Drumbeat: July 6, 2012

A Skeptic Looks at Alternative Energy

In June 2004 the editor of an energy journal called to ask me to comment on a just-announced plan to build the world’s largest photovoltaic electric generating plant. Where would it be, I asked—Arizona? Spain? North Africa? No, it was to be spread among three locations in rural Bavaria, southeast of Nuremberg.

I said there must be some mistake. I grew up not far from that place, just across the border with the Czech Republic, and I will never forget those seemingly endless days of summer spent inside while it rained incessantly. Bavaria is like Seattle in the United States or Sichuan province in China. You don’t want to put a solar plant in Bavaria, but that is exactly where the Germans put it. The plant, with a peak output of 10 megawatts, went into operation in June 2005.

It happened for the best reason there is in politics: money. Welcome to the world of new renewable energies, where the subsidies rule—and consumers pay.

Crude Oil Declines on Concern Economy Failing to Recover

Oil fell a second day in New York, paring a weekly gain, as the IMF warned it will trim growth forecasts while interest-rate cuts in Europe and China failed to assure investors the moves will be enough to support demand.

Futures declined as much as 1.9 percent. The International Monetary Fund will lower its estimate for global growth this year on weakness in Europe, the U.S., Brazil, India and China, Managing Director Christine Lagarde said. The European Central Bank cut rates to a record low yesterday and the People’s Bank of China reduced borrowing costs. Brent oil slid on speculation Norway’s government will stop a strike by energy workers.

$100 oil out of reach despite Iran saber-rattling

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — European Union sanctions on Iran officially went into effect this month, but for oil, the $100-a-barrel level remains out of reach for the U.S. benchmark, and lower prices may soon follow.

“I do not see anything that will lift prices significantly above $100 for the next three months,” said Kirk McDonald, senior research analyst at St. Louis-based Argent Capital Management.

Asia Distillates-Demand drives further gains in prompt diesel

South Korea opened its first online spot market for oil products on March 30 in a bid to tame record-high fuel prices and increase transparency.

Although both the South Korean and Thai import volumes are small, they are expected to put pressure in a tightly supplied diesel market, traders said.

UK June producer prices come in below forecasts

LONDON (ShareCast) - UK producer prices fell at an 0.4 per cent month-on-month rate in June (2.3 per cent year-on-year), according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. This is the largest monthly fall since November 2008, when the index fell 0.7 per cent. The consensus estimate was for a decrease of -0.2 per cent (2.4 per cent year-on-year). The main contributions to the fall in the price index were petroleum products (-3.3% month-on-month), chemical & pharmaceutical products and clothing, textile & leather products.

Good News on Food Prices, While It Lasts

We’ve finally hit a run of good news about global food prices. But the agency that tracks them, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is warning that that it may not last.

The F.A.O.’s global index of food prices fell by 1.8 percent in June by comparison with May’s level, the third consecutive month of decline. The index, closely watched because of the effect of food prices on billions of poor people, is at its lowest point since September 2010, and is 15 percent below a peak reached in February 2011.

Exxon Mobil Said to Explore Sale of German Gas Stations

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest energy company by market value, is weighing a sale of its German Esso gas station chain, according to people familiar with the process.

The unit, which includes more than 1,100 gas stations in Germany, may fetch more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. Exxon is in preliminary talks with multiple parties, two or three of which may be from Russia or eastern Europe, people said. No final decision on a sale has been made.

BP’s LNG Expansion in Tangguh to Target Japanese, Korean Buyers

BP Plc (BP/) is targeting buyers in Japan and South Korea for planned supplies of liquefied natural gas from its Tangguh plant in Indonesia to benefit from a shortage of regional Asian supplies.

BP may export as much as 60 percent of the LNG from its third production line at Tangguh, according to William Lin, the company’s Asia-Pacific president. It will build on existing contracts that Asian buyers have with Indonesian providers and their strategy of using multiple suppliers, he said.

Cenovus Taps World Price With ‘Bordeaux’ of Canadian Oils

Cenovus Energy Inc. says it’s selling Canadian oil sands crude near world prices by exporting through Vancouver’s port as Canada’s fourth-largest oil producer by market value lines up buyers ahead of a surge in production.

The company is selling “small” volumes of Western Canada Select blend to buyers in markets such as Asia and California to help them understand how to refine it, said Paul Reimer, senior vice president of marketing, transportation and power, in an interview yesterday at the company’s Calgary headquarters.

Dynegy Files for Bankruptcy Protection

The company continues to struggle with declining power prices. It reported a first-quarter loss of $58 million, even after cutting out losses from Dynegy Holdings.

TNK-BP Billionaires Will Offer to Buy Half of BP’s 50% Stake

BP Plc (BP/)’s billionaire partners plan to bid for half of the U.K. oil producer’s 50 percent holding in Russian venture TNK-BP, rather than buying the entire stake valued at $32 billion last year.

US gas revolution sparks boom

The growth of natural gas production in the United States has set in motion an investment boom in the domestic petrochemicals sector that will result in American and Arabian Gulf producers competing for market share in Europe.

The shale gas revolution, which added to the supply with new production techniques, has driven down the price of natural gas, creating much better market conditions for chemical companies.

Fall from peak oil

Peak oil theorists, notably experts like Colin Campbell, have argued that the supermassive oilfields that drove the world economy for decades were heading for exhaustion. Price would simply be a symptom of the fact it would get increasingly more difficult to extract oil. Matthew Simmons and other peak oil theorists then extrapolated from geological surveys that places like Saudi Arabia would start to exhaust their largest oilfields – and not replace them. He famously placed a bet that oil prices would reach $ 200 a barrel by 2005.

I originally assumed these fellows knew what they were talking about. Campbell’s arguments, which were less about price but simply that the world was exhausting a series of superbig but easy-to-tap oilfields without finding new ones to replace them, were persuasive. Campbell argued oil production would peak in 2010.

Over the years, I began to have some doubts.

Reports of oil's death have been greatly exaggerated

Using technology and available information from the 1970s, the peak oil theory was probably not that far off the mark. Most oil companies back then would only expect to extract about 35 per cent of the total volume held in any particular oil field.

Thankfully the technology from that period is now obsolete. Today, advances in oil recovery means that not only are conventional oil fields more productive, but unconventional oil sources are becoming so viable that Maugeri believes the world is on the cusp of a new oil boom.

In the valley of the shadow of peak oil

From one vantage, King Hubbert was undoubtedly right. Oil is a finite resource and at some point it must inevitably peak, decline, and then run out. However, the Earth has been busy sequestering carbon since at least the early days of the Carboniferous Era about 360 million years ago, and it's had plenty of time to salt away a lot of hydrocarbons. Moreover, there are three key variables in Hubbert's model of peak oil -- the size of reserves, the technology of extraction, and market forces -- which inject such a degree of variability into the model as to render it effectively moot when it comes to projecting an actual date of peak oil. And one wildcard -- climate change -- that may render the exercise utterly pointless.

Treehugger, Monbiot and Is Peak Oil Over?

In a lot of ways, this is just another version of the same old, same old – take the most optimistic imaginable assumptions and push them all together in new ways without regard to any possible negative consequences or less optimistic outcomes, and lo and behold, all problems disappear. We can do the same thing with anything else (and, in fact, that’s pretty much how modern economics often works) – want to see a world security picture in which everything is rosy? All we need is the most cheerful predictions. Want to have 6% annual year over year economic growth? Easy to find experts to say it could happen – all you have to do is just pretend they are the only voices that matter.

Statoil to halt production amid lockout

Norwegian state oil group Statoil said on Thursday it was preparing to shut down all production on the Norwegian continental shelf (NSC) after the industry employers' organisation announced a lockout starting next week.

Norway government seen heading off total oil, gas output shutdown

Copenhagen (Platts) - The Norwegian government is expected to step in promptly to stop an industry lockout of offshore workers that would have caused a complete shutdown of oil and gas production next week as early, union leaders, analysts and company executives said Friday.

One union head said a government move was now all but inevitable.

Drive to speed up reform in Oman in wake of protests

Muscat: Oman’s consultative Shura Council has launched a drive to speed up reforms of labour laws after strikes by oil workers in the Gulf Arab state in the past two months demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

Oman, which gets 70 per cent of its revenue from the oil sector, has detained more than 30 people in recent weeks following protests that some blame on the government’s failure to deliver jobs promised after massive protests last year.

Clinton slams Russia, China over Syria

Paris (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lambasted Russia and China on Friday for blocking efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose much-reviled regime has endured a serious crack in its armor -- the defection of a key member of its inner circle.

Speaking at the Friends of Syria conference in Paris, Clinton called on Russia and China to "get off the sidelines" and accused them of "standing up for" al-Assad's regime. She urged the other 60 or so nations represented at the summit to "make it clear that Russia and China will pay a price" for that support.

High-ranking general defects from Syrian military

Paris (CNN) -- Manaf Tlas, a Sunni general in Syria's elite Republican Guards, has defected, a Western diplomat said Friday, a stunning blow to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Tlas, the son of a former Syrian defense minister and cousin of a first lieutenant in al-Assad's army, is possibly the most senior Sunni in a power structure dominated by the Alawite minority.

Libya's oil industry defies expectations

Defying both doomsday scenarios and even modest recovery projections, Libya’s oil industry is now booming. It is one the few examples of national success as Libyans head to the polls to vote in their first free elections since the fall and death of former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

The country, upended by the revolution and sudden absence of Gaddafi’s iron-fisted rule, remains plagued by divisions and violence. But perhaps owing to the foresight of both the Gaddafi regime and the opposition, and their understanding that Libya’s economy is almost entirely dependent on oil, the oil fields were protected, allowing the industry to recover quickly.

Crude oil flows but chaos reigns in Libya

Overall, crude production in Libya is almost back to pre-civil war levels. BP has resumed oil exploration work and oil shipments flow to Italy, France, Germany and other countries.

But Libya's political system is far from successful. Armed militias, once backed by NATO, now attack government offices and kidnap business executives. Some Libyans have said the on-going fighting could turn their country into another Afghanistan or Iraq.

Gunmen close Libya oil terminals ahead of vote

Armed federalists have forced two oil terminals to shut down in eastern Libya in protest over not being granted more seats in this weekend's first elections since Moamer Kadhafi was overthrown.

The move on Thursday to shut down pumping and loading at the port in Ras Lanuf came as people seeking autonomy in Libya's oil-rich east threatened to boycott or even sabotage Saturday's election for a General National Congress.

Pre-election protests hit Libyan crude output

(Reuters) - Libyan oil output has been reduced by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) as protests by groups demanding greater autonomy for eastern Libya a day before national elections have blocked operations at some oil terminals, an official said.

The protests, combined with other storage and market-related factors, have pushed output down to 1.3 million bpd from the level of nearly 1.6 million bpd to which production has steadily climbed since the end of last year's civil war.

India cuts June Iran oil imports 18 pct y/y -trade

India's oil imports from Iran fell 18.2 percent in June from a year earlier in a third straight monthly decline, although the pace slowed as refiners built stocks ahead of Western sanctions against Tehran's nuclear programme that took effect by July, Reuters reported.

Tanzania investigating Iran tankers accusation

Dar es Salaam - Tanzania said on Thursday it was investigating whether it had reflagged any oil tankers from Iran and that it would strip the vessels of the Tanzanian flag if that proved to be the case.

Iran to deliver oil to India's HPCL, MRPL on own tankers in July: source

Iran has begun delivering crude oil on its own tankers to Indian refiners as it tries to maintain exports to key customers in Asia facing the loss of crucial insurance cover due to a European ban on the provision of protection and indemnity insurance for shipments of Iranian oil, an Indian refining source said Friday.

Oil Backed Up, Iranians Put It on Idled Ships

BANDAR ABBAS, Iran — The hulking tanker Neptune was floating aimlessly this week in the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, a fresh coat of black paint barely concealing its true identity as an Iranian ship loaded with hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil that no one is willing to buy.

The ship’s real name was Iran Astaneh, and it was part of a fleet of about 65 Iranian tankers serving as floating storage facilities for Iranian oil, each one given a nautical makeover to conceal its origin and make a buyer easier to find. The Neptune had been floating there for a month, and local fishermen said there were two even larger tankers anchored nearby.

Rationale for halting Iranian oil imports

China, the largest buyer of Iran’s oil, is increasing Iranian oil imports, even as the United States and European Union have asked the global community to cut them and threatened sanctions against financial institutions conducting business with Iran’s energy sector. Instead, its oil imports from Iran jumped 35 percent from April to May, and a foreign ministry representative defended the increase by saying, ``China’s importing of Iranian oil is based on its own economic development needs.”

Certainly, Korea does not wish to be grouped with Beijing, often viewed by the West as less than cooperative on Iran and Syria, not to mention the South China Sea disputes involving several countries. More importantly, multilateral sanctions require tough decisions by partnering countries to be effective, as noted above. Without sanctions as a viable tool, the probability of others resorting to more drastic measures only increases.

