Drumbeat: June 22, 2012

The Fracking of America

It's almost impossible to overestimate the importance of fracking to the natural gas industry and the nation. It's also difficult to understate the controversy surrounding the environmental issues of the rock fracturing technology.

Our special report,"Who's Winning The Natural Gas Game?" addresses both issues and more.

Just a few years ago, the operating assumption of both government and the industry was that the U.S. was running out of recoverable natural gas and would soon be importing large amounts to meet our needs. Shipping terminals to receive liquefied natural gas from abroad needed to be built — and fast.

Now, the industry is talking about a 100-year supply and is building export terminals to ship our liquid natural gas to other countries.

In Western Pennsylvania, an Energy Boom Not Visibly Stifled

SMITHFIELD, Pa. — From his farm nestled far from the big cities, in the wooded hills above the Monongahela and Cheat Rivers, David Headley has not heard much about the battles in Washington over regulations that Republicans say are stifling a domestic energy revolution.

At the ground level of that revolution Mr. Headley, a 53-year-old former body shop owner and unemployed bus driver, does not see any regulations at all.

or three years, he and his wife, Linda, have wrestled with the land men, natural gas drillers and pipeline builders who are turning this very sleepy corner of Western Pennsylvania into an energy boom land. The farm Mr. Headley bought in 2006 for his semiretirement has become something of a nightmare. Gas wells leak. Drilling blowouts have spewed fine, chalky bentonite into trout-stocked Georges Creek, turning it a milky white. A spring where his wife’s three horses once watered now bubbles and belches. Touched with a flame, it will ignite.

Editorial: Exporting natural gas would not hurt U.S.

Barely a decade ago, it looked as if the U.S. was running so low on domestic gas that it would have to begin importing larger and larger supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from abroad. Today — thanks largely to the new domestic supplies unlocked by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" — forecasts suggest the U.S. not only has enough gas to meet its own needs for the next 100 years, but also enough to sell it to countries that don't have enough. Japan, for example, desperately needs gas to take up the slack for the nuclear power plants it shut down after last year's tsunami.

Opposing view: Call a timeout on gas exports

If we open up the United States' new natural gas supply to the world market, the same market forces that govern the cost of oil around the globe will take hold of natural gas. In other words, the cost of natural gas for American consumers will skyrocket and the United States will sacrifice a once-in-a-lifetime competitive advantage.

Crude Oil Trades Near Eight-Month Low, Heads for Weekly Decline

Oil traded near an eight-month low below $80 a barrel in New York and headed for a second weekly decline amid signs of a global economic slowdown that may curb fuel demand.

Futures were little changed after decreasing 4 percent yesterday, the biggest drop this year. German business confidence fell to the lowest in more than two years in June as the worsening sovereign debt crisis clouded the economic outlook. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s economic index yesterday signaled the biggest contraction in manufacturing in almost a year.

Gas prices could hit $3 by autumn

With production up, oil inventories at 21-year highs and tepid consumer demand, gas prices have fallen for 11 weeks. They're expected to drop more sharply after the peak summer driving season.

"Demand just isn't there," says Brian Milne of energy tracker Televent DTN, noting an Energy Department report that demand for fuel over the past four weeks has fallen 5% below year-ago levels. "It's been dreadful."

Jet Fuel Gets Olympic Spur as European Refineries Shut

European jet fuel purchases are set to reach the highest levels in more than a year as the London Olympics and Euro 2012 soccer tournament boost travel during the summer months just as refineries in the region are shuttered.

Imports from the Middle East and Asia will increase to about 1.9 million metric tons this month, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of two traders and three brokers. That’s the most since at least March 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Stockpiles fell to the lowest since 2008, PJK International data show.

Russia to Take Anti-Crisis Measures at $80 Oil Price

"If the oil price falls and goes lower than $80 a barrel, if the growth in the economy falls around 0-1 percent, and if we see that incomes fall sharply below what we forecast in the budget, that will be grounds for introducing anti-crisis measures," Siluanov said on Russia 24 TV.

Oil decline gives Asia economies breathing room

SINGAPORE--This spring's tumble in crude oil prices has relieved inflationary pressure and given Asian policy makers room to maintain stimulus measures as the global economic picture darkens -- provided oil prices remain low.

Crude Oil: Supply Exceeds Demand For The First Time In A Decade

Since May, the price of crude oil (OIL) has fallen from $106/barrel to $78/barrel (chart 1). It is very likely that the price of crude oil will continue to decline because for the first time in a decade, supply is exceeding demand.

Storm Cluster Off Yucatan Better Defined as Chris Weakens

A storm cluster just north of the Yucatan Peninsula is becoming better defined and may move into the central Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Chris weakens off Newfoundland, the National Hurricane Center said.

A swath of rain and storms across the Caribbean from Mexico to Cuba and Florida has a 70 percent chance of forming into a tropical cyclone within 48 hours, the Miami-based center said in a 5 a.m. Atlantic time advisory. Floods and heavy rain may occur from southern Florida to the Yucatan through tomorrow.

Stuart Staniford: Latest Saudi Production

The chart above shows all the latest publicly available oil-production data for Saudi Arabia. The black line is the average and probably of most interest to the average reader. The data are not zero-scaled to better show changes. The red line far below the others is the in-country oil-rig count and should be read against the right scale.

Saudi Arabian production is always of great interest for one reason or another; the current reason is to know, if oil prices keep falling below the current level of $92 (Brent), at what point they will start to cut production to support prices. My guess is that it won't be too much further, if any at all.

Energy Bill to Boost U.S. Output Passes House, May Die in Senate

The Republican-led U.S. House passed legislation seeking to increase oil production and stall Environmental Protection Agency rules, sending the measure to the Senate where Democrats probably will let the bill die.

Abu Dhabi moves to boost gas supply

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has signed an agreement with Germany's Wintershall and Austria's OMV to develop a technically challenging gasfield in the inhospitable desert of Al Gharbia.

The development of domestic sources of natural gas has become a priority in the light of the rapid growth in electricity consumption in Abu Dhabi, driven by ambitious industrial plans and increasing household use.

Osaka Gas to invest in Cabot's Texas shale gas, oil project

(Reuters) - Osaka Gas Co, Japan's second biggest supplier of city gas, will pay $249 million for a stake of 35 percent in a Texas shale gas and oil project run by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, aiming to boost investment returns from the potentially lucrative upstream business.

As Asia's demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) rises, several Japanese companies have already tapped shale gas projects in North America, with some companies aiming to deliver LNG to Japan.

Gazprom and EDF team up in Europe power generation

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Gazprom and France's EDF agreed to jointly build and acquire existing gas-fired power plants in Europe, Gazprom said on Friday.

"The agreement also states that Gazprom will be exclusive gas supplier for jointly-owned power stations," Gazprom said about the cooperation with EDF, which is also its partner in the Moscow-backed South Stream pipeline project, designed to deliver Russian gas to Southern Europe.

Statoil: Barents Sea Shareholders Yet to Resolve Gas Investment Issues

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia--The three shareholders in a giant natural gas project in the Baring Sea have yet to resolve a number of issues before a final investment decision on the complex development can be taken, Statoil SA Chief Executive Helge Lund said.

"As you know, Shtokman has had issues related to commerciality and profitability, but we are working on that," said Mr. Lund. "The parties still have some ground to cover."

SOCAR ups gas supplies to Russia

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) exports four million cubic meters of gas per day to Russia compared to 2.4 million cubic meters as of May 18, a source in oil and gas sector told Trend on Thursday.

"Export of gas to Russia is carried out continuously and at present the volume of gas supplied under contract is four million cubic meters per day," the source said.

Putin Pushes International Oil CEOs for Access to Assets

President Vladimir Putin asked the chief executive officers of U.S. and European energy producers to grant Russian companies access to international assets, holding out some of the world’s biggest untapped resources as a prize.

Japan's Mitsubishi renews Iran oil imports deal -sources

(Reuters) - Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp has renewed its annual oil purchase deal with Iran but cut the loading volume to comply with U.S. sanctions against the Islamic nation, trade sources said on Friday.

China May Iranian crude oil imports up 39 percent

China's crude oil imports from Iran in May returned to year-ago levels following a significant drop in the first four months of the year, rising nearly 39% month on month to 2.22 million mt (524,100 b/d), according to official customs data received by Platts Friday.

Yemen sends soldiers to protect its LNG

(Reuters) - Yemeni soldiers have been deployed to protect the gas pipeline feeding the Yemen LNG export terminal, its energy minister said on Thursday, as the country tries to shield its biggest industrial asset from further attacks.

Yemen's oil and gas pipelines have been repeatedly sabotaged since anti-government protests created a power vacuum in 2011 that armed groups have exploited, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings for the impoverished country.

Aubrey Mclendon relinquishes chairman role at Chesapeake

Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy’s chief executive and co-founder, is stepping down from his role as chairman of the embattled company.

Archie W. Dunham, former chairman of ConocoPhillips, has been appointed by Chesapeake’s board as the company’s new independent non-Executive chairman. McClendon remains a company director and will continue to serve as Chesapeake’s CEO and president, the company said in a statement.

EPA says much of Kalamazoo River, or 34 miles, to open 2 years after 840,000-gallon oil spill

DETROIT — Nearly all of the Kalamazoo River is being reopened for recreational use and the cleanup of a massive oil spill nearly two years ago is in its final stages, federal, state and local officials announced Thursday.

680,000 wells hold waste across US -- with unknown risks

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground.

No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millenia.

There are growing signs they were mistaken.

Fukushima Plant Faces Typhoon Summer With Added Tornado Threat

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant faces its second typhoon season since the March 11 disaster last year, raising the risk of further radiation leaks if storms thrash exposed pools of uranium fuel rods or tanks holding contaminated water.

Not the Right Man to Lead Japan

What many observers see as bold leadership, I see as the handiwork of a leader beholden to Japan’s powerful utilities and bereft of fresh ideas. This judgment also applies to Noda’s push to raise taxes. It’s the easy and obvious thing to do, not something to inspire trust that Japan’s leaders are considering new and creative ways to manage the economy.

California to Open Investigation Into San Onofre Later This Year

California regulators will open an investigation into Edison International’s San Onofre nuclear power plant this year.

The California Public Utilities Commission wants more clarity from federal nuclear regulators before starting its probe, Michael Peevey, president of the state agency, said at a meeting in San Francisco today.

B.C. Liberals declare natural gas a clean energy source

The B.C. Liberal government is deeming natural gas a “clean” source of energy to clear the way for the development of a liquefied natural gas extraction project in northern British Columbia, reversing a key environmental policy of the Gordon Campbell era.

Investing in Energy Independence

“The era of low-cost energy is almost dead. Popeye is running out of spinach.”

Those ominous words were uttered by former Commerce Secretary Peter G. Peterson in 1972.

They've been haunting us ever since.

At that point — just two years after hitting our peak in oil production — reality should have set in. Unfortunately, it didn't.

Peoria 'Prepper' speaks out

Bob got his start in the “Prepper” lifestyle because of what we see daily at the gas pump.

Before the economy went sour in 2008, Bob said he learned about “peak oil.”

He explained a geologist discovered in 1957 that all oil fields follow the same pattern — big production under high pressure in the beginning then dwindle in production. Since oil is a finite resource it has to run out at some point.

“We’re past the peak of domestic oil available. We hit that point in the 70’s,” Bob said.

“We have easily accessible food because of oil, but oil is a diminishing commodity. Worldwide we probably passed the peak in 2010.”

Which U.S. airport is offering free public transportation?

The clean-fuel Silver Line buses have been in operation since 2005, have room for luggage and make the trip in from the airport in 20-40 minutes (depending on which terminal you board at), a bit longer than it takes to drive.

The 90-day, free-ride pilot program, called "On Us," should be a hit with many of the city's summer visitors, who might otherwise pay $25 or more for a cab ride into the city. But a major goal of the program is to convince locals to switch to the bus and stop paying to park their cars in the airport's central garage.

Cyclist accused of vehicular manslaughter over pedestrian's death pleads not guilty

Software developer Chris Bucchere, 36, is accused of recklessly speeding downhill through a red light and into an intersection crowded with pedestrians in the city's Castro District on March 29. He struck Sutchi Hui, 71, who was crossing the street with his wife and died of his injuries four days later.

The case, a rare felony prosecution of a bicycle rider for a fatal accident, comes amid a 71 percent increase in bike traffic in San Francisco in the past five years. It also marks the third instance in which a pedestrian has been killed by a cyclist during the past year in the Bay Area.

The Russian renewable energy market-a green giant which remained untapped

Renewable energy is not yet on the forefront of Russia's policy agenda. This allows us to operate outside the conflict situation, as it is the case with organizations operating in the oil and gas industry. Interestingly, Russians may not have a renewable energy agenda, but they do have an agenda for modernization, for innovation, for diversification of their economy. The renewable energy legislation or better say initiative fits under this already existing framework. So, renewable energy is not the most urgent issue for Russia right now, but Russian policymakers, companies and the general public do understand that it creates opportunities for jobs, cleaner air, new technology and new type of industry.

In that sense, sustainable energy and renewable sources are not only complementary to the already existing market, but are a possibility to earn more than when using traditional sources. The more Russia produces its own energy on its own territory with renewable sources, the more they will have available for export to Europe. It is not a secret that the gas prices in Europe are still higher, compared to the domestic prices. Keeping this in mind, there could truly be a win-win situation.

The Global Poor Can Lead the Solar Revolution

China announced on March 20 that it would raise retail gasoline prices to more than $5 a gallon. Two days later, the government announced its intention to cap consumption of coal at 3.9 billion tons a year, only 10 percent above its current level.

Concern for the environment is not driving these moves. Instead, they are a byproduct of economic fundamentals, including the fact that importing oil at more than $100 a barrel and coal at $125 a ton or more threatens China’s record trade surpluses. Indeed, in the past three years, high prices for imported oil and coal have contributed to three trade deficits in China.

Abu Dhabi plans huge waste-fired power plant

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, better known as Taqa, has signed an agreement to build a waste-fuelled power plant that would be among the largest of its kind in the world.

The plant, a first for the UAE, is part of a wider project to drastically reduce the amount of rubbish that is buried in landfills in the desert.

To Tackle an Invasive Weed, Bringing In the Hooved Pros

On a sweltering afternoon on Staten Island, the New York City parks department unveiled its latest weapon in the war on phragmites, an invasive weed that chokes the shoreline: goats. Twenty Anglo-Nubians, to be exact. With names like Mozart, Haydn and Van Goat, and with floppy ears and plaintive bleats, they did not seem fearsome. But on Thursday they were already munching inexorably through the long pale leaves in the first phase of a wetland restoration at what will soon be Freshkills Park.

Heart attacks more likely where traffic is louder

The louder the traffic near people's homes, the greater their risk of heart attack, a new study from Denmark says.

