Drumbeat: August 31, 2012

Germany, Italy stay opposed to IEA oil release

ROME/BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and Italy remain opposed to a release of consumer country emergency oil stocks, arguing world markets are amply supplied despite lower Iranian crude output, senior government sources in Rome and Berlin said. German and Italian opposition creates further uncertainty about the timing of a possible drawdown of stocks after G7 finance ministers issued a surprise statement on Tuesday saying they were ready to call on the International Energy Agency (IEA) to take action.

"There has been a round of telephone calls in the past few days. Since there's no unanimous agreement, there won't be any release," an Italian official said.

Oil Heads for Second Monthly Gain Before Fed Chairman’s Speech

Oil headed for a second monthly increase, its biggest since October, as investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.

Futures advanced as much as 1.4 percent. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is scheduled to speak today at a symposium where in 2010 he foreshadowed economic stimulus measures by the bank. Prices fell yesterday to the lowest close in two weeks as producers worked to restore Gulf of Mexico output and refiners prepared to resume operations after Hurricane Isaac passed. Companies halted 95 percent of U.S. oil production in the Gulf and 73 percent of natural-gas output, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said yesterday.

Isaac pushes gas prices still higher for holiday weekend

Gas prices jumped again Thursday in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, leaving drivers facing the prospect of costly fillups as they take to the highway for a final summer spin over Labor Day weekend.

Prices climbed two cents a gallon to $3.82 nationally to a record for this time of year and are likely to edge higher still in coming days, the American Automobile Association said. The gains came on top of a five-cent surge Wednesday when Isaac pounded the oil-rich Gulf Coast region. The price has risen steadily from the summer low of $3.33 on July 2.

Italians Squeezed by $9.50-a-Gallon Gas Face Costly Drive Home

Unleaded fuel has climbed to more than 2 euros ($2.50) a liter, about $9.50 a gallon, in some areas of Italy, including parts of the Tuscany region. That’s made this year’s end-of- summer “rientro,” when Italians return to the cities after their August vacations, more costly than usual.

Motorists are being hit by the fallout from the European debt crisis as the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti raises gasoline taxes to rein in the world’s fourth-biggest public debt. High fuel prices are weighing on consumer spending, deepening the country’s fourth recession since 2001 and sapping earnings at carmaker Fiat SpA (F) and highway operator Atlantia SpA.

U.S. Gasoline a Bargain as Drivers Pay 63% Less Than Norway

For all the complaints about U.S. gasoline prices, Americans spent 63 percent less at the pump in July than Norwegians did on a gallon of the fuel.

The U.S. ranked 49th of 60 countries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, with premium gasoline at $3.75 a gallon on July 23, compared with $10.12 in top-ranked Norway. The U.S. price was behind Japan, China and India, a country where people made 2.9 percent of what Americans earn.

Mobile Bay lateral of Transco gas line shut after Isaac-Williams

The Mobile Bay lateral of Williams Cos Inc's Transco natural gas pipeline has been shut due to storm Isaac, the company said in a filing on Friday.

Lukoil sees profits slashed

Russia’s second-biggest producer Lukoil saw its net income more than halved in the second quarter to just over $1 billion as it was hit by higher taxes and foreign exchange losses due to the weaker rouble.

Kuwait closes in on Athabasca deal

Kuwait’s state-owned petroleum company has signed a preliminary deal to invest as much as $4-billion in a joint venture with Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. to develop some of its oil sands properties in northern Alberta.

BP to invest £100m in North Sea interests

Oil giant BP is upping its stake in the North Sea by buying Total's share of a platform and two fields.

The £100m deal increases BP's interest in the Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP).

Pemex Finally Strikes Oil in Deep Waters

President Felipe Calderón of Mexico announced Wednesday that the national oil company, Pemex, had struck oil in deep water, its first success after years of exploration in the deeper reaches along the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

The find, deep below the gulf’s floor and more than 8,200 feet below the surface of the water, could add as much as 400 million barrels in potential reserves to Mexico’s overall reserves, Mr. Calderón said at a ceremony at Los Pinos, his official residence.

Norway: Skills shortage could leave offshore industry all at sea

Concerns have emerged that a shortage of skilled professionals could prevent Norway from taking advantage of large oil reserves recently discovered in the North Sea.

A poll of delegates at the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) conference found that 68% of participants felt skills shortages would result in the country struggling to realise the potential of Norway’s recent Aldous and Avaldsnes oilfield discoveries.

Norway’s Oil Industry Faces Cost Jump as Finds Lure Explorers

Total SA , Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Dong Energy A/S and other explorers face rising costs in Norway as the biggest crude finds in almost 40 years rekindle interest in exploring off the Nordic country’s shores.

