standard of living on one-tenth the per-capita energy consumption. He had to back off from that one, admitting the neither he nor anyone else had any serious ideas about how to provide Japanese levels of modern medical care, communications, employment, pensions, and in-country transportation -- once all of the energy requirements were factored in -- at anything close to that level of energy consumption.

People like Amory Lovins or Craig Dilworth or TOD'ers are conscious about their ecological footprint. IMO such people are rare, evolving technology would probably be safe in their hands but not in the hands of most people who don't care two hoots about what's happening to the Orangutans in the forests of Indonesia.
Most here would consciously give up their cars to ride a bike and not because they can't afford a car, tell me how many people do that. In the end it's the nature of things, no one's blaming anyone.

There was a discussion about INTP's and INTJ's in the last thread, it all comes down to that.

Dept. Of Interior Finds 72 Percent Of Offshore Acreage Leased By The Oil Industry Is ‘Idle’

The Department of Interior released an updated analysis of fossil fuel leases today, finding that more than two thirds of offshore leases and half of onshore leases are sitting idle — “neither producing nor under active exploration.”

In the lower 48 states, an additional 20.8 million acres, or 56 percent of onshore leased acres, remain idle. Furthermore, there are approximately 7,000 approved permits for drilling on federal and Indian lands that have not yet been drilled by companies.

The report, “Oil and Gas Lease Utilization, Onshore and Offshore Updated Report to the President,” explained that oil and gas companies hold thousands of undeveloped leases. Despite holding these inactive leases, the oil industry continues to demand the opening of new, previously protected federal lands and waters areas to drilling.


"The resulting road damage will cost tens of millions of dollars to fix and is catching officials from Pennsylvania to Texas off guard.'' I don't like being harsh with my Yankee cousins but: Please stop whining. First off, there has been nothing about frac'ng that has caught "Texas off guard". Frac trucks have been a common sight running down our roads for over 50 years. We have weight restrictions but that certainly doesn't mean those loads don't add to the wear. But we also charge permit fees to roll heavy trucks and, additionally, the state and counties have collected many $BILLIONS from the oil patch through severance taxes. And if I drill in a municipal area, as I did a year ago near Beaumont, I had to get a permit from that little city AND put up a $250,000 bond to cover any potential damage I might do to their roads. Fortunately, I didn't damage the roads and got my bond back. And the city will get their share of the severance tax from the well as will the state.

The citizens of Texas have never subsidized the oil patch. In fact, they've gained greatly from the process. And I'm not just talking about the jobs. When Texas was booming the severance tax and royalty income to the state paid for 100% of our university system. My tuition FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL cost less than $400 for the year. Unfortunately, PO caught up with Texas as it will with every producing region and that income has fallen. But it's still significant. OTOH Pennsylvania has never charged a severance tax on oil/NG production. I suspect they have college students going into tens of thousands of $'s of debt to state schools there now. I estimate that if PA had charged the same severance tax just for NG as Texas does today they would have collected almost $400 million just during 2011. And $billions in the future. $billions would do a lot of road repairs...and then some. I'll never understand how the PA citizens allow their politicians to give the oil patch such a huge financial break. Texas has one of the friendliest political system for the oil patch and if any politician here suggested not charging us severance tax they would literally be tarred and feathered. LOL.

I don't enjoy paying severance taxes, road fees, putting up bonds or spending many $millions to properly dispose of nasty fluids. But it doesn't bother me either...just the cost of doing business. And none of those costs have ever stopped me from drilling a well. I've explained this all many time to various Yankee cousins. I've sent letters to the editors of different publications in PA and NY. So far I haven't seen a single word about fixing this problem...just more endless whining. I give up. If they won't push their politicians to make changes then they deserve exactly what they get IMHO.

Hey Rockman -

Nice rant !

I do have to think though that maybe the policies you describe from Texas may actually be relics from a time when there were still a few marbles rattling around in the "collective" consciousness. In general now though, both north and south, we have taken leave of our senses and as Westexas often describes it "are all going insane - just at different rates..."

I suspect the propoganda machine has subjected the masses in PA and elsewhere to an Orwellian approach whereby it just wouldn't be right to "punish" the "job creators" with undue "regulation" and stifle growth with ever higher unnecessary "taxes" that will drive the industry to greener pastures... In fact that sounds almost like a communist even suggesting such a thing. Instead real Americans should embrace the destroyed roads that they paid for with their tax dollars and thank God for the great capitalists who have given them this opportunity to have vast pools of gas under their feet - always remember poverty (yours) is really wealth (theirs).

I doubt grassroots organizations stand a chance in hell of getting "job killing" severance taxes invoked through governments that have been STACKED clearly in favor of industry. I fear you may be speaking of a past (and maybe, in some instances, present) way of doing things that you are used to but is simply not the way things will be done in the future where honor, mutual benefit, and some notion of collectivism are just not part of the equation in the business / political realm. What you say is clearly common sense - it just seems that common sense has less and less impact when there are profits to be made...

Cat - The rules in Texas and La. aren't relics at all. In fact both states, especially La, are continually changing the game and hitting the oil patch with more regs and costs. In La. I have to pay 100's of $thousand for wet lands restoration that I didn't have to do years ago. In Texas, the commissioners of the TRRC run for election...elections going on right now. If any of the sitting commissioners are in the mood to retire all they need do is float the idea that the TRRC should start collecting less $'s from the oil patch: the voters will gladly retire his ass on the spot.

Nope...I stick with my original rant: if the Yankee voters are too ignorant/lazy to elect politicians that would treat the oil patch like they do in Texas then they deserve to get screwed IMHO. Taxing the oil patch doesn't kill jobs. And it doesn't stop us from drilling. Recent history in Texas since the '08 recession proves that without a doubt.


I notice (about 10 times a day) political ads from one of the guys running for TRRC commissioner. His main spiel is that "if you vote for me I will ensure that we used advanced recovery methods in Texas and gain more independence from foreign oil".

My question - Are you waiting around for a commissioner to tell you about advanced recovery techniques that you never knew about? (I think I know your answer :-) )


TE – I’ve seen those ads when they start but I typically tune them out instantly so I had no idea what he was pitching. Given that the voting public is pretty happy with the system now there isn’t much to spin for him. And yes: when we shelved our deep NG plays when prices collapsed we’re going after secondary oil recovery via horizontal week bores. Developed the idea over ten years ago. A lot easier to sell the idea with current high oil prices.

Rock, what you say is a really good political talking point that should be used in the new fracking states. Assuming the Texas regulations are good, those states that lack regulation should just say "We are going to adopt the regulations used in Texas . . . etc.". Then how are people going to complain? Are conservatives going to complain that the Texas state government is run by a bunch of anti-oil tree-hugger hippies?

Spec – Excellent point. And it would be so easy. The TRRC web site isn't just some fluff piece. It has all the detail that every company has to follow. Just copy all the forms and regs, change the name from TRRC to what they call their state regulatory agency. And for goodness sake: don’t hand over the environmental regs to the EPA. That’s what KY did. I’ve drilled in KY and there was zero oversight to what I did to the environment. The EPA didn’t even have an office in the state that watched the oil patch: I filed my paper work with their office in Atlanta.

Well Rock - I'll definitely defer to you on all matters oilpatch (and fracking) related. I was wondering how often the requirements got updated and new taxes etc. got added to the mix. Now I know that it appears to be a constantly evolving process.

I will also admit to a high level of ignorance when it comes to the situation in PA - only that I have read of several instances of shenanigans that make me believe that the political climate would be far from favorable as far as trying to get industry to be accountable or pay their fair share for much of anything.

I am more familiar with the situation in New York - here the taxation issue is also a non-starter but for a completely different reason. The anti-fracking organizations here seem hell bent on seeing that it never even gets far enough where the topic of severance taxes would even need to be raised. Maybe they have this idea sitting as a Plan B but I've heard not indication of that.

I do like the suggestion by speculawyer that the Texas model be used as the example to essentially shame other states / municipalities that think of themselves as so much more progressive to come to their senses and do at least what the crazy conservatives in Texas are doing :)


Cat - Much of what the TRRC and DNR (La's TRRC) is about these days falls into the category of "if it ain't broken don't fix it". LOL. Take frac'ng: Texas faced the same problems my Yankee cousins are dealing with today. But we faced them decades ago and adjusted the rules to mitigate the problems as much as possible. In the bad ole days in Texas the oil patch did behave badly. Over time the rules evolved. PA and NY are essentially struggling to invent the wheel. Hey guys...we got wheels in Texas now...come take a look. LOL. The surface and mineral owners also have another big stick in Texas: civil courts. Texas courts are just as tough on the oil patch as the TRRC. You get caught breaking the rules, even if it's an accident, you're going to pay big time. Our judges run for re-election just like the TRRC commissioners. And the public has a lot more votes than the oil patch.

But there's also some common sense included in the process. The TRRC has a number of incentive programs that reduce the tax burden to encourage certain types of activities. They are not subsidies...they are decreases in tax burdens to make less economically viable projects viable. If the anti-frac'ng folks think keeping taxation off the table will help their cause they are very, very wrong IMHO. When the brown/black outs start coming on a regular basis those wells will be drilled. Or maybe they would rather pay the current Asian rate for LNG, $15/mcf, instead of much lower domestic costs. We both know the answer to that.

Now, let's pick on my PA cousins in detail. From http://www.fractracker.org/2011/06/what-if-pennsylvania-had-the-same-sev...

"Taking the self reported data at face value, we are now looking at a hypothetical severance tax of $246 million for all formations (for just one year). While that won’t solve the budget problems either, it would be enough to preserve the jobs of thousands of teachers throughout the Commonwealth". And as he says elsewhere: "That may not be enough to plug the gaping hole in Pennsylvania’s budget, but it would at least be enough to fill a few potholes."