EU advisor: Big problems await countries and insurance companies that help Iran

Countries and insurance companies that help Iran with its oil exports will have big problems in the future, EU economic advisor Mehrdad Emadi told Trend.

Tajikistan may become alternative for US Manas base in Kyrgyzstan

The U.S. considers Tajikistan as an alternative for Kyrgyzstan in the issue of placing military base instead Manas after 2014, KyrTAG reported on Friday.

This statement was made by member of Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Senate Danny Lee Burton, which heads the U.S. congress delegation visiting Dushanbe.

Turkey, Iraq work on export of Basra oil via Turkey

(Reuters) - Turkey's energy ministry has started technical work with Iraq's central government on shipping crude oil from Basra in southern Iraq via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey's Mediterranean coast and on to world markets, its minister said on Friday.

The announcement came days after Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region said it might begin selling natural gas directly to Turkey within two years, a move that was expected to further strain Ankara's ties with Baghdad.

Leighton fires Iraq oil export official

The Australian construction group Leighton has fired a top official on its oil export project in Iraq over contractual irregularities.

The company is building oil export infrastructure near the Iraqi port of Basra through its Leighton Offshore unit, which has become embroiled in a government investigation over alleged tendering violations.

Poland sees at least 41 more shale gas wells in 2012

(Reuters) - Poland, Europe's shale gas pioneer, expects companies to drill at least 41 more wells this year to shed more light on the country's gas potential.

The environment ministry, which has granted 111 rights to drill for shale gas to companies including Chevron and Exxon Mobil, also said on Friday there were "a few tens" of new requests for exploration licences awaiting approval.

Hundreds of thousands without power brace for more blistering heat

(CNN) -- Another day of blistering heat, and for hundreds of thousands, no power.

That's the expectation Friday, when thermometers once again teeter above the 100-degree mark from St. Louis to Baltimore and many communities in between.

More than 549,000 customers had no power Thursday night in 11 states and the District of Columbia, officials said.

The situation is particularly dire in places such as Fayette County, West Virginia, where about two-thirds of its 46,000 residents had no electricity, according to Theresa White, emergency management director.

Bury Those Lines!

As climate change subjects more and more cities and regions to extreme weather, one obvious response is to bury the lines underground. This probably isn’t a good idea in earthquake belts, but there aren’t all that many such belts lurking below. For the rest of us, burying the lines seems the best solution.

Uproar Over C.E.O.’s Ouster at Merged Energy Giant

A former director involved in the merger that formed the nation’s largest electric utility is lashing out at an abrupt leadership change at the combined company.

“This is the most blatant example of corporate deceit that I have witnessed during a long career on Wall Street,” said John H. Mullin III, the former lead director of Progress Energy, which completed its merger with Duke Energy this week.

JPMorgan Told to Explain Withholding Energy-Probe E-Mails

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) was ordered by a federal judge to explain why it shouldn’t be compelled to turn over e-mails sought by U.S. regulators in a probe of potential energy-market manipulation.

Chesapeake Energy Cheat Sheet: What’s Been Uncovered So Far

The last four months have been rather bumpy for Chesapeake Energy Corp., the nation’s second-largest natural gas company behind Exxon Mobil.

Starting in April, Reuters took aim at the company’s flamboyant chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, in a series of articles, prompting his ouster as company chairman (he remains CEO) last month at the behest of disgruntled shareholders. The revelations also triggered an SEC probe.

The company was rocked anew last week when the news agency disclosed a series of email exchanges in which McClendon and other Chesapeake executives appeared to collude with officials at EnCana Corp., Canada’s largest natural gas company, to suppress the price of land leases in Michigan.

Can China Follow U.S. Shift from Coal to Gas?

Nothing I, or anyone else writes, will change the reality that the gas age is here for many years to come. But my hope is that progress in avoiding environmental regrets can come through constructive discussion of ways to cut risks and waste and to sustain a long-term energy quest that extends beyond fossil fuels even while they remain abundant and cheap. That’s no easy task.

Troubles at nuclear plant may hint at California's future

SAN ONOFRE STATE BEACH, Calif. — More than seven million people live within 50 miles of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which is about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. But for decades, residents here largely accepted, if not exactly embraced, the hulking nuclear plant perched on the cliffs above this popular surfing beach as a necessary part of keeping the lights on in a state that uses more electricity than all of Argentina.

“I don’t think about it too much,” said David Vichules, 55, who has been surfing here since before the plant opened in 1968. “I guess it’s risk and benefit.”

All that changed, however, after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in Japan last year, followed in January by a small leak of radioactive steam here caused by the deterioration of steam tubes that had been damaged by vibration and friction. The twin generators at the San Onofre plant have been off-line for five months, and the plant has subsequently become a point of contention in the fight over nuclear power in the United States.

IEA predicts rapid renewables growth over next 5 years

In its first ever major report on renewables, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that global renewable power generation will increase by over 40 percent over the next five years.

The report acknowledges the challenging global economic environment facing the market, yet still predicts that global power generation from solar and other sources will hit almost 6,400TWh by 2017.

Wind power firms threaten to sue government over rumoured subsidy cuts

Wind energy companies have warned they could sue the government if it imposes drastic cuts to subsidies that derail the expansion of the renewable energy industry.

World's biggest hydropower plant Three Gorges complete

BEIJING: The final turbine of China's massive Three Gorges Dam was connected to the grid on Wednesday, marking the completion of a controversial hydropower project that cost the country more than $50 billion and displaced at least 1.3 million people.

The Garden of Our Neglect: How Humans Shape the Evolution of Other Species

Any patch of land, left alone, will tend to sprout with plants bent on outcompeting each other, rising higher and higher into the sky to win access to the sun. Once, we prevented such competition by weeding our fields and sorting crop seeds from weed seeds, one by one. This selection depended on visual acuity and caused multiple lineages of weeds to evolve seeds resembling those of our crops. Now we exclude weeds using herbicides, whether in our lawns or our fields, before they bear their seeds. The weeds evolve resistance to herbicides, becoming invisible to our chemicals rather than our eyes. More than a hundred species of weeds have evolved resistance to one or another herbicide. We clear the ground, till the soil and spray the fertilizer and herbicide, and when we do, row by row the resistant weeds grow.

Bolder Protests Against Pollution Win Project’s Defeat in China

HONG KONG — China has long been known as a place where the world’s dirtiest mines and factories can operate with impunity. Those days may not be over, but a growing environmental movement is beginning to make the most polluting projects much harder to build and operate.

Large and sometimes violent demonstrations against the planned construction of one of the largest copper smelting complexes on earth prompted local officials in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province to continue backpedaling furiously on Wednesday. The local government of Shifang, the planned site of the smelter, announced in a statement that the construction of the $1.6 billion complex had not only been suspended but also permanently canceled.

In Hong Kong, a Pledge to Turn Down the A/C

In Hong Kong, as in many places in Asia, environmental awareness has not kept pace with rising wealth, experts say, and frigid indoor temperatures are widely considered fashionable.

Adding to the waste, most buildings are poorly insulated, and simple energy-saving tricks like programming thermostats or turning off water heaters at certain hours are far less widely established than they are in Europe or the United States.

Carbon experts have chance to sleep on disposal proposal

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY // For years, industrialists have sought to pump carbon emissions permanently underground to combat climate change. But their expensive plans have often been scuppered by locals hostile to the idea of burying potentially dangerous greenhouse gases in their vicinity.

A company in Germany's industrial heartland has an alternative proposal: bury it in mattresses.

EU Ministers to Discuss Funding Climate Change Adaptation, Water

European Union ministers will discuss water management and financing of adaptation to climate change, whose costs to the region are estimated at 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in 2020, at an informal meeting this weekend.

Environment ministers from the bloc’s 27 governments will hold talks on a planned policy paper on safeguarding water resources tomorrow, according to a draft agenda of the meeting hosted by Cyprus.

U.N. urges countries to impose global taxes to boost aid

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations on Thursday urged countries to impose international taxes to raise more than $400 billion a year, such as a carbon tax, a currency transaction tax and a billionaires tax, to offset cutbacks in aid by many countries amid global economic turmoil.

The U.N. World Economic and Social Survey found the needs of developing countries were not being met, more money was needed to fight challenges like climate change and new taxes would help "donor countries overcome their record of broken promises."

US science official says more extreme events convincing many Americans climate change is real

CANBERRA, Australia — Increasingly common experiences with extreme climate-related events such as the Colorado wildfires, a record warm spring and preseason hurricanes have convinced many Americans climate change is a reality, the head of a U.S. scientific agency said Friday.

Many Americans had previously seen climate change as a “nebulous concept” removed from them in time and geography, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco.

Colorado's perfect firestorm

My parents were lucky. Despite the trauma and fear of having to evacuate, they didn't lose their home. But the fire emphasized something of a long-running debate between my father and me: the reality and politics of climate change.

I am a political scientist who studies climate policy and adaptation, and the intersection between climate science and politics. My father is also a scientist — a nuclear engineer. But he's always been a bit skeptical about climate change. Though he's not a full-on doubter, he also hasn't fully embraced the idea that the planet is warming in ways that could be devastating, and that this change is the result of human activity. Events like the Waldo Canyon fire may make him and other climate skeptics easier to convince.

Arctic warming linked to combination of reduced sea ice and global atmospheric warming

(Phys.org) -- The combination of melting sea ice and global atmospheric warming are contributing to the high rate of warming in the Arctic, where temperatures are increasing up to four times faster than the global average, a new University of Melbourne study has shown.


Richard Miller's oil production graph (UK Energy Institute) from before the war is here:


In the above link there is also a graph showing that Saudi Arabia could not increase production fast enough to compensate for Libya's losses


Damn opportunists!

Technology - Alexis Madrigal - Picture of the Day: The Peak Oil Company, Kansas 1963 - The Atlantic. This is dated a couple years back so perhaps it made its way here to DB.

Great photo! I love it! Thanks for posting

A friend of mine asked me why the USA is a net importer of NG.

He said that the export databrowser http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/ must be in error.

What answer can I give him?

No error.

The Midwest and West Coast gets a fair amount of natural gas from Canada. Volumes are down from the early 2000s due to the emergence of shale gas in the U.S., but it's still coming in. U.S. producers really have no overseas markets for their natural gas, until LNG export terminals are completed (5-6 years).

All the gory details about natural gas in the US are summarized each month in the Energy Information Administration's Natural Gas Monthly. There you can find out:

  • how much we import/export
  • from/to whom
  • which states use how much for residential/industrial/power
  • production, prices, storage, etc.

If you just want a visual summary you may prefer the Monthly Energy Review graphs for natural gas.

JWS - First you need to put the situation into perspective IMHO. Whether the US is a net importer or exporter of NG in any given month isn't relevant. Some NG buyers can acquire imported NG cheaper in some locations than from a domestic source so they import. Other NG producers can sell their exported production for more than they can get domestically. It's all about logistic...not NG availability.

Is your friend aware that the US is the largest producer of NG on the planet and has been for many decades? We actually flip back and forth from time to time with Russia for that title. The two countries produce almost half of all the NG in the world. The US is THE Saudi Arabia of NG. The big difference between the two countries is that we consume almost all of our NG production while the KSA exports most of their oil production.

The United States imports about 3.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year, almost all from Canada, and exports about 1.5 Tcf/year, of which about 1 Tcf goes to Canada and 0.5 Tcf goes to Mexico.

Somewhat lost in the hype over shale gas is the fact that the US is not self-sufficient in natural gas yet.

The shale gas bubble is a good thing in that Canada is running short of gas, so it is curtailing exports of natural gas to the US and diverting it to the oil sands producers. The increase in shale gas production has disguised this shortfall from Canada. It is a bad thing in that shale gas is turning into a classic investment bubble. Bubbles tend to burst eventually.

You might ask, "Why is the US both importing AND exporting gas from/to Canada?" Well, the answer is that Canada's gas reserves are primarily located in the Western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and in the East Coast offshore fields.

The majority of the population resides in Ontario and Quebec, which have very few NG reserves. The result is that Canada exports NG out of the West and East Coast provinces to the NW and NE states, and imports it into Ontario and Quebec from the Midwest states.

Mexico imports large amounts of NG from the US into its Northern states because it is not sufficiently well organized to produce its own NG, and get it from the south to the north of the country.

Oil fell a second day in New York, paring a weekly gain, as the IMF warned it will trim growth forecasts while interest-rate cuts in Europe and China failed to assure investors the moves will be enough to support demand.

That is from the 2nd article listed up top. Has anyone else noticed the tiny little weak adjustments govt's around the world are doing recently to spur growth, and how the markets are not responding well to them? Guess govt's don't have trillions to toss at this anymore, but the markets sure are salivating, waiting patiently for news that will generate a skyrocketing equity market, far above the already bloated level it currently resides.

Today's jobs report was a disappointment.

Though Denninger says it's not as bad as it looks. He thinks the books are being cooked to goad the fed into more QE.

World oil consumption has been falling for a few months now...