The discoveries are driving demand, pushing up prices for equipment and services and potentially jacking up commitments for licenses, Soeren Gath Hansen, chief for exploration and production at Dong, a Danish oil explorer, said in an Aug. 29 interview in Stavanger, Norway.

BP Official: China's Shale Gas Development Has Long Way To Go -Xinhua

It will be a long time before China could commercialize its shale gas development in a large way, said David Eyton, group head of research and technology at U.K. oil giant BP PLC in Beijing Friday, state-run news agency Xinhua reports.

China's shale gas reserves' geological structure is totally different than that of the U.S. and China needs to build more infrastructure facility to transport the shale gas once explored. Also it needs more policy support including a pricing mechanism for shale gas, Mr. Eyton was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

At Gazprom, Views Conflict on Viability of Barents Sea Gas Project

MOSCOW — Gazprom, the Russian energy company, has long presented the Shtokman field in the Barents Sea as the jewel in the crown of its natural gas reserves, a find that might hold enough gas to meet global demand for a year.

But Gazprom, a state-controlled company, has struggled for years to develop the field. This week, executives at Gazprom presented conflicting views of whether the project was even viable.

S. Africa cuts all Iran crude imports in July

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa imported no crude oil from Iran in July, customs data showed on Friday, a sign Pretoria is avoiding Iranian shipments until it can be certain to avoid European sanctions.

In May, imports from Iran stood at 285,524 tonnes, but since June, Africa's biggest economy has replaced shipments from Iran with crude from other suppliers, especially Saudi Arabia.

South Africa used to import a quarter of its crude from Iran but has come under Western pressure to cut the shipments as part of sanctions designed to halt Tehran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Japan imports no Iran crude in July, for 1st time since 1981

Japan's imports of Iranian crude oil fell to zero in July for the first time since 1981, trade ministry data showed on Friday, as Iran's No.3 oil buyer reined in its appetite to keep from falling afoul of European Union sanctions targeting insurance, Reuters reported.

The data had been anticipated as Japanese buyers stopped lifting Iranian crude from early in June until late in July so that vessels on the final leg of the journey to Japan would not be left uninsured in early July, after an EU ban on insurance of Iranian cargoes took effect.

Petrodollar really a loonie bubble

Despite rising oil exports, Canada has a trade dcficit that indicates the dollar has overshot.

Chesapeake Squeezes Landowners on Costs Amid Cash Crunch

Donna Thornton made sure to include a no-cost provision in her contract with Chesapeake Energy Corp. that let the driller harvest natural gas beneath 2.5 acres of her property in Louisiana.

Thinking she had excluded production and marketing expenses and would therefore secure higher royalty payments, the Texas accountant said she was shocked when she confirmed in July that the second-biggest U.S. gas producer was passing costs on to her. For Thornton and thousands more owners of mineral rights in the U.S., “no-costs” in drilling leases has taken on new meaning.

As gas prices were heading toward a 10-year low in April, Chesapeake began reinterpreting in its favor thousands of contracts with landowners from Pennsylvania to Texas that own the 1 trillion cubic feet of gas the company produced last year, according to interviews and documents reviewed by Bloomberg. Chesapeake, arguing that other contract language allows for cost deductions, is fighting more than a dozen lawsuits.

Abramovich Wins Berzovsky’s U.K. Lawsuit Over Sibneft

Roman Abramovich won a lawsuit seeking about $6.8 billion over claims he intimidated Boris Berezovsky into selling shares in two Russian oil and metal companies for far less than they were worth.

Shell Wins U.S. Permit to Prepare for Arctic Drilling

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it will be difficult to complete an exploratory well in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska this year even after the company received a permit to begin limited preparatory work.

Look At How Much Shell Is Paying To Militants, Gangs And 'Kill And Go' Police In Nigeria

Shell Oil Company allegedly paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the oppressive Nigerian government for "security" at the height of conflicts in the region, according to a report from watchdog group Platform based on leaked internal data.

Payments included $127 million to armed militants and criminal gangs between 2007 and 2009, according to the report. Tens of millions of dollars more went to police known in Nigeria as "kill and go" suggesting they can kill civilians and walk away with impunity.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Summer's End

As Labor Day nears, a quiet summer seems poised to turn into an autumn to remember. Our concern here, as it has been for many years now, is the price and availability of oil products vital to our civilization. One of the many ways to think about peak oil is the point in time when our gasoline and other petroleum-fueled endeavors, such as air travel, become too expensive for casual use. As the use of petroleum products slows (US consumption is down by 4.4 percent from last year), our economy activity gradually drops to a slower pace. This year, the price of crude dropped about $35 a barrel between April and June as tensions in the Middle East seemed to be easing. Since July, however, it has climbed $25 higher despite gloomy economic prospects for much of the industrialized world.

