Drumbeat: August 8, 2012

Calls to scrap ethanol mandate intensify with drought

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The drought that's killing crops across the Midwest and sending corn prices to record highs has revived calls to end or ease the government's requirement that corn-based ethanol be blended with gasoline.

Current rules stipulate that nearly 10% of the nation's gasoline supply come from corn-based ethanol. To make that ethanol, up to 40% of the country's annual corn production can be required.

Oil Declines From Two-Month High Amid Signs of Economic Weakness

Oil dropped from the highest close in more than two months in New York amid signs of weakening demand in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer, and slowing growth in Germany.

Futures fell as much as 0.9 percent, dropping for the first time in four days. Crude consumption declined 4 percent to 15.9 million barrels a day last week, the biggest percentage decrease in a month, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed. Gasoline usage was the lowest since February, according to the API figures. German industrial production declined in June, led by a drop in construction output, data from the Economy Ministry in Berlin showed today.

Gas price watch as Chevron response to refinery fire criticized

RICHMOND, Calif. -- Investigators were looking at how a small, seemingly insignificant leak at one of the country's biggest oil refineries quickly unraveled into an intense fire that sent acrid black smoke into the sky and hundreds of people to hospitals with health complaints.

The leak started as a drip at about 4:15 p.m. Monday, officials said. Chevron -- which is required to "immediately" notify the public of any gas leak, fire or oil spill, according to state law -- did not consider it an immediate danger to residents nearby.

UK prompt gas prices rise on low North Sea supplies

LONDON (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices rose on Tuesday morning as low North Sea supplies left the system undersupplied despite healthy import levels of liquefied natural gas (LNG), analysts said.

Russia, Armenia Agree Gas Price Deal

"I think we have come to an agreement about pricing for gas supplies. The price should be based on actual market price of gas taking into account ... regional tariffs for the Armenian economy to maintain its efficient position," Sargsyan told reporters after talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Iraq's Kurdish region resumes crude oil pumping

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq -- Iraq's self-ruled northern Kurdish region has resumed pumping crude oil earmarked for export through the central government's pipeline after halting it for four months over a payment row.

OMV profit leap beats forecasts as Libya recovers

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian energy group OMV posted a 82 percent increase in quarterly operating profit on Wednesday, easily beating market forecasts, as production returned to nearly normal in Libya and crude oil prices fell, helping its refining margin.

Standard Chartered Falls Most in 24 Years on Iran Probe

Standard Chartered Plc fell the most in almost 24 years as an analyst estimated it may face costs of $5.5 billion after being accused of violating U.S. money laundering laws over its dealings with Iranian banks.

Jordan confirms it is hosting defecting Syria PM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Syria's defecting prime minister Riyad Hijab is in Jordan, the country's information minister said Wednesday, ending speculation about his whereabouts.

China's ICBC wins Saudi branch licence -reports

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has decided to let Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the largest Chinese commercial bank, open a branch in the country, a sign of growing economic ties between the world's top oil exporter and second-biggest oil consumer, local media said.

BP to sell liquefied petroleum gas business

LONDON (SHARECAST) - Oil giant BP has announced that DCC, a sales, marketing, distribution and business support services group, has agreed to buy its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution business in the UK.

Texaco's pollution of Ecuador's indigenous lands brought to light in new DVD

Lago Agrio means bitter lake, renamed from Nueva Loja by the areas first oil workers after Texaco’s US headquarters. And what Texaco left behind is certainly bitter. After dumping toxic waste directly into rivers, they were ordered to stop and instead built holding pits, of which over 1,000 still remain. They are unlined, meaning they overflow when it rains, and when it’s dry they seep toxic waste down into the ground and contaminate the water.

Amazingly this information is not widely available, so I decided to take a trip from Ecuador down the Amazon to Brazil, in order to research the effects of the oil industry on the land and its people.

Jeff Rubin gets Peak Oil wrong

Two hundred and twenty five bucks. In April 2008, Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, predicted a barrel of oil would cost $225 by 2012. With oil at $118, it was a controversial call.

It's a disaster that 'peak oil' is not a disaster

The error of the peak oil alarmists was not understanding that the cure for high prices is high prices. When prices rise, this may indeed signal scarcity, but if so, it also provides a financial incentive to throw investment, ingenuity and effort at the problem. Moreover, a high price for one commodity makes alternatives more competitive by comparison.

NPC Future Transportation Fuels Study: Advancing Technology for America’s Transportation Future

Profound changes are possible with disruptive, yet highly uncertain, innovations such as ultra-light-weight vehicle materials; new electric vehicle battery technologies; low-cost, low-pressure storage for natural gas or hydrogen; or breakthroughs yielding lower cost, low carbon transportation fuel.

Yet despite sustained investment in technology and infrastructure, these fuel and vehicle advances are not assured. There are competing priorities in the pursuit of new fuel and vehicle technologies that are at once reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible. Striking a balance that meets individual and societal goals is the challenge at hand for both industry and government.

How the U.S. can avoid a blackout like India

Another heat wave is forecast to blanket much of the United States this week. We already have a drought to deal with. Could a power outage like the recent ones in India be next here if temperatures don't cool off? The answer is a resounding yes.

So rather than wait for another big blackout like the one in the Northeast nearly eight years ago, we need to put a big emphasis on fixing our country's "ancient" power grid.

UK efficiency drive skips commercial sector

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is missing a huge potential for electricity savings by companies as the government focuses on a higher-profile effort to upgrade residential property and raise standards for home appliances and light bulbs, a draft government report shows.

Green energy, politics lead agenda at Vegas summit

LAS VEGAS — The politics of renewable energy headed the agenda in battleground Nevada on Tuesday, as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar opened a fifth annual green energy conference with the announcement that a 12-square-mile wind energy farm in rural White Pine County will begin producing electricity.

Clean energy ‘mega-trend’ sweeping globe

OTTAWA — A dependence on fossil fuel resources is making the country vulnerable to a planetary “mega trend” toward low-carbon energy that “will affect the whole of Canada’s economy,” Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was told in newly released internal briefing notes.

Dubai lights up major solar power plan

Dubai Municipality plans to use solar technology to reduce its consumption of traditionally produced electricity and water by 20 per cent over the next five years.

River of tension divides China and India

A proposal for a Chinese hydropower project is threatening to derail relations between India and China.

There are fears in India that the project, involving a 38,000-megawatt dam near the "Great Bend" of the Yarlung-Zangbo-Brahmaputra, may potentially reduce the volume of water flowing into India and Bangladesh.

How an EPA project backfired, endangering drinking water with lead

Millions of Americans may be drinking water that is contaminated with dangerous doses of lead. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knows it; state governments know it; local utilities know it. The only people who usually don’t know it are those who are actually drinking the toxic water.

Was It Hard, Our Year in the Woods? Yes and No.

When our nearest neighbors in Maine (two miles away) saw us for the first time after the winter, they said, “Oh, you’re still here.” I wasn’t sure if it was a statement or a question, but I was sure that many doubted our ability to cope with the shift from a suburban New Jersey life to an off-the-grid cabin in the woods of Maine for a year.

Capturing the Winter Songs of Rare Whales

Oystein Wiig, a co-author of the new paper, has been studying Spitsbergen bowheads for 20 years. One reason it’s important to know that the critically endangered whales winter in the western part of the strait, he said in an e-mail, is that oil exploration may begin there in the future.

Obama Is Fast-tracking an Environmental Disaster to Please Big Oil

No comprehensive scientific study on the Arctic Ocean has been conducted by this administration, yet the most dangerous form of drilling is about to take place there.

Arctic oil money awaits

Norway’s supply industry has major moneymaking opportunities by developing new technologies for field development in the Arctic, according to Intsok.

The foundation heads a project for promoting oil and gas sector industrial cooperation in Arctic waters between Russia and Norway.

2012 Warmest Year on Record for Northeast, Cornell Says

High summer temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest have boosted electricity demand, helping natural gas end July by rebounding 69 percent from a 10-year low in April.

U.S. criticised for backing away from U.N. climate goal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and small island states criticised the United States on Tuesday for backing away from a U.N. goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F).

They urged almost 200 governments to stick to the target, one of the few agreed goals in international climate policy, even though U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said it was unworkable.

U.S. affirms support for U.N. climate goal after criticism

OSLO (Reuters) - The United States reaffirmed support for a U.N. goal of limiting global warming after criticism from the European Union and small island states that Washington seemed to be backing away.

"The U.S. continues to support this goal. We have not changed our policy," U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said in a statement on Wednesday.

Factbox - Main issues to be resolved in U.N. climate talks

LONDON (Reuters) - Almost 200 countries face the tough task of agreeing a new global climate deal by a deadline of 2015, forcing all nations to curb emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

Analysis: Green growth not targets needed for 2015 climate deal

LONDON/OSLO - Green economic growth rather than strict targets for cutting greenhouse gases needs higher priority if the world is to reach a deal to fight climate change by a 2015 deadline.

World Bank unveils carbon incentive plan in Philippines

The World Bank said on Monday it plans to buy carbon credits from pig farms in the Philippines, helping farmers generate extra income by setting up environment friendly waste treatment facilities.

WH Counting the carbon cost of the EU's woods

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - What do olives stones shipped from the Mediterranean to Sweden and a wooden bed have in common? They can both count as part of EU efforts to limit the amount of carbon leaking into the atmosphere and, as such, they are hotly contested.

FACTBOX-Biomass energy, carbon and forestry

(Reuters) - Forest and farmland together cover more than three quarters of EU territory, but their role in capturing and releasing carbon emissions is not fully documented. Proposals to tighten the way emissions from agricultural and forest land are calculated will be debated over the coming months in Brussels.

The following outlines the situation so far.

Preparing for the Next Big Flood

A new analysis of worldwide temperatures over the past 60 years has found more evidence that global warming is already upon us, and is responsible for extreme heat waves -- such as the ones in Russia in 2010 and in Texas and Oklahoma last year.

Naturally, this refocuses attention on the current U.S. drought. Left out of the discussion, however, is another, equally serious and already pressing consequence of human- induced climate change: sea-level rise. On all coasts, we face a huge and building threat from too much water.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 3, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.6 million barrels per day during the week ending August 3, 36 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 92.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging just under 9.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.7 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.6 million barrels per day last week, up by 221 thousand per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.9 million barrels per day, 453 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 457 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 71 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 369.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.7 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.9 million barrels per day, down by 1.9 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 8.7 million barrels per day, down by 4.2 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 2.8 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 3.6 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Trial by Fire

Even before the major Richmond, CA refinery fire on Monday, US West Coast gasoline supplies [see above] had been diminished by another earlier destructive fire at a west coast refinery. At one point a few months back, wholesale gasoline prices in the Northwest were $1.10 gallon higher than the NYC futures price after regional supplies reached critically low, ‘bottom of the barrel’ levels, as a consequence of planned refinery maintenance and a damaging fire at a major Washington State refinery. Repairs after the fire at the Washington state refinery took months.

Indications are that the loss of gasoline output from the Richmond, CA refinery will be about 150,000 bpd. Repairs here may also take months. This loss, coming at a time of already low west coast supplies, may well lead to the resumption of a large premium of west coast gasoline prices as compared to the rest of the country.

Nationally refiners keep gasoline output about the same as the prior week, but inventories still fell. Inventories typically fall through the end of the summer driving season, which unofficially ends about Labor in early September. Retail gasoline sales are down about 3% as compared to last year, per MasterCard [see below].

Elsewhere in the report, oil inventories have fallen about 10 million barrels over the last two weeks. After careful review, it does not appear that EIA monthly revisions of May’s weekly reports had much if any effect on the numbers. The main reason behind the fall is lower oil imports, more specifically lower imports from Saudi Arabia. They are down about 400,000 bpd from the levels of three months ago. Saudi Arabia is intentionally reducing oil exports to the US while the largest US refinery, Motiva, is being repaired after an operational error caused major damage to the refinery just as the new heavy crude unit was started. Saudi Arabia was counting on the rebuilt Motiva refinery to use the bulk of its marginal sour heavy crude. [Motiva is half owned by Saudi Arabia].

U.S. gasoline demand dips as prices rise: MasterCard

Others are picking up the meme ...

Refinery fire could boost gas prices nationwide

... "August looks like a very touch-and-go month for the entire country," says OPIS analyst Tom Kloza, who expects price relief after Labor Day. For the year to date, gasoline has averaged $3.61 a gallon — 10 cents more than the average for all 2011, the most expensive year ever, he says.

Patrick DeHaan, senior oil analyst for gasbuddy.com, expects California, Oregon and western Washington state to experience price spikes like the ones that hit major parts of the Midwest in June, when an Illinois refinery shut down and three others in the state cut production.

"The West Coast is on the launch pad waiting for takeoff," DeHaan says. "We're talking over $4 a gallon, easily. It's not going to be good for motorists."

Prices in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota remain as much as 39 cents a gallon higher than the national average of $3.65 a gallon, according to the Oil Price Information Service. "The infection is going to spread from the Midwest to the West Coast," DeHaan says.

The main gasoline distillation unit at Richmond apparently did not suffer major damage, but the fire is not completely out (see below). It may be possible to produce some gasoline at a reduced rate but it is too early to estimate the total impact of the fire.

West Coast wholesale prices actually fell back to about a 20 cents/gallon premium to the NYC futures price, as compared to 26 yesterday. But note it took more than a month after the Washington State refinery fire earlier this year for west coast gasoline prices to hit their peak.

Richmond refinery sees second, small fire at scene of Monday's blaze

Note: There are 37 related pictures at the link above.

Are these fires very common? How much of the total US refinery output is affected by these fires? Thanks

A rough guess may be that there are about 100 fires reported per year. About half do not appear to have much effect on output, if any. About 40% result in some type of refinery slowdown or shutdown for about 1 to 3 days. Only about 10 fires a year seem to have a severe impact on a refinery's output.

My observation, not supported by any scientific survey, is that operational problems seem to increase as output nears maximum operational capacity, and also increases with the length of time operating at or near capacity.

Chevron buying gasoline in San Francisco after refinery fire: trade

Houston (Platts)--9Aug2012/318 pm EDT/1918 GMT

West Coast gasoline differentials rose sharply Thursday, with Chevron heard buying barrels in San Francisco, where it lost a main unit to fire Monday at California's third-largest refinery.


Calls to scrap ethanol mandate intensify with drought

Not going to happen in my opinion. The farm and corn lobbies will fight hard to keep that precedent from being set. They are already furiously pumping out press releases designed to downplay the impact of the drought. Keep in mind these are the lobbies that managed to keep subsidies in place for years -- even after they got their product mandated.

Since refineries are operating at 95%, pretty much flat out, and are certainly showing their age, I don't see how the US can afford to reduce it's gasoline inputs by another 10%. Right; it ain't gonna happen.

Eliminating mandate may not happen this year but the movement to scrap it may succeed post election, after a year of food prices rising 10 to 15%.

I just returned from two trips, one from Missouri to southern Colorado, and a second from Missouri to eastern Pennsylvania. The corn in most areas is very distressed to prematurely dead. I stopped along the roads (many were not Interstate highways) and looked at the corn. A lot of fields will produce no corn as the ears are so small and often devoid of kernals. In other fields I saw corn that had ears but stalks were only 4 to 5 feet tall. Stalks this short do not produce the normal two full ears each 10 to 12 inches long. Instead they will produce one or maybe two ears about 5 inches long. Thus the yield will be way down even where corn has matured.

Bottom line is I think US corn crop overall will be down 30 to 40% from last years harvest. Just six weeks ago the USDA was predicting harvest of 3 or 5 percent better than last year. So, last year almost 40% of crop was for ethanol, about 40% was for animal feed (everything from cattle to chickens to pigs to catfish), and balance went to export. Grain stores have been declining for a couple years so the US cannot just take more grain from storage.

Bottom line IMO is that exports will be reduced dramatically and using corn to feed animals will drop as farmers sell off the stock instead of paying for high priced feed. Ethanol production will decline some and the reduction in motor fuel will be replaced by larger ipmorts of gasoline from OPEC and ethanol from Brazil. The grain importing countries will criticize the US for using food for fuel, especially China and India. But, IMO within a year the ethanol mandate will be gone.


Coskata switches focus from biomass to natural gas; to raise $100M in natgas-oriented private placement

“In North America there’s a golden opportunity,” Coskata CEO Bill Roe says, in bringing the Digest up to speed with changes at Coskata. “The sea of natural gas is almost a problem, leading to historic price dislocation, and a level of availability that has not been seen for a long time. With our technology, it will give us a lower ethanol cost on a per gallon basis, and a remarkably lower capital cost because the kit that one needs to aggregate and gasify biomass, and then condition the syngas, is appreciably more than reforming natural gas.”

Our first project will be based on 100 percent natural gas, and will produce 17 million gallons of ethanol.

Forget about the corn/biomass to Ethanol, just use the Nat gas instead. That is what Coskata is doing. It will not make the farmers, environmentalists happy, but it seems that is how the economics are working out. It sounds like one of those laws of unintended consequences deals.

I am not sure how the mandate law is written. Does it state the ethanol must come from corn? I can't believe it could be that specific as they use Brazilian sugar ethanol!
I can hear the screams from the lobbyists already.

Yes, the corn looks awful. It is hard to believe that we will get 10,000 billion bushels out of what I have seen.

Corn exports are only ~12% of corn demand. The southern states who had a good crop and are harvesting early are flooding the export market this week. This corn goes to the export market because of proximity.

Brazil is importing gasoline and the sugarcane crop was not good for ethanol again this year so they do not have any exports and will not have any next year. Ethanol production has increased in the US the last two weeks because DDGs have doubled in price.

meat producer are already planing ahead and importing corn from Brazil, securing relatively low prices before the situation turn worse.
This mean even less corn available for other countries. So I expect ethanol production to continue almost fully this year even if the USA becomes a corn importer rather than exporter. But I agree that the situation can't last forever, specially if next year corn crop is also poor.
Well, at least in my area of Southeast France corn is doing great and wheat crop was really good. There is some problems in northern France due to to much rain for wheat harvest but the situation is improving.

Resident of SE France.

Could you check out my essays on Montpelier and Aubagne (and any other towns you may know) and see anything I might have missed = accuracy check. Any other towns you would recommend profiling ?




Hi Alan,
I might not be the best for a detailled evaluation since I lived in the US (San Diego area) for 12 years before going back to France in 2010. I used the tramway in Orleans in 2010 and it was fine and well integrated in the city specially since it uses older line. I have indirect knowledge of the tramway in Le Mans, my home town: People were much in favor of it before construction started, then for two years they complained because of the road closures ans construction all over the places. But now they love it. Some good communication skill is important during the construction phase, for example providing advance informations for road closure and trying to keep work going on smoothly. Note that public transportation system like tramway increases the value of nearby properties and stores... which is a good selling point for local people.
I work in Lyon and commute by train (TER) and tramway almost all the time for Villefranche sur Saone. It takes about as much time using public transportation than using a car but it is far less stressful and way cheaper.
Lyon would be a good example of public transportation... including its limits since there is still all lot of traffic jam (partly due to the geography): There is a subway network, tramways, multiple train stations for commuter trains, a project of train-tram, electric trolley-busses, classic buses, a popular bike renting system.
The tramway in Lyon is good but is often saturated during rush hours, a classical problem. Sometime you just can't go inside the tramway (line T1 going to the university). Hopefully the new line extensions and increase in tramway lenght will alleviate the problem. Here is a site with a nice picture of tramway in lyon
http://www.sytral.fr/12-tcl-tramway.htm as well as informations on the transportation network.
It is interesting to note that people on bike often use the tramway path even when tramways are runing, so you get bike lines for free in a way.

If you can read French or use google translate, there is a wiki page on tramway in France:
I looked at it and your webpage seems to include all the known tramway and confirmed projects. There is a project in Ajaccio (Corsica), some tramways crossing borders: Basel (CH) to Leymen (FR) and Sarrebruck (GER) to Sarreguemines train station (FR) plus some project between Geneva (CH) and Annemasse (FR).
Some other projects are still controvertial like the tramway of Nîmes (construction started in 2011 then stopped after 3 months and now apparently cancelled by lack of money) or Toulon.
There is also a tramway supposed to open in 2015 in Fort de France (Martinique, a Caribbean island)

There are also successful projects in the US, like "the sprinter" a light train in Southern California near where I used to live (Oceanside to Escondido): http://www.gonctd.com/sprinter/
I will mention the most stupid train stop I have ever seen: Sorrento Valley on the coaster line, just a mile away from the University of California San Diego. It is stuck at the bottom of a mesa between the highway 5 and a steep slope with no access beside the freeway.

Lyon is on my list of cities to do.

Could you send me an eMail - my address is linked to my name (just click).

Best Hopes for More !,


From Big Picture Agriculture...

What Percent of this Year’s U.S. Corn Crop Will be Required to Fulfill the Ethanol Mandate?


I’ve simplified the answer to the question by ignoring RINS credits and ethanol in storage, cutting to the crux of the issue. And of course, final corn crop production numbers are premature.

To do my calculation, I used the following:

To produce the 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol mandated this year requires 4.7 billion bushels of corn.
U.S. corn yields may average 117.6 bushels an acre this year, according to the results of a survey of 1,900 growers by Farm Futures magazine. This would amount to 9.86 billion bushels.

In 2013 the ethanol mandate will rise to 13.8 billion gallons, an increase of 4.5 percent over this year.

I am not sure we should simplify things like that. Ethanol will use an estimated 3.8 billion bushels next year considering RINs. That is 38% of the crop if the production number comes in at 10 billion bushels (which I think may be at least 10% too optimistic). Ethanol also produces DDGs which are fed to livestock so the actual corn off the market is around 25%. Overall corn consumption will have to fall about 25% next year based on 10 billion bushels.

I believe the ethanol mandate will be dropped. Folks like their meat and a 25% meat supply reduction will not be palatable. Folks also like their liquid transport fuels but they won't figure that out right away. Catch-22.

Iowa farmer here, and I say get rid of the damn mandate.

There's plenty of demand destruction to be had when crappy (literally and figuratively) meat goes up in price 50%. Fast food joints can just shift from meat to adding soy and dried distillers grains as filler, and nobody will know the difference because all the taste is manufactured in a factory in New Jersey.

I see some pretty hefty growth potential for integrated crop-livestock operations that market directly to consumers.. No need to eat less meat, as long as you get it from a farmer that grows his own livestock feed. You might pay more, but your health and taste buds will thank you.

Back to ethanol... the only way we will use less than 3.5 billion bushels, mandate or not, of corn for ethanol is if the price of gasoline drops to $2.50 a gallon. If I do some sloppy math, $2.50/gallon gas means an ethanol plant can pay $7.50 for a bushel of corn, and then sell the DDGs at exhorbinant prices to pay for the labor and natural gas to run the plant. If gas is $3/gallon, I'm going to guess ethanol plants can still pay $9/bushel for corn, and we aren't there yet.

If you start having to ship a billion bushels of corn around instead of using it at the ethanol plants, which are next to the cornfields, you're going to use a lot of diesel fuel as well, and the only way that happens is if petroleum stays low.

Now, on the other hand, if Chesapeake energy implodes, and natural gas goes back to the $6/mmbtu, there will be a significant reduction in corn used for ethanol... at least until plants retrofit to burn corncobs instead of gas. Just watch... if we have a good crop year in 2013, and $4.00 corn because everybody planted it, and there are no feeder cattle to eat it (or the DDGS), they might even burn corn.

It will be difficult to drop the mandate- corn growing states are numerous and have a fillibuster lock on the Senate- the effects on food prices won't be strong enough in the US to move people who have power and vote (not the poor) Starvation in other nations will not bother most Americans enough to act. The ethanol lobby is well organized.

Couple of relevant items from Big Picture Agriculture's Agriculture News August 8 2012

● Cargill’s CEO Greg Page said in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post, “We need to move to more market-driven biofuels policies, not inflexible mandates, subsidies and tariffs.” (W-P)
K.M. Note: While I loved hearing this statement from Page, I suspect it had something to do with this next news item since Cargill is a large ethanol producer . . .

Assuming one bushel of corn distills into at least 2.75 gallons of ethanol, companies stand to lose 48 cents on every gallon produced, based on the December contracts for the commodities. (Bloomberg)

In cash market trading, ethanol on the West Coast slumped 4.5 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $2.755 a gallon and in Chicago the additive decreased 4 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $2.545, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It's a bit confusing, why is the price of ethanol going down when the price of corn is so high. The ethanol mandate is a mandate, the blenders have to blend it in... unless they have the RINS credits not to. Which I suppose may be why, or maybe the market is wondering if the ethanol mandate will be set aside?

Whomever wrote that at Bloomberg knows nothing about the industry. There's this thing called 'basis', which is the cost to ship the corn to chicago. It's around $-0.25 in my area for corn delivered in October. What this means is that the farther west of the Mississippi you go, the larger the basis gets, and the cheaper the corn gets. Those ethanol plants in Nebraska and Iowa buy corn in advance for a pretty good discount, and then ship the ethanol via unit train, most likely to the west coast given current prices.

According to http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/gx_gr121.txt DDGs are $290-$305 per ton. wikinvest has some real math on the 'ethanol crush' spread, which any serious corn ethanol investor needs to know. But apparently if you are a New York bloomberg reader, you don't need to be serious.

I'll be happy to take the ill-informed bloomberg reader's money. Just please don't turn around and whine about 'speculators' driving the prices up.

No way it'll happen, for those reasons, and also because retracting the mandate would set a very unwelcome larger precedent: Making basic energy and materials considerations a factor in transportation policy -- a.k.a. acknowledging that cars-first living is a problem, rather than an undebatable premise.

Meanwhile, not to worry! If you read down in that CNN story, you'll learn that all this heedless corn-burning is "spurring" the mighty cellulosic methanol industry!



Re: Jeff Rubin gets Peak Oil wrong (uptop)

As usual, no discussion of actual global crude oil or net export numbers.

Basically, as global annual crude oil production virtually stopped growing in 2005, with a very slow increase in annual total liquids production (inclusive of low net energy biofuels), and as global net exports of oil (GNE) started falling with the developing countries, led by China, consuming an increasing share of a declining volume of GNE, annual global crude oil prices only doubled once, instead of twice. Jeff Rubin, like a lot of people (including yours truly), overestimated the ability of the developed countries to buy $100 oil.

Of course, in the 2004 time frame, Daniel Yergin was promising an indefinite return to $38 oil, as global production "capacity" increased at about 3%/year.

My 2¢ worth:

Available Net Exports (GNE/CNI ratio)

The following graph shows the GNE/CNI ratio (ratio of Global Net Exports* to Chindia's Net Imports**) versus Estimated post-2005 Available CNE*** (Cumulative Net Exports).

In 2005, there were 8.9 barrels of GNE for every barrel of oil that Chindia net imported.

In 2011, there were 5.3 barrels of GNE for every barrel of oil that Chindia net imported.

Except for residents of Fantasy Island, the significance of this trend would seem to be obvious.

An extrapolation of the six year 2005 to 2011 decline in the GNE/CNI ratio suggests post-2005 Available CNE of about 168 Gb.

There are about 157 net oil importing countries in the world. An extrapolation of the 2005 to 2011 data suggests that the total post-2005 supply of Cumulative Net Exports that will be available to importers other than China & India could be about 49% depleted as of the end of 2011.

*GNE = Net exports from top 33 net exporters in 2005, total petroleum liquids production less liquids consumption, BP + Minor EIA data

**Chindia's Net Imports = Total petroleum liquids production less liquids consumption, BP

***I projected the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the GNE/CNI ratio to estimate when the GNE/CNI ratio would theoretically equal 1.0, and I then estimated the area under the triangle, to get estimated post-2005 Available CNE of about 168 Gb.

It's a disaster that 'peak oil' is not a disaster

Interesting how some folks try to make a point by redefining aspects of a situation:

"When prices rise, this may indeed signal scarcity, but..." "But" meaning that scarcity of any vital commodity isn't always a bad thing.

"... it also provides a financial incentive to throw investment, ingenuity and effort at the problem". IOW it's a good thing to have to spend an increasing amount on developing new sources that were either too expensive to develop previous or couldn't for lack of technology to do so. And in additional to higher development costs more capex has to be invested to develop new tech that may, or may not, help the situation.

"... a high price for one commodity makes alternatives more competitive by comparison." Again, what wasn't cost competitive before now will be assuming we can afford the higher price tag.

Reminds me of the sad joke about a politician addressing the virtue of being poor: IOW it makes you appreciate having a steady minimum wage job. Or, as some say in Texas: the best thing about wearing cowboy boots is that it feels so good when you take them off. LOL.

Though some have gone to the extreme I don't recall many here using the term "disaster". But certainly a lot of chatter about many of the associated negative aspects of PO. Some of which the subject article appears to agree with in a rather oblique way IMHO.

Also, in the same item,

However, the Hubbert theory, suitably simplified, became popular with environmentalists and left-wing anti-capitalists, who yelled that any day now we’d hit an oil production peak, after which prices would skyrocket, supply would dwindle, and we’d all sit around with stupid expressions wondering what happened to all the cars.

Rockman, "Left-wing anti-capitlaist." LOL!!!!


Pickens is also quoted and must therefore be a left-winger.
Let's just call it Picken's 5-Year-Plan from now on, so that we know who's camp he's in:-/
Anyway, isn't it interesting that those who refuse POs thesis (however simple or complicated) use all liquids, which of course increase as their power decreases? Pickens could have said 75mbl (c+c) will be the top - and would have been right...

Cheers, Dom

Do refineries regularly catch fire and only because of other fires these new fires are being reported?

eric - I've known many refinery workers over the years. Yes...there are a lot of fires/explosions. But most small with limited damages. The vast majority are never reported by the MSM. Often the safety systems catch the problems before they reach catastrophic levels. I live across the highway from one of the largest refineries in the country. At least once or twice a month there's an "emergency flare off": somewhere in the system something goes out of balance/control. The safety system diverts to the emergency flares and a bigger problem is avoided. Given all the decades they've been refining I gather that the process is just that difficult/dangerous so there's an almost constant potential for problems. I've known a number of plant safety officers who burned out early on. There are thousands of accidents every year which are never seen by the public including an occasional death. Even in Houston the report of the death of a local refinery worker gets mentioned in a 15 second spot and never comes up again.