For Corbett it is strictly a teabagger thing. No taxes and no regulations. Someone here may have said it first, "tea parties are for little girls with imaginary friends".
Rock, do the TRRC Commissioners actually do much or have the rules been in place for 40 years and staff enforces them? Do they have the same influence as FERC Commissioners? Also how many of them get appointed by the Gov. when one leaves between elections. Of course the only election in Texas for them or judges is the Republic primary. And lastly don't all federal issues go to the very friendly 5th Circuit in New Orleans?

P.S. TABC laws are almost identical to CFR.

nat - The rules are fairly well set in stone and work well equally for everyone's benefit. So not much fiddling with them. But enforcement of the rules is a very active role of the TRRC. But the commissioners are as much figure heads as anything IMHO. The staff that's there year after year runs the show. And they are the ones that rule with an iron fist. In over 30 years I've never dealt directly with a commissioner. But I've had many battles with the staff. And seldom have I ever won. Especially with the La DRC...their TRRC. When you lose a battle with those folks there is no appeal. You either comply fully or they'll fine the heck out of you. Break a serious rule and they'll never let you operate in Texas again. Drilling in Texas is considered a privilege bestowed by the state...it's not a right.

And I always like reminding folks what law enforcement agency handles those nasty situations for the TRRC: the Texas Rangers. Years ago I helped the state attorney general bust a boiler room selling a bogus drilling deal to small investors. Still one of my biggest regrets was not being there the day Texas Rangers hauled off the two managers in handcuffs. They actually explained the scam fully to me. They assumed since I was oil patch I wouldn't have a problem with them stealing from folks. They were wrong. LOL.

America’s Future Under ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’

... The United States’ prolonged unwillingness to develop a long-term, sustainable energy strategy has left us with a daunting challenge—the need to run a 21st century economy using 20th century energy sources and infrastructure. Our energy choices, or lack thereof due to the dominance of fossil fuels, have caused irreparable damage to the environment and public health, have caused our country to forego countless economic opportunities, and have made us far more vulnerable to fossil fuel price volatility than ever before. Not to mention that our relentless inaction on climate change mitigation and adaptation has left every state’s communities, local economies, and natural resources at risk.

Things could have been different if, back in 2012, we had not made far-reaching choices about our energy future by choosing leaders who prioritized the short-term profitability of Big Oil over the long-term goal of developing a 21st century energy agenda. The result was an energy strategy focused on increased domestic production of a few fossil fuels rather than a more balanced approach including truly low-carbon energy sources and energy efficiency.

In short, we doubled down and chose the path of “drill, baby, drill.” We opted out of every opportunity to innovate and build a 21st century energy infrastructure and instead chose to maintain the dirty status quo of the 20th century.

Which begs a crucial question for all Americans to consider: What kind of country will we be in in 2030 if we let Big Oil and their interests in Congress have their way?...

Introduction & Summary (pdf)

Full Report (pdf)

Ancient tree-ring records from Southwest US suggest today's megafires are truly unusual

"It's true that global warming is increasing the magnitude of the droughts we're facing, but droughts were even more severe during the Medieval Warm Period," Roos said. "It turns out that what's driving the frequency of surface fires is having a couple wet years that allow grasses to grow continuously across the forest floor and then a dry year in which they can burn. We found a really strong statistical relationship between two or more wet years followed by a dry year, which produced lots of fires."

According to the Smokey the Bear ad I heard on the radio yesterday, 9 out of 10 wildfires are started by people. Which in my mind means they aren't wild. I would imagine that wildfires would be quite a bit rarer if lightning was the only ignition source.

As the article points out, it's the opposite. We suppress natural fires, because we don't want them burning our valuable timber, recreational areas, and homes. That means a build up of flammable material to levels that never existed in the past. Eventually, a fire comes along that we cannot control, and it burns much hotter than it would have had we not interfered.

That is correct. And the worst part is that the hotter fires kill the trees, whereas 'natural' fires would have removed excess materials, produced conditions needed for seeds to be released for new growth, and provided ash to work into the soil for greater fertility!

If we had the common sense of moss, we would do better than we do.


Its really just the combination of short term thinking and lack on imagination. All that grass growing in between the trees -what a waste -let my cows at it, and it will control your grass fires too! Same thing with fire suppression, suppress today, simply means a bigger fire tomorrow.

Cuts both ways individual fires would be rarer, but total acerage burned in any individual fire would go up.

That being said there are places people should just not be allowed to build, or more exactly should not be allowed to be insured by corporations or the government.

My goodness - we still have these debates in Victoria (Australia) every year ... arguably the most bushfire-prone province in the entire world. Control burns versus no burns, planning laws to prevent building in high-risk areas or not, the role of insurance companies, government agencies, emergency services, media, etc. And it all matters - we had 180 people killed on 7 Feb 2009 - one of a long line of major fires.

Sumatra faces yet another risk -- major volcanic eruptions

... a new study, funded by the National Science Foundation, shows that the residents of that region are at risk from yet another potentially deadly natural phenomenon – major volcanic eruptions.

Researchers from Oregon State University working with colleagues in Indonesia have documented six major volcanic eruptions in Sumatra over the past 35,000 years – most equaling or surpassing in explosive intensity the eruption of Washington's Mount St. Helens in 1980.

Volcano. This is a bit OT, but I think is interesting enough to be of worth.

Kokomo - The Beach Boys

The song Kokomo was recorded in 1988 and in it are the lyrics "Martinique, that Montserrat mystique"

Approximately 7 years later...


In July 1995, Montserrat's Soufriere Hills volcano, dormant for centuries, rumbled to life and began an eruption which eventually buried the island's capital, Plymouth, in more than 12 metres (39 ft) of mud, destroyed its airport and docking facilities, and rendered the southern part of the island (the "exclusion zone") uninhabitable and not safe to travel in. The southern part of the island was evacuated and visits are severely restricted.

Inhofe Staffer Asks Oil Lobbyist ‘Partners’ For ‘Better Coordination And Communication’

In an April 23 e-mail acquired by National Journal, a staffer for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) called on the industry to utilize their partnership to coordinate attacks on the White House:

... Senate Republicans, who led a successful fight this spring against Obama’s proposal to repeal billions of dollars in tax subsidies enjoyed by major oil companies, felt betrayed by the industry’s collaboration with the White House on fracking regulations. The e-mail to top oil and gas lobbyists made that unhappiness clear, and it suggested that the industry was being duped.

“Moving forward, we—your partners—would kindly ask for better coordination and communication from you to prevent the Obama administration from pulling similar stunts in the future,” wrote Inhofe aide David Banks in the 800-word e-mail to two dozen lobbyists.

also As Congress Continues Its Witch Hunt, Here Are Five Things You Should Know About Clean Energy Investments

Common fungicide wreaks havoc on freshwater ecosystems

... Biologists Taegan McMahon and Jason Rohr, co-authors of the study published in the journal Ecology Letters, report that chlorothalonil killed amphibians, snails, zooplankton, algae, and aquatic plants below estimated environmental concentrations previously deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The loss of these herbivores and plants freed the algae from predation and competition, which eventually resulted in algal blooms that were similar to the effects of eutrophication.

"Some species were able to recover from the chemical assault, but the ecosystem was fundamentally changed after its exposure to chlorothalonil," Rohr said.

"In addition, to reducing biodiversity and altering ecosystem functions, chlorothalonil reduced the decomposition of waste, an important service that freshwater ecosystems provide to humans," McMahon added.

also Study suggest chemicals in the environment could threaten male fertility

New research from the University of Glasgow, in collaboration with academics in Edinburgh, Aberdeen (James Hutton Institute and the University of Aberdeen) and INRA (France) has shown that fertility in a subset of men could be threatened by chemicals that are routinely found within our environment.

Male fertility (human) is the last thing on earth I am worried about.

Crews battle to contain raging Arizona wildfires

Crews battled to contain wind-whipped Arizona wildfires on Wednesday that have raced across 27 square miles of parched ponderosa forest, brush and grassland, consuming several buildings and threatening a small town, authorities said.

Oil-shale companies tout research projects

SALT LAKE CITY — A small company that holds a federal lease to extract petroleum from oil shale reserves in western Colorado is taking a new approach to withdrawing crude oil from solid rock — one that it hopes will avoid groundwater contamination.

Within weeks, the company will send a pool of oil down a well and blast it with hot fuel gas. The boiling oil will heat up an underground zone about 50 feet wide and 50 feet deep to more than 600 degrees.

... American Shale Oil, with just three employees and half a dozen consultants, is a joint venture of French oil company Total S.A. and Newark, N.J.-based Genie Energy Corp. It plans to spend more than $100 million on the research effort. Burnham said it's just as expensive to pump liquid crude from deep and remote parts of the world, and that oil shale could eventually prove profitable.

... "Humankind has got to have energy," he said.

A government and industry watchdog group called the Checks and Balances Project has chronicled failed oil-shale efforts since the 1920s. It expects American Shale Oil to do no better.

Here is a 2005 essay by Randy Udall and Steve Andrews:

Oil shale may be fool's gold


"All hype aside, oil shale is the poorest of the fossil fuels, containing far less energy than crude oil, much less even than hog manure, peat moss or Cap'n Crunch. A meager amount of energy, tightly bound up in an enormous volume of rock, oil shale seems destined to remain an elusive bonanza, the petroleum equivalent of fool's gold."

My comments:

My view is that the doubling in annual global crude oil prices from 2005 to 2011, which corresponded to collapsing real estate values in the US, especially in outlying suburban areas, provides all the evidence necessary to conclude that the US auto-centric suburban way of life is dead, but like many of the ghosts in "The Sixth Sense" movie, most of us don't know our auto-centric suburban way of life is dead, and we only see what we want to see.