The researchers tracked more than 50,000 study participants for nearly 10 years and found that for every 10 decibels of added roadway traffic noise, the risk of heart attack increased 12 percent.

Navistar Fined by EPA Over Technology Built With Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is fining diesel-engine maker Navistar International Corp. for shortcomings in pollution-control technology the agency helped it develop.

“EPA is entangled in a blatant conflict in regulating a business partner,” Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said in an e-mail. Ruch’s group, a Washington-based watchdog of state and federal environmental agencies, uncovered the Navistar-EPA business connections in documents it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and shared with Bloomberg News.

Fire Threat Up as Vintage Air Arsenal Shrinks

As federal authorities confront the destructive start of what threatens to be one of the fiercest wildfire seasons in memory, they are relying on a fleet of ancient planes converted from other purposes to do the dangerous, often deadly, work of skimming the smoldering treetops to bomb fires with water and flame retardant.

The contractor-owned planes, refurbished from military use and leased by the United States Forest Service, have been hobbled by accidents and mechanical problems, leading to growing safety concerns and calls for a major overhaul. A decade ago, the government had 44 large tanker planes at its command. Now, with fires raging from California to Colorado to Wyoming, the regular fleet is down to nine.

Relief in Every Window, but Global Worry Too

In the ramshackle apartment blocks and sooty concrete homes that line the dusty roads of urban India, there is a new status symbol on proud display. An air-conditioner has become a sign of middle-class status in developing nations, a must-have dowry item.

It is cheaper than a car, and arguably more life-changing in steamy regions, where cooling can make it easier for a child to study or a worker to sleep.

But as air-conditioners sprout from windows and storefronts across the world, scientists are becoming increasingly alarmed about the impact of the gases on which they run. All are potent agents of global warming.

My Air-Conditioner Envy

While in Pune, India, I visited Rajendra Shende, head of the Terre Policy Center, whose office is cooled by what he says is the first hydrocarbon air-conditioner in India. It is made by Gree, a Chinese company. Although they are not available on the general market, Dr. Shende managed to obtain one — to stay cool, naturally, but also to prove that hydrocarbons, which are flammable, can be safely used in home air-conditioning units provided that they are properly cared for and serviced. During our two-hour interview, the machine was quiet and the office was comfortable.

I want one. But before Americans can buy them, the E.P.A. would need to fast-track approvals of new chemicals for home air-conditioning use. Appliance manufacturers would have to develop safety and servicing standards and train repair people how to work with the new machines. The kind that Dr. Shende has uses a simple hydrocarbon that is not patented, so companies may have less incentive to promote it.

To ensure future food supply, we must address difficult questions

By 2050, it’s estimated that there will be an additional two billion people on Earth. With parts of the globe already facing resource shortages, consider for a moment what it will take to feed that nine billionth person.

To ensure the future food supply, we must address a series of complex, interconnected and often conflicting issues. We have to produce more food with limited farmable land, and we must do so in a way that promotes water and soil conservation and improves the livelihoods of farm workers and agricultural communities.

In United States, there’s a lot of food being wasted

In the United States, “farm to fork” has become “farm to dumpster” as American farms, processors, manufacturers, grocers, restaurants and homes increasingly waste food.

The Environmental Protection Agency says that food waste has increased dramatically, rising 50 percent between 1974 and 2003, and recently replaced paper as the largest single component in our landfills.

Planting fresh produce in D.C.’s ‘food deserts’

To reach Jimmy Singleton’s “corner store” at the Marbury Plaza Apartments in Ward 7, residents must take the elevator down to the basement and navigate a series of barren, unmarked hallways until they find a nondescript doorway that leads to Marbury Market. For the hundreds of residents here, this is their nearest grocery store.

The co-owner learned the dangers of trying to survive on the market’s junk food-heavy stock — chips, sodas, candy bars, sticky buns and the like. Not long after he bought the store in 2005, Singleton turned it into his primary feeding trough.

“In a year’s time, I had gained about 75 pounds,” he says. “I got so big, customers started talking about me.”

1.5 million children in imminent danger of starvation in West Africa

One-and-a-half-million children are in imminent danger of starvation in West Africa, according to The United Nations Children's Fund, despite recent pledges of international aid.

As world leaders gathered for the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, aid workers warned there were only four weeks left to treat the effects of acute hunger before the rainy season makes huge swathes of the Sahel region inaccessible.

Across western Africa, communities are caught between climate change, conflict and poverty -- yet the global economic crisis means international priorities lie elsewhere.

Climate Change, Vulnerability and Human Mobility: Perspectives of Refugees from the East and Horn of Africa

Climate change drives people into harm’s way, says UN Refugee Chief

A new report based on scores of personal testimonies from refugees in Eastern Africa finds that climate change can make people more vulnerable and can also play a part in driving them into areas of conflict and ultimately across borders and into exile.

Climate change to worsen hunger as U.N.'s Rio+20 begins

As leaders from more than 130 nations convene a United Nations conference on sustainable development Wednesday, new research shows how climate change will likely exacerbate a key issue: hunger.

The number of undernourished women and young children could increase 20% and affect one of every five within a decade because of climate change's impact on food production, according to an analysis by the World Health Organization and other groups. Today, one in seven or 495 million women and children under age 5 lack sufficient food, the report says, adding population growth will worsen the problem.

Dreaming Up Whole New Carbon Markets

The Department of Energy is weighing the possibility of developing a market for carbon dioxide as a commercial product.

An Earth Summit Draws on Oil, Mining and Utility Largess

RIO DE JANEIRO – The cups at the water coolers here at Rio+20, the global sustainability conference taking place Wednesday through Friday, are made of rough biodegradable corn fiber rather than plastic. Vans running on second-generation ethanol made from sugar cane bagasse take conference members, free of charge, from the hotels on the Copacabana beach to the conference center an hour away.

There, speedy Wi-Fi is offered to tens of thousands of participants so they can avoid printing out Rio+20 documents, and biodiesel generators power the million square feet of conference grounds.

Some of this is financed by millions of dollars in financial support from Brazil’s largest energy, extraction and petroleum corporations. Those include businesses like the mining giant Vale, voted the “worst company of the year” in the 2012 Public Eye Awards, and Eletrobras, the state electricity company, a partner with Vale in developing the Belo Monte dam project on the Xingu River.

Diplomats agree on "weak" text for Rio+20 summit

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Diplomats from over 190 countries agreed on a draft text on green global development on Tuesday to be approved this week at a summit in Rio de Janeiro, but environmentalists complained the agreement was too weak.

The summit, known as Rio+20, was supposed to hammer out aspirational, rather than mandatory sustainable development goals across core areas like food security, water and energy, but the draft text agreed upon by diplomats failed to define those goals or give clear timetables toward setting them.

It is "telling that nobody in that room adopting the text was happy. That's how weak it is," the European Union's climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said on social network Twitter.

From top-down to bottom-up: New directions for climate at Rio+20

More importantly from my perspective, however, was the growing realization that the window of opportunity for stabilizing the earth’s climate system was rapidly coming to a close. The urgency of the crisis demanded immediate, extensive emissions reductions. And I firmly believed that a coordinated international effort that mandated reductions from the world’s largest emitters was the fairest and most efficient way to stave off climate disaster.

Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Get Serious About Global Warming

The secretary of state’s new plan to deal with pollutants other than fossil fuels could be a game changer.

Russia to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent

Rio de Janeiro (IANS/RIA Novosti) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 in comparison to 1990.

"I confirm that by 2020 greenhouse gas emission in Russia will be 25 percent less than the 1990 level," Medvedev said at the conference on Sustainable Development Climate.

Russia is ready to be a member of a global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions, he said. "But a truly global one, that involves all the major economies, not just some of them."

UN Reaps Pledges Worth Billions for Sustainability Drive

United Nations officials will detail today pledges worth billions of dollars to curb the use of fossil fuels, conserve water and encourage wider use of renewable energy, part of a global effort to promote economic growth that doesn’t strain the planet’s resources.

General Assembly rewrites rising seas bill

RALEIGH - A rewrite of a bill that controls how North Carolina prepares for climate change along the coast is headed to the General Assembly next week.

A conference committee met Thursday morning to rework the bill and reject language lamented by the scientific community that would limit the state to using historical data to prepare for rising sea levels.

Last 50 years were Australia's hottest: study

For the first time scientists have provided the most complete climate record of the last millennium and they found that the last 50 years in Australia have been the warmest.

The researchers from Melbourne University used 27 different natural indicators like tree rings and ice cores to come to their conclusion, which will be a part of the next United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change report.

Arctic climate more vulnerable than thought, maybe linked to Antarctic ice-sheet behavior

First analyses of the longest sediment core ever collected on land in the terrestrial Arctic, published this week in Science, provide documentation that intense warm intervals, warmer than scientists thought possible, occurred there over the past 2.8 million years.

Further, these extreme warm periods correspond closely with times when parts of Antarctica were ice-free and also warm, suggesting strong inter-hemispheric climate connectivity. "The polar regions are much more vulnerable to change than we thought before," say the project's Co-Chief scientists Martin Melles of the University of Cologne, Germany, Julie Brigham-Grette of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA, and Pavel Minyuk of Russia's North-East Interdisciplinary Scientific Research Institute in Magadan.

Up top

Russia to Take Anti-Crisis Measures at $80 Oil Price

So I assume this is the glass bottom everyone is talking about.

I sure wish we knew what those "Measures" were. All the article says is that they have added $16B USD (400bn Rubles) to their budget for the Anti-Crisis Measures. I guess they will borrow the money? And that will do what about oil price? Or production?

I just don't get it... Can anyone help me out here? WTF?


Some have reported that Russia's production is dropping fast. JODI has them down over 400,000 barrels per day since December. However JODI did not post Russian production in their last report. But even Russia's own web site has them flat to down since October.

There have been several articles in the last few months quoting high Russian officials that Russia desperately needs investment or their production will start to drop. And they are calling for outside investors such as Exxon and BP. Apparently Russia does not have enough money to do it themselves.

Russian production has kept non-OPEC production from going into decline. Non-OPEC less Russia is down 1.5 mb/d since 2004 according to JODI and down 1 mb/d since 2004 according to the EIA.

However I have no idea what "anti crisis measures" they would take if oil drops to $80 a barrel.

Lack of investments could reduce Russia's oil production

Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, stated that over the coming 10-20 years, the country's oil output could decline to 370 million tons, from 500 million tons, reported Xinhua News.

Ron P.

Dropping production AND $80/barrel oil? I think Putin is going to be seeing more protests.

Not with these new Asplundh crowd-control vehicles!

3894 Riot-Buster

If you could afford it I guess it could make sense to reduce production then prices are falling. After all it is a finite resource so sooner or later it could be sold for the demanded price, it is just a matter of then?

So far no one knows... maybe, just my best guess mind you but, maybe the anti crisis measures are some sort of stimulus package? The statement sounds more like someone talking to hear himself speak. $16B isn't much for stimulus though, so if anyone else can figure out what he means by "Anti-Crisis Measures," by all means chime in here.


"Anti-Crisis Measures" usually means that the budget will be altered. Some projects can be suspended, some halted. Money can be borrowed from reserve funds. In other words, most of these measures are internal to Finance Ministry.

They are not going to publicly talk about production cuts...they will have stealth cuts to avoid unnecessary debate in the media.

Re: Arctic climate more vulnerable than thought, maybe linked to Antarctic ice-sheet behavior

This new core data might be a game changer:

...cores from Lake E reach back in geologic time nearly 30 times farther than Greenland ice cores covering the past 110,000 years.

The Antarctic ice core data extends back some 800,000 years and represents the longest time series with relatively good resolution. This sediment core gives a view going back some 2.8 million years, which is near the beginning of the present round of Ice Ages, which started about 3.3 million years ago. I need to read this one...

EDIT: The article is in pre-publication on the SCIENCE site. There are 17 authors listed and 106 references. Lots of detail to digest...

E. Swanson

It has generally been known that the poles warm at ~4x the global average

That should be considered to be an obvious danger factor because if the temps get to what they were when there was little to no ice at the poles, the seas will be >200 feet higher at max impact.

So, in that case, goodbye civilization as we know it.

Clearly, if governments do not straighten up global warming will straighten them up.

"Arctic climate more vulnerable than thought"

Well, that is one way of spinning it. Of course I'm sure others are going to spin as "See! The arctic was really warm in the past and they had no SUVs driving around causing climate change! It is all natural cycles. So there is nothing we can do about it. So forget about it . . . BAU!"

"See! The arctic was really warm in the past and they had no SUVs driving around causing climate change! It is all natural cycles. "

I think they meant "Arctic climate is more variable than thought" instead of vulnerable.

From the article;

"In order to quantify the climate differences associated with the variable interglacial intensities, four warm phases were investigated in detail: the two youngest, "normal" interglacials, since 12,000 years and about 125,000 years ago, and two of the "super" interglacials, about 400,000 and about 1.1 million years ago. According to pollen-based climate reconstructions, summer temperatures and annual precipitation during the super interglacials were about 4 to 5 degrees C warmer and about 12 inches (300 mm) wetter than during normal interglacials. The super interglacial climates suggest that it's virtually impossible for the Greenland's ice sheet to have existed in its present form at those times."

So the current sort of climate shift/Arctic warming happened before without modern humans even existing.

"Simulations using a state-of-the-art climate model show that the high temperature and precipitation during the super interglacials cannot be explained by Earth´s orbital parameters or variations in atmospheric greenhouse gases alone,"

So another batch of models are shown to be just plain wrong.

"Alternatively, disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet likely led to a significant global sea level rise and allowed more warm surface water to penetrate into the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait."

Japan Current goes north into Arctic Ocean and the second source of heat (along with the Gulf Stream) really alters that climate zone. That is an interesting hypothesis. I wonder if someone can confirm that some how? Drill core samples in the sediments north of the Bering Strait, then north of that where the shallows go off into the abyssal plain?


Yeah, some folks do want to win the argument more so than wanting to avoid the demise of civilization. Which will mean more deaths than we care to contemplate. Imagine someone overlooking the inner U.S. ocean, following full on ocean level rise, which will cover the entire heartland, and saying "see, we did not cause this."

Argument won, civilization lost? Whoopee!!!

Some tough questions on future natgas demand
1) how are we going to make Haber process fertilisers after 2050?
2) how are we going to load balance wind and solar without gas?
3) what if 50% of current numbers of diesel vehicles used CNG or LNG?

By Haber fertilisers I mean anything that goes through an ammonia step with natural gas feedstock. That includes anhydrous ammonia, nitrates, ammonium salts and urea. Some think we can grow grain with horse drawn plows and compost. I suggest we cannot possibly feed 7-9 bn people without synthetic nitrogen fertilisers.