Googling "refinery fire" it took me a few minutes to determine that somewhere in the U.S. there was a refinery fire on July 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and August 2 and 7. I only searched back as far as July 16.

So, yes, refineries do catch fire quite regularly. But most fires are quickly extinguished (one of those I found was extinguished in ten minutes), and cause little damage. They also quite often have what is called an "unscheduled flaring event", which sounds like something very similar to a fire.

Refinery fires make the news when the smoke from the fire goes outside the property, especially if it reaches a sensitive area such as a school, or if there is enough damage to shut down all or part of the refinery for more than a day or so. A fire really makes the news when someone is hurt or killed, but that only happens occasionally.

The frequency of minor fires in refineries, and hence the presence of well trained and equipped firefighters and designs which isolate damage, is probably why terrorists don't seem to have had much success attacking refineries: they might seem like a tempting target, but they really are quite damage-resistant.

civil emergency alert issued SF , stay indoors,close windows.

Local TV says it is a false alarm.

The story has since been refuted. There was no alarm according to local emergency sources.

Take the tape off your windows and doors. And, turn the A/C back on!!!


Ying-Yang has an interesting comment on this story at ZH:

Since the Mossad and CIA planted Stuxnet in Iran, would it be make since that Stuxnet might have something to do with these 2 events? They said they would hit back against those who did it. Stuxnet is designed to show normal, non-emergency settings on monitors. Things can be turning very bad but the screens show no emergencies until something gives.

Or in this case a false alarm......

This could also explain some of the trading abnormalities that have arisen in the recent past (i.e. Knight Capital). Perhaps we are in the middle of a cyber-war and not yet aware of it.

Calls to scrap ethanol mandate intensify with drought

So who's business model gets impacted?

"Big Food" - the people who, hand in hand with the 1970's Earl Butz's 'cheap food' plan "need" cheap feed to bring you cheap meat?

Or the businesses who were formed to enter a government protected market and meet the government mandate?

As for the lead pipe issue - http://www.chloramine.org/chloraminefacts.htm

Plumbing Problems and Some Implications for Health Chloramine can cause leaching of lead from lead pipes, lead soldering and from so called "lead free" brass plumbing parts

Bank cuts growth forecast close to zero

The Bank of England has cut its growth forecast to close to zero from about 0.8% predicted in May, as the double-dip recession intensifies.

The quarterly inflation report indicated no growth for 2012, compared with 2% predicted a year ago....

..."The big picture is that output's been flat for two years, and has continually disappointed expectations of a recovery," he told a news conference.

"We are navigating rough waters and storm clouds continue to roll in from the euro area," he added.

France to fall back into recession says central bank

France's economy will fall back into recession this quarter, the country's central bank has predicted.

The Bank of France estimates that the economy will contract by 0.1% in July to September. It has already predicted a fall of the same level for April to June.

France posted zero growth in the first quarter of the year.

Steve Ludlum (‘Steve from Virgina’) pins down the why pretty well:

The World Crisis in 1000 Words (or less)

Our crisis is the unraveling of modernity and associated industrialization due to resource/capital depletion (Hall, Kümmel). This is the consequence of a ‘culture of excess’ that refuses to accept limits: there is human over-population, too many machines along with extractive industrial agriculture. Failures in credit- political- and production sector marketplaces are the manifestation of resource/capital depletion. What is underway is ‘conservation by other means’.

Modernity is a long-running process (400 years). It has been too successful too long for it to continue. Modernity cannibalizes its capital, as such our crisis is irreversible. Conventional marketplace remedies such as debt jubilees/write-offs, re-distribution, bailouts, stimulus, austerity policies, monetary easing, etc. have no effect on outcome other than to worsen conditions. These are efforts to reclaim capital that no longer exists. Consequently, remedies accelerate unraveling process by increasing gross debt (claims against capital) while exposing remaining capital to consumption at higher rates. The capital ‘pie’ cannot be redistributed, only a new and much smaller pie is to be had and carefully tended. Our smaller pie of non-renewable resources is what we have to make use of, to last us and the rest of the world’s creatures until the end of humanity....

...Economists insist that capital is symbolic (money) rather than material. Capital = resources (Daly), all industrial money is debt. Abstract money is infinitely reproducible, material inputs are not. Existence of debt-money is incentive to waste even as input constraints unravel input-dependent enterprises (petroleum fuel, also topsoil, water and waste-carrying capacity).

Waste-based economy depletes the capital it requires. Adjusting the waste-based economy to operate at greater efficiency depletes capital more thoroughly at a higher rate (Jevons).

I've always considered 'growth' to be an illusion; a case of us moving stuff around to promote our expansion as a species, but in reality a negative sum game of destroying substantive usefulness to ourselves and the biosphere. Limits to our illusion of growth have always existed. The dream is ending. Reality's cold, rainy Monday morning has arrived. Wake up, sleepy head...

No economic doom and gloom for some time...when do the European holidays end ??

Olympic games. Normal service will resume on Monday.

Conventional marketplace remedies such as debt jubilees/write-offs, re-distribution, bailouts, stimulus, austerity policies, monetary easing, etc. have no effect on outcome other than to worsen conditions. These are efforts to reclaim capital that no longer exists.

Speaking of which, rumormill has it the Fed are angling towards QEIII.


The minutes from the June FOMC meeting revealed a larger number of Fed officials either favoring or willing to consider additional easing if conditions weaken. Members noted even greater uncertainty and risks skewed to the downside, suggesting that additional easing may occur sooner rather than later. We expect that the outlook will be weak enough to warrant addition Fed easing by the September 12-13 FOMC meeting; we look for Fed officials to both push out their forward guidance on rates until at least mid-2015 and to launch QE3.

During the June FOMC meeting, the Fed announced the extension of its maturity extension program (MEP), aka "Operation Twist." In an MEP, the Fed buy long-term bonds and finances those purchases by selling short-term bonds. Ultimately, the goal is to lower long-term interest rates.

I suppose if expensive oil cannot generate capitol like the cheap stuff use to, then some very fancy accounting must take place. It will be very interesting to see how much money will get printed in a QE3, i.e. do they take the restraints off and go real big, like 2-4 trillion? The reason I suggest that is because as we move forward with little to no growth, the desperation to reingnite the economy to higher growth suggests much bigger stimulus is needed. The risk is inflation, and if they get too reliant on QE's for too long or go to big with them, then hyper-inflation could act to end the game.

Earl, I think the rumor part is dead on. Only thing, I don't think they have any idea what to do or when to do it. There is, frankly, little left other than QE's (which really are merely money printing in disguise). I read somewhere of negative interest in a few nations, maybe Scandanavian? Like, "Here, I will pay you to keep my money safe." Bankers must love that idea!!!

Meanwhile, I suggest you sit back, get some popcorn, and watch the comedy.



...watch the comedy. Enjoy!

Sound advice!

Farce and popcorn. It's the new bread and circuses.

Some bonds have been in slightly negative territory, but Swiss bonds went wildly negative:

Let's suppose for a minute that the Fed and (at least some at) the Administration realize full well that we can't, from a resource/capital perspective, afford to grow the economy, that growth is, indeed, an illusion. As Steve suggests, above, any stimulus or QE that they throw at the economy will go POOF, only increase debt and make things worse. We no longer have the oil to return to 3% growth. Other forms of real capital are also becoming constrained, and substitutes don't have the density or ROI to offset declines in our industrial inputs. Suppose they know that any further stimulus will only exacerbate our economic and environmental problems.

Wouldn't their actions, their words, and their manipulation of the data and public perception be what they are? Methinks they have no choice but to play a game of social and economic stasis, stall as long as they can and let things play out.

We're stuck, and slowly sinking into the mud of our past. Best to keep the passengers distracted; baffle'em with bullsh@t and let the MSM keep as many as they can singing "Row,row,row your boat"...

Methinks they have no choice but to play a game of social and economic stasis, stall as long as they can and let things play out.

People who can think up QE's & Operation Twists are surely smart enough to know it won't work in the long haul, so it must be as you say above - stall as long as possible.

Here's an interesting article from someone in the economics community on why we have not responded to people highlighting the finiteness of the world.

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue60/Bouleau60.pdf (Link is a PDF)

Here are a couple of nice quotes from the conclusion.

"Randomness hides trends. It is precisely for this reason that there is randomness in financial markets. For if the trends were clear, they would be immediately exploited, and their clarity would disappear. In hiding these trends, randomness weakens the arguments that one can derive from the finiteness of the world and its limits. This is one reason why the warnings given by the Club of Rome were not acted upon: bell curves – quasi-exponential growth, overshoot, peak, decay and collapse – we do not see these in prices."

"Until the 18th century it was the “elements” that were random; humans actually occupied only a tiny part of the planet... Humans occupy the majority of the planet and it is they, by economic reasoning and free-market logic, that are the main source of randomness. The economy is now the environment that the environment finds itself in. Neoliberalism has become the storm, against which the world needs protection."

"someone in the economics community"

Did you mean "an economist"?

No, I did not mean economist. He's a Mathematician who works in economics. I don't know what he studied in school, but it does not look like he calls himself an economist.


Mostly I was just glad to see this kind of stuff discussed in an econ journal, even if it is an online and poorly circulated journal.

Matt, from Australia:

Iran's 2nd and last oil peak:

Sinkhole methane bubbles now 'more prolific'

Methane bubbles in the Bayou Corne community area sinkhole that emerged late last week have become more prolific, according to the local sheriff and the sinkhole depth, reported earlier Tuesday to be 372 feet deep, is reported to be 381 foot deep Tuesday evening.

The slurry area is south of La. 70 South, 2,500 feet from the nearest home in the Bayou Corne community, and only 1,500 feet from a butane-filled cavern.

In 2010, between 600 and 700 acres of sugarcane in Assumption Parish fell victim to a blowout that spewed oil and saltwater in Assumption Parish. Residents had been evacuated then, too, to prevent injury and death from Mantle Oil and Gas LLC well that spewed oil, gas, brine, sand and other materials into the air.

The Bayou Corne sinkhole is approximately two miles from the site of the 2010 oil and gas blowout.

Zombie Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Biologist daughter sent me this link for keeping up with the local activities regarding the Bayou Corne "sinkhole."


From the Assumption Parish Meeting, Tuesday, August 7, 2012 Powerpoint presentation(pdf):

What we have done:

Parish reported natural gas bubbling to DNR/OOC on June 11
Immediately contacted pipeline companies and gas storage operators

– Reviewed pipeline and gas storage cavern integrity tests

– Reviewed/inspected oil and natural gas well locations

- Coordinated with USGS to place seismographs to document tremors

- Executed contract to analyze gas samples for comparison to pipelines

- On Aug. 3, day following discovery of sinkhole:

– Identified Texas Brine cavern as potential cause

– Issued emergency order to Texas Brine to evaluate cavern integrity

– Issued orders to pipelines to empty and shut in

– Issued notice to cavern gas storage operators to take precautions

DNR/OOC met with other agencies and industry to share available information and current data needs on Aug. 6

Ongoing involvement:

•OOC began day-to-day presence at the parish’s command post in July

•DNR/OOC has participated in more than 40 conference calls/meetings to date

What We’ve Learned to Date:

• Pipelines are not the source of the bubbling
• No abnormal air quality detected

• Sinkhole/slurry area is approximately 372’ in diameter and
422’ deep

• 400’ of Crosstex pipeline bowed approx. 16 down and 15’
toward sinkhole

• Seismic activity, prior to sinkhole, reported to be shallow

• Significant seismic activity ceased hours prior to sinkhole

• DEQ testing indicates elevated salinity and traces of diesel in sinkhole/slurry

• Bubbling continues in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou

China tightens controls on rare earths production

China's government has further tightened curbs on production of rare earths used in mobile phones and other high-tech products in a move that might inflame trade tensions with Washington and Europe.

Regulations issued this week say mines and smelting companies must meet minimum output levels to continue operating. The state newspaper China Daily said Wednesday that might result in 20 percent of the country's production capacity to be shut down.

Mines must have yearly output of at least 20,000 tons, while smelters must have production capacity of 5,000 tons per year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Up to one-third of China's 23 mines and about half of its 99 smelting companies will fail to meet the new standards, China Daily said, citing the director of the ministry's rare earths office, Jia Yinsong. Jia said that would eliminate about 20 percent of China's rare earths production capacity.

The government also has limited the number of companies that are allowed to export rare earths.

Paris rids cars from Riverside Streets

Temporary summer conversions made permanent and expanded with new national government.


Best Hopes for More,


And other good news for Green Transit, a good summary of the huge expansion in bicycle sharing programs in major US cities and bicycle riding:


The world's most popular way to get around
The bicycle is the world's most popular form of transit. There were an estimated 133 million bikes produced and sold to retailers last year, says industry analyst Jay Townley. That's more than double the number of cars manufactured worldwide in 2011, and a 500% increase from 50 years ago. Now, a new wave of bicycle evangelists -- and, increasingly, pragmatic municipal governments -- are trying to push those numbers even higher.

The author despite an excellent summary of rising bicycle usage and bike-sharing
programs seems ignorant (as usual) of Peak Oil and the inevitability of this
transformation even in the US home of Auto Addiction.
Indeed if we look to Michigan and Detroit, World Capital of Auto Addiction, a few years ago Michigan already stopped paving some roads because they could not afford it. While Detroit is reviving the public transit it ripped up decades ago...

There's also the little fact that one can get thirty electric bicycles for only one electric car, so it will end up becoming the vehicle of choice for the vast majority of people.

In 2011 in Germany there were sold 300.000 E-bikes and 1800 EV's. That is a factor of 167 in favor of E-bikes.

Meteor smoke makes strange clouds

In the 19th century, noctilucent clouds or NLCs were confined to high latitudes—places like Canada and Scandinavia. In recent times, however, they have been spotted as far south as Colorado, Utah and Nebraska. The reason, Russell believes, is climate change. One of the greenhouse gases that has become more abundant in Earth's atmosphere since the 19th century is methane. It comes from landfills, natural gas and petroleum systems, agricultural activities, and coal mining.

It turns out that methane boosts NLCs.

Russell explains: "When methane makes its way into the upper atmosphere, it is oxidized by a complex series of reactions to form water vapor. This extra water vapor is then available to grow ice crystals for NLCs."

If this idea is correct, noctilucent clouds are a sort of "canary in a coal mine" for one of the most important greenhouse gases.

Turning Down the Heat for Carbon: Unusual reaction eschews high temperatures and water to lock carbon dioxide away

Keeping the CO2 trapped by transforming into minerals, called carbonation reactions, take place much more readily at high temperatures. But, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory discovered a reaction that breaks the rules. At relatively low temperatures and while recycling the water it needs, this reaction transforms CO2 into the mineral magnesite.

Fosterite is soaked in wet pressurized CO2 at about 100F and is transformed into an anhydrous carbon bearing mineral.

"Forsterite-rich olivine is the most abundant mineral in the mantle above a depth of about 400 km..."

A New Global Warming Culprit: Dam Drawdowns

Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down.