Feb 89.7 mbpd
Mar 87.8 mbpd
Apr 87.5 mbpd
May 87.2 mbpd

Though consumption usually falls a bit from Feb-May, the 2.5 mbpd drop is a little outside the trend. For comparison, it took Libya being shut in last year to drop consumption by 2.2 mbpd over the same time period, and, in 2010, the drop was only .8 mbpd. So we'll have to see what the figures look like in June before validating the larger trend. That said, market pressures and responses do seem to show a bit of demand destruction.

For example, Saudi under pressure from OPEC to cut production, but may keep oil flows up through summer to help world growth. Such a decision is likely to hurt further investments/projects in Russia:


Most likely, the prolonged period of high prices has done its damage and we're seeing some demand destruction as well as a bit of an economic slowdown. The high cost producers will probably feel a little pinch if this keeps up or gets much worse. Iran, hurricanes, and other unforeseen events may keep prices higher, but could deepen any slow-down.

No doubt that growth estimates around the world are being cut consistently and gradually, possibly to make it more palatable. With a 'fiscal cliff' of new US taxes coming on January 1, unless changed at the last minute, will undoubtedly lead to a worse economy then.

However even those in the energy industry seem to have gotten some of the basic facts about oil just plain wrong. For example, from a revised Bloomberg article today:

“Coming in at 80,000, that’s very disappointing and you are seeing oil prices decline on it,” said Phil Streible, a Chicago-based commodities broker at RJO Futures. “The U.S. economy is really stagnant right now and there will be no new increase in oil demand whatsoever.”


First of all, the difference between a job gain of 80000 and an estimate of 100000 is not statistically meaningful in a 300,000,000 person economy. But more importantly, per the EIA, US oil demand has increased 3% the last four weeks as compared to last year, and also, 3% this year to date. There seems to be a misconception that it is stagnant or declining. Maybe it will later this year, but it looks unlikely demand growth will turn negative anytime soon. If anything, it will probably increase over the summer.

I've seen more than a few examples this week of "the horse race."

- What you pointed out, 80K v. 100K, covered as a horse race. And apparently bet on as a horse race, lacking context.
- Record temps/weather covered as a horse race, lacking context
- A national news conference where a politician lamented the promise broken to get generic (reported) unemployment below 8% when it is at 8.2%. Such a nuance. Both sides ignoring real numbers and context (like roughly 5 million "missing jobs" that went somewhere).
- Price per bbl of oil, covered as a horse race.

The national conversation in the US has fallen quite far in a very short period of time hasn't it? We're deep into reading about everything as a horse race or a she said / he said. It's the view from nowhere.

Context for record temperatures:


The US experienced its hottest spring on record. Based on preliminary data, the hottest spring is transitioning into at least one of the hottest summers.


More than 2,000 temperature records matched or broken last week.

For DC and many other parts of the nation, this is the longest, strongest heatwave on record:


Many climate scientists are saying this is the kind of extreme weather they expect to see from global warming.

" 'News' is what they don't want you to hear. Everything else is just marketing"

On CBS radio news, many stories, like about the jobs report, start with Romney's words on the subject.

Very frustrating. Rather than speak to the issue and root causes of job loss, everything is a horse race in put in the context of the next election. The sad part is, after this election is over it's rinse and repeat.

Little or no effort (by MSM) to seek the truth and find the answers.

Little or no effort (by MSM) to seek the truth and find the answers.

That's the beauty thing about all this! Truth and answers is not their job. Their job is making money while serving their corporate owners and their interests. There is no analysis of issues... especially in an election or vote. Such analysis would step on the toes of those interested parties that are paying for political announcements that present such "facts" as they prefer. Furthermore, presenting, say, even a rational analysis -for free- saves the (fictional) minority "Rational" party from having to spend on advertising in order to be represented in the public forum. There is also little exploration of advertised products, services, or businesses. A news station in Los Angeles is largely funded by chiropractic outfits, some masquerading as UCLA, offering to cure stroke, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. Seeking truth and answers is a losing proposition for the corporate media.


A skeptic piece written by, surprise, surprise, Vaclav Smil who consults for the climate change denying 'Heritage Foundation.'

Cruising the net, I don't see much sign that Dr. Smil is associated with the Heritage Foundation. He is associated with the American Enterprise Institute, which is another conservative think tank - but differs in that AEI takes no institutional positions on policy issues. He appears to be rather anti-socialist, but that may have something to do with the fact he grew up in the former Czechoslovakia under the repression of the former Soviet Union.

Vaclav Smil

Vaclav Smil is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. His interdisciplinary research interests encompass a broad area of energy, environmental, food, population, economic, historical and public policy studies, and he had also applied these approaches to energy, food and environmental affairs of China.

Some of his stuff is pretty interesting - see Vaclav Smil Publications. He seems to be very much a skeptic, but apparently a skeptic on both sides of many issues.

E.g. A Hummer in Every Driveway
Americans use more energy per capita than any other country, and have nothing to show for it.

The problems that ail the U.S. economy and American society are one and the same: Both consume too much and refuse to make badly needed changes. This is true above all in the realm of energy. The United States doesn't need exotic biofuels or balloon-borne wind turbines. Its real problems are wasteful private energy use and the near-total absence of effective, down-to-earth, long-term policies.

Not really following anybody's Party Line there, is he?

I skimmed it, and actually it's fairly mild. Rather than being anti-renewable, it mostly just argues that renewables are likely to take decades to get to even 20% of electricity production (ex hydro). He also notes that Asian use of coal is ramping up much faster than renewables, so trying to stay under 450 ppm of CO2 is moot...

I hate to say it but I think he's realistically right. Europe, if it can pull its head out of its nether regions and figure out how to keep the bankers from squeezing every last drop out of everyone, could concievably be on track and stay on track to get to much higher levels of renewable production. The US, though, doesn't look like it's going anywhere. And we can forget China or India putting solar and wind ahead of coal.

Frankly, we aren't seeing the seriousness of global warming and fossil fuel pollution, but if we ever did and decided to go all out to replace fossil fuel electricity, it would require an effort unprecedented in modern times - something more serious than the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System, which even to this day is one of the biggest government projects of all time (if not the biggest).

I'm getting him on consulting/conference lists for the conservative Heartland, AEI and Heritage think-tanks. Given, he's not as extreme as some, but he occasionally puts out bad info nonetheless.

The current piece doesn't hugely mis-state anything so much as it deflates expectations for renewable energy at a time when the opposite is needed. Smil is right that it will take monumental effort and long time frames to transition. However, he leaves out quite a few important bits:

1. The rapidly falling cost of both wind and solar (large US wind has achieved very low costs).
2. Renewables out-growing fossil fuels in key areas.
3. US on track to add 3.2 gigawatts of solar and 7.6 gigawatts of wind in 2012.
4. Renewable energy now larger power source than nuclear for US.
5. Total solar and wind capacity, US, to be 52 GW wind and 8 GW solar by end of 2012.
6. Total coal capacity US is 338 GW.

He's also generally supportive of more fossil fuel use and very lackadaisical about climate change. And his 2009 statements about no global warming in 10 years was completely inaccurate:


And I agree with you that a big infrastructure build ala the interstate highway system would really, really help the situation. In my view, I think something like this is needed to deal with climate change and resource depletion. The fact that there's little in the way of policy impetus for it, IMHO, is just a sign of irresponsibility on the part of policy-makers.

You seem to be reading right past Smil, Robert. He's not belittling climate change. Neither is he a mindless conservative, even if mindless conservatives cite him. Indeed, much of the reason they can get away with doing so is the kind of cheerleading approach to the issue you seem to have fallen for.

In this very article, Smil points out one of the most important of all facts, which is that much of the U.S. production of alternative energy goes into supremely inefficient vehicles. That's cars, of course. Talking about demand is not only more than half the problem, but is far to the left of anything permitted into mainstream politics in our ruling Duopoly and media system. It's forbidden, in fact.

Meanwhile, you might also track Smil's distinction between capacity and actual generation. If your (unsourced) contention that wind and solar capacity will soon be more than 20 percent of coal's, why does wind and solar generation remain one tenth of coal's? It's not an issue to be denied or dismissed.

Smil isn't perfect, but he knows what he's talking about.

Wind energy current:

48.6 GW. Growth first quarter 1.8 GW.

Source: http://www.awea.org/learnabout/industry_stats/index.cfm

This puts us on track for approx 51-52 GW by end of year.

Solar energy current:

5 GW (pv + csp). Growth first quarter .6 GW.

Source http://www.slideshare.net/SEIA/us-solar-market-insight-report-q1-2012

This puts us on track for approx 7-8 GW by end of year.

Apparently, the wind and solar industry associations don't know what they're talking about?

As for Smil, he completely belittled climate change back in 2009 when he jumped onto the misinformation 'no warming for ten years' bandwagon. Much of his other information is decent. But I'm entitled to disagree with his approach and associations.

Other sources:


I don't at all disagree with your sense of alarm. The problem is that we can't afford to be naive about what the possible answers are.

As for the capacity statistics, I would suggest that industry associations are not the most reliable sources for such. But, again, one of Smil's important points is that the gap between capacity and output is larger for wind and solar, due to intermittence and battery issues. It takes more built capacity to put out the same unit of electricity. We have to factor that into our accounts.

And, also again, as Orbiter says below, changing the supply side will mean little unless we make equally radical changes on the demand side.

All Smil was saying here was that building a more sustainable infrastructure is going to cost a lot and take a long time, even if we somehow find a way to get the issue truly "on the table." That seems like an important thing to acknowledge...

These are fair enough points (from what I've seen, the capacity/generation gap is a bit larger for wind/solar, but not as large as some detractors claim). My apologies if I've been overly critical of Smil. Who knows? Maybe he can talk some sense into those guys at AEI on the issues of efficiency and rolling back consumption ;).

I may be a bit naive. But not enough to disagree with Smil's expertise on how huge an effort this would be. But the excuse, thus far, has been to not try because it is hard. And I don't think it's really an excuse you can, in good conscience, make anymore. The hard thing, in this case, is the necessary thing, IMHO.

Thanks for your measured response. Much appreciated, sir.

But the excuse, thus far, has been to not try because it is hard.

Far more than that the excuse has been, "it would be hard on the owners of fossil fuels and FF infrastructure", and those folks are major funders of these "think" tanks. Secondarily, wind and solar are "liberal" power sources, and certain quarters have to be against them simply because of that.

Not, that the real issues aren't there. Especially getting serious demand side management (because I don't think storage will ever be cheap). Power on demand when nature isn't cooperating with the intermittent sources is always going to be at a steep premium. I don't think most of society is ready for those changes yet.

Robert - All you say about renewables is fine. But: "The current piece doesn't hugely mis-state anything so much as it deflates expectations for renewable energy at a time when the opposite is needed". Hope for a rapid adjustment is fine but is it justified? I'm won't even worry about projecting into the future. In the last 20 years the US has spent $trillions in the ME as well as losing thousands of US lives and countless thousands in civilian collateral damage. If you share my opinion that the prime cause was PO then one could say we've already gone over a tipping point to some degree. I don't tend to focus on a terrible future as much as the terrible past/present. I know it's frustrating to have your hopes for a better future not shared by everyone but for folks like me it's very difficult to see enough time/capex/willingness/action to change our course fast enough. Of course that doesn't stop me from hoping you're right and I'm wrong. But, regardless, I don't expect that to be so.

I don't have the heart to sit quietly and just let things get worse without saying something. To me, it's not about what's justified, it's about justice. IMHO, it's just not right to wait another ten years and see what happens. With oil at over $100 for a year and a half running, the Arctic in terminal melt, and a rash of unprecedented weather, heat, and fires, now is not the time to go back to sleep. I'm sorry, but the narrative is wrong.

Robert - I disagree: the narrative isn't just wrong. It's insane and completely illogical. My problem is I see nothing to change it. IMHO eventually there will be strong reaction but too late. And quite likely a reaction as insane and cruel as just sitting back and doing nothing of substantial significance as we are now.

Keep the faith brother. Someone has to pick up the slack for me. LOL.

I don't know. Maybe I'm too naive to go completely doomer. But I really don't believe we've even given it the college try. I see people fighting as hard as they can for BAU. Or making excuses why it's just too hard. But as a society, we haven't even tried. Not like WW II. Not even like the interstate highway system. Hell, not even like the race to the moon. We quibble and make up excuses.

I guess I believe there is possibility for getting out of the resource/climate/population trap with the right effort. It will take that effort. It deserves that effort. And who knows, maybe we'll see it ain't so bad once we get the work started. Industry hemmed and hawed and gave doomsday predictions when there was a push to reign in CFCs. But once they figured it out, the so called difficulty vanished like morning fog. Not to say that these issues are anywhere near a corollary. But we could do worse than putting a lot of good, hard-working Americans, people who may not have jobs now, to task on the problem.

I suppose it could all be said and done as the doomers say. But even so, I'd be ashamed if we didn't at least turn to face the problem and go down fighting with all we've got. My niece and your 12 year old girl deserve it at the very least?

Robert – I don’t think you’re naïve. You’re exactly like me and every other person. You are the sum of your experiences. And those experiences shape you expectations to some degree just as with all of us. Varying expectations, in that sense, are neither right nor wrong. But some of us will be proven correct and others wrong. Perhaps I was unclear. I never meant to imply that you didn’t deserve your vision of the future…just that mine differed. And, of course, the vast majority of mankind couldn’t give a rat’s ass about either of our opinions. LOL.

Robert, find your local Sierra Club, natural resource conservation organization, Audubon society, environmental justice non-profit, peak oil group, 350.org, transition initiative, nature preserve, whatever speaks to you. Your energy and passion is needed.

Cheers and thanks, Sterling. Already worked with a couple of those on a few campaigns. Would love something regular in these areas.

Robert – I would have guessed you had worked with such groups. When I was in grad school at Texas A&M I was a member of Sierra Club and worked with two chapters on similar projects: injection well disposal of some nasty industrial waste. Both well meaning and passionate folks but almost devoid of technical base. I, OTOH, had access to one of my environmental geology professor and an entire petroleum engineering dept. On the Texas project (an oil refinery) with my little bit of research help and my prof and a PhD petroleum engineer testifying as expert witnesses the injection plan was significantly modified and improved.

The other project was in MISS and headed up by a lawyer in New Orleans. I graduated from A&M and returned to Nawlins for my new job. As soon as I relocated the lawyer broke off all communications. After calling his office unsuccessfully numerous times his secretary finally told me he would never take my call because I had gone to work for Mobil Oil. BTW the disposal project involved getting rid of toxic heavy metals from a paint manufacturing plant. Had nothing to do with the oil patch except their obviously faulty proposed methodology used our methods. Not only did the Sierra Club effort do no good but they weren’t even allowed to present any argument since they had not shown any viable tech background. Which wasn’t surprising given the conservative nature of MISS especially in the 70’s. BTW Mobil Oil offered to give me some time off to work on the project. I continued my efforts with the SC for a while until I became tied of being treated like a leper. Ironic, eh? A person with technical background they so needed. Passion is not always an asset if it's a tad blind.

As I said we are the sum of our experiences. The above experience obviously is just one tiny building block of how my attitude developed. A much bigger impact was made by voluntary efforts (which involved putting my physical butt on the line LOL) with a much more aggressive pact where I eventually saw a much darker side on mankind. Which leads me to where I am today with a very low expectation for society’s responses to the various problems facing us. None of which means a person such as you shouldn’t throw their body and soul into such battles. OTOH it doesn’t change my expectations that, for the most part, those efforts will fail. While it’s great to strive for success it would seem unwise not to anticipate and prepare for the worst if one accepts the reality of the odds against changing the course.

Working with people who refuse to do any calculations and listen to any reasonal argumentation is very boring.

Exactly. Denigrating the German PV program isn't really fair. They've got their installation cost down to $2.24/watt (the subsidies aren't for installation, but favorable tariffs for the generated juice). And they reduce those subsidies regularly, i.e. their program adapts as conditions change. And peak power rates have actually dropped because of the solar generation. So it isn't the consumers who are paying, its coming out of the profits of the fossil fuel plant owners. And they can fund a lot of propaganda/disinformation.

I think the Germans did an excellent job and we could do much worse than emulate their example. Yes, lots of disinformation trying to snuff out alternative energy ATM. And it couldn't be more ill-timed.

I think its gaining the sort of momentum that will make it unstoppable. The efforts to snuff, will simply drive much of the production and research offshore. Who wants the jobs of the future, when we can have bread and circuses now?

I wonder how many quadrillion BTU's of fossil fueled industrial infrastructure it took to make those 200 ft steel pylons and super pure polysilicon panels possible? How many billions in gov. subsidies?

I wonder what the world will look like in 20 years when critical components start wearing out and need to be replaced?


Yes! Yes! MUCH better to continuously burn the fossils in a once-through system to make energy everyday! And, just like nuclear reactors, steam plants magically last forever!!

Actually the Interstate Highway System is the wrong example.
To deal with Peak Oil and Climate Change the US should repeat what it did in order
to conserve oil, rubber, metals and resources for WW II - move IMMEDIATELY away from Auto Addiction and promote Green Transit. In just 4 years from 1942 to 1946 the US went from
producing thousands of personal cars to just 300. Propaganda was put out (oops I meant
advertising public announcements! lol) NOT to drive and intercity rail and bus ridership
quadrupled from much higher levels than today. Local trolley systems also quadrupled
their ridership from already high levels.
You can read about it in "Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight without Oil"
( http://transportrevolutions.info )
We should follow the plan outlined in "Transport Revolutions".
NO more highway expansion period. Redirect those funds first to simply running the Green Transit we already have which is actually far more ubiquitous than people think when
79% of Americans live in urbanized areas. As I pointed out before, Brookings found in May, 2011 that already 70% of working age Americans live within 3/4ths mile of a Transit stop
(unfortunately mostly buses stuck in traffic). For certain the NY Metro area and especially my own state of New Jersey should be leading the way on this. New Jersey is more densely populated than China and already 50% of New Jersey lives within a mile or so of Rail.
(NOT buses!)
Chris Nelder has a more specific plan geared to the US see "Reframing the Transportation Debate":
The US could get into a virtuous cycle by just running the trains we already have instead
of letting them go to waste on offpeak and weekends and ignoring their potential for local
transit in cities like Baltimore with the MARC, NJ Transit trains, etc etc.
We would immediately reduce oil consumption by 10% BUT still allow mobility, but also immediate save on the $500 Billion the US spends importing oil for Auto Addiction, reduce
auto deaths, and also significantly cut greenhouse emissions. All without major capital expenses, primarily the labor and jobs needed to RUN the trains 24x7 on existing tracks.
USPIRG was a cosponsor of a study which found that Stimulus spending on Green Transit rather than highways produced 2.5 times more jobs. This would also cut the huge transportation expenses of Americans which are double those of Europeans or Japanese allowing them to invest with encouragement from a carbon tax, in insulation, solar etc.

Yeah, if we could figure out how to put faces like these...


...on climate change, peak oil, etc. we may stand a chance of getting the sort of collective response you speak of. It's a lot harder when the enemy is us.

The motivating power of hate is what will change things, quite likely. Unfortunately, that generally cedes the game's first move to the alpha-sociopaths.

BTW, satan-worshiping mole people are stealing our oil from below, which explains why oilfields are emptying. It's part of a hellish plot to trick us into burning more coal, and thus raising the surface temperature of the earth so they can emerge and dominate us for a million years of sweaty enslavement.

pass it on.

Energy and OUR future, pathetic surface-apes. From Hell's heart we slurp at thee...

How about pictures like these?

Climate change refugee

New York inundated

James Hansen with grandchildren

We may be the cause. If we can become the solution, then maybe we are the ones worth saving.

RM, I thought it was a pretty detailed paper. Attacking the author, instead of data, is a weak counter argument to say the least.

What was not surprising, and equally disappointing, is he repeats the same old, hopeless, tired narrative: it's impossible to transition within 1, 2, 3, or even five decades. My friend, between resource depletion and climate change we don't have five decades. We have one to begin drawing down carbon emissions and building new energy infrastructures.

Smil, like many others identifies problems, not solutions. And, perhaps that is because the solutions are hard. But, as such, he has merely engaged in enabling BAU and the ratcheting effects of both resource depletion and climate change. That and taking into context his previous misinformation regarding global warming make this paper far less than inspiring to me.

I suppose I could spend a lot of time here taking apart all his arguments. But, I wonder, would it be worthwhile? Would it be worth my time? And where would I begin? Would it be with the obviously over-inflated and pessimistic review of solar and wind energy costs? Would it be with the cherry picked opener? Would it be with his stating the already obvious problems of China and India's emissions? It's not so much that he beats a dead horse. It's more that he rides one.

I wonder what Smil has to say about this prospect?

""For every $1 of investment avoided before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions,” the Paris-based IEA said today (2011) in its World Energy Outlook report."

Smil, instead appears to have bought into the 'false economy' the IEA refers to 'hook, line, and sinker.'

I suppose the paper has merit in that it diligently identifies many of the very real and hard challenges of making a transition. And I noted as much above. But if you press me, I will identify more obvious failings. Where he falls down is in his assertion that it is impossible within the needed time-frames. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. But working to transition now will be much, much easier than dealing with the economic and climate problems that will certainly follow if we don't.

As for my 'attacking Smil,' again, I was more disappointed that he has parroted that old, old view which so many of these organizations perpetuate. New words, some new data. Same old argument.

Sorry, Joe. I'm not buying it. Smil is wrong. It's not impossible. It's just tough. And it's a tough thing that must be done. Anyone who thinks otherwise is still clinging to the rock of denial.

R.M., I'm an old man, and I may not be around to see the end of BAU. However, I think we have an obligation to our fellow man (and woman, of course) to make their lives reasonably comfortable. That means providing food, clothing and shelter. I harbor no utopian ideas that we can save the planet, and I think depriving the poor of the benefits of fossil fuel powered energy, in the cause of saving the planet, can be downright cruel. I am convinced that we can make this a better world serving one person at a time. That does not mean we should be unconcerned about the planet, but it is important to recognize the difficulties in achieving anything meaningful without violating basic human rights. Note: the coercive one child policy in China.

That does not mean we should be unconcerned about the planet, but it is important to recognize the difficulties in achieving anything meaningful without violating basic human rights. Note: the coercive one child policy in China.

Sometimes it is proper to reconsider some things, even what one would consider a "basic human right". When it concerns the act of producing children, I hold the actual lives of those children high, for example, which is why I am pretty quick in discarding fixations like the "fundamental right to reproduction" as those children can come to harm as a result of it.

One child policy is like doing surgery with a baseball bat. You don't need any such thing if you have equal rights, pay and representation in the workforce, higher education and, therefore, higher birth ages, access to birth control, and family planning (health planning).

I think comfort is better served by not wasting our money on a dirty, dangerous, and depleting set of fuels. There were a lot of us up here in the DC area that weren't very comfortable after the Derecho and the subsequent record heat. Cruel would be to do nothing and let such conditions intensify.

Smil writes for the heartland institute. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heartland_Institute

Your link just describes the Heartland Institute. I didn't see any reference to Smil in it.

Is Sebastian Thrun's Udacity the future of higher education?

Realizing the potential at his fingertips, Thrun launched Udacity, an independent online education company that provides high quality education at low cost to virtually everyone. Udacity offers 11 STEM courses like "Introduction to Physics," "Intro to Computer Science," and "Web Application Engineering" -- all free. There are no admissions offices and anyone can sign up. After the class, students can choose to certify their skills online or in one of Udacity's 4,500 testing centers for a fee. Those certificates can then be sent to employers. In one course you can learn to make your own Google-style search engine in just seven weeks.

The reaction has been overwhelming. "People really want good education. There is a huge need," Thrun said. "Hundreds of thousands of people just sign up because they really care. They really want to advance themselves and their lives and they don't want to pay $50,000 or $100,000 to get there."

Thanks for posting that, Leanan. I looked at the discrete math & logic course and noticed that it links over to the Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) site for those of us who would need to brush up on our algebra skills. I love Sal Khan's "lessons." I think I know more about my respiratory/circulatory system than my doctor does, thanks to Khan Academy.


Great links. Thank you both.

The arctic sea ice volume anomaly for june is estimated at 10,700 cubic kilometers.


The baseline plot shows 12,000 cubic kilometers of ice in September.

If the recent (last few years) rate of melting is sustained, the arctic will be ice free by Sept 2015, two years earlier than even my direst prediction.

Will the MSM even notice?

Sea ice volume looks pretty bad. Here's what the PSC data looks like when put into a curve fitting process:

So yeah, 2015 = no sea ice during summer at current trend.

Here's what the models of sea ice extent (not volume, which is worse) compared to data looks like:


As you can see, the models have vastly underestimated the melt.

I replaced the second image with a text link. It's way too big to display properly here.

Thanks for the clean-up, Leanan. Looks much better.

Robert Marston,

Thank you for those depictions.

They are bombshell disclosures as to the evidently inadequate models, an inadequacy that is years old by now.

The Navy is aware of the phenomenon, but even they may be surprised by the error in the models.

Sad to say, but the models seem to consistently underestimate the effects of a forcing. They get the trends, just not the tipping points.

What bothers me more is that once the excess energy from AGW has finished melting the ice then where will it go next. Will it increase melt rates of other ice or will it start to raise polar temperatures or a mixture or other.


The amount of energy being absorbed melting the ice isn't large -except locally. Most of the excess is heating seawater, it takes a huge amount of heat to heat thousands of feet of water even a little bit. So that process will continue. As will the effects of the changing sea-ice/polar ocean boundary conditions on the weather. I don't think its really a tipping point, sea ice roughly equilibrates with the climatic forcing within about three years, which means if we could stabilize the forcing (GHG concentration), that it should quickly reach a new quasi-steady state.