From the perspective of the past paradigm of the endless construction of suburbia, I agree. But for existing suburban developments I'm more optimistic. It's just a matter of resolve and initiative.

I do not think it is desirable - good public policy - to repair & adapt the bulk of Suburbia. Good money after bad. Very poorly built (major repairs in just 20 to 30 years), poorly designed (in detail - individual McMansions, in toto - cul de sac & strip mall urban form) and poorly located.

Just move the people that want to live in TOD (at least 30%, more likely 50+%) to new, energy efficient TOD, mostly in urban areas,and scrap vast stretches of Suburbia. A better and wiser public policy.

Best Hopes for a Repeat of 1950-1970+ in reverse,


I call it "Suburban Triage."

Unfortunately, many "doomers" have bought into the fossil fuels industries' propaganda regarding Renewables (maybe to sell books?)

Well, maybe some people don't agree with you.

I do not think it is desirable - good public policy - to repair & adapt the bulk of Suburbia. Good money after bad.

Then how about bmiller and friends try it out for/by themselves?

In any case, I question how much is all that great with so-called public (gov't) policy.
People might prove better off taking a second look at and supporting a bmiller-style project at the local, community level.

A McMansion or 4 can be disassembled and used to renovate other types nearby into something really cool, with some true environmental and architectural integrity. Besides, many of the are sitting empty, co-opted by the banksters...

Maybe some suburban Occupiers, recent evicts and/or The Bmiller Crew could perform a disappearing act:

"McMansion? Here? I dont recall seeing any McMansion here. You're sure it was here? Have you got the right address?" ;)

Indeed, time will tell.

"Genie Energy Corp" - perfect. I wish, I wish, I wish...

Is something happening they ain't tellin' us about ...

AP IMPACT: Evacs and drills pared near nuke plants

Without fanfare, the nation's nuclear power regulators have overhauled community emergency planning for the first time in more than three decades, requiring fewer exercises for major accidents and recommending that fewer people be evacuated right away.

The revamp, the first since the program began after Three Mile Island in 1979, also eliminates a requirement that local responders always practice for a release of radiation.

At least four years in the works, the changes appear to clash with more recent lessons of last year's reactor crisis in Japan.

Under the new rules, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which run the program together, have added one new exercise: More than a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, state and community police will now take part in exercises that prepare for a possible assault on their local plant.

These changes, while documented in obscure federal publications, went into effect in December with hardly any notice by the general public.

also Radiation-blocking potassium iodide pills to be available from Salem County Health Department

Last week, the health department distributed the potassium iodide pills, also known as KI, to residents living within the 10-mile radius from PSEG Nuclear’s three reactors in Lower Alloways Creek Township.

and despite what researchers at MIT believe from their mice studies in yesterday's post, actual long-term [50 yr] studies on humans paints a different picture. ...

New Goddard’s Journal: Landmark study presents “strongest evidence to date that cancer risk not only exists at low doses of radiation, but may be even greater per unit of dose than at higher doses” (VIDEO, 16 min.) [very good explaination of the study]


More from the AP story

The latest changes, especially relaxed exercise plans for 50-mile emergency zones, are being flayed by some local planners and activists who say the widespread contamination in Japan from last year's Fukushima nuclear accident screams out for stronger planning in the United States, not weaker rules.

None of the revisions has been questioned more than the new requirement that some planning exercises incorporate a reassuring premise: that no harmful radiation is released. Federal regulators say that conducting a wider variety of accident scenarios makes the exercises less predictable. [like Fukushima]

However, many state and local emergency officials say such exercises make no sense in a program designed to protect the population from radiation released by a nuclear accident.

"If it were me, I would evacuate" even without an official go-ahead, said Cheryl L. Chubb, a nuclear emergency planner with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, who is critical of the changes.

... The Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry's main advocate, strongly backed the eight-year timetable to reduce the burden of adding the attack exercises.

Makes perfect sense - just like in Japan, they have no intention of evacuating people. It costs too much, and the injuries won't show up all that fast. People will be left to cope as best they can, and the rates of illness can be covered up and ignored for quite some time. Just like with everything else, you're really on your own to pay attention and take care of yourselves, although it's much better to have a group of people of like mind to help with the watching.

Reminds me of my chilhood and 'civil defense':


There was a turtle by the name of Bert
and Bert the turtle was very alert;
when danger threatened him he never got hurt
he knew just what to do...
He'd duck! [gasp]
And cover!
Duck! [gasp]
And cover! He did what we all must learn to do..
You! And you! And you! And you!
[bang, gasp] Duck, and cover!

They can just recycle Bert --

"Duck! Tape! and cover your ass;"
"You know what to do, my laddy and lass!
[shows Bert retreating into his shell, duct-taping himself inside]
"Hey, Bert! Don't forget your KI pill!"

Officials are as clueless now as they were then.

Evacuation plans are just a public relations ploy. The NRC still uses a circular "bull's eye" for evacuation planning when it's been know forever that the real risk depends on which way the wind is blowing. You can be two miles away upwind and safe to stay or 50 miles downwind and need to move. Forced evacuation from a bull's eye zone crowds evacuation routes unnecessarily.
Of course after an accident happens, the first move by government is to increase the amount of "safe" radiation levels. The Japanese government tried to hike it 10 times for reopening grade schools but had to retract that when parents started screaming about it.

Even as a (small but bright) child in the 60s I used to wonder whether the US was powerful because they were smarter than everyone else, or they had just become smarter than everyone else because they had their empire ...

Then I saw the "Duck and Cover" videos, and from then until until now I have known - these are just f*cken ridiculous stupid people who happen to have the big guns and bombs. Nothing in the last 50 years has changed my mind.

Energy News (ENENEWS) website is a source for all the latest horror stories from Fukushima and points east:


Gundersen: Move south of equator if Unit 4 fuel pool goes dry, that’s probably the lesson there — Like cesium from all 800 nuclear bombs ever dropped on Earth, except all at once


I’m telling my friends on the [US] west coast, you gotta watch it like a hawk everyday get up and make sure Unit 4 is standing… if it’s not, have a plan B to move somewhere.

I wish it were easier to evaluate the scare stories -- if accurate, they're well worth attending to. If not, well, something to watch out for . . .

Tokyo to Seattle is 4750 miles. Tokyo to Chicago is 6250. Will the added 1510 miles keep you safe?

"Tokyo to Seattle is 4750 miles. Tokyo to Chicago is 6250. Will the added 1510 miles keep you safe?"

Don't forget the two intervening mountain ranges. They scrub the air quite well.

Unlocking the Crude Oil Bottleneck at Cushing

... Cushing is now best known as a bottleneck for the energy industry: Oil rushes in, but trickles out. There are now more than 44 million barrels of oil stuck in Cushing, a record, and 60 percent more than was stored there just five months ago. Overall U.S. crude inventories now sit at a 21-year high.

Plutonomy and the precariat: On the history of the US economy in decline

The current US economy is built on 'growing worker insecurity' - people who are too busy and poor to make demands.

I'm not going to glean the good parts of that article, because the whole article is great. I highly recommend reading it. Disturbing yet accurate assessment of the US.

From the article:

In 2005, Citigroup came out with a brochure for investors called "Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances". It urged investors to put money into a "plutonomy index". The brochure says, "The World is dividing into two blocs - the Plutonomy and the rest."

Citigroup's Shocking 'Plutonomy' Reports

In a report called "The Plutonomy Symposium Rising Tides Lifting Yachts," Ajay Kapur, Citigroup's global strategist, says the balance sheets of the rich are "in great shape, and will get much better," which is why he recommends going out and buying stocks of companies that cater to that very select market.

Spending by the uber-rich overwhelms that of the average consumer and helps explain why the U.S. economy has continued to do well and the U.S. dollar hasn't collapsed even in the face of the current federal budget deficit, a negative savings rate, global imbalances and high energy prices, he says. The United States is one of the plutonomy countries countries whose economies are powered by a relatively small number of rich people.

- Angela Barnes, "Want wealth? Invest in the uber-rich," The Globe and Mail, October 2, 2006

I have an archived pdf of the original brochure, although posting it may be hazardous-- Sqribd has removed it; "This content was removed at the request of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP"

Wow, a minor percentage of the population is so wealthy it powers the US economy, in spite of other leading economic indicators lagging! And the political push is to skew it in that direction to an even greater extent via Mitt. Another giled age in the making.

Guiled indeed.

Ghung -

The report is still up at: http://cryptome.org/0005/rich-pander.pdf

Plutonomies have occurred before in sixteenth century Spain, in seventeenth century Holland, the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties in the U.S. What are the common drivers of Plutonomy? Disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist-friendly cooperative governments, an international dimension of immigrants and overseas conquests invigorating wealth creation, the rule of law, and patenting inventions. Often these wealth waves involve great complexity, exploited best by the rich and educated of the time.

We project that the plutonomies (the U.S., UK, and Canada) will likely see even more income inequality, disproportionately feeding off a further rise in the profit share in their economies, capitalist-friendly governments, more technology-driven productivity, and globalization.

Most “Global Imbalances” (high current account deficits and low savings rates, high consumer debt levels in the Anglo-Saxon world, etc) that continue to (unprofitably) preoccupy the world’s intelligentsia look a lot less threatening when examined through the prism of plutonomy.

In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie. Consensus analyses that do not tease out the profound impact of the plutonomy on spending power, debt loads, savings rates (and hence current account deficits), oil price impacts etc, i.e., focus on the “average” consumer are flawed from the start.