Intermittent energy sources like wind and solar need nearly 100% backup from reliable forms of generation. Either that or energy storage. True believers don't accept that but ask why places that encourage wind and solar also burn a lot of gas. Now imagine gas prices several times as high or no gas at all.

Methane has slightly higher energy density than diesel. That's on weight not volume so it doesn't matter whether it is high pressure, low pressure or liquid. Diesels are used to propel cars, trucks, locomotives, ships and farm machinery. If 50% of them (or their replacement models) used methane in some form as a diesel replacement that is many millions of tonnes per day.

Shorter version; we should be conserving a lot of gas for later.

These fertilizers are significant and direct contributors to climate change, both as direct oxidation to NO2, as well as encouraging bacterial flushes which "eat" soil organic matter and create additional CO2 emissions (not to mention the CO2 released with any tillage of the soil, which by some accounts exceeds our total fossil fuel emissions).

IMHO, we shouldn't be making this stuff now or in the future. The vast majority of farmland in the US is not generating food for people but rather for animals, which would be far better off on pastures -- which sequester carbon and grow much higher quality meat (grain feeding is in large part responsible for the massive Omega3/6 ratio imbalance that triggers a multitude of health problems). This would have the additional benefit of getting rid of hypoxic dead zones around the mississippi delta as well as other estuaries.

With our life support systems clearly collapsing at the current population of 7 billion, we need to work on reducing that number, or we'll soon be at zero. I see no reason to conserve gas, and a thousand reasons to leave it in the ground. It's the drug we're using to destroy our future (along with coal and oil). The only benefits are temporary and transient, paid for by the life of all future generations.

Well stated.
The quickest way to sequestering carbon would be returning range land to perennial native grasses, and let the mega fauna return.

I suspect forests would sequester more carbon, including below ground.

Best Hopes for all methods of sequestering carbon,


Perhaps someone here can state this more definitively than I can, but as a former forester and current farmer who took a number of soils classes in school, I feel somewhat qualified to answer this. The classic grassland soil is called a "mollisol", and is characterized by a very dark and deep "A" horizon -- basically what we think of with the soils found in the great plains. Forest soils are typically quite thin, particularly in coniferous forests, and especially in the tropics where organic matter is all but nonexistent below the surface layer (except in wet/boggy areas). Forests store the vast majority of their carbon within above ground wood, which is relatively short lived compared to soil organic matter.

Recent research suggests you are correct.

Carbon shown to rise as trees replace tundra

In a surprise finding, researchers have shown that as trees start to grow closer to the North Pole, replacing once-barren tundra, they release more greenhouse gases than they absorb.

I always suspected that trees are evil. Warming the atmosphere and having lots of carbon in the air is strictly to their benefit. They are seizing an opportunity to rid the planet of humans I tell you. I say we cut them down as quickly as we can before they succeed in taking over and destroying the world as we know it. They sound like a clear and present danger to our existence. Perhaps someone could sell carbon credits for all the trees they cut down.

Actually there are some people in the fringe mushroom community / way out conspiracy community who seriously suspect that the fungi came here from another planet, and due to their general distaste for very cold and very dry climates, they inspired pre-human primates (via their psycotropic properties) to a point of intelligence that demanded use of dense fossil energy sources that would, in time, turn the earth back to a fungi-friendly planet from pole to pole.

Not that I buy that, but I do think hominids did eat mushrooms once they left the trees, enabling some serious new thoughts :-)

I think the people that came up with that theory ate some of those special mushrooms.

Funnily enough, a 'magic mushroom trip' when I was at high-school in the early 2000's was what got me interested in environmental issues, and therefore indirectly peak-oil. Long-story short, some friends and I had some mushrooms while on a camping trip near a forest. During 'the trip' I felt like I connected with the entire universe and I had some profound realizations, including realizing just how amazing and precious the natural environment actually is. I felt like the mushrooms were showing me that I (a human) was as much a part of nature as any other organism, and not 'separate from it' or 'above it' as people tend to believe. Amazing experience! Sure, I know it was in my head, but it completely changed my perspective on a number of issues and made me a lot more open and tolerant to others.

Do not underestimate the power of fungi! :P

Harry Potter: Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?

Professor Albus Dumbledore: Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

When the height of the trees becomes greater than the depth of the winter snow the albedo changes also. When the sun comes out after the long arctic winter, the snow on the trees rapidly melts and the trees begin to absorb the heat from the sun. Whereas before, the tundra would still be covered with snow, reflecting the heat back into the atmosphere.

It would appear that this tree growth is a "Double Whammy!!"

Trees, being made primarily of carbon extracted from the atmosphere, are always carbon sinks. However, if their growth has been limited by low temperatures that no longer exist, I can see how their appearance would be associated with increased carbon emissions as the soil warms, dries, and thus oxidizes. Oxidation of organic matter is a function of exposure to the air and to temperature. As conditions favorable to forest growth improve, conditions favorable to oxidation would as well.

Thanks, David,

This is why I like TOD - the experience of learning something in a way that makes sense.

So, just to fill in my gaps here...

re: "Oxidation of organic matter is a function of exposure to the air and to temperature. As conditions favorable to forest growth improve..."

So, are you saying that there is increased exposure to air - meaning, the soil is increasingly exposed to air? So, from a situation of tundra or savannah with minimal trees, to a higher-temperature condition of more soil exposure...

Well, I guess a better question would be: could you please possibly provide an illustrative example? Thanks. :) i.e., an example of a condition that is increasingly favorable to forest growth and how the factors operate in the example? (I'm also curious about proportion of effect between a) exposure to air and b) temperature.)

I hope David gives the examples, but I offer these thoughts.

Northern landmasses were exposed after the last ice age. After the ocean rose more than 300 feet 10K years ago, the trees went north. These were relatively few species compared with forests in latitudes further south, but they were highly successful, eventually reclaiming the denuded and scoured landscapes. Presumably northern forests then were part of 'positive feedback' albedo as neatly pointed out further up this discussion thread. There was and still remains a combination of factors limiting this 'colonisation': thus there are bands of different boreal vegetation round the planet. From north to south; tundra with shrubs and dwarf willow etc., then birch dominated forest, then conifer dominated forest. Climate change will alter the boundaries. Accumulated biomass like peat where there is impeded drainage, will oxidise. Bacteria will release methane from deeper anaerobic layers.

It remains though that growth of northern-most forests is slow compared with further south, and tight tree rings are obvious. (This timber was favoured mightily for its structural properties. Where I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, we had wonderful floors made from pine forests that no longer exist in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltic region etc. Incidentally, the Swedes tried biomass for industrial fuel - iron smelting and tool and armament manufacture - several hundred years ago, and it was not enough.)

Hope this gives a better picture in the meanwhile.


In quite ATYPICAL Iceland, where the Vikings reduced forest (small birches) to grassland for sheep - much of which later became boreal desert, they have found that restoring grassland recaptures about half the original carbon. In close to a century, replanting native trees gets close to 100%.

Planting Sitka spruce, Douglas fir# and waiting half a millennium will close to triple the original carbon.

Harvested trees used for lumber save about half their carbon in structures - until the structures burn, termites eat them (none in Iceland) etc.

As noted, Iceland is atypical.

Best Hopes for Carbon Sequestration,


#Douglas Fir is being adapted to Iceland. 16 seed samples from NW British Columbia are being cultivated and selected at 4 locations in Iceland (N,S,E,W)

"Douglas Fir is being adapted to Iceland."

They are surprisingly adaptable. I was surprised to find them in Great Basin National Park around the upper campground. They are also found north around Mt Moriah. I don't know how they got there, or if they are a remnant population from the last ice age. 12,000 years isn't that long in tree generations.

Douglas Fir (and many other widespread tree species) maintain huge amounts of genetic variability in their genomes, relative to other organisms. This is true on the individual level, the stand level, the population level, the species level.

Trees can't move to avoid problems, are generally large and so are exposed to the elements, and live a long time so they have a good chance of experiencing some sort of extreme event. They cope by having a large pool of genetic variability to draw from.

Also new data on sea grasses, if interested:


I think areas that were turned to plow in the US were once exceptional carbon sinks. I do not however know all the impact details on deforestation in South America. As I understand it, they had no "great plains" to plow, so they started cutting and haven't stopped. :-)

I do think there is a point we could sustain with less-than-industrial scale farming; however, I think we've overshot that point by a factor of about seven, barring any significant cultural/diet/lifestyle changes.

The quickest way to sequestering carbon would be returning range land to perennial native grasses, and let the mega fauna return

I don't think thats going to happen. Much of that range land is destined to be desert by 2040-2060. There's 30 years of additional warming already baked into the cake.

BTW -- I already grow crops with horse drawn plows and compost. It's the wave of the future! 8^)

Solid State Ammonia Synthesis (SSAS)
for Sustainable Fuel
and Energy Storage Applications

Ammonia is NH3: One nitrogen with three Hydrogen atoms. It burns to make water and release nitrogen. The X-15 ran on ammonia.
Ammonia liquifies at 150Psi: It is as easy to store as propane.
The solid-state process uses a ceramic coated with catalysts that is powered by electricity, lots of electricity. Water is combined with nitrogen from the air, which is 70% nitrogen, to make ammonia.

A windmill could produce the fertilizer used on local farms.

Ammonia powered car:

The fellow spun it as "Hydrogen". Methane burns cleaner than other hydrocarbons like oil because it has more hydrogens per carbon. Methane is CH4: one carbon with four hydrogens. It burns to make water and carbon dioxide. A lot of the energy is stored as hydrogen. There are hydrogen fires burning, making water... and there is a carbon fire burning making carbon dioxide. Other hydrocarbons are more heavily burdened with carbon. Benzene, C6H6, burns with a yellow, sooty flame. When ammonia burns, it is all hydrogen fire.

Benzene burning (Image):

Ammonia and propane can be compressed down to a liquid at less than 200Psi. CNG, Compressed Natural Gas, which is methane, cars... compress the gas to 3600Psi. Ammonia stores hydrogen in an easier form than methane or hydrogen gas itself require. A volume of ammonia liquid has half of the energy as the same volume of gasoline.

Years later:

He speaks a good line! He claims that Rudolph Diesel worked with ammonia, and he did, but as the working fluid in a steam engine that blew-up and hurt him badly. He adds that some trolleys used to run on ammonia, and they did, but they were expansion engines.


The anti-good-times committee with rain for the parade:

But... but... but... if you're making it in the boonies with a windmill, who cares?



Liquefies at 150 psi, volume is saved cf NG which needs 3600 psi tanks and it is still gas. Plenty of pictures of what a scuba tank can do to a dive shop if it oopses, now make that with a flammable gas in your garage.


Yes, the ammonia stores hydrogen energy as a liquid at the reasonable-to-deal-with pressure of 150Psi. The energy density is half of what gasoline is but about an order of magnitude better than batteries.

Not to get off on a rant, Boof, but...

I suggest we cannot possibly feed 7-9 bn people without synthetic nitrogen fertilisers.

Isn't it a better idea to lower the numbers of people than to pretnd we can sustain 7-8bn homo saps forever?

Just a thought.


Isn't it a better idea to lower the numbers of people than to pretnd we can sustain 7-8bn homo saps forever?

Pretend? You miss the point. We could easily sustain 10 billion forever. What you have to examine are the trade-offs we'll have to make to do that. If everyone had a 1200 square foot house that generates (let me check my grid-tie inverter) ... 1500 to 4000 watts, and then exporting electricity to rural areas that use it to make ammonia fertilizer, we could probably support 15 billion.

The trade-off is the capital investment required.. Each house needs around $25k to $50k to do that (roof work is expensive), and the ammonia production part is $4 million per unit.

I don't see 1% that does have this kind of capital investing intelligently, so at the moment it seems like more debt is the only way this will happen.

the assumption that fertilizers are the only necessary offset to keep agriculture sustainable is false. Most agricultural techniques -- everything from the native americans with digging sticks to current day diesel powered chemi-culture -- are not sustainable over the long term. The natives had to move about every 20 years due to soil degradation. We're basically eating our seed corn every time we till the soil or irrigate. We'll have to move as well, only we have nowhere else to move to now that there are 7 billion of us. In fact there will be a number of places we have to abandon as a result of contamination (nuclear, fracking, etc. I think most of our reactors will not survive the coming economic/social chaos that will come with energy depletion). Eventually the energy to produce and import soil ammendments will cease to be available. probably within the lifetime of most of us alive now, imho. Perennial pastures (something akin to native prairies) is our best bet for long term survival. Annual tillage will still be required, but nowhere near the degree we currently use it at.

Researchers find some plants get their nitrogen from fungi that kill insects

We've all grown up with stories of plants that capture, kill and eat insects; the Venus fly trap the most notable example. Now it appears some plants get their nitrogen from insects via proxy. Instead of having to develop a complicated system of traps to catch insects on their own, they rely on fungi to do their dirty work for them. A team of Canadian researchers from Brock University, St. Catharine’s, has found that some plants, as they describe in their paper published in Science, grab nitrogen from fungi that live in its roots. The fungi get it from killing insects. In return for its generosity, the fungi get carbon.

I was commenting, below, while you posted. AFter reading your post, my answer to the question is, "Clearly we are not as wise as yeast, bacteria, or fungi."


Perennial pastures (something akin to native prairies) is our best bet for long term survival.

I agree, and hope they are covered by herds of buffalo.


I've long maintained farming is just mining, on a longer time frame.

Pasture based livestock systems lengthen that much longer. As a plus, the energy required to unearth and transport the nutrients is all on farm. They can be reapplied in concentrate to gardens or small areas, or left scattered over the field for next year. All that's required is a spot or shelter for nightly bedding.

With the focus on soil erosion since the thirties, rightly so, tillage has become a public enemy. We've switched to no-till crops, and it's now frightening to me. No till seeding still has heavy weed infestation, and was unheard before the advent of Roundup. It hit our county about 1980, and was heralded by the then largest farmer. With the new no-till drills, he was off to the races. Roundup itself was seen as an environmental blessing, so much more benign than the herbicides of the day as it was stated to quickly break down in the soil.

Needless to say, he went bust. I never learned all the details, recall also land prices were plummeting then. BUT (for this group) the main thing to note is oil prices.

They had been skyrocketing, and I think the no-till movement then was a reaction to fuel costs, tillage may cost 3-4 gal diesel/acre. As oil dropped, so did interest in no-till. Fast forward to today, and oil jumping from 20 to 100 over the last dozen years. Interest in no-till is rampant, and once again environmentally touted. (I tire of all the newspaper articles juxtaposing the conventional wheat farm spewing silt across the road with it's next door no till neighbor)

And today we have gm crops-wheat, beans, corn, alfalfa to name the majors, along with Roundup at perhaps a third of its earlier price. With over 86% of soybeans roundup ready last year, and a similar high % corn,(USDA has the stat somewhere), we are approaching the point where all of our farmland is sprayed several times a year with Roundup. One of the most deadly herbicides known, designed to kill most every known angiosperm. Pretty potent stuff.

