Drumbeat: May 21, 2012

Saudi Arabia knocks off Russia as world's biggest oil producer

Saudi Arabia has overtaken Russia as the world's biggest producer of oil for the first time in six years as the kingdom tries to compensate for declining Iranian exports and attempts to push crude prices lower.

Saudi production reached a 31-year high at 9.923 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, marginally more than Russia's 9.920 million bpd, according to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (Jodi).

Opec's largest producer has increased production in response to sanctions and an embargo levelled on Iran, and has made repeated assurances it would use its spare capacity to keep the markets supplied. Yet its efforts to calm the oil markets and lower crude prices to levels palatable to a vulnerable world economy are hampered by the inability of other countries to increase their production and an anticipated rebound in demand.

"The kingdom has done its share of putting in place capacity and resources to sustain its operations," said Sadad Al Husseini, the owner and founder of Husseini Energy. "I don't see a matching effort by many of the other countries."

Oil Rises First Time in Seven Days; Goldman Sees Tighter Supply

Oil rose for the first time in seven days in New York after China pledged to boost the nation’s economy and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the balance between supply and demand of crude is tightening.

Price of gasoline drops 6 cents in the past 2 weeks

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States fell 6.2 cents to $3.78 in the last two weeks due to a drop in crude oil prices, partly on concerns about Europe's economy, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey.

According to the survey of some 2,500 gas stations in the continental United States, the national average for regular gasoline as of May 18, was down more than 12 cents a gallon compared with a year earlier.

Govt to provide addl Rs 38,500 cr subsidy to oil cos

New Delhi: The government will dole out Rs 38,500 crore additional cash subsidy to public sector oil companies as part of compensation for selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost in 2011-12 fiscal.

UK heat forecast drags gas to 4-month low

LONDON (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices hit a four-month low on Monday as Norwegian exports rose toward winter levels despite weak demand with temperatures of up to 25 degrees Celsius expected to hit parts of the UK this week.

Gas prices for this week fell 4.15 pence as rising temperatures, falling demand and pipelines packed with gas dragged the contract to a low of 53.85 pence per therm last seen on January 24, price data showed.

Investors Least Bullish in 2012 as Crisis Escalates

Hedge funds reduced wagers on a rally in commodities to the lowest this year on mounting speculation that Greece will leave the euro, slowing global growth and curbing demand for everything from copper to soybeans.

Iraq Earns $8.8 Billion From Oil Sales In April; Highest For Decades

AMMAN – Iraq's revenues from oil sales in April climbed to $8.79 billion, the highest the Middle Eastern country has achieved for decades, the oil ministry said in a statement Monday, adding that Iraq had sold its oil at an average price of $116.8 a barrel.

In April, Iraq exported an average of 2.508 million barrels a day, the highest figure it had reached since 1989, the ministry said.

Iran Finds Its First Caspian Sea Oil for More Than a Century

Iran has discovered oil in its Caspian Sea waters for the first time in more than a century, the state-run Fars news agency reported.

The deposit was found at a depth of 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) during drilling on a natural-gas field and may contain 10 billion barrels of crude, Fars said, citing the National Iranian Oil Co. That’s equal to 7 percent of Iran’s known reserves.

Iranian Minister Predicts Oil Price Rise With Sanctions

Iranian Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini said international oil prices will rise under sanctions designed to persuade the Persian Gulf nation to abandon its nuclear program.

Oil prices might go as high as $160 per barrel if the European Union goes ahead with a July 1 embargo, Hosseini told CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” in an interview scheduled to air tomorrow. Group of Eight nations gathered a summit at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, discussed containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

SK Energy to stop Iran oil imports from July: sources

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's largest oil refiner SK Energy will stop Iranian crude imports after a European Union insurance ban takes effect on July 1, two sources said, effectively making it the first of Tehran's major Asian oil buyers to halt purchases.

China's Iran oil imports rebound on month, down on year

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's crude oil imports from Iran rebounded more than 50 percent in April from March after resolving pricing disputes over term contracts, but shipments fell nearly a quarter from a year ago, with Saudi Arabian supplies helping to plug the gap.

China and India are under Western pressure to cut purchases, since the actions of the world's top buyers of Iranian oil will determine the success of a strategy aimed at crimping Iran's oil revenue to halt Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.

MRPL gets oil cargo insured with Iran, may do more: Sources

NEW DELHI: India's MRPL has got a crude cargo insured by an Iranian firm, the first state refiner to do so, after local firms refused cover even before European Union sanctions barring such deals start in July, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

How Iran could double its oil output

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As Iran continues to grapple with the West over its nuclear ambitions, experts say the nation could double its already sizable oil output if sanctions were lifted to allow foreign investment into its oil industry.

Iraq turns to U.S. drones to protect oil platforms

(Reuters) - Iraq is buying unmanned drones from the United States to help protect its southern oil platforms as the OPEC nation ramps up production after the withdrawal of the last American troops, U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Monday.

Libya tries to calm wary investors over review

Libya is seeking to reassure investors concerned about a major review of nearly 10,000 business contracts that were signed by the government of the late Muammar Qaddafi.

SAfrica turns to China for refinery project

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African national oil company PetroSA said on Monday it had partnered with China's Sinopec Group to push along the building of its Coega refinery, originally slated to cost $9-$10 billion and produce 400,000 barrels a day.

Total, ConocoPhillips Lose Battle To Operate UK Terminal -Report

The U.K. Court of Appeal ruled last week that the U.K.'s largest port operator had the right to terminate four tenancy agreements that allow the two oil majors to operate the terminal at the Port of Immingham at a cost of GBP4.2 million, the newspaper reports.

WA uranium mine approved by EPA

Western Australia's first uranium mine is a step closer to being built but opponents say the proposal is by no means a done deal.

Leading the way to green energy era

Greater efficiencies and mandated global warming gas reductions are not enough to address the unprecedented crisis of global warming and peak oil and gas production.

Report: Boulder's 'Impressive' energy savings under Climate Action Plan still not enough

The energy savings achieved by Boulder's Climate Action Plan programs have been "impressive" and reasonably cost-effective, but they still leave the city far from achieving its Kyoto Protocol goal.

That was the conclusion of analysts from the Rocky Mountain Institute, who dug into the various programs funded by Boulder's Climate Action Plan tax, also known as the carbon tax, which generates about $1.8 million a year to fund energy-efficiency and renewable energy programs.

The Norwegian Church sells Statoil shares in protest

The Norwegian Church has decided to sell its Statoil shares in protest against the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the company's oil sand projects in Canada.

Heartland Institute facing uncertain future as staff depart and cash dries up

The first Heartland Institute conference on climate change in 2008 had all the trappings of a major scientific conclave – minus large numbers of real scientists. Hundreds of climate change contrarians, with a few academics among them, descended into the banquet rooms of a lavish Times Square hotel for what was purported to be a reasoned debate about climate change.

But as the latest Heartland climate conference opens in a Chicago hotel on Monday, the thinktank's claims to reasoned debate lie in shreds and its financial future remains uncertain.

Arctic melt releasing ancient methane

Scientists have identified thousands of sites in the Arctic where methane that has been stored for many millennia is bubbling into the atmosphere.

The methane has been trapped by ice, but is able to escape as the ice melts.

Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this ancient gas could have a significant impact on climate change.

Fresh water demand driving sea-level rise faster than glacier melt

Humanity's unquenchable thirst for fresh water is driving up sea levels even faster than melting glaciers, according to new research. The massive impact of the global population's growing need for water on rising sea levels is revealed in a comprehensive assessment of all the ways in which people use water.

Trillions of tonnes of water have been pumped up from deep underground reservoirs in every part of the world and then channelled into fields and pipes to keep communities fed and watered. The water then flows into the oceans, but far more quickly than the ancient aquifers are replenished by rains. The global tide would be rising even more quickly but for the fact that man-made reservoirs have, until now, held back the flow by storing huge amounts of water on land.

Conn. subsidies spur home solar power

HARTFORD, Conn. — Dmitri Donskoy figures he'll save only $20 a month on his electricity bill after solar panels are installed on the roof of his home under a state-subsidized program. But he shrugs it off because the green energy appeals to his environmental concerns.


Installing solar panels could cost, on average, $35,000, according to a state energy agency spokesman. Donskoy says he's leasing because he doesn't have thousands of dollars to spend, instead paying a solar company $58 a month for his electricity.

See: http://www.pressherald.com/news/Conn-subsidies-spur-home-solar-power-.html


Essential data are missing, e.g. how much kW(p) was installed, how much kWh can be expected per kW. For a normal house a PV with 8 kWp goes in Germany (with high quality stuff) for 16000 EUR, so the 35.000 USD are interesting.

"35.000 USD are interesting."

Agreed. We've outlined 6-7kW systems recently that could be installed for around $20k, puchasing quality equipment at retail, allowing for generous installation costs. Exploitation of government incentives, etc.,,, imagine that.

His outgo will be $58 per month vs $78 per month I take it. Assuming no upfront costs for lease, this clearly makes sense. "Savings" wasn't very well defined in the post. If my total bill is decreased, then clearly I should go solar. The "feel good" factor doesn't even have to play here. Unless I am missing something.

True, and I have to assume that the cost of his system came in well below $35,000.00 given that his lease payments are less than $700.00 per annum.


The lessor is probably selling an unknown amount of power to the owner of the utility grid. The power output of the PV array may be greatly in excess of the power currently consumed in the home.

The article tells us that his system supplies about one-third of his household needs.


You are correct. I missed that.

Judging by the comments alone, I'd say this article has a hidden anti solar agenda and is red meat tossed with the sole purpose of creating a feeding frenzy amongst the ignorant. Pretty sad!

This has just been the way of comments up here.. I know a solid crowd of Alt Energy Supporters, and I just think they (like me) don't bother with responding to the meatheads.. I get a twinge by not putting in a counterpoint, but I guess I'm picking my battles, and that one doesn't seem worth the effort.

The noisemakers are pretty obvious, and I think people know that's what they are.

how reliable are the low cost chinese components? do they last long enough for return on investment?
i had a dc/ac inverter replaced 5 times! the sweet spot for joe six pack (and myself) is 10kw for $35,000.

Even if Joe buys 43 Kyocera KD-235GX panels for $355 each and a Sunny Boy 8000W grid-tie inverter for $3,500, the main components only cost ~$18,800. If Joe Sixpack is consuming 50 kWh/day and paying $.12/kWh, then he is paying almost $2,200 / year for electricity. Even if the installer gouges Joe with a $15,000 installation fee, he is still looking at a payback time of about 16 years.

Even so, 50 kWh/day and $35,000 for a residential PV system is not average. Requiring at least 762 ft2 of sunny area, does Joe even have enough space for all those PV panels?

Lordy, is Joe Sixpack running a server farm in his basement?

There's not a lot of hard data here, but we do know that Mr. Donskoy's lease payment is $58.00 a month and that he expects to save approximately $20.00 a month in utility charges -- $78.00 a month in total. According to the US DOE, Connecticut Light & Power's residential customers paid an average of 19.04-cents per kWh in 2010 (source: That suggests his new system will produce an average of 400 kWh per month. Assuming this represents one-third of his total household usage, that puts us in the range of 1,200 kWh a month or roughly 40 kWh a day. According to the DOE, the typical residential consumer in Connecticut uses 750 kWh per month; that being the case, Mr. Donskoy's consumption would be approximately 1.6 times higher than the state average.

It's certainly possible that Mr. Donskoy's home is all-electric and his electric water heater, alone, could easily account for 300 to 400 kWh per month.


i had a dc/ac inverter replaced 5 times!

Why?! Something is seriously wrong with that picture.

the sweet spot for joe six pack (and myself) is 10kw for $35,000.

Are you growing marijuana hydroponically in your basement?!

Granted I am far from the norm and an extreme energy miser to boot but about 1.0kw more than covers my basic needs...
There's got to be a happy medium somewhere between me and J6P and it should cost quite a bit less than 35K.

Perhaps J6P needs to figure out ways to significantly reduce his energy consumption before he invests in those panels on the roof. It really isn't that hard.

I get by on 3kwh per day, but if, as HiHalifax says, his home is all electric, then it wouldn't take much to reach 40kwh per day. The question is, does he need to cover all his electric?

Something to keep an eye on, interesting discrepancy regarding Russian oil production data:

Is Russian Oil Production Plummeting?

I would argue that a half million barrels a day of production can’t simply disappear, and that there has to be something seriously wrong with the data: either previous Russian production figures were artificially high, or the most recent production figures released by JODI are artificially low. . . The two figures match almost exactly until there is a dramatic and sustained divergence starting in January. If JODI has some sort of an anti-Russian grudge, it’s a very recently acquired one.

What does this tell us? Well, either Russia experienced a significant production loss that nobody noticed or reported or there is something dramatically wrong with the data supplied by JODI.

As someone who has a keen interest in comparative demographics and economics, I’m consistently amazed by the lack of good data sources: even using a wide variety of internet search tools, finding basic information is a lot harder and more time consuming than I ever would have guessed, particularly if you’re trying to find anything from the past year or two. It would be very discouraging, and more than a little scary, if one of the few trusted data sources such as JODI turned out to have such serious flaws in its data. It would be even scarier if the oil market was even more opaque and confusing than was assumed to be the case.

Recent Russian net oil exports (BP, Total Petroleum Liquids):

Increasing Net Exports:

2002:  5.0 mbpd
2003:  5.8
2004:  6.5
2005:  6.8
2006:  6.9

The Net Export Plateau:

2007:  7.1
2008:  6.9
2009:  7.1
2010:  7.1

Here is a link to Sam Foucher's modeling of Russia, Norway, Iran and UAE net exports, using data through 2006.  Actual data points for 2007, 2008, and 2009 circled (this slide was not updated for 2010).  Dashed lines represent estimated 95% probability boundaries:


And a link to Sam's modeling for Saudi production, consumption and net exports, using data through 2006. Actual data points for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 are circled (I estimate that BP will show 2011 Saudi net oil exports at about 7.8 mbpd in 2011, versus 9.1 mbpd n 2005):


Am I looking at the numbers correctly!?

It looks, to me, like the drop in exports, just from Norway, over the next 5 years is equal to the TOTAL daily consumption of the PIIGS countries.

Note that that the charts have different vertical scales. Here is a link to modeling for the (2005) top five combined (actual data shown through 2009).


Yes, but I was trying to make a point.

Some people will argue about the confidence interval on producers like Saudi Arabia, but will believe the projection of decline from Norway. Well, the projected decline in exports from Norway over a short few years, is 2 Million bbl/d. That is about how much Greece(0.4), Spain(1.5), and Portugal(0.25) use every day.

This should make people think about the scale we are talking about.

The bigger--and almost totally overlooked--problem is depletion. Based on extrapolating 2005 to 2010 consumption to production ratio (C/P) data, I estimate that combined post-2005 Cumulative Net Exports (CNE) for the top five were about 126 Gb. 2006 to 2010 top five net exports combined were 40 Gb, so the estimated post-2010 top five CNE would be about 86 Gb. I estimate that about one-third of top five post-2005 CNE were shipped in only five years:


Indonesia, UK and Egypt (IUKE) took several years to hit zero net oil exports, but I took the initial three years of increasing C/P data, after their respective peaks to predict post peak CNE. The predicted combined post-peak CNE number for the three countries was 4.6 GB. Actual combined post peak CNE for the three countries was 4.6 Gb:


So now we have a 500,000 bpd discrepancy between the Russian energy ministry and JODI, and another 600,000 bpd discrepancy between the EIA and RRC with respect to Texas production. Over a million barrels per day have vanished into thin air? Now either some organizations are doing a very poor job of gathering data, and/or some folks are doing some big time lying.

And a 500,000 bpd discrepancy for 2010 Saudi production between the EIA and BP (EIA on high side).