More important however, is that the price of gasoline in the US is now up to the highest level ever for this time of year. Despite lower gasoline consumption, we seem to be setting a new record for the amount of money going into our gas tanks and not available for other uses.

Doug Casey on Peak Oil

Peak Oil is a major reason why, in spite of a rapidly cooling global economy, oil prices are still near historic highs, at over $95 a barrel. In part, this is due to so-called "quantitative easing" – i.e., money-printing – but it's also clearly evidence of the essential correctness of Hubbert's theory, which accurately predicted the peaking of light, sweet crude-oil production in the US circa 1970. It was not only technically daring, but occupationally and politically dangerous in the '50s for Hubbert to forecast that the US, and then world production, would go into decline. And he was right.

T. Boone Pickens Blasts Romney Energy Plan

In a riveting interview on "CBS This Morning" billionaire oil investor T. Boone Pickens slammed presidential candidate Mitt Romney's energy plan, saying it focuses entirely on new oil drilling with no mention of natural gas.

"The United States has more natural gas than any other country in the world... but there was no mention of [it]," Pickens said.

Qatar vows to meet Japan’s energy needs

Qatar will continue to help Japan meet its rising energy needs, particularly in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, said HE the Chairman of Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah.

Japan Strives to Go Nuclear-Free

TOKYO — As Japan moves to cut back on nuclear power after last year’s disaster in Fukushima, it is running into a harsh economic reality: the cost of immediately abandoning its nuclear reactors may be too high for some big utilities to shoulder.

Abu Dhabi "must be ready" to store spent fuel, says Hans Blix

Abu Dhabi may have to develop storage capacity for spent fuel from the nuclear power plants that will become operational from 2017, says the former head of the UN's nuclear watchdog.

Drilling programs in doubt after deaths

Offshore drilling programs for Origin Energy and Oil Search have been thrown into doubt following the death of two workers yesterday on an offshore drilling rig, the Stena Clyde, which is operated by Stena Offshore of Scotland.

Higher mileage standards will pay off for consumers, environment

The Obama administration scored a victory for public health this week with the announcement of new fuel economy standards. The rules would double gas mileage for cars and light trucks by 2025, saving motorists thousands at the pump, and curb by up to half the release of global-warming greenhouse gases. This is another contrast in the election campaign between President Barack Obama's rounded energy policy and the drill-and-deregulate stance of Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Obama’s fuel standards don’t add up

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — It’s fitting that the Obama administration chose the opening day of the Republican convention in Tampa to roll out the final version of its new Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE), which would raise automobile fuel standards from 29.7 miles per gallon now, to 35.5 in 2016 to 54.5 in 2025.

Raising the CAFE standard and the related goal of reducing tailpipe emissions is an issue about regulation and the role of government that divides Republicans from Democrats.

An American Electric Hybrid Powertrain Maker Goes To China

ALTe Powertrain Technologies, an American electric hybrid powertrain startup, announced Friday it’s setting up a $200 million joint venture in China to tackle the world’s largest auto market.

Transition Network conference 2012 preview: No:7 – Chris Vernon on ‘Is Peak Oil Dead?’

The media has been awash with stories recently about the demise of peak oil, including the now widely critiqued announcement by George Monbiot that “we were wrong on peak oil“. But were we? Chris Vernon is one of the editors of the very popular Oil Drum website, as well as being active in Transition (and making an appearance on BBC Radio 4′s ‘In Business’ recently). We asked him to tell us more about his workshop at the 2012 Transition Network conference, and why he looks forward to Transition Network conferences.

Living happily with less

Granted, this is about voluntary downscaling, which by its very definition suggests that those making such choices have the luxury to do so. Zipcar's car-sharing customers, said Griffith, are better-educated and earn more on average than their similarly aged peers counterparts.

"It's not that they can't afford (owning a car); they've learned to do the math," he said. "They've learned you can have a simpler life and one that's more sustainable by living with less."

OSU agricultural expert favors ethanol waiver to avert global crisis

With the United States facing its worst drought in more than 50 years, the work of Ohio State University professor Rattan Lal is gaining extra attention.

While some are calling for a waiver of ethanol production requirements this year to lower corn prices for farmers and consumers, Lal is calling on the waiver for a different reason — to help avert a global food crisis.

Africa: Food Security - a Perfect Storm

Food prices are rapidly heading toward new record territory, with far more at play than a simple drought in the US Midwest. There are serious implications, especially for nations with high rates of inequality and poverty. