Drumbeat: July 13, 2012

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Summer of 2012

One has to go back to the 1930's to find a time when so much of civilization was in turmoil at once. The 30's ended with World War II, tens of millions dead, and much of the industrialized world in ruins. It is not hard to argue that the array of economic, geopolitical, and climatological problems currently facing the world add up to an even more serious threat than a handful of hyper-aggressive nation-states did 75 years ago. Our current problems – faltering economies, an out-of-control atmosphere, increasing social unrest, and political gridlock in many parts of the world – add up to a very bleak outlook ahead.

Here in America, there is much denial. With weathermen telling of new disasters every day, the annual budget deficit stuck at $1.5 trillion, unemployment increasing every week and not even a hint of rational solutions to these problems anywhere in sight, we are moving towards the November elections in a dead heat. As the Rockies burn, the corn-belt fries, the east coast melts, and the southwest broils, we continue to pump out greenhouse gases as the only way to keep ourselves employed and our economies growing. Our media continues to craft stories telling us that the weather has been bad before and that there is still no "firm" evidence that the aberrant weather is caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Oil Futures Rise on Bets China Will Boost Economy

Oil advanced, extending a weekly gain, as investors speculated that China’s government will boost stimulus measures and the U.S. tightened sanctions on Iran.

Crude futures rose as much as 0.9 percent in New York after closing 0.3 percent higher yesterday. China’s economy grew at a less-than-estimated 7.6 percent in the second quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. Oil in New York closed at a one-week high yesterday after the U.S. announced some additional sanctions on Iran.

IEA forecasts rebound in oil demand

Developing economies' need for oil will be greater than demand in member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) by next year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday.

Demand for crude will rise next year as the global economy recovers, and the increase will lead to a permanent shift in demand distribution, said the body representing the world's developed economies, in its July monthly report.

"Global oil product demand will average 90.9 million barrels per day (bpd) for 2013, with non-OECD demand exceeding that for the OECD for the first time ever in [the second quarter of next year], a trend that is unlikely to be reversed," said the report.

Saudi production up with Opec oil price down

Saudi Arabia's oil production crept back above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) and Opec continued to pump well above its self-imposed ceiling last month, as the price for its crude dropped below US$100 a barrel for the first time in eight months.

The Opec reference basket price slumped by 13 per cent to average $93.98 a barrel, the organisation said in its monthly oil report for June.

"The sluggish OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] economy is suppressing the region's oil demand, except for in Japan, where the shut-down of most of the country's nuclear power plants has led to increased crude and fuel oil burning," said the report.

Moscow refinery halted two CDUs in early July

(Reuters) - A Moscow refinery, owned by Gazprom Neft, in early July halted two crude distillation units, which together account for a third of the plant capacity, Energy Ministry data showed on Friday.

Japan JX to shut refinery over falsified inspection records

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's top refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp said on Friday that it will shut down all refining units at its 240,200-barrel-per-day (bpd) Mizushima-B refinery in western Japan indefinitely after discovering that some inspection records had been falsified.

The company said its investigation had revealed that false inspection records had been filed for some liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks at the Mizushima-B refinery, which represents 15 percent of the company's total 1.606 mln bpd refining capacity.

China June oil demand wanes, at 20-month low

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's implied oil demand fell 0.4 percent in June from a year earlier to the lowest in 20 months as refineries scaled back production and raised fuel exports to trim bulging stockpiles.

China is the world's second-biggest oil user and still accounts for nearly half of global incremental demand, but an economic slowdown is shrinking its need for fuel.

China's economy cools, shows need for policy action

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's growth rate slowed for a sixth successive quarter to its slackest pace in more than three years, highlighting the need for more policy vigilance from Beijing even as signs emerge that action taken so far is beginning to stabilize the economy.

Yingli Plans Hainan Plant Expansion Amid Solar Glut

China’s power output rose at the slowest pace in more than three years for a non-Lunar New Year holiday month as the nation’s economic growth slowed for a sixth quarter to the weakest pace in three years.

Electricity generation was unchanged in June from a year earlier at 393.4 billion kilowatt-hours, according to data released today by the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics. That’s the first time since May 2009 that production hasn’t increased, excluding a contraction in January this year as factories shut for the weeklong holiday.

Expanding China Aviation Oil says leases Singapore storage

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China Aviation Oil, Asia's top jet fuel buyer, has leased oil storage space in Singapore as it ramps up trading eight years after a scandal that nearly destroyed the company.

The company leased the tank space in the first half of the year to store middle distillates, a company spokeswoman said late on Thursday, declining to give details about the size of the storage facility, or from whom it has been leased.

Dramatic drop in fuel tax revenues

Greece is earning fewer revenues from gasoline taxes than it did in 2009, before the crisis struck and taxes were hiked, customs officials revealed on Thursday.

Speaking at a conference in Thessaloniki, the head of the Federation of Customs Officials, Dimitris Tribonias, said that Greeks have been using their vehicles less as a result of the crisis and the subsequent drop in purchase of gasoline has hit tax revenues.

German government backtracks on the Energy Transition

The "Energiewende" is still on the political agenda in Berlin, but there is also a firm amount of backtracking going on in the German capital. The Merkel government now stresses that fossil fuels will remain the foundation of German energy supply for many years to come. It has also announced it will produce a new national energy plan in 2013, "with support from all institutions". In the meantime, the energy transformation is entering a chaotic phase.

Rapid growth of worldwide oil supply might outpace consumption: report

EDMONTON - Goodbye, Peak Oil theory. Hello, looming global oil glut.

That’s the central message of a new Harvard University study, which argues that soaring crude production could soon overwhelm global demand, putting downward pressure on prices.

“Contrary to what most people believe, oil supply capacity is growing worldwide at such an unprecedented level that it might outpace consumption,” says the 76-page report, titled Oil: The Next Revolution.

Friday Charts: Beer, Earnings, Recessions and Peak Oil Nonsense

“We’re running out of oil! We’re running out of oil! We’re running out of oil!” says the energy-conscious Chicken Littles of the world.

Or not!

The latest annual Statistical Energy Review from BP plc shows that proved reserves are headed in only one direction: up!

A look at forecasts for peak oil – and the end of civilization

A common concern in the comments expresses fear of resource exhaustion, perhaps even leading to collapse of civilization. Here we examine the theory, evaluate the risks, and point to sources of more information.

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Tankers to Tighten Oil Noose

The Obama administration sanctioned the National Iranian Tanker Co. and four alleged front companies for Iran’s oil trade, the latest salvo in a U.S.-led campaign to curtail Iran’s petroleum sales until it abandons illicit aspects of its disputed nuclear program.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced yesterday it would freeze American assets belonging to the tanker operator, known as NITC, and block the company’s transactions from the U.S. financial system. The Treasury said Iran’s government controls the company, a former subsidiary of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Co. that was officially privatized 12 years ago.

Floating Base Gives U.S. New Footing in the Persian Gulf

WASHINGTON — One of the Navy’s oldest transport ships, now converted into one of its newest platforms for warfare, arrived in waters off Bahrain late last week, a major addition to the enlarged presence of American forces in the Persian Gulf designed as a counter to Iran.

S.Korea considers resuming Iran oil imports-govt sources

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea will soon decide on whether to resume Iranian crude imports after Tehran offered to ship and insure the oil to get around the impact of EU sanctions, two Korean government sources said on Friday.

The EU oil embargo and U.S. sanctions aim to choke the flow of petrodollars into Iran's economy and force Tehran to curb its nuclear programme. The West suspects Tehran aims to develop weapons, while Iran says it needs reactors for electricity.

Syrian opposition reports massacre of 220 civilians

(Reuters) - About 220 Syrians, mostly civilians, were killed in a village in the rebellious Hama region when it was bombarded by helicopter gunships and tanks then stormed by militiamen who slaughtered some families, opposition sources said on Friday.

UN special envoy Kofi Annan said he was "shocked and appalled" by news of "intense fighting, significant casualties, and the confirmed use of heavy weaponry such as artillery, tanks and helicopters" in the village of Tremseh.

Abu Dhabi Leads Gulf Nations With Oil Pipe to Avoid Iran

Abu Dhabi is exporting oil through the first Middle Eastern pipeline in three decades to circumvent the Strait of Hormuz as producers seek to nullify Iranian threats to block the shipping chokepoint.

In Saudi Arabia, Dissent Is Alive and Well, but Only Online or in Private

Riyadh polices its streets and cafés with a fearsome rigor, but it doesn't seem to know how to shut down the chatter on Twitter and Facebook.

Analysis: As Egypt leaders feud, economy heads toward cliff

(Reuters) - Egypt's new Islamist president and his old military foes have come out swinging in a struggle for political power, but their countrymen need them to find a way to work together to avert economic chaos.

In the two weeks since his inauguration, President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood has openly defied the entrenched military by summoning the Islamist-led parliament the generals dismissed on the eve of his election.

The political confrontation risks paralyzing the government, and the first casualty could be Egypt's fragile economy, fast heading towards a balance of payments and budget crisis.

Turkey importing crude from N.Iraq in road tankers

BOLU, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey has begun importing 5 to 10 road tankers of crude from northern Iraq daily and the volume could rise to 100-200 tankers per day, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday.

Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, which borders Turkey, is locked in a dispute with the central Iraqi government over oil exports and energy policy has become a sensitive topic.

Oil dispute between Baghdad and Kurdistan flares up again

Iraq's long-standing oil dispute with Kurdistan has flared up again after Baghdad rebuked Erbil over crude exports to neighbouring Turkey.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said this week it had sent a limited amount of crude across the border to Turkey in exchange for refined products, a move that met with a stern response from Baghdad.

Philippines offers disputed oil, gas blocks offshore Palawan

Hanoi (Platts) - The Philippine Department of Energy is proceeding with the attempted licensing of offshore exploration blocks Area 3 and Area 4, for which it hopes to receive bids at the end of this month, Jose M Layug, Undersecretary of the Department told Platts Friday.

The Philippines will proceed with the plan to offer the two blocks despite recent tension with China in the South China Sea. "We are set to receive the bids on July 31, 2012, the deadline date," said Layug.

Falkland Islands: Premier Oil plan leads UK and Argentina to new dispute

Britain put itself on a collision course with Argentina over the disputed sovereignty of the Falkland Islands when it gave explicit support to a £600m plan to develop oil reserves in the south Atlantic on Wednesday.