There does seem to be a severe lack of consistency with regard to oil production numbers. It would be interesting to know where/how these organizations get their numbers from. Anyone here knows?

Saudi Arabia Edges Russia as Biggest Oil Producer, JODI Says

Russia’s energy ministry estimated the country’s output at 10.36 million barrels a day in March. JODI calculated a different barrel-per-day figure for Russia using data in metric tons that the country submitted to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and comparing that with information from four other sources. The figures for Russia include crude and condensate, JODI said.

Ron P.

The First Causality of War is the Truth

The USA (plus Saudi Arabia et al) are engaged in an economic war with Iran over oil exports.

Statistics are, IMHO, one front on this war. What people in power believe may be as important as factual reality.

Hope ? For Truth ?


The usual reason for lying is avoiding taxes but for oil production I have no idea.

Political clout?

Ms. Clinton to the Prime Minister of India:

For example, our nation is both using less oil, almost 2 million barrels/day, but also producing more oil, about a half million barrels/day. And both these trends should continue. This means that the oil we once imported is now available for others.

In addition, Saudi Arabia is setting new oil production records, and they are as close to you as Iran.

We understand that you cannot stop importing all Iranian oil immediately. But we do ask that you look for supplies elsewhere and buy less from Iran. They are clearly available.

Perhaps you could cut Iranian oil imports by half later this year ?

Thanks for the quote, impressive.
Putin not attending last G8 meeting could have something to do with Iran also I think.

Secretary Clinton is in the ball park correct about US oil use/production. Do you object or approve to her statistics, or to her request to India to use less Iranian oil?

It is a hypothetical quote to illustrate how purposefully manipulated EIA data could be used to further US policy goals.

And compared to bombing Iran, playing with some statistics is perfectly OK with me, if that is the reason for EIA overstating Texas et al production.


PS: What are the more recent months after Dec 2011 - EIA vs. Texas Railroad Commission ?

What about IRAN? I have seen several articles that claim that IRAN can double its oil production?
IRAQ? It can double its oil production too?
and CANADA, has lots of oil sands in Alberta.
US has new tight gas wells, and oil shale.
With all this extra capacity, are we simply being taken for a ride on high prices?

Is there a missing "sarc" tag there? It is sometimes hard to tell.

A possible explanation for a sudden decline in Russian crude oil production in December 2011 through January 2012:

Russian oil rig sinks, leaving many missing, RIA-NOVOSTI, December 18, 2011, Maxim Tkachenko, CNN.

The Kolskaya platform sunk. Did Russia halt some offshore oil production while they investigated the accident? Russia might be falsifying crude oil production data to cover up the consequences to production.

It was a jack up rig, so presumably a drilling rig. Even if they suspended drilling operations, that would not have triggered such a large fall in production so quickly. Anyway, it was lost in severe weather, so they probably just marked it up to experience and carried on.

Petition for Listing of the Homo sapiens ("HS") species as an Endangered Species Pursuant to Federal Regulation of the Endangered Species Act [50 CFR 424.14(b)]

Submitted by The Automatic Earth Community on May 20, 2012.

Basic Listing Requirements are Met

1) The scientific name of the considered species is Homo sapiens, commonly referred to as a "human, human being, person, man, woman, boy or girl".

2) It is recommended that the FWS list the HS as an Endangered Species under the ESA.

3) Humans are technically a "species" that can be listed under the ESA, since they are living beings that exist in the natural environment and interbreed when they are mature. At least 10% of the human range currently lives in "the wild", without access to adequate shelter. There are currently more than seven billion humans alive on planet Earth, and more than 300 million (5%) existing within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Too bad it's not just us...

Does Self-Inflicted Species Endangerment count? All Earth's other species should be petitioning to have us "sent off".

This species is main cause of extinction of most other species. Sorry, if we list this species, we will just increase the likelihood of even more other species being listed. Besides, this species has made the situation hopeless.

So there are now more humans than EVER before and someone wants to list them as endangered species? What kind of silly joke is this? Some uber-doomer?

Look, we could suffer some ultra-tragedy like a plague that wiped 90% of us off the planet and humans would still not be 'endangered'. Modern Society would get destroyed but humans would live on.

To play the devil's advocate, let me ask this veeery silly question:

What if they finally get the exponential function and they found out we are just before the very last bacteria-like division and then the Petri dish is full?
Maybe they finally understand what happens after that. :-S

Naah, silly me. I definitely should stop to be so naïve...

I don't think you read the article. It's very obviously a public awareness stunt to bring light to the destruction we are doing to our own environment. It's actually a pretty clever.

Re: Heartland Institute facing uncertain future as staff depart and cash dries up

Good riddance. Too bad they are still partially funded, though the fact that they are using funds from a coal lobby does make it less likely that they will be believable going forward. They can't pretend to be an independent "think tank" organization these days...

E. Swanson

Modern technology continues to amaze. While googling the Heartland problems I discovered that there is live feed from the climate conference. At the moment they are on the morning break. One of the speakers coming up at 10AM CST is the physicist Howard Hayden. If interested:


Ugh. I went out of my way and watched the thingie for at least five minutes. My short review of this... um... gathering: mocking fest. In those 5 minutes they managed to mock Mr. Paul Ehrlich and Mr. Al Gore.

I totally agree with Black_Dog: Good riddance! Well, not fully yet, but hopefully very soon. :P

Oh, and they got the gathering's title wrong. It should read:
"7th International Conference on Climate Change Denial"

Emphasis mine.

Give them a little more rope and they should succeed in hanging themselves.


Let’s get up to speed. Ahead of its 7th International Conference on Climate Change (which is basically like Burning Man for deniers, but with more peyote and charts), the Chicago-based climate denial think tank launched a billboard campaign on the Eisenhower Expressway that equates belief in climate change to mass murder. It did so by featuring the looming mugs of Ted “The Unabomber” Kaczynski, Fidel Castro, and Charles Manson next to the phrase, “I still believe in global warming. Do you?”

I think they may have used all the rope they need to.

"The capitalist will sell us the rope we will hang them with"

Of course, their capital was donated, and probably written off.

Like Lizzie, I think the Trapdoor has already dropped open.. some folks just take a minute or so to notice..


Regarding the technology... I am on the other end of the "amazed" spectrum, in that I am greatly annoyed that such is not much more widely available and easy to use. I had reason to look at one of my old lab notebooks the other day, and it's been almost exactly 19 years since I was in the midst of building prototype applications that provided this type of service over IP. Enormously faster computers mean the video can have significantly higher quality, but all of the basics were there. The multicast backbone (M-bone) at the time made it very easy to announce/find multimedia sessions. The commercial ISPs, by and large, still refuse to support IP multicast.

You can express your displeasure with Heartand's unrepentant propaganda campaign by signing the petition: Heartland's 2012 Funding: Fading Quickly.

In response to the concerns of more than 150,000 people, a growing number of corporations have ended their support of the climate change-denying Heartland Institute, costing Heartland more than $800,000. Check out our progress below and then add your voice to push Heartland’s remaining corporate supporters to pull their support immediately!

Heartland hasn't learned anything from the billboard debacle; last week Heartland president Joseph Bast described climate scientist Michael Mann and activist Bill McKibben as "madmen".

More evidence that the U.S. has passed Peak Education:

Average grade level of U.S. congressional speeches dropping since 2005

The sophistication of congressional speech-making is on the decline, according to the open government group the Sunlight Foundation. Since 2005, the average grade-level at which members of Congress speak has fallen by almost a full grade.

cf.: Just say no: No science, no sex, no gay people in Tennessee

I don't think we're looking at a Non-renewable resource, however, in addition to the report coming from what has to be considered a 'skewed sample'.

I think the heightened polarity in American Government in recent years has done a LOT to affect the quality of speeches coming out of congress, and the inclination for moderate, reasonable and deeply thoughtful people to find other places to apply their energies.. but I'm not going to hang this placcard around the necks of our teachers.

Average grade level of U.S. congressional speeches dropping since 2005

The quoted article and your comment both totally miss the point.

A higher "score" does not mean the politician is better educated: it means only that he is making a speech designed to be incomprehensible to a person educated to a lower grade level. It is generally recognized that material to be widely understood should be at a grade level of 8 or lower.

That politicians still make speeches with a grade level averaging 10.6 means that they are making speeches designed to be incomprehensible to the average person.

I suspect the lower levels of speeches by freshmen congressmen indicates they haven't caught on yet to the concept of concealing what they're doing from the voters.

It says nothing about the level of their education. As always, most politicians are lawyers, and lawyers tend to be very well educated in English composition. They don't make speeches at high grade levels because they have reached that level of education: they make speeches at high grade levels so that the average person will not understand them.


"The Norwegian Church has decided to sell its Statoil shares in protest against the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the company's oil sand projects in Canada....Head of the Church Council Svein Arne Lindø: "That the church takes action and leads the way in ethical matters is nothing new," he says."

Again with the cherry picking "ethics" of some folks in the EU. The good church folks had no ethical problem with their country being one of EU's leading suppliers of fossil fuels that have generated much more GHG than the Canadian tar sands have so far. Did they have any ethical issues with the risk to their environment from producing billions of bbls of oil in the N. Sea? Nor do the church members appear to have any hesitation to accepting their share of the hundreds of $billions in Norway's sovereign fund from the oil/NG exploitation efforts. I suppose the GHG generated from burning that production is of the ethical variety.

It seems there are two ethic codes: one for themselves and one for everyone else. Human nature: it tis what it tis.

Yes, Jesus Christ were're a hypocritical bunch of homo sapiens.

Frugal - I suppose we'll see more of this attitude as PO/AGW/economic distress becomes greater. Some societies will be better positioned to deal with the situation. And often that effort will involve outbidding others for resources and/or using more environmentally damaging methods. The counterbalances to any guilt that might bring about is to point to others who are also "doing the bad" but doing it badder than them pointing the finger.

Like I said the other day: "Yeah...we may be pregnent but those other folks are more pregnent". LOL.

Yes of course you're right Rockman. We justify our own lowly deeds by pointing to other's greater sins. In other words, we can do whatever we want with a clear conscience as long as someone else is worse, or at least perceived to be worse.

Yeah, you can complain about them being a bit hypocritical and going overboard . . . but I sure wish churches in the USA were more like them. Instead of denying the science of evolution and bashing gay people the way our churches do, the Norwegians are trying to do a little 'stewardship' of the Earth.

If everyone taxed gasoline and promoted mass transit & electric cars the way the Norwegians do (they've got the highest gas prices in the world!) then world GHG emissions would be far lower . . . especially in the USA, Canada, Australia, and OPEC countries where gasoline is cheap or even subsidized.

Here, here.

There is a fine, but notable difference between sheer hypocrisy and clumsy oversight.

joker - Clumsy oversight you say? So you don't think the church and its members didn't notice the stories about the billions of bbls of oil produced from their offshore waters? And they weren't aware of the hundreds of $billions they were collecting from that production despite every Norwigian citizen getting an account update of their sovereign fund yearly? High fuel prices for sure but that was mitigated significantly by the govt support of mass transit as spec notes...mass transit supported by income from producing hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons that were burned and generated many times the amount of GHG the tar sands production has caused to date. And those same EU cousins of the Norwigians may applaud their human rights record but OTOH they don't seem to have a problem with buying oil from Equatorial Guinea where the penalty for being exposed as gay is death.

I agree: there is a "notable difference between sheer hypocrisy and clumsy oversight." There is also a notable difference is selecting a moral ground that benefits yourself while criticizing others for contributing to the same problem to which you're also contributing. I think I'll stick with my sheer hypocrisy interpretation. Seems to fit the facts much better. Not really such a fine line IMHO.

... mass transit supported by income from producing hydrocarbons.

With remarkable restraint, the Norwegians are NOT spending their oil royalties. Mass transit is paid for by gas taxes - a model the USA should consider.

... EU cousins

Norway has quite deliberately stayed out of the EU.


I think the battle cry rings a little hollow, Rock, with all due respect.

This seems like all the hollering about Al Gore being "ONLY" self-serving with his climate PR work, and that it's simply invalidated because he is a rich person and travels using carbon in order to convey his message.

It's like shouting down the guy who says 'We've got to get out of this mud pit!', by pointing out that he has mud all over himself as well, so he shouldn't complain.

There are much more critical violations out there to be taking to task..

joker - That may all be true but that wasn't the discussion. It was about the chruch being hypocritical in their stated position. Nothing more...nothing less. No one here said anything about Gore except you.

This is getting a bit starnge: the oil field hand is criticizing the hypocracy of the beneficiaries of FF production and the environmentally sensitive folks are defending them. Better look out the window and check for flying pigs. LOL.

You might have a point I'm not seeing clearly, Rock. I'll let it go.. my attention is mostly on brushfires around me right now.


Bob - It was actually just a small point that I think some took to mean more. Good luck with your fires. Real fires or personal fires? Your note made me pull up my pant leg and see if I could sill see the faint scare from such a fire many decades ago. Neightbor in the country thought it would be easier to burn the weeds out on his lot than to cut them. He was correct: easier. But still dumb. He ended up in the hospital for most of a week.

Metaphoric fires.. but some still leave scars if not tended to quickly.

I have to remind myself that fussing over nuances are things we get to do when life is relatively easy.. so I'll count my blessings. Even fuming at misbehaving Sewing Machines and Overdue Project Deadlines will look like 'good times' from another vantage point.

I think the position of the norwegian church is "we need fuel, but we must stay away from the most dirty kinds". Possibly a bit missinformed, (the problem is bigger than just avoiding the WORST fuels) but not hypocritical, in my eyes.

JW - Ok...let's try a numerical approach. Norway has produced 20 billion bbls of oil and 3.7 TRILLION cu ft of NG. The good church members saw nothing unethical with all that FF being burned and contributing to AGW while they owned the stock and reaped the rewards. To date the Canadian oil sands have produced 7 billion bbls of oil. Correct if I'm remembering wrong but didn't the EU claim the COS's produced 20-30% more GHG? So let's assume 30% so that 7 billion bbls is more equivalent to 9 billion in terms of adding to AGW.

So to date Norway has produced considerably more than twice the GHG that the COS's have produced...let's not forget that 3.7 TRILLION cu ft of NG that was converted into GHG. So now the church has a problem with the COS's but had no problem investing in a company that did at least twice the damage as has been done so far by the COS production.

Sorry, buddy. Spin it anyway you like but in my book the church is the poster child for self serving hypocrisy. And again I haven't seen any word that the church or any of its members are giving up their share of the sovereign fund...the sovereign fund created by producing a tremendous amount of GHG. Of course, in the last 37 years I've done my best to create as much FF production as I could. The big difference between me and the church is that I don't try to put a more likable spin on my past as they are trying to. But maybe I should. I've certainly contributed far less to the problem that either the COS's or Norway. Dang...I had not realized I've been so freaking ethical! LOL.

I have nothing invested in the norwegian church. I am not norwegian, nor am I lutheran.

But try to see it from the perspective of the average guy on the street. Every so often they don't understand how this stuff work. For example, many belive that the global temperature is related to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Meaning that if we stoped emiting today, climate would stop to change. In the real world the global temperature is related to the level of CO2 back when you where studying geology at the university, and my parents were discussing having a 3:rd child. Todays level of CO2 is related to the climate 25 to 50 years into the future.

Some even belive the climate is related to our RATE of emissions. I can't even discuss how wrong that is.

So these church people may simply not have enough knowledge to understand the conections. If I sold of my Statoil stock because of COS, I would be a hypocrat with my level of knowledge (I'm no expert, but I claim to understand wht is going on). But these people may simply know so little, they can not be labeled with that level of moral responsibility.