Bridget Deemer, a doctoral student at Washington State University-Vancouver, measured dissolved gases in the water column of Lacamas Lake in Clark County and found methane emissions jumped 20-fold when the water level was drawn down. A fellow WSU-Vancouver student, Maria Glavin, sampled bubbles rising from the lake mud and measured a 36-fold increase in methane during a drawdown.

and Diseased Trees New Source of Climate Gas

Sixty trees sampled at Yale Myers Forest in northeastern Connecticut contained concentrations of methane that were as high as 80,000 times ambient levels. Normal air concentrations are less than 2 parts per million, but the Yale researchers found average levels of 15,000 parts per million inside trees.

... The estimated emission rate from an upland site at the Yale forest is roughly equivalent to burning 40 gallons of gasoline per hectare of forest per year. It also has a global warming potential equivalent to 18 percent of the carbon being sequestered by these forests, reducing their climate benefit of carbon sequestration by nearly one-fifth.

"If we extrapolate these findings to forests globally, the methane produced in trees represents 10 percent of global emissions," said Xuhui Lee, a co-author of the study and Sara Shallenberger Brown Professor of Meteorology at Yale. "We didn't know this pathway existed."

"We didn't know this pathway existed."

I heard again just recently that we are now about where we were predicted to be in global warming by the year 2100, by the end of the century. I remember thinking in 1970's that global warming was something I would never live to see.

Drying waterways release methane
Damaged trees release methane
Warming tundra allows in-place shrubs to grow to trees-
Trees promote warming of the tundra-
Warming tundra releases methane...

All the millions of rotting fish like those that just cooked in the hot waters of the Midwest will also make methane.

Fatal methane and cyanide poisoning as a result of handling industrial fish


An interesting interview by Ian Masters about hunger and oil:

Fracking and tar-sands oil production ruins many many millions of gallons of water to make them work.

Just remember the API's warnings to us all: Wind, solar, and electric cars are pure evil... SSAS is not just a joke, it's also bad for war profits.

There's a way out of this. We have described what 'this' is, but now we have to transcend it. It includes wresting control of the 'runaway train'. I think I know how to do it, but I need help, but of course that's the idea.

And you/? respond, something like, "Ok, so what do you have in mind?".

And then we carry the conversation across the Drumbeats. Who says it can't begin here? Here is as good as anywhere.

Education! Here's Louisiana's contribution to the tools of change that our children will very much need:

O.K., so what do you have in mind?

- What kind of "FLOSS" geopolitical system (glocal self-government? Helping local people around the globe democratically govern themselves [and maybe get out from under various forms of repression, etc..) would Richard Stallman propose? (In competition with the current proprietary one) (How about asking him, and asking him to help/join?)
- Who/What else, in theory, could/would help/join? A Syrian rebel? The '99%'? Oxfam? David Graeber? John Michael Greer? Noam Chomsky? Bill Mollison? People hereon? And/Or who or what inspires you? How about getting on the phone?
- If this current global socioeconomic/political system is like a cancer or monoculture, what kind of anti-cancer/predation or subversion could be created? What other things could it be doing at the same time?
- Some of the largest corporations apparently have larger budgets (or ?) than some states. Then there are large organizations (i.e. financial) that influence them. We could create our own, with serious differences naturally.
- Some of us have land. With each person that joins who has land, over time, a new 'extraterritorial sovereignty' could more or less benignly evolve within the current and problematic sovereignties, and ultimately replace it/them, with increasing numbers, power, defections. 'To defect within a state by creating a new sociogeopolitical concept/framework from within'.

True fellowship among men must be based upon a concern that is universal. It is not the private interests of the individual that create lasting fellowship among men, but rather the goals of humanity ... If unity of this kind prevails, even difficult and dangerous tasks, such as crossing the great water, can be accomplished.

– The I Ching, 13th hexagram: "Fellowship with Men"

I do not remember having seen a church sign or marquee that says "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All" at Christmas in a very long time. This year I will go out looking for one.

Hey Tribe,

- Some of us have land. With each person that joins who has land, over time, a new 'extraterritorial sovereignty' could more or less benignly evolve within the current and problematic sovereignties, and ultimately replace it/them, with increasing numbers, power, defections. 'To defect within a state by creating a new sociogeopolitical concept/framework from within'.

You might want to check this out:



Ownership of land

It is a habitual conception that ownership of land is acceptable. Most societies are characterized by the convention of ownership. But if we claim the ownership of land, we also say that we have more right to parts of the surface of the earth, than other persons have.
We know that persons should be treated as persons and therefore as having rights. If we say here is a person who has rights, but this person has no right to stay on the surface of the earth, it does not make sense. If one does not accept that persons have the right to stay on the surface of the earth, it makes no sense to talk about rights at all. If we try to defend ownership of land using language in a rational way it goes wrong. The only way of defending this ownership is by the use of power and force. No persons have more right to land than other persons, but concentrations of power use force to maintain the illusion of ownership of land.

Of course things really get interesting with 7 billion plus humans vying for the same space and resources...

If one does not accept that persons have the right to stay on the surface of the earth, it makes no sense to talk about rights at all.

that is, free reign for anti-environmentalists to rape the surface of Earth. No quarter for firewood thieves, Christmas tree thieves, poachers, garden raiders and off-road enthusiasts. They throw litter everywhere and leave droppings behind them. They destroy everything and move on with their bad ideology.

Hey BT,

Did I miss the implied '/sarc' tag there?

Having the right to stay on earth doesn't, at least in my book, include having the right to rape the surface of the Earth!
Actually it expects the 'stayers' to exhibit more than a modicum of restraint and responsibility as good stewards.

Again I must reiterate that things are already a bit iffy with 7 billion of us 'stayers' vying for the same space and resources. The poachers, garden raiders and off-road enthusiasts, amongst us, by definition have already abdicated all their rights to stay and must be dealt with in the harshest of terms! They need to be thrown overboard the sooner the better...

Sure. The right to use a knife is no open door to stab anyone.

Here's one grab of the metaphor/model applied to a decentralized glocal land-stewardship/country that I was referring to:

Activists creating decentralized mesh networks that can't be blocked, filtered or silenced

The internet was designed to be resilient and decentralized. Its multiple, redundant pathways between any two network nodes and its ability to accommodate new nodes on the fly should enable it to keep carrying data in the face of blocked nodes, censorship from repressive regimes or natural disasters.

However, its implementation has far diverged from its original design, with ISPs now holding the reins of the highly-centralized platform into which the internet has evolved.


This is admittedly a hack/transition-proposal/idea between the current system and what we might like to have in the future and I've yet to elaborate on it.
In the mean time, aside from devil's advocacy, any (better) ideas? That's what my mention of an organization is for.

I'm well aware of this issue and in fact made my first contact with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia essentially for this reason, namely, sharecropping a la permaculture. We've also discussed the issue of the commons recently right here on TOD, as you may recall, and I've also done so at a Transition site.

To elaborate a little more:

Think of, say, permies', land as nodes of a global mesh. Then, think of a decentralized country that forms from that mesh-- hell-bent on 'Care of Earth/Care of People' and their surplus fed back into each.

A 'glocal meshed decentralized country' (that at once transcends and subverts old state borders. How are artificial borders any good for earth and life on it?)

Now, what would happen if it spread? Well that may be the way out. Out of the corporate-state-oligarchy prison.

So it's not that the land is owned per se, but that it is acquired to place into a trust, if that's the right word, back into a commons, and shared.

This paper argues that Chicasaw novelist Linda Hogan, in her work Solar Storms, refuses to acknowledge geo-political borders that were imposed on Native lands during the conquest... Because this strategy is essentially one of absenting the border from her account, the narrative omission of the actual border crossing is easy to overlook; despite its unobtrusiveness, this is an important narrative strategy that attempts to decolonize the minds of Hogan’s characters and readers. One manifestation of this ideal of refusing geo-political borders in favor of older or no borders can be seen in Hogan’s repeated references to the idea of Pangaea, the theorized “original” landmass that eventually broke apart into the continents.
I contend that this is precisely what Hogan attempts to do through her decolonizing techniques that seek to both recover Native histories while also recovering from colonial history in order to enable tribal activism. Her characters journey north to protest a massive dam project that affects multiple tribes but, although the dam is being built in what is conceived by the dominant culture as another country, Hogan gives this fact no narrative importance; the Native characters know that the dam will affect all of them, therefore rendering externally imposed geopolitical borders meaningless, and also serving to place Native concepts of space and connectedness, rather than mainstream notions of “empty” versus “productive” wildness, at the center of the debate... Through their reconnection with Native understandings of space and their successful creation of an effective coalition, Hogan’s characters claim citizenship as Native subjects who have a different but valid knowledge of the world and can forge the political power to help shape that world.
~ http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/8/5/7...

Linda Hogan might be another we could call upon. :)

It occurs to me that we might do well to put the Choir (ourselves) to work, apart from merely preaching what we already know to one another. The discussion is ok too.. but not enough.

We spend a lot of time wondering how to get non-choir into the choir.. while I think the answer might be by demonstrating action and work, not just plaintive pleading to the world.

I have a delay in getting my solar carport due to concerns about a 21st Century non-Victorian steel structure in my historical Victorian town. But I am sure I will get it and become the first in my little Transit Village to have residential solar power.
I finally put together an affordable solar system to power a bubble machine for our
annual Festival. I thought I might interest the kids in the bubble machine being solar powered but mostly they were fascinated by the bubbles as always. HOWEVER a lot of adults were VERY interested....

Here's to good examples ;-)

For Earth Day a couple years back now, I made a little HO Electric Train setup that ran from a Solar Panel above it. I need to embellish that layout and get it out some more. I am certainly very eager for my region to adopt more green transit and bike lanes.

But beyond that, I think a solar carport isn't anathema either.. as you well know. (..and it could still transform into a 12 E-Bike Garage, if there was really no place for cars down the line.)

Agreed. It looks to be as simple, to begin at least, as forming some kind of organization-- I dare say, some kind of geopolitical hyperdemocratic entity. So, less of an organization per se and more of an out for we human prisoners, worldwide.
I mean, if other organizations can ostensibly run entire countries into the ground, it seems to stand to reason that another kind should be able to pull them back out, and then some.

I think the Permies have a LOT of this covered, and seem to be remaining a bit of an UN-movement, Labelwise, which I think is critical to remaining open to the broadest range of comers. They don't really play to the Hippie stereotype tho' there are plenty of those within the ranks, but the ideas are just bigger and more fluid than most oversimplifying labelling can bottle it up into..

My wife heads out with the Porland Permie Meetup Group to do her fourth weekend up at the Common Ground Fairgrounds, learning this, that and the other about home energy, ag., social ramifications, home layout.. etc. Her roomie is from a very different background which I'll leave unspecified, but is into the permie stuff just fine. Nice Big Tent for many of us, and it seems fairly unjudgemental, while still being able to think critically, ISTM.


I am pleased to hear all this talk about things I would like to see done, and am doing, to my limited ability.
after the big power down I have got lots of curious people looking into how I got off the grid. And, as usual sticking my neck in the noose, I have promised to show a wood chip fired stirling generator at a local farm fair in one month. can I do it? Sure, with a strong enough wind behind me and a downhill slope all the way. But fun.

Anyhow, I have figured out how to hide a propane jet in the bottom of the gasifier, for use only in time of dire need, of course.

Knocking on wood for you, Wimbi. Keep them fires burning!

I'm actually knocking on wood anyhow, just spent the afternoon painting up my 250 gal WOODEN Hot Water tank for my Preheating stage of the solar DHW system. Now I just need to find a cheap source for some of that phat EPDM Pond lining or roofing rubber. I had inherited a big roll from Dad, but already chopped it up for roofing purposes.

Anybody got any sources? Good EPDM surplus or robust dumpsters in southern Maine?

There are a few that seem to leverage permaculture as a kind of plugin or engine, like Transition and Greer's Green Wizards.
I like the idea of something to in part get all these somewhat separate things and people together and in increasing mutual support and flow-- critical mass, 100th. monkey and all that.
Craig Mackintosh over at the Permaculture Research Institute shares concerns about increasing the speed of uptake, given the speed of climate change and social unrest, etc..
Naturally, some things are only as good as they are in time.
Maybe a site could be set up, such as in Drupal or something like it, to get things going. And then lots of emails and phone calls. Yes, sure, bring in Wikileaks, call Ralph Nader, Max Keiser, JHK, local native organizations, Anonymous, ex-US military (defectors, critics, etc.), occupyers, Deep Green Resistors...

Who's left?

Who's left?

A sh@tload of people who don't wish to be documented; keeping it local and private. It's hard to know who, and which processes, to trust, and easy to be paranoid these days. Too many crazies with an agenda, and too many lists...

I Google myself occasionally; not much comes up. Sometimes it's better to fly under the radar. A lot of folks tooting their horn on Myspace and Facebook are learning that the hard way. Just sayin'... Folks are being bought, sold, violated, who never know, until it's too late.

That said, I think there may be more of a critical mass of folks who get it than most realize. They just aren't calling attention to themselves until it really matters.

I think so too, about the critical mass-- people who might like-- no, love-- to know that there are people working on options beyond, and far superior to, the current model, which seems big on spying, paranoia, documentation and centralization, incidentally.

They just aren't calling attention to themselves until it really matters.
~ Ghung

Sometimes, nothing will matter for some no matter what. Maybe that's in part why we are in the mess we're in.
Aside from that, that's just about the whole point; to make it safe, to make it matter to those it can, even if others like us know it already matters.

Right now, Earth is getting less safe in a myriad of ways and at exponential rates, irrespective of your level of paranoia, where you happen to be, and whether or not you think it matters or are ready to accept that it does.

In my case it's not so much paranoia as practicality. Years ago, I ran an add for RE consulting and small off grid systems. A local paper did a small 3rd page article, and I had a few serious inquiries. A couple even lead to installations, but a vast majority of the responses were unwelcome, including crackpots who insisted solar is a scam, people who couldn't pass their electrical inspections, had no money, and were trying to get their CO (certificate of occupancy), and lots of phone calls, few which bore fruit. I spent most of my time trying to change peoples' expectations.

I got offers of credit in the erroneous name that was printed in the paper, catalogs from companies in no way related to RE, and a call from the building inspector in the next county wanting 'proof' that I was doing no grid-tied work without a license. When I asked him if I needed to get an affidavit from every homeowner in the county, he called me a smartass. I assured him it was all low-voltage stuff, requiring no inspection. I later found out his brother is an electrical contractor in the county. Huh. Years later, I'm still getting credit offers and junk mail from companies I've never heard of or done business with. I've been listed.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Decided to take a different route; local and word of mouth, and contributing online more anonymously. I'm sure plenty of folks who've stepped up to be counted have experienced similar results, deciding that keeping things low profile may be more affective.

One of my favorite authors had it posted on his blog that he is on the road this week. I don't think that's wise. When you advocate for change, there are always those who oppose it, some irrationally, and it's a bit like those who leave their home to go on vacation and spend the whole time broadcasting it on Facebook. Why are they surprised when they come home to find that their house has been looted?

There are revolutions going on and millions out there taking to the streets, never mind those of my off-the-cuff list above. The critical mass is already there.

If one wishes to devil's advocate, FUD, rationalize or anecdote for the obvious-- the wallflowers, those paralyzed by FUD, etc.-- that's their prerogative. Many of them will come onboard soon enough, and in their own ways, thanks in part perhaps to some courage and coaxing-- from folks like you maybe?-- and their perceptions of what they feel is happening. Or never. I don't expect everyone to help, or even help themselves.