Barely three weeks since the two countries clashed over the issue at a G20 summit, and 30 years on from the military conflict on the islands, the Foreign Office has made it clear that hydrocarbons exploration in the area is a legitimate business.

ConocoPhillips Challenges Tax Reassessment Action in East Timor

ConocoPhillips, a U.S. oil and gas producer, challenged a new tax assessment by the government of East Timor that may add billions of dollars to the Asian nation’s treasury.

Russia's Novatek makes foray into European gas trade

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's No.2 gas producer Novatek has signed a landmark deal to supply German utility EnBW with gas, setting foot in the lucrative European market, two sources familiar with the deal told Reuters on Friday.

The agreement will also allow Novatek to start forming its customer base in Europe as it eyes liquefied natural gas sales to the European Union from its Arctic plant, Yamal LNG, due on stream in 2015-2016.

Nigeria Awards $60 Billion Worth of Oil Contracts

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corp, or NNPC, awarded 50 companies 1.59 million barrels a day of oil for the period from August 2011 to July 2013, a list of term contracts seen by Dow Jones Newswires showed Friday.

Based on the current price of Brent crude, the supply deals are worth $159 million a day, or just under $60 billion a year.

Oil tanker fire kills more than 100

Port Harcourt, Nigeria - More than 100 people who rushed to scoop up fuel after a Nigerian petrol tanker tipped over on Thursday were burned to death when the vehicle and spilled oil caught fire.

Children were among those killed, while dozens more were badly burned, despite a warning from troops who arrived at the crash site that a blaze could ignite at any moment.

Failure to address fracking impacts would stifle industry’s growth – BG

The direct environmental impacts of fracking are relatively cheap to address – but a failure to do so would “severely limit” the industry’s growth, even in the US, according to the chairman of BG Group.

Moreover, improving environmental performance offers a source of competitive advantage for leading fracking companies, according to Amory Lovins, chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a US-based think-tank.

U.K. Seen Doubling Power Price to Guarantee New Reactor

The future of the U.K.’s nuclear industry will be decided on one number: the price the government’s willing to guarantee Electricite de France SA will get for generating atomic power.

EDF and government officials will negotiate the so-called strike price for new nuclear power plants by the end of the year. To ensure the Paris-based utility makes a final decision on a new reactor in southwest England, the U.K. must set a price between 95 pounds ($148) and 105 pounds a megawatt-hour in 2020, double the level power trades at today, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Fitch affirms India's Power Finance Corporation at 'BBB-'/negative

Fitch Ratings has affirmed India-based Power Finance Corporation Limited's (PFC) 'BBB-' Long-Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (FC IDR) at a Negative Outlook and its 'Fitch AAA(ind)' National Long-Term rating at a Stable Outlook. Fitch has also affirmed PFC's Foreign Currency senior unsecured rating and USD1bn senior unsecured medium term notes programme at 'BBB-'. PFC's National Short-Term rating has been affirmed at 'Fitch A1+(ind)'.

Duke Energy faces regulator chill after CEO switch

(Reuters) - Duke Energy Corp, under regulatory scrutiny over the abrupt ouster of its CEO, is not expected to be forced to undo its purchase of Progress Energy, but could face a cold reception when it seeks new power rates in North Carolina later this year.

Iraq pays high price for lack of electricity

Iraq's economic development is being held back by a critical shortage of electricity - with businesses and homes across the country forced to endure blackouts of as long as 15 hours a day.

Total demand stands at 14,000 megawatts, but the country's struggling power plants can supply only up to 8,000 megawatts.

Lack of power hits Iraqi businesses

At least four times a day, Hadi Ahmed leaves his Baghdad home and goes out into the sweltering heat to restart his generator.

"We are dying in this heat," he says. "I feel like every day this country is going backwards. The lack of electricity is destroying my business."

Electric utilities leave us in the dark

I'm looking at innovative ideas like the smart grid. As described by the Department of Energy, the technology would deliver energy to consumers in a fashion similar to the Internet. A smarter grid will make our electricity delivery system more resilient. Instead of just delivering electricity, it will allow two-way communication, data gathering and automatic rerouting of electricity when disaster strikes.

Two Maryland senators urge massive fines against Pepco, BGE

Backlash over the power outages following the June 29 storm continue as Maryland Senators Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery) and Jim Rosapepe (D-College Park) urge state utility regulators to impose fines of $100 million each on Pepco and BGE for the economic damages-- from spoiled food to shuttered workplaces --borne by homeowners and businesses left in the dark.

So Much Data, but Who Can Analyze It?

The rollout of smart meters, devices that can record and send reams of information on real-time electricity usage, has been anything but smooth. Customers have complained about inaccurate readings, being promised savings that never materialize, possible health hazards and threats to their privacy. But utilities have soldiered on.

They continue to install millions of the meters, saying that the data they provide helps them manage electrical load, pinpoint or avoid power losses, stabilize the grid and ease the integration of renewable forms of energy into the grid — all of which in theory will save customers money in the long run.

But all that information is more than the utilities can handle, according to a study released on Tuesday by the software company Oracle. Lacking the organizational structure and staff members with the analytical skills needed to handle the deluge of data, 45 percent of utility executives surveyed said they found it hard to get information to the right managers.

Spain Targets First Cash From Renewables With Energy Tax

Mariano Rajoy’s pledge to tax utilities and power consumers signals Spain is planning to raise cash from renewable energy for the first time, a blow to an industry already struggling with subsidy cuts.

The prime minister told Parliament yesterday he’d impose a levy to spread the expense of closing a gap between costs and revenue in the country’s electricity business, which has racked up debts of 25 billion euros ($31 billion). Details may be announced as early as tomorrow after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Ethanol 15: The View from the Road

Down the road, about 50 miles from Lawrence, in Barnett, Kan., where East Kansas Agri-Energy, one of Mr. Zaremba’s suppliers, takes in thousands of bushels of corn a day to make ethanol and corn oil, Doug Sommer, the plant manager, said that his Chevy Silverado ran on e85.

But when he came to town in 2007 to help start up the plant, there were three e85 pumps in town, and now there is only one. One of the pumps was at a gas station that closed, and another was converted to diesel.

U.S. Fares Poorly in Efficiency Rankings

The United States placed ninth in a new energy-efficiency ranking of 12 of the world’s largest economies.

What the U.S. Can Learn From Australia’s Coal Mines

America became great because it transformed its vast natural resources -- Iowa farmland, Mesabi iron, Texas crude -- into human capital, equipped with skills to succeed in the Information Age.

Now, when human capital is king, some look toward Texas and North Dakota and see natural-resource extraction as a path to economic rejuvenation. But if we look at Australia, the model of a major mineral producer, we see that widespread prosperity comes not from the stuff beneath the ground but from the stuff between our ears.

De-hazing the Lazy Days of Summer

An amendment to the Clean Air Act passed 35 years ago was designed to ensure that when visitors get to their destinations, they will be able to see the parks’ vistas.

For the better part of those years, there has been a tug of war between the owners of manufacturing concerns — particularly coal-fired power-plants — and the Environmental Protection Agency over how far the agency can go in requiring plants to cut down on three pollutants linked to haze: fine particles, which blur the air on their own, and sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, which break down into other smog-producing chemicals with the sun’s help.

Wis. town barred from beefing up farm water rules

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court dealt a blow to environmentalists concerned about water pollution from huge livestock farms Wednesday, when it said communities couldn't set stricter standards than the state.

Farmers suffer as soaring temperatures worsen drought in Midwest

(CNN) -- A severe drought is spreading across the Midwest this summer, resulting in some of the worst conditions in decades and leaving more than a thousand counties designated as natural disaster areas, authorities said.

Farmers in the region are suffering, with pastures for livestock and fields of crops becoming increasingly parched during June, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Many areas in the southern Midwest are reporting the poorest conditions for June since 1988.

Climate could kill you, Outback towns are told

Climate change could transform the Australian outback, wiping dozens of small towns off the map, according to a new report commissioned by the federal government.

With many rural towns struggling to survive, climate change – expected to make much of inland Australia hotter and drier – could be the final straw, warns the report by the government's National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

Link up top: A look at forecasts for peak oil – and the end of civilization

Summary: consumption is flattish because of demand, not supply. Otherwise prices would be rising to destroy the excess of demand over supply (as it did in Spring 2008).

In other words the oil supply is flattish because of low oil prices.

We hit that plateau began in 2005, three years before prices destroyed demand in 2008. In other words we have been on a seven year plateau because of low oil prices. Here are average yearly Brent prices since 2001. Look at the average price before we hit the plateau in 2005, then the average price after we hit the plateau. Now someone tell me, with a straight face, that production has been flat because of low oil prices.

 2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006   2007   2008	 2009   2010   2011    2012
24.46  24.99  28.84  38.26  $54.57 $65.16 $72.44 $96.94	$61.74 $79.61 $111.26 $112.68

Every nation was producing flat out from 2005 thru 2008. Then after the crash OPEC cut back until late last year. Since then every country has been producing flat out again.

In June, according to the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook non-OPEC liquids were over one million barrels per day lower than they were in December of 2011. And that is with world oil prices over $100 per day as they are today. The reason is because prices, since December of last year, have been so low. Unbelievable!

Ron P.

Ron, why don't you cut and paste what you just wrote into the comment section of the original article. Maybe the article author will see it.

I posted a comment. The guy's response was interesting. One is once again reminded of the Upton Sinclair quote.

Hi guys,

how about post this? Kind of gets rid of that ugle bump back in 2007-08.

2001 . 2002 . 2003 . 2004 . 2005 . 2006 . 2007 . 2008 . 2009 . 2010 . 2011 . 2012
24.46 $24.99 $28.84 $38.26 $54.57 $65.16 $72.44 $96.94 $61.74 $79.61 $111.26 $112.68

0.9 . . 0.96 . 1.15 . 1.24 . 1.24 . 1.25 . 1.37 . 1.43 . 1.38 . 1.36 . 1.37 . 1.27 (per dollar)
27.18 €26.03 €25.08 €30.85 €44.00 €52.13 €52.88 €67.79 €44.74 €58.54 €81.21 €88.72

Just eyeballing it, of course, but I think it make a hell of a statement: Why aren't prices going up? They are!!

Cheers, Dom

Dom, if you use the "pre" function you can get rid of those format errors. [pre] and [/pre] but use chevrons "< and >" instead of brackets of course.

IN EUROs, the second line is Euros to the Dollar.