Let me just point out this detail: A car with low CO2 emissions are in our countries called a "miljöbil". Yes, you read your scandinavian right; "enviornmental car". Put it this way: Every day, I punch you 15 times in the face to get you to do as I say. Then I figure out I can get you to do as I say by only punching you 13 times in the face. So I label myself "ROCKMAN-friendly" from then on. That is what we mean when we say our stuff is "enviornmental". (I always use this example to make people understand this point). Reduce for example 20% of the destruction, and you are "enviornmental friendly".

Example from the real world: By pouring in some bio stuff from pine trees into motor gasoline, we can reduce the CO2 eission from the same trip by 17%. The local gas station around the corner that sell this blend use the slogan "fight climate change". Is there a bottom of the stupidity in this? I even saw a SUV wich regulary fill up with the blend driving around with a sign on the car advertising their own eviornmentalness. After all, they polute slightly less than if they used regular blends.

So I stick to my statement: these guys are not hypocritical. They are missinformed. After 20 years of talking about climate change, people still don't know how it works. Now you made me depressed. Bad ROCKMAN, bad.

I wouldn't be too hard on this stuff. After all better to encourage a half a step in the right direction over doing nothing. And we humans tend to put hard (and arbitrary) boundaries on our categorizations: less than X amount of bad stuff per unit is good, greater than or equal to X is bad. For things near the boundary, that means minor changes can change the acceptability (or at least the perception of it). Until we get people to think in terms of fuzzy logic, we are stuck with this imperfect method of thinking. Lot of luck trying to change that.

Yes, small steps are better than no steps. But they are still not enough. Also in my timezone, it is past midnight, and I tend to think dark thoughts after then. Time to log out.

To follow up on my self:

Everybody know what CO2 emissions do to the climate. Here in Europe, CC denialism is much rarer than in the US. We do not have a local version of your republican conservatives. I know personally several christians who wear flowery, coloured clothes bought in second hand shops, buy stuff that are "fair trade" and talks about the enviornment all the time. I know of not a single one that are a climate change denialist. Knowing and accepting the facts about climate change is mainstream here.

Still, we drive around in cars. Why do we do that? We can't afford a single extra CO2 molecule up in the air. Why don't we make panic efforts to reduce as much as possible? What we do is symbolic acts like buying plastic bags made of recycled plastic. That wont help. Not even marginally. So what is going on here?

I have been discussing the actuall CC physics with people and they basicly wonder why I don't kill myself when I live in such a hopeless world. And I am pretty sure this is the answear: they want hope. They want to belive there is hope. So they tell themself that if we just use the fuel that emits a little bit less CO2 than the other kind, we can make enough of a difference. This belief gives them hope. And they need that hope to live.

So they sell of their Statoil stocks because they actually belive this can make a difference to the climate. They don't want to understand that the thing they need to sell to make an impact to climate is their car. If even that help, but it is a beginning. They want to belive there is hope. And that is a very strong force.

JW - Sorry about. Wasn't very uplifting for me either. Perhaps we’ll just leave it opposing bit friendly perspectives. I do think we’ll see plenty of examples as we stumble down that PO road of folks having difficulty of accepting whatever part, no matter how small, they’ve played in the process. I’m sure we’ve all seen denial used as flak jacket t shield ourselves from self incrimination whether we actually deserved it or not.

Rock - what do you call it when a roughneck steals your crutches? Peak crutches, the crutch replacement problem or hell on earth for whoever did it? =)

I don't think that assigning blame to anyone is going to actually solve any problems, except when it's personal like someone stole ya crutches!

In the end it doesn't matter as much what happened in the past as it does what people do in the future. Them squirrels ain't coming back and you ain't gonna unpump any of the oil and gas you produced either. This might make you a little unpopular with squirrels but it doesn't mean we should try to teach you how to rollarskate either. It'd just annoy you and deprive a pig.

P.s I sent you an email, just wondering if you'd like to help out? No pressure and feel free to decline. It might score you a free holiday though.

As usual on this site, you make people wiser. This time was no exception, although I doubt you intended it.

What I realised in this round is the solution to a riddle I have been haunted by for a long while: If people understand climate change, why do they limit themself to minor symbolic acts with no real term implications, such as selling off Statoil stocks, or buying bags made of recycled plastics, while keep doing stuff like driving cars and living the consumerism life?

Answear: to become ready to do what it takes, you must first understand the scope of it. How big the problem is. And when you do, you will lose your hope in that we can save both the climate and our way of life. And people don't want to give up hope. So they shield themself from the true size of the truth, to maintain their hope.

So I thank you for enlightening me on this issue. I have been wondering about this for several years. But it is a sadening insight.

It could also have something to do with church-goers being a dying breed in Scandinavia. Besides good publicity, all of the sparsely churches all over are a bit of a time bomb in maintenance...

Church attendance have always[*] been cycling up and down. Right now there are a few growing churches, and quite many shrinking one. My bet is this trend will go on, some grows, other shrink and go away. But I do belive the era of large high maintainance church buildings belong to the past.

*When politics and church is kept separated, and church goings is volontarily.

Tesla-Toyota electric RAV4 unveiled, priced at $50,610. Toyota says it has planned for sales of just 2,600 vehicles over the next three years.
Not exactly a Traffic Jam. How about it Detroit?, A useful, solid compact Pickup truck under 2500 kg for the age of precious oil.

"..A useful, solid compact Pickup truck under 2500 kg for the age of precious oil..."

2500 kg?! Compact? My Ranger is well under that (1667kg curb weight), though it has been discontinued in the US. Let's shoot for under 1500. IMO, American car manufacturers deserve to fail. They no longer manufacture anything I would be even remotely interested in purchasing, even in the best of times.

Now, if you lived anywhere close to the Mexican border, you could just visit a mexican Ford dealer, buy a brand new 2012 Ranger and drive it home. The details of the paperwork needed can be found at here. Essentially

dmv didnt give me any issues it was us customs that give me a small issue, i needed the sticker that goes under the hood(catalyst) that says year, engine size and that it conforms with usa and california epa emissions, had to get a letter from ford in mexico wich was a pain because they took forever to send it to me.

How long before someone makes a business out of this?

Alan from the islands

I wonder how hard it would be to get a Diesel Ranger in? Method of payment?

RODGER on the mass, The lightest 2012 diesel PU in US is? Like a Rock?

The size of the vehicles is just public demand. For every person complaining about the huge behemoth in the next lane, there is someone else who happily spent $30k buying that behemoth. Higher gas prices are the only way to control it.

But I have no sympathy for Detroit's quality issues. Quality is like any other statistic about the car: Either the company chooses to pay the money & design compromises that it takes to produce it, or the company does not. Detroit has CHOSEN to lag behind Japan for decades and I see no reason to put up with it.

The $50K RAV4 electric is nothing but a 'compliance car'. A car that the car-maker is forced to put out because of government regulations and so they reluctantly put it out but make it quite unattractive to buyers since they only plan as selling the minimum they need to fulfill their obligations.

Thus, the RAV4 electric should not be viewed as representative of EVs.

How about it Detroit?, A useful, solid compact Pickup truck under 2500 kg for the age of precious oil.

If you want an electric SUV or pick-up, the pickings are slim. Here are some possibilities:
Tesla - Model X - A fancy SUV created for affluent. It won't be out for years. And will probably be pretty expensive.
This Toyota RAV4 electric - overpriced compliance car.
Amp SUV conversions:

Due to their size & weight, SUVs & trucks do not make good pure EV candidates. However, I'd like to see GM take the Voltec technology and create a Voltec-based SUV/truck PHEV.

Gregory Jaczko Resigns: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Steps Down

Under a withering assault from the industry, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko is stepping down, effective upon the confirmation of his successor, according to a statement from Jaczko.

Here comes more removal and easing of regulations...

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said in a statement, "Throughout his time at the NRC, it was abundantly clear that Chairman Jaczko used his office to undermine the NRC to the point that all four of his fellow commissioners wrote to the President to ask for assistance as a last resort. With his resignation today, the NRC can focus on its mission of safety without the distractions of Jaczko's inappropriate behavior."

My nausea and doom-o-meter just pegged again. Did someone here suggest we have a chance of avoiding catastrophy? The evidence against is becoming just overwhelming.

Don't forget that all those grumpy and negative thoughts will make you susceptible to radiation. Only Happy, Shiny Consumer Thoughts can protect you!


I'm better now. I just scored 30 fine sweet pepper plants for $10. They'll be in their containers on the roof by nightfall if this thunderstorm finishes doing it's thing. These are the fancy store-bought plants in the 4" peat pots, already hardened and ready to enjoy the heat on the roof.

Ditto.. I just changed brakepads on my bike, designing in my head some wacky Regen Brakes for it, to try out someday.. and thinking about how my daughter has been eager to bike to school with me the last few days, since a neighbor gave us her daughter's recently outgrown one.

A few glimmers of hope.


Keep up your fertile mind-work, jokuhl. But I doubt that regen braking on a bicycle is worth the trouble. I ride an electrically-assisted bike, and when people notice that it's not your usual bike they almost always ask the following two questions:
(1) is it electric? (yes)
(2) does it have regenerative braking? (no)
Just goes to show that Toyota did a good PR job. But on a bike I rarely use the brakes much. When I go downhill, I enjoy rolling downhill at an unimpeded speed. Any regen braking would slow me down. It is a rare hill that rolling down unimpeded results in too high a speed, requiring the use of brakes. On a bike, the air drag (relative to the bike+rider weight) is far higher than on a car, and that usually keeps the speeds reasonable. And even in a Prius the regen braking only recoups a minor portion of the energy, and that mostly in stop-and-go traffic.

Your hills may vary, and also a heavier person may need more braking going downhill than a light person (which I am), as the weight-to-drag ratio is then higher.

Of course there are also quite a few people who ask me if my bike allows recharging the battery as I pedal. To which I reply that the whole point of adding the electric assist is so that I can pedal less hard, by using energy that came from another source (an electrical outlet back home). Amazing how energy illiterate the general population is.

Thanks for the thoughts, VT.

This would actually be for a Non-electric bike, and the charging would just support the headlight, etc.. the other incentive for the thought is just to have a non-friction form of breaking, since I am in a hilly area and have to pace with a small child, so I'm riding the brakes for both traffic and parenting reasons.. and I just hate the feel of grinding stuff down when I need to stop or slow.

Anyway, yes, it was mainly just a mental activity, as I replaced pads for the first time in 8 years.


I started out in Southern California. Replacing bicycle brake pads was an EVENT. Even hard core cyclists there may go for years without needing new pads. Here in the northwest, I go through 2-3 sets per year. All the rain causes road grime to become an abrasive slurry, which makes short work of brake pads. I've been mulling over getting a bike with disc brakes.

Regarding electric bikes, my wife has one, and I can't say enough good about it. For her, it really makes the difference between riding or not riding.

Now given the right sort of commute, regen braking might be useful. Prius round trip efficiency is claimed around 60% (regen to battery to wheels). I assume that is for average drivers, long slow decelleration should have lower charging losses. In for me regen on downhills is a big deal in my commute (with up to 300M hills), I do get enough charge to go 3-4miles (5KM) almost entirely on the battery. Mpg for the hills is almost the same as mpg on a strictly flat trip. That wouldn't be the case without it.
Now if your hills are steep enough, regen braking would help -but realistically the cost of the energy to drive an e-bike is small enough you shouldn't care -unless it affects your range. Maximum efficiency (for a fixed travel time), requires nearly constant velocity, so if you were trying to maximize efficiency (or range), you'd descend at the same speed you climb and go on the flats.

I can imagine being able to get some recharge whilst pedalling on flats on gentle downhills might be useful -if you want enough power to go up the next hill at a decent pace. On pure human power, if I had to compete on a course that was level, plus a big hill, I would be better off doing 18 on the flats and 15 climbing rather than say (20 on the flats and 5 climbing)-except that the human engine responds nonlinearly to high power levels (goes anaerobic and all). But with the ability to charge on the flats, you go have extra power for the climbs.
Of course if you look at the equipment cost (and maybe weight), you'll almost certainly conclude regen isn't worth it.

Don't forget that all those grumpy and negative thoughts will make you susceptible to radiation. Only Happy, Shiny Consumer Thoughts can protect you!

"Knowledge brings fear."
-- Mars University motto

I'm ok with that, as long as some of the knowledge is about how to work with our fears.

Just send some of these happy new kinda flowers...



I'm sure the pro nuke folk think these are just fine.

Yeah, show me the bodies! (/sarc)

NIMBY supreme sans spent fuel, Underground or in casks: NON-NEGOTIABLE, as pointed out in previous DB. Any lessons learned from Fukushima? Incredulous faces upon mentioning that ALL 54 of Japans reactors are OFFLINE while Politicos butt scratch and ponder if they are safe "enough" to operate. Even more impressive, whip out phone with clips of the reactor buildings vaporizing into mile high plumes followed by DOD smart bomb clips of disappearing reinforced buildings. Elected ones and regulators are staring to figure out this issue is NON-NEGOTIABLE or vote them out. "Weather your a Brother, Weather your a Mother, Your Staying Alive, Staying Alive" Downwind? R.I.P. Robin Gibb anyway

That's sad. I certainly didn't agree with everything he did but Jaczko seemed to be doing a decent job.

Inhofe is such a tool. They are the Nuclear REGULATORY Commission. Their job is to regulate nukes, not promote nukes like some cheerleaders as Inhofe seems to imply.

It's probably what he's used to - being a politician, he thinks government should hand out favors to industry, and regulators should "work with" industry. The concept of needing regulators that are NOT on the side of industry, real watchdogs, is probably unfathomable to him.

I think the costs will sink nuclear. Already it's very, very expensive to build. It's a terrible idea (one that certainly sounds like a good idea, but ends up being a "good idea at the time"), thankfully it's also expensive. Even if they have collusion from within the NRC and elsewhere, if it's too expensive then it won't be built.

In the W. Post story, they make reference to Fukushima this way..

"..in the aftermath of last year’s Japanese tsunami and partial meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant."

.. calling it a 'partial meltdown' would be akin to being 'sort-of pregnant with Triplets', wouldn't it, as two or three of the reactor cores are known to have melted down, no? Anybody with some good links want to toss a little clarification into their comments?


Wind turbine components are on their way to the small community of Ocotillo, California. With a population of less than 300 it likely wouldn't attract the attention of many people, but it has a post office (usually closed) , a fire station (usually closed-not much to burn), a store and gas station. The restaurant and one gas station went out of business. But it's home to the to the residents who are as hardy as the reptiles and cacti that survive there. The town was split in two by a flash flood from hurricane Kathleen in 1976.

Turbines on the way:

Hurricane. I drove on the I-80 the day after the road opened after being washed-out:

More from ECM:

Environmental impacts:

re: California and installed wind.

If the turbines become part of CAISO, then we might see upticks in wind-generated MWHs :D


(as of 4pm, current stats are 34,000 MW of demand, with 5,000 MW being provided by renewables, and that further broken down to 2500 MW via wind, and 600 MW via solar)

Many of the frontrunners in sustainability seem to be doing so out of sheer necessity, like the Danish island Samsö.

For those who follow the development of the arctic ice:
Just between today and last update, large polynyas (open water in an ice pack) has formed in the ice west of Greenland in the north Canadian archipilage. This is deep inside the ice extent. Not surpricingly I have to conclude the ice look thin up there.

Prediction for a reopening of the north west passage this year again are in.


(Phys.org) -- A materials scientist at Michigan Technological University has discovered a chemical reaction that not only eats up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, it also creates something useful. And, by the way, it releases energy.

See: From lemons to lemonade: Reaction uses carbon dioxide to make carbon-based semiconductor

Unless the Lithium acts like a catalyst and can be reused, that reaction is resource expensive and further discussion is pointless.

Unless the Lithium acts like a catalyst and can be reused,

Seeing the chemical equation, Lithium is definitely NOT a catalyst. Catalysts come out of reaction unchanged and can be reused indefinitely. This is not the case.

But! The question remains whether lithium cyanamide (Li2CN2), a precursor to fertilizers, can be reused secondarily, or whether it is lost in the process of fertilizing the fields.

But precursor is a precursor and NOT catalyst either, so my almost-educated guess is: you are right and the whole process is resource expensive and further discussion is pointless (of course not for the good ole professor from MTU, who will surely make some quick bucks out of it :P).

There are a couple of "minor" problems with this:

- Lithium Nitride reacts violently with water
- At high temperatures, it will react with oxygen as well
- Therefore, to do the reaction, you will have to first make Li3N by "burning" Lithium in a dry, oxygen-free nitrogen atmosphere, then prepare dry, pure CO2 and react the two
- conclusion: extremely energy-intensive process, not practical for C02 remediation. As usual, the journalist publishing this had no clue what he/she was writing about (or else it was misleading)

I did a quick search for the heat of formation for Li3N, and surprisingly it's -165 kJ/mol (fyi: if heat of formation is negative, then energy is released when the molecule is formed). http://webbook.nist.gov/cgi/cbook.cgi?ID=C26134623&Units=SI&Mask=2#Therm...

However, the logical explanation for this is that if the reference state is pure Li (which is EXTREMELY unstable), then bonding with anything gives off energy. Thus, looking that the heat of formation for lithium salts (how they actually occur in nature), we find the LiCl has a heat of formation of -408 kJ/mol (http://webbook.nist.gov/cgi/cbook.cgi?ID=C7447418&Mask=2#Thermo-Condensed).

Therefore, the overall reaction is (H is heat of reaction):
6 LiCl --> 6 Li + 3 Cl2 H = 6(408) = 2448 kJ
6 Li + N2 --> 2Li3N H = 2(-165) = -330 kJ
CO2 + 2 Li3N --> Li2CN2 + 2 Li2O H = -796 kJ
(last value is from original source, Hu and Huo, 2012)

and overall energy balance is Htotal = 1322 kJ/mol CO2 extracted. That is a very energy intensive process, basically equal in magnitude to the heat of combustion for ethane (-1437 kJ/mol). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_of_combustion.

In other words, you'd have to create 2 mols of CO2 (from burning ethane) to produce enough energy to extract 1 mole of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Note that heat of formation for CO2 is neglected since that is assumed that you can obtain this "for free" energetically (i.e., it doesn't have to be manufactured).

So the only way it would work is to produce the lithium metal with stranded wind power, (or nuclear, or hydro, or geothermal, etc) and then you could show a reduction of CO2 overall.

Back to not impressed. Well, it is neat chemistry, but for for industrial scale, not so useful.

I noticed that Brent is back up in the $110 range, even though the USD is trading high against the Euro. Maybe the price isn't down as far as people think. If the EU figures out a way to kick the can down the road for another year, then the Euro will come back and the price of oil (priced in USD) will rebound. (I think)

I think that counter to the banksters dire predictions of doom as Syriza in Greece says NO! to the bankster's austerity, that actually, as with Iceland, the Austerity pushback will revive the EU economy for a while. It also seems likely the SPD and Greens will take back the German Federal government and restore the advance in Solar and Wind credits which have been slowed by Merkel which will aid Germany's Green Transition without a huge increase in fossil fuel usage by Germany.
Overall the EU rebound against austerity will increase their oil demand...

While the pundits are making fun of the Greeks as being delusional that they can escape austerity and still stay in the Euro, seems to me that the Greeks are realizing that the bailout is not to save Greece, but to save the (German, etc) banksters who lent to Greece. Perhaps the banksters will find a way to keep their losses down to a similar extent despite "Drachmageddon". Or perhaps not, since their main pressure tactic on the Greeks has been: "accept every more austerity or we'll make you leave the Euro", and they'll lose that point. Sort of like Mittens can't debate health care :-)

In any case, no matter what the details look like, the bigger picture is that emerging economies (China et al) are outbidding the West for more and more of the oil. Unless demand stagnates in China then total global demand will not abate. With a million new Chinese drivers each month, I don't expect the trend to change for now.

Tomgram: Ellen Cantarow, The New Eco-Devastation in Rural America
Posted by Ellen Cantarow at 5:25PM, May 20, 2012.


"Ground zero in this frac-fight is the rural Wisconsin towns to which TomDispatch’s roving environmental reporter Ellen Cantarow traveled this spring to get the biggest domestic environmental story that nobody knows about. Walking the fields of family farms under siege and talking to the men and women resisting the corporations, Cantarow offers up a shocking report of vital interest. There’s a battle raging for America’s geological past and ecological future -- our fresh food and clean water supplies may hinge on who wins it." -- Nick Turse

Bloomberg VIDEO: Oil Watch: Will the Seaway Pipeline Boost Prices?

They are talking some big numbers in a year or two for Canadian oil flowing through.
850,000 bbl/d in 2014.

Does anyone know when the oil starts flowing into the Seaway pipeline, does that come off the storage figures, or not. The initial flow of 150,000bpd say it takes a week to get to the other end quickly amounts to 1,000,000 bbl.

It could swing the storage figures quite quickly, or does it just show how much of the storage figure is just unusable oil until the system is drained.

In the video, they say it already started.

The Canadians are also moving ahead aggressively with plans to ship oil to their West & East Coasts:

Enbridge pledges $3.2bn in pipeline expansions

How local politics can trump scientific expertise

Personal anecdote that directly links to the below article and quotation.

Fresh water demand driving sea-level rise faster than glacier melt

The scale of groundwater use is as vast as it is unsustainable: over the past half century 18 trillion tonnes of water has been removed from underground aquifers without being replaced. In some parts of the world, the stores of water have now been exhausted. Saudi Arabia, for example, was self-sufficient in wheat, grown in the desert using water from deep, fossil aquifers. Now, many of the aquifers have run dry and most wheat is imported, with all growing expected to end in 2016. In northern India, the level of the water table is dropping by 4cm every year.

Soon after retiring to the Texas Hill Country, I had the opportunity and privilege of supporting a friend who was running for our local Guadalupe River Headwaters Commision in 2008. He is a PhD, now retired from the University of Minnesota, whose expertise was primarily in agriculture. Early in his career (late 70s/early 80s) he was a consultant to the government of Saudi Arabia when they were considering drawing water from an underground aquifer, to support irrigation, to begin cultivating wheat. His advice to the Saudis was that the aquifer which took 10,000 years to fill would become dry within 25-30 years. He was right!! Unfortunately for Texas politics, he has a fatal genetic flaw....He's a Democrat. during the Tea Party revolution of 2010, he was replaced by a "Good Ole Boy" whose only credentials were that he was a True Conservative.

While we're on the subject of incompetent, uneducated people running for office, let me tell you a personal story about Gabby Giffords, who I had the privilege of voting for and meeting in 2006 before I moved away from Arizona. In all honesty, I can't say that I supported her in the primary election because I had a co-worker who, like Gabby, also had a Masters Degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Gabby's eventual GOP opponent was an avowed anti-immigrant activist with the distinction of being a graduate of a Golf Academy. It was a very close election.

Sometimes I wonder why we even try when we are living in a country partially governed
by uneducated buffoons!!

I wonder how much the aquifers will recharge between the end of growing wheat and the inevitable day when the population of Saudi Arabia no longer has the energy to desalinate all the water that they need to live.

A problem today in Yemen.


People vote for the person that promises them more services and less taxes. Never mind that the numbers don't add up. They want less spending but defense is sacrosanct, they already "paid into" social security so you can't cut that, and "Keep the government away from my Medicare!". (the rest of the spending is mostly a rounding error compared to that stuff.).

Sometimes I wonder why we even try when we are living in a country partially governed by uneducated buffoons!!

Well, then: Houston, we have a problem. From LRD's comment up above:

A higher "score" does not mean the politician is better educated: it means only that he is making a speech designed to be incomprehensible to a person educated to a lower grade level. It is generally recognized that material to be widely understood should be at a grade level of 8 or lower.

IIRC, that last is at least approximately right. But in a complicated world stuffed to bursting with seven billions, plenty of rather important matters simply will not have useful explanations at "a grade level of 8 or lower." At the very best, only crude, misleading cartoons of useful explanations will be possible - which is one reason, among others, why we don't hold 8th graders all that responsible for their actions.

So if that's what the system is constrained to - functional 8th graders, who can't handle adult responsibility, electing functional 8th graders, who can't handle adult responsibility - then I suppose the system will inevitably prove to be unworkable. Anacyclosis, anyone?

I think you can create a "cartoon", which provides justification for nearly anything we might need to do. The problem, is you can also create a counter-cartoon, which is just as effective. So the voter ends up choosing between opposing cartoons. The odds of a correct choice go down. especially, if those who crteam "cartoons are for eee-dee-oghts" get shouted down.


As lrd said - you missed the point. He is not saying that we should write to 8th grade level because we are writing to 8th grade people.

If you take training in good writing,you will find that the world's best communicators strive to write at an 8th grade level - or below. Not because of the audience, but because it forces them to write well. It is in fact easy to write at a 12th grade level or higher - but requires hard work to do so at the 8th grade level. They say Ernest Hemingway wrote at a 6th grade level - by rewriting over and over until he got it right.

To test that many professional writers use the Flesch-Kincaid method to test their writing. You can find it here:


Your post is a grade level 15 by this test. What I just wrote above is grade level 9. And since I write for a living I know I can work on mine (hard) and get it down to 8 or below. And my experience is that once I have done that it is better written.

Well, that was rather amusing, since putting in the "Anacyclosis anyone?" snark at the end actually reduced the supposed grade level. But EOS got the only important point, which is:

So the voter ends up choosing between opposing cartoons.

After all, the old civics-class canard isn't about cartoons. It's about an informed public making informed choices, or other hogwash to that effect. That's impossible at the 8th grade level. Many of the needed concepts are well beyond that.

OTOH, certainly a writer can jerk a reader's emotions around at an 8th grade level. After all, kids readily jerk each other around at the kindergarten level. Maybe that's why so many discussions of energy, environment, etc. degrade into emotional shouting utterly devoid of substance.

For my further amusement, I put this, from downthread, into the black-magic box:

(Reuters) - Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday all seven of the climate models it monitors indicate conditions are likely to approach or exceed the El Nino threshold in the second half of 2012

It gave back a "grade level" of 20. And indeed, not many 8th graders may
have the foggiest idea of what it says. And yet, in just a few years they'll be voting on policies alleged to be necessary because of many things just like it. So, now, what was that civics-class rubbish about "informed" voters? Oh, well, things are tough all over.

That "grade 20" is in serious need of rewriting from a grammatical point of view. I'm not sure why obfuscated sentence structure would be considered a "higher grade" as surely it should be the opposite. Maybe that's why the best writing floats around the grade 9 level.

Perhaps using "school grades" is the wrong way of looking at it. I certainly try to write clear sentences. But I don't think about writing for 10 year old children when I do so.

"But I don't think about writing for 10 year old children when I do so."


While it's common to begin a sentence with a conjunction, it's generally considered amateurish. I'm being picky, I know ;-) It's just something I used to get nailed on in writing classes. Then, again, I draw a distinction between conversational writing and that which one desires to be publishable, especially if one is being paid to write.

I know. And I take great delight in ignoring it since I always thought it was an unnecessary limitation on "good writing" :)

My Dad's reasoning was that every sentence should be able to stand on it's own, structurally. Beginning a sentence with a conjunction conjoins nothing and something when pulled out of a paragraph, creating "discomfort in flow". Many grammaticists disagree, but since my old man had a masters in English and PhD in English Lit (Columbia), and my mother had masters in English/Special Ed, I generally defer to what they taught me. Too bad I didn't pay more attention. I also suffer from a case of "use it or lose it", and a misspent youth ;-/

My mother was a master at teaching dislexic/ADD kids to write well. That's got to be tough. Before he died, my dad was working on an analysis of southern (US) writers, mainly prose, and what made them so readable. Funny that I ended up being more engineering oriented.

My reasoning is that sentences don't stand on their own. The use of pronouns being particularly important for good writing. I believe the full stop at the end of a sentence is more for reading comprehension, telling you to pause... rather than some great and powerful sentence finisher.

Richard - you hit the nail on the head. The goal is to write clear sentences. The metric of grade level is just a way of forcing you to do so.

The novelist Ayn Rand was once asked about her writing process because of her reputation for explaining her ideas so clearly. Her reply was "There is no such thing as writing - there is only rewriting."

Humbug. As I remarked a few weeks ago, Atlas Shrugged was something of a slog. It would remain so regardless of the value of some arbitrary mathematical index computed on it.

OK, I think this discussion needs more data. First, that website you cited has not only a grade level but also a readability score. Here are some results:

- a randomly chosen abstract (summary) of a Cell paper has grade level 17 and readability 16 (targeted audience: biology grad students and higher grade levels, i.e. >= 17)
- the Gettyburg Address has grade level 13 and readability 46
- Mark Anthony's speech as told by Shakespeare has grade level 9 and readability 65

I therefore think that aiming at grade level 8 is unrealistic when discussing any difficult topic. On the other hand, the website may be very useful if one uses both measures and at least tries to keep the readability high.

I think the argument that there is a decline in the quality of public discussion in America may be valid - look at the level at which Lincoln spoke right in the middle of the Civil War.

Since I started this thread I'm going to take the opportunity to jump back in with a few more comments. Civilization is facing the combined threats of Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Collapse, among other woes. Much of the supporting data for these threats is very complex and difficult to explain, even for the PhDs who have the in depth knowledge in their respective fields. How does this information get disseminated to a voting public that has limited, if any, critical thinking skills?

World is round. Round has a certain diameter. Round is finite. Finite planet has finite oil. Finite oil will run out. We must prepare for that.

Oops, you lost 'em at "diameter", and you threw 'em overboard at "finite".

Too true. Perhaps we should have a competition page. Who can explain peak oil at a grade 8 level in 100 words or less.

Or as a Haiku.

My fellow Americans, we are faced today with a very difficult predicament, let me explain, on this chart here we can see the depletion curves for...

Yo, my brothers and sisters! Let me lay it on the line for ya!

The cheap easy to get oil, is all gone!

There's lot's of very expensive, hard to get oil, still left.

Sorry, you ain't got the bucks to afford it and you won't get the bucks!

Go buy yourself a nice new bike and have brewski!

Oh, and please don't forget to vote for me so I can continue to buy gas for my SUV.

May God bless this great nation of ours!

"I think the argument that there is a decline in the quality of public discussion in America may be valid..."

Go to a library sometime and look at copies of the major news magazines (Time, etc.) from the 1940s. Then look at a modern copy. The modern copy will have much better pictures, most of which will convey nothing of importance. The old copies will have more sophisticated prose (which may also seem painfully formal due to stylistic changes.) These days, it's all about "production values".

"Mark Anthony's speech as told by Shakespeare has grade level 9 and readability 65."

These days, Shakespeare has been largely pushed out of the schools. Way too hard to read, so the story goes, and indeed I'm having a bit of trouble imagining an average ninth grader parsing that speech in a sensible manner. So now I must wonder whether they computed those values by running the text through a pseudorandom-number generator.

I recently came across a 20 page article from Look magazine from 1957 regarding segregation in Arkansas and President Eisenhower's decision to send in troops. The article was detailed with quotations from numerous sources. Look magazine was not considered very sophisticated, but compared to modern news magazines, it was well-reasoned and thorough. Consider that in the 19th century, public debate was almost like a spectator sport. There was no radio, television, internet, telephone or other distraction. Reading was not universal in Lincoln's time, but those who did read spent a good deal of time at it if they could afford to do so. The decline in reading was to be expected; we are much too captured by images which quickly affect emotions.

Interesting article on new-car purchases:


Here's a quote from the intro:

It’s been a quiet revolution. You might not have noticed (or maybe you have). If you have kids born between 1990 and 1996, there’s a strong likelihood that they -- or at least a lot of their friends -- aren’t driving yet, and aren’t especially anxious to start. The parents get to skate (at least for a while) on things like another car payment, higher fuel bills and an insurance agent who won’t wipe that effing grin off her face as she plans her next kitchen remodel from the commission on the recently engorged premium.(/blockquote)

It is odd the way the article assumes parents just always buy their kids cars, insurance, and fuel.

And yet, not so odd at all - despite the article's exaggerated headline (...Completely Lost the Millennials), oftentimes the parents do just that. They're petrified to let the kids use public transit if it even exists at a useful level - "stranger danger" and all that, plus some of the waits for transfers are likely to be in unsavory neighborhoods, plus every night in a big city the news will be full of muggings, assaults, and even murders, plus there's a fair chance the kids have already reported bullying at school about which the school authorities did exactly nothing. They're even more petrified to let the kids walk or bike, on account of "traffic"; even here in the Berkeley of the Midwest, where the traffic is not too awful, we've had political dust-ups over building technically-infeasible overpasses because many feel that we just can't expect even high-schoolers to learn to cross the d*mn street. And by the time the kids get to high school, the parents will be running out of hours in the day to drive them around to all the places they go.

So the parents are caught between various rocks and hard places - pay through the nose for the agent's new kitchen (which, ironically, the agent will never have time to use), tolerate both the real and imaginary dangers, or just let the kids become totally sedentary vegetables spending every last waking moment texting (or worse, sexting) about nothing. Really, not a very pretty picture, and with all the judgmental stuff about parenting that floats around these days (horrors, the neighbor's kids walked to school, call Child Protective Services now!), what are they to do?

I just got my daughter a ZipCar membership with some money in an account to use it for her graduation instead of a car. She is happy with it as she is moving to the city anyway and will only occasionally need a car so the ZipCar is perfect for her.
A number of her fellow recent college grads do not even have drivers licenses! They are planning on living where they do not need a car and have no plans to drive...
Some good news I think...

Well they won't be able to vote in a Republic legislated state.

"They are planning on living where they do not need a car and have no plans to drive...
Some good news I think..."

Be careful what you wish for. The lack of young people in the campgrounds and generally out in the woods (and I've seen that for myself) means that in 20 years or so the support for all that natural land and Wilderness will be greatly diminished, and then it will be politically possible to privatize it. Or clearcut it pay off a portion of our Chinese debt.

Say what you will about the Boomers since then, but the environmental movement was their creation, especially the early boomers. First Earth day minus 20 years is 1950. If the current generation can't look up from their cell phones, and are unwilling to venture out of cell range, it doesn't bode well in the long run. Unless you really like urban living.

I got two of them. Now if we can drag them to the DMV to apply for a learners permit? Their insularity is getting ridiculous.

Peak Fish

The end of fish, in one chart

Indeed, there’s some evidence that we’ve already hit “peak fish.” World fish production seems to have reached its zenith back in the 1980s, when the global catch was higher than it is today. And, according to one recent study in the journal Science, commercial fish stocks are on pace for total “collapse” by 2048 — meaning that they’ll produce less than 10 percent of their peak catch. On the other hand, many of those fish-depleted areas will be overrun by jellyfish, which is good news for anyone who enjoys a good blob sandwich.

Brad Plumer at Wonkblog


I read the article, and all the comments, ans this person 'BogusClaims' asserts that a newer, less alarming report has been issued, and he further asserts that the original paper has numerous rebuttals, which he listed, see the following:

The prediction that all fisheries will be collapsed by 2048 is the most heavily rebutted claim in fisheries science (rebuttals listed below). After the furor, the same scientist teamed up with his critics and wrote another paper in Science in 2009 which concluded that although 2/3rd of fisheries are at low numbers, fishing pressure has been reduced and most should recover in the future. It is irresponsible journalism to quote just the doom and gloom predictions of WWF and Daniel Pauly without some attempt to check your facts.

That newer more measured paper is
Worm, B. et al.. 2009. Rebuilding global fisheries. Science 325: 578-585.

The rebuttals to the 2006 paper are:

Branch, T.A. 2008. Not all fisheries will be collapsed in 2048. Mar. Pol. 32(1): 38-39.
Briggs, J.C. 2007. Biodiversity loss in the ocean: how bad is it? Science 316: 1282.
Hilborn, R. 2007. Biodiversity loss in the ocean: how bad is it? Science 316: 1281-1282.
Hilborn, R. 2007. Reinterpreting the state of fisheries and their management. Ecosystems 10: 1362-1369.
Hilborn, R. 2007. Moving to sustainability by learning from successful fisheries. Ambio 36(4): 296-303.
Hölker, F., Beare, D., Dörner, H., di Natale, A., Rätz, H.-J., Temming, A., and Casey, J. 2007. Comment on “Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services”. Science 316: 1285c.
Jaenike, J. 2007. Comment on “Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services”. Science 316: 1285a.
Longhurst, A. 2007. Doubt and uncertainty in fishery science: Are we really headed for a global collapse of stocks? Fish Res. 86: 1-5.
Murawski, S.A., Methot, R., and Tromble, G. 2007. Biodiversity loss in the ocean: how bad is it? Science 316: 1281.
Wilberg, M.J., and Miller, T.J. 2007. Comment on “Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services”. Science 316: 1285b.

I do not endorse this person's assertions...I have read plenty of other articles about the negative trends affecting the ocean to be more than a little skeptical about the 'all's better than we thought' line...but I figured I'd paste it in here in the idea of presenting an opposing viewpoint, for those folks here with enough knowledge to credible adjudicate his/her claims...

My 'anecdote' may not be as "strong" as those papers, but my brother worked for Washington State Fish and Wildlife. I was talking to him today, and he said it was pointless because they'll never do what needs to be done to save the salmon. He said, "Runs are going extinct right now, and the steelhead are going to be gone if they keep doing what they're doing".

"Fishing pressure has reduced" on what, exactly? By how much? From what? As long as bottom trawlers and factory fishing boats exist, I don't believe it. It's a bit like the whales. Look at the records of history, and there used to be whales in vast numbers, so much that the first European hunters in the artic described them as stretching from horizon to horizon... Now we claim that humpback are recovered because there are at least 80,000 worldwide, which is to say we are measuring against what is almost certainly a depleted baseline. The fish are the same. 100 years ago, cod in the grand banks seemed limitless. 300 years ago, oysters in New York harbor seemed limitless. Where are they now?

I looked up that article in Science. The arguments presented are about methodology (as is typical), with the first issue being that the definition of collapse is that landings are <10% of highest observed landings. The writers then go on to make the example of haddock in Canada, but their description of the stock actually sounds a lot like a fishery in collapse -

"The inadequacy of Worm et al.’s abundance proxy is illustrated by the time series of data for Georges Bank haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus). The highest catch for haddock occurred in 1965 at 150,362 tons (1). This catch occurred during a period of intense domestic and international fishing (1). In 2003, haddock catch was 12,576 tons, or 8% of the time series maximum. Under the Worm et al. definition, the stock would be categorized as collapsed in 2003. However, stock assessment data (1) estimate the total magnitude of the spawning biomass in 2003 to be 91% of that in 1965."

To me, this sounds like they were being fished out in 1965, and they're still fished out even though the catch is much, much smaller today - stocks have decreased slightly despite much lower fishing pressure (interestingly, there is a graph in the rebuttal article that hilariously demonstrates how the 1965 catch destroyed the fishery and it has only now started to recover to the levels of the 1960s due to closure of the fishery for the most part, not to mention 1965 is probably an already degraded baseline from a truly long term historical perspective). Yes, it COULD be that that's all that area can naturally support... But I, for one, am skeptical. Also, keep in mind they all work for NOAA.

There is a lot more to that article. What I quoted is just one set of comments on the "100% fished out" article. One of the other commenters notes that it is not biodiversity loss, per se, but population loss - only slightly cheering, to think that we might not succeed in driving these species extinct but only manage to drive their numbers down to 1% or 2% or 6% of their former numbers! Perhaps they will recover, when we don't have the oil to run the factory boats!

There is a lot in that article, and the original authors rebut the rebuttals as well. Well worth reading. I think the authors of the "100% fished out by 2048" study come out on top. Also, I think the precise date and numbers are less important than the obvious and indisputable fact that we're fishing out the seas. It may not be a pretty fact, but it's very well supported. A survey of the historical record is even scarier, even if there are no precise numbers.


Great to have a spirited discussion of fisheries -- truly a depleting resource!

I'd be interested to know what your brother at DFW has to say about pressures on salmonids here in Washington State.

It is my impression from the water resource and fisheries folks I know that the biggest problem for anadromous fish in Washington is the development on land and our (mis)management of rivers and streams. This has probably been true ever since 1976 when the Magnuson-Stevens Act began limiting the high seas catch -- in particular by pushing the Japanese driftnet fleet out of American waters.

(You can read about recent high seas driftnet enforcement efforts in this NMFS report.)

As for land based pressures on Pacific Northwest salmon stocks, we have the good, the bad and the ugly:

  • The good is the Elwha Ecosystem Restoration Project -- the largest dam removal project ever.
  • The bad is continued development pressure in Western Washington: increased impervious surface area, decreased canopy cover, increased water temperature, increased flashiness of streams during storms, increased runoff and silt, etc., etc.
  • The ugly is the possibility of monsters like the Pebble Mine opening up in Bristol Bay, home to the largest Sockeye run in the world.

In my view, there are still a few good places worth fighting for in the Pacific NW and good legislation and municipal codes, good enforcement of each and good restoration projects can actually make a difference. We won't be walking across streams on the backs of salmon any time soon, but awareness is high and there is occasional cause for optimism.

But let's not drop the ball on Bristol Bay where salmon stocks are still healthy!


Jon and Adam, thank you for your reports...information such as this makes TOD a great discussion board.

The Pebble Mine would be an ecological disaster on a scale that would be immense.
Elwha has been a victory, but very short sided people discounting the future are putting hatchery Coleman steelhead, a fish not native to the system, and destructive to the native fish and the recovery.
Are we smarter than yeast?

Correction--- It is the Chambers Creek winter run steelhead that is being introduced.


A religious war between fish-worshippers. Definitely crazy! LOL.

Personally, I'd not release anything, and wait to see what shows up. Some salmon do get lost and go up the wrong stream (how did you think all those rivers exposed by the retreating ice sheets got repopulated?) Of course that might not be a "wild" fish, or at least not wild enough to meet the religion's test.

I would like to elaborate this with a little historical evidence from Denmark.

A couple of hundred years ago the salmon was so abundant in Denmark that it was considered worthless. There were even put in laws that said that employers could not pay their workers with salmon, but had to give them pay with something of value. Today you hardly see a salmon anywhere in Denmark. Except a few in Gudenåen and they are kept articially alive from putting out abundant amounts of fish fry.

In the start 1900s Denmark had an abundant supply of Tuna fish - this got eradicated 100% by about 1970. Today its big news in the newspaper when some poor straggling tuna fish gets caught.

New the large supermarket chains has stopped purchasing eel for consumer use - because according to statistics this has been depleted about 99%.

According to statistics 15 of the worlds largest dead-zones are in Danish waters - which is why our fishing fleet is "stealing" the fish near africas east coast and looking at arctic waters.

The flatfish "rødspætte" is also nearing extermination, but obviously not enough to invoke a ban.

The cod was close to total collapse, but it seems like it has recovered somewhat after extensive restrictions on the catch.

wednesdays are soylent green days!

No, according to Governor Santini, Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!


Don't worry we will enjoy the bounty of fish, and plankton, and sea greens, and protein from the sea!


I can never quite shake the Soylent Green concept - the logic of it is too strong, almost inescapable. It seems to me this is something that will be tried eventually, and it would appear we have suitable processes worked out. What is pink slime really?

and it's not like the use of cannibalism in the food chain is a new method of getting enough food onto our tables.

Climate Alert
Climate models indicate El Nino return

(Reuters) - Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday all seven of the climate models it monitors indicate conditions are likely to approach or exceed the El Nino threshold in the second half of 2012

2009- 2010 was a weak El-Nino and we all know how it turned out, one of the worst years ever for climate related disasters all over the world, 2013 could bring about a similar turn of events.

When the systemisrightbetween La Niña and El Niño, and stay so for a while, they call it jokingly "la nada".


IMO conventional ideas about ENSO cycles are getting blown away by climate distortion. 2010 produced record heat (a global temp distortion of +1C) with a mild El-Nino or as some might call it "la nada", who knows what a 1998 like El-Nino event might do (+1.3/+1.4C??). My concern is that if we get a climate shock coupled with a severe recession and high oil prices, things might just tip over, at least in some places.

Yes, this is right. As we head into a new climate paradigm, old truths will no longer be truths. We will need to re-learn the climate system. And we will most likely not like the lesson.

Regarding your other statement,it is very much a matter of timing. If they happen at once, there will be a hard chaotic pulse, if they happen in sequence, we will have a long time of bad news. Those scenarios will play out different. My bet is in the future, things will change so fast we exprience them as simoultaneous.

Globally, La Nina is historically more costly than El Nino -- at least in the agricultural sector. That being said when a strong El Nino appears, I think all bets are off since we will reach unprecedented (in recent records) temperatures. The models are not predicting a strong El Nino right now but I don't think the models have that much skill either -- it is better to watch actual developments than plan ahead.

In late 2009, the prediction for next year was it was going to be realy hot. 2010 did indeed turn out warm, and now holds the warmest ever record. That year (09) the climatological indicators were very clear. It can be done. They were not just lucky that year, they were on to something.

I am looking around for good indicators/predictions for next year, but so far the reading in the tea leaves are less clear, it seems.

We had a strong El Nino heading into 2010 and higher temperatures were almost certain -- that is kind-of like me predicting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow.

Global Temperature in 2011, Trends, and Prospects

The heat content of the upper 300 m of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. 8) is useful data for anticipating the next El Niño, because it precedes the Niño index by two months, which in turn precedes global temperature by four months.

The OP article title was garbage. If you read the article, the climatologists state that they don't really know but there is a chance that El Nino develops.

They were not just lucky that year, they were on to something.

How could you possibly know that?

I spent a decade working in a climate modeling shop at NOAA. At that time, ocean modelers were increasingly confident in and satisified with their skill at predicting future ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillation) conditions. Over 20 years their forecasts kept improving thanks to better computers and improved software.

Then one year their skill at predicting future ENSO conditions suddenly dropped. The last time I checked, predictive skill was still poor.

The papers they wrote at the time talked about "regime shift". Basically, something they didn't understand had obviously changed because their models no longer worked well. But they weren't sure what it was. ENSO nerds can google on "enso prediction skill regime" to get to papers like:

Interdecadal Variation of ENSO Predictability in Multiple Models

The bottom line is that the ocean-atmosphere system is unbelievably complex and a large heaping of humility should be required fare for modelers. Making regional predictions on a seasonal or interannual basis is extremely challenging to do with any skill. As described in the paper above, the skill of predictive models can vary over time due to factors we don't fully understand. In that respect climate models are not much different from the markets:

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Best hopes for better models and humble modelers.


humble modelers

Cough, cough. The field seems to have become far too politicized for humility. Instead we seem to be awash in glib policy pronouncements from scientists asserting in essence that "science says do this" or "science says do that". Consider Hansen for one, with his magic number of 350. That wouldn't be 337 or 360 mind you, because for mysterious reasons yet to be explained, the magic threshold of heat-doom must be a nice doubly-round multiple of the number of fingers most of us have inherited. Then again, maybe there's still some hidden back room where the last vestige of humility has yet to be throttled to death?