Doing things locally, democratically and as a community, etc., is much of the point and we can't properly do it now with a 'centralized state gun' in our faces.

More than most people realize. Right. I was astounded by the number who showed up at my first impromptu energy get-together here in a very ordinary place. Since then, and a power outage lasting up to 11 days, we have had a huge surge in interest in solar, off grid, etc.

What I find is most people are enthusiastic, but ignorant and timid, so a simple example they can easily understand is a very strong trigger for action. I put up my PV in a naked, all hanging out style on purpose to show how basically simple it was, and got lots of good comment and decisions to go for it.

I was also pleased to see how some local folks, back in the hills and hollers, and in the habit of making do with junk, had great skill and enthusiasm for solar slaptogether systems. And they take responsibility for their own goofs. So far, no actual deaths.

Dream no small dreams - for they fail to inspire men's souls

I am not sure of the source, but I agree with the truth of it.

On a minor, but I think significant, level I am working on a Phase II for the Washington DC subway system (+ Light Rail & Streetcars) with one of the original designers for the original 103 miles.

My motives are several. One is a majority of decision makers (TPTB) live or have lived in DC, and almost all know DC well. Well enough to know the subway system and where it goes - and does not go. And where the bottlenecks are.

This plan will hopefully impress them as desirable, even if for purely selfish reasons (Senate subway connects directly to new Rose Line Metro station under 2nd Street, in front of Hart Senate Office Building - House members can use Senate subway too).

This is an example of what can be done nationwide. But it would bypass much of the auto congestion in the area (Bethesda to Tyson's Corner in <10 minutes). (This Light Rail in tunnel link has not yet been written up on blog below)

TOD has 1/4th the carbon footprint of Suburbia, and this plan will allow for massive TOD in the DC Area

Not yet complete, but the lines I propose are
http://oilfreedc.blogspot.com/?view=snapshot {wait 3 seconds for it to appear - click on photo for detail}

and more essays with this view of the same blog

Success breeds success. This is happening with trams in medium, and now smaller, towns in France.

Best Hopes,


Dream no small dreams - for they fail to inspire men's souls

Sounds poetic and all, but I strongly disagree with it. We need to have people dreaming both big and small. Big dreams usually carry big risks, and while some of those big dreams may be worthwhile, if you bet it all on the long shot you risk coming up empty.

Not all of us are motivated by the same things. There are many who can understand the issues we face and try to incorporate that knowledge into their lives, and find inspiration within themselves to accomplish much in their own small, anonymous ways. They are the people who's support you will need to accomplish the big dreams. So dream big dreams - and specifically I wish you the best in your efforts with rail projects - but be glad if there are others dreaming smaller dreams, content with anonymity and quiet toil.

All steps in the right direction are good.

And maybe only individual and small community steps will be implemented in the USA (I have documented larger steps elsewhere).

As the Silver Line Phase II in Virginia (connected to DC) recently showed, getting a line built that "everyone" wants is a Herculean feat.

Yet I want to build something that will transform the Greater Washington DC area. The game of financing must change - and, IMHO, only a transformational plan has a hope of transforming public policy.

I realize that my odds of success are low - but a more modest plan would have even lower chances of success.

I wish all the best and Godspeed to those that wish to transform their own lives (I have changed mine some), but my goal is a large scale impact.

Best Hopes,


Hey, solar-powered bubble machines at the first annual Permaea conference (deliberately held at the same time as the G20 ;).

The Argentinian-British Conflict over the Falklands in context.

So why are Argentina rattling their sabers against the British over the Falklands?
Who, after all, overwhelmingly wish to remain under British sovereignty according to every single poll.

Is it just to stir nationalist fervor to save the current government? Well that's the superficial analysis.

The Falklands have oil resources in the surrounding seas, many of whom fall under British control or are at least in dispute.

And this matters:

Argentina is on the verge of becomming a net importer, again. However, that era was marred with frequent economic turbulence and a third world nation status.

Well, the data only stretches back to 2011, but it's noteworthy that imports increased by over 100 % in one year alone.

Argentina of late has done better, even if it's political class is worthless.
Soy exports, in particular, have helped a lot since China is very hungry.

Oil has been the cushion, together with China, to paper over the staggering incompetence of it's political leadership. And that leadership understands as much, which is why they are now going after the British, thinking that Britain, apparently, is a soft target.

It'll be interesting to see how America reacts. So far Obama has left the Brits out to dry in the cold, despite the fact that he and Cameron seem to actually get along quite well.

Is it time for the Royal navy to kick ass again?

U.S. Freezes All Nuclear Power Plant Licensing Decisions

WASHINGTON, DC, August 7, 2012 (ENS) – Federal nuclear regulators today froze at least 19 final reactor licensing decisions in response to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit that spent nuclear fuel stored on-site at nuclear power plants “poses a dangerous, long-term health and environmental risk.”

In its ruling, the appeals court invalidated the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 2010 updates to the Waste Confidence Rule and also the Temporary Storage Rule and directed the commission to fully comply with federal law.

In response, the NRC today put a hold on nine construction and operating licenses, eight license renewals, one operating license, and one early site permit.

The court noted that, after decades of failure to site a permanent geologic repository, including 20 years of working on the now-abandoned Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada, the NRC “has no long-term plan other than hoping for a geologic repository.”

I wouldn't dare to call it hope, but it is a most positive and unexpected development.

and directed the commission to fully comply with federal law.

What a radical concept - where did they come up with such a crazy idea?

About damn time, too. Farther down:

Former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford said, “It is important to recognize that the reactors awaiting construction licenses weren’t going to be built anytime soon even without the court decision or today’s NRC action. Falling demand, cheaper alternatives and runaway nuclear costs had doomed their near term prospects well before the recent court decision.”

“Important though the court decision is in modifying the NRC’s historic push-the-power-plants-but-postpone-the-problems approach to generic safety and environmental issues, it cannot be blamed for ongoing descent into fiasco of the bubble once known as ‘the nuclear renaissance,’” said Bradford, who now teaches law at Vermont Law School and serves as vice-chair of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Maybe now the NRC and the industry will get serious about correcting this problem and cleaning up their mess .... or Entergy and the rest will get out of the fission business and keep the disposal issue in the courts indefinitely. Either way, it's going to cost ratepayers and taxpayers; the bill is long overdue, accruing interest every day.

Seems like many of these IOU's with end of life Nuke plant(s) may have an actual negative net worth, Comprehending IOU's Balance Sheets is like the Too big Banks, Any truth that many funds collected for decommissioning were vaporized in Credit Default Swaps?

"Maybe now the NRC and the industry will get serious about correcting this problem and cleaning up their mess"

Unfortunately, they can't do anything until Congress (and Obama) make a political decision about long term storage.

"They" can't afford it. It will have to be a society wide effort. "We" have created a large quantity of concentrated, very long lasting, highly toxic material, and now we need to find the best way to deal with it. If we fail, all the highest quality land on our continent, that which is most able to support life, will become uninhabitable virtually forever. It doesn't matter if it's fair, if we blame the right people, who pays, etc. - the stakes are too high.


The court's opinion has this in it:

We hold that the rulemaking at issue here constitutes a major federal action necessitating either an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant environmental impact.

(Hottest Month (July) on Record). Which may be ominous for Arctic drilling by Shell, because:

What do Arctic drilling and drone killing have in common? They are both being decided by Barack Obama without public debate ... several federal administrators responsible for regulating offshore oil drilling operations “had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives” ... [under Bush II] ... A May 24 front–page article in The New York Times made clear that Obama got personally involved and fast–tracked Shell’s drilling permits.

(ibid). The trend seems to be that environmental damage is BAU for any administration in recent years. Romney would not change this, nor will Obama evidently.

Eh... We don't know what to do with the coal waste, either:

Largest U.S. Coal Ash Pond to Close, But Future Rules Still Undecided

But the larger question of how the United States will address coal ash — at 140 million tons a year, one of the nation's largest waste streams — is still unanswered.

Asia, US Plains Facing Water Extraction Crisis

Heavily-populated regions of Asia, the arid Middle East and parts of the US corn belt are dangerously over-exploiting their underground water supplies, according to a study published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

... Seeking a yardstick of sustainability, the study creates a measure called the groundwater footprint.

It calculates the area of land sustained by extracted water and compares this to the size of the aquifer beneath.

The global groundwater footprint is a whopping 3.5 times the size of the world's aquifers, the study found.

For instance, in the South Caspian region of northern Iran, the footprint is 98 times the size of the aquifer; in the Upper Ganges in India and Pakistan, it is 54; while in the US High Plains, the figure is nine.

"Humans are over-exploiting groundwater in many large aquifers that are crucial to agriculture, especially in North America and Asia," said Gleeson. ... about 1.7 billion people live in areas where groundwater resources and/or groundwater-dependent ecosystems are under threat.

Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v488/n7410/full/nature11295.html

... and fracking will also compete with the demand for that water

"Water Extraction Crisis" hahaha.

"We need to pump harder before it's all gone."

Study discovers new atmospheric compound tied to climate change, human health

Mauldin said the new chemical pathway for sulfuric acid formation is of interest to climate change researchers because the vast majority of sulfur dioxide is produced by fossil fuel combustion at power plants. “With emissions of sulfur dioxide, the precursor of sulfuric acid, expected to rise globally in the future, this new pathway will affect the atmospheric sulfur cycle,” he said.

He said the newly discovered oxidant might help explain recent studies that have shown large parts of the southeastern United States might have cooled slightly over the past century. Particulates from sulfuric acid over the forests there may be forming more clouds than normal, cooling the region by reflecting sunlight back to space.


Mexico closes two oil ports:

The ports of Cayo Arcas and Dos Bocas, two of Mexico's three main oil export hubs in the Gulf of Mexico, were closed as Ernesto approached, port authorities said.

"The prognosis is to be operational again on Thursday," said Dos Bocas official Guadalupe Perez. "But we don't know when it will open. It depends on the size of the waves."

Almost all of Mexico's crude oil exports are shipped to refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States from the Cayo Arcas, Dos Bocas and Coatzacoalcos facilities.

Ernesto weakens over southern Mexico, churns toward Gulf

China Firm to Buy Control of U.S.-Backed Battery Maker

A123 Systems Inc., a struggling, U.S. government-backed manufacturer of advanced batteries for electric vehicles, is turning to one of China's largest auto parts makers for a bailout.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company said on Wednesday that Wanxiang Group Corp., a Chinese conglomerate, agreed to acquire up to an 80% stake in return for an up to $450 million investment.

A123 was the first company to open a factory in the U.S. using funds from an Obama administration program to encourage domestic production of advanced batteries.

The company, partially owned by General Electric Co., likely would keep its U.S. headquarters and operations while giving the parts company access to battery technology and the chance to expand in China where the government has made electric-vehicle adoption a priority, A123 said.

*sigh* Very depressing. But they had pretty much no choice. The business was not catching on fast enough and they needed the money. There choice was probably bankruptcy or this.

Instead we lose some excellent technology to offshore competitors. A123's product is already manufactured in China; watch for remaining engineering (and all the profit) to move there as well.

Why compete? Why this economy? I imagine there are many in China who would rather cooperate, and be free.

Where we can transcend the state/economic/social/political/geographical/etc. model/narrative, this issue would vanish.

It's a jobs thing. A123 is in my area and has employed many colleagues. It feels like development of base technology requires patience and deep pockets beyond what the local VC's are willing to risk. Maybe A123 was too far ahead of its market, I don't know. Just like Evergreen Solar. It's sad to see them all fail.

Well A123 is a public company. And they had a very successful IPO. But the EV business has not done well. Not a bit surprise but it turns out that people are not eager to buy expensive cars with limited range and slow refuel times. Well, at least when gas prices are still pretty low.

But at least there is a real EV biz out there now. That can kind of act as a ceiling on gas prices. If gas prices rise too high, people will eventually move to PHEVs.

Swiss experts invited to conduct Arafat autopsy

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- The chief Palestinian investigator looking into Yasser Arafat's 2004 death says Palestinian officials have invited Swiss experts to test the leader's remains for possible poisoning.

Wednesday's announcement by investigator Tawfik Tirawi, a former intelligence chief, came after weeks of zigzagging by Arafat's heirs over whether they would agree to dig up the remains.

Last month, a Swiss lab testing biological stains on Arafat's clothes detected elevated levels of radioactive polonium-210, reviving speculation about what killed Arafat. But the lab said the findings were inconclusive and that only testing Arafat's remains could bring clarity.

Polonium 210 has a half life of 138 days. A lethal dose is measured in nanogrammes and it decays to lead, which is normally in far higher concentrations in the human body. After 8 years there will be only 1 / 2 ** 24 of the original dose remaining. (about 1 in 20 million part)


Any daughter decay products with longer half-lives ?


No. The beauty of Po210, is it has only a single decay, to stable lead. I wonder if you can look at the isotope ratio of the remaining lead to determine how much (if any) came from Po?

In also wonder about the purity of the Po210. If 0.5% was another radionuclide (I do not know how one creates Po210, if it is created with others), this should leave another trail.


Even 1 part in 20 million of the minimum estimated lethal ingested dose is still detectable with sensitive enough equipment. You are still at of the order of 1 Bq of activity. Presumably the dose used would have been very much considerably more than the minimum (if it happened at al).

New Scientist article here http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22019-was-yasser-arafat-killed-by-...

Avogadro's number 6 e23. Lethal dose 1 e-7 g. Assume actual dose 1 e-6.
Number of atoms in original dose = 6 e23 * 1 e-6 / 210 = 3 e15.

Half life 138 days over 8 years cuts remaining dose to one in 2 million (not 20 million as I guessed)
leaving 1 e9 molecules somewhere in the body. Some of the original dose will have been excreted.

138 days = 1 e7 seconds. The body will be emitting up to 1 e2 (100) alpha particles a second.

Assuming a 100g sample out of 100Kg original body - 0.1 emissions a second. I'm guessing the particles will have a characteristic kinetic energy typical of Po210 so even 1 /hour would be detectable as backround alpha emissions are low and easily isolated. However, I wouldn't leave it another 2 years.

About 30 earthquakes strike in Southern California 'sequence'

At a news conference Wednesday morning, Kate Hutton of the U.S. Geological Survey at Caltech said there had been at least 30 quakes since last night, but only three could be felt by residents.

"This is all part of the same earthquake sequence; they're all in the same area,'' Hutton told reporters at the briefing, which was televised by several TV stations.

Experts said more aftershocks are likely.

The series of quakes -- including the 4.5 quake Wednesday morning and 4.4 quake Tuesday night -- has rattled residents in the area.

... has somebody been filling injection wells?

The quake this morning was a bit spooky here in Anaheim - a rather longish, rolling shaker, the type that makes the ground feel wobbly. Last night the quake came in two little jerky jolts that rattled windows, but didn't make the ground feel like jelly.

Glad I can't feel the aftershocks, because that would make me feel a bit nervy.


Like you guys in California, we commonly feel small quakes here in Anchorage. Usually they are just momentary amusement. The one time I really got concerned was the Nov 3, 2002 Denali Fault quake. It was a 7.9, but was in the Alaska Range, 283 km (176 miles) north of Anchorage. I remember it was on Sunday, and I was sitting in the family room reading the paper. It shook much harder than any I had felt before, and the shaking went on, and on, and on..... I will readily admit to being scared. I kept thinking "If this doesn't stop, I'm going to get outside", but I just continued to sit there.