2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006    2007    2008   2009   2010   2011   2012
0.9    0.96   1.15   1.24   1.24   1.25    1.37	   1.43   1.38   1.36   1.37   1.27
27.18  26.03  25.08  30.85  44.00  52.13   52.88   67.79  44.74	 58.54	81.21  88.72

Ron P.

(thanks - was wonderin' how to do that:-)

site administrators, could you put a link to common tips into the comment section so that it looks like this when somebody starts writing a comment:


Note: ...

Your name:

... Darwinian's comment and an example



...comment window

Some handy Chrome extensions:

Create Link. Does what the name suggests. I used it to create that link, hey. ;) That's a link for the page you happen to be viewing. If there's a link on a page you want to link to, use this one:

Copy Link Text. These extensions can be configured for either HTML, which is what TOD uses; or BBCode, which is used on other forums; as well as various other types of code.

I haven't found a handy way to link to images here, I save this string on a text doc for those occasions:

[img src="Your Image Link Here" /]

Replace the brackets [] with carets "<>". There are all manner of fancy things you can add to this basic code - image size, borders, hovertext, etc. Incidentally be sure the image you're linking to isn't huge. File hosting services can provide the code for you, as well as code for a thumbnail, which is what I usually use.

The other day I was struggling to input contents from a spreadsheet here into a table, and discovered TABLEIZER! -- Spreadsheets to HTML Tables Tool, which works like a charm.

Graphs are pics. I make them on spreadsheet programs, take a screenshot, save as .png file, upload to Photobucket, link here. It's a bit of work. I only post graphs when there's no better way of conveying the information. Often with simple concepts you can describe what you mean to convey in words just as easy.

Hope that helps. It's oriented towards users of PCs and Chrome, but there are equivalent tools for Macs, Firefox, etc.

Pity there are no linking tools in the comment box, I agree.

He's still working hard at not understanding. Judging from his reply to Ron he think the Mongo Nuts are smaller and harder to get because of depressed economic activity.

A variation on a bit of the script in the movie, "As good as it gets."

How to understand a Cornucopian: "Think of a rational person and take away reason and accountability."

Its still going on. I think though he may be one of those that eventually gets it.

He said this,

Cheap oil was over at the modern historical price low (from memory, using WTI) in 1998. that was 14 years ago. But we have adjusted to current prices. When they rise again, the global economy will adjust to those.

Economic shocks are in general from rates of change, not levels.

Now if he could just get a handle on how the global economy adjusts.

Thanks for being enough of an optimist to try, anyway.

From 2005 to 2011, we saw year over year increases in annual Brent crude oil prices in five of the six years, and the average six year rate of increase in annual Brent crude oil prices was about 1% per month, from 2005 to 2011 (with some fluctuations above and below the trend line along the way).

Yea pretty stunning level of denial from Fabius Maximus in that article.

Aargh I wish I had never gone and read the article and the comments! 15 minutes of my life I will never get back.

His response to Westexas in the comments is puerile.

RE: Declining Outback Towns...

I wonder how many essentially 'extreme' habitations will show their inherent Energy Debt as untenable, as extremes in climate grow along with the real price of energy?

People have managed to live naturally in many extreme environments, from Extreme Cold to Hot/Humid and Hot/Dry, and those whose remoteness simply indentures them to a continual stream of imports requiring Air, Road or Ship Transport to keep stocked up on the essentials.. Life on an umbilical cord. Some say 'Wake up!'.. I think it's more like time for a rebirth.

Since our modern language seems to put all these things into a 'Financial Bottom Line' context, it will appear to many to be an economic question.. but that is just the symbolic explanation of course. The physical currency is Energy.

I wonder how many of these towns will die because of centrally imposed red tape rather than directly from climate change. Years ago I remember an inland town finally raised enough money to build a swimming pool, but then found they could not use it because they did not have enough money to pay lifeguards, who were mandated by state law. So swimming in the river is safer than swimming in a pool without a lifeguard?

Another example I'm aware of: numerous rural local government areas have been consolidated in the name of efficiency, but at the same time have been forced to implement statewide building codes and inspections. That might make sense when the inspector's office is a few kilometres from the building site, but when the building site is on a farm 200km from the inspector's office, inspecting a building such as a machinery shed at various stages of construction seems a ridiculous waste of resources.

In short, small towns are threatened more by imposition of big city standards than by climate change.

My first-hand knowledge of the following is limited to the US. The same trend may be occurring elsewhere.

Many small towns in rural areas are dying in the US. The fundamental cause is that they are unable to generate jobs for their young people. Once the agricultural land is all owned/occupied, the root driver for new jobs is exhausted. The lower cost of labor and/or living is not sufficient to offset the lack of infrastructure, both physical and human, that an urban area can provide. In many cases, areas have reached the point where a positive feedback loop has kicked in -- the population is too low to attract new service providers such as doctors and dentists, and the lack of such providers stops people from considering a move to a rural area.

One consequence of the depopulation trend has been increasing subsidies from urban/suburban taxpayers to the core public services in the rural areas. Certainly in my state, the rural tax revenues are insufficient to cover the costs of roads and contemporary education. Rate structures for electric and telephone service have proved urban-to-suburban subsidies for almost 80 years now. In tough economic times, it is not clear that such subsidies will be sustained in the future.

Sorry, Jokuhl, but if you weren't allowed to color outside the lines when you were a kid, you likely won't allow yourself to think outside the prescribed lines today.

It's a sad state of affairs -- sins of the father and all that.

I'm too tired anyway. I'll let Ma Nature do the wordsmithing in her own good time!

I just want to make sure I'M not too unprepared for the red ink she has waiting to lay on us.

I'm with ya -- kinda tired too. Is it doom fatigue? Anyway, as you say, Ma Nature will have things right in the end.

And for all you technos out there, I grew up with Science Fiction, loved the future, etc., but that bubble has burst and no-one is more disappointed than I. This feeling is reaffirmed every time I scan the headlines, every time I read the Op-Ed page. We have met the Enemy, and He is Us.

Can't agree more. At least we have a community here. Gotta be somewhere you can go and not feel crazy for a while. SciFi appetite has been off for me too somehow...

Re: e15 article - Wow! E85: $3.00, Petrol: $3.25 Waaaay more $/mi for the ethanol. EROI, anyone?


The community part is the best. I've found, by far, the most smartest crowd here... comparable to, say, Quora. btw, why don't you guys come and hang around on quora? There are also some permaculture folks there. folks with a wide variety of interests will love it (especially on such "outlier topics" like the role of energy in our society).

Sunson... I just tried to shoot you an email to ask about Quora (what? another site of sane humans?) but the website link at your name didn't work for me.


The G20 meeting in 2014 will be in Brisbane, Australia.

In announcing the decision the Prime Minister said:

"Brisbane was selected because you have got the right facilities with your convention centre here, you have got the right ability to deal with the logistics of such a big event, Brisbane airport, the new airport link....."

It is doubtful whether Brisconnections will still operate the airport link tunnel in 2014 after opening it later this month

The following analysis shows which peak oil warnings were ignored

Brisbane Airport Link: another tollway miracle of growing debt and assumed traffic growth (part 1)

The last time Brisbane opened a tunnel it hardly survived a year. In 2006 I had warned then Lord Mayor Newman (now Queensland Premier) NOT to build that tunnel. He did not want to listen

We may remember:

Causes and Consequences of the Oil Shock of 2007–08

Whereas historical oil price shocks were primarily caused by physical disruptions of supply, the price run-up of 2007-08 was caused by strong demand confronting stagnating world production. Although the causes were different, the consequences for the economy appear to have been very similar to those observed in earlier episodes, with significant effects on overall consumption spending and purchases of domestic automobiles in particular. In the absence of those declines, it is unlikely that we would have characterized the period 2007:Q4 to 2008:Q3 as one of economic recession for the U.S. The experience of 2007-08 should thus be added to the list of recessions to which oil prices appear to have made a material contribution.

Hi Matt,

I'm hopeful it's only a matter of time before PO goes mainstream; perhaps within a couple of years? I just googled "Peak Oil" and 51 million results came back. Five years ago it was less than a tenth of that.

Another Matt (Melbourne, Oz)

While the number of web pages that talk about peak oil may have gone up (as you claim), the number of people "looking for it" is lower than its all time peak of 2008, according to google trends.

There _ought_ to be enough oil, after all! it sounds depressing intuitively to imagine a world where we'll be fighting for an ever decreasing share of oil! I guess "Its the corrupt politicians" or "speculators" or "too much/little intervention", etc., or other favourite blames people like to make.

Thanks for the link; wasn't aware of "google trends". Certainly hadn't realised "pages" and "searches" aren't necessarily bed-fellows.

So much to learn...

Cheers, Matt

There _ought_ to be enough oil

That kindof sums up my observations about human thinking. The world ought to have been created for our eternal benefit, so their ought to be an endless supply of the stuff we like/want/need. Magical thinking. But at such an unconscious unexamined level that few are aware of it.

An Ozy journo tried it

Australian Peaky Leaks goes mainstream

but did not get much traction. It is so much against the growth story you read, hear and see every day in the media

Farmers suffer as soaring temperatures worsen drought in Midwest

Climate scientists are reporting that global warming induced climate change is why the droughts are happening.

The U.S.D.A. has designated ~1000 counties and 26 states as drought disaster areas for federal aid.

That is about a third of U.S. counties, and about half of the states.

Also on the front page : Corn prices pop after lower production forecast

"In modern history, this just doesn't happen, with genetic modification, tractors and other technology," he (Sal Gilbertie, chief investment officer of Teucrium Trading) said. "The yield is supposed to be on a steady uptrend, so to have three years in a row of declining yields is extraordinary."

Welcome to the new reality.

We have tractors now? Imagine that. And OMG, GM food won't save us? Write Monsanto now.

Yes. It is new technology. Alongside the new techs known as fracking and horizontal drilling, that is just now introduced! Don't you read the articles in the Drumbeats?

"the Drumbeats?"


Drumbeat in plural...

If Monsanto can create crops that grow without water during drought and don't drown when flooded then they've really hit the jackpot of future agriculture...

Does Pattern Of U.S. Corn Yields Have Implications For 2012?

Given that both 2010 and 2011 were negative deviations, of particular interest is the length of previous runs of negative deviations. It turns out there were only three other periods of two consecutive years of negative yield deviations (1960-1961, 1974-1975, and 1995-1996). In two instances, those two negative yield deviations were followed by a third year of negative deviation and in the third case two additional years of negative yield deviations occurred (1974-1977). So, even though multiple-year runs of negative yield deviations have not occurred frequently they have happened and we should expect them to happen again at some point in the future.