Now the land ice has probably crossed a tipping point with regards to the long term ice equilibrium (i.e. not much of Greenland's ice, or West Antarctica's will remain), but this will take several hundred to a few thousand years.

I am no expert but expect once a certain point is reached the northern ice cap may start to float more or less freeely.

Not to totally disagree, but isn't the energy sink in most areas restricted to the mixing layer rather than a 1000 ft. column of water? And, what effect does the near total absence of arctic sea ice have on the polar vortex and ocean currents?

The heat is mixing downwards -if by no other means than by a reduction of the amount of sinking cold heavy water. The liquid oceans dominate the heat storage terms.

...once that cold water quits pouring into the oceans...
...once that cold air quits blasting out of the north...

That second graph shows a steep drop at the last point. I recall that that graph actually ended with 2007, which was the smallest minimum extent. More recent minimums have not fallen below that level, although they were close. This year, the extent is presently moving along an almost identical track to that of 2007. Of course, the final minimum won't be known until September...

E. Swanson

Yes, that's the last point in the extent graph (2007). The line from that point is mostly a bumpy plateau to 2011. 2007 was a major drop in extent, but the figures have been near that record low for about 5 years running. Don't have a graph for it, though.

Here's the source:


Worth a watch if you have the time.

"Will the MSM even notice?"

Depends on whether 2015 turns out to be a slow, slow, slow news time. And we all know it's unwise to make predictions, especially when they're about the future. So who can know?

But maybe more to the point: it would surely be a "how interesting" occurrence for specialists, nerds, and boffins, as well as an occasion for more-of-the-same monotonous bloviation (yawn) from the usual suspects. But would there be any practical import to a couple of ice-free weeks at the tail end of summer to engage the attention of a typical viewer? Or, instead, would it seem to carry the same importance — or, rather, utter lack thereof — as the apparent confirmation of the Higgs boson? Likely the latter; one then supposes that, yes, outside specialist circles it would at the very best fall off the radar screen after a news cycle or two.

The MSM in the US/Canada may well take note by then, well indirectly that is, as the northern jet stream is disturbed by changes in the Artic Ocean - if Stuart Saniford and Rutgers professor Jennifer Francis are right.

Slowing Rossby Waves Leading to extreme Weather

Weather and Climate Summit
SESSION 9: Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University
Topic: The Arctic Paradox

After the recent derecho ripped through many eastern US states, including mine, I find the prospect of even more adverse weather changes to come most unwelcome.

About that Derecho:

Pretty easy to see why some meteorologists were calling it an overland hurricane. Five times the energy of a typical thunderstorm. A real validation of heat engine theory if I've ever seen one. Very bad for those of us in its path. My sister-in-law had no power for five days during a period of record heat. We were lucky and only lost power for a bit, though my wife suffered from heat exhaustion (don't want to describe effects here).

Outside, I can still see large groups of tree that had their top halves removed, almost as if they'd been whacked off by an enormous machete.

I remember "Snowmageddon" when one of my former co-workers up in DC lamented he had to go shovel a foot of global warming off his driveway. I wanted to reply he was half right. Now he's lamenting needing a chainsaw, and I so want to reply, "So you can saw up that oak tree global warming dropped on your driveway?" But I don't kick people when they're down....

I know it is probably too soon for science to link extreme weather events directly to anthropogenic global warming, but I do accept the "loaded climate dice" line of thinking put forth by Hansen in "Perceptions of Climate Change: The New Climate Dice"

Wishing everyone in the MidW and MidA cooler days and quick recovery.....

Robert M., I watched that on PBS, and was CHEERING when, at the end the man delivered the "warning." Did you watch Judy Woodruff, who very clearly substituted something like "environmental circumstances" for "climate change" or "global warming" when she finally got around to the BIG question? I think his answer was the expected answer, right up to the end; and then he kind of caught her off guard. You don't suppose he'd promised not to say that and then slipped it in right there at the end, you you? She obviously thought they were finished. The he said "it." She appeared... well, flummoxed. (Isn't that a terrific word?) Maybe I'm just imagining it, but I see her a lot and she rarely seems at a loss for an easy ending to an interview.


Hello Lizzie. Yes! I was very, very glad and relieved to hear a prominent scientist issue these warnings on PBS!

A very important interview. But I think we will need much, much more in these kinds of spokespeople issuing these kinds of warnings. It makes it less political and more easy for people to process. Less of a divisive issue and more a unifier.

I didn't catch any of the nuances you observed. But maybe you're a much more astute listener than I? It seemed to me, though, that he felt he had to make that assertion at the end. And, for my part, I believe it is good that he did. People need to know it's an ongoing problem that will get worse if we don't make changes. Seemed a very nice and level headed guy in any case.

After so much lack of coverage, I was cheering too. :) Let's hope GW continues to get the coverage it deserves.

There has been research which points to the decline in sea-ice in the Barents Sea as a cause of recent cold winters in Northern Europe and England. Perhaps this trend will continue and strengthen as the sea-ice declines toward zero minimum extent. If so, it will become even more difficult for the denialist camp to poo-poo the effects, as you apparently want to do. Climate change may result in colder conditions in some locations, which will make it easier for the denialist to claim there's no problem. Unlike this summer's long string of record highs and deep drought conditions in the mid-west, where a big hit on food production will be very difficult to ignore...

E. Swanson

From NSIDC ... Rapid sea ice retreat in June

Arctic sea ice extent declined quickly in June, setting record daily lows for a brief period in the middle of the month. Strong ice loss in the Kara, Bering, and Beaufort seas, and Hudson and Baffin bays, led the overall retreat. Northern Hemisphere snow extent was unusually low in May and June, continuing a pattern of rapid spring snow melt seen in the past six years.

and Reanalyses find rising humidity in the Arctic

A finding shared by both reanalyses and radiosonde observations is of an increasing availability of precipitable water in the low-altitude Arctic, which the authors suggest is associated with increasing air-sea surface temperatures, reduced sea ice extent, and other markers consistent with the polar amplification of global warming. Increasing Arctic humidity is a troubling result, as heightening atmospheric water vapor could further drive up regional temperatures.

also Eddies drive section of thermohaline circulation

Giant currents that traverse the world’s oceans may not be as stable as previously thought after researchers found a branch of one of these global currents was powered and steered entirely by eddies, one of the oceans smallest features.


Here's a current picture from cryosphere today:

What we're seeing is the lowest sea ice area for this date on record. Sea ice extent is second lowest on record.


please be aware that the UIUC sea-ice data for area is a bit confusing. The passive microwave sensors can not distinguish between melt ponds on top of the sea-ice and open water, thus the area calculated overstates the melt. I think that the variable called "extent" may be a better guide for the melt question, though it may be possible that an increase in melt pond area is also important. That is to say, I think that it may be overly pessimistic to assume that the end of the sea-ice will arrive at the date shown where the graph for area vs date is extended to zero. Of course, I could be wrong and the sea-ice might breakup sooner, due to wind and storm forcing on the thining ice...

E. Swanson

Curve fitting can certainly lead to making false assumptions. So I don't think we can say with confidence that 2015 is the date we'll see for ice-free summers. I'd posted that just to show the volume trend which is pretty crazy. But if we have even one or two more summers with conditions like 2007, you can see how we pretty rapidly get to an ice-free or near ice-free Arctic.

I look at both area and extent measures. I understand the melt pond issue. But those ponds tend to burn holes in the sheets pretty fast. The extent doesn't take into account holes behind the leading ice edge. Which is why I think it's worth looking at them both. The volume measure, well, that's another issue entirely.

Curve fitting can certainly lead to making false assumptions. So I don't think we can say with confidence that 2015 is the date we'll see for ice-free summers.
Indeed. Just let the graph speak for itself. But one never knows if previously unknown feed-back loops kick and change the dynamic. I'd rather let people evaluate the graph on their own than have someone confidently make a bad prediction that will then later be used to discredit them.

And what sort of curve you fit makes a lot of difference. I don't think fitting to a linear function of extent (or area or volume) makes physical sense. Some areas will stubbornly cling to the ice (like around the Canadian arctic islands). I would be tempted to fir a linear (or quadratic) to the logarithm of such quantities instead. That would never predict zero ice, just exponentially decreasing. That probably more closely mimics what we will likely see (that it will get tougher to melt the last million square KMs).

An ice cube in a drink does not melt asymptotically.

Supposedly the Arctic ice is mainly melting because currents are sending warm sea water to melt it from beneath. Global warming supplies an increasing amount of energy to the ocean to accelerate the process. As the ice gets thinner more sunlight penetrates to the darker water further heating it. As the air temperature increases the ice melts from above faster. Melt ponds capture more sunlight than white ice. As the sea ice extent diminishes more sunlight is absorbed in the ocean further heating it. The factors that accelerate the melting dominate.

What physical process could overwhelm these positive feedbacks to make the ice melt asymptotically?

The seasonal sea ice being piled up against those islands by the winds. There will still be ice most of the year. As it thins it is more susceptible to being blown around. A curve which accelerates until it hits a hard zero limit just doesn't make sense.

NASA Finds Thickest Parts of Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster 02.29.12

It has a nice graphic that compares the amount of thick ice in 1980 to 2012.



NASA Finds Thickest Parts of Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster 02.29.12

Has a really cool slider Before/After image!

Can we fix it?

U haf teh Google-fu - thanks.

Yep, that 2nd link summs it up, it is us who are borked :(


BTW, how did one of my fur heads get in there and where did he get that hat from?

Rough summary of my updated net exports paper, focusing on the Export Capacity Index (ECI), which is the ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption in oil exporting countries:

IUKE + VAM Case Histories

I have generally used three members of AFPEC--the Association of Former Petroleum Exporting Countries--as models for net export declines.  They are the IUKE countries--Indonesia, UK and Egypt.

We had three new members of AFPEC last year--Vietnam, Argentina and Malaysia (VAM).

I just had the production, consumption and net export data (BP) summed for all six countries, from 1986 to 2011, inclusive.  I also calculated their combined ECI (Export Capacity Index, or the ratio of production of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption). 

Their final combined production peak was in 1998 at 7.0 mpbd, with consumption of 4.3 mbpd, and net exports of 2.7 mbpd, with an ECI of 1.64. In 2008, their production was 4.9 mbpd, consumption was 5.0 mbpd, and net imports were 0.1 mbpd, with an ECI of 0.98 (net importer status).

A 29% decline in production, plus rising consumption, caused them to collectively go from net exports of 2.7 mbpd in 1998, or a billion barrels per year, to net importer status 10 years later, in 2008.

Actual post-1998 combined Cumulative Net Exports (CNE) were about 4.4 Gb. 

The initial three year rate of decline in the ECI ratio was from 1.64 in 1998 to 1.45 in 2001, a decline rate of 4.1%/year.  Extrapolated, this would put them at an ECI of 1.0 (zero net oil exports) in about 12 years, around 2010.  They actually hit zero net exports in 2008. 

Estimated post-1998 CNE, using the initial three year rate of decline in the ECI ratio, were 5.0 Gb.  Actual post-1998 CNE were 4.4 Gb.

In other words, the actual net export decline was faster than what the initial three year projection predicted.   This is a little more clear on the following graph which shows the 1986 to 2011 Export Capacity Index (ECI), which is the combined ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids production for the six countries:

Note that the 1988 North Sea Piper Alpha accident contributed to a significant decline in UK production, which caused the overall ECI ratio to temporarily decline.

I think that these six diverse and geographically diversified former oil exporting countries give us a pretty decent model for Global Net Exports of oil (GNE). 

Global Net Exports of Oil (GNE)

Our data base calculates the combined net exports (in terms of total petroleum liquids) from the top 33 net oil exporters in 2005. We primarily used the BP data base, plus minor input from the EIA. Net exports are defined as total petroleum liquids production less liquids consumption in oil exporting countries.

The following graph shows the combined ECI ratio for the top 33 net oil exporting countries in 2005:

The 2008 to 2011 decline in the ECI ratio was faster than what the 2005 to 2008 rate of decline (2.2%/year) predicted we would see. Note that production from the top 33 net exporters in 2005 has been on an “Undulating Plateau” since 2005; however, three of the top 33 net oil exporters in 2005 (countries with net exports of 100,000 bpd or more) were Vietnam, Argentina and Malaysia, which were net importers in 2011.

Based on the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the Top 33 ECI ratio, estimated post-2005 CNE for the (2005) Top 33 net oil exporters are about 445 Gb. Cumulative top 33 net exports from 2006 to 2011 inclusive were about 96 Gb, putting estimated post-2005 Global CNE about 22% depleted.

Available Net Exports of oil (ANE)

ANE are defined as GNE less Chindia’s combined net oil imports. The following graph shows the ratio of GNE to Chindia’s Net Imports (CNI):

The 2008 to 2011 decline in the GNE/CNI ratio was faster than what the 2005 to 2008 rate of decline (7.7%/year) predicted we would see.

Based on the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio, estimated post-2005 Available CNE are about 168 Gb. Cumulative ANE for 2006 to 2011 inclusive were about 81 Gb, putting estimated post-2005 Available CNE about 48% depleted.

The 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio, if extrapolated, suggests that China and India would be consuming 100% of Global Net Exports of oil in the year 2030, which is 18 years from now. I don’t think that will actually happen, but that is the trend line, and the rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio accelerated from 2008 to 2011, versus 2005 to 2008.

Amazing work! Can't wait to see the finished product!

Thanks. Projections are almost always, to some degree, wrong, but I don't think the general direction of the GNE and ANE curves are wrong, but that's really the key question, although most of the Cornucopian analysts don't seem to have yet discovered "Net Export Math," or they are carefully trying to avoid it.

Will improved technology allow oil importing and exporting countries to sufficiently increase production to offset (and exceed) generally increasing consumption in the exporting and developing countries? So far, the answer has been no, which contributed to the doubling in annual Brent prices from $55 in 2005 to $111 in 2011, which contributed to the current economic slowdown.

Incidentally, small typo in the IUKE + VAM section (shown corrected in bold):

In other words, the actual net export decline was faster than what the initial three year projection predicted. This is a little more clear on the following graph which shows the 1986 to 2011 Export Capacity Index (ECI), which is the combined ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption for the six countries.

Maybe taking a crack at what level of resource growth would be needed to overcome the net export issue would be an interesting exercise? Forecasts are tough to nail, but looking at what's needed might give people a better understanding of the problem's scope?

If, say 4% growth is needed just to keep exports flat then we'd need, what, 3.6 million barrels per day of new liquids each year on top of depletion? Or, even if we are able to grow supply equal to the level of the ENI/Harvard paper (to 110 mbpd by 2020), what would the world export picture look like given demand expectations?

Rather than a single forecast, a range of scenarios might give people a good context to go from and a better understanding of the factors involved?

Just some thoughts. Great stuff as ever!

Top 33 consumption + Chindia's Net Imports increased from 21.7 mbpd in 2005 to 27.8 mbpd in 2011 (a 4.1%/year rate of increase). For the sake of argument, at this rate of increase, it would be up to 41.2 mbpd in 2021.

So, based on the foregoing, if we wanted to see ANE of 35 mbpd in 2021 (which is the 2011 rate), we would have to see top 33 production of 76.2 mbpd in 2021, versus 63 mbpd in 2011, which would be about a 2%/year rate of increase in production. In volumetric terms, top 33 production would have to increase at an average rate of of 1.3 mbpd per year.

However, top 33 production has been between 62 and 63 mbpd since 2005 (except for 2009, when they averaged 61 mbpd), resulting in ANE declining at an average volumetric rate of about 0.83 mbpd per year from 2005 to 2011, and about 10% of the top 33 net exporters in 2005 have already slipped into net importer status.

If we assume flat top 33 production out to 2021, and use the above assumptions, ANE would be down to 22 mbpd in 2021 (versus 40 mbpd in 2005), an average volumetric decline of about 1.3 mbpd from 2011 to 2021.

If we assume a 1%/year production decline by the top 33 out to 2021, and use the above assumptions, ANE would be down to 16 mbpd in 2021 (versus 40 mbpd in 2005), an average volumetric decline of about 1.9 mbpd from 2011 to 2021.

So, if the optimistic estimate in the ENI paper could be achieved, then we might have a respite on the GNE problem?

Do you have anyone to help you on graphs? They would be a great way to showcase your data.

But don't forget the "D" word, Depletion.

ExxonMobil put the decline rate from existing wellbores globally at between 4% and 6% per year. Let's assume 5%/year for the top 33 net exporters. This means that from 2011 to 2021 (in order to maintain ANE of 35 mbpd), they would have to add about 25 mbpd of new production that is not currently online, plus adding another 13 mbpd, to meet projected increased internal demand + Chindia's increased net imports, for a total of about 38 mbpd of new production, which would be about 3.5 new Saudi Arabias, or about 3.8 mbpd per year (total petroleum liquids).

Also, absent voluntary production cutbacks, e.g., Saudi Arabia in the early Eighties, or political problems, e.g., the collapse of the Soviet Union, or major production disasters, e.g., Piper Alpha in the North Sea, multiyear declines in the ECI ratio tend not to end well, e.g., the six case histories presented above.

Regarding graphs, I actually may be trying to recruit some help. An investment banker type in London I know has been doing some great work (see example below), and I'll know next week if he can do some updated graphs.


Oh no. Not forgetting it at all. But I think it might be worthwhile to try to separate out the old, less expensive to produce resources and the new, low energy, high cost resources.

For example, if you subtract out all the gains from unconventional oil -- tar sands, deep water, tight oil -- you end up with net losses in conventional oil production, not a plateau. I think that's a pretty visible measure of your depletion rate right there. All the gains in 'oil' production have come from stuff that's not conventional oil. So you need to look at the different factors involved with those sources -- nat gas, unconventionals, biofuels, deepwater -- which are different than those involved in conventional oil.

You are looking at the data through 2010. The 2011 data set shows them slipping into net importer status.

I was hoping for a link.

Here's a chart of Oil and Gas Giants Discovered. I found it in a 2007 article in the O&GJ, "Giant Field Trends, Pt 2," by M.K. Horn.


Now, this really gives one pause. A bunch of creekologists with cable tools back in the 20s discovered more oil than the industry could in the 80s on with all their high-falutin 4D seismic jack ups. That should tell you something. To repeat: it should.

Author Horn also mentioned that the current trend looked better for the 00s, that they should hit the triple digits for oil and gas fields total; as can be seen they were <100 for the previous couple of decades. Maybe they've pulled it off; I think it was 2008 that racked up something like 28 BBOE, mostly from Brazil.

His data was sourced from another researcher, Amos Salvador. He also used Salvador's average for the world's URR, which was a simple average of values cited in the various estimates conducted in the 2000s. Salvador only had 5 studies on the books - Odell, USGS, and Ken Deffeyes, who provided some much-needed balance. I was able to easily find a 2005 paper listing some more current estimates, so I don't know why Horn would cite this very early number.

Salvador's figures are gross, too - means including 5 different Campbell figures from the 90s, for instance. Wouldn't it be more sensible to average out Colin's numbers for a particular decade?

Another paper lists all estimates that Salvador came across, all the way back to the 40s. The median is ca. 2.3 BBO. I posted a graph of the results recently. Some recent ones cite a low URR but still forecast a peak in 2040, none of this peak at midpoint of production stuff.

KLR - Great find. I mentioned the other day that there wasn't any great tech revolution that led to the increase in oil production from the late 40's thru the 60's: it was just a lot of companies drilling a lot of wells where there had been little drilling previously. I suspect a booming US economy kept oil demand up which kept oil prices up which kept drilling up which produced a lot of oil which kept the economy booming...and so on and so on.

I'll also point out a big difference between a 1950's giant and a new Bz Deep Water giant that some may not appreciate. That old onshore giant was drilled up and producing at max within a few years. It may take the better part of a decade or longer for some of those Bz fields to begin production. Another distinction: most of those old giants were drilled/produced to max URR. The DW fields in general are designed to max the ROR which can often lead to a lower URR. Also good to keep in mind that offshore operating expenses and limited space/infrastructure won't allow extensive secondary recovery efforts which are much easier to accommodate onshore.

Sort of bad news/good news/bad news: it will be quite a while before we see a lot of DW Bz production but when it does come on I will be a high rates but once they come on line they'll deplete much faster than those old giants. Consider Ghawar Field and how long it has been producing. In a few years DW Bz wells may outpace it. But more years down the Ghawar may be producing more oil than some of the more recent rapidly produced giants.

there wasn't any great tech revolution that led to the increase in oil production from the late 40's thru the 60's:

Actually, there was - it was the introduction of seismic imaging. Previously oil companies had to look at the surface geology and infer the subsurface formation from that. Once seismic was introduced, it allowed them to see the subsurface structure, and once you see an anticline you experience an uncontrollable urge to drill it.

In Western Canada, it was a little more difficult. Geologists had been led astray by the surface geology, because the biggest oil fields in Canada give no indication of their surface existence - just flat prairie and forest. Companies could have found far more oil just by drilling wells completely at random than listening to the geologists.

However, once seismic was introduced, companies did a bunch of surveys. In 1947, after drilling 133 consecutive dry holes, Imperial Oil decided to do something different and drilled into a peculiar anomaly on a seismic survey just to see what it was. It was 250 million barrels of oil, and there were hundreds more anomalies just like it on the seismic charts. The modern Canadian oil industry was born.

Most of the oil in Western Canada is found in Devonian pinnacle reefs, which geologists didn't know. The reefs themselves don't reflect seismic waves, but the formations below show an effect called "velocity pulldown". The sound velocity through the reef is slower than the adjacent shale rock, so the flat rock formations below it look like they have been pulled down for some reason.

Once they caught on to that, companies were off to the races and drilling like mad.

Rocky - I guess its relative. Compared to the tech we have today then 50's was primitive. Also, being a Gulf Coast geologist, ours was a simpler geologic model. The obvious big leap for us was offshore seismic but that didn't begin to kick in big time until the 70's when I started. With our big, shallow coastal oil fields with thick 30% porosity sands on simple 4-way closures filled with tens of billions of bbls of oil it was pretty much a function of punching enough holes. Even our big salt dome plays began with ancient gravity surveys and the time honored "poke and see what you find" approach. If I've heard the correct story even the supergiant East Texas Oil Field was discovered going downdip from surface oil seeps. Makes a cute story even if it ain't completely accurate. LOL.

Pinnacle reefs? Now you talking exploration bucko. LOL.

I thought Dad Joiner was a trendologist. Heading Out needs to put together a piece on these various quaint ologies. Pretty whacky stuff. Seepology and closeology were two others. The uninformed can figure those out, I'm guessing. Deffeyes I think mentioned drilling in cemeteries - which were usually on hilltops, thus anticlines. Corpseology? Headstonology?

This little doc says gravity surveying dates from 1930: Historical development of the gravity method in exploration. Thought it came along later. Weren't the first seismic surveys done around the same time? With dynamite, which I was appalled to learn a while ago is still used. Seems kinda brute force but still has its uses. When you can't drive your vibratruck into a ravine, say.

And what do you guys know about this supposition that almost all exploration in Iraq/Iran has been done by drilling into surface structures, thousands of which have been ignored? Which I also picked up from Deffeyes' books. And, looking at my table, it makes you think that might be more than sufficient for those countries' needs. That's always in the back of my mind about these Ira* nations; that the majors figured sure, heaps of oil sub-Cretaceous - who cares? We'll dig around some more when we've exhausted all these other formations, do some more exploration. When we need more oil.

KLR - Here you go. From

"The most common torsion balance employed in the early hunt for oil in Texas was designed by Baron von Eoetvoes in Hungary and was not available until after World War I for commercial use."

"The first salt dome and oil-bearing structure that was discovered by any geophysical means was the Nash dome in Brazoria County in the spring of 1924, located with the use of the torsion balance."ation in Iraq/Iran has been done by drilling into surface structures..." I don't know if that's still true but it probably was at one time. We always grab the low hangers first.

I happened to read that in its entirety before you posted it! Good read, very layman-oriented. The 20s were when things began to swing to the scientific, as the article points out drillers had done fine beforehand with reading the land. Of course it was only in the 20s that the equipment became available in the first place, too.

"The first salt dome and oil-bearing structure that was discovered by any geophysical means was the Nash dome in Brazoria County in the spring of 1924, located with the use of the torsion balance."ation in Iraq/Iran has been done by drilling into surface structures..." I don't know if that's still true but it probably was at one time. We always grab the low hangers first.

Actually Nash Dome is in Fort Bend County, though very close to the Brazoria county line, and the nearest town, Damon, is in Brazoria. The second geophysical discovery of a salt dome was Orchard Dome in Fort Bend County a few months later, found by refraction seismic using mechanical detectors.

As for Iran, Iraq, etc., seismic exploration was widely used in those countries by the 1950s, though no one paid much attention to anything small. I'm not sure what's happening in Iran these days, though there are plenty of smart Iranian geophysicists, and they can get perfectly good technology from China. Iraq is underexplored using modern technology because anyone who tries to do anything significant there runs a good chance of being killed. There doesn't seem to be much chance of that changing any time soon. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has been explored thoroughly using the best technology money can buy.

But most of the giant fields in the Middle East were discovered using surface geology.

Texas was relatively simple by comparison. The fields were bigger and mostly shallow, so they were easy to find. They were obvious enough that you could find them with gravity surveys, or just by looking at the surface geology.

In Alberta, the first oil fields were found in the mountains and foothills where the geology was obvious and seeps were common. Unfortunately, the BIG oil fields were on the plains with no obvious indication of subsurface geology. Since they were deep, there were no surface seeps. For that matter, I don't think they could have reached many of them with old cable tool drilling rigs.

Just to mess the geologists up completely, the first oil field found in Western Canada was in Precambrian rock. Try to fit your theories around that one. It was completely anomalous but threw them completely off the scent.

And, yes, most of the oil was in pinnacle reefs, hundreds of them. I'm sure geologists appreciated the challenge. Actually, I know they did because junior companies gave them a 1% overriding royalty on anything they found, and a lot of mansions were built on that 1% override.

Rocky - I don't want to take anything away from the old timers but finding a 300 million bbl oil field at 4,500' because you knew to drill in a cluster of oak trees (they preferred being a foot or two above the surrounding ground level) didn't take a sophisticated model. Nor was drilling on a 6,000 acre mound pushed up by a salt dome with oil seeping out the top too difficult. Now finding which corner of the dome had most of the oil trapped was a different matter. But even then you just kept drilling around the edges of it till you found the grease or ran out of money. And if you ran out of money there was always someone waiting behind you to poke another hole.

I wasn't kidding: there were thousands of wells drilled along the coast just because no one had poked a hole there yet. I'll tell you as true an oil patch tall tale as I know of because I got it directly from the guy's grandson. Mr. Mecom was an old wildcatter who went from poor to rich a number of times. During a particular bad time in the 50's when some angry folks were hunting him in Houston he snuck out of town with a bag of cash ($200,000? which he actually got from his momma), delivered it to a driller in La who wouldn't spud until he was paid in full and then drilled down the flank of a salt dome and made a huge discovery. I told his grandson his grandpa must have had great trust in his geologic mapping. Grandson said grandpa didn't have a single map let alone one he had faith in. He had just always wanted to drill a well on that salt dome. And why that particular spot? It was the only track of land a mineral owner would lease to him without getting paid up front. I suspect some of your Canadian chaps took similar flings from time to time.

Everyone should read a book on the history of wildcatting. Some of those boys were past sense. It's really telling about human nature. I found an article about drilling bonanzas down in Harney Co., Oregon, in the SE part of the state. I'm a lifelong OR resident so this was of interest. They just persisted, "experts" be damned. They'd say it's just swamp gas. Who cares? They'd say you'd have to drill through thousands of feet of basalt before you'd ever hit any sedimentary formation, your rigs can't get that far. Who cares! Oil Fever! Drill, Baby, Drill!

Heh. I bet D,B,D! was a headline on a poster back then. Just like my above pic of the Peak Oil Co.

The trouble with Canadians was that they weren't as prone to taking a wild fling as Texans. No Canadian would risk his mother's life savings on drilling a well just because he had "always wanted to drill a well" somewhere.

If they had drilled wells in Alberta at random in places where nobody had ever drilled a well before, and kept it up long enough, they almost certainly would have hit one of those big Devonian reefs and had a major oil discovery. There are hundreds of them hidden deep under the prairie soils in Alberta.

As it was, they only bet on a sure thing, so they paid close attention to what the geologists said. The geologists had the geology completely wrong, so they spent all their time drilling where the oil was not.

There are some interesting books out there about the early days before they got it right, and while there were not a lot of fortunes made, there were a lot of exciting accidents to talk about. For instance, the Canadian Pacific Railway was drilling a water well for its steam locomotives, when the well exploded and burned down the station, and thus the biggest gas field in Canada was discovered. However, there wasn't much market for the gas, and the oil fields were much harder to find.

Link up top: Fall from peak oil

Wars and the rest triggered the peaks that followed. But the system will stabilize at this $ 70 to 80 a barrel for quite some time to come, not least because the US is re-emerging as a petroleum giant after decades of import dependency.

Not likely. Oil, except for the area serviced by pipelines from Cushing, Oklahoma, is closer to $100, not $70 to $80. And when that pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf Coast gets finished then WTI will move close to parity with Brent again. But it is a bold prediction to simply say that oil will remain in this range for some time to come, unless one defines "some time to come" as the next few months.

And the US increasing oil production by about one million barrels per day is not the cause of the current price plateau, it is the recession in most OECD and the dramatic drop of of six million barrels per day in OECD consumption.

But at least the article did produce some good information. If you click on the link in the article where it says "See table" you find this: Historical Crude Oil Prices (Table)

The inflation adjusted oil prices found here are very interesting but I what I found even more interesting is the two little Java tables below the oil price tables labeled "World Energy Production 2012" and "World Energy Consumption 2012". If you use Firefox you will need to enable scripts, else these two tables will not appear.

The consumption table shows China as consuming the most energy with the United States a close second and Russia a distant third followed by India, Japan, Germany, Canada and France. China and the U.S. combined, consume about two fifths of the world's energy.

Ron P.

Great find Ron. In another chat I mentioned that there wasn't any big tech advances from 1950 thru the 60's to explain the tremendous ramp up in US oil production...far greater than the often touted "great surge" in recent US oil production. It was just a function of a lot of companies drilling a lot of wells. Your data suggest it wasn't motivated by surging prices either: fairly stable to slightly falling from around $25/bbl.

But then comes the 70's and US PO. From the mid 70's until the mid 80's the price of oil is 2X to 4X greater than our 50's boom in oil production yet we see nothing close to the growth rate in production we had 30 years earlier. And this was a period when we were experiencing a great tech boom from offshore drilling to remote sensing to huge improvements in seismic technology.

And then comes the price slump of the late 80's to late 90's when oil is selling for a little less or about the same as during the 50's. And then comes the price pop to almost 4X the 50's price which leads to our "boom" in oil production. Which is actually rather anemic compared to the 50's. IMHO just these simple data sets seem to scream that US PO is here tostay. Huge price increases, fantastic tech, $trillions in capex available, good demand. And what do we get? A very modest stabilization in US oil production compared to the tremendous growth during the 50's.

I'm awestruck at the nerve of OECD countries. Net importers allowing Iranian oil fields to take permanent damage from "production" stops to curb the reduced demand for their crude. I don't like the word "production", because as Thom Hartmann says in "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight", it's not production, just exploitation and pumping of stored ancient sunlight.

I'm sure the Chinese and Indians will be more than happy to take over contracts for their crude.

I agree with you. I've thought for a while that the NATO "sanctions gun" is pointing in the wrong direction, a la Elmer Fudd. Sure, it'll hurt them, but it will hurt us more. Someone is going to buy that oil, albeit likely at a discount.

I don't think "exploitation" is any more or less appropriate as a description for oil than any other energy source - whether the sunlight is eight minutes old or eighty million, it comes from "somewhere else", though the former obviously has more abundance.

I agree, and would further opine that exploitation is an appropriate word for any use of energy or resources, other than your own. So that, factories exploit electricity, metals, transportation, communications and labor.

Further, it is the application of your energy, or your resources (could be intellectual and in a capitalist society it could be your money, land, etc.), that adds and determines value of a thing.

All living things exploit the earth to some degree; the problem comes in overexploitation to the point that evolved equilibria are disturbed. The greater the disturbance the greater the problem until, as is so oft remarked within, it becomes a predicament. Wherein we sit.


zap/H - Nothing wrong with the term “exploitation” as far as the oil patch goes. More than once my biz card read “Exploitation Geologist”. In some ways better than Development Geologist for certain aspects of my trade. But it does tend to bring to mind that old movie line “Greed is good”. But there are some positive aspects of greed such as someone striving for great wealth by building a company that employs many thousands (think Microsoft). What if BG’s total motivation was to be stinking rich? Is not the result still of great value to society?

I’ve exploited Mother Earth my whole life and earning a paycheck was always part of my motivation. But I still followed the regs and did my best to keep my hands safe and my owners in the black. As was said all creatures exploit Mother. It’s why she created the resources in the first place.

Nothing wrong with exploiting Earth's resources as long as it is done responsibly.

The problem is that humanity is living like a trust fund baby that is quickly burning through the principal of the trust fund instead of learning to just live off the interest. Now it would be find to spend some of that principal on a good education or use it as a down-payment on a house. But we are just spending the principal on Ferraris, travel around the world trips, and expensive champagne.

"Exploitation" is a word commonly commonly used in the oil industry. I have worked for companies which had an Exploitation Department, as distinct from an Exploration Department.

2. The act of making some area of land or water more profitable or productive or useful; "the exploitation of Alaskan oil resources"; "the exploitation of copper deposits"

I always though "withdrawal" was a more appropriate for fossil fuel extraction. But "extraction" is an okay term. "Production" though is the mostly commonly used term but I wish it weren't, because it seems to imply the act of drilling or mining actually creates them. Its like going to the bank to make a withdrawal and saying you'll be "producing" the money.

"Production" has a number of different meanings:


  1. The action of making or manufacturing from components or raw materials, or the process of being so manufactured
  2. The harvesting or refinement of something natural
  3. The total amount of something that is manufactured, harvested, or refined
  4. The creation or formation of something as part of a physical, biological, or chemical process

etc, etc.

You are using it in sense #4, while the oil industry is using it in sense #2.

Climate Change Belief Increased In U.S. After Extreme Weather, NOAA Chief Says

The accompanying photo' gallery is a horror show.


Someone seems to be starting to get it: Gavyn Davies from the FT:

But the main problem on the supply side stems from commodity prices, especially oil. Several times in the past few years, rising oil prices have put the brakes on the world economy, raising headline inflation rates despite the large amounts of spare capacity in the domestic economies in America and Europe. That is what happened late last year. With oil prices now off their peaks, this “oil regulator” should soon work to boost economies, which is why the mini-cycle may experience another upswing before the end of 2012.

But on a longer term view, competition for scarce energy resources is clearly making a sustained global recovery even more difficult to achieve. That is one problem which can certainly not be solved by easing fiscal policy.

I for one am hoping for a few years of optimistic and uninformed "the peak oil myth"-esque articles. It just mean the crisis still has not set in en masse. :)

I'll be really disappointed if production on the Norwegian Continental Shelf closes due to the ongoing strike. It may damage fields, wells, reservoirs and Norwegian reputation. The strike already reinforces how "out of it" we are with regard to the contemporary European circumstances of austerity.

Bad news for the SouthEast ... Tree Rings Show Unusually Wet Century

... The study of tree ring data, published in Environmental Research Letters, shows the last few decades of drought aren’t unusual; in fact, the 20th century was pretty wet relative to the 1700s, for example. And the basin experienced frequent and extended drought from the late 1600s to the early 1800s.

All of that means water plans based on measurements from the last hundred years or so might not reflect how much moisture is typically available

... “The 16th century was a very bad time all through the southeast. The 11th century looks to have been a very bad time throughout the southeast,” Pederson said. “We need to be prepared for that because it could happen again."

Jared Diamond says the same is true for the southwest. More than once, humans have settled there during unusually wet periods, then been surprised when the climate reverts to the norm.

He says the problem is nature's cycles are too long for human perception. Even seven generations might not be enough.

He says the problem is nature's cycles are too long for human perception.

This is my summary of the Fukushima disaster. Such large tsunamis occur regularly on a geological scale. But on human lifetime scales, they pretty much 'never happen', so we don't plan for them.

It's true that the US Southwest has had droughts that are worse than anything in history - that's because the history only goes back a couple of hundred years, to the Lewis and Clark Expedition - and the past 200 years have been unusually wet compared to the centuries that preceded it.

The geological and archaeological records show that it can have "megadroughts". It sometimes turns into a desert resembling the Sahara, and can stay that way for a century or more.

The Sinagua people existed for around 1000 years in Arizona. They abandoned their cities to move to other areas possibly due to reduced rainfall. Beautiful places but definitely arid today.



Wupatki ball court.


Brian Fagan in his book The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization. points out that tribes like the Sinagua had relatives and allies all over the West, and among their obligations was to give their surplus food to them if they were short.

The result was that they were quite mobile - when the climate turned against them and the crops failed, they would just go somewhere else and mooch off their friends and relatives until the rains came back. The flip side was that their friends and relatives would come and mooch off them when their crops failed.

These extensive social networks made theirs a rather robust civilization since given the range of climate zones they lived in, the weather was always favorable to someone, somewhere. As a result, they were able to ride out periods of temporary drought and return when it was over.

Eventually they entered a very long period of massive droughts and had to leave permanently, but it worked well for about 800 years. The time period of their culture coincides with the Medieval Warm Period in Europe, and its collapse with the start of the Little Ice Age.

Fagan points out that the end of it was not a true collapse accompanied by mass starvation and death like that of the Mayan civilization. The Sinagua just went away to areas which had more food, and never came back. The migrations are documented in the last part of the first link you quoted.

USA have been a very good place the last one houndred years. There have been plenty of natural resources of all kinds: ores, huge amounts of fossil energy, huge areas of good fertile land with enough rain, forests and two huge oceans for fishing. Did I miss anything?

From Chatham House ...

The Top 1%: The Avoidable Causes and Invisible Costs of Inequality

Joseph Stiglitz [Nobel Laureate, Author of The Price of Inequality] argues that, with the richest 1% having access to the best healthcare, education and housing, high levels of income disparity are to the detriment of not only the other 99%, but the economic health of countries as a whole.