Tomgram: Barbara Ehrenreich, Looting the Lives of the Poor

Gordon Gekko, the infamously cutthroat capitalist and lead character in Oliver Stone's Wall Street, captured the heady years of the 1980s with a single, indelible line: Greed is good. Today, it is Edward Conard, a friend and former colleague of Mitt Romney's at the private equity firm Bain Capital, who has offered a new mantra for the 1%, a cri de coeur for the Gekkos of the twenty-first century: Inequality is good.

In his new book Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong, Conard argues that gaping income inequality is an indication of a healthy economy, not a sick one. The more unequal we are, Conard told the New York Times Magazine, the better off we all will be. Why? Because economies grow and thrive when smart people devise solutions to our thorniest problems by inventing or perfecting goods and services. ... And the way to encourage that risk-taking is the promise of obscene wealth for those who succeed (and, implicitly, dismal poverty for those who don’t).

How obscene should that wealth be? In 2008, the top 1% commanded 21% of all income in America. Conard says our society would improve if only that figure were doubled.

- Preying on the Poor: How Government and Corporations Use the Poor as Piggy Banks

Protests Planned for Bilderberg Meeting

The Bilderbergers-comprised of powerful individuals from a plethora of industries including banking, politics, business and academia-have long favored secrecy and utmost privacy, and have done their best to stay out of the spotlight. ... despite the existence of the website and yearly press release, most of the Bilderberg group’s agenda is highly secretive, which is actually in violation of the Logan Act in the United States-a law that bars American citizens and representatives of foreign governments from conducting business in secret.

The Bilderberg’s leaked documents prove that the notion of the Euro single currency was laid out by the Bilderbergers in the mid-1950s. A 2003 BBC investigative team confirmed this. And we all know how well the Euro is doing.

The more unequal we are, Conard told the New York Times Magazine, the better off we all will be. Why? Because economies grow and thrive when smart people devise solutions to our thorniest problems by inventing or perfecting goods and services.


According to [right wing] theories the [working class] needed no higher education and the whole nation was to be turned into uneducated serfs for the [top one percent]. The only schools that remained opened were trade schools and courses for factory workers.

Journalist Robert Parry participated in a conference entitled, “From the Pentagon Papers to WikiLeaks: A Transatlantic Conversation on the Public’s Right to Know,” sponsored by the Heidelberg Center for American Studies in Heidelberg, Germany.

How the US Press Lost Its Way

The 70's ... It was an unsettling time for the rich white men who held most of the levers of power. And these folks were not about to cede power easily.

... the CIA’s decades of political and media manipulation in the Third World and even Europe gave Nixon’s allies a playbook for how to neutralize opponents and steer a population here at home.

So, they set out to do just that. America, which had often targeted other countries for manipulation, was about to get a taste of the same medicine. It may seem odd to explain what has happened over the past three-plus decades as the result of a well-orchestrated intelligence operation. But step back for a moment and take the name United States out of the equation. Think of it as “Nation X” or as, say, Chile in the 1970s.

Think how the CIA would target a country with the goal of shoring up a wealthy oligarchy. The Agency might begin by taking over influential media outlets or starting its own. It would identify useful friends and isolate troublesome enemies.

It would organize pro-oligarchy political groups. It would finance agit-prop specialists skilled at undermining and discrediting perceived enemies. If the project were successful, you would expect the oligarchy to consolidate its power, to get laws written in its favor. And eventually the winners would take a larger share of the nation’s wealth.

... Privately, the ... team had a name for what they were up to in their domestic propaganda schemes. They called it “perception management.” The idea was that if you could manage how the American people perceived events abroad, you could not only insure their continued support of the foreign policy, but in making the people more compliant domestically. A frightened population is much easier to control.

Noam Chomsky has a book titled "Manufacturing Consent".

Studies offer cities advice on tackling climate risks

... "There is a very real danger that we will spend a large amount of time and money on legislation ensuring that all new buildings comply to the very highest standards, whilst forgetting that at least 80% of the buildings that make up our city today will still be in active use in 2050 and urgently require major adaptation work carried out on them if they are still to be usable then."

EV battery swaps intended for long hauls

Better Place (BP) is a California-based company, founded by Israeli-born Shai Agassi in 2007, whose mission is not only to wire the world for electric vehicles, but also to do it with a unique twist: battery swapping. The concept is simple enough: Instead of relying solely on charging stations that take six hours or so to juice up an EV, drivers have the option of swapping the batteries in an automated process that takes about five minutes.

Instead of buying a battery-powered car and then figuring out how to charge it - public stations, home unit? - customers have a one-stop transportation solution with BP. In Israel, customers buy "electric miles," paying BP roughly $32,000 (the Israeli price) each for the cars, leasing the batteries and buy charging plan that gives them access to the company's public network and the swap stations. The general rule of thumb is that you'd use home or public charging for commuting and errands, battery swapping for longer trips.

US gas giant works to avoid Israel electric shortage

JERUSALEM — Noble Energy is to hook up two small natural gas fields to Israel's central gas supply to avoid electricity shortages over the summer due to the cut in Egyptian supplies, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Israel currently generates 40 percent of its electricity from natural gas and until last year, Egypt provided 43 percent of its gas supplies

We will indeed have energy independence by 2020. Given the ELM, we may not be importing any oil at all by then. And we still import 58 percent in terms of BTUs. We also won't be importing uranium due to the end of megatons to megawatts. Coal and gas will also have declined somewhat by then, even with fracking. Drilling for gas is now at a 10-year low, so gas prices will soon be going up, and coal is declining, now just 36% of U.S. electricity. We are powering down before our very eyes, and as we power down, there will be more articles like this that call for "energy independence." Indeed. In a decade, we may be 100% energy independent, except perhaps for small amount of oil and gas from Canada. By then, it will be like mad max. North Dakota is still only 575,000 barrels a day, and will be 1 million around 2017-2020. We use 17.5 million a day, and by then probably 12 million, so that would still be only 8%. Shale gas is a bubble that is about to burst, and there are signs that we are now past peak for shale gas, since it isn't economic and is loosing money, and declines 90 percent in the first year. The conventional gas peak was in 1973, and conventional continues to decline. Do these people really think that fracking is causing energy independence? It is mostly recession and lost jobs, and that trend will continue for decades to come, until we have a 19th century lifestyle.

The dive in natural gas prices seems to have created a huge increase in negativity towards the economics of shale gas. I'm seeing things repeated over and over again that have some basis in truth, but seem to be based on very biased interpretations, and these tidbits seem to be repeated as if they were ironclad truth. The reality, as usual, is nuanced. I would like to comment on some of this negativity. My job forces me to be very involved with the economics of unconventional reservoirs (not just one of them, ALL of them, including shale gas).

Zachary, I don't want you to think I'm picking on you, but your post (and the Dizard FT article) was the last I read before I decided to respond, so this is nothing personal. First, you've made two seemingly contradictory statements:

Drilling for gas is now at a 10-year low, so gas prices will soon be going up

Shale gas is a bubble that is about to burst, and there are signs that we are now past peak for shale gas, since it isn't economic and is loosing money

So perhaps the reason some people are thinking what you stated in the second quote is because of what you stated in the first quote? In other words, are we having this conversation if the current price of natural gas were currently $6?

The industry got greedy, there was irrational exuberance, over-investment, undeserved hype, and it went into overshoot. YES, that's how we got to $2 gas. But that does NOT make it a bubble, at least in the long term. $2 gas is the equivalent of $12 oil on a BTU basis. I don't think there's an oil reservoir left in the world profitable at $12.

Second, shale gas is not anywhere near its peak. Dry gas production has dropped because of prices, not reserves. There are only two plays (Barnett and Woodford)that have had significant infill activity and are probably at their peaks. The Antrim could also be included, though that basin is normally excluded from these conversations.

Third, this "90% decline in the first year" has been repeated since the Haynesville bust in 2009 and it is rarely qualified. Only extreme cases have 90% declines (it's typical in tight oil, but that's another discussion), and the wells that actually do decline that rapidly are often the most prolific in terms of initial rates because of localized geology. They're declining from much higher initial rates than a "normal" shale gas well, so those wells will usually produce more over their lifetimes. "Normal" declines for dry gas wells are 60-80%. Yes, that's still high compared to conventional gas wells, but their production profiles are much different. "90% decline in the first year" implies exponential decline when nearly all shale gas wells are extremely hyperbolic, much more so than conventional wells. They flatten and produce at a very gradual decline for years.

I'm sorry for the rant. No, shale gas is not the answer, but I'm convinced it will help . Ideally, the net energy (and profit) from shale gas can be used to build a more sustainable energy economy. It's one of the few plentiful energy sources we have left to build renewable infrastructure on the scale and with the speed necessary to avoid collapse. That's my ivory tower view of it anyway. It has favorable EROEI (shale oil/tight oil does not), and I'd be very willing to share my model with anyone who is interested.

de la tierra,

Thanks for your informed input here.

I am beginning to investigate this summer's outlook for gas production, consumption and storage capacity in the hopes of writing a follow up piece to Gas Boom Goes Bust.

I would love to contact you directly for any additional data or information you might direct me to.

My email is jonathan at mazamascience dot com.



dlt - I agree...fractured shale plays will help to some degree. But more so for the consumers than the companies drilling them IMHO. But yes, as long as the public oils have the capex they'll keep drilling the shale plays. They have no other choice IMHO.