"1974-1977"...interesting timing, eh?...


Maybe we should be spending that money on reducing the inputs to global warming. What happens when the state of emergency is everywhere? Pay me now or pay me later with very high interest.

I saw the drought map here: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contenti... but really don't understand it. In the Houston/Galveston Texas area we are certainly not in a drought situation, since rainfall this year is above average. But the map shows us in a drought.

It isn't a daily report.

Your link goes to the USDA Disaster Designations Map - it is used for assigning lower loan rates to affected farmers, and is not the actual drought monitor map.

Here is the Drought Monitor Map for the Houston area. It is in the "white".

Above quoted article on what the US can learn from Australia on coal.


While Australia has just introduced a carbon tax, the government is happy to double coal exports:

Bulk commodity exports to increase to 2025
02 July 2012

Australia's bulk commodity (coal, iron ore and LNG) export volumes are projected to more than double in between 2012 and 2025, according to a report released today by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).

Here are the reports from this web site http://bree.gov.au/publications/resources/index.html



Future compensation claims on a pro rata basis will be huge:

CO2 from increased coal exports will immediately erase any small reductions as a result of Australia's domestic carbon tax
Unless they put carbon tax on coal exports or imported manufactured goods it makes the whole exercise pointless. Australia's domestic emissions are about 550 Mt CO2 equivalent but CO2 on exported thermal coal, coking coal and LNG I estimate to be nearer 800 Mt. Coal exports are set to double and LNG to triple.

In my view that makes Australia an A-grade bull artist in pretending to care about global emissions. Same goes for increasing US coal exports. We're just playing around with insignificant carbon taxes when the CO2 problem needs drastic action.

Yeah, Don't manufacture a thing locally, import everything from Asia, give them greenback instead... and finally produce such graphs and blame the third world for their contribution to global warming! If the problem can be turned around into a big enough political issue, it may also be convenient to invade them.

blame the third world for their contribution to global warming

I don't blame them. The graph simply highlights the huge size of their population and the magnitude of their collective impact on global CO2 emissions as they strive to be like the rest of us - it is entirely expected and out of our hands.

see the articles further down the thread:


Putting a national tax on CO2 emission, while keep importing, mean that more of the coal will be exported, and less will be consumed domestically. More income! What did you thik was the reason for the tax?

Of course its bulldust, window dressing. The primary goal of the Australian government, like just about any other, is maintaining a minimum level of economic growth, forever. 2% is probably considered the bare minimum for an advanced western economy. In the service of this (ultimately impossible) goal every last bit of extractable fossil fuel energy that can be burnt will be burnt, CO2 be damned.

Landscapers. This is something I have been thinking about for quite some time - when I was younger I do not recall ever seeing landscape trucks driving around. These are typically 3/4 ton pickups with heavy duty trailers hauling a couple of zero-turn mowers and assorted additional equipment, and they are everywhere. Those mowers have large multi-cylinder engines, gasoline usually, and the operators really fly to get the job done fast and move on to the next. Cutting grass takes a lot of power - I think these are around 30hp.

Years ago people, and businesses, cut their own lawns. Even though they used powered equipment it was usually much lower powered and moving much slower. The equipment stayed on site so there was no need to transport it around. Only large institutions were served by landscape firms.

I watch for certain things as signals that we've reached tipping points, and this is one of them. Canaries in the coal mine so to say. So far, these landscaper trucks are still everywhere, and they even give degrees in landscaping at local schools! Has anyone else seen any change in this area?

Probably the reason there are so many landscaping trucks hauling lawnmowers around is that they can cut businesses' lawns cheaper than the businesses can do it themselves. The reason for the degrees in landscaping is that it is becoming much more high-tech than it used to be and landscapers really need to know what they are doing to be competitive.

If fuel costs were a problem, they would probably switch to electric lawnmowers with lithium-ion batteries, but I don't think we're there yet. Lawnmower fuel is probably a small part of their costs.

When I was working in the oil industry, we used to bring in herds of sheep to cut the grass around our gas plants. The problem with mechanical lawnmowers was that when they hit a rock, it causes sparks, and if there was an undetected gas leak somewhere, it could blow up the plant. With sheep, sparks were not an issue.

And of course, it's so environmentally sensitive. We would sit in the conference room, hold hands, sing "Kumbaya" and tell ourselves how green we were. Yeah, sure we would...

Most homeowners who are still employed don't have the time or energy to do their own lawn while working 12 hour days or holding down two jobs. Landscaping fills this market niche and provides a place for downsized workers to find some employment in a shrinking economy. Frustrated entrepreneurial types buy the equipment and run the business while undereducated and underemployed young guys get to zoom around on the mowers.

I suppose time has something to do with it as there are fewer one worker households. However, one worker households were usually the husband working, and that's who usually did the lawn too. I think it's just the continuing trend of specialization combined with social stratification, where physical labor is considered demeaning.

I keep expecting this to take a hit as things get tight - seems like an obvious place to cut back.

These gas-guzzling, pollution spewing landscape trucks and their riding mowers have always annoyed me and I agree they are prime for eventual elimination. There is really no need for these monstrosities. I have used a manual push mower for years - no costs, no gas, no noise, no pollution. It is easy enough to push that my daughter can mow with it.
For bigger lawns it should be feasible to have "workbikes" make a tricycle with lawnmower blades on the back - just ride the tricycle and mow!
In the old days neighborhood kids used to mow lawns as they also used to deliver newspapers. This provided some employment for teenagers who are currently desperate for jobs. I truly expect these jobs to return.

Kids still deliver newspapers in this small town in eastern Ontario. But now they're being driven door-to-door by their parents.

As opposed to simply abandoned by their parents and forced to become newspaper deliverers for survival.

For bigger lawns it should be feasible to have "workbikes" make a tricycle with lawnmower blades on the back - just ride the tricycle and mow!

Lawnmower blades are driven by 1400+ watts (2 HP or more)

Lance Armstong does 600 watts peak - average peddler 150-200 watts

You can make adjustments by sharpening blades or using a reel style blade - but watts be watts and a trike configuration just won't give you the power methinks.

Yes. If so much energy is required to cut the grass, then divide that by the power and that is the minimum possible time. That number will be considered to be unacceptable to most. Now, I'm willing to bet lawn mowing has NOT been optimized for energy consumption. I'd bet with careful engineering if could be a few times more efficient. There just hasn't been enough "demand" for efficient mowers to incentivize the work.

Well "we" know all electric mowers exist and as they operate on batteries and one has a 360 watt-hours and can run up to an hour. It appears to be a 'beat the grass to death' style.

This one http://www.peoplepoweredmachines.com/sunlawn-reel/em1-electric-mower.htm uses 150ish watts....about what a human can output.

The low end of mowing sure looks like 150 watts unless you only do very small cutting paths with some form of scissors.

The GE electric tractors of the 70's worked quite well - I have a couple of friends that still use them. This is a perfect application of battery power and solar charging. It doesn't need to run every day (low duty cycle) and does not require paved roads and infrastructure. It does require an investment in tooling and manufacture, and the energy to support that. The last one remotely comparable I saw had the electric motor hooked up to a hydrostatic drive and cost a fortune - hooking up a hydrostatic drive to an electric motor is about the dumbest design error for such a thing I can imagine.

augjohnson posted pictures of his restored ElecTrac last week:


Watt isn't the limiting unit here. A bulldozer with 400 hp will do digging work in 10 minutes that would take a human 8 hours with a shovel. All you need to do is to reduce the mowing speed and/or reduce the width of the blade.

But as long as human work is still more expensive then gasoline this won't happen on a large scale.

We would sit in the conference room, hold hands, sing "Kumbaya" and tell ourselves how green we were. Yeah, sure we would...

It may not be "Kumbaya".


Plus sheep are walking H2S detectors. When the sheep fall over, run upwind. Or so the old-timers tell me.

Something I find disturbing also, and I also have seen this change.

I might add that lots of those lawns used to be cut by "the neighbor kid" up the street giving him employment and a little exercise to boot. As well, the distribution end of paper routes were zero emissions when kids (including myself) used to deliver the daily and Sunday by bicycle and on foot. Imagine that - well you have to imagine it since it just does not happen any more.

35> years ago kids would pick strawberries, raspberries, and cuc's during the summer to earn some spending money It's sad - I don't see kids out there doing this sort of thing anymore. What is the new way of this? Migrant workers, machinery? Nothing against hard working migrants, just that I see so many advantages to the old way.

We could go on and on with these less than ideal changes over the past 30 some odd years. I guess the most disturbing thing is that, in light of peak oil, the old model for things like these seems to have been near perfect compared to the way we waste fuel today.

The declining popularity of newspapers is the primary reason why teenagers are no longer involved in newspaper delivery. When I delivered newspapers as a teen, our city had two newspapers each of which had a morning and afternoon edition. Almost every home subscribed to a paper. Homes received the afternoon edition which was delivered by teenagers right after they got out of school. Now we have only one local newspaper with only a morning edition. The papers are delivered early in the morning before most people are awake and as relatively few people now subscribe to the paper it has to be delivered by adults driving a car. Another milestone will be reached this Sunday when the paper publishes their last Sunday edition. I believe it would be less resource intensive for newspapers to go to an electronic format only, thereby eliminating all the resources used in printing and delivering papers. It probably already would have happened if it weren't for old-school people like me who prefer reading printing content.

I look out my office window at quite a few acres of grass that is regularly cut for no particular reason other than 'just because'.

It is remarkable how much fuel is wasted cutting grass, when in many cases these large aesthetic lawns could be allowed to turn into pasture. They could also plant a lot more trees on these spaces and forget about cutting grass within the trees. I suppose the outer edges of these aesthetic lawn fields could be mowed to define the space. But I am otherwise baffled by the need to maintain these large mown grassy areas.

Besides as fuel gets more expensive, and possibly scarce, will mowing these large grassy areas be considered sensible?

It's pretty liberating to break out of the "mow it just because it's always been mowed" attitude. We built our house on about 3 acres in 2004 and it's in the middle of a forest of Tuliptree and Sweetgum. Of course the builder did the usual and didn't leave any actual shade trees in the cleared portion of the property - just lawn, maybe about 1 acre of cleared space. It's also on a very steep hill which precludes the use of a riding mower, so I must use a self-propelled walker.

Anyway, down here it's ridiculously hot and humid in the summer, and about 10 weeks ago I was 5 minutes into my cut and the drive cable snapped, which meant I had to do the whole job with only my muscle power. Three hours later I was so hot and sweaty I was basically near hallucination. Then and there I decided it was the last time I'd cut my lawn - specifically the front yard. So now the "grass" is about 3ft high and gone to seed and I have about 10,000 seedling sweetgum and liriodendron taking over.

At first my wife protested, but I flat out told her I wasn't going to do it again and that if she had a problem with it then to get her own ass out there and cut it herself. Obviously that didn't happen, so alas the forest takes over.

I did a similar thing in the backyard in 2006 and after only six years my grass has turned into 50ft tall tuliptree and sweetgum. They easily grow 6-10ft/year here. It's so awesome not to have to worry about lawn now. Nature has also come closer to my house - I found three box turtles in the new forest area just in the past 2 weeks. The recent Derecho did some major damage, but I figure it's just a natural thinning of things as the forest matures.

So I'm looking forward to what the coming years bring to my front yard transition. I think I'll buy a whole bunch of boulders and make a natural stone staircase/path up the hill through the new forest area sort of like a nature trail.

heh. Our neighbors our lucky if we cut our grass once a year, I don't care for the bikini-waxed yard look. And our little lot in the suburbs is trees & jungle, which probably annoys the neighbors but makes us popular with the birds.

The city & county issued us large green plastic bins on wheels for "green waste". (we got three of them and use them for other stuff). Every week huge trucks with air-conditioned cabs and robot arms come up our street at 7am and grab the green bins, shaking the yard clippings into the machine to be crushed. Since all most of the neighbors have is putting-green-style grass, there's usually just 6" of grass clippings in the bins. Presumably, it would be a Bad Thing if those grass clippings stayed in the yards.

None of the other neighbors seem to think it's insane, so I don't mention it to them. I think some of them consider us borderline unstable anyhow... though they are casting envious looks at the new solar panels.

Invite the neighbours over for a cool drink on a very hot day and make them aware of the difference in temperature at your lot compared to theirs. You might see a change in attitude and a change in lawns along your street...

Appreciate the suggestion, and in fact we do get along well with the ones we know. The problem with our location in Hawaii is that there really aren't that many hot days, you really have to work at it to make a day uncomfortable. Some houses are very poorly designed for the climate, but most of those are currently air-conditioned.

Once power outages start, we may be popular due to handing out cold drinks... due to our offgrid-solar freezers making ice. Until then, we're just the odd folks with the trees, tall grass, gnarly hedge & solar panels...

May I ask you about your altitude above the sea? I am personally near a lake at 42 m, so we will not be drenched in my life time, but I sugest we will eventually, when the sea come crawling in.

here in western washington state, a good portion of prime farmland is used for propagation of landscape trees,shrubs,groundcover and sod which will never be used because peak oil has ended the construction boom .
most of the other farmland propagates feed corn and hay for cattle.
when TSHTF , people around here will starve even though they live
in an area which could be growing plenty of good fresh local food.
are they much smarter than yeast ? time will tell..

Urbanization for sure but zoning has protected our prime farmlands here in Whatcom and Skagit counties, national impact in Berry and Dairy production.In Snohomish and King counties what was once useless reed canary pastures have become organic farming and berry production mini farms catering to local retail markets via farm stands all many with excellent product development by secondary processing.

So far as trees, shrubs, ground cover production this is a viable economic enterprise. When it is time to change farmers can shift to food production between seasons if market dictates.

It's the advance of asphalt that is the problem and good planning and zoning is saving our prime farm lands.

I see these everywhere as well - usually driving from house to house in the McMansion developments. Along with the crews, the other new development I never saw as a kid in the 80's is every second or 3rd house having an in-ground sprinkler system... most of them running every day rain or not, in spite of the fact almost every town around here has permanent annual water bans due to aquifer depletion.

Many of these new homes would not be able to maintain any ground cover at all without the irrigation and artificial fertilizer since all the top soil was scraped off during construction... whereas in the older part of town where I am full of 150+ year old houses most of us have perfect green - if weedy - lawns with no watering and minimal care. Real topsoil has many benefits.

Ten yrs ago or so I read about resercher who were trying to cross an African grass that grows about an inch per yr with lawn grass from the US.I doubt the lawn industry would look favorably on such a grass although homeowner wouldn't need a mower hire it done as needed maybe a couple of times a yr.

New Jersey has decided to mow its highways and turnpikes less frequently, and to allow more area to remain fallow. As a result, Interstate 295's median in South Jersey is now full of wild flowers and small trees. For safety reasons, they still mow close to the road, but the medians are now like little wild fields.

Until we build the Rail Lines down those medians in New Jersey...
Although actually one of the great advantages of Rail is using 12x less green space so you could run 2 or 3 or even 4 tracks down the medians and still have room for trees like those I see on my daily Rail commute just a foot or so from the train...

Texas has the a no-mow policy in Spring, during wildflower season. It really shows, even outside of the hill country. But they also had a policy of sowing wildflowers, or at least bluebonnets. That's the best alternative to mowing - sow native wildflowers, let them bloom like crazy in the spring, and let the good publicity do the rest!

I'll tell you one thing - if you ever go to the Texas hill country during the flower season, you'll never forget it!

Camphill in Minnesota harvests prairie seeds and sells to MNDOT to plant mostly along interstate. ARC in Mobile Alabama used to have a program for mentally challenged individuals in a contract of mowing for Alabama Power, maybe two decades ago. Not only kids, but mentally challenged individuals could be doing lots of this sorts of green landscaping. At least in Canada, it is mentally challenged (but security cleared) individuals shredding the tax forms that are shredded in Winnipeg.

Becoming a bit more common in upper midwest: Huron Parkway Prairie

My son is one of those guys. Not what I would be doing myself, but there is a market for it; he stays busy. His wife does the books and he has a cousin who works with him. Drives a school bus during the off season. Sometime when he's over and not dead tired from work I'll have to show him this Scything Video that was posted here recently.

I'm not denigrating the people who do the work - I know some and it's hard work, and some are quite knowledgeable. It's just that it's very wasteful of fuel and it's hard to believe that it's still viable, and I gotta believe there's going to be a big reduction in the market for it.

I know you are referring to people who cut lawns for a living, but I was thinking about what it would take in terms of fuel prices to get to the point where I wouldn't cut the lawn for the sake of expensive fuel vs just being sick of the chore. After doing some mental math, I think it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of $50-70/gal gas before it became an issue. That's for my 6.5HP self-propelled push mower though. I don't know how the fuel usage is on those large riders that everyone seems to have nowadays.

I know you are referring to people who cut lawns for a living, but I was thinking about what it would take in terms of fuel prices to get to the point where I wouldn't cut the lawn for the sake of expensive fuel vs just being sick of the chore.

The real question in my mind is why we allow people to have lawns in the first place?! It should be declared a criminal offense!


According to a separate estimate, by the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly a third of all residential water use in the United States currently goes toward landscaping.

Just keep yer cotton pickin hands off my god given right to have a green lawn!


Drought Prompts Natural Disaster Declaration in 26 States

My son and I have discussed peak oil. He knows I know what's going on; every spring he asks me what I think the gasoline price range will be for the season, so he can plan his billing accordingly :-/ I only wish I knew. Ironically I'm not a fan of perfect lawns myself, and agree with most of the posters here. As for my son, he's a hard worker and I think he would be just as happy or more so doing permaculture farming, but for now he's making a decent living mowing professionally and enjoys doing it. And he's pretty flexible when it comes to actually making changes, and adapting to the new challenges that we discuss as being possible in our future.

Rising Acidity Brings an Ocean of Trouble (subscription required)

When the wind blows from the north as it normally does in the summer, it pushes the surface waters out to sea, drawing up cold water from the deeper ocean. That water is enriched with carbon dioxide (CO2), given off by microbes as they metabolize organic matter that sinks to the ocean bottom. When the CO2-rich water washes into Netarts Bay and the intake pumps and oyster larvae tanks at the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery, the excess CO2 causes the seawater's acidity to spike and reduces the amount of carbonate ions that oyster larvae use to build their shells.

The change can kill oyster larvae instantly or stunt their growth. In 2007 and 2008, Whiskey Creek lost 80% of its annual larvae production and nearly had to close up shop before Barton, working with regional scientists, fingered rising ocean acidity as the source of the problem. Now, the hatchery copes with fluctuations in pH by making sure to draw water into its tanks only after acidity declines. But even that success has left Barton frustrated.
As the pH of seawater drops, it has other effects. The lower carbonate availability drops a measure known as the saturation state of different mineral forms of calcium carbonate, such as calcite and aragonite. Aragonite saturation is particularly sensitive to rising acidity, because that mineral form is more soluble. It also turns out to be the essential ingredient that oyster larvae rely on in their first days to build their shells. If the aragonite saturation state falls below a value of 1, a condition known as undersaturation, already-formed aragonite shells will dissolve. But trouble starts well before that. If the aragonite saturation state falls below 1.5, some organisms, such as oyster larvae, are unable to build shells during the first days of their lives, and they typically succumb quickly.
Before industrialization, undersaturation of this top layer in the CCS almost never occurred. Today, Gruber says, undersaturation conditions prevail there 2% to 4% of the time. By 2050, CCS surface waters will be undersaturated for about half of the year. Just as bad, aragonite saturation levels above 1.5—the conditions under which larvae can thrive—will largely vanish from surface waters. Moreover, as increasing acidification of surface waters diffuses into the depths, undersaturation conditions (with the saturation state below 1) will exist year-round in deep waters, making life essentially impossible for shell-building organisms there. This combination could spell doom for Pacific oysters in the northwest, a $110-million-per-year industry.

A very interesting look at a largely hidden aspect of CO2 emissions Eaarth's future under BAU...

E. Swanson

Killing our food chain from the bottom up, what a novel approach to self-extermination! There's prolly a song in there somewhere... I'm thinking blues.

Quick! Use technology to save 'em!



The method we examined, known as BiorockTM Technology,
has shown to increase coral growth during coral reef restoration projects. The technology works by
using electrostatically mediated calcium carbonate deposition on submerged metal structures. The
accreted minerals may be more bio-available to the oyster on the metal structure and therefore,
possibly promote oyster shell growth. One goal of this study was to see if this method can be used
to aid in oyster reef restoration.

Combine water-located wind turbines that have, as part of their design part of the load going into the local water to help un-screw-up da sea.

Combine water-located wind turbines that have, as part of their design part of the load going into the local water to help un-screw-up da sea.

Um, that only works in an ocean that is not acidic in the first place.

a new coal offload dock is being proposed here in western
washington state, between the two oil refineries in ferndale.
the coal will be delivered by trains running along side puget sound
spreading coal dust into the fragile ecosystem.
in the race to kill the planet, this should win an award for
efficiency in doing so.
are the planners proposing this smarter than yeast ? no..

That sounds suspiciously like a snafu, Fubar :/

i attended an informal waterfront meeting on wednesday
on the invite from the local sustainable city organization.
the meeting conducted by the mayor was about solutions to
increased coal train traffic situations ,being that we have
the second busiest ferry terminal who's traffic crosses the
tracks at the dock on main st and three blocks south there is another st which has a RR crossing where there's a yacht basin,
resturants , beach parks etc.
their concern is safety due to coal trains blocking emergency vehicles and the slowing of ferry traffic.
their solution is to dig roadways under the tracks at both roads for est $70m which would probably be $100m+ by the time they study it to death. these roads would be dug beneath sea level, less than 100 yards from the beach. oh, that's a good idea..
so ,, they want to spend $100 million dollars so coal trains can
spill toxic coal dust the entire legnth of puget sound ?? our chinook salmon are on the endangered species list, is toxic coal dust good for the millions of juvenile salmon that exist there ?
just how in thee f*** would the epa ever let them do this ?
what about all the other species and our children who play at the beach ? why don't they just say no coal trains,keep the coal in the ground for future generations and use the $100m
to clean up the mess the RR has already made of our beaches. howza bout some artificial reefs to enhance sealife ?
makes my blood pressure 'bout boil over,, /rant off

The killing of the oceans is depicted in the movie Soylent Green. At first the green squares doled out to people are made of plankton, high in protein. But when the oceans die they make the green squares from people (also high in protein) and presumably green dye. But there aren't enough dead people yet to feed everyone, so when the people panic they are scooped up for conversion into green squares to feed the remaining people.

We have to wonder if that goes to the idea of extrapolating a progression too far. We better hope.

And we have the process worked out now - pink slime becomes green slime?

Yeah, Soylent Pink just doesn't have the same ring to it :)

The movie is based on a story, for those that might be interested in reading it.


The novel was the basis of the 1973 science fiction movie Soylent Green, although the movie changed much of the plot and theme and introduced cannibalism as a solution to feeding people.

re: Falkland Islands: Premier Oil plan leads UK and Argentina to new dispute

I covered this same story back in July 2010 with a post titled Oil Discovery in Falklands and ended that post with the following:

After reviewing the available data on production and consumption we now have a better understanding of the importance of the Falklands to both these nations. The UK is (or at least should be) increasingly desperate to secure fresh supplies of oil as North Sea production peters out. Argentina, on the other hand, is staring at declining income from oil exports as existing fields deplete. Whether Argentina allows the British to proceed unchallenged in the development of what many Argentines still consider Argentina’s patrimony is very much in doubt.

Best Hopes for a non-violent resolution to the upcoming dispute.

In the intervening two years, the UK has indeed become somewhat desperate while Argentina has become more bold about protecting their patrimony. (see Argentina nationalizes oil company YPF)

These plots from the recently updated Energy Export databrowser show why:

The UK and Argentina are now both net importers of crude oil. (And of natural gas and coal if you bother to look.)

Allow me to repeat myself:

Best Hopes for a non-violent resolution to the upcoming dispute.


Whether Argentina allows the British to proceed unchallenged in the development of what many Argentines still consider Argentina’s patrimony is very much in doubt.

We all know what happened the last time Argentina challenged British sovereignty over the Falkland islands. Britain still has one of the biggest navies in the world, and Argentina is still totally disorganized.

As we used to say out on the sandlot when I was a kid, "Don't try to play hardball with the big boys. They play for keeps"

Argentinian politicians are making noise to deflect (rightful & accurate) criticism of their terrible economic policies. Behind closed doors, they have to know the UK would crush them again.

The UK and Argentina are members of a growing club, AFPEC (Association of Former Petroleum Exporting Countries).

I have generally used three members of AFPEC 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 (BP, total petroleum liquids), with consumption of 4.3 mbpd, and net exports of 2.7 mbpd, with an ECI of 1.64, but they showed a combined five year production plateau from 1995 to 1999 inclusive, with production ranging between 6.9 and 7.0 mbpd. 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 from 1998 to 2008, 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.

Starting from the beginning of the production plateau in 1995, the combined initial six year rate of decline in the ECI ratio was 2.7%/year. At this rate of decline, they would hit an ECI ratio of 1.0 (and thus zero net oil exports) in 2015. They actually hit zero net oil exports in 2008.

In other words, the actual net export decline was faster than what the initial six 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:


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

In today's Guardian, front page,

" ... the Foroign Office has admitted it is now concerned about allowing the sale of certain specialist equipment to Argentina, which has included anti-submarine hardware, as well as components for military radar and combat aircraft."

I wonder if they still have a few of those Exocet's around?


Shale will free US from oil imports, says ex-BP boss

The big growth in oil extracted from shale rock means the US will not need to import any crude within two decades, the former boss of BP has said.

Lord Browne told a conference in Oxford the US would be "completely independent of imported oil, probably by 2030".

He also said the amount of shale gas in the US was "effectively infinite".

- "effectively infinite"

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

We can then use that effectively infinite energy to get that effectively infinite gold out of the sea.

It's a plan!

The US may very well be free of oil imports by 2030. Not through shale oil or oil shale exploitation though.

thought that as well - as for infinite supply , well , yes probably as nobody is going to be able to afford to buy it!

"the market is well supplied " ;-)


2030 is 18 years away. In that time,they have to build some 15~ million barrels a day of oilproduction. That is nearly one million new barrels each day added, every year. They must see them self what this sounds like when you listen to it.

Ah hah! The Princess Bride. Inconceivable :)

Signs of the Peak Oil times:

Job-hungry Alberta scours globe for workers

Employers in Western Canada, and particularly in the ever-expanding oil industry, have been looking for workers farther and farther afield to fill jobs in resource development. The early favourites decades ago were farm kids from Saskatchewan. Then it was women and First Nations. Then it was Newfoundland. Then they brought in planeloads of workers from northern Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia in elaborate fly-in and fly-out schemes.

Today, with those sources tapped out and more and more projects on the horizon, the new fix is foreign labour.

More recruitment missions will be held in October in Ireland, where the unemployment rate is at a 20-year-high of 14.4%, and in Scotland, where the unemployment rate is 10.4%. In both countries, many skilled workers are looking to leave

Of course, many Canadians are descended from people who immigrated from Ireland and Scotland, and when the vast Canadian Prairies opened up to homesteading, about a million Americans showed up to take advantage of all the free land - my own ancestors among them. The more things change the more they stay the same.

DEP Secretary: Methane may have leaked through perforations in Bradford gas well

High levels of methane may have infiltrated private water wells and streams in Bradford County through small open spaces in a natural gas well that Chesapeake Energy was working to patch, state environmental regulators said Thursday.

The description of the gas well failure was included in a letter from Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer to the Clean Air Council, an environmental group that commissioned a study last month that showed twice-normal concentrations of airborne methane in a roughly two-square-mile area of Leroy Twp. where the gas was found bubbling in streams and water wells.

Bryce Payne, Ph.D., an environmental scientist at Gas Safety Inc. and the report's author, said the data he collected shows "definitive impacts" well beyond the 2,500 feet from the Morse pad where DEP said Chesapeake was screening for methane in water wells in a press release attached to Mr. Krancer's letter.

It's worth noting that methane is not a toxic substance, and that human beings emit methane themselves - particularly after a big dinner of Mexican food involving refried beans. Cows are also major methane sources.

Airborne methane is only a problem if it reaches explosive levels, which is not likely to happen over a large area for a small gas well. Methane is lighter than air, so it rises into the atmosphere. The only danger is near the leaking gas well.

- ... methane is only a problem if it reaches explosive levels...

Methane 'other problem' is it's a potent greenhouse gas; and if the methane can find it's way to the surface - so can the brine and other fracking fluids.

How would that not be impossible for all but shallow shale wells (which probably should be treated with greater care, but don't exist in any active fields I've visited), given the pressure from the liquid column will completely offset the formation pressure, at least after the first few months of depletion? Any gas after the flow falls below critical rate will bubble very slowly through, and liquids will flow not at all.

For most wells removing liquids is a constant struggle -- removing oil for sale, and water because it blocks the flow of gas and oil.

Unlike mining waste, which is a neglected pile of liabilities for everybody, natural gas is a valuable commodity and keeping wells intact until cap-and-abandon is a sound business goal.

We've had old oil and gas wells of various sorts for decades, with rusting casings and fewer casings and cement layers than the deeper shale wells of today. Why aren't the water aquifers of TX and OK universally fouled by now?

Don't get me wrong, bad wells WILL happen, and some leakage of various sorts will happen, but not very often, and probably without much damage. Society WILL gladly pay the price of such industrial incidents, as they always have. I fully expect Europe and S. America to someday be covered by in-fill drilling for little pools of oil like it is here in the US. It'll just take some gov't upsets and reallocation of property to enable drilling in other areas.

"toxic" is a relative term. Depends on how much, and to what. Too much water can kill you. CO2 in the right concentration is essential (or at least innocuous) to life, but, as we are beginning to see, it too can get to such a concentration as to be toxic. Methane, at the wrong concentration in the wrong place (i.e. the atmosphere) can also be toxic.


More Amazon extinctions looming unless action is taken: study

Scientists in London are predicting that for many species it may take several generations after deforestation of the Amazonian rainforests in Brazil before they become extinct.

Leader of the research team, Dr Robert M. Ewers from Imperial College London, said there is a time lapse between deforestation and extinctions because animals do not usually die directly, but are forced to live more densely in smaller areas. This leads to increased mortality through reduced breeding rates and more intense competition for food.

also Lemurs sliding towards extinction

A new survey shows lemurs are far more threatened than previously thought.

More than 90% of the 103 species should be on the Red List, they say.

Since a coup in 2009, conservation groups have repeatedly found evidence of illegal logging, and hunting of lemurs has emerged as a new threat.

Don't worry, the invisible hand will find a low cost replacement for Lemurs.

We'll adapt to that! The lemurs won't.