Where's common sense?

"One of the most deadly herbicides known, designed to kill most every known angiosperm."

Do have some recent reference data on Roundup? Several years ago I looked up data on it and I reember reading that it broke down rather quickly to benign substances but that the surfactant was long-lived. Surfactants aren't known to be that dangerous so I thought that it must not be that bad. Wrong?

"The time it takes for half of the product [Roundup] to break down ranges from 1 to 174 days."


Deadly to the weeds that is Roundup (glyphosphate). One of the tools in the tool box in addition to the pre emergent herbicides and selective herbicide types. This time of season I spend i day every 2 weeks tractor cultivating my 10 acres of spring seeded plants on our 60 acre farm. Few herbicides used but is high value crop. Some hand weeding is done by followup crew, about 4-5 people full time May through August both after cultivation and while the seedlings are just emerging.

After the canopy has closed in weeding by hand and machine is infrequent but is sometimes supplemented with a single treatment with a pre emergent herbicide to prevent germination of winter annual weeds that sometimes appear after leaf drop in fall.

My crops usually grow 1 or 2 summers and are harvested during the winter. As the crops are harvested over the 2 growing season and during a fallow period before spring planting we use a mix of cover crops to restore soil organic matter, and natural nutrition. Another benefit of cover cropping is to burn up weed inoculum and correctly used to trap nematodes and other pathogens. Some of the cover crops we use have a strong alleopathic function that prevents weed seed germination. Two examples of this are sunflower in summer and Triticale late summer and winter.

Cropping into a commodity market the farmer is limited in his weed control options because of small margins. Speciality farmers with high value crops have greater flexibility and build management systems to match their climate, soils, and crop requirements.

Forever? If best estimates are correct, we can do it for 100 years... 400 years if ALL coal production is diverted to producing ammonia fertilizer.

Somewhere today the questions is asked, are humans wiser than bacteria. From here, it looks like the answer is, "Not so much." And, like bacteria, when we have exhausted all of our sources of energy, we will die.


edit: Yeast... today's question was are we wiser than yeast. Same answer, though.

Forever? If best estimates are correct, we can do it for 100 years... 400 years if ALL coal production is diverted to producing ammonia fertilizer.

I'm not sure what estimates you're talking about, but 20GW of wind and 15GW of electrically driven ammonia production in Iowa would provide all the ammonia fertilizer used for corn production in the state. What I should do is run the numbers sometime and see if the 138GW or so wind potential in North Dakota would exceed the BTUs/Megawatt-hours they currently produce via fracking for oil & gas.

That being said, I think I might be better off breeding some of that fungi that kills insects and provides the plants with nitrogen. I should have an abundant source of BT-tolerant corn borers in a few years when the insects fully adapt to the GMO-BT corn.

I'm not sure what estimates you're talking about, but 20GW of wind and 15GW of electrically driven ammonia production in Iowa would provide all the ammonia fertilizer used for corn production in the state. What I should do is run the numbers sometime and see if the 138GW or so wind potential in North Dakota would exceed the BTUs/Megawatt-hours they currently produce via fracking for oil & gas.

Interesting point. It is expensive to run transmission lines to get that power from wind turbines to cities where it is needed. But perhaps when natural gas gets expensive again, they should put up some wind turbines that are mainly used to create fertilizer. Create the fertilizer right where it is needed such that transportation costs are saved.

Re: 1.5 million children in imminent danger of starvation in West Africa

Two maps that suggest this is only the beginning. The first shows, by country, dependency on imports of food to meet consumption needs.

The second shows per-capita GDP on a purchasing power parity basis.

Much of the imports in countries that depend on imported food is bulk grain. Just as there are only a small number of countries that produce enough oil to be net exporters, there are only a small number of countries that grow enough grain to be net exporters. If climate change reduces the productivity of the grain exporters; if biofuel production takes a bigger share of the grain grown in those countries; if declining liquid fuels availability increases the cost of bulk shipping; then it seems clear that the hammer is going to fall in Africa first.

I think part of the problem here is in viewing grains as the only necessity.

This report, State of the World:2011 - Innovations that Nourish the Planet - PDF Warning - by the Worldwatch Institute , talks about indigenous plants that grow in Africa and recommends fostering more of their cultivation, rather than relying on imports. That notion may, of course, be bad for countries that rely on grain exports.

"Finding ways to alleviate hunger and poverty doesn’t always depend on new crop varieties that are bred in
a laboratory. Instead, reigniting an interest in—and a taste for—indigenous and traditional foods can help improve nutrition, increase incomes, restore agricultural biodiversity, and preserve local cultures."

Calories are calories. Primary production depends on photosynthesis within 'Liebig minimum' constraints - water, soil fertility, etc.
Soil nitrogen can be increased by some farming techniques. This occurred in England after 1750 when a previous population absolute 'ceiling' of 5.6M was trebled to nearer 18M by 1850. (Calculations suggest some arable soils saw an increase of x3 soil nitrogen by biological means.) However, in the American Great Plains, soil nitrogen and carbon that had been built over a 1000 years was seriously depleted in 60 years of cultivation. (see Cunfer, 2005, 'On the Great Plains'.) A significant amount of N. American 'surplus' grains since then has been on the back of vast synthetic fertilizer inputs in a fully mechanized farming system. The very different semi-subsistence farming systems world-wide still supply food for probably the majority of the world's population and need to be encouraged. 'Modern' farming methods can only be regarded as transitional. During this transition, however, synthetic nitrogen must have a part to play, but in no way does America with its 'surplus' synthetic N-based primary production, provide a long term model for future food security, though I daresay it will provide sufficient for the USA in the next 100 years. Available water and reliable rainfall, though, as it always has, will be a perhaps more fundamental constraint.

High commodity corn prices because of ethanol production are GOOD for farmers, and good for hungry people, because it encourages local cultivation of plants that are more adapted to the local environment.

I have a standing offer: If you personally meet some people starving for lack of grain, I'd be happy to donate a shipping container (or packaged pallet) of corn, if you can cover the shipping, and ensure it actually gets to the starving people, and does not get diverted by a corrupt government, or a charity organization that takes 60% in operating 'overhead'.

And finally, dried distillers grains can be used for human consumption, so I'd be happy to send a pallet of DDGs as well.

Both north america and western europe have plenty of all needed natural resources. I guess eastern europe also have plenty of all needed natural resources although I guess the second world war and Communism have reduced per-capita GDP. Remember during the second world war except pearl harbour no city in north america where destroyed but in russia several large cities where destroyed.

The persian gulf is really intersting. In overall they have relatively low per-capita GDP purchasing power despite the fact that they are sitting on a big share of one of todays most valuable energy sources.

"in russia several large cities where destroyed."

More accurately most of the buildings in European Russia were severely damaged or destroyed by the Germans.

In some cases the buildings where destroyed directly by germans and in other cases the germans where or had been inside the destroyed building so in sort they are to blame for all destroyed buildings. Laws use to change over time but currently USA is the only major superpower so if someone come to close to the owners gun they ar to blame. I am glad the laws from Nazist are not used in such case some genes or other properties would be illegal with a death penalty.

It could be wise to say to much or USA could give you an offer you can not resist and you will put to jail. After all the portion of mens who would say not to a good looking and willing woman is pretty small.

Personally I would prefer the part from the islamic law allowing several wifes without the disadvantage of no alcohol.

Can you give a link showing where you got the maps from?

I know I tried to do a summary, based on total $ value of trade, using data from PDF called "What are the net food importing countries" by the World Bank (link may be temporary), and got very similar results.

This photo set shows a street in Duluth completely undercut by runoff from the recent 9" rain event. The road did not wash away, it just shifted about a yard closer the planet's center.

When this road was first built, it was part of a developer's profit/loss equation, with the cost obviously not big enough to exceed the benefits. Now, the developer is long gone, and the homeowners and the city and, through federal aid, everyone, will participate in the rebuilding with no clear "profit" to all of us. When these happen now and again (Katrina, earthquakes, etc.) we seem to get along fine, but how do we finance extraordinary reconstruction in an era of "austerity"?

Cycling thru that batch of photos is awesome. The street shown may have washed out from a storm drain failure below but the other photos are equally startling. Did the rainfall and floods exceed the design criteria for the area? If so, the developer might not be the one with whom the fault would reside. Or, is the weather now so extreme that no one could have anticipated this disaster? Weather this year has already produced other events which were way beyond "normal", so one should not conclude that this isn't more of the same. I saw a sad comment that the zoo flooded and many animals drowned in their cages. Interestingly, the polar bear(s) and seals survived by swimming out of their enclosures...

E. Swanson

It was apparently a freak event. At least in the climate we knew.

There was a flood in 2010 that was the worst in memory, but no zoo animals drowned and only one had to be moved. So they didn't think they'd have to worry this time. They were wrong.

Did climate change "juice" Duluth flood? Runoff "cloud" visible from space

Additionally a new statewide daily rainfall record was set on June 20th, with 7.41 inches reported from the Island Lake cooperative observer in St Louis County (about 18 miles north of Duluth). This broke the old statewide record for June 20th of 5.93 inches at Georgetown in 2000. This was the 2nd statewide daily rainfall record broken this month. Last week Cannon Falls set a new statewide rainfall record with 8.83 inches on June 14th, and this was associated with flash flooding over Goodhue, Rice, and Dakota Counties.

Jeff Masters has a brief comment about the flooding (go to the end of the post). He gives a NOAA graph of the St. Louis river, which includes a forecast of the river's later fall. It's interesting to compare that graph to the updated graph of level, as shown HERE, which suggests a much more gradual decline, perhaps the result of the massive quantity of water. The river is flowing at about 15 times it's average rate...

E. Swanson

Are humans wiser than yeast?

Pocahontas Toll-way

Haunted road gets written down

Ghost traffic on US tollway hits peak oil ignorant banks and investors

680,000 wells hold waste across US -- with unknown risks
Abu Dhabi plans huge waste-fired power plant

Fools rush in, then leave the clean up to their children and grandchildren.

Perhaps it is time to consider Peak Sanity again.

Stuart Staniford's graph on Saudi Arabia confirms this:

WikiLeaks cable from Riyadh implied Saudis could pump only 9.8 mb/d in 2011

This is my first visit here in many moons. I see the number of TOD visitors and posters is way down on a few years ago. Peak Oil, which seemed such a pressing issue 4 years ago, has apparently jumped the shark and is fading somewhere into third place behind financial meltdowns and global warming. This site may have been established before its proper time. I suspect we'll see a long deflation in the next decade, with oil prices languishing. Post 2018, at the earliest, we'll see a return to global concerns about liquid fuels, I'll hazard to guess. I'll check in again in a year or so...

The Few Becoming The Fewer

Following is my recollection of a scene from the movie “The Longest Day,” (about the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944). Richard Burton played a British pilot, and a veteran of Battle of Britain. From memory, the dialogue went something like this, “What concerns me about being one of The Few (a reference to Churchill’s Battle of Britain Speech) is how we keep becoming the fewer.”

Our net export data base, which calculates the individual and combined net exports from the top 33 net oil exporters in 2005, has been updated to incorporate the 2011 BP data base. I define Global Net Exports* (GNE) as the combined net exports from the Top 33 in 2005. The 2010 data base showed that 21 of the top 33 had declining net exports from 2005 to 2010. Of these 21, three of them (14%)--Vietnam, Argentina and Malaysia--slipped into net importer status in 2011, i.e., “The few becoming the fewer.”

There was a small year over year increase from 2010 to 2011 in GNE, from 43.3 mbpd in 2010 to 43.7 mbpd in 2011 (versus 45.6 in 2005). Note that this can be solely attributed to the year over year increase in Saudi net exports (up from 7.2 mbpd in 2010 to 8.3 mbpd in 2011). This was above my upper end estimate of 8.1 mbpd, but they were still well below their 2005 annual net export rate of 9.1 mbpd. In other words, the Saudi post-2005 net export decline rate slowed from 4.7%/year (2005 to 2010) to 1.5%/year (2005 to 2011).

We have seen six straight years of declines in Available Net Exports (ANE, or GNE less Chindia’s combined net imports), with ANE falling from 40.4 mbpd in 2005 to 35.4 mbpd in 2011 (because of data revisions, the volumetric decline didn’t change much versus 2005 to 2010).

Given a steady decline in the ratio of total petroleum liquids production to domestic liquids consumption in an oil exporting country (P/C), one can extrapolate and estimate when the P/C ratio (which I have renamed ECI, or Export Capacity Index), hits 1.0, which means production = consumption, which of course means zero net oil exports. Given net exports at peak, we can do some simple integration and estimate total post-peak Cumulative Net Exports (CNE). Using this approach and extrapolating the initial three year rate of decline in the ECI for Indonesia, UK and Egypt (IUKE), I estimated that the combined post-peak CNE for IUKE would be 4.0 GB. The actual combined post-peak CNE number for IUKE was 4.0 Gb.

I plan to do this same exercise for the three new members AFPEC (Association of Former Petroleum Exporting Countries)--Vietnam, Argentina and Malaysia (the VAM case history).

In any case, if we extrapolate the 2005 to 2008 rate of decline in the ECI for GNE and for Saudi Arabia, the predicted and actual results for 2011 are shown below:

GNE ECI: 3.75
Saudi ECI: 5.60

Predicted and Actual 2011 Values:
(Predicted values based on 2005 to 2008 rate of change)

Predicted GNE ECI: 3.29
Actual GNE ECI: 3.24

Predicted Saudi ECI: 3.80
Actual Saudi ECI: 3.91

So, the 2005 to 2011 rates of change indicated that the GNE Export Capacity Index fell slightly faster than predicted, and the Saudi Export Capacity Index fell slightly slower than predicted, relative to 2005 values (again, predictions based on 2005 to 2008 rates of change). As noted above at a 1.0 ratio, net exports = zero.

The ratio of GNE to Chindia’s Net Imports (or GNE/CNI) is a related metric. The GNE/CNI ratio fell from 11.03 in 2002, to 8.88 in 2005 and to 5.28 in 2011.

Based on the 2005 to 2008 rate of change in the GNE/CNI ratio, the predicted value in 2011 would be 5.57. The actual ratio in 2011 was 5.28, so the actual ratio of Global Net Exports to Chindia’s Net Imports in 2011 was 5% below the predicted value, based on the 2005 to 2008 rate of change. At a 1.0 ratio, the Chindia region would consume 100% of GNE.

GNE/CNI chart:

Regarding 2018, at the 2005 to 2008 rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio, in 2018 there would be about three barrels of Global Net Exports of oil for every barrel of Chindia's net oil imports, versus an 11 to one ratio in 2002.

But what about rising US oil production?