There was good deal of ground rupture and landslides associated with the quake. The fault ruptured right under TAPS, but the pipeline performed as designed, with no spills. The only reason there weren't casualties was that almost no one lives in the area close to the epicenter. When something like that happens in a major population center, it won't be pretty.

Most of the quakes in that swarm are in the LA area very near Yorba Linda, CA. HERE's a map from the USGS, which is continuously updated. There are also a bunch of small quakes along the main faults, as seen HERE...

E. Swanson

Seraph, let me break this to you as gently as possible. California has a rather long history of earthquakes, from well before anyone even dreamed of drilling oil wells, let alone injecting. Just a few cites to put this in perspective:

California Earthquake History from the USGS lists some quakes from the historical record. The earliest one in historical records was noted by the Gaspar de Portola Expedition in 1769. That one was even before my and Rockman's time!

Geologists have managed to find evidence of even older ones. Back in the 70's Kerry Sieh was able to find good evidence of earthquakes going back even further. That sort of "paleo seismology" is pretty standard now, but it was "groundbreaking" when Sieh started.

Note that for every earthquake big enough to note by explorers and pioneers, or to leave something tangible in the geologic record, there have been orders of magnitude more in the M 4.4-4.5 range such as are mentioned in your post.

EDIT: Note that is is not to make light of the potential for serious damage or injury occuring in California. I live in earthquake country myself. But we need to keep some perspective. Big quakes have happened before, and will happen again, whether or not fluids are injected.

My bad ... forgot to add /sarc ... just an off-target attempt at dry humor related to yesterday's thread.

A great page for accessing first person accounts of the 1811-12 quakes on the New Madrid Seismic Zone -- a "different sort of place," as I understand it. The link to the "compendium" take one to the great site from the Center for ..., University of Memphis, I think. And there are the reports of the just plain people who survived. I recollect reading from one lady a description of the huge rolling waves of earth -- and back then there was no huge city of Memphis. They are seriously trying to take measures there in Memphis, but my guess is that if there is ever again a really big, baddie in the Zone again, Memphis is toast. The descriptions from those who were on the Mississippi River in boats or barges are truly mind boggling.


A View To A Kill?

LOL. That was kind a low point for the Bond series. A beyond ridiculous plot . . . a big earthquake is not going to cause the ocean to rise. Throwing in Grace Jones as a heavy. Aging Roger Moore jumping women half his age. I guess it had some redeeming aspects . . . Christopher Walken makes a good villain.

. a big earthquake is not going to cause the ocean to rise

Don't think so, spec. A big subduction quake alters the altitude of the participating plates. For example, the coming Cascadia quake is likely to cause the west coast of North America to sink by about a meter. This will result in the ocean's appearing to rise by a corresponding amount.

Actually a big subduction zone earthquake such as Cascadia can cause both uplift and subsidence. For example, the 1964 Alaska earthquake caused some areas on Montegue Island to rise ~ 10 meters. Other areas near Anchorage along Turnagain Arm subsided ~ 2 meters.

A summary (available online) of regional effects of the 1964 quake is Plafker, 1969, USGS Prof Paper 543I, "Tectonics of the March 27, 1964 Alaska Earthquake: Regional Effects". I would expect some very interesting stuff will be coming out from the recent earthquake in Japan, but I haven't had time to get into it.

Note that strike slip faults, such as the San Andreas can also cause uplift (at "restraining bends") and subsidence (at "releasing bends", or "pull apart basins").

A_g: I had the impression most uplift/sinking associated with subduction zone earthquakes is cyclic over the stress buildup/quake cycle, i.e. the places that rise during the quake gradually settle as the stress builds back up before the next one. Do you know what happened to those areas that rose/fell in 64?

The area around Turnagain arm (which dropped about 2 meters in 64) has risen (raised?) back up about 1 meter in the subsequent 48 years. I don't recall what has happened at Montegue Island (which uplifted about 10 meters in '64).

Note that the Turnagain arm uplift might, at first glance, suggest we are halfway back to being loaded for another major quake. However, other studies of paleo seismology suggest the repeat period of major quakes on this part of the subduction zone is around 300 years (note a BIG plus/minus error bar on that).

There have been some really interesting GPS studies going on which show present day tectonic velocities around the area. I have to leave for work now, but if I get a chance later today I will try to dig up the references.

Yeah, but I really don't think Grace Jones stuffing dynamite in a mine is gonna flood Silicon Valley. I believe the main faults around here are plates sliding past each other, not ones going under each other.

Our own fossil fuel burning is what will eventually flood Silicon Valley . . . but it will take a few hundred years.

If reloading is not linear, it might make sense. Perhaps there is some stress migration/redistribution from not too far away from the fault area which happens alot faster than the general loading caused by the plate motion?

Yeah, it is probably very non-linear. The science is progressing rapidly, and for folks like me who not directly involved it is challenging to keep up to speed on what is going on. However, some of the heavy hitters in the field had a research conference up here a few years back, and some nice summary articles were published and are available online:

AGU Chapman Conference: Active Tectonics and Seismic Potential of Alaska: Field Trip Guide May 13, 2006

Regarding post earthquake movement, see Freymueller's article on page 25. As he notes, sorting out the post earthquake effects fron rebound due to glacial unloading is not a trivial issue. Shennan's article on paleo seismic work on page 67 is also very interesting.

Fifty years of fire in the abandoned US town of Centralia

Half a century ago, a landfill fire in the Pennsylvanian town of Centralia spread underground to an abandoned coal mine.

The blaze has been burning beneath the community ever since.

The BBC's Matthew Danzico went to Centralia to meet the few Centralia residents who have refused to leave, claiming that their part of town is not threatened by the fire.

From today's WaPo Capital Weather Gang:

U.S. has hottest month on record in July 2012 NOAA says

The WaPo blog post links to this comment on another blog:

High Times: More 2012 Record Highs than All of Last Year

E. Swanson

Five civilisations that climate change may have doomed

Roman Empire: ... Records of temperatures and rainfall in western Europe over the past 2500 years revealed that between 250 and 550 AD the climate flipped from dry and cool to warm and wet from one decade to the next. Such unpredictable changes are devastating for farmers, and the resulting shortages of food may have contributed to the empire's collapse.

Now if everyone was a permaculture (or similar) farmer and/or rewilder/hunter-and-gatherer... moved around... and states, their borders and states-as-glorified-prisons/human farms and passports-as-cowbells/brandings and police/military/CIA/FBI/etc. dissolved... and there were less distractions, like about trivial centralized corporate oligarchic politics (i.e., Mitt Romney this and that) and more about creative, workable responses and/or solutions to that, to what clearly isn't working... and even plans and organization-- ya, right on here! ("...and our future")-- well, maybe, just maybe...

I know you're out there

...I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid. You're afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world … without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries; a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.
~ The Matrix

Behind Boetie's thinking was the assumption, later spelled out in great detail by David Hume, that states cannot rule by force alone. This is because the agents of government power are always outnumbered by those they rule. To insure compliance with their dictates, it is essential to convince the people that their servitude is somehow in their own interest. They do this by manufacturing ideological systems...
~ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

And now we know ...

Scientists discover the truth behind Colbert's 'truthiness'

Trusting research over their guts, scientists in New Zealand and Canada examined the phenomenon Stephen Colbert, comedian and news satirist, calls "truthiness"—the feeling that something is true. In four different experiments they discovered that people believe claims are true, regardless of whether they actually are true, when a decorative photograph appears alongside the claim. The work is published online in the Springer journal, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Across all the experiments, the findings fit with the idea that photos might help people conjure up images and ideas about the claim more easily than if the claim appeared by itself. "We know that when it's easy for people to bring information to mind, it 'feels' right," said Newman.

"Our research suggests that these photos might have unintended consequences, leading people to accept information because of their feelings rather than the facts."

Hi Seraph,

re: "...because of their feelings rather than the facts."

Feelings *are* facts -

Of a particular sort.

Hence, the (formerly frequent) postings by yrs. truly on the relevance of a particular model of human nature to the discussion of "energy and our future." This model posits emotions as indicators of underlying, universal human needs, which are seen as neutral. Reference: www.cnvc.org, www.gordontraining.com and so forth. Example: Fear indicates a need for safety. A set of emotions typically goes with needs that are met and a different set goes with unmet needs.

Being able to identify feelings and name them means...it is possible to choose words to express oneself, rather than actions. (Possible, she says.) This makes possible a range of responses that is otherwise unavailable.

"Bullets are frozen tears." (David Oliver.) "Violence is the tragic expression of unmet need." (Marshall Rosenberg.)

Very good post - must think now...

This model posits emotions as indicators of underlying, universal human needs ... [emphasis added]

It is probably unnecessary to invoke innate needs.


Central to many existing theories of negative emotions is the concept of specific-action tendencies. Here negative emotions prepare the body psychologically and physically to behave in specific and focused ways. Under this model individual negative emotions directly prompt specific behaviors.

Using the example of fear: There is no need to posit a mediating "need for safety." It is sufficient to simply link the experienced emotion with the motive to escape. Thus,

    Anger promotes the urge to attack
    Fear causes an urge to escape
    Disgust leads to the urge to expel

Unfortunately, negative emotions, whether experienced or expressed, also reduce the scope of attention, narrowing thoughts and information that comes to mind, and prompt habitual responses.


Fredrickson's work on the adaptive role of positive emotions provides a fascinating counterpoint. And something that may prove useful as we try to motivate people to respond creatively to energy descent.

In her research positive emotions are found to expand cognitive and behavioral tendencies. They inspire creativity, exploration, and play. They encourage development of future behavioral options (e.g., a range of potential actions the body and mind are prepared to take at a later time).

Fredrickson's Broaden and Build model has demonstrated that experiencing positive emotions has a:

    Broadening effect – widening the scope of thoughts and information that comes to mind
    Building effect – resource building in form of plans, skills, and social relationships

And even though positive emotional states are only momentary, the resources built endure and the pre-familiarization aides competence with future behavior settings.


Thanks for reading!

re: "It is probably unnecessary to invoke innate needs."

The sites I link to have a lot of free stuff - articles and examples. My suggestion is to check out some of them and see how the concepts and theory translate into practice.

See my pictures of pretty French trams :-)


I suspected that it added to the "attractiveness of my ideas". But maybe the "truthiness"
as well.

Best Hopes,


For me, the beauty of a bus,tram,train, light rail vehicle,street car, etc., is the ability to relax and watch one's world in a much more focused, intensive way than is possible in an automobile. This also applies to biking, walking, and running. For me, public transit and muscle transit represent freedom, the reverse of the way most people perceive it. For most people, the car represents freedom, the alternatives the opposite. Yes, depending upon the connections, sometimes one must wait or take the opportunity to get some exercise by walking to the next stop. How one engages with this is a matter of how perception, of how one views the world and its purposes.

The key impediment to widespread usage of alternative modes of transport in the U.S. may be brainwashing. If this is so, the mystery to me is why people like me have not been brainwashed and saw through the "freedom" scam decades ago before it was fashionable to even talk or write about it.

The flip side is that I see the world's beauty crumbling before my eyes and even if we should somehow change the auto mindset, it is too late to avoid a future world where life is again largely nasty, brutish, and short.

S - Shhh...You giving away one of the most powerful tools geologists use: pretty maps. Many would think that a geologic map or cross section is merely a graphic representation of "facts". No, no ,no mon ami. We've used more tricks over the decades than I could explain in 5,000 words. From simply picking the extent of the area to show on a map to eliminating "irrelevant" data from a map so it doesn't appear "cluttered". We don't even need to erase such info: simply put a highlight box with other info over the offending "unimportant" fact.

OK...just one example. We use red to denote NG and green to denote oil on a map or x-section. Sometimes the area is proven...sometimes just speculation. In my early days we would use solid colors from proven reserves and then striped colors for unproven potential. Thus easy to see where limits of reliability exist. Over the years I've seen less strips and more solid area. A presented would verbally point out the distinction between areas of proven reserves and those speculative. But the visual impact would obviously remain in the viewers mind. I've had more than one management change my color scheme in such a manner.

Nearly everything we present to sell a drilling idea is conceptual. Be it a map, x-section or graph. Much like what a magician does. He's not showing you a coin moving from his hand to your ear but the concept of such a possibility. And in the oil patch, where much of management reaches their positions due to non-technical skills, misdirection can be very useful: Now pay very close attention to my right hand (or this map/x-section/graph) and ignore what my left hand (other data) appears to be doing. And I'm not just talking about geologists selling their ideas to investors/other companies. There has always been something of an adversarial relationship between a company's staff and its management. Even with my current cohorts who I've worked with off and on for decades there's still a bit of "us against them". Very little of what we do is black or white. It's a constant game of salesmanship.

Ooh! Shiny!

ADOS - Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny
A person who has such a high degree of ADD or ADHD that they are distracted by the most meaningless of objects.

Stockton police and firefighters have no money to buy gas

One of California’s bankrupt cities is struggling to keep its police and firefighters in service. The two public safety departments have no gasoline in the pumps at their stations, because companies refuse to service those in bankruptcy.

“The PD and fire dept. are both out of gas and the gas companies will not service us because we r in BK,” said a text message sent from police to the local TV station FOX40 last Monday. “The gas vendor is owed money and will no longer service to us.”

and Poteet police forced to pay for their own gas at the pump

POTEET, Texas -- Police officers in Poteet say they're pulling up to the pump and paying for gas out of their own pockets.

Sgt. Luis Farrias said several city gas cards have been rejected at the pump, leaving them no choice but to front the cash during their patrol shift.

I can't believe anything you post Seraph as there are no decorative pictures next to the words

Close your eyes and repeat ten times after me, "I see a wonderful decorative picture (even if its only in my mind), I believe".

Indvidual and home defense is going to be huge going forward, whether people like it or not.

Modern police, firetrucks, and ambulances are wholly unsustainable; we do it because we can, and now nature is saying we can't.

Stockton police and firefighters have no money to buy gas

Well that's OK. The nearby refinery blew up anyway. ;-)

2012 Warmest Year on Record for Northeast, Cornell Says
Obama Is Fast-tracking an Environmental Disaster to Please Big Oil

And it was the hottest month, July, on record as well.

..in no way countered by Romney, Newt, Palin, Clinton, etc etc etc.

Nobody up there can turn the wheel away from the cliff or hit the brakes. The controls have been jammed.. it has to come from elsewhere.. basically a mammoth public outcry.

How? Don't bother me, I have to get back to bed.

Amen to that. I have to get some sleep too. But PO will definitely fuel some wicked awesome dreams. And don't get me started on the wonders that climate change will do to my sleep. It's already pretty hot at night where I am, I don't think I want more hot nights to sleep through over the summers...

Indian Oil Posts Nation’s Biggest Quarterly Loss Of $4.1 Billion

Indian Oil Corp. (IOCL) posted the nation’s biggest quarterly loss of 224.5 billion rupees ($4.1 billion) after the government failed to compensate it for capping fuel prices and processing margins turned negative.
The country’s largest company had reported an earnings deficit of 37.2 billion rupees a year earlier, the New Delhi- based state-owned refiner said in a stock exchange filing today. The median estimate of 21 analysts compiled by Bloomberg was a loss of 64.3 billion rupees. Hindustan Petroleum Corp. posted a record loss of 92.5 billion rupees.