Who needs Lemurs when we can build a Lemur app for facebook and iPhone?

I imagine it will resemble that Japanese robo-dog introduced a few years back. Maybe they will hire you to do the programming. Cute. Climbs trees, Throws s#$%!

July heat wave set records across Northeast

July's recent heat wave broke records for longevity and came close to all-time temperature in several major cities, says Jessica Rennells, a climatologist and extension support specialist at the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell.

Below are data tables showing detailing the heat wave.

Throwaway Economy Headed for Junk Heap of History

In their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, American architect William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart conclude that waste and pollution are to be avoided entirely. “Pollution,” says McDonough, “is a symbol of design failure.”

The challenge is to re-evaluate the materials we consume and the way we manufacture products so as to cut down on waste. Restructuring the transportation system has a huge potential for reducing materials use as light rail and buses replace cars. For example, 60 cars, weighing a total of 110 tons, can be replaced by one 12-ton bus, reducing material use 89 percent.

Bottled water is even more wasteful. In a world trying to stabilize climate, it is difficult to justify bottling water (often tap water to begin with), hauling it long distances, and then selling it for 1,000 times the price of water from the kitchen faucet.

Manufacturing the nearly 28 billion plastic bottles used each year to package water in the United States alone requires the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil. This—combined with the energy used to refrigerate and haul the bottled water in trucks, sometimes over hundreds of miles—means the U.S. bottled water industry consumes roughly 50 million barrels of oil per year, equal to 13 percent of U.S. oil imports from Saudi Arabia.

I find the use of variations on "the dustbin of history" very ironic considering from where it was popularized:

"You are pitiful, isolated individuals! You are bankrupts. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on—into the dustbin of history!" - Leon Trotsky

Then as now it is covert wishful thinking which stands in the way of considerations of how to get rid of things we find rotten.

This is a cool video from NASA showing how the Curiosity rover will (hopefully!) be delivered safely to the surface of Mars on Aug 5.

Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror

When people look at, it looks crazy. That's a very natural thing. Sometimes when we look at it, it looks crazy. It is the result the of reasoned engineering and thought, but it still looks crazy.

Thanks for the link.

I'm actually a little nonplussed by the extra styling they gave the video. I don't doubt that those 7 minutes are truly intense and despairing to the legions of folks who've invested years of their lives in this project, but the overdramatized tone (the cutting, lighting of intvws and the 'Armageddon' score) actually gets in the way of the truth of this whole endeavour, and the real drama that plays out.

I guess that's why I prefer C-span and TOD to CNN and Law and Order.

In any case, I'm eager to see how the landing comes off.. and still hugely impressed by the outstanding performance of the Solar EV's that are there already.. Spirit and Opportunity.

Study sheds light on vulnerability of polar ice sheets to modestly warmer climate

A new study by a University of Florida researcher finds that sea level peaked between 18 and 30 feet above current sea level during the last interglacial period approximately 125,000 years ago.

The range of sea level maximums that they estimate for the period suggests that part of the Greenland ice sheet had collapsed, as well as a large portion of the West Antarctic ice sheet and possibly sectors of the East Antarctic ice sheet.

... Polar temperatures are of particular concern because scientists predict that a complete collapse of an already unstable West Antarctic ice sheet could cause average sea level to rise by approximately 10 feet rather precipitously. The process may have already begun with the western shelf of Antarctica’s ice sheet slowly sloughing off into the warming waters of the Southern Ocean. ... given the current trend of warming, the planet may already be committed to a path that the population isn’t prepared to deal with.

“This can be a runaway process,” she said.

Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Rapdily

Today at Summit, the highest point in Greenland, at 3,200 meters, the temperature reached 36 degrees (F). This is believed to be an all-time record.

Yesterday, the flow rate of the glacial discharge into the Watson river at Kangerlussuag was 3,500,000 liters/sec. The previous record flow rate was 2,000,000 liters/sec.

The below link is a video of the bridge across the river, which divides the town, being washed away by the raging torrent of water:


As of 2006, the annual ice loss from all sources, Greenland, Antarctica and Mountain glaciers was estimated to be ~900 Gigatonnes. I've seen some speculation that this years ice loss on the Greenland Ice Sheet alone might approach 1,000 GT. So much for North Carolina's plans to limit sea-level rise to 8 inches in the next 90 years.

Idaho researcher building used nuclear fuel sensor

Much of the 6,200 metric tons of used nuclear fuel generated by U.S. power plants over the last 40 years is stored safely in giant stainless steel casks. Darryl Butt, a Boise State University professor, is part of a team researching whether it can be stored that way for at least 60 more.

The containers are overseen by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and licensed to store fuel rods for 60 years. Some spent rods are now 30 to 40 years old.

There are no known containment failures associated with dry cask storage, and the focus is now on whether used nuclear fuel can be stored safely in casks for 100 years or more.

Much of the 6,200 metric tons of used nuclear fuel generated by U.S. power plants over the last 40 years is stored safely in giant stainless steel casks. Darryl Butt, a Boise State University professor, is part of a team researching whether it can be stored that way for at least 60 more.

How Much? 1%? 5%? 75%? I suspect it's not what I'd call "much".

And 60 years is like pissing in the ocean. It's such an absurd time frame in comparison to the real requirements that it seems utterly irrelevant.

Edit: And it's not "safely" in those casks. I'd much prefer it be in casks than pools requiring active cooling and maintenance, but if all you do is put it in casks and leave it there you virtually guarantee the region will be contaminated. The contents of those casks will remain very dangerous much, much longer than the casks will remain intact. All that has to happen is that the stuff is released, to be distributed by wind and rain and locally concentrated by life processes.

Cyber war on Iran has only just begun

... "With Stuxnet, they lost about a year. And it caused a lot of confusion. They really didn't know what hit them," he said. "It looks like a viable way to disrupt their program."

The United States, which reportedly masterminded the Stuxnet operation along with Israel, has every incentive to press ahead with a cyber campaign to undermine Iran's atomic ambitions, according to analysts.

The next cyber attack, possibly in combination with more traditional spycraft, could shut off valves or issue incorrect orders that might cause an explosion at a sensitive site.

"I think that it could get more violent," Albright told AFP. "I would expect more facilities to blow up."

... "The part that we probably miscalculated on in Stuxnet was the (possible) assistance of the Russians in attribution," said James Lewis, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"The Iranians never would have figured this out on their own," said Lewis, a former senior government official with the Departments of State and Commerce.

Bombing raids are "more likely to explode the region and certainly could lead to a conflict with Iran, and that would be very messy," said Lewis. "Cyber is much cleaner."

... Can you say 'Blowback'

The next cyber attack, possibly in combination with more traditional spycraft, could shut off valves or issue incorrect orders that might cause an explosion at a sensitive site.

The next? http://www.zdnet.com/us-software-blew-up-russian-gas-pipeline-3039147917/

"In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines, and valves was programmed to go haywire, after a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds," Reed wrote. "The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space."

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Armed Conflict in Syria: U.S. and International Response

After over a year of unrest and violence, Syria’s crisis is characterized by dilemmas and contradictions. A menu of imperfect choices confronts U.S. policymakers, amid fears of continued violence, a humanitarian crisis, and regional instability. The potential spillover effects of continued fighting raise questions with regard to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel.

Larger refugee flows, sectarian conflict, or transnational violence by non-state actors are among the contingencies that policy makers are concerned about in relation to these countries. The unrest also is creating new opportunities for Al Qaeda or other violent extremist groups to operate in Syria.

The security of Syrian conventional and chemical weapons stockpiles has become a regional security concern, which will grow if a security vacuum emerges. Many observers worry that an escalation in fighting or swift regime change could generate new pressures on minority groups or lead to wider civil or regional conflict.

From the wayback machine ...

July 13, 1977: Massive Blackout Plunges New York Into Rioting

The blackout couldn’t have come at a worse time for a city that was already down on its luck. When the lights went out, New York was in the midst of a financial crisis and teetering at the edge of bankruptcy. The rioting and looting that followed the blackout marked one of the lowest points in New York history.

In all, 1,616 stores were either looted or damaged during the blackout. More than a thousand fires were set, 14 of them resulting in multiple alarms. And in the biggest mass arrest in city history, 3,776 people were thrown in the jug. The jails were so overcrowded that the overflow had to be held in precinct basements and other makeshift jails.

... all in less than 24 hours.

Tanker tracker 'Oil Movements' reports: OPEC exports sailing smoothly through troubled waters

Like the article, Saudi production up with Opec oil price down, up top, all the media attention is on how much output OPEC and especially Saudi Arabia has provided lately. Indeed Saudi Arabia has increase output, although the quality of that output - especially at the margin - appears to have gone down. There is considerable evidence that about 300,000 bpd of the 'surge' in Saudi Arabia's output from about March until June was lower quality sour heavy crude. Yes it is possible for some refineries to process that lower quality stuff, although Saudi Arabia was counting on the rebuilt Motiva refinery, now the largest in the US, to use the bulk of its marginal sour heavy crude. [Motiva is half owned by Saudi Arabia].

According to TV reports in Saudi Arabia on June 25:

TV: Kingdom halts oil exports to US Port Arthur refinery. According to an oil industry source, Saudi Arabia halted crude oil shipments to the newly expanded portion of Motiva 's Port Arthur Refinery in Texas, following the shutdown of a massive oil unit due to technical problems. The source said that the shipments would be stopped until the middle of July. This follows the first public confirmation of problems at the new crude distillation unit. Motiva imported 315,000 barrels per day of Saudi oil in the first quarter of 2012 with an increase estimated by 112,000 barrels per day compared to 2011.

So far there has been no clarification as to when the Motiva refinery unit capable of processing 300,000 bpd of heavy sour oil will restart.

Meanwhile, tanker tracker 'Oil Movements' reports that OPEC exports have been stuck at around 24.0 million barrels per day - as they have been for the last three months. Also that level of 24.0 mbpd was seen at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, as well as in early 2011 right before the Libya uprising.

In other words, OPEC members so far have perfectly balanced the loss of Iranian exports with increases from other members - most of that from Saudi Arabia. This is quite an accomplishment, since export losses from Iran since year end were thought to be down at least 500,000 bpd in early July.

It remains to be seen if OPEC can further offset additional Iranian export losses that are likely following the tough enforcement of the sanctions regime that the US implemented yesterday.

July 12, 2012

OPEC exports to rise in 4 weeks to July 28-analyst

Jonathan Saul
Alison Birrane

LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) - Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will rise by 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to July 28, an analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.

Exports will reach 24.00 million bpd on average, compared with 23.77 million bpd in the four weeks to June 30, UK consultancy Oil Movements said in its latest weekly estimate.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumps more than a third of the world's oil.

OPEC left oil output limits on hold last month, powerless to do anything other than leave Saudi Arabia to decide whether to scale back supplies to stem a slide in prices below $100 a barrel.

source: thomsonreuters.com

Thought this interesting. High Urals Oil Demand Will Not Last – Analysts

Experts also doubt if Saudi Arabia will be able to fully replace supplies from Iran.

"It is doubtful from the point of production. Many U.S. experts are sure that Saudi Arabia is now at the peak production and nobody knows if the country can raise oil output by 10 percent more per year," said Konstantin Simonov, general director of Russian National Energy Security Fund.

I am sure they are not counting me as one of those experts but I agree with them, Saudi is at peak production and they definitely will not increase production by 10 percent per year. They will have Manifa come on line in two years at, they claim, 900,000 barrels per day, but that will only cover decline for two or three years, if that.

Ron P.

Kjell Aleklett at ASPO went through all the Saudi data recently and said at the last ASPO conference that he expects Saudi to maintain a 11 mb/d maximum production capacity for the next decade or so. This is more or less in line what the former head of engineering at Saudi Aramco stated to the US embassy according to Wikileaks.

But you know, the huge loss of oil demand from China helps, Europe in recession and the U.S. at growth rates of around 1.4 % on an annual basis.

China electricity growth is at 0.7 % in June on an annual basis. It was 14.3 % last year this same month. And electricty growth is usually higher than real GDP growth.

So the IEA now expects world demand to grow by about 0.7 to 0.8 mb/d which is peanuts. The historical average is about 1.6 mb/d.

But all of us know this. We can't have normal growth because of oil prices. Right now the system is treading water. Some demand destruction will occur and a recession is probably what OPEC would need right now for some breathing space.

But again, permament recessions means a prolonged depression. Which isn't great for social stability. And politics itself could in the end influence oil use even more dramatically. Both in the exports, but I expect even more so in the importing countries. Just look at Argentina/UK standoff. Now you have the corn disaster in the Mideast. Guess what that will make to food prices the coming year, especially places like Egypt.

Egypt imports mostly wheat rather than corn and indeed is the world's biggest importer of wheat despite being a large producer of wheat, and has the highest per capita consumption. Most of the population have a low to very low consumption of meat, consuming mostly grains and legumes. The US wheat harvest is important on the world scene and Egypt had long term Russian contracts interrupted by Russian drought conditions in 2010 and was importing from Australia and USA.
USA corn exports are mostly used for feeding livestock in many regions.
A brief review of the importance of grain imports in general in MENA region is here http://www.peopleandplanet.net/?lid=30301&section=33&topic=23

Yes, all you said was true. But you forget to mention that food prices tend to go up in tandem. And that meatprices have repercussions far more outside the West than ever 20 years ago as meathabits have exploded across the developing world.

One billion vehicles on the road. This excludes off-road and heavy duty vehicles that are likely among the most polluting ones.
How many countries have stringent vehicle pollution control measures that are enforced?
From http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/07/1-billion-cars-infographic/

Most of the growth is taking place outside the world’s largest auto market — the United States — where vehicle registrations only grew by 0.3 percent between 2009 and 2010. As you’d expect, the countries where a burgeoning middle class is on the rise — China and India — are snatching up inexpensive wheels at a rapid rate, with the former posting an astonishing rise of 27.5 percent and the latter growing vehicle registrations at an impressive 8.9 percent.

Only one billion? But this is terrible - it means that there are some people who don't have cars! We cannot rest, we must try harder, we must provide a car for everyone, even the starving. Life is just not worth living without a car.

Lucas Foglia: the photographer in search of off-the-grid Americans
Raised by back-to-the-landers, he scoured the US in a camper van, seeking out people who have gone further than his parents

Thought this may be of interest to some here.


Nice piece from Matt Yglesias for Slate:

China India Brazil and other Developing Countries Soon will consume most of the world's oil

In the near future, trends in global commodity prices—most of all the highly variable price of gasoline—are more likely to be driven by policy changes in Asia than in the United States, making America’s perennial game of political whining about the price of gasoline even more ridiculous than usual.

Yes, that's very true. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the developed world is not driving the increases in oil prices. Consumption in the US and the EU has been falling, but the international price (as represented by Brent, not WTI) has been hovering in the $100/bbl range for quite a long time now.

It is the BRIC countries and the OPEC consumers of their own oil which are going to be dictating the world price of oil in future, and given the vast number of new middle-class consumers they have, they could drive it out of the range of those people in developed countries who want to drive gas-guzzling SUV's to work every day.

Its always those pesky 6 billion people who do not live in the US, EU, and Japan that cause all the problems. They want to eat more eggs and meat. They want to have plumbing and hot water. They want to have buses, taxis, and worst of all cars! Who do they think they are? Just because they make everything doesn't mean they deserve a share of the goodies does it?


By 2020, Melinda Gates hopes to have extended the use of forced sterilization through manipulation of foreign governments to further the scheme of preventing 80 million of “unwanted pregnancies” in places like Africa, India and Southeast Asia.

Total Energy = Energy used per person * Number of people

Balance the equation.

Some of you may not read George Ure - this observation about the job market may be of interest (due to a job conversation in the past):
http://urbansurvival.com/week.htm (the URL will work till the next drumbeat)

Coping: Robo-Waiters vs. Old Humans (Tukwilla, WA) So here we are, having flown way more than halfway across America for meetings...."Hi, I'm (name withheld) and you can order anything we have with the terminal there..." she explained. And, she pointed at what looked like an Androidy thing on the table before us: ..... Turns out that thanks to a fancy computer system, the corporate owners of this chain (and we go there because we do like the food) had sent Waitperson #1 home because the computer projected that last night's order flow wouldn't justify having that many humans around pulling hourly wages. And, since Waitperson #1 had punched in first, she had the first option of going home early if desired. ... And once that's in play, it's only a short distance to replacing the hash-slingers in the kitchen. I figure within 10 years, or less, we'll be eating mass-manufactured super TV dinners, delivered on conveyors, ordered with the Androidy thing that greeted us last night.The only hope is that waitperson #2 - who declined to offer further computerized food-ordering lessons - will stand her ground. She obviously "got it" that by teaching (programming) us to play nicely with the Androidy thing, she was working herself out of a job long-term.

People are expensive and unreliable. Is it any wonder that the savvy manager attempts to minimise, outsource and automate them as much as possible?

Fast Food delivery is an obvious case where you can trim the human element hard and improve both quality of service, and profit margins. Most McDs have 8-10 spotty, minimum wage, kids there, most of the time. Cut that to 2-3 and profits rise.

A friend of mine in ND just told me that the WalMart in Williston ND is seeking employees to work for $15/hour starting, and the company will provide free housing in a 'man camp' located in Watford City, some 45 miles away. Wal-Mo will of course provide free buss shuttle service to/from man-camp and work. I would bet that that Wal-Mo offers a health plan and a 401K as well.

Maybe Wal-Mo will look into developing/buying some shelf-stocking/floor-cleaning robots, and more automated check -out systems.

I told my bud that in a couple of decades there will be even more ghost towns in ND when the oil depletes enough...unless Global Warming will drive lots of people to migrate up there to escape the heat.

Climate change campaigners cautioned over reaction to extreme weather
Republican congressman says climate change sceptics will intensify attacks if recent weather is flaunted as evidence

Massive drought, probable large scale crop failure, temperature records falling like nine-pins, inland hurricanes but, whatever you do, don't rub it in.
If it wasn't for Global Dimming and it's probable 1/4 to 1/3 f-stop of shading we'd be even more screwed already, but, for dog's sake don't rattle the idiot's cages with facts!


Yes, dimming is a real component offsetting some of the already built in warming. If the industrialization stopped tomorrow the aerosols would stop being emitted, the skys become clearer and temps would go even higher. Probably the final insult we will endure for our wayward ways once this super geologically brief cheap oil empire ceases.

"Honey, due to hyper-inflation our money isn't worth anything anymore, our crops failed due to drought and high temps, our foreclosed home has been flooded by sea level rise, and because the industries aren't spewing tiny particles anymore it's now getting even hotter!"

"But I thought you were certain all that global warming stuff was a conspiracy by the liberal elitest to get federal grants to avoid real work by going on field trips to collect data?"

"Oh, let's not play the blame game. What we need to do now is positively focus on our future."


In the face of horror a man has two options: fight or flea.

In the face of inconvenients truths a 'real' skeptic will allways attack.

Judge OKs rooftop missiles during London Olympics

"...And now the British army will be putting a battery of high-velocity missiles on the roof.

The defense ministry says the missiles, capable of shooting down a hijacked aircraft, are a key piece in the elaborate jigsaw of security for the London Olympics, which start July 27..."

I hope this idea doesn't set a precedent.

You mean like the anti air missiles that have been around the whitehouse for decades now?

Nothing says "Olympic Spirit" more than a battery of hot missiles pointed at the venue.

Maybe climate change deserves its own website it could be called The Frying Pan (TFP).

FOP...(frogs in pots).

WTF ...(Wild Temperature Fluctuations).

FUBAR... (Freaky Undulating Biospheric Anomalies Revealed)

new dinosaur species fossils found on Ak N slope


DOA... (darned overheated atmosphere)

Full speed ahead, oilsands project builders declare

Despite pipeline uncertainty, wide price differentials and lower benchmark crude prices, oilsands operators at a conference in Calgary this week say they remain committed to billions of dollars in expansion.

They remain committed. Indeed.

If the numbers work now, think what a great upside they have once the differential collapses.

They are anticipating the price differentials to collapse over the long term as more pipelines are built to take oil and bitumen to market.

Imperial Oil starting to build the $10 billion Kearl project in 2008 when oil prices were $40/bbl is widely considered an astute move. It reduced costs considerably by having construction occur in a period of economic downturn and limited wage increases.

The big oil producers are anticipating higher prices in future because they are not buying into the cornucopia delusion of unlimited oil supplies. They know how big their oil reserves are, and it's not big enough.

Imperial plans new oil sands project near Kearl

(Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd is planning a large, steam-assisted oil sands project near its C$28 billion ($27 billion) Kearl mining development in northern Alberta, which is set to start producing later this year, its chief executive said on Wednesday.