And here are some of the numbers you might like to see. From production reported to the TRRC by the companies drilling the Eagle Ford Shale. Wells first produced during March 2011 and produced through thru March 2012

81 wells with complete data. Total March 2012 prod: 539, 651 bo and 1,149,094 mcfpd. A per well average for March 2012 = 200 bopd and 458 mcfpd

Decline over the first 13 months of production of the 10 wells with the highest initial production rate:

950 bopd/329 bopd...a 65% decline

987 bopd/428 bopd...a 57% decline

790 bopd/233 bopd...a 71% decline

725 bopd/507 bopd...a 30% decline

602 bopd/326 bopd...a 46% decline

565 bopd/216 bopd...a 62% decline

537 bopd/130 bopd...a 76% decline

472 bopd/132 bopd...a 72% decline

553 bopd/105 bopd...a 81% decline

606 bopd/210 bopd...a 65% decline

Thus the average decline for the first 13 months of production for these 10 best initial producers that went on line in March 2011 was 6,787 bopd falling to 2,616 bopd. Or an average decline of 61%. These 10 best wells averaged 262 bopd in March 2012. The average of all 81 wells for the same month was 200 bopd. Obviously many of the 81 wells were doing significantly less than 200 bopd.

Those 81 wells produced 6.1 million bo and 14, 271,544 mcf during that 13 month period. Using the typical lease royalty and severence tax that nets about about 4.4 million bo and 10, 275, 511 mcf. At $100/bbl and $3/mcf that equals a total income of around $470 million. Just a rough estimate but I've heard the average EFS well, including lease, drilling and frac'ng costs runs around $6-7 million...and sometimes a good bit more. So those 81 wells cost around $490 million to $570 million. Which means the wells will pay out in a bit more than 14-16 months. As a metric that's not a bad number historically at all. But that's for conventional reservoirs that usually produced the majority of their recovery after payout. The one metric that can't be denied is that the shale play wells produce the bulk of their URR just to get their money back. Which is why the pubic oils have to drill new wells as fast as possible to keep their cash flow up. The problem for some, like Chesapeake, is that this continuous drill effort is sucking them dry of capex faster than their cash flow can rebuild. And the lenders are starting to get nervous about sinking more money into some of the companies.


jonathan - The bloom may be about to fall off that Eagle Ford rose shortly. I've heard rumors about companies planning to cut way back on their scheduled drilling. They typically tell the service companies working for them before they make pubic announcements. An insider just told me that one of the bigger service companies in the trend is about to pull the trigger and lay off as many as 3,500 of their hands. Time will tell if this is an isolated case but I suspect not. It's one big daisey chain out there for the service industry: if one crumbles them most follow behind to some degeee.

From EOG release on May 8, 2012: "our confidence level in the Eagle Fordis very high. Even after we implemented denser spacing earlier this year, individual well performance remains remarkably stron.In fact, based on ongoing completion refinements, 3o day crude oil production rates from recent wells have increased, Papa said."


Also about a week or so ago MRO paid 750 million for 17, 00 acres of privately held acreage in the Eagle Ford. or about 44,000 dollars per acre.


No doubt EOG is making a profit in the Eagle Ford. Probably doing better than Chesapeake but I still estimate CHK is making a modest profit on the whole from their EFS effort. But it is still amazing how folks get excited with the cherry picked numbers that the pubcos put out. It's important to understand how oil production is reported to the TRRC to appreciate the stats. Oil production, unlike NG, isn't reported by the well but by the lease. So we have to take EOG's word that the #4H Henkhaus has produced 130,000 bo. And I have no doubt they are telling the truth. But they apparently don't think it's important for folks to know how the other 5 Henkhaus wells have done: all 6 wells have produced a total of 231,123 bo as of March 2012. Thus the average EOG well has on this lease has produced 38,521 bo. Sorta like the guy who brags about hitting a home run and doesn't mentioning the other 6 times he struck out. Does every know that besides being a home run leader Babe Ruth typically was also the strike out leader most seasons?

The details of EOG's production from the Henkhaus lease serves as a good example of the problem all the EFS players face: high depletion rates. When EOG put the first Henkhaus well on production it produced 627 bopd. And today the lease is producing even more: 3,299 bopd. But that's coming from 6 wells so the average per well is 549 bopd. That's still damn good. But understand that the last couple of wells are probably doing a couple of thousand bopd (as the EOG press release brags) with the earlier wells doing 100 bopd or less. That's why EOG et al can't stop drilling. As a wise man once said: "Depletion, like rust, never sleeps." Also the other point in their press release represents a good news/bad news situation. They are reducing the spacing on their wells. The good news: they can drill more wells on their existing leases. The bad news is that they've calculated their wells are draining a smaller area than was assumed initially. Otherwise you wouldn't drill an expensive new well to drain an area already being drained by an existing well. And that also means the recovery per well will be lower than they had planned.

Again, if you've read my other posts I'm not an EFS doomer. But I am a realist. I've been doing this for 37 years: I'm immune to the hype. LOL. As I said I think even CHK is still making some profit in the EFS. The one great economic edge of the EFS is that the high initial flow rates allow a quick payout of the capex investment: 12 to 18 months. That's always been consider a very attractive metric in the oil patch. Again the bad news: a conventional oil reservoir might payout over that same period of time but use up only 5% to 20% of its URR to reach that point. But the fractured shale reservoirs will typically produce the bulk of their URR just to reach payout. A conventional water drive oil reservoir may come on at 500 bopd and 5 years later may still be doing 400 to 500 bopd. But there is a solid production history proving that an EFS well that comes on at 500 bopd will likely be producing about 50 bopd after 5 years or so. Both wells would be profitable but the unconventional shale well adds very little future value to the company. EOG et al obviously show increasing revenue for a good reason: they have no choice but to drill faster than their existing wells decline. There's a reason these companies are paying $10,000 to $30,000 per acre for leases that could have been taken for $300/acre just 4 or 5 years ago: they have no choice. Paying several $million for a lease to drill one well is something I hope I never have the opportunity to brag about. LOL. They have to drill more wells because they keep drilling more wells. And there's one absolute in the oil patch: you can't drill a well if you don't have the lease. If the EFs players don't pay the price demanded by the landowners then they don't drill. If they don't drill their y-o-y asset base shrinks. And if that happens there's no sizzle and Wall Street will kick them to the curb. Which appears to be exactly what's happening to Chesapeake since they are having a problem coming up with the capex to keep the drilling treadmill going.

But bottom line IMHO: the shale plays are good news for the consumers (more production), good news for the oil patch service companies (making $billions every month) and good for the operators (they have something to drill in order to grow their reserve base). The bad news for some of the operators is that they are hitting that financial wall where they don't have the capex to keep expanding their drilling efforts to stay ahead of the decline curves. Remember the goal of any public oil company isn't to maintain a static asset valuation but to expand it. If they aren't increasing their reserve base why would you expect the stock price to rise? And if you don't expect stock value to rise why would you buy it?

Thanks for the data, rockman. Based on the cumulative oil and gas production, it looks like those 10 wells you looked at are mostly volatile oil or very rich gas. Those are indeed the best wells and they are very economic. The black oil wells (gor less than 1200 scf/b) seem to be the problem, which does take some of the bloom off the rose. The hype started as smaller operators went after the highest ip's, and I think the quick drawdown damages the completions, making the high declines even worse. Statistically, they are still mildly economic at $100/b, but not enough to sustain development in the southern half of the efs oil window. I think operators in the northern half of the oil window (eog included) are going to be fine though.

The dry gas wells are nice, though very have been drilled in the last year for obvious reasons.

dlt - You're welcome. I was also a bit surprised about the big NGL yield. As they typically garner a higher price they'll help the bottom line. I don't pay much attention to the EFS except for inputs to TOD.

I think I confuse folks some times as I appear to shift between fractured shale cornucopian vs. doomer. It just depends on the perspective I'm taking at the moment. For Petrohawk the EFS was a huge success: they got $12 billion selling out to BHP. OTOH NG is selling for about half of what it was when the trade was made. The oil revenue is still nice but BHP took a substantial hit on NG sales.

The service companies are doing great making $billions every month. The profit, or lack thereof, from the EFS doesn't affect their profits at all. OTOH I'm starting to hear about those same companies planning big layoffs. So eventually if lower profits slow up drilling it will negatively affect them. The rig count doesn't show it yet but I keep hearing of operators telling the service companies that they'll start dropping rigs soon. One company said they were dropping from 40 planned wells to 8.

It's great for the consumers. Consider what happened to the dry NG drillers in east Texas. Did a lot of damage to Chesapeake and Devon...almost put them out of business. But look at what all that drilling did to retail NG prices. Terrific if you're a NG burner but not so much if you're a producer. For the oil companies it's difficult for me to judge what shape they are really in today. The viability of the shale plays for them goes way beyond the simple drilling/production economics IMHO. Cash flow and borrowing base appear to developing into equally critical factors with respect to perpetuating the pace of operations.

Sorta like the story about the group of blind men and that elephant: how happy you are depends upon which part you end up holding on to. LOL.

via the Energy Buletin...

Familiar echoes in shale gas boom - John Dizard - Financial Times

If this were another real estate bubble, then construction could just slow or stop for a few years while the courts sorted out who should get what from the wreckage. Unfortunately, given the increasing dependency of the US on gas-fired power, it will not be possible to stop. Given the steep decline rates of shale gas wells, compared to conventional wells, drilling will have to continue. Prices will have to adjust upwards, a lot, to cover not only past debts but realistic costs of production.

U.S. energy independence is no longer just a pipe dream

It is also a struggle to do away with a guilt trip that is hidden in plain sight.

Various officials on TV news and elsewhere, point out that Saudi Arabia bankrolled 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.

They go on to point out that the DOJ did not go after Saudi Arabia because we are addicted to their oil. The government is and has been covering this up.

If we get free from the Saudi Arabian oil addiction, we can get rid of a means of oil blackmail.

Various officials on TV news and elsewhere, point out that Saudi Arabia bankrolled 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.

That is extremely misleading. That implies that the Saudi Arabian Government funded 15 of the 19 hijackers. Perhaps 15 of the 19 hijackers were funded by Saudi Arabians like Osama Bin Laden. That would be far more correct.

Ron P.


These statements are from an ongoing federal court case where many insurance companies are suing Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia government officials, including royalty.

I was not so presumptuous to decide the case for that federal court, and neither should anyone else.

I was just going over the evidence submitted, under oath, by a former member of the 9/11 Commission, and the Chairman of the Senate oversight investigation that was contemporary with the 9/11 commission.

They are the ones that said Saudi Arabia, the country, was involved at the highest levels. They were the ones who said it was because of Saudi Oil that they were not punished, but other countries that had nothing to do with it were.

Others who backed them up were CIA, investigative journalists, and family members of those killed.

The links in my comments go back to the court documents and videos of the matter on national television.

EDIT: Link to videos (bottom of page).

OPEC oil exports continue to recede, per 'Oil Movements'

OPEC Reduces Shipments as Asian Demand Drops, Oil Movements Says
By Grant Smith - May 17, 2012 11:30 AM ET

OPEC will export 23.88 million barrels a day in the four weeks to June 2, compared with 24.3 million in the period to May 5, the researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The data exclude Angola and Ecuador. Shipments have dropped since April 21, when they reached their highest level since the Libyan uprising began in February last year, according to the company.

“It’s essentially a decline in east-bound sailings from the peak they hit in April, as the peak maintenance period is this month,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by telephone from Halifax, England. “But the bubble hasn’t deflated and we’re still well above a year ago. Now we’re in the second half of the quarter, which means from here it’s upwards to the summer peak.”


I don't agree with the last sentence above and my comments from last week still apply:

'Oil Movements': March/April OPEC export surge ebbs

Any European Travel Plans This Year?

My wife and I have been to Europe eight times over the past two decades or so, and we were planning on going to Spain this fall. My wife's family is from Spain, and we have never been there.

However, given the speed at which the Eurozone appears to be coming apart, I have begun to wonder if we have taken our last European vacation, at least to the Southern countries.

I was wondering if anyone else is rethinking travel plans.

I'm also reminded of something my (then) joint venture partner told me circa early 1999, when monthly oil prices were around $10. He said he was implementing a simple rule regarding expenditures: If he couldn't eat it, he didn't buy it.

I've been taking "last chance before the crunch" trips to Europe for 5 years now.
I would not put a trip off on account of this. Even if things heat up, you're talking about Spain, where they pioneered the Occupier tactic.

I've never considered not going, until now.

I'm going abroad this year for an event i've always wanted to go to. But that will probably be the last time for a long while. Flying is an expensive, irritating pain in the ass, half of europe is in a right mess and frankly there are plenty of trips and weekends away that I can have without ever leaving the country.

There are good values in Europe plus people eager for business. I have been in Europe a lot over the last 30 years and find the Spanish to be some of the most hospitable in the world. However,strikes, like France in October of 2010, can be aggravating.

US Envoy to Israel: US Ready to Strike Iran

JERUSALEM (AP) — The U.S. has plans in place to attack Iran if necessary to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, Washington's envoy to Israel said, days ahead of a crucial round of nuclear talks with Tehran.

Dan Shapiro told the Israel Bar Association the U.S. hopes it will not have to resort to military force. "But that doesn't mean that option is not fully available. Not just available, but it's ready," he said. "The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it's ready."

Iran attack decision nears, Israeli elite locks down

... As the deadline for a decision draws nearer, the public pronouncements of Israel's top officials and military have changed. After hawkish warnings about a possible strike earlier this year, their language of late has been more guarded and clues to their intentions more difficult to discern.

"The top of the government has gone into lockdown," one official said. "Nobody is saying anything publicly. That in itself tells you a lot about where things stand."

... "I think they've gone into lockdown mode now," the senior Western diplomat said. "Whatever happens next, whatever they decide, we will not find out until it happens."

May be related to the recent activity in several U.S. cities regarding potassium iodide distribution and pre-placement of radiation monitoring equipment

also Vulnerability of populations and the urban health care systems to nuclear weapon attack – examples from four American cities (pdf)

It would certainly give the masses something to focus on besides the economy, and keep the MIC busy (we don't need a bunch of unemployed ex-military moping around :-0

They could also blame the coming oil prices/shortages on short term conflicts rather than some peak oil reality.

One can only pray that our leaders aren't that sociopathetic.

Never ceases to amaze me how willing the US is to risk reprisal for protecting Israel. Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to protect them if we simply gave them part of some US state and moved them all here?

Creating Israel in the USA would not magically bring Jesus back.

Yes, that is the level of thinking that guides our foreign policy.

That is a good idea: give them Alaska. Hamas and Hisballah have promised not to go hunting the jews in Alaska.

It's not human nature to give or accept land, but to keep a "homeland". As evidenced by the fact that wealthy Arab nations have allowed in millions of guest workers, but refused to provide a home to palestinian refugees when they numbered in the thousands. And despite the fact that the refugees had nothing much in the way of a life to look forward to, they still had a ton of children, so now the scope of the problem continues to worsen.

After 1000 years the Jewish people still wanted their ancestral lands, yet others had the same lands. It's an intractable and illogical issue. Maybe as well as "tribes" we also are wired for "tribal lands"?

I don't think that's really accurate. One, the guest workers are supposed to leave. Allowing guest workers is very different from allowing people to move in permanently. Two, nations have accepted Palestinian refugees. Jordan has accepted so many that it has caused serious environmental damage and stressed their water supply to the brink. (Just because there so many more people.) One third of their population is Palestinian refugees. I'd say they've done their part, especially given their vulnerable desert environment.

People do get attached to "homelands," but I think we are equally wired to travel. Our ancestors spread across the globe very fast, which suggests we aren't all that attached to a homeland. I suspect in the future a lot of us are going to just have to deal with moving. Particularly in the US, where our relatively short history has led us to build in unsustainable areas.


Economy in doldrums and oil at $150. It's not that hard to imagine I guess.

Here is one I hope AlanfromBigEasy might comment on:

Last month, the citizens of Baton Rouge, LA, voted to raise their taxes to preserve and expand their struggling bus system. The landmark measure will nearly double transit funding — saving the system from meltdown while laying the groundwork for dramatically improved service.

When I visited Baton Rouge and New Orleans last year there were tracks with running trains just blocks from my friends' house which traversed Baton Rouge. And of course the Rails are easily visible from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to run frequent Light Rail on which Gov Bobby Jindall killed.

Any comments from a Green Transit expert from the Big Easy Alan?

$3 Billion and Counting: JP Morgan's Loss Grows by 50% in 5 Days

When JP Morgan announced a shocking $2 billion loss, chief executive Jamie Dimon admitted the amount could double to $4 billion by the end of the year. Instead it has increased by 50% in a matter of days. Two billion has become $3 billion, as hedge funds and other investors "have fueled faster deterioration in the underlying credit market positions held by the bank," DealBook reports.

It is, as Conor Sen quipped on Twitter, "like a BP oil spill in derivative form."

Doubled Trouble More Midwestern Extreme Storms

The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Natural Resources Defense Council have released a new report, Doubled Trouble: More Midwestern Extreme Storms, which starkly documents how much heavy precipitation has increased in the Midwest and sheds new light on the devastating and costly floods that have hammered the region, especially in recent years.

Notable results of the study include:

•The annual frequency of three-inches-plus storms increased by 103% from 1961 through 2011, while for storms of at least two inches but less than three inches in a day, the trend was an 81% increase; for storms of one to two inches, a 34% increase; and for smaller storms of less than one inch, a statistically insignificant 8% increase.

The frequency of extreme storms has increased so much in recent years that the first 12 years of this century included seven of the nine top years (since 1961) for the most extreme storms in the Midwest.

•A different way to present the same data is in the graphic at the top of this page, which shows the average number of storms per decade, compared to a 1961-1990 baseline.

It's pretty clear no extent of data can change people's minds about the topic of AGW/climate change, particularly in the midwest. What we have to accept is the capability of people to overwhelm this type of problem with a mind over matter attitude. As these folks walk waist deep in flood waters, it only acts to entrench their belief of no AGW. The more liquified the crisis, the more solidified the denial. Absolute pure thought level entrancement is the goal here. A purity of concentrated myopic focus the world has never seen before.

Tidal power gets a stormy birth off coast of Scotland

On paper, it looks like a blindingly obvious idea: take a version of a wind turbine and plant it on the seabed so that its blades spin in the flow of the tides and so generate electricity.

... The first challenge is the weather. This is an unbelievably harsh environment in which to build anything, let alone manage a vast fleet of tidal machines beneath the waves.

Next, Scale. If each Hammerfest machine delivers its advertised 1MW of power, then wouldn't you need 1000 of them to hope to match the output of a typical gas or coal-fired power station?

'Extraordinary' operation to install water turbine off Orkney

Giant tidal turbine 'performing well' in tests off Orkney

But if they can get it to work, it will provide more or less 24/7 base load power, which is one of the big problems the anti.renewables brigade always promote as insurmountable.

Of course, there are only a few tidal channels in the world where the flow is this large and steady.

50 metres down there is very little weather.

Kent nuclear waste bunker proposal considered

A bunker used to store nuclear waste from all over the UK could be built in Kent, under a council's plans.

Shepway District Council is examining whether a nuclear disposal facility, where waste is buried underground, could be built at Romney Marsh.

The authority said it could bring jobs to the area as Dungeness A and B power stations are phased out.

Seabed test mimics carbon dioxide release

Scientists are beginning a month-long experiment in Scottish waters to study the impact of a possible leak from an undersea carbon dioxide storage site.

Capturing CO2 from power stations and burying it under the seabed is viewed as an important global warming fix.