... and the popular belief is that this is all just a conspiracy by the politicians and the PTB to siphon money into swiss bank accounts by manipulating balance sheets.

U.S. drought drives up food prices worldwide

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The drought that's drying up the Heartland isn't just an American problem. It's causing food prices to surge worldwide.

Food prices jumped 6% in July, after three months of declines, according to the United Nations' monthly Food Price Index released Thursday. The main drivers behind the increase? Grain prices. And more specifically, corn prices, which have hit record highs in recent weeks.

We haven't even gotten to the harvest yet. Livestock producers are switching to feeding other grains as corn prices are so high. This, of course, drives other grain prices up, and reduces stockpiles available for export. At least it leaves more corn for ethanol production, a good thing since our refineries are falling apart :-/`

Well if I were an autocratic dictator, I'd be making sure that I've got gold bars stashed away in a few exile countries, some swiss bank accounts, a bunch of different passports, and a plastic surgeon on speed dial. There are going to be some more uprising when those higher food prices hit.

Google to include Gmail in search results

Gmail's more than 425 million users already can search within their personal e-mail accounts to find something they need, such as an order from Amazon.com or an airline reservation.

Now, Gmail users who are logged into their accounts will be shown a list of relevant e-mails on Google's main search results page if the correspondence contains a word entered in a search request.

Google is initially testing the feature with just 1 million Gmail users who request access to a "field trial." Gmail users can sign up at http://g.co/searchtrial.

There was a discussion about privacy on previous threads, just wanted to give a heads up to everyone. I have decided to slowly get rid of gmail and my other accounts, I have already started using a mix of search engines.

I genuinely admire the American tech and IT sector, but these people are now losing their minds.

It's a form of insanity. None of this stuff genuinely improves life on this planet.

The more gadgets you own, the more they end up owning you through the associated costs and the never ending quest to "upgrade."

Upgrade to what? Is the goal to be in a wheelchair in a nursing home with no eyesight but nonetheless able to stroke an iPad version 25 and search all of the e-mails you've ever gotten? To do what?

My thought exactly.

X years into the future there will be a little earpiece wich also have a microphone, a forward web cam and a device to display data into your eye. There is a computer chip and a wireless data conection to. For people with glasseyes, this gadget is clipped on to your eyewear. Now, you can stay connected 24/7. You can have your own life constantly feed up to the net. Some new web site provides the service. From there, you can follow your friends in everything they do. The border between the realworld and the cyber[*] world is entirely erased.
And the kids will love it! And yes, you have games, email and all the other stuff to. It is allintegrated.

Questions: What do we realy need this for? And what new gadget can they possibly develop to upgrade to?

[*]1990ies word, I know.

FYI: David Brin's latest book "Existence" extensively explores these issues. Yeah, it's science fiction, but it's by an actual scientist, with a startling track record of technological predictions.

It's already a reality, it's called Project glass

Project Glass is a research and development program by Google to develop an augmented reality head-mounted display (HMD).[2] The intended purpose of Project Glass products would be the hands free displaying of information currently available to most smartphone users,[3] and allowing for interaction with the Internet via natural language voice commands.[4] The functionality and physical appearance (minimalist design of the aluminium strip with 2 nose pads) has been compared to Steve Mann's EyeTap,[5][6] which was also referred to as "Glass" ("EyeTap Digital Eye Glass", i.e. use of the word "Glass" in singular rather than plural form "Glasses").[7]

The operating system software used in the glass will be Google's Android.[8]

When I joined engineering I truly believed that I could help people with stuff, I think many engineers esp in hi-tech such as AI, software, robotics have simply lost perspective and are now just thinking/acting like droids.

Personally I think that the glasses project will be a limited success, I can see it getting deployed in hospitals, command centers but not in public life. Thankfully our brains and eyes are not built to look at multiple images and contexts at the same time. Anyone using a glass and walking on the road is going upstairs.

The baby boom recovery

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Three years after the recession ended, the U.S. population now has pent-up demand for many things: cars, homes, business loans ... and even babies.

The sluggish economy sent the birth rate in the United States falling as high unemployment derailed many young people's plans to move out and start families.

About 22% of 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they have postponed having a baby because of recent economic conditions.

But as the economy improves, that trend will eventually have to reverse itself.

That's because most young people still want to have children. The typical American woman wants an average of 2.3 children over her lifetime. According to surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that's been roughly consistent for 50 years.

Oh, great...

There are a lot of WTF?! comments being posted. Apparently, many folks don't agree about the claimed 'recovery', or that bringing a child into the world at this time has become any more affordable.

Another below average US natural gas (NG) injection number, 24 BCF:


A link to a Forbes blog post which discusses the possibility that US NG storage could be below average by the end of October (with pro & con points of view):


Link to EIA story saying NG in storage could be highest on record by the end of injection season, despite the low pace of weekly injection.

The increase in U.S. working natural gas inventories nearly half way through the 2012 injection season—the period from April through October when most natural gas is stored underground to help meet heating demand during the upcoming winter—was the lowest in 12 years. The slow start to the injection season reflects record-high inventories at the end of this winter, leaving less space to be filled, and a large increase in natural gas use by the U.S. electric sector for power generation. EIA estimates that, by November, working natural gas inventories will hit a record high, exceeding 3,900 billion cubic feet (Bcf). U.S. dry natural gas production was up almost 7% from January through May of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, so natural gas injections have not shifted lower due to a downturn in domestic natural gas production.


We shall see, but as outlined in the prior discussion, a critical question is once the shale drillers have slowed their drilling (which they have done), will they ever be able to catch up with the high decline rates? Art Berman estimates that about 40% of current NG production in Texas & Louisiana comes from wells completed in the past 12 months.

As also noted previously, using a common data source (the RRC), we see rising annual Texas Barnett Shale gas production through 2011, but total Texas natural gas well production has been declining since 2008. In other words, a common data source shows that, starting in 2009, rising production from shale gas plays could no longer offset the underlying decline in existing Texas natural gas wells.

This is not a terribly encouraging model for US and global shale (oil & gas) plays. And Texas has the longest record of widespread, modern, shale gas development efforts. So, will the shale oil plays show a similar pattern? Incidentally, the permeability relative to gas is much higher than the permeability relative to oil.

In any case, the Forbes guy is basically noting the difference in the slope between the 2012 injection rates (recent data in red) versus the historical slope:

And daily/weekly NG gas prices have already risen more than 50% from their low point a few months ago:



Speaking of storage this may not amount to much more than a small blip on the national situation but locally has some folks scrambling. And in a month the Rockman will be drilling a well 4 or 5 miles from the sinkhole. Sometimes this business is a tad to exiting. LOL.

*Chevron orders drawdowns from nearby gas storage

Assumption Parish Police Jury

9:15 a.m. Morning Update ... Based on recent revelations that NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) was injected into the cavern, the parish has requested DEQ to immediately begin monitoring the atmosphere and sinkhole for NORM. The OEP has also requested that previously pulled samples be tested for NORM as well.


Oil and gas TENORM and/or NORM is created in the production process, when produced fluids from reservoirs carry sulfates up to the surface of the Earth's crust. Some states, such as North Dakota, uses the term "diffuse NORM". Barium, Calcium and Strontium sulfates are larger compounds, and the smaller atoms, such as Radium 226 and Radium 228 can fit into the empty spaces of the compound and be carried through the produced fluids. As the fluids approach the surface, changes in the temperature and pressure cause the Barium, Calcium, Strontium and Radium sulfates to precipitate out of solution and form scale on the inside, or on occasion, the outside of the tubulars and/or casing. The use of tubulars in the production process that are NORM contaminated does not cause a health hazard if the scale is inside the tubulars and the tubulars remain downhole. Enhanced concentrations of the radium 226 and 228 and the daughter products such as Lead 210 may also occur in sludge that accumulates in oilfield pits, tanks and lagoons. Radon gas in the natural gas streams concentrate as NORM in gas processing activities. Radon decays to Lead 210, then to Bismuth 210, Polonium 210 and stabilizes with Lead 206. Radon decay elements occur as a shiny film on the inner surface of inlet lines, treating units, pumps and valves associated with propylene, ethane and propane processing systems.

That is definitely the web site to use to keep current on this situation. The brine company has announced a press conference tomorrow at 1pm, and a relief well has been ordered. Officials are polling the mandatory evacuation area for information on residents so that they can keep track of where they are -- to make sure that if they have to order them out they can account for everyone, I suppose. They sure do seem to be 'on top' of this thing, not that it has their attention.

E - I checked the website. I was surprised at your use of “relief well”. But the DNR order calls it the same. I think “evaluation well” would be more appropriate. Relief well would imply they know the cause of the problem and a way to fix it. So far I haven’t seen even wild unsupported speculation as to exactly what is going on. On a technical level it will be interesting to see exactly where they’ll drill. They’ve mapped the salt/sediment interface with some detail in addition to the location of the various caverns. Yes: multiple caverns in the dome.

In particular I’ll be curious what drilling contractor will drill the well. I’ll be surprised if they get private insurance: given they don’t appear to know what’s going on this should be more dangerous than killing a blowout. The state may have to underwrite the insurance. I mentioned earlier I’m planning to drill a well about 6 miles from the sink hole. I’ll still get the drill permit from the state but the parish may not allow it. There's virtually no risk of the sink hole affecting my well or vice versa. But the parish doesn’t have that data. The sink hole is on the west side of the salt down and my well on the east. The seismic clearly shows the salt dome doesn't extend under my location. I’ve prepared a couple of seismic displays and will try to meet with the parish rep this weekend. If I get any good inside poop I’ll post when I return.

BTW delaying the spud date of my well is not a simple matter: lots of individual aspects planned/contracted. Sort of like turning a large ship: it can be done but very slowly. The best news: we don’t plan to frac the well after we drill it. LOL, Who knows: maybe my picture will show up on the web site. I’ll be easy to ID: I’ll be the most intelligent looking guy on “polio” crutches. LOL


With a record amount of gas in storage by November, and the potential for another warm winter because of the large area of open water in the Arctic it might be a confusing time for gas. The declining rig count and shale gas production decline rates may be obscured by a lack of demand!



From Neven's Arctic Sea Ice Blog

Further detachment

This isn't an official Arctic summer storm (ASS) update, but it comes damn close to one. The thing is that the last domino hasn't fallen yet, as the storm is still there, though less powerful.

In yesterday's Arctic storm update I mentioned how a large swathe of ice floes had almost detached itself from the main pack. Well, I think it's as good as completely detached now:

Given all that open water in the arctic there is some suggestion that this may be the cause of the wonky winter weather we have had the last few years.

Does Arctic Amplification Fuel Extreme Weather in Mid-Latitudes? (Youtube, 16:04 minutes)

Art Berman estimates that about 40% of current NG production in Texas & Louisiana comes from wells completed in the past 12 months.

This isn't correct. I'm showing 2739 natural gas wells in Texas that began production between June 2011 and May 2012, the 12 months preceding the latest production data from the Railroad Commission.

There are actually about 300 more that were either shut in, abandoned, or have duplicate production records (likely recompletions in other intervals).

Anyway, those 2739 natural gas wells were producing 3.83 BCF/day in May 2012. The Railroad Commission shows the state of Texas produced about 18 BCF/day in May 2012. So the wells that began producing in the twelve months thru May 2012 are contributing about 21% of total production. I don't think Louisiana would change that much.

Spreadsheet with API #'s, production data, reservoir, et al available upon request.

dlt - Thanks. I thought the 40% figure sounded a tad high. Not sure how Art came up with his number. But I still think there's an important take-away from either stat. The nature of NG production has become very bimodal in the last five years. Historically the bulk of production was coming from a great many older fields where individual wells produced at low rates but collectively represented a large portion of the output. Similar to the fact that even though the US is the third largest producer of oil (and the largest producer of NG) our average well produces less than 10 bopd. Your stats show that those 2,739 wells drilled in the last 12 months are averaging 1,400 mcf/d. According to the TRRC for 2011 101,831 wells produced 6.14 tcf for an average of 165 mcf/d. IOW the new wells are producing at rates more than 8X the average older well. Yet they represent less than 3% of the NG wells in Texas.

I don't have the stat but I suspect that many, if not the great majority, of those 2,739 wells are producing from fractured shale reservoirs. And, as such, with have the typical high decline rates. So on the one hand they represent a disproportionate percentage of current production that share will decline much more rapidly than the older heritage production. What has masked that relationship was the ever expanding (so far) drilling program in the shale plays. If we are seeing a significant pull back in drilling activity then we may see an increase in the overall decline rate of Texas production much greater than the historical records would imply. I don't think it will be "cliff" though. Even if no more shale wells were drilled in the future the current wells would continue producing at a much lower rate but for years to come. But what would change significantly IMHO is the projection some folks currently offer for future NG production in Texas as well as the country as a whole.

Report: Drought conditions worsen in key farm states

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows that the amount of the contiguous U.S. mired in drought conditions dropped a little more than 1 percentage point, to 78.14 percent. But the expanse still gripped by extreme or exceptional drought rose nearly 2 percentage points to 24.14 percent.

... The nation’s biggest corn and soybean producer, Iowa, is still grappling with the drought. The amount of that state in extreme or exceptional drought more than doubled, rising from 30.74 percent last week to 69.14 percent as of Tuesday.

From Lester Brown: Rising Temperature Raising Food Prices

... This year’s drought has taken a crop that started out nearly as good as it gets to one where the USDA rates only 23 percent of the crop to be in “good” to “excellent” condition. The last time the crop deteriorated so badly was in 1988, when heat and drought combined to shrink the harvest by 39 percent.

One consequence of fast-climbing corn prices is that people will find themselves moving down the food chain. Many of the 3 billion people in the world who are currently moving up the food chain, a big chunk of them in China, may suddenly find the price of livestock and poultry products rising much faster than their incomes, forcing them to cut their meat consumption. In the months ahead, we are likely to see more people moving down the food chain than at any time in history.

This year’s record crop shortfall is part of an overall loss of momentum in the effort to expand food production fast enough to keep up with the record growth in demand of recent years. As a result, world carryover stocks of grain will likely fall from over 100 days of consumption 15 years ago to a precariously low 65 days of consumption for this year.

and Global food prices rise in July due to extreme weather


Why The Fate Of The Global Equity Rally May Rest In The Hands Of Soybeans

So barring some last minute miracle, with Soy prices set to surge on a Y/Y basis, and drag Chinese food inflation with them, will the PBOC ease, and add to incremental food demand, just as supply considerations are about to send Chinese food inflation soaring?

Of course not (naturally, this assumes the wheels of the global economy do not come completely unglued, in which case all bets are off).

For those still unconvinced, below is a reminder just how different the food price component is as an input in two very different CPI calculations: that of China, where it is above 30% of the entire CPI basked, and in the US, where it is the lowest in the entire world at under 8%.


Why King Corn Wasn’t Ready for the Drought

For more than a decade, academic and industry scientists have promised crops that would endure hot, dry weather. That weather has arrived. The crops have not. In a land where corn is king, the king is stunted and withered.

In the United States, corn covers an area the size of California, and nearly all the seed comes from Pioneer and Monsanto. It’s been a biotechnological bonanza: 88 percent is genetically engineered, primarily for resistance to pests and herbicides.