Hansen is wrong. There are a limit, but it is 280. The one below that is 180. There are no middle ground. You can't have for example 250. If you do, it will move towards another level, a stable one. We know there are stable levels at 180 and 280. No one know where the next stable level is. Maybe it is 380. Or 400? But we are making sure we miss that one and head on for the next one. 500 possibly?

"but I don't think the models have that much skill either "

The conclusion of my Ph.D. was that even models that predicted the past to arbitrarily good precision failed at predicting the future when the input constraints in the original data set were exceeded.

And this conclusion would hold whether humans are causing the climate change or whether it happens due to natural variation, as it has many times in the past. What's different is that this time there is nowhere for the population to migrate to that is not already full.

You are on to something here. Climate operates in stability levels. Ice Age climate levels around 180 PPM CO2. Inter-glacial climate on 280 PPM. It hoovers about around the level it is on, but will stay there, and play with those rules. 180 PPM is one rule set, 280 PPM is another. We are now at 392. I would guess there is a stable level somewhere around here, but we just keep emitting, so we will miss it.

What you are observing is that when CO2 levels change, the rules the climate behaved on in the begining will change, and if you keep playing with the old rules in the new climate, you will get your models wrong.

Yeah, we have a tropical storm/hurricane incoming for the weekend and it's only MAY for goodness sake!!!


Damage from Chemical Exposure Passed Down for Generations


"We are now in the third human generation since the start of the chemical revolution, since humans have been exposed to these kinds of toxins," said lead author David Crews of the University of Texas.

"There is no doubt that we have been seeing real increases in mental disorders like autism and bipolar disorder,"

For the study, researchers exposed pregnant rats to vinclozolin, a common fungicide used in fruits and vegetables and which is known to disrupt hormones and have effects across generations of animals.

Research paper PDF:


Underground Russian x-ray film music records:

Bike Madness!:

“There is no doubt that we have been seeing real increases in mental disorders like autism and bipolar disorder,” says Crews, who focused on the neuroscience, behavior and stress aspects of the paper. “It’s more than just a change in diagnostics. The question is why? Is it because we are living in a more frantic world, or because we are living in a more frantic world and are responding to that in a different way because we have been exposed? I favor the latter.”

I will go out on a limb and say that it's not an either-or.

and to add to that thought, we have a system that champions an exploding warehouse of Toxic Substances for it's essential ingredients, and we have abandoned many of the historic and cultural tools we once relied upon for helping people with mental distress, and we've barely studied the effects of either of those toxic conditions (chemical wastes and mental health), much less the confluence of them BOTH working on us at the same time.

A classic two-front war.. 'head them off at the pass!'

Great thread. It seems quite likely to me that chemical and psychological etiologies are likely at work, and it seems really odd that the mainstream solution seems to be, increasingly... more chemicals (i.e., drugs) that are really poorly understood.

As for abandoning the traditional cultural institutions, also a valid point, but there's also a lot of attention being paid to developing new cultural traditions that better address contemporary problems. Where I work, the DV and substance abuse groups are cutting-edge, and get very good reviews.

The more effective and most efficient solutions are usually going to be attachment based. That's the toolkit that humans are born with; it's the fastest way to change cognition and behavior.

At our clinic, we often start by trying to get rid of all the chemicals we can (at least the illicit ones, which we have some control over, but we check on diet and exercise, too, or make referrals for that) and then try to build up the support system, because if you don't have that, you're really vulnerable. In my very limited experience, that's a great start...

Until someone makes a psych referral, and a lot of times, individual therapy goes right off the rails. Not always, but more often than not.

Here is a nice fluffy little feel-good article from Foreign Policy about how the 'West' (at least some of the counties so enshrined) is rising again:


Have the rest of you realized that the U.S. is experiencing an 'astonishing recovery'?

Same article...South Korea is the new old Japan..prediction that its 'wealth per capita' will surpass Japan's in five years...

Edit: Not to be outdone, Foreign Policy has an article up now called 'Superfuel...'

about how the U.S. needs to get its rear in gear and use Thorium reactor power since: '...thorium offers the ideal material for satisfying the world’s burgeoning demand for electricity without relying on fossil fuels.'.


I like how the US is rising, except in ways that actually make ordinary people's lives better. Oh, the US has more influence in Asia? Wow! That'll solve our runaway entitlement spending, broken healthcare system, ridiculous tax code, etc.

Not to mention that we spend more on militancy that all the other nations combined.

We all PAY into both Social Security and Medicare. Social Security is fully funded by US Treasury Bonds so I am not sure what Jersey Patriot means by "entitlements". If I pay for Social Security for years without even 100% chance I will receive it if I die first and it is totally paid for by all our contributions then how is that an "entitlement"?
I do not believe that term should be used unless you are referring to something else like Military funding for Corporations like Boeing which amounts to $1 Trillion per YEAR when you count all the costs of War and their interest. See:

On the Corporate Military Welfare of companies like Boeing see the following from the Occupy protest yesterday which shut down Boeing in Chicago:

In 2001, Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago in a plan that stole over $60 million and 20 years worth of free rent from Illinois taxpayers. In 2010 Boeing made over $4.5 billion, yet in the past three years they have managed to avoid paying taxes. In 2010 they received a federal tax subsidy of $1.56 billion. This cost the State of Illinois $65 million in revenue. This money could have been used to serve an additional 16,000 Medicaid clients, provide Medicare Part B coverage to 13,000 seniors, provide 36 million meals to the hungry, or create 1,625 living wage jobs for the unemployed. Instead this money was given to Boeing in the form of corporate welfare by our elected officials.

In total, Boeing has received over 12 billion dollars from the US Department of Defense to produce war machines, which are used to terrorize communities and murder innocent civilians all over the world. These tools of destruction are produced using prison labor, allowing Boeing to make weaponized products for pennies on the dollar. When not using non-prison labor, Boeing goes out of it's way to bust unions, even moving factories across the country to stifle worker's rights. Boeing production facilities are continually found to be massive polluters, leading to the company being listed as one of the top 50 corporate criminals responsible for environmental destruction.

Like the Onion, only less so:

Scientists say enough oil left for 50 years or one kickass jet race.


Concerns raised over JPS LNG plant

At least one expert has serious concerns about the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd's (JPS) plans to build the country's first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired plant at a cost of J$52 billion in St Catherine. The 360-megawatt plant is touted to reduce the country's electricity bill by 30 per cent......

"If we do not secure that source of LNG and get it over on this part of the shores and they have to use that combine cycle gas turbine plant to power electricity later on, we will be in a more dangerous position than before. Because we will be using a much more expensive backup fuel, as the combine cycle gas turbines can only use automotive diesel oil," said Williams.

I wanted to post this yesterday but, had to go out before I could get it done. In a response to a post of mine on Sunday, benamery21 suggested an undersea cable to supply electricity (from where?) as a short term solution for reducing electricity costs on my island. He also suggested that, whatever solution was chosen needed to be implemented quickly.

So, when I saw this article, it got me thinking, instead of depending on Trinidad as the most likely source of LNG, with the attendant cost of liquefying and re-gasification, why not build a 500 mile submarine pipeline to the north coasts of Colombia and Venezuela? As a result, I did some searching on the Internet to try and figure out how much more expensive that would be, compared to acquiring a floating LNG terminal and re-gasification plant. I was having trouble finding costs per mile for submarine pipelines and had an appointment to go to, so I submitted a comment to the newspaper to throw the idea out there. Needless to say, the editors now probably think I'm a certified lunatic and did not post it. Is the idea all that crazy?

Alan from the islands

Can't they just Install some microturbines? There's a NG pipeline across the Gulf to Tampa. It's concrete encased to keep from floating, This floating complex is here at the Port of Pensacola: http://www.ship-technology.com/projects/global1200pipelayves. Just watched them installed a new 100 m stinger on her. I have the captain's card and he promised me a tour, if anyone is in the area I can arrange. Says she can lay in Deep water, How deep I'll have to ask.

No sir. Sorry my comment wasn't more clear. I intended to indicate that if I were running the study I would compare an undersea cable option to the LNG plant/source/contract plus combined cycle power plant option and also to a harder look at renewables for the medium to long term solution.

In the short term they need to do something quicker than they can do LNG. I suggested that theft reduction, energy efficiency, and fuel switching using existing generators plus some additional additional medium speed recip engines would probably be the low hanging fruit short term. I also suggested that for a quicker reduction in fuel price with less capital investment and time than LNG, they might look at CNG.

Where to run the submarine electric grid is the result of a study, not the start. Ideally, I think you'd interconnect Jamaica, Cuba, Hispanola, Texas, and Florida at minimum. U.S.-Cuban politics make that unlikely in the near term

I think this web comic strip fits at this page. Enjoy.


On the more serious side of the issue regarding size of citizens and diet (although your point probably had more to do with size of US vehicles), there were two Dr's on Morning Joe this AM: From the year 2000 to 2009 the percentage of teens having diabetes went from 9% to 26%, so 1 in 4 US teens now has diabetes.

On the more serious side of the issue regarding size of citizens and diet (although your point probably had more to do with size of US vehicles), there were two Dr's on Morning Joe this AM: From the year 2000 to 2009 the percentage of teens having diabetes went from 9% to 26%, so 1 in 4 US teens now has diabetes.

Regarding Stuart Staniford's recent posting Crude and Condensate reached new highs in January
- the recent years on that rate chart are rather volatile. Is it possible that the Saudis have decided that Europe is about to tank and might as well sell much of their stored-up inventory before the price collapses again? (At the same time saying they are doing their best to force the price down, of course.) IOW, do we really know whether those EIA numbers are truly "production" (extraction from the ground), or sales (which could be from storage), or fictitious?

"Is it possible that the Saudis have decided that Europe is about to tank and might as well sell much of their stored-up inventory before the price collapses again?

...or could it be that they want to get as much inventory out before the Iran SHTF?

My comment at the EB link:

Note that we are seeing some very sizable discrepancies between what the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) reports for Texas crude oil production, versus what the EIA shows, especially on a monthly basis, with the EIA data around 500,000 bpd higher than what the RRC shows. And this is just one producing region. We saw similar gaps between the EIA and other data sources for 2010 Saudi production. The RRC sums the reported production from Texas producers, while the EIA apparently uses a sampling approach. A link to an article that addresses the discrepancy:


In any case, I think that average annual production gives us a better overall and more accurate indication of production trends. The primary constraint that we are seeing is the ongoing decline in global net exports of oil (GNE), measured in terms of total petroleum liquids, with something resembling Business As Usual only being maintained because of a sky high post-2005 rate of depletion in the volume of post-2005 Cumulative Net Exports of oil (CNE), which are measured in terms of total petroleum liquids. I estimate that post-2005 Global CNE have been depleted by about one-third, in just five years (2006 to 2010 inclusive).

In the last several days comments on EB pages have become invisible to me. Is it just me? I hear that they are using a new version of the Disqus software/service, and it's buggy - and requires very recent browser versions (MSIE9). I would rather they stick to older standards, old enough to fit the vast majority of their potential audience, which is international. Not everybody has "upgraded" to Win7/IE9/24" screen.

I'm old enough to remember having great on-line discussions in Usenet groups using a text-only interface through 1200-baud modems.

No problem for me (I'm using a Mac, with an older version of Safari).

My Mac with Firefox also works on EB.

EB also crashes the Kindle Fire. Had to stop reading the site when I use it.

Regarding production versus Cumulative Net Exports (CNE) depletion, here is the example for Indonesia.

Indonesia hit their (apparent) final production peak in 1991. Here is what BP shows for Indonesian total petroleum liquids production for 1991 to 1995:

1991: 1.67 mbpd
1992: 1.58
1993: 1.59
1994: 1.58
1995: 1.58

Production fell by about 5% from 1991 to 1992, and then it was flat for 1992 to 1995 inclusive.

But we know that the post-1991 CNE were, and we can calculate the post-1991 CNE depletion by year.

At the end of 1991, by definition, post-1991 CNE were equal to 100%. Here are the post-1991 CNE percentage depletion numbers at the end of each subsequent year:

1992: 14%
1993: 29%
1994: 42%
1995: 53%

So following a 5% production decline from 1991 to 1992, we see four years of stable production, but about half of post-1991 CNE were shipped in only four years and the post-1991 CNE depletion rate was 19%/year.

In other words, over a four year period of stable production, Indonesia was depleting their post-1991 cumulative supply of (net) exported oil at the rate of 19%/year.

WT the implications of this data strike me as dire. The global industrial economy will keep running on debt until net export declines blow it up, or until the debt can no longer be serviced. The Titanic is sinking but the band plays on.

I am torn between focusing on lifeboat building (purchasing remote land with water and prepping), and my life as a musician in the BAU paradigm. Your writings motivate me to keep working on the lifeboat when normalcy bias sets in and it seems like a crazy thing to do. Thanks for all your work, even if policy makers won’t change course, individuals like me may benefit.


Delphi Gasoline-Injection Engine Technique Rivals Hybrid's Edge

Delphi claims its technology is an improvement upon the fuel economy of gas-powered cars, and can bring forth benefits of the hybrid at less than the cost of a large battery and electric motor.

Delphi's approach is called a gasoline-direct-injection compression ignition. Running a diesel-like engine on gasoline is something that researchers have tried in the past. Diesel engines are 40 to 45 percent efficient in using the energy in fuel to propel a vehicle, compared to roughly 30 percent efficiency for gasoline engines.

“Tests were conducted at 6 bar IMEP - 1500 rpm using various injection strategies with low-to-moderate injection pressure,” they said. Their results showed that what they called “triple injection GDCI” achieved about eight percent greater indicated thermal efficiency and about 14 percent lower specific CO2 emissions relative to diesel baseline tests on the same engine.

Tech Paper: Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) - Diesel-like Efficiency with Low CO2 Emissions

How Iran could double its oil output, above:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As Iran continues to grapple with the West over its nuclear ambitions, experts say the nation could double its already sizable oil output if sanctions were lifted to allow foreign investment into its oil industry.

Iran currently produces around 3.4 million barrels of oil a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That makes it the world's sixth-largest oil producer.

...If the current sanctions were lifted to allow foreign capital and knowledge into Iran, the country could boost oil production significantly....

...Not everyone agrees that Iran could boost its output, though, even if the sanctions were lifted...

One wonders if restricting Iran's output through sanctions isn't more related to peak oil than politics and the nuclear issue; keep it in the ground. It has been posited that the Iraq invasion was more about slowing the extraction of their oil than about getting it; destroy or limit their ability to produce/consume. I'm sure there's a balancing act going on between stretching out the peak plateau and high oil prices. It would be more politically savy to constrain supply than limiting demand through higher taxes, etc.

I don't disagree with your proposal for why sanctions are being sought, but I'd put it a little bit differently. More simply put, it gives an excuse for plateau (both peak oil and economic stagnation).

Thus, when the economy takes another considerable turn for the worse, or when it becomes painfully obvious that oil is peaking (regardless of the discrepancies that westexas has pointed out), then TPTB can blame it on Iran and say it had to be this way to stop their nuclear program.

The effect of course will be a louder drumbeat for war, and not just from the usual crowd. Anyone who lost their job or a significant chunk of their savings will be more susceptible to the pro-war argument that, "Everything will get better once we have regime change in Iran to get rid of this destabilizing threat to the world economy".

From TPTB's perspective, better to have an external scapegoat to focus that anger on instead of having it turn inwards against the existing power structure. If all this comes to pass, there's also the 'benefit' of getting "foreign investment into [Iran's] oil industry", which the West has been itching for ever since the Revolution.

Probability of contamination from severe nuclear reactor accidents is higher than expected: study

Catastrophic nuclear accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima are more likely to happen than previously assumed. Based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz have calculated that such events may occur once every 10 to 20 years (based on the current number of reactors) — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past.