"We want to study what happens if there is a leak from a carbon capture and storage (CCS) reservoir - or more likely, from a fault in a pipe or at the injection site," said Henrik Stahl from the Scottish Marine Institute in Oban, who is in charge of the project.

INSIGHT: Peak, pause or plummet? Shale oil costs at crossroads

Occidental Petroleum was among the first major U.S. oil drillers to make a big bet on the resurgence of domestic production, spending billions to grab oil patches from Texas to North Dakota.

Now, ... the California-based energy giant is beset by escalating labor costs in North Dakota, which has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Other material costs have surged and new environmental regulations could add to the burden. The cost of bringing one Bakken well into production has grown from an average $6.5 million in 2010 to $8.5 million in the first quarter this year, data from company reports and the state regulator show.

"We got a lot better places to put money right now than the Bakken," Occidental CEO Stephen Chasen said on a conference call with analysts late last month. "That's why I'm slowing it down."

... The nationwide cost of drilling and other well services for oil and gas wells has risen 22.5 percent since October 2009, hitting a five-year high in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Producer Price Index (PPI)

... EOG Resources says it is spending $500,000 less on each Eagle Ford well after it started using sand from its own mines in north-central Texas and Wisconsin. The company says its well costs in the south Texas play average $5.5 million per well, giving it a $1.5 million edge over other operators there.

Brazil Navy investigates new oil spill off coast

An oil spill was discovered off Brazil's coast near the country's Espirito Santo state, Brazil's Navy said on Thursday, the latest in a series of spills that have raised questions about the safety of a massive expansion of the country's oil production capacity.

Oil workers returning home after work offshore said there was an oil stain about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) long on the ocean near the P-57 oil platform operated by Petrobras, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, the Folha de S. Paulo daily newspaper reported.

The P-57, a converted oil tanker, works in the Jubarte field about 85 kilometers (53 miles) off Brazil's coast. Jubarte produced 186,000 barrels of oil per day in February, or about more than 8 percent of Brazil's total oil output of 2.1 million bpd, according to Brazil's oil regulator, the ANP

No fuel shortage expected with Regina refinery fire

REGINA — The cause of Tuesday night’s refinery fire in Regina is being investigated by the city’s fire department and Federated Co-operatives Ltd., but it is expected there will be no impact on the availability of diesel fuel as farmers begin seeding.

“We just want to reassure people, if they’re thinking, ‘Uh oh,’ and are concerned about a diesel shortage, that it’s not the case,” said Vic Huard, vice-president of corporate affairs at Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

... It is the second blaze in seven months at the refinery.

Preppers Beware: Gas Can Manufacturers Warn of Shortage During 2012 Hurricane Season

... The Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association is spreading the word that "supply chain issues" could "threaten their ability to meet consumer demand" this season.

A chief member of that association has been Blitz USA, which says it manufactures around 75 percent of those red plastic gas cans sold in the United States. But last year, Blitz went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. "If the company's reorganization efforts fail," the association says in a release, "there will be a severe shortage of consumer gas cans as early as this summer."

Annual Arctic sea ice less reflective than old ice

In the Arctic Ocean, the blanket of permanent sea ice is being progressively replaced by a transient winter cover. In recent years the extent of the northern ocean's ice cover has declined.

... They find that though the albedo of snow-covered winter seasonal ice is the same as that of multiyear ice, the equivalence fades rapidly with the summer thaw. They find that seasonal sea ice albedos experience seven distinct phases: cold snow, melting snow, pond formation, pond drainage, pond evolution, open water, and refreezing. Though the albedos of seasonal and multiyear ice experience similar transitions, the rate and extent for the two types of ice vary drastically with the potential for a large effect on the Arctic Ocean energy budget.

The authors find that over the course of one melt season nearly 40 percent more energy would enter an ocean system with seasonal sea ice cover than one with multiyear ice.

Australasia has hottest 60 years in a millennium, scientists find

... "The models showed that prior to 1850 there were not any long-term trends and temperature variations were likely to be caused by natural climate variability which is a random process," he said.

"But [the modeling showed] 20th-century warming significantly exceeds the amplitude of natural climate variability and demonstrates that the recent warming experience in Australia is unprecedented within the context of the last millennium."

Annual average daily maximum temperatures in Australia have increased by 0.75C since 1910. Since the 1950s each decade has been warmer than the one before it.

Re: Art Berman webinar, any comments?

I thought that Art's ASPO-USA presentation on shale oil plays was excellent. Any comments from anyone else? And do you like this format?

Hi Jeffrey,

I couldn't catch the presentation. My day job doesn't make it possible. Is there any chance that some format/review of the webinar can be posted somewhere. I know that is a lot to ask, just wondering.



I believe that ASPO-USA members have access to recordings of all the webinars.

Berman's Presentation

It was excellent. Being an engineer - I really appreciate his presentation style. Very factual - with a good balance of the up and downside of the shale oil plays. What was telling to me was the ongoing large capital expenditures required in the shale plays and the data showing the decline rates (30-40%) that are evident in both Eagle Ford and the Bakken. He had an excellent graph showing the overall production from both plays of the wells that are over a year old. The nosedive in production is rather breathtaking.

The ASPO Webinars are a winner.

Under the every little bit helps banner...

Apple Data Center Will Be Totally Green by 2013

Apple Inc. (AAPL), targeted by Greenpeace International over its energy consumption, said its 500,000- square-foot data center in Maiden, North Carolina, will be powered entirely by renewable sources by the end of the year.

The move, announced today on Apple’s website, follows protests at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, and elsewhere. Greenpeace demonstrators criticized the world’s largest technology company for using too much coal.

None of three Apple’s data centers -- including an existing facility in Newark, California, and one being built in Prineville, Oregon -- will use power produced by coal, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said in an interview.

See: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-17/apple-data-center-will-be-total...


Small Wind Farms to Grow as U.S. Tax Incentives Expand

I've been scanning some Righter's history, "Wind Energy in America" and Yergin's "Quest" where I find that small US wind got its start back in the 1920's with the Jacobs Wind Electric Company, founded by Marcellus Jacobs. Jacobs sold highly reliable wind turbines to isolated farmers, and even one to Admiral Byrd's pole expedition. The firms sold upwards of thirty thousand 2.5kW to 7.5 kW turbines until, ironically, the government interfered with the Rural Electrification Administration which marginalized the business. The government giveth, and the government taketh away.

Among antique radio collectors (I'm one) there's a niche for the old 32-volt DC "farm radio" models that most radio manufacturers marketed in the 1930s before rural electrification. I understand they can be quite dangerous to work on.
I'm sure they were a "modern wonder" in their day.

Thanks for the post. I had no idea.

"And now the farm radio story:"
Post #14


The danger might come from the "hot chassis" inherited from/by modifying A.C. radio designs like the "all American five". It sounds, however, like the highest voltage in many 32-volt DC farm radios was the 32V from the windmill-charged batteries.

Tubes that worked off only 32V for the plate voltage. What will they think of next.


12U7 http://frank.pocnet.net/sheets/127/1/12U7.pdf

Who knew?!

Integrated tubes:
This one always fascinated me. Just before the transistor wiped them out, ways of making micro-fabricated arrays of tubes were being developed.
Made of diamond:

For all

I'm looking for a way to lower a large basement room summer temperature from 60-65 ambient to about 50, just a drop of 10-15 degrees. My thought was an air conditioner should do it, but found they have lower thermostats of 65 degrees. Apparently, heat pumps face the same problem of the coil freezing up, or so I was told. There must be a better way than walk in coolers and such major refrigeration.

One question: Why?

Also, dropping temps that low in a portion of the house can cause condensation issues. Unless you create a full vapor barrier (foam?) the floor above will sweat unless you control humidity upstairs.

Fruit storage. Cherries, peaches, apples later. Humidity isn't an issue usually here, but thanks for the heads up.

Ahh, root cellaring..

What is the ground temp in your area? Ever consider running pipe below ground to dredge up some (relative) cool? (Carried in either water or in air? I suppose you've seen my mention of the COOL TUBES that my family used in a passive solar house back in my younger days..


.. or, if you're willing to entertain other notions, there is the possibility of building the 'clay-jar cooler' idea on a larger scale, using evaporation and insulation to get your temperature drop.


Canning generally makes the most sense when root-cellaring. Mechanical air conditioning is energy intensive and expensive. Put the money into a good canner, a bunch of jars and lids, etc.. Lasts for generastions; I still use the pressure canner my mom got as a wedding gift in the 40s, and jars that may be 40 years old. Apple sauce,, yum!

Now that Leanan has opened a new DB, and this one is old hat, seems silly to reply, but...

We still can extensively, but surplus goes to freezing. It's just too easy.

With apple sauce, yum, we barely cook them, so that large chunks are still unbroken. Then freeze in gallon bags. Makes a nice "substantial" sauce. Cherries, just pitted, are frozen whole. Some may have been rolled in a cup of sugar, my wife's favorite, but not necessary. Last yr's novelty, which some vineyards related, was taking our grapes and freezing them whole, in the bunch. I was skeptical, but they were great.

seems silly to reply, but...

Not silly, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one here who has obsessive-compulsive disorder about keeping that "New Comments" at zero.

You are probably aware, being in the ag community, but: If you are talking about large quantities of such perishables, and do create some form of cooled storage, be aware that the cooling demand is dramatically larger when introducing the (ambient temperature) fruit to the cooled area initially. The thermal mass of bulk fruit is high. Maintaining the temperature of a well insulated storage area with no internal heat load is surprisingly low-energy. Add emphasis on "well insulated."

Maybe pre-chill them in a chest freezer adapted as a refrigerator. Also tweaking the pressure in the A/C might help with the freezing problem.