He points to a number of factors which explain extreme levels of inequality – inefficient and unstable markets, the failure of political systems to correct the shortcomings of these markets, and the fundamental imbalances in current political and economic systems – and proposes what can be done to address them.

Transcript: http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Meetings/Meeting%...

Crime of the Century

... Modern international bankers form a class of thieves the likes of which the world has never before seen. Or, indeed, imagined. The scandal over Libor—short for London interbank offered rate—has resulted in a huge fine for Barclays Bank and threatens to ensnare some of the world’s top financers. It reveals that behind the world’s financial edifice lies a reeking cesspool of unprecedented corruption. The modern-day robber barons pillage with a destructive abandon totally unfettered by law or conscience and on a scale that is almost impossible to comprehend.

How to explain a $450 million settlement for one bank whose defense, in a plea bargain worked out with regulators in London and Washington, is that every institution in their elite financial circle was doing it? Not just Barclays but JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and others are now being investigated on suspicion of manipulating the Libor rate, so critical to a $700 trillion derivatives market.

... The Wall Street Journal had exposed this scandal fully four years ago but his bank continued to participate in it nonetheless.

“Study Casts Doubt on Key Rate” was the headline on the May 29, 2008, investigative report, which concluded: “Major banks are contributing to the erratic behavior of a crucial global lending benchmark, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows.” Even then, according to the report, it was known that the Libor rate was being manipulated “to act as if the banking system was doing better than it was at critical junctures in the financial crisis.”

A Reeking Cesspool of Unprecedented Corruption

They are waging war on us.

Seraph -

This may be old news at this point and may have been covered in a previous edition of Drumbeat that I missed - but as a story along the same lines as the LIBOR situation everyone should read Matt Taibbi's piece in Rolling Stone regarding the municipal bond bid rigging scandal. Pretty much have run out of ways to describe what scum these people are.

By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes – from "virtually every state, district and territory in the United States," according to one settlement.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership: An Extremist 1% Global Attack

... What all FTAs [Free Trade Associations] share in common, including the TPP, is how they open up doors for multi-national corporations to transfer operations to other nations where labor is cheaper and the profit rate is greater. In the first 10 years of NAFTA this outsourcing resulted in the net loss of 879,280 U.S. jobs. Considering the greater number of countries involved in the TPP, this number of lost jobs will be all the greater.

In addition, for the nations these jobs are outsourced to, the results are even more devastating. The dislocation of local economies by the larger scale corporations moving in also results in greater unemployment. For instance, NAFTA resulted in the loss of 1.3 million Mexican farm jobs as U.S. agribusiness moved in, leaving the farmers to toil for a living in the brutal Maquiladoras or move to the U.S. for jobs where they have been persecuted as "illegal" immigrants.

Where the TPP departs from past FTAs is in the range of issues it covers and the degree it flagrantly defies national sovereignty in favor of multi-national corporate interests. Only two of the TPP's 26 chapters have to do with trade. The rest are focused on new corporate rights, privileges and tools to override local government interests.

(Shhhhhhh! It's a secret!)

IAEA Fukushima Daiichi Status Report - 28 June 2012

... TEPCO is planning to reduce the volume of ground water going into the Reactor Buildings by lowering the ground water level in the area by pumping it upstream (primarily on the side of the buildings facing the mountains). This system is currently being designed with installation expected to take place in August.

... An inspection of the Unit 4 Reactor Building (between 17-23 May) confirmed the following points: 1 - The Spent Fuel Pool is not slanted. [it's tipped] 2 - There was bulging discovered on one wall due to the stress of the explosion but it is believed the building remains stable - analytical tests are ongoing to confirm this conclusion. 3 - There were no cracks greater than 1mm in the iron reinforcement bars. [just 'little cracks']

... Investigations are currently underway concerning existing technologies that could be used to detect leaks in the reactor PCVs [Primary Containment Vessels]. (... meaning they don't know if they're leaking now?)

... Job rotation of employees who have received 75 mSv of total radiological dose began in October 2011. Of the 300 persons who exceeded 75 mSv at the end of March 2012, 177 have been transferred in these job rotations as of 1 May.

... The water level in S/C [Suppression Chammber] (the border surface between the liquid phase and the gaseous phase) could not be confirmed. The temperature was higher in the upper part of S/C (Approx. 38℃) compared to other areas. ... This fact suggests that, within the suppression chamber, the vapour space may be connected somehow to the reactor atmosphere.

Atmospheric scientists release first 'bottom-up' estimates of China's CO2 emissions

... A study published last month by a China–U.K.–U.S. team in Nature Climate Change spotlighted a large disparity in estimates of Chinese CO2 emissions when the numbers were based on national energy statistics versus summed provincial data. To illustrate the contrast, those researchers had applied a standardized U.N. protocol for estimating the emissions of any developing country by sector.

The new Harvard–Nanjing study goes deeper, however, constructing a "bottom-up" emission inventory that is specific to China's energy and technology mix. It combines the results of Chinese field studies of CO2 emissions from diverse combustion processes with a plant-by-plant data set for power generation, independent research on transportation and rural biomass use, and provincial-level energy statistics for the remaining sectors.

The Harvard-Nanjing team believes provincial energy data to be more accurate than national statistics because the provincial data have been empirically tested in peer-reviewed atmospheric studies that compare the expected emissions of conventional air pollutants to actual instrumental observations by satellites and ground stations. Provincial statistics also take into account the large quantities of coal produced by small, illegal mines.

.. "The levels of uncertainty indicate that Chinese domestic frameworks to set control targets for CO2 emissions at scales larger than individual factories, such as provinces or sectors, may reflect unwarranted confidence in the measurability and verifiability of the impacts of policy interventions," says senior author Michael B. McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at SEAS.

E-waste: Annual gold, silver 'deposits' in new high-tech goods worth $21B; less than 15% recovered

A staggering 320 tons of gold and more than 7,500 tons of silver are now used annually to make PCs, cell phones, tablet computers and other new electronic and electrical products worldwide, adding more than $21 billion in value each year to the rich fortunes in metals eventually available through "urban mining" of e-waste, experts say.

Electronic waste now contains precious metal "deposits" 40 to 50 times richer than ores mined from the ground ...

One of our local supermarkets has a bin for used electronic equipment. Dropped a couple of small bits off the other day, I need to lug my old multifunction down there.


Making Mirrors for the Sun

In recent test runs, the prototype module generated 2.5 kilowatts of electricity, enough to meet the power demands of two average U.S. households. The tracker, as the structure is called, supports two curved, highly reflective glass mirrors, each measuring 10 feet by 10 feet.

"By using mirrors to focus on small but super-efficient photovoltaic cells, we have the potential to make twice as much electricity as even the best photovoltaic panels," Angel said.

Angel said an array of sun trackers on an area measuring about 7 miles by 7 miles would generate 10 Gigawatts of power during sunshine hours.

Unlike conventional power plants that use steam to power turbines, Angel's photovoltaic prototype uses no water, making it especially suitable for desert regions. The materials are cheap to produce and by concentrating sunlight with mirrors the plant's footprint is smaller than that of PV panel-based plants.

High concentration must get hot. What do they use to cool it with? Not water we are told. So then what?

It's right there in the article..

"Because we are focusing highly concentrated sunlight onto the cells, we had to design an effective cooling system for the cells," Coughenour said. "Otherwise, they would melt within seconds."

A unit of fans and radiators – not unlike the cooling system in a car – is attached to the solar cell array, keeping them about 36 degrees Fahrenheit above ambient air temperature.

..."We have laid the foundation for a structure that meets all the criteria you would want to see in an energy technology that is kind on the planet, doesn't emit carbon dioxide and doesn't consume water," Angel said.

That said, I have to suppose that they might USE water, eg. in the mentioned radiators, but in a closed loop, not a continuous draw from local water supplies, as most steam systems must.

Absolutes are always tricky. The truth is somewhere between the extremes..

PS.. they have a classic TYPO for a closing line.. says much if you want to read too much into it, like I do!

"Each time, we learn more and more, and optimize again and again. We are at the cutting age, and that's lot of fun."

.. may as well have fun with it.. It is a good day to Die!

CPV has its own set of issues. The biggest current CPV installations in Hatch NM and Alamosa Colorado are reportedly underperforming. These were using a different system. But it illustrates the fact that it isn't easy.

Global warming favors proliferation of toxic cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria are among the most primitive living beings, aged over 3,500 million years old. These aquatic microorganisms helped to oxygenate the earth´atmosphere. At present their populations are increasing in size without stopping. It appears that global warming may be behind the rise in their numbers and may also lead to an increase in the amount of toxins produced by some of these populations.

Fracking Pennsylvania, Consequences Be Damned

Politics continues to threaten the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians.

The latest is how the Republican-dominated legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett separated one of the wealthiest and more high-tech/industrial areas of the state from the rural areas.

Less than a week before the 2011–2012 fiscal year budget was scheduled to expire, June 30, the majority party slipped an amendment into the 2012–2013 proposed budget, (SB1263), to ban natural gas drilling in a portion of southeastern Pennsylvania for up to six years. The South Newark Basin includes portions of Bucks, Montgomery, and Berks counties, and could provide at least 360 billion cubic feet of natural gas, according to estimates by the United States Geologic Survey.

The Republican legislators who enthusiastically supported Act 13 but then created an amendment to exempt a part of the state, claim the amendment was needed to give time to better study the effects of fracking. ... However, “Studies were not being conducted before drilling begins anywhere else in the state . . . nor are studies being conducted on the potential impacts of the pipeline operations already coming here [to Berks County].”

... it is time for the Republican majority, so willing to expose rural Pennsylvania to the effects of fracking, to now honestly answer two significant questions. ...

ENERGY: Quenching N.D.’s thirst for diesel fuel

A $250 million diesel facility near Dickinson, N.D., will help ease the diesel fuel shortage in western North Dakota brought on by a robust economy in western North Dakota spearheaded by the oil play.

... It will consume 20,000 barrels a day of crude oil and produce up to 10,000 barrels per day of diesel fuel or kerosene. The remaining byproducts will be shipped by rail to Calumet’s refinery in Superior, Wis., for further processing into other products which include lubricating oils, solvents and gasoline.

The oil industry has increased the diesel usage. However, Rud says it is not only the oil patch, but a diversified economy that has increased diesel usage over the past five years. “The (diesel fuel) demand forecast in April was 150 percent higher than last year,” he says. Demand typically increases in the spring when farmers are planting their crop.

This doesn't relate in particular to any of the stories on this edition of the Drumbeat but I had a question regarding gardening tools for the diverse TOD community...

I remember seeing in the past a discussion regarding gardening tools but I can't find links to where specific companies are mentioned. So... where would one go to buy some quality tools - maybe even some items still made in the US ?

Thanks for any recommendations.


There was a poster whose business was durable hand garden tools. I don't remember who, maybe someone on the board does?

You may be thinking of this:


I believe he was thinking of that, and let me say that I am a very satisfied customer - great products, great prices, great service.

Thanks for the info everyone - I'll check it out !

Any ideas for similar outfits that sell bladed tools (i.e. scythes and sickles etc.) ?

Thanks Paleocon and Sgage! I started EasyDigging about 5 years because I wanted to do something that would become more useful and beneficial as the availability of FF energy decreased.

Catskill asked about US made tools. All of our handles are US made, and the tool heads are made in Brazil by an 80 year old company. We do have a wheel hoe that is made in the USA. And this year we introduced a seeder attachment for it that I designed, which was a fun project :-)

I didn't realize the owner of EasyDigging was local to TOD! Been interested for a while in an azada or grubing hoe.

Check out Red Pig tools in Oregon. Also, you might head down to your local tech school and talk to the metal workers. Some may have a sideline. Couldn't get more local than that.

Outstanding - thanks again everyone !


Not to forget ..

Lehman's Catalog..

EIA World Crude Oil Plus Lease Condensate Production from January 2000 through March 2012 with a rolling annual average in green.

EIA World CC Production Jan 2000 to Mar 2012

The record high production is in January 2012 at 75702.98 kb/d displacing the previous record high in December 2011 of 75535.41 kb/d, revised upward 152 kb/d from 75383.54 kb/d when it was first released.

In 2008 the world economy plummeted into recession when average annual production approached 74 Mb/d. In 2011 the war in Libya decreased production and the earthquake in Japan reduced demand keeping the average annual production around 74 Mb/d. In the Fall of 2011 and Winter of 2012 another attempt was made to raise the average annual production above 74 Mb/d. In the next 3 to 6 months we should see the result. With the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, closed for repairs, Saudi Arabia lost a buyer for some of it heavy crude oil. With the price of crude oil decreasing since its high last Spring, maybe demand has plummeted. Keep in mind the EIA has a long history of revising data, usually downward, for months and years after its initial release. Thus the newer data may be a bit overstated.

At the 2002 to 2005 rate of increase in global crude oil production, we would have been at about 90 mbpd in 2011, versus the 74 mbpd that the EIA currently shows for 2011.