The researchers also determined that, in the event of such a major accident, half of the radioactive caesium-137 would be spread over an area of more than 1,000 kilometres away from the nuclear reactor. Their results show that Western Europe is likely to be contaminated about once in 50 years by more than 40 kilobecquerel of caesium-137 per square meter. 25 percent of the radioactive particles are transported further than 2,000 kilometres

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, an area is defined as being contaminated with radiation from this amount onwards. In view of their findings, the researchers call for an in-depth analysis and reassessment of the risks associated with nuclear power plants.

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Abstract

Core Meltdowns? Fine, What about the probably of Fires in "pools" as power winks out for a bit. If a tree falls on a line 3 states away, or tornado swipes a transmission line, Primary power scrammed. Seems odds for release from spent fuel "stored" in non-reinforced facilities has to be a least a order of magnitude higher... no? In Germany, onsite spent fuel cool enough is "secure" in Casks. Release doesn't even require an accident. Lotta good the the reinforced reactor structures we count on for containment will do. The 3 most feared words for downwind lifeforms: *Breach of Containment* Breach of 4 feet of water?

The spent fuel pools are not in any immediate danger if there is a station blackout because it takes a significant amount of time for enough water to evaporate/boil away to expose fuel material to the atmosphere. Adding more water to the pools can also be accomplished using fairly low tech solutions such as connecting a hose to a fire hydrant, bringing in a tanker truck, etc.

The reactor core is the number one concern because most if not all reactors currently in service cannot be operated for very long without a supply of cooling water even if the reactor has been shutdown. Fortunately, nuclear power plants are much better equipped to handle a station blackout than when they were first constructed. There should be multiple backup power systems, including diesel generators and possibly banks of batteries to ensure there is power to keep the pumps running.

Fukushima is the first nuclear disaster that was triggered by a natural disaster. The reactors probably sustained damage from the earthquake which was of a magnitude larger than what they had been designed to cope with. The tsunami which followed was also far larger than the plant had been designed to handle thereby resulting in a considerable amount of damage to the facilities as well as loss of all the backup power facilities.

The lesson from Fukushima is that we need to pay more attention to the possibility of natural disasters seriously damaging a nuclear power plant. Tsunamis of that magnitude had occurred hundreds of years earlier and given the geology of the area, would be expected to happen again in the future. It seems like a terrible oversight to not have built the facility to withstand what was known to have happened historically.

In North America there is the added problem that we don't have a long written history of earthquake and tsunami activity. We have had to depend on geologists to provide estimates of the size/frequency of earthquakes that could be expected in any given area. Unfortunately, more recent geological data now suggests that some regions are more likely to experience a large earthquake than previously thought. There is no cheap fix to this problem because it either requires that plants be modified to withstand larger earthquakes or taken out of service if that isn't feasible.

After Fukushima, the US NRC ordered a siesmic risk review of all US nuke plant sites.

That report was released, and the lowest seismic risk plant site was North Anna.

About a month later, an unknown fault triggered a decent size earthquake about a dozen miles away, subjecting the reactor to twice the design earthquake loads.

I lost a lot of confidence in such reviews then.


Life often imitates the plot of low budget movies..........

"The spent fuel pools are not in any immediate danger if there is a station blackout because it takes a significant amount of time for enough water to evaporate/boil away to expose fuel material to the atmosphere." Water to fuel ton ratio of all of pools is beyond design capacity. Every ton of rod assembly's displaces water. Mixing up the fresh and older rods seems like a prudent but desperate move. This "Hot Stuff" is not what Donna Summers was referring to. Time will run out to act, Some locations have little room left. Pro or Anti Nuke, Let it be know that this phoenix needs attention and laid to rest. No one can afford an incident. It would be a death nail to the Nuclear Industry just for starters. The Impact of an incident is unthinkable

"Adding more water to the pools can also be accomplished using fairly low tech solutions such as connecting a hose to a fire hydrant, bringing in a tanker truck, etc."

I think this is hardly a comforting or accurate conclusion from your post. The fact that this solution looks so simple is exactly why the simple inability to do something like 'supply the SFP with (continuous, high volumes of) water' is actually a highly dangerous situation.

Within a state of emergency, an extreme weather event, possibly a grid event or a local fuel event in conjunction with each other, then the ability to simply 'get a string of water trucks (with available diesel, water, drivers, vehicles and passable roads), or hitch a (big, long) hose up to a hydrant'.. in order to keep an overloaded SFP from boiling down is NOT going to always be easy or even possible.

Because of the unavailability of off-site storage for spent power-reactor fuel, the NRC has allowed high-density storage of spent fuel in pools originally designed to hold much smaller inventories. As a result, virtually all U.S. spent-fuel pools have been re-racked to hold spent-fuel assemblies at densities that approach those in reactor cores. In order to prevent the spent fuel from going critical, the fuel assemblies are partitioned off from each other in metal boxes whose walls contain neutron-absorbing boron. It has been known for more than two decades that, in case of a loss of water in the pool, convective air cooling would be relatively ineffective in such a “dense-packed” pool. Spent fuel recently discharged from a reactor could heat up relatively rapidly to temperatures at which the zircaloy fuel cladding could catch fire and the fuel’s volatile fission products, including 30-year half-life 137Cs, would be released. The fire could well spread to older spent fuel. The long-term land-contamination consequences of such an event could be significantly worse than those from Chernobyl.

- Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar 2003 Inst. Policy Studies report...


Think about what happens if we get grid damage from a solar flare -- during a record blizzard -- or a Cat 5 Hurricane -- or one of those ever more common 1000 year floods.

As one scientist puts it, "Extreme events like the 1859 Carrington Event are 1-in-100-year probabilities, about the same probability as a storm of the level of Katrina hitting New Orleans – and New Orleans did not build their defenses to withstand the extreme-but-unlikely magnitude." ~ Dr. Ruth Bamford ... Link

I don't like these odds, and climate change is making them worse.

The US Army levees around New Orleans failed far below their design point, due to "value engineering".

The truth is out there, but the US Army has more resources for PR.


Just having a standpipe that emptied over the pool and a connection at road level would have made a big difference at Fukupshima. Sometimes simple solutions can make a difference. Should we really just ignore them because roads may get blocked or other difficulties may get in the way. How difficult would it be to install such a pipe for each storage pool? I can see contractors trying to turn each installation into a billion dollar project but having the ability to pump water into the pool gives a whole load more options.


I have no objection to that level of preparedness, except that it still misses the greater vulnerability, which is the presence of these overloaded cooling pools in the first place.

That pipe is great, IF you've got water to pour into it in the first place.. IF you've got the trucks, roads, pumps, people, money ... whatever else is in that not-so-simple chain of 'Continuing to keep water over those overpacked rods for months and years'.

The system itself has opportunity for failure events at numerous levels, and as they age, and as our 'contingency fat' gets leaner and leaner, the chance of hitting perfect storms grows.

Aside from that, it's nearly perfect! (harumph..)

Or the crane doesn't fall and crush the standpipe.

Now THAT's using your head!

An incident at the nearby reactors can limit access to the spent fuel ponds. Which is an excellent reason to move most spent fuel rods at least a dozen miles (20 km) away. and a bit further if possible.

However, long distance transport is not advisable for still hot spent fuel rods.

Perhaps keep the fuel rods from the last refueling on-site to let them cool down some. Transport them a month before the next scheduled refueling - or keep two spent fuel sets on hand. Most reactors refuel on an 18 month cycle.

At both spent fuel sites have two sets of solar PV. One deployed, the other inside Gaussian cages but easily accessible to deploy. And water wells plus a secondary source of water (big rubber bags of water if nothing else).

A variety of pumps to transfer water in (on one pour gasoline in, and push button, on another pour diesel in and push button, plus electric drive pumps (see solar PV)).

Except when adding fuel rods, keep nitrogen (or CO2) over the fuel pond. Make new site suitable for containment and VERY earthquake resistant (even if zero quakes are expected). A dozen feet above the 50,000 year flood plain.

Etc. etc.


At the long term site, have it built

So these are simple and fairly obvious concepts - why do you suppose we don't do these kinds of things?

Easy...it would take a lil bit off the almighty profit line....and no politician...or party wants to be seen as 'not friendly to business' and/or doing things to inhibit 'American energy independence'...or put more crudely but effectively...seen as 'hating America'.

Alan's ideas sound good for fuel assemblies too hot for ...but as soon as each assembly cools just enough, it should be put in dry cask storage.

Those casks should be stored in a robust concrete-walled-steel-roofed building on or near-site, then ideally transported to a permanent (really long term) repository.

oops...a lil more shaved off the profit line...and no politician wants to be the one raising J6P's electricity rates, or spending government tax revenues and debt to subsidize the cost of namby-pamby enviro-nazi regulations.

The Credo from the right is: Get out of business's way and the market will figure it out...and when there is an incident, they will find a way to blame government...maybe for not getting rid of every last regulation.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Canadian Oil Sands: Life-Cycle Assessments of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (pdf)

A number of key studies in recent literature have expressed findings that GHG emissions from the production of Canadian oil sands crudes may be higher than those of other crudes imported, refined, and consumed in the United States.

The studies identify two main reasons for the increase: (1) oil sands are heavier and more viscous than lighter crude oil types on average, and thus require more energy- and resource intensive activities to extract; and (2) oil sands are compositionally deficient in hydrogen, and have a higher carbon, sulfur, and heavy metal content than lighter crude oil types on average, and thus require more processing to yield consumable fuels.

Selected Findings from the Primary Published Studies:

- Canadian oil sands crudes are on average somewhat more GHG emission-intensive than the crudes they would displace in the U.S. refineries, with a range of increase from 14%-20% over the average Well-to-Wheel emissions of other imported crudes;

- discounting the final consumption phase of the life-cycle assessment (which can contribute up to 70%-80% of Well-to-Wheel emissions), Well-to-Tank (i.e., production) emissions from Canadian oil sands crudes have a range of increase from 72%-111% over the average Well-to-Tank emissions of other imported crudes;

- Canadian oil sands crudes, on a Well-to-Wheel basis, range from 9%-19% more emission-intensive than Middle Eastern Sour, 5%-13% more emission-intensive than Mexican Maya, and 2%-18% more emission-intensive than various Venezuelan crudes;

- the estimated effect of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on the U.S. GHG footprint would be an increase of 3 million to 21 million metric tons of GHG emissions annually (equal to the annual GHG emissions from the combustion of fuels in approximately 588,000 to 4,061,000 passenger vehicles)

Another from CRS ...

Economic Recovery: Sustaining U.S. Economic Growth in a Post-Crisis Economy (pdf)

... Congress was an active participant in the policy responses to this crisis and has an ongoing interest in macroeconomic conditions. Current macroeconomic concerns include whether the economy is in a sustained recovery, rapidly reducing unemployment, speeding a return to normal output and employment growth, and addressing government’s long-term debt problem.

In the typical post-war business cycle, lower than normal growth during the recession is quickly followed by a recovery period with above normal growth. ... There is concern that this time the U.S. economy will either not return to its pre-recession growth path but perhaps remain permanently below it or return to the pre-crisis path but at a slower than normal pace. Problems on the supply side and the demand side of the economy have so far led to a weaker than normal

If the pace of private spending proves insufficient to assure a sustained recovery, would further stimulus by monetary and fiscal policy be warranted? One of the important lessons from the Great Depression is to guard against a too hasty withdrawal of fiscal and monetary stimulus in an economy recovering from a deep decline. The removal of fiscal and monetary stimulus in 1937 is thought to have stopped a recovery and caused a slump that did not end until WWII.

There is concern that the “fiscal cliff,” the confluence of various spending cuts and tax rate increases that are scheduled to occur at the beginning of 2013 unless policies are changed, could have an adverse effect on the economic recovery.

Unlike in earlier post-war recoveries, the current need of households to repair their badly damaged balance sheets is resulting in a large diversion of current income from consumption spending to debt reduction. That above normal diversion could persist for several more years and be a continuing drag on the pace of economic recovery.

Energy Prices

A 30% increase in the price of oil from October 2011 through April 2012 has likely affected household budgets and contributed to the slow rate of increase in consumer spending adversely over the same period. In the short run, the U.S. demand for energy is relatively inelastic, with little curtailment of energy use in the face of the rising price. As households and businesses spend more for energy, which is largely imported, they tend to spend less on domestic output, slowing economic growth. Since April 2011, the price of oil appears to have stabilized, and if it remains near the current level, the dampening effect on economic growth is likely to fade.

Sophisticated simulations predict future warming

The chances of our planet being hit by a global warming of 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 is as likely as it being hit by an increase of 1.4 degrees, new research shows.

If the model is correct in its prediction, that is if the warming of temperatures is up to three degrees (above the 1961-2000 average) within the next 38 years, it will be the fastest rate of warming ever.

More plant species responding to global warming than previously thought

Far more wild plant species may be responding to global warming than previous large-scale estimates have suggested.

Many of the species that have not appeared to be altering their spring timing in recent years need cold winters to “tell” them when to become dormant and when to “wake up” in spring. With winters getting warmer, these species appear to be “waiting” for their cold cue, which can end up delaying their normal responses to the arrival of spring. The end result is species that show no change, or even a delay, in spring budding, leafing or blooming, in apparent contradiction with warming spring temperatures.

This new study resolves that contradiction for many species, indicating about two-thirds of “stable” species are, in fact, sensitive to warmer springs, but even more so to warmer winters, with the end result being a confusion in timing of leafing, budding or blooming.

also Nature's Notebook

Welcome to Nature's Notebook, a national plant and animal phenology observation program.

Research team claims to have found evidence Lake Cheko is impact crater for Tunguska Event

... a research team from Italy says that they have found proof that it was in fact a meteorite that struck the Earth and that a nearby lake is the impact crater.

.. The team came to this conclusion after performing seismic measurements on the lake bottom in 1999 which showed that sentiment had been building for just about a hundred years, which would of course put it close to the Tunguska Event and also gave evidence of something dense near the middle of the lake.

Further evidence came to light they say in 2009 when they returned to the lake and performed a magnetic survey, which they say showed an anomaly in the same location as their seismic measurements had detected. Now, after three more years of studying evidence they collected from the site, they’ve concluded that Lake Cheko is indeed an impact crater and that the dense object beneath the lakebed is the smoking gun.

This is the above mentoned lake. Do you think it looks like a crater?


Funny thing, I just watched Deep Impact from 1998.


Doesn't even look like the same lake in Google Earth.

No. Those two are different lakes. There is some confusion about this but I am to tiered to strighten it up. Somone will do it for me tomorrow, and let me know.

Maybe, I got the coordinates from Wikipedia and the article says "Scientists have speculated that Lake Cheko was created during the Tunguska event".

I think they are the same feature. These things can fool you; have fooled me many times. Seasonal variations, time of day, water levels, type of photo, differing perspectives; all can make the same feature look very different.

Entering the above coordinates and "Lake Cheko" in google maps take you to the same feature.

More photos here.

Graphic of Tunguska Event relative to the lake.


One wonders what took so long (besides that it's smack in the middle of nowhere ;-)

Seagrasses can store as much carbon as forests

The results demonstrate that coastal seagrass beds store up to 83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, mostly in the soils beneath them. As a comparison, a typical terrestrial forest stores about 30,000 metric tons per square kilometer, most of which is in the form of wood.

The research also estimates that, although seagrass meadows occupy less than 0.2 percent of the world's oceans, they are responsible for more than 10 percent of all carbon buried annually in the sea.

Some 29 percent of all historic seagrass meadows have been destroyed, mainly due to dredging and degradation of water quality. At least 1.5 percent of Earth's seagrass meadows are lost every year.

The study estimates that emissions from destruction of seagrass meadows can potentially emit up to 25 percent as much carbon as those from terrestrial deforestation.