Longer term storage will require venting as well, to prevent the buildup of gasses such as ethylene (hastens the ripening of fruit and vegetables).

GE rep said tweaking was not possible. I don't know enough to question them. Also, I used the chest freezer adapted as a "refrigerator" last year. Nice, works well, just not near enough volume, tho it works well for some cherries for a week or so.

Was really hoping maybe Paul from Halifax might chime in on heat pumps, the cooling people locally I've talked with said that too was no go.

The remotes on our two Sanyos allows us to cool down to 16°C/61°F. I believe the remote control communicates room temperature to the head about every 5 minutes but if no signal is received then the temperature probe inside the head takes over.

As an experiment, try enclosing the remote inside a plastic bag with a hot water bottle or heating pad so that the remote thinks that the room is much hotter than it is, and let the heat pump continue to run however long you wish; in theory, it should continue to cool until the thermostat is satisfied (make sure that the remote can still talk to the head). I wouldn't expect ice to build-up on the evaporator coil if your relative humidity is low, but keep an eye on it just in case. See how far room temperature falls over this span of time. If this works, then I would install a hard wired thermostat and use a similar technique to fool the thermostat, e.g., put a plastic enclosure around it and supply heat with a 4-watt night light, say. You'll probably have to fiddle with this to determine precisely how much heat would be needed to keep the room at its desired temperature. Hooking the light to a dimmer might help in this regard; alternatively, plug the night light into a wall timer so that it only turns on for a certain number of hours each day and break it into two or more cycles over that 24-hour period to help minimize the risk of the coil icing. Admittedly, a bit clunky, but with a bit of experimentation it could do the job.

The only other alternative is to install a commercial refrigeration system such as what you would find inside a walk-in cooler but, obviously, that's a much more costly proposition.

Good luck !


Wot Gung & HiH said, plus if you ventilate then use a counterflow system to transfer cold from the air going out to the air coming in. Maybe a 4" pipe inside a 6" pipe, mounted vertically so condensation can drain. That chest fridge sounds just right for bringing them to temperature before introducing them to the cellar, cut down on temperature swings. You may need to change the pressure of your refrigerant, that is related to the ambient temperature and the temperature you want at the coil also, maybe, the orifice tweaked. I'm no expert on these, just know enough to sort out the mess the pros made on my system, but talk to a local expert.


The basement area at one point was a garage, w/ a horizontal sliding door as opposed to overhead. I've worked quite a bit on it, was planning even more should I find a way to lower summer temps. We still are eating our last year's celler potatoes, I was able to sell apples commercially until Jan with the basement area.

Seems I may have to just go walk-in, but I don't want to. Must be a better way.

This is not an endorsement. I have no experience with these folks, but google found them and they appear to sell exactly what you want (a way to use a cheap A/C to create a walk-in cooler for fruit) as well as having lots of experience with the application. http://www.storeitcold.com/

Thanks a bunch for this. I'll have to look harder at it, seems right up the alley.

Investigate why the basement temperature is reaching 60 F to 65 F.

Does the roof need to be insulated?

Does part of the basement wall extend above ground without insulation?

If any part of the basement is exposed to direct sunlight, could it be insulated, painted white or shaded?

Are air vents allowing hot air into the basement?

US forecasters say heat will stay on this summer

And the heat goes on. Forecasters predict toasty temperatures will stretch through the summer in the U.S. And that's a bad sign for wildfires in the West.

The forecast for June through August calls for warmer-than-normal weather for about three-quarters of the nation, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

The warmth is expected south of a line stretching from middle New Jersey to southern Idaho. Only tiny portions of northwestern U.S. and Alaska are predicted to be cooler than average and that's only for June, not the rest of the summer.

NOAA's summer update: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/briefings/201205.pdf

April Records Fall: About 6,700 “warm” daily records were tied or broken, compared to about 1,200 “cool” daily records. Over 300 new all-time warm April temperature records.

Egypt: Arab Spring could be wasted in youthful nations

... Was the Arab Spring all for naught?

The recent turn of events does not surprise demographer Richard Cincotta of the Stimson Center in Washington DC. The fact that the populations of these countries are all very young, he argues, predicted not only that revolutions would occur, but also that it may be some time before they make a successful transition to liberal democracies.

Cincotta studied revolutions between 1972 and 1989, focusing on the age structure of countries. He found that oppressive autocracies with a median population age between 25 and 35 had the best chances of becoming democracies.

All of the countries that made the transition when their median age was greater than 30 are still democracies today. Nine out of 10 countries with a median age less than 25 slid back into oppressive regimes following revolution. Any older than 35 and revolutions did not occur in the first place.

Watch for Algeria and Morocco to change within the coming years, Cincotta says, followed by Saudi Arabia and Jordan in the 2020s. ...

Well one the main reasons the west tolerated Mubarak as dictator of Egypt for so long is that it was assumed that if given a vote, the people would vote in a theocracy. And the Egyptians do seem to be doing that. So they seem to be going from a relatively secular oppressive dictator to an elected oppressive theocracy. Not what I would want to live under but at least they have no one to blame but themselves.

Actually both before and after the revolution, the military of Egypt held a lot of the cards, so that hasn't changed.

In Sweden, we murdered our last dictator in 1792. We have experimented with democracy since then. The current form of gouvernment is from 1974. So say 200 years to get it right. Getting democacy is nothing one "just" do.

Interesting. If that applies here, don't expect a revolution any time soon. Our median age is pushing 40.

But it's a physically large nation - I wonder how that median age varies by region? Nothing says it has to happen everywhere at once. In general I don't expect to see a revolution without a long period of decay and chaos first though.

By region, the northeast is highest, 39.2, the west is lowest at 35.6 (likely due to higher hispanic population). US average (2010) is 37.2.

Census Bureau: Minority births outnumbered whites for first time.

Median age for whites is over 40 while the median age for minorities is lower,, about 27 for hispanics.

Interesting - my pet theory is that environmental and economic issues will create crises in the US south west, allowing Mexican warlords to expand operations northwards. There might be some demographic support for that.

Our lighting proposals always reference the corresponding reduction in power plant emissions, in either kg or tonnes. How boring is that? Then I got wind of something that conveys this far better than words...

See: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/british-ad-completely-filled-farting-light...


Tory ministers crash budget hearing, leaving little time for questions

The Conservative government dispatched three cabinet ministers to the first meeting of the committee reviewing the environmental legislation contained in a massive budget bill – a brief and surprise appearance that left little opportunity for questions by opposition MPs.

And by the time each of the ministers had finished reading lengthy statements repeating many of the same talking points the government has been making in the House, there was just over a half hour left for questions from committee members.

That spared each of the ministers from having to spend a full hour – as is usually the case when they appear before Commons committees – defending, by themselves, the portions of the bill that fall within their portfolios.

This would be the much heralded Accountability and Transparency that the Tories campaigned on.

I believe you will find they made that commitment on Opposite Day.

The latest printed issue of New Scientist has this article on its cover

Why we’ll break free from oil before it runs out –David Strahan

No link yet, but it will be available for free (registered readers) from next week.
Basically Strahan says that demand for oil is going to drop, big way, because of advances in engine technology and the take up of electric cars of different types, shows the drop in demand in the West as proof of his thesis.
It is rubbish.

At least in Spain the drop in oil consumption, it dropped 7% last year and the lack of cars in the streets and highways is very noticiable, owes nothing to the take up of high technology engines, or electric cars,
Renault sold 168 Twizy in April (warning, article in Spanish, Blog dedicated to Electric cars)

It is because with 6 million unemployed, 26% of the population, nearly half of the population very poor and a million and a half on the kitchen soup of the Red Cross and Caritas nobody spends any money -and let's not get started on the banks!

Even in the UK people now use the car a lot less.

Much more efficient conventional cars, hybrids, and electrics are becoming available and it is encouraging. But that said, yeah, most of the decrease in oil usage is simply because there are less people out on the road.

But that doesn't mean the more efficient vehicles won't help us going forward. We are just at the start of a long difficult transition to a lower oil-intensive transportation system. We need more public transport, more rail systems, more dense communities, and more efficient vehicles. Although the public act much too slow and is largely in denial, the uptake of higher MPG vehicle, hybrids, and electrics is improving. Yes, the sales of plug-in vehicles is small . . . maybe 20,000 in the USA this year. But that is much larger than a couple years back when it was essentially zero.

In the UK the Tory government is proposing to raise the motorway speed limit from 70 to 80mph, increasing fuel consumption on these roads by up to 14%.

(In practice, average speeds are falling as more people realise the difference in the wallet between 60 mph and 80 mph (The existing 70mph limit is widely ignored. Police will not stop you and there are no speed traps on most motorways). Howeever, as I trundle along at 63mph (80 mpg imperial) I am constantly buffeted by the bow waves of large slab-fronted SUVs passing at 80 - 90 mph.

Strahan has drunk the cool-aid. He wrote a decent peak oil book 5 years ago.

Koch Brothers' Activism Protects Their 50-Year Stake in Canadian Heavy Oils

Long involvement in Canada's tar sands has been central to Koch Industries' evolution and positions the billionaire brothers for a new oil boom.

What is less well documented are the many Koch businesses that benefit from the brothers' efforts to push the center of American political discourse rightward, closer to their own convictions. At the top of the list are the Koch family's long and deep investments in Canada's heavy oil industry, which have been central to the company's initial growth and subsequent diversification since 1959.

The Kochs are also active in Canadian politics.

Their company recently added another lobbyist in Alberta to lobby the provincial government about energy and resource development issues. The Kochs have also been longtime contributors to the Fraser Institute, an influential policy shop closely allied with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as bullish as he is on the development and export of oil sands crude to global markets. They contributed $500,000 between 2007 and 2010 alone.