Using the RRC data for Texas crude oil production suggests that annual US crude oil production in 2011 was only back to the 2004 production rate. It other words, it appears that the cumulative expenditures by the US oil industry for 2005 to 2011 inclusive only served to bring us back up to the pre-hurricane production level that we saw in 2004.

My analysis suggests that at best we may only see a slow increase in US oil and gas production--especially if we use actual production data in lieu of EIA estimates. This is not to discount the critical importance of domestic US oil and gas production, but again my analysis suggests that the critical new energy reality facing the US is that we are still dependent on imports for about 60% of the crude oil processed in US refineries, while we have seen an ongoing decline in global net exports of oil, with the developing countries, led by China and India, so far consuming an increasing share of a declining volume of global net exports of oil.

We are currently seeing weakening oil prices, but the current oil price decline appears to be primarily related to an accelerating rate of decline in oil consumption in OECD countries. For example, Greece is having a great deal of difficulty in trying to pay their oil import bill. In other words, Greece is increasingly becoming "free" of their dependence on imported oil.

*Top 33 net exporters in 2005, BP data base + Minor EIA input, total petroleum liquids

Since this post again mentions the Texas RRC production estimates, I am going to reply to the discussion of a couple days ago concerning how the use of the TRCC data can be misleading.

In that thread, Westexas again expressed his ongoing concern that US oil and NG production is dropping even as the EIA said it has been rising. He again pointed to the discrepancy between what the TRCC reports for Texas production and what the EIA reports for Texas production, writing that:

“The above link [to TRCC production numbers going back to 2006] shows that monthly Texas natural gas well production fell by 20% from January, 2009 to January, 2012” and that “The gap between the RRC and the EIA for Texas crude oil production in January, 2012 is about 500,000 bpd” and that “It seems somewhat incredible to me that we are expected to believe that the Texas RRC is missing a volume of crude oil production that is roughly equivalent to all of North Dakota’s crude production. “

In my post, I attempted to explain how a misunderstanding of the TRCC (Texas Railroad Commission) methodology could lead someone to think that Texas NG production (and by inference oil production) was dropping even as Texas NG production was actually rising. This was because the initial TRCC reported production always rises with time as late reports come trickling in over the following months, and that even initial numbers can change as much as two years later.

In reply to my post, Westexas pointed to the production numbers in the provided TRCC link giving production numbers back to 2006 and replied that since the TRCC production numbers are brought up to date monthly, he had a hard time believing that slow reporting to the TRCC could result in “the 500,000 bpd discrepancy between the EIA and the RRC for January, 2012 Texas crude oil production”.

And in a supporting reply, Rockman said that “Whatever inaccuracies there may be in the TRRC data there is no way those numbers aren't more accurate than anything anyone else can estimate IMHO” and that “Two years late reporting production? Not even 6 months is tolerated”.

Find in the table below, for each month listed, first the initial estimate of NG production for that month made at that time by the TRCC, and then the most recent updated production for that month (through March, 2012, as per the TRCC link given by Westexas). In order to get the initial estimates, please go to the TRCC link below and then click on the original reports:


(note: sorry for the lack of formatting but I don't have the time to learn it)

For month Initial Est. Est. by 3/12 %Chng.
1/2010 5.18 6.25 20.7%
2/2010 4.66 5.73 23.0%

1/2011 4.84 5.71 18.1%
2/2011 4.14 4.92 19.0%
3/2011 4.87 5.78 18.5%
4/2011 4.75 5.57 17.1%
5/2011 5.02 5.72 14.0%
6/2011 4.76 5.42 13.9%
7/2011 5.05 5.55 9.9%
8/2011 4.91 5.46 11.2%
9/2011 4.69 5.26 12.1%
10/2011 4.53 5.37 18.6%
11/2011 4.97 5.11 2.7%
12/2011 4.79 5.13 7.0%
1/2012 4.84 4.99 3.2%
2/2012 4.48 4.51 .6%

2011 MCF/d 15.7 17.8 13.4%

In the above table notice:

(1) . . . that the initial estimates for Jan., Feb., and Mar., 2011 all eventually rose over 18%.

(2). . . that because of this slow rise over time, the average for 2011 is now estimated at 17.8 MCF/d which is a 13.4% rise over time, but that this 17.8 MCF/d is almost certain to continue rising and that if it were to rise the 18%+ seen for the Jan., Feb., and Mar 2011 initial estimates, then final production would end up at 18.5 MCF/d.

(3). . . but that after two years, the Jan. and Feb. 2010 numbers had actually continued to rise to over 20% higher than the original estimates, meaning that the final estimate for 2011 could be even higher than 18.5

If we look at the initial annual estimates for natural gas well production, the RRC put 2010 at 6.4 TCF and 2011 at 6.1 TCF, but the data at the following link have already been updated, and show 2010 and 2011 at 6.7 and 6.5 respectively:


I suspect that the RRC is updating the data at this link much more quickly, and I suspect that the month to month revisions, at this (new) link, especially for annual data, will be relatively small going forward. In any case, I am going to track the January, 2012 (and 2011 annual) crude oil, total natural gas and natural gas well production numbers by month and see what kind of changes we see going forward.

As of today, this link shows the following for January, 2012:

Crude: 37.6 mb (1.2 mbpd, EIA shows 1.7 mbpd)
Total Gas: 582 BCF
Natural Gas Wells: 499 BCF

Here is a copy of a post originally posted down the thread:

Re: The RRC/EIA data discrepancy
(If we use RRC data for 2010 and 2011 Texas crude oil production*, and EIA for other producing regions, there was virtually no increase in annul US crude oil production from 2010 to 2011.)

Apparently, the EIA samples larger producers and then uses an algorithm to estimate total Texas crude oil production. Given the huge capital costs in the shale plays and elsewhere where they are doing horizontal wells with massive frac jobs, major oil companies and large independents (the primary companies that the EIA appears to sample) are almost certainly overrepresented in these plays (which are showing increasing production).

Therefore, I wonder if the EIA's sampling methodology is overestimating Texas production, by focusing their sampling on companies that are overrepresented in these very expensive plays.

*From the above link

Incidentally, the EIA only has annual marketed natural gas production data for 2011 for Texas, but the EIA shows declines in total marketed natural gas production in 2009 and 2010, relative to 2008, with an uptick in 2011 (basically back to same level as 2008):

It's also important to keep the discussion over the "flood" of increasing US crude oil production in perspective. The EIA shows Texas increasing from 1.2 mbpd in 2010 to 1.5 mbpd in 2011, with total US crude oil production increasing from 5.5 to 5.7 mbpd.

The RRC shows Texas crude production increasing from 1.0 mpbd in 2010 to 1.1 mbpd in 2011 (again using most recent data at above link). If we substitute RRC data for EIA data for Texas, US crude oil production was 5.3 mbpd in 2010 and 2011. So, it's a difference between no increase and an annual increase of 200,000 bpd, as Available Net Exports fell globally by 5.0 mbpd from 2005 to 2011.

Westexas, for some reason, your "at this (new) link" didn't post as a link.

However, having done my best to show that TRCC data CAN be misleading if you do not understand it, I think I can also show data that agrees with your contention that the EIA is overestimating Texas production. The only real question is by how much.

But first, if you go to the TRCC link below, you will see that the TRCC apparently does not publish the same type of monthly reports for oil that they do for NG. Instead, they apparently just push out a monthly number and update older numbers without explanation.


As a result, unlike with NG, it is hard to know exactly what the original estimates were of oil production and therefore how much they increased over time since the TRCC appaently doesn't document it's original estimate.

However, in the link below, the RRC does give an estimate of how much it expects it's most recent month's oil and NG estimates WILL go up with time, and as the link says, it expects both to increase a little over 14% with time.


So presumably simply increasing the most recent oil production estimates by 14% should get one close to the EIA estimates.

In the table below find the most recent TRCC estimates for Jan., Feb., and Mar. 2012 oil production (first link below from you in million barrels/day), followed by what those numbers would be if they did increase by 14% as expected, followed by what the latest EIA estimate (million barrels/d) is for Texas production for those same months, followed by the actual and the % differences.


(below in million barrels/day)
2012--TRCC--ExpIncr--MaxProd--EIAEst----diff---% diff
Jan.---1.21---x 1.14=----1.38------1.71------0.32-----23%
Feb.---1.28---x 1.14=----1.45------1.72------0.27-----18%
Mar.---1.18---x 1.14=----1.35------1.76------0.41-----30%


For the first 3 months of 2012 the above table indicates that the EIA is expecting that Texas oil production actually went up (on average) 24% more than the TRCC thinks it did, or about 330,000 more barrels/day.

HOWEVER, if the actual increase is more like the 18% increase seen for NG in 2011, then the EIA's prediction would end up only being 20% higher and only about 280,000 barrels/day more.

Good luck with your discrepency hunting!

I was referencing this PDF file:


It appears that the RRC is quickly and routinely updating the monthly and recent annual data at this link. Except for 2004 and 2005, I used the annual natural gas well data from the above link for the following hand drawn chart. The RRC maintains a separate file for Barnett Shale gas production. As I noted the other day, I thought it interesting that rising Barnett Shale gas production was not sufficient, based on available RRC data, to keep total Texas natural gas well production on an upward slope:


As noted above, I plan to see how the current numbers, for 2011 annual and for January, 2012, in this PDF file vary with time.

In any case, I have usually advocated using annual production numbers, and this exercise is a good example of why this is a good idea. And if we have this much of a discrepancy for producing regions in the US, it makes one wonder how accurate the monthly global IEA data are.

I'd say the timing is spot on. We are witness to demand destruction and tanking markets precisely because the West has run out of cheap gas. We'll probably stair step down for a while before the masses pick up on it.

Each time the market stalls out commodities crash, and demand craters. Then it's "cheap" again for a short while until activity picks back up, and oil shoots back up to the moon. Rinse & repeat. In the meanwhile, places like Greece get crushed.

Energy isn't the only thing that has put a damper on growth. GDP growth and population growth tend to go hand in hand in the developed countries and the cost of population growth has gone up faster than the GDP growth to support it. As the cheap easy to develop projects have already been done the cost of adding capacity for roads, water systems, sewage systems, schools, transit, energy distribution, etc. has increased greatly. In the US the federal government has masked this by using borrowed money rather than raising user taxes and at the state and local level, the effect has been masked by issuing bonds. But, as with everything else financial these days, governments are hitting the wall on their ability to hide the costs and the true costs of population induced GDP growth are becoming quite evident.

From the perspective of someone active in the Puget Sound sustainability scene, it may be that a lot of a "sustainable lifestyle" has become mainstreamed. No one bats an eye any more at backyard chickens, cisterns, sharing cars, growing food...again, it may just be the crunchy green-ness of Cascadia.

On a happy note, we had a great meeting with the Coast Guard this morning about our skipper guidelines, and our community sail transport cooperative starts up this weekend. If you have friends in Seattle, send them our way if they're looking for a CSA and want to support redevelopment of sail as non-petroleum transport. Our skipper is sailing over today to Port Ludlow to pick up CSA boxes and cider.

Sailing CSA Sets Sights on Schooners

Seattle's Salish Sea Trading Cooperative is going to need a bigger boat.

Now in its third season, the waterborne CSA is rapidly outgrowing its volunteer fleet of four sailboats which twice a month travel between Seattle and Port Ludlow. "We know using recreational sailboats isn't ideal," says co-founder and managing partner Kathy Pelish. "We'd like to get two small schooners built for us."

What's up Sustainable Ballard? We must be neighbors, if you live in Ballard. I live behind the high school.

I suspect that there is a change from "are we there yet?" to "what is next?". Perhaps we are evolving from debating the "if" and "when" of the peak to the next stage, the downslope.


I never expected peak oil to be the blitzkrieg that some were expecting. It's more like a chronic disease that slowly wears on the social and economic collective. You have bad days and better days. One day your economy wakes up to the fact that it just can't get out of bed anymore, and injections of debt cortisone no longer help. That's when you realize that nobody is coming to your aid; they're all suffering from the same condition, all muddling through. Kind of boring, really; easy to get complacent.

Beware the point when the body turns on itself, when things get exciting again...

We could go under, Qantas tells MPs

QANTAS management is warning the airline could ''go under'' if the state-owned Etihad is allowed to buy enough of a share of Virgin Australia to allow it to start undercutting Qantas on its profitable domestic routes.


Which airlines will survive peak oil?

While peak oil hurts, it also doesn't help that Arab state run airlines like Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar air are essentially toy of their respective Emirs and are not public companies. I mean Emirates, and presumably Ethihad, are losing money, but the UAE can bank roll them. QANTAS though, as a public company, does not have the same luxury of bailouts, so they are in seriously threatened by these middle-eastern airlines.

Falling oil and gas prices mean Arctic development will slow

How much will Arctic oil and gas be worth to Atlantic Canada for the next couple of decades?

It’s a dicey calculation, said Bill Pike, chairman of the World Oil Editorial Advisory Board at the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industry Association’s annual conference Thursday afternoon. ... “It’s one thing to have significant resources, but often quite another to be able to economically develop them,” he said. “The thing you’ve gotta be mindful of, because we know the resource is enormous — it said in the paper today 90 billion barrels of oil — is can you market it, where can you market it, and will it be economic to market it?

... There’s another resource Canada might consider, concluded Pike, tongue in cheek. “You have, if memory serves, half to two-thirds of all the fresh water in the entire world,” he said. “So I did some math: drinking water, bottled drinking water, at 50 cents a pint, sells for $168 a barrel. So if this doesn’t work out, you’ve got an alternative.”

S - "Falling oil and gas prices mean Arctic development will slow".

Coincidentally I had to explain these dynamics to a vender just this morning. In that case he asked if the recent slump in oil prices would reduce enthusiasm of the bidders on the Deep Water GOM tracks coming up for sale soon. I told him the current oil price would play no part in those evaluations. If a DW GOM lease were taken today it would be 3 to 5 years before the exploration drilling program would likely determine if there were commercial reserves to develop. And then another 4 to 6 years to build the infrastructure and drill the development wells. Thus the economics of such an investment would be determined by the price of oil starting in 8+ years and then for the following 7 years or so. The economic justification for creating a winning bid on a tract today would be predicated for the most part on the price of oil expected over a decade from now. I'm not sure how clear your crystal ball is but do you think you can today accurately predict the price of oil between 2020 and 2027?

No...me neither. And neither can any of the companies bidding. None the less, that's exactly what they have to do in order to calculate a bid. Now that's the time frame for developing an offshore field in the very mature and relatively pleasant (except when a hurricane blows in) environment of the GOM. Those same operations can't occur any faster in the Arctic IMHO. If oil fell to $30/bbl it might impact the emotions of the bidding companies a bit but in the end their investment would be calculated based upon the price of oil not today but many years down the road. One more consideration: with the high price of oil in recent times companies have amassed a huge cash positions. Public companies have to reinvest those monies in projects they can highlight as significant future revenue sources. My little private company can drill profitable but very small projects. Shell Oil et al can't.

Would it help them any to use a dilithium-crystal ball? :-o

Paul - I've witnessed firsthand some really nasty battles in board rooms over predicting the price decks to use in making such long range forecast. All I could do is just sit that at the absurdity of anyone thinking they predict such matters with any reliability. And this is for projects that might as likely be dry holes as finding X amount of reserves. In other words a contentious argument as to whether oil will be $55/bbl in 5 years or $70/bbl on a project that might find 2 million bbls of oil. Or none. Or any amount in between. I mentioned in another post how it just tickles me to see an economic analysis of a project when the cash flow or the next 10 years has the ROR calculated out to 2 decimal places. I know it's the computer program but you always tell the machine to round the number off. It sounds like a little thing but I've seen folks take such efforts to be the real thing.

I tease folks who build models (economic, geological, etc) the same way: modeling is a lot like masturbation...it's OK as long as you don't start believing it's the real thing. LOL.

All I could do is just sit that at the absurdity of anyone thinking they predict such matters with any reliability.

It is crazy but that is the way business works. It is a very tough game of incomplete information. You need to make long range plans & decisions so you get scientists, marketers, focus groups, surveys, etc. (what ever is appropriate for your line of business) to give you the best advice they have and you place a bet. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I work in Silicon Valley and a microprocessor architect once said "Designing a microprocessor is like playing Russian roulette where you pull the trigger and then you find out 5 years later whether you are dead or not." (Like all other businesses, you have to make some long range decisions on what the market needs and wants many years down the road . . . clock speed? Parallelism? Multi-cores? Cache-size? Power consumption? Backwards-compatibility? etc.)

I tease folks who build models (economic, geological, etc) the same way: modeling is a lot like masturbation...it's OK as long as you don't start believing it's the real thing. LOL.

The modeling/masturbation is good clean safe fun. But when you commit to the real thing, you may find yourself in trouble and on the hook for a lot of unplanned expenses. :-)

"Thus the economics of such an investment would be determined by the price of oil starting in 8+ years and then for the following 7 years or so."

Not just in the oil business. An awful lot of solar companies are going broke because they guessed wrong, and the lead time on a new PV plant is only 3 to 4 years.

2008; "You can't possibly be dumb enough to lose money in this market!" Actual phrase from upper manager I heard with my own ears. Hurt my tongue biting it.

2012; "Everyone else should go broke before we do." Our new soul-stirring motto.

Russian Air Force holds war games in Arctic

The Russian Air Force is holding large-scale exercises in the Arctic. As part of the maneuvers, various types of aircraft – from long-range bombers to fighter jets – will be tested. The exercises shall demonstrate the possibilities of using long-range aviation in local non-nuclear conflicts, including in the area beyond the Arctic Circle.

The choice of the Arctic as the site for exercises is not by accident. Interest towards this region continues to grow; in 2012 all arctic countries have already held, or are holding large scale war games here.

War is NEVER a game.

Military intelligence notwithstanding.

Wonder just what sort of strange consequences a nuclear accident up there would create.


No, war games are war games. Back during the Cold War the Russian and Canadian air forces used to hold games of "catch me if you can". The Russians would send jets into Canadian airspace to see if they could get away with it, the Canadian jets would intercept them and escort them back to Russia. I know some Canadian pilots who participated in this kind of thing. They just used it to get some flying practice and sharpen up their skills. The Russians didn't take the Canadian air force as seriously as they did the American air force, and the Canadian air force didn't take the Russian air force that seriously either.

Canadian destroyers used to chase Russian submarines around the ocean just for practice, too. There was one case where a Canadian destroyer spend days chasing a Russian submarine all over the Atlantic. The Russians couldn't shake them, so eventually the submarine surfaced, waved a white flag, and asked them to stop. Then they exchanged vodka for rye whiskey, and went their separate ways.

Toward the end of the Cold War things got even more relaxed. There was a classic case in which a big 4-engine Russian spy plane ran out of fuel and landed on a lake in Alaska. The US just flew a fuel tanker up, landed beside it, fueled it up, and sent it home to Russia. However, the politics were such that it would be inconvenient for the US to capture a Russian spy plane at that point in time, so they just sent it home. I heard an interview with one of the US crew members, and he said the Russian aircrew was quite confused about the whole thing, they weren't sure what was going on. Just put your hands down, Ivan, and help me get the fuel hose coupled up.

I had friends on an RB-47 which made a run into Soviet / Bloc territory to "test" response. I will miss them.

It is NEVER a damned game, no matter what the politicos and Generals tell you. Dead is dead. Mistakes happen. And the Artic is a very fragile environment in which "games" should never be played.


War is very much a game. It's just that the people that play the game and the people that fight the war aren't one and the same.

I don't think the Canadian air force ever deliberately intruded into Soviet airspace just to see what would happen. It just didn't seem like a good idea.

OTOH, when the Soviet planes intruded into Canadian airspace, the Canadian air force would routinely intercept them and escort them back to where they belonged. They viewed it as practice for what would happen in the real thing. Similarly, if a Canadian destroyer found a Soviet submarine wandering around in Canadian waters, it would just follow it. And follow it and follow it and follow it. It was much more low-key than what was going on between the US and USSR. Canadians tend to be very polite, too, which helps in these kinds of things.

At one time, a Soviet research/spy station on the Arctic ice pack drifted into Canadian territory. The Canadian government decided to do nothing about it, but some Canadian scientists in the area decided that territorial rights had to be upheld. So, they marched into the Soviet camp, planted a Canadian flag in the middle of it, and offered the Russians some Canadian whiskey. The Russians, after carefully considering the situation, tossed back the whiskey and offered them some Russian vodka in return. It was a solution that worked for everybody.

Shades of "The Bedford Incident" a good book and movie.

Meanwhile, truth is that neither Canada or the US are really ready for serious operations in the arctic. "'Critical equipment shortfalls' plague Canadian Forces in Arctic".

Six years after the Harper government declared the Arctic to be a new operations area for the Canadian military, the army has struggled to find enough parkas, cold-weather tents, lanterns and heaters to equip forces that take part in its annual summer exercise......The briefings also show the army worried about running out of parkas, and turned to the air force for help.

And the new Canadian arctic patrol vessel program has been delayed: Procurement setback freezes armed Arctic patrol boats.

The Conservative government's list of troubled multibillion-dollar military procurement projects continues to grow as a plan to obtain a fleet of armed vessels to patrol Canada's Arctic waters has been hit with a three-year delay.

The Defence Department had been expecting to take delivery of Canada's first of between six and eight Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships in 2015.

However, documents tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday show the timeline has been pushed back to 2018. In addition, the $3.1-billion project is now expected to cost $40 million more than anticipated.

The US is not in good shape either. There is some slim hope that the icebreaker Polar Sea might be rebuilt rather than sent to the scrap yard: Scrapping the Polar Sea stopped while lawmakers search for budgetary icebreaker.

THE Seattle-based Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Sea was headed for the scrap heap on Monday, but persistent lawmakers from Washington and Alaska blocked the path toward demolition.

Nothing is certain about rebuilding the 399-foot Polar Sea, but the United States lacks the heavy ice-breaking capacity needed to protect national interests in the Arctic or Antarctica.

The U.S. must make the investments necessary to ensure the equipment and vessels are appropriate to the hazardous conditions, and changing economic and national-defense issues in the region.

At present the Coast Guard has one operational icebreaker, the Healy, a medium icebreaker outfitted for scientific research. The crew of the Healy received a commendation for its help to deliver fuel to Nome, Alaska, in January.

The Coast Guard's only heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, is being overhauled in Seattle.

If Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Statoil are successful drilling in the Alaskan Arctic offshore, and/or ExxonMobile, BP, and Chevron have success in the Canadian Beaufort, then both Canada and the US will have to play some serious catch up to meet their governmental obligations in the Arctic.

We built the Healey across the river from New Orleans. I am sure we could build a sister ship quickly.

And with melting ice, medium duty ice breaking is all that will be needed in the Arctic.

Best Hopes for More USGS icebreakers,


Yes, no doubt you could build a sister ship. However, I think the idea is that it would be cheaper to refurbish the Polar Sea than to build a new ice breaker from scratch. According to another article:

"The hull is the costliest part of an icebreaker to build, said Brian Baird, a former Washington congressman who is now vice president of Vigor Industrial, formerly Todd Shipyards, which repairs the icebreakers. Building a new icebreaker could take 10 years and cost more than $800 million, Baird told The Seattle Times.".

Note that Shell recently built their new ice class vessel the Aiviq down in your part of the world. The Aiviq is not a true ice breaker in the same class as the Polar Sea, but is rather an anchor handling tug and supply boat, designed to operate in arctic waters. It can break ice up to about 1 meter in thickness. It also has spill response capabilities.

And with melting ice, medium duty ice breaking is all that will be needed in the Arctic.

Actually, no. According to the High Latitude Region Mission Analysis, the US Coast Guard will need three heavy and three medium icebreakers to fufull its statuatory missions.

"Barely a decade ago, it looked as if the U.S. was running so low on domestic gas that it would have to begin importing larger and larger supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from abroad."

I don't recall such statements a decade ago. But, then again, why would someone say that? At least someone with any knowledge of US NG production. The US has been the largest producer (and consumer) of NG for many decades. That title would flop back and forth between us and Russia. These two countries have accounted for almost half of all the NG produced on the planet for at least 40 to 50 years.

LNG import potential has never been about the US lacking NG. It has been about relatively cheap sources of NG in other countries, like Trinidad, that had no local NG market to speak of and huge proven NG reserves. If a Texas utility could buy Trinidad LNG cheaper than Texas NG why wouldn't they? I imagine this is just another prime example of the classic straw man argument: lie about NG running short in the US "barely a decade ago" and then expose that lie to make one's point.

"It's almost impossible to overestimate the importance of fracking to the natural gas industry". Actually that's true. But the implication was that this great new technology is here just in the nick of time to save us from "running short barely a decade ago". Frac'ng is no more, and no less, critical today than it was 30+ years ago when it began to be utilized extensively in tite NG formations especially in the Gulf Coast Basin. Frac'ng of the E Texas shale plays didn't explode because of frac technology. It boomed because NG rose from less than $4/mcf to over $13/mcf with no apparent end in sight. Of course that ended in 2008 when the recession drove NG prices down and nearly drove some of this country's largest energy companies to extinction.

And to be complete horizontal drilling wasn't a newly discovered tech either. It's been utilized in the current shale plays as an effort to overcome the limitations of frac'ng a vertical well. In a vertical well a frac can only be propagated a limited distance. As operators began frac'ng vertical shale wells they quickly discovered it would seldom be very profitable. Horizontal wells were utilized in an effort to extend the fracs. That's why you now see hz wells drilled many thousands of feet and then hit with multistage fracs. This frac are spaced out along the hz well to overcome the limited extent of individual fracs. They would best be characterized as a "mother of necessity" IMHO than as a brave new step forward. Some multistage frac jobs are now costing more than it takes to drill the well in the first place. Companies don't spend that type of money unless they have no choice. Neither frac'ng nor hz drilling opened up the E Texas shale plays. It was the rising price of NG. Just as rising oil prices boomed the oily shale plays. If oil prices dip much lower and hold there for a while we may just see what the limited value of these technologies really may be.

Frac'ng and hz drilling didn't give birth to these plays...prices did. The plays have been known about for decades just as the technologies have been known. Low NG prices aborted the dry shale plays for the most part. We may see that happen to some extent soon in the oily shales. But that also means that when NG prices eventually rise again, as they always do eventually, the dry shales will again become an major asset for the country. And even if the oily shales fall into disfavor a bit that too will only last so long. IMHO in the long term oil and NG will become more expensive. And thus once again any dormant plays will be exploited with great fervor.

I can remember a graph of conventional production and it is going down quite steep.

Yes. There was much talk about the looming "natural gas cliff."

I was actually more concerned about natural gas than about oil. Oil is more fungible than natural gas, and by 2004, we'd come very close to running out of natural gas in the northeast during winter.

Thanks Leanan. Those articles make my point especially re: "But, then again, why would someone say that? At least someone with any knowledge of US NG production." Perhaps I have an aversion to remembering anyone's prediction that seems invalid at the time. Now that I seriouslty think about it I really do. I do think I'm much more attuned to noting when someone is proven right than proven wrong. Everyone is wrong from time to time...including moi. But when someone is correct now that's worth remembering IMHO.

The pedigrees of the various speakers might be impressive to some but consider that 10 years ago (when such negative predictions may have been made) NG production in the US had been virtually flat at around 24 tcf/yr for about 7 years. And that was after increasing from around 20 tcf/yr in 1985. So after a 25% increase that had held flat for 7 years some folks were predicting a great slide in US NG production? On what basis could such predictions be based by anyone knowledgeable about the energy industry?

The author seems to want to give the impression that a significant number of very astute energy expects presented some hard data to justify their gloomy predictions. I've yet to see support for that assertion. But now he wants to use such thoughts to bolster his position. My grandma never believed we landed on the moon. But I don't think it would be a valid argument to justify my belief that we did by running her out as a straw man either.

From the first article: "Under no scenario could he foresee prices ever falling below $4.50 per MMBTU." Last April my sales price from a well in S. La. fell to $1.64/mcf. Needless to say his foresight could use some improvement.

From the second: "By 2020 he believes that LNG will comprise one third of North American supply to potentially as high as one half of all supplies." The year 2020 is a fair bit down the road from 2002. Such a projection doesn't strike me a much of a "cliff" as he says others asserted. And then he seems to offer a completely opposite:

"Since the first price run-ups, a sizable amount of industrial gas demand has been destroyed (permanently) in North America (e.g. the fertilizer industry). Future supply problems will likely run into more painful periods of price adjustments as the “easy demand” has already been destroyed. The executive does not believe any true shortages (e.g. rationing) will ever occur in North America, unless one or more governments start setting prices".

And from poor ole Matt - "All the big deposits have been found and exploited. There aren't going to be any dramatic new discoveries and the discovery trends have made this abundantly clear." Obviously he was a tad off the mark. Granted the shale plays had been discovered long before matt made that statement. But fully "exploited"? The activity levels in the dry and oily shales over the last 7 years indicate the error of that thought. Matt was a very smart guy in many aspects. But that didn't prevent him from stepping into "it' from time to time. I imagine that was part of the pressure from being one of the folks that many thought had all the answers.

And from our ExxonMobil suit: "After weak prices in the 1990s due to oversupply, natural gas production in North America will probably continue to decline unless there is another big discovery, Exxon Mobil Corp.'s chief executive said on Tuesday."Gas production has peaked in North America," Lee Raymond told reporters..." Thus he essentially predicts that the price of a commodity will not rise even as supplies becomes less abundant and thus no new supplies will be brought to the market. But in the same breath he attributes low NG prices to an oversupply. But when those supplies again fall short prices won't rise? And this is one of the "experts" he uses as cannon fodder for his criticism?

Nothing is easier to go back in time and point to unnamed predictors and exclaim how much they were wrong and how correct you now are. The world is full of folks who have made incorrect statements. But that doesn't prove that anyone else's position is more valid as a result IMHO.

I do as well.

The peak on natural gas was supposed to be 2014.


It's great when "new" technology applied in a new way or place works wonders. But I still have doubts about the number of rabbits in the hat.

Methane migration probed in Tioga County

HARRISBURG -- State environmental officials are investigating a potential case of methane migration in Tioga County near gas-drilling sites operated by a Shell Oil Co. subsidiary. Four residents within a one-mile area had been evacuated as of Thursday.

Thursday afternoon, regulators had not yet determined the source of the methane, which also was suspected to be causing bubbling in a nearby stream and "additional surface expressions" along a neighboring road.

A Wellsboro Gazette photograph identified one affected area, showing water along a grassy path spraying several feet into the air.

"These pre-existing conditions make it difficult to identify a specific source of the methane detected," wrote Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh in a statement.

Reports of a potential methane migration case come as state lawmakers are considering a lucrative tax credit to persuade Shell to locate a proposed ethane-processing facility in Beaver County.

That incentive, potentially worth at least $1.65 billion over the next 25 years, is expected to be voted on during the state budget debates next week.

also DEP Investigating Potential Shell Methane Migration

Airborne Transmission of Influenza A/H5N1 Virus Between Ferrets


Highly pathogenic avian influenza A/H5N1 virus can cause morbidity and mortality in humans but thus far has not acquired the ability to be transmitted by aerosol or respiratory droplet (“airborne transmission”) between humans. To address the concern that the virus could acquire this ability under natural conditions, we genetically modified A/H5N1 virus by site-directed mutagenesis and subsequent serial passage in ferrets.


I must be suffering from acute intellectual impairment today. Again, I find myself asking, "what exactly are these people thinking?!" The reason: Well, as I uderstand it there is a viris, A/H5N1. Said viris is a serious health risk, and leads to 'morbidity and death.' The risk would be greater if the viris were airborne. The viris is NOT airborne. These guys have therefore bio-engineered an airborne variety in order to study it.


I just don't get it. What are these people thinking?????


Their thought process is to understand what natural mutations could lead to airborne bird flu, and how infectious such a disease might be, along with estimating morbidity, and likely evaluating effective countermeasures.
If such a natural mutation occurs, humanity might be very glad that medical science has a several month head start on addressing the pandemic.
The movie Contagion was a frighteningly realistic exploration of what such a race between medical science and infectious disease might look like (scientists generally endorsed Contagion's technical aspects). After seeing the movie, I read the wikipedia articles about SARs and bird flu, which make it pretty clear that only aggressive and effective government public health efforts prevented those diseases from exploding into global epidemics. Funny that I was working in Singapore at the SARs time, and I noticed the signs in Changi airport about infrared scanners to detect travelers with high fever, and thought no more about the problem.

"Someone doesn't have to weaponize the bird flu.The birds are doing that."

Pandemic Flu Risk Raised by Lax Hog-Farm Surveillance

... A striking example of swine surveillance shortcomings comes from the most recent pandemic, which emerged in April 2009 and had global infection rates of about 15 percent before vaccines were available.

Though 2009 H1N1, the strain that became globally known as swine flu, may not have jumped directly from pigs to humans — it could have spent some time in another species, such as chickens — the likelihood is high, and there’s no question its ancestors spent years on North American pig farms.

... Smithfield Farms, the world’s largest pork producer and the owner of a factory farm near the flu outbreak’s epicenter, claimed to have privately tested its herd and found no flu, but the testing wasn’t independently confirmed and conflicts of interest were blatant.

Despite widespread recognition that industrial hog farms, in which animals are raised in crowded, overmedicated conditions, are evolution-accelerating incubators of new diseases that are shipped transcontinentally and overseas, swine flu surveillance has traditionally lagged behind human and bird surveillance.

Investing in Energy Independence
The Russian renewable energy market-a green giant which remained untapped
The Global Poor Can Lead the Solar Revolution

A study promoted by the Dept. of Energy says:

Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.

(National Renewable Energy Lab). This refers to 80% of U.S. electrical energy subsequent to a grid restructuring.

Add the methanol economy prospects to this and ...

From the introduction:

'Second, the analysis does not attempt a full reliability analysis of the power system that includes addressing sub-hourly, transient, and distribution system requirements. Third, although RE Futures describes the system characteristics needed to accommodate high levels of renewable generation, it does not address the institutional, market, and regulatory changes that may be needed to facilitate such a transformation. Fourth, a full cost-benefit analysis was not conducted to comprehensively evaluate the relative impacts of renewable and non-renewable electricity generation options.'

IOW they don't know if it will actually run the grid without it breaking down, and they don't know how much it would cost.

If you then go on to read the section on storage, it is quite clear that they have not got any serious notion of how to manage it.

The claims are grandiose, but the document fails to back them up.

The report is an initial investigation of the extent to which renewable energy supply can meet the electricity demands of the continental United States over the next several decades.

Key findings:
Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.

The rest of it is up to the vagaries of the market/corporations/government/economy.


This report will continue to raise its ugly head for a long time for cornucopians to say "see there is no problem". The other day I posted the following about this report...

You have a 950 page report that uses as its high demand case a FORECAST from the EIA, not anything to do with reality of what is happening. We are not talking about the low case here.

In the past I have been involved in the production of government reports in a different area and know a little bit about how the system works. To start you need to know what answer you have to produce, then work backwards, including using assumptions that will give the correct answer.

Many other assumptions in various parts of the report show prices coming down or remaining constant for both capital and ongoing expenses. For example in PV the Balance of System costs are to halve by 2050. Then there is the delivered price for dry matter in the biopower section remaining at $82.60/tonne.

In a world of peak oil, such assumptions for 38 years time are just ludicrous. The high demand case with less than 3% PHEV assumes something else is powering the transportation of the nation, even the low case with 40% of the light vehicle fleet being PEVs assumes heavy transport to be diesel or something else.

The whole report pretty much ignores Agriculture, Mining and Heavy Transport because they are outside the electricity high users. Ignoring them makes the whole report useless, yet it is worse than that.

It is another report that cornucopian politicians can wave about and claim that there are no energy problems and we can continue on with BAU by tweaking a couple of things over the next few decades. We don't have to do anything now as there is plenty of time.


You will always get 'the answer' to anything in this type of report. There is nothing there as it does not deal with reality, all of which is highlighted by the initial assumptions. Looking at the executive summary of the report is the wrong place to look, study the assumptions.

The same exact replies...

The authoritative sounding "The claims are grandiose, but the document fails to back them up."... presented without any support.

Followed by "There is nothing there as it does not deal with reality, all of which is highlighted by the initial assumptions." which again takes the report to task because it does not address things outside of it's scope: "The whole report pretty much ignores Agriculture, Mining and Heavy Transport because they are outside the electricity high users. Ignoring them makes the whole report useless, yet it is worse than that." Perhaps this omission is because the report is on electricity.

These assertions are from the same sources and in the same order:

These assertions bracket renewables in an interesting way: 'Renewables are laughable... and if rernewables weren't laughable, they would only encourage bad behavior.'


You misrepresent me. I am 100% in favor of renewables, yet the numbers show clearly that it is not possible to have BAU.

This report is a cornucopian approach without realistic assumptions behind it. Please look for yourself.

The cornucopian approach relies on a smooth easy transition to renewables, yet it is obvious from what is actually happening in the world that nothing is further from the truth.
You need to take a generalist approach to view what is actually happening and likely to happen in the future. Higher oil prices crash economies and investment in renewables, low oil prices crash the desire to replace existing energy use yet allow gtowth to happen.

The only 'evidence' I need is the assumptions in the report. All you have to do is take off the rose coloured glasses and look at them.

In the Shadow of Fukushima: Facing the Fires of a Meltdown

Japan’s earthquake and tsunami forced a re-evaluation of nuclear power plant protection. Now, a veteran firefighter examines the state of American preparedness and looks at what needs to be done next.

... To an engineer, “defense-in-depth” will ensure the all-important cooling of the reactor. But what if there is a total blackout of all power to all cooling systems? An engineer will say it is a near-zero probability; a firefighter will say even a near-zero probability is possible.

Firefighters are different from engineers. Firefighters believe that failures often occur when humans or machines are involved.

... Of the 104 commercial reactors operating at 65 power plants in the United States, only 10 have full-time fire departments on site. The rest have volunteer fire brigades of on-duty plant operators who, when the alarm rings, stop what they are doing, don fire protective uniforms, and muster for whatever the alarm might be. During an emergency, pulling off valuable operations personnel to fight fire is a dangerous plan since they would likely be needed to help stabilize the plant.

... while all this security has been ramped up, fire engine response and training have been sacrificed. Today, even fire engines must be processed through the security web, causing unacceptable response delays and limited training exercises. Because of these security shifts, even fire personnel who need to get in to fight hostile fires are slowed when time is of the essence.

Coast Guard issues safety zone for Arctic drilling vessels this summer in Puget Sound

also Artic Drilling Vessels Get Military Protection

... While the Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters, it is clear that certain unlawful protest activity poses a danger to the life and safety of protesters, target vessels, and other legitimate waterway users. The Coast Guard must take swift action to prevent such harm.

... This regulation is separate and distinct from the civil injunction, and is applicable to all vessels, whether or not they are acting on behalf of Greenpeace, and whether or not the persons aboard are engaged in any sort of protests or demonstration.

Discord overshadows Rio environment summit

... the gathering -- which has drawn officials from around the world -- came under fire from the leftist presidents of Bolivia and Ecuador, along with indigenous peoples, who said capitalist greed lurked beneath its promotion of the green economy.

Bolivian President Evo Morales described the green economy as "a new colonialism" that rich nations sought to impose on developing countries.

"Countries of the north are getting rich through a predatory orgy and are forcing countries of the south to be their poor rangers," he said. "They want to create intervention mechanisms to monitor and assess our national policies using environmental concerns as an excuse."

Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, also pressed African countries to protect their mineral wealth from transnational companies.

In an interview with AFP, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador accused rich countries of "looting the planet, consuming environmental assets freely."

Japan protest over nuclear restart

TOKYO: About 20,000 people gathered in front of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's residence in Tokyo late Friday to protest his decision to restart two nuclear reactors.

"No to the restart!" shouted the protestors, who were led by investigative journalist Satoshi Kamata and Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe, who started an anti-nuclear petition that has so far gathered more than 7.5 million signatures.


Report of 45,000 people:

These are everyday people.

If this was American media and an American protest, there would be no coverage... unless the event couldn't be hidden... and then the "news" would report that a couple of hundred scruffy people had milled about throwing bottles and spears.

Dirtying Up Our Diets

As health-giving as those bundles of mouthwatering leafy greens and crates of plump tomatoes are, the greatest social contribution of the farmers’ market may be its role as a delivery vehicle for putting dirt back into the American diet and in the process, reacquainting the human immune system with some “old friends.”

Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food and us.

... While the news media and litigators have our attention focused on farm-to-table food safety and disease surveillance, the biological question of why we got sick is all but ignored. And by asking why an individual’s natural defenses failed, we insert personal responsibility into our national food safety strategy and draw attention to the much larger public health crisis, of which illness from food-borne pathogens is but a symptom of our minimally challenged and thus overreactive immune system.

also Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden

... The scientists reared mice that lacked any microbiome. In their guts and lungs, the germ-free mice developed abnormally high levels of immune cells called invariant natural killer T cells. Normally, these cells trigger a swift response from the immune system against viruses and other pathogens. In Dr. Blumberg’s microbe-free mice, however, they caused harmful inflammation. As adults, the mice were more likely to suffer from asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.

This experiment parallels studies of children in recent years. Children who take high levels of antibiotics may be at greater risk of developing allergies and asthma later on, many researchers have suggested.

Dr. Blumberg and his colleagues found that they could prevent the mice from becoming ill by giving them bacteria while they were still young. Acquiring a microbiome as an adult did not help the rodents.

There's been some interesting research on how intensive farming has depleted food of trace minerals. NPK are replaced, but typically micro-nutrients are not.

In 1997 a British study compared the mineral content of fruits and vegetables grown in the 1930s with the mineral content of produce grown in the 1980s. It found that several nutrients had dropped dramatically, including calcium (down nearly 30 percent), iron (down 32 percent), and magnesium (down 21 percent).

The fact that food is so much cleaner now - washed, polished, waxed, etc. - might also be a factor.

These factors, taken together, seem to have turned us into something like 'greenhouse plants' - outwardly robust - but unable to survive in the wild.

We look more like some bloated ornamentals - too fat and flabby to even think about surviving on our own.


The scenes of the fat blobs moving about on their individual transporters from the movie Wall-e come to mind.

I don't how you're able to find all these older stories in less time I take to comment...

From the original:
"the greatest social contribution of the farmers’ market may be its role as a delivery vehicle for putting dirt back into the American diet"

Save our market. I was stopped selling fresh fish-harvested that day and iced immediately-because they were not cleaned in state approved well water. The fact they were cleaned in the same water they were raised in, and had been the potable water source for this farmstead for nearly 100 yrs, didn't matter. It is a spring, tapped a few feet underground and enclosed in a concrete box. The alternative was transport, clean, transport again in a rented state approved kitchen.

The same thing has happened in beef and dairy products. Corporate agriculture writes the rules to benefit themselves. It works, as family farmers keep getting pushed out of business. The organic movement has made some headway with fruit and vegetables but it is still a small percentage of what is grown and sold.

Very much the case.

The regs are morphed for big interests until compliance becomes unprofitable. There is little wonder why there is such an anti government movement, to the point many folks vote against their self interest.

I had thought farmers market were a reaction to corporate ag and retailing. They are losing even that, as the vendors themselves become "little Walmarts". The largest vendors will outsource the majority of their product, undercutting smaller specialty growers. Complaint to the board, at least here, that the market is for farmers selling their own produce are ignored. The board replies that they are afraid of the viability of the market itself if they force the produce distributors out. So "Walmarts" become larger, buyers seem to like the one stall shopping, and away it goes.

Our Farmer's & Fishers market is VERY different.

A Farmer's Co-op in Mississippi brings all of their members produce down, and one or two members sell it. That is as much "non-individual" as it gets.

Part of the fun is going around and talking with the farmers & fishers. And the local bread bakers & fruit popsicle, etc. makers. People prefer "one stop shopping" ? Really ?

Best Hopes for small farmers & fishers !