Oil Price Likely to Stay Buoyed by Marginal Costs

The price of Brent crude fell to five-month lows last week, as fears rose about the health of the global economy and the world's largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, said it would overproduce in order to drive prices lower.

... However, many industry observers say the price of oil is unlikely to fall far below current levels for long, because the cost of producing every last barrel of oil needed to meet demand has risen so high.

"Costs are still at a very high level because of the complexity of marginal fields," said Pierre Sigonney, chief economist at French oil company Total SA. "We don't expect oil prices to go much below $100 a barrel."

... If the oil price falls below the marginal cost, there is no incentive to produce that last barrel of oil, so demand will remain unsatisfied until consumers are willing to pay more.

The close relationship between the two was demonstrated from 2001 to 2010, when the average annual price of international oil benchmark Brent crude rose 228%, while analysts at Bernstein Research estimate the marginal production cost of the world's 50 largest listed oil companies increased 229%.

... If the oil price falls below the marginal cost, there is no incentive to produce that last barrel of oil, so demand will remain unsatisfied until consumers are willing to pay more.

And as the flow needs to remain at current levels
like a huge river flowing past
EROEI keeps dropping
with an associated increase in cost of extraction
yet demand keeps rising via Chindia
& (ELM) oil exports keep dropping since 05
with oil price rising to new highs
then dropping somewhat in weaker economic times
but the overall trend is much higher
yet the economy suffers lack of growth if price is too high
so price drops again
but each time we go through this
more people get disenfranchised
hold on people
row harder
keep BAU going!
Just ignore the increasing marginal cost of a barrel of oil!!


That's a pretty strong current were rowing against!

NC geologist: Estimates that fracking will find 40-year supply of natural gas are optimistic

RALEIGH, N.C. — A state geologist says estimates of a 40-year supply of natural gas in North Carolina are "wildly optimistic" and that fracking likely won't uncover enough energy to fuel a large-scale economic boom.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported (http://bit.ly/KbzDil) assistant state geologist Kenneth Taylor says estimates of a 40-year supply of natural gas are unlikely to be accurate.

doesn't stop the governor ...

Gov. Perdue issues executive order creating fracking task force

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue issued an executive order Monday establishing a task force to push forward with a controversial natural gas drilling process known as fracking.

Document(s): EO 118.pdf

Leaked Memo: Afghan ‘Burn Pit’ Could Wreck Troops’ Hearts, Lungs

For years, U.S. government agencies have told the public, veterans and Congress that they couldn’t draw any connections between the so-called “burn pits” disposing of trash at the military’s biggest bases and veterans’ respiratory or cardiopulmonary problems. But a 2011 Army memo obtained by Danger Room flat-out stated that the burn pit at one of Afghanistan’s largest bases poses “long-term adverse health conditions” to troops breathing the air there.

The unclassified memo (.jpg), dated April 15, 2011, stated that high concentrations of dust and burned waste present at Bagram Airfield for most of the war are likely to impact veterans’ health for the rest of their lives.

... the health risks were not limited to troops serving at Bagram in 2011, the memo states. The health hazards are an assessment of “air samples taken over approximately the last eight years” at the base.

... trust us

Eurozone crisis 'threat' to global economy

The eurozone financial crisis could threaten the global economy, according to Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation.

Pier Carlo Padoan, the OECD chief economist, said "the crisis in the euro area has become more serious recently, and it remains the most important source of risk to the global economy".

... Recession, "rising unemployment and social pain may spark political contagion and adverse market reaction" with countries outside the eurozone also at risk of being hit, he said.

Payment Due On Delivery: Greek hospitals tighten payment rules

Funding shortages appear to be leading Greek hospitals to get tough with patients who are not entitled to free healthcare - but when patients are broke there is no easy solution. One new mother says she was told she wouldn't be allowed to take her baby home after giving birth.

Greeks 'too poor' to care for children

The economic crisis in Greece is forcing families to seek help from children's homes according to one charity.

SOS Children says in many cases parents are asking if their children can be taken into care, because they can't afford to look after them.

... down that slippery slope to slavery

The hospitals would be bluffing since they surely couldn't afford to look after the babies if they hung onto them (unless they were planning to sell them for adoption or something), but new parents would scarcely be capable of calling their bluff and would do anything to get their children back.

But I think we can expect the birth rate in Greece to decline still further.

In Indonesia, it is common practice for the hospital to withhold and sell the valuable newborn baby:

Wait until "austerity" and "shared sacrifice" sets in like it did in eastern Europe:
Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism in Eastern Europe

IMO most of these guys (PIIGS etc) still have it good, third world living standards are far far away.

From an economics blog I occasionally stumble upon...

Eagle Ford Update

Eagle Ford development is proceeding a bit slower than I would have hoped. Nonetheless, the numbers are impressive.

I haven’t looked at the raw data in some time but based on my earlier guess-estimate 1 million barrels per day by 2016 would be a significant disappointment. There are some bottle neck issues but assuming they are resolved I would expect a much faster ramp-up in production.

Perhaps he's not aware of the concept of depletion rates?

The Eagle ford is big enough for about 50,000 oil and condensate wells within the currently producing areas (right now there are 1500-2000 producing oil/condensate wells). More often that not, the condensate wells produce more oil than the oil wells. There are probably another 50,000 locations in the shallower section of the oil window towards the northwest, but I don't think those will ever be economic.

To make up for the depletion of one well, two more must be drilled within a year. One rig can drill 12-16 wells in a year. 1 million b/d is physically possible, and at the moment it's economically possible. No one knows what will happen between now and 2016, but as long as the price doesn't fall too much, that number isn't unreasonable. The bottlenecks right now are pipeline capacity, housing, and frac crews, not geology.

It will peak just like any other basin does, but production right now is well to the left on the curve.

50,000 oil and condensate wells with an eur of 400,000 barrels of oil/liquids is 20 billion barrels. WOW!

400 Mb may be optimistic for an average. I already factored in recent downspacing data for that 50,000 number (which could very well be undeserved hype). The infill wells will be pretty marginal. But regardless, it's a whole lot of oil and a whole lot of wells. And a rather poor EROEI.

The RRC shows that the statewide average production per oil well in Texas in 2010 was 6 bpd.

My prediction is that 90% of the shale oil wells that were producing in 2010 will be plugged and abandoned, or producing 10 bpd or less, in 2020.

dlt - Time wil tell if it's opitmistic, on average, or not. We need to see cumulative producion in about 4 or 5 years to get a good handle on it. The more aggressive horizontal legs and massive fracs have only been done the last couple of years. IMHO it's pointless to try to project initial producion rates to get to URR. But in 4 to 5 years well have a fairly decent decline model for wells drilled between 2010 and 2015. Of course, past performance doesn't mean future wells wil do the same. It's safe to assume operators are currrently focusing their efforts in areas which appear more producive and passing on less promising areas. The EFS and it's stratigraphic equivalent run from the Texas/Mexico border across the Gulf Coast towards the Florida panhandle. A lot more EFS acreage than anyone is willing to drill right now. But who knows what the future may bring?

This feeds into my appreciation of the IMF model.

+7% average annual price increase, double every 10 years (Rule of 72)

Production basically flat.

Useful production for the rest of society (outside the oil patch) declining.

Extracting the oil from Eagle Ford fits into that.


If we substitute RRC data for Texas crude oil production in 2011, and use EIA data set, such as it is, for the other producing areas, the net result would be that an average of about one thousand rigs drilling for oil in the US in 2011 caused a net year over year increase, from 2010 to 2011, of zero bpd per rig drilling for oil.

Regarding RRC gas well production data, it's interesting that the RRC shows Texas natural gas production starting to decline in 2010, with the decline really accelerating in early 2012. From the RRC (Texas gas well production):

2009: 18.9 BCF/day
2010: 18.4 (-2.7%/year)
2011: 17.8 (-3.4%/year)

February, 2012 was 15.5

What is the data for TxRRC vs. EIA for the first few months of 2012 ?


dtl - Here's a short update of the Eagle Ford as reported by the operators to the TRRC on Feb 1 2012: 1,427 wells producing on 1,016 leases. Daily production: 299,974 bopd and 844 million cu ft of NG. Or per well: 210 bopd and 0.6 million cf. BTW I'm not sure where you got the 12 -16 wells per rig year but between drilling, running casing and moving to the next drill site and setting up (which can take 5 to 10 days itself) the average is much closer to 40 days per well or closer to 9 wells per year. But that won't create a producing well: the well has to be completed, frac'd and production equipment set in place and NG pipe lines run if needed. None of this phase starts until the dril rig has been moved out. Without having to wait on equipment that can take several weeks. But as pointed out there are many drilled wells just sitting idle waiting to start the completion process.

The Houston Chronicle writer is free to speculate any number he wants because he's free to make any assumptions he wants to whether they are realistic expectations or not. But let's test his model. Assuming the wells producing that 1 million bopd in 2016 are similar to those we have today than at a comparable stage of depletion there would be around 4,800 Eagle ford wells producing. Physically possible? I think not. Perhaps geologically possible but it would require 3X as many drill rigs and hands to drill that many wells. Which means the service companies would have to expand tremendously in just a year or two. Not only would they have to be expanding at rate never before seen in the oil patch they are, at the moment, cutting back. It hasn't made the headlines yet but some of the EFS operators have been telling the service companies for while now that they are cutting back their future well count. One operator told a drilling contractor that instead of the 30 wells or so they had planned to drill they were now just planning on 8 new wells. Last Friday I was told that one of the big service companies in the EFS was planning on laying off over 3,000 of their hands. I don't drill the EFS but I do compete for some of the equipment used in that play. For the last month or so I've been getting an increasing number of calls from those service companies looking for future work from me. I haven't garnered than much attention from those companies in more than 2 years. So no, not only are his numbers not reasonable but from an operational perspective completely impossible IMHO.

As you understand and wt points out the wells producing those 300,000 bopd now will be contributing very little in 4 years. And assuming that 1 million bopd is coming from new wells with a decline rate comparable to the historical average that that 1 million bopd will drop to less than 500,000 bopd by 2017. As you point out to maintain just his 1 million bopd expectation after 2016 requires a continuous and aggressive drilling program. Just as we've seen the last 5 years. And that has resulted in 300,000 bopd...not 1 million bopd. The writer did your basic "back of the napkin" estimate. Done that myself 100's of time, sometimes actually sitting in a restaurant scribbling on a napkin. Almost always that napkin ends up in the trash...which is where most deserve to go. LOL.


I don't work for an operator anymore, but the last efs well I was involved with was drilled, cased, and cemented in 29 days. But this was a shallower area so maybe I'm extrapolating too much. Regardless, you're correct that it takes more than that to produce, that was misleading so I apologize. 16 stages took 10 days, and from spudding to production took 50 days with some gathering system issues.

I think the sudden rig availability represents a correction....the oil window isn't as prolific as all the exuberance had indicated. But despite a net loss of 7 rigs last week, total rig count is still around 270. I'm not going to pretend I know what that number will be a year from now, though at 6 wells per rig year, that's 1700 new wells per year.

It took 2 years to get to 300 mbpd, not 5. Average production in 2010 was 13 mbpd (avg 80 rigs), 100 mbpd (avg 180 rigs) in 2011. Q1 2012 average was 200 mbpd and is currently 275-300 mbpd. Production numbers are from the rrc.

So assuming the midstream issues get better, I find a million bpd by 2016 optimistic but not unreasonable. But of course this kind of forecasting is dangerous.

dlt - Good to hear you have recent hands on in the EFS. I get mostly second hand scuttlebutt. Here's a theoretical for you...just a guess I know: to be producing 1 million bopd in 2016 how many rigs will have to be drilling between 2014 and 2016?

That's a very good question and I'm actually working on that right now. I should be able to estimate that in a few weeks.

Probe of Enbridge spill uncovers concerns G&M

A U.S. probe into the rupture of an Enbridge Inc. pipeline uncovered concerns about rapid staff turnover and lack of experience among the company’s Edmonton control-room staff.

The rupture in July, 2010, spilled some 20,000 barrels of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in southwestern Michigan.

According to NTSB documents, the initial and subsequent alarms associated with the rupture were not recognized as a line break “through two startup attempts and over multiple control-centre shifts.”

Gasoline demand hits new 2012 high for second consecutive week

Contrary to what you might believe reading the latest financial news, gasoline demand continued its slow but steady march higher from the lows of mid-winter. According to MasterCard’s Spending Plus weekly survey of US gasoline demand, generally falling retail gasoline prices and some improvement in the industrial sector of the economy have increased gasoline demand almost to the levels seen one year ago. Although with the latest increase, demand still has yet to exceed levels seen in late 2011, but with the soon upcoming Memorial Day weekend and the start of the summer ‘driving season’, 2012 demand may finally catch up to last year’s levels.

Meanwhile, per the API weekly report released this evening, gasoline inventories continued their relentless fall. While the voluntary API report is sometimes less reliable than the official EIA report (to be released tomorrow morning), the trends are clear: gasoline supplies are falling – reaching critically low, ‘bottom of the barrel’ levels in the Northwest states of Oregon and Washington.

Partly the fall in gasoline supplies is intentional – that is refiners and other distributors seek to reduce supplies of gasoline blended especially for winter months. But the fall is also partly unintentional – in the Northwest refiners have suffered through fires and other operational setbacks, and in the Northeast some refiners remain in a transition state as various new owners, such as Delta Airlines, gear up operations.

Also, Northeast gasoline inventories were still suffering from previously refinery shutdowns and slowdowns, mostly associated with the Spring maintenance season in preparation for producing summer blends of gasoline.

On the bright side, there is enough winter blend gasoline left to get the Northeast supplied up until the start of the summer driving season and enforcement of various EPA summer fuel standards around June 1. It remains to be seen if through the long summer months the Northeast and West Coast have sufficient supplies to keep up with increasing gasoline demand. In this type of situation, a possible sluggish economy may turn out to be the gasoline consumers’ best friend – reducing demand enough to possibly match generally falling output from US refineries. If not, and demand returns to 2011 levels, well an 'interesting' summer may be ahead for drivers.

May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. crude stocks rose last week but gasoline inventories fell sharply, data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday.


US Gasoline Use +1.3% Vs Week Earlier At 9.09Mln B/D - SpendingPulse.


No mention of reduced output from Iran due to sanctions.

Imperial weighs sale, conversion of Dartmouth refinery

“The Dartmouth refinery operates in the highly competitive, oversupplied Atlantic basin, which is open to significant global competition,” Imperial vice-president Gilles Courtemanche told a news conference.

“Demand has declined in recent years, and despite tremendous effort by our employers, the refinery has not met financial expectations and returns,” he said, adding it has been losing money for years.

Mr. Courtmanche said Imperial expects the large price differential between North American crudes and international ones to shrink considerably once pipeline companies open new access to the U.S. Gulf Coast from the oversupplied hub in Cushing, Okla.

Enbridge and its partner, Enterprise Products Partners LP announced Thursday the completion of their plan to reverse the Seaway pipeline, which will carry 400,000 barrels a day from Cushing to Texas.

But the Imperial executive said the company is not motivated by that temporary phenomenon, but rather by the prospect of continued weak demand in northeastern North America and increasing competition from both domestic and foreign refiners.

Lack of demand is a pretty strong financial case for shuting down a refinery. The received wisdom that the Brent-WTI spread is the reason for East Coast refinery closures may need examining.

Also, the perceived wisdom that the WTI-Brent spread will narrow may also need examining. US oil can not be exported without specific waivers, and I am not aware that any have been requested. US refiners on the East and West Coasts may not be fully prepared to handle that extra WTI.

If US gasoline demand improves this summer (see my post above), then the East Coast may need gasoline exported from the Darmouth refinery. Still even increased US demand may not make that refinery profitable.