The first drought-tolerant varieties, however, bred by Pioneer and branded collectively under the Optimum AQUAmax trademark, only went on sale in 2011, as did Syngenta’s AgriSure Artesian corn. Another variety, developed by Monsanto and called DroughtGard, was approved by the USDA this year and is expected to go on sale in 2013.

None have been tested in large-scale, real-world conditions, and the claims made for them are cautious: They won’t flourish during droughts, but might do a bit better than existing plants, hopefully surviving for one more rainfall.

If they work as advertised, the varieties could be quite useful in droughts of low to moderate intensity. Their utility in the crucible that much of the central and western United States is expected to become, however, will likely be limited.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Receipt of Unemployment Insurance by Higher-Income Unemployed Workers (“Millionaires”) pdf

... Among tax filers with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $1 million or more, 2,840 reported receipt of unemployment benefit income in 2008 and 2,362 tax filers reported receipt of unemployment benefit income in 2009. This represents 0.02% to 0.03% of all tax filers that reported receiving unemployment benefit income.

US town hopes tides will power recovery (w/Video)

The first commercial tidal energy project in North America is in its final test phase.

Turbines have been engineered a little way off the coast of the US state of Maine, in such a way as to ensure that they always turn the same way, whether the tide is rolling in, or out.

The turbines power a generator, creating electricity. Cables carry it onshore and directly into the power grid.

Three years from now, authorities hope that hope that the generator will power 1,200 homes.

Oil prices are about to collapse, well, that is if this article from Bloomberg is correct.

Oil May Retreat On Fastest Stockpiling Rate In 14 Years

OPEC pumped 2.1 million barrels a day more than projected demand in April through June, the biggest overproduction for any quarter since 1998, the International Energy Agency estimates. The increase has been overshadowed by focus on U.S.-led sanctions against Iran’s oil exports, Citigroup Inc. said. Brent will fall to $93 by September and $83 by year-end, according to the Centre for Global Energy Studies.

That's a drop of $20 by next month and $30 by the end of the year. Brent is currently at $113.28, up $1.08 so far today. Apparently some traders haven't gotten the word.

Ron P.

I am certainly no apologist for the MSM, otherwise known as "the hologram", but I have begun to notice a trend that may yet put downward pressure on oil prices. Namely, there are several indications that the economy is going down the toilet. Again.

Taken altogether, I think that we may be seeing another "tooth" in the ratcheting down of industrial civilization. Whereas before it took a steep rise in oil to almost $150 per bbl, I would speculate that the sustained prices in the $90 - $100 per bbl range are now having the same effect.

If so, then another round of demand destruction may yet be in store which would indeed cause another fall in prices.


Note that for a while WTI has really only been relevant to North American Mid-continent refiners and producers, since Mid-continent refiners have been paying WTI based prices for crude, but charging Brent based prices for refined products.

And Brent averaged $97 in 2008, $111 in 2011, and about $112 in 2012, through July.

The counter-example to that is what has actually been happening to oil prices; they dropped quite a bit (especially when Greece was having trouble) but stopped a bit below $90 for Brent and then went right back up again. So it seems to me that they can't fall too far either! There may be a ceiling, but there is probably a floor too.

From what has happened this year, I think that a crisis of some sort would lower prices but otherwise they will slowly but steadily trend up. Ordinary bad news or the slow-burn recession/depression is not enough to lower prices.

What I wonder is, what happens when the "price floor" meets the "price ceiling"?

That shouldn't mean that it's not impossible to have another precipitous descent of oil prices like we saw in 2008-09 as the West plunged into recession. Why couldn't we drop down to $50/barrel?

That said the return back to $90 - $100/barrel will likely be faster than the last cycle, as Saudi Arabia will need to reduce exports to bring the price back to what it can afford to sell oil at. And to a price that other producers require for it to be worthwhile for them to bring new oil resources into production.

What I wonder is, what happens when the "price floor" meets the "price ceiling"?

Now that's an interesting question! After May 05 oil price steadily rose to 147 in 08, then plunged to 35. My take on that wide range in oil price taking place at the time was the parameters, the bookends of what oil price could range within in a post peak oil economy had been set. My assertion (which is in the akashic oil drum records) is oil price after those extremes were set would never exceed, higher or lower than 147/35 (in 08 dollar valuation). And what we have seen since then is oil price has remained within that range. I also asserted that as the peak oil situation worsened economicially, that range would pincer in to ever smaller ranges, which is what we are seeing.

We are getting pinched between a price in which exporters (due in part to domestic operating costs and lowering eroei) require a floor price vs. the ceiling price which is what the world economy can handle yet remain viable. The squeeze is on, but it also starts to pincer in towards a 'locked in' very tight price range that exceeds the developed country's capability to generate much growth. This forces massive debt increases and the willingness to substantiate some very risky accounting tricks, like QE's and other 3 card monty shell games. Risky, because they potentially undermine a currency with no gold, silver or any other standard backing it up. Somehow we reached a point where we simply have faith a dollar has a certain value and that faith has so far been held in place despite these Bernanke accounting tricks. But if one were to exptrapolate the trend, then we must ask where does this folly lead?

Chris Nelder wrote a piece in June about the "floor and ceiling" of oil prices.

The future of oil prices

Thanks, aws, very interesting article:

The price will bounce between the floor and ceiling of the narrow ledge, causing supply and demand to vie for the lead.

Banks' Cash Stash: No Shield Against Bankruptcy

Imposing minimal capital levels for banks is like attempting to solve a complex jigsaw puzzle with a poorly fitting piece that could lead to even greater chaos.

According to theoretical physicists João da Cruz and Pedro Lind from Lisbon University, Portugal, imposing minimum capital levels for banks may not prevent the insolvency of a minority of banks from triggering a widespread banking system collapse. In a study recently published in European Physical Journal B, the researchers explain why this measure could instead lead to larger crises.

The authors observed that the insolvency results in a break of all the bank's connections. As a result, it affects the 'economic energy' of all its neighbours. Due to the interplay between banks, the effect of a single insolvency is thus capable of triggering an avalanche in the banking system.

Journal reference: The dynamics of financial stability in complex networks

Now THAT's fun!

An article on economic systems presented in
The European Physical Journal B -
Condensed Matter and Complex Systems

Here's the full PDF for free:
The dynamics of financial stability in complex networks

...reminds me very much of the electrical grid.

In section 2, they describe their economic model: rational interaction among peers. This allows simulation as a sea of elements. It is all computationally very convenient and quite innocent of reality: naive... but illustrates a cascade failure.

Solar Power Day and Night: KIT Controls Fluctuation of Renewable Energies by Using Modern Storage Systems

At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), several pilot plants of solar cells, small wind power plants, lithium-ion batteries, and power electronics are under construction to demonstrate how load peaks in the grid can be balanced and what regenerative power supply by an isolated network may look like in the future.

Iraq Oil Tops 3 Million Barrels for First Time Since 2002

... Iraq pumped 3.08 million barrels a day in July, 115,000 barrels more than the previous month, OPEC’s Vienna-based secretariat said today in its Monthly Oil Market Report. The Persian Gulf state for a second month outpaced Iran, where output dropped by 173,000 barrels to 2.82 million. Iraq last produced more than 3 million barrels in February 2002, OPEC said after revising its April estimate.

Farmers Say Labor Shortage Will Reshape Food Industry

... “The truth is that there’s a lot of work and not enough people,” said Aragon, 26, as a dozen men beside him hoisted ladders and stuffed pears into heavy pouches strapped over their shoulders.

... Morgan Hill, Calif. grower Tim Chiala abandoned a 50-acre string bean field in the fall because he couldn’t recruit enough workers to harvest both the beans and a more lucrative pepper crop. This year, he planted fewer crops.

Chiala said the food-conscious San Francisco Bay Area won’t be able to sustain its high-quality fresh-food expectations if a declining workforce leads to more food imports and field machinery.

The region’s food production, Chiala warned, is “going to be like everything else. They’ll outsource it to another country.”

The region’s food production, Chiala warned, is “going to be like everything else. They’ll outsource it to another country.”

Perhaps someone needs to explain the fundamentals of ELM to Mr. Chiala, and that the model applies equally well to net food exports.

U.S. Northern Command Homeland Defense/Civil Support Capabilities Assessment Study Plan

The Homeland Defense and Civil Support Capabilities-Based Assessment (HD/CS CBA) focuses on military problems facing DOD in the 2012-2025 timeframe with an emphasis on 2014-2016, i.e., “how” DOD will fulfill its responsibilities required to lead, support and enable Homeland Defense and Civil Support missions.

Scenario 1: In 2014, the countries Red and Orange launch a limited but coordinated attack on the United States. The attack begins with a cyber attack against financial systems. Two weeks later, Red launches a sea-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with a 10 kiloton (kT) warhead against Los Angeles followed shortly by an intercontinental ballistic missile with a 150 kT warhead launched against Hawaii with the initial prediction of impact area including part of the west coast of the continental US. Orange also launches a sea launched cruise missile with weaponized anthrax against Washington, DC.

These attacks are in response to the US retaliation against Orange for their involvement in terrorist activity in the United Kingdom.

These actions could lead to further escalation and ultimately to a nuclear attack by the US on a grand scale.

Scenario 2: In 2014, under country Pink's sponsorship, terrorist group Red launches a cyber attack against US financial and infrastructure systems because of US actions against Pink. Shortly thereafter, Red launches simultaneous attacks against two US naval ports: Norfolk, VA; and San Diego, CA. They also launch an unmanned aircraft (UA) carrying weaponized anthrax against San Diego from Mexico. In a coordinated effort, they also set off two radiological dispersal devices (RODs) in US airports. one at the Atlanta International Airport and one at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Scenario 3: In 2014, heavy rains in country Green result in severe flooding, prompting Green to call on the US for assistance. Shortly after the requested assistance begins, there is a National Special Security Event (NSSE), a G8 Summit meeting, in Texas. Shortly after that, a major earthquake happens in the southern US. There are also major problems in Aqua, leading the Aqua government to request humanitarian assistance from the US. All this occurs in late summer, and a heavy hurricane season is shaping up in the Atlantic.

... sounds like Reservoir Dogs ...

U.S. Army Military Police School Civil Disturbance Operations Course

The following self-learning course from the U.S. Army Military Police School, which was formerly located at Fort McClellan, describes procedures for military police involvement in civil disturbance operations. The course makes it clear that temporary detention facilities in the event of a civil disturbance overloading local resources would be operated under existing military doctrine for internment facilities. The course cites U.S. Army FM 3-19.40 Internment/Resettlement Operations, which is now numbered FM 3-39.40 since its most recent revision in 2010, as the primary reference for the operation of these facilities.

20th Support Command (CBRNE) soldiers roll through nuclear detecting robot testing at Muscatatuck

… “From a structural perspective, given a urban environment that’s been hit with a nuclear weapon there are a lot of hazards we wouldn’t want to send our guys into; and that’s the purpose of developing this type of equipment,” said Capt. Luke Moen, a native of Fairfield, Maine, operations officer assigned to the 20th SUPCOM.

Ports conduct radiation checkpoint operation

The Los Angeles County Maritime Region Radiation Nuclear Detection Coalition recently conducted its second Maritime Radiation Chokepoint Operation at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Port Complex.
"This coalition has worked together on numerous operations in the past in an effort to provide safety in the Port and prevent the possibility of dirty bombs or improvised nuclear weapons from being smuggled into the area," sheriff's Sgt. Mick Kelleher said in a written statement.

Only one gonorrhea drug left for routine cases-CDC

U.S. health officials are urging doctors to stop using a key antibiotic to treat routine cases of gonorrhea due to signs of bacterial resistance, leaving one treatment left for the sexually transmitted disease.

"This will not solve the problem of drug-resistant gonorrhea once and for all, but it may buy us time to allow researchers and drug developers to develop new treatments," Bolan told reporters in a telephone briefing.

In the United States, there are approximately 300,000 reported cases of gonorrhea each year, but because infected people often have no symptoms, the actual number of cases is likely closer to 700,000, Bolan said.

Senegalese villagers vow to fight biofuels project

Villagers from northern Senegal vowed Thursday to fight a project by Senegalese and Italian investors to produce biofuels on their land, a venture already forced to relocate once by deadly protests.

"We will fight those who want to take our land. It is the land of our ancestors, an area of 26,000 hectares which houses villages, thousands of heads of cattle, mosques, cemeteries," Oumar Ba, a representative of a collective of affected villages, told journalists.

"Whoever wants to take our land will first walk over our dead bodies," said Ba, who lives in the village of Ndiael in the region of the same name.

.. The United States and Brazil are the biggest producers, but investors have been criticised for buying up large swathes of land in Africa to produce fuel to be exported to their nations

Global water sustainability flows through natural and human challenges

... China's crisis is daunting, though not unique: Two-thirds of China's 669 cities have water shortages, more than 40 percent of its rivers are severely polluted, 80 percent of its lakes suffer from eutrophication – an over abundance of nutrients -- and about 300 million rural residents lack access to safe drinking water.

"There is an inescapable complexity with water," Liu said. "When you generate energy, you need water; when you produce food, you need water. However, to provide more water, more energy and more land are needed, thus creating more challenges for energy and food production, which in turn use more water and pollute more water.

"In the end, goals are often contradictory to each other. Everybody wants something, but doesn't take a systems approach that is essential for us to see the whole picture."

Regular readers know of my concerns about the 'investment class' and Carbon control to save the world.


They quickly figured out that they could earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but could earn more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas. That is because that byproduct has a huge global warming effect. The credits could be sold on international markets, earning tens of millions of dollars a year.

OPEC Oil Export Cutback Steepens

OPEC, responsible for about 40 percent of global supplies, will ship 23.73 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Aug. 25


OPEC tanker tracker, 'Oil Movements', reported today that August exports will be roughly about 23.75 mbpd, as compared to the 23.90 mbpd level that prevailed through July, and the 24.0 mbpd level that seen in most of May and June.

The drop of 250,000 bpd over the last two months is substantially attributable to a drop of 400,000 bpd in exports from Saudi Arabia to the US, offset some by an increase of about 150,000 of exports from Libya and Iraq (for which the increment is not going to the US), with the balance of exports from other countries substantially offsetting each other.

A drop in Saudi exports is expected while repairs are underway at the largest US refinery, Motiva.

Note that 'Oil Movements' measures the actual exports shipped, and not the 'output' level frequently cited in many energy related articles.

In the last few months, the gap between 'output' and exports has widened considerably. Possible reasons for this are that OPEC is adding to its own storage and/or using more oil for itself - especially in the summer. See posts by westexas as to why this may be happening.

'Voice of God' to scare church roof raiders

The soaring cost of metal during the global economic crisis has helped fuel a surge in metal thefts, triggering chaos on the rail network when copper signalling cables are taken.

The bishop said said: “Since the metal vandals have descended in such hordes over recent years our duty of maintenance has become nearly impossible.”

Miss Hurley said: “Beautiful old churches are at the heart of so many of our communities and I find it truly shocking that anyone would steal lead from a church roof. I heartily endorse the campaign to have alarms fitted.”

Anyone else remember the film Time Bandits, with the voice of the supreme being thundering out 'return what you have stolen!'. Life once again imitates art...