We, the family, make a morning of the trip to our modest little farmer's market. Ours has a sandbox for the kids to play in and picnic tables with umbrellas (for shade, not enough trees yet). It a pretty social event. And thankfully one of the vendors has coffee for sale. And there is a baker with pastries. So all the bases are covered.

The regs are morphed for big interests until compliance becomes unprofitable.

I'm confident there will be no one to even answer the phone in the near future.
Equilibrium is getting harder to maintain.

It's a tough one.

The cantaloupe episode killed 30+ people. The farming father had died. The sons decided to re-arrange the cantaloupe line. A machine was brought in that was meant for potatoes.

"Investigators and health experts eventually descended on Jensen Farms and would determine that the outbreak occurred because a pair of brothers who had inherited the fourth-generation farm had changed their packing procedures, substituted in some new equipment and removed an antimicrobial wash."



I wonder if the sand in the sandbox quoted above is free of free-silica?

MSDS for sand:
Construction sand dust-inhalation sub-headings:
Lung Cancer
Autoimmune and Chronic Kidney Disease
Non-Malignant Respiratory Diseases


Trans Mountain pipeline overbooked for July

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said on Friday that shippers on its chronically overbooked Trans Mountain oil pipeline system between Alberta and the Pacific Coast will be limited to just 27 percent of their hoped-for volumes in July.

Kinder Morgan said the system, which carries Canadian crude to the Vancouver area and Washington state refineries, is overnominated by 73 percent. Land-based destinations are overbooked by 75 percent, the company said.

Increasing numbers of shippers are seeking to move oil to the Vancouver harbor, where it can be shipped to Asia and other markets offering richer returns than more traditional markets for Canadian crude such as the U.S. Midwest.

Nominations have exceeded capacity since late 2010.

RBI, oil firms discuss dollar measures - sources

The Reserve Bank of India has discussed with state-run oil firms steering 50 percent of their dollar purchases via a single state-owned bank to smoothen volatility in the rupee, though no decision has been made, two oil executives said on Friday.

Oil companies currently buy dollars through a competitive bidding prices via banks, and perceptions they are looking to buy dollars can lead to volatility and hurt the rupee.

One dealer estimated the local currency weakens by 0.05 to 0.10 rupees to the dollar whenever oil firms call around for quotes.

DOE Notice Advances Development of Indiana Gasification's CO2 Pipeline

... More than 5 million tons of liquefied CO2 produced at the plant each year will be compressed, sold and shipped more than 400 miles from Indiana to Tinsley, Miss., where it will connect with existing pipeline infrastructure operated by affiliates of Denbury Resources Inc. for distribution to the Gulf Coast region. The CO2 will be injected into depleted oil wells for enhanced petroleum production.

This enhanced oil recovery effort will produce 10 million to 20 million barrels of oil annually. At $100 per barrel of oil, the domestic oil production created by this facility in Indiana could reduce U.S. imports of foreign oil by up to $2 billion a year

Argentina deploys military police in fuel strike: Reuters

Argentina's government sent military police to take control of fuel plants and get trucks back on the road on Wednesday, the first day of a truckers' pay strike that could cause widespread shortages in Latin America's third-biggest economy.

The powerful truck drivers union defied a government order for talks and launched the three-day protest, disrupting fuel distribution throughout the country, a leading exporter of grains.

Argentina is one of the world's biggest exporters of grains and the vast majority of farm goods are sent to port by truck. Farmers, who are nearing the end of this year's soy and corn harvest, are also major consumers of fuel.

New Countries to Start Phase-Out of Inefficient Lighting, with Major Economic and Climate Benefits

Rio de Janeiro, 21 June 2012 – A total of five percent of global electricity consumption could be saved every year through a transition to efficient lighting, resulting in annual worldwide savings of over US$ 110 billion.

These are among the main findings of 150 national assessments and a new global policy map on efficient lighting, released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners.


The yearly savings in electricity of the phase-out would be equivalent to closing over 250 large coal-fired power plants, resulting in avoided investment costs of approximately US$ 210 billion. Additionally, the 490 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 savings per year is equivalent to the emissions of more than 122 million mid-size cars.

See: http://www.ecoseed.org/more/press-releases/14851-new-countries-to-start-...


I've always disliked these florescent's and they seem to fizzle quite soon however i guess i could live without incandescent's given the benefits. But it doesn't make sense that they should be banned especially during winter where the negligible heat will probably come from elsewhat.

Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of CFLs, but I've used them widely in our home for almost thirty-years and self-ballasted GE Circlines prior to this because it struck me as the responsible thing to do.

For most of us, the waste heat generated by incandescent lamps is two, three or more times more costly than what would be supplied by a natural gas boiler or even an electric heat pump. Where this is true, it doesn't make sense to displace a low-cost heat source with one that is less affordable, particularly when you consider what it can cost your utility to meet this incremental load, e.g., the cost of new nuclear power in Ontario has been pegged at over $10,000 per kW, not including T&D and other related expenses.

There are reportedly four and a half billion incandescent lamps in the United States alone, and for our own financial well-being and that of our fellow rate payers, not to mention the environment, it would be great to see this number fall with each passing year.


We had multi-level Circlines in our living room lamps 30 years ago, too. Most people had never seen one at that point.

Anyone any thoughts on whether the circular lamps or CFLs give a better dispersion of light for the same power? I need to put some up in a kitchen, temporarily or I would use other solutions, and can't decide which to use. I have one incandescent in the centre and 4 screw plugs where previous tubes used to be so I plan on hanging 4 lights from those plugs and connect into the existing socket so I don't have to start modifying the place. How well the light spreads out matters more than a few lumens.


Unfixable Computers Are Leading Humanity Down a Perilous Path

and iFixit

What if everyone had access to a free repair manual for everything they owned? That's our mission. Share your knowledge and help us fix the world.

Repair is recycling! The best way to keep electronics out of landfills is to keep them working longer. Toxic electronic waste is a global problem that we are working to solve. Self repair saves you money and helps the environment

I have two six year old ThinkPads that were three years old when I bought them -- a T42 and docking station, and an R60 that serves as my backup. No speed demons by any means, but more than adequate for my purposes. The problem is finding replacement parts. The cooling fan failed on my T42 not long ago and it was near impossible to find one that would fit (there are two versions according to screen size and mine requires the more difficult to source "wide version". I'd like to keep both going for as long as I can, but there aren't many of these older machines still kicking about that can be cannibalized for spare parts.


A partial solution to a failing laptop fan is to add another one, outside the case.

My 10 year old Toshiba laptop has had an external fan for at least 5 years now. It's a medium sized squirrel cage fan taped up around the laptop exhaust port. It sucks air through the laptop no matter what the internal fan maybe doing. So far so good, it still works.

But, I finally broke down ~9 months ago and purchased a Win 7, LED/LCD quad core A8-3500m based laptop. It consumes half the wattage of my old XP Celeron laptop and runs the internal fan for a few seconds every minute or two(nice).

You can make your own heat radiator, a copper strip made of stripped household wiring with one end at the hot part and the other outside, if possible with a fan attached. It's very effective.

Thanks for the tips, gentlemen, but it may be difficult for someone of my limited talents to outsmart the diagnostic check upon start-up. When the fan failed, the thing would beep twice, display an error code and the words "Fan Error" and, at that point, refused to continue booting.

BTW, my first laptop was a Toshiba Tecra 700CT which I purchased back in 1996; maxed-out with 48 MB of RAM and equipped with an external CD drive, that set me back a little over $10,000.00 CDN. It died three years later and was replaced by a ThinkPad 770Z which I considered to be a bargain at just $8,500.00. As luck would have it, the 770Z died with exactly one day remaining on its three year warranty (it must have forgotten there was a leap-year tucked somewhere in there). Performance wise, the 770Z is a cruel joke by today's standards, but it had the nicest keyboard of any ThinkPad ever made, bar none.


This week I had to replace a 12 year old printer-scanner-copier. The new models are incredibly cheap but I was repeatedly warned to expect to replace them within 2 years and the on line reviews virtually assured a troublesome ownership. Outrageous. Not only that but the only place in the county that alledged to have a repair facility told me they could not get parts for HP printers over two years old.

The market model for these devices borders on criminal. Selling products with such low first cost that are both unreliable and unrepairable is absolutely repulsive considering the amount of materials that go into the construction.

Did I mention that for most models the first ink cartridge replacement would cost as much as the printer?

I had good use out of a Brother and the inks were not too expensive, even cheaper when ordered from Brother's on-line shop including delivery. Unfortunately a lightning strike in the neighbourhood fried it after burning its way through the telephone line surge filter. There are also on-line tips that can be found that can help with resetting end of life counters.


Go for a Canon, B&W laser multifunction..

MF4350d or D480.. Wait for them to go on sale, which occurs periodically.

Unlike HP, and Lexmarc,... Canon doesn't lock down their toner cartridges with special chips to prevent reuse or re-filling.

Canon has issues if you are using Linux, if you do then check compatibility first. Brother is Linux friendly.


It is highly despicable.

I have, just the same, had very good service from an Epson (Model CX 3810), and there are among the hackers some ways to rewrite the eeprom/BIOS (or its current names) on some model printers, and use much cheaper bulk ink refills, even when the ink cartridges are reporting 'empty'..

"I'm a pretty straight man when you treat me all square,
But I'm a pirut myself, at a Pirate-town fair!"
- 'Abbot B Appleton, Pirut' by Holman Day

I have an Epson Stylus C86 which works quite well in both Windows and Linux. I was shocked when I first got it that my color inks "ran out" without me even using them! I did some looking into it, and for a grand total of $7.80 (including shipping!) acquired a YXD268 Chip Resetter from eBay. Works perfectly.

I buy cartridges from PrintPal. They work just fine at a fraction of the cost of official Epson carts.

But repairing things is so anti-capitalism, what would happen if we stitched our clothes and repaired our shoes, how would companies survive. Think what would happen to Adidas and Nike if the cobblers came back. And wouldn't Apple go bankrupt if everybody started using iPad 2 for five to ten years.

Novel Power Plants Could Clean Up Coal
Major engineering firms and power providers team up to demonstrate two new power generation technologies.


(but it seems like technology can't run faster than our wastefulness)

Federal documents reveal clash between Enbridge, DFO
Peter O'Neil and Mike De Souza, Postmedia

"There is not much movement (by Enbridge) for avoidance of sensitive areas," said one biologist at a February, 2010 meeting, according to a record of that gathering of four officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

"Sometimes the proponent is pushing for the cheapest option," said another meeting participant in his reply.

The clash between Enbridge and DFO took shape more than two years before the Harper government, which had been heavily lobbied by Enbridge over concerns about DFO demands, tabled Fisheries Act amendments in its budget implementation bill in April.

Those changes, which according to critics would "gut" DFO's ability to protect habitat, have become a flashpoint in the opposition's battle against bill C-38 [omnibus budget bill] during a marathon voting session Wednesday and Thursday in the House of Commons.

Enbridge said one of the biologists, during the 2010 meeting, was designating stream crossings as "low risk" of habitat damage "that should have been medium or high risk."

Gosh, and they seem like such nice folks...

Enbridge staff ignored warnings in Kalamazoo River spill
Report says Edmonton controllers took 17 hours to shut down pipeline

Enbridge pipeline controllers in Edmonton ignored repeated leak warnings for 17 hours before shutting down a pipeline that poured 20,000 barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in July 2008, says a report from the U. S. National Transportation Safety Board.

The report details how pipeline-monitoring staff in Enbridge’s Edmonton control room could not agree that a leak had occurred, while ignoring alarms that should have triggered a shutdown of the pipeline within 10 minutes of the leak occurring.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2012/06/22/edmonton-enbridg...


Greenpeace denied Edmonton billboard space for oil spill ad

Pattison Outdoor has denied Greenpeace Canada the space on one of its billboards in downtown Edmonton – and handed the activist group a much bigger free PR opportunity.

On Friday, the company, which owns billboards and other ad space on public transit and in malls and airports, advised Greenpeace Canada that it had rejected its ad about oil spills in Alberta.

For Pattison Outdoor, CAPP's tar sands greeenwashing billboards are ok, and Greenpeace's dose of reality isn't?

Aww, that is pretty sad reflection on how money buys power.

That's pretty cute ad . . . I think it is clever. I'm for drilling continuing but I also want many more solar panels installed.

Greenpeace ad rejected by billboard company

Adam Finn, a marketing professor at the University of Alberta, believes Pattison may have decided the Greenpeace ad would have offended some of their existing big clients, and it wasn't worth losing that revenue.

"The small risk that some of their important clients will be annoyed is way more important than the money they can get from this type of advertising," he said.

Silly Rabbit... only the rich are allowed to influence people!

Spill Crisis: 'Whatever, We're Going Home' Andrew Nikiforuk

Inside the Edmonton Enbridge control room that botched the worst bitumen pipeline leak ever.

Hours after alarms began going off in an Enbridge control room indicating a major pipeline rupture near Kalamazoo, Michigan, ill-trained workers could not agree that something was very wrong, and in fact one Enbridge employee's response was to tell another, "Whatever, we're going home and will be off for few days."

That scene is described in damning U.S. regulatory reports portraying Calgary-based Enbridge as a company that ignored safety protocols and warning alarms as well as the recommendations of previous safety audits in what amounted to a botched response to one of the continent's largest freshwater pipeline spills.

The Michigan bitumen spill cost 18 times more to clean up than conventional crude. Property damage and spill response cost approximately $36,000 a barrel for diluted bitumen compared to $2,000 a barrel for light crude.

On June 19 Enbridge reported yet another 1,400 barrel spill on a bitumen pipeline near the town of Elk Point, Alberta.

Your link to the story is broken. THIS might be the correct link...

E. Swanson

Here's the online, not mobile, version. Sorry!

Spill Crisis: 'Whatever, We're Going Home'

Experts: API/ANGA Fracking "Study" Is "Fatally Flawed"

Reflecting Clear Biases and Cherry Picking of Information, Fracking Study Is "Industry Garbage In, Industry Garbage Out" That Does Not Hold Up to Close Review

The nonprofit Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) today issued the following joint statement by Profs. Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth, and research technician Renee Santoro of Cornell University:

We have analyzed the widely publicized report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) which asserts that methane emissions from the natural gas sector are 50 percent lower than US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates.

The study relies on a critically flawed survey design, completely ignores many other recent studies, and would not have passed peer-review in a scientific journal. In contrast to this API/ANGA report, a recent and objective study which measured the entire rate of methane emissions from an unconventional gas field, the first of what should become one of many such studies, demonstrated emissions that were higher than EPA estimates (Petron et al. 2012).

Wow, what a huge surprise! You mean if you give the Monkey House keys to the monkeys, they do whatever they want? No!

From up top:
680,000 wells hold waste across US -- with unknown risks

Reading through this litany, I sure see why the industry needs to eliminate the EPA, any real news reporting, and any local regulating or testing agency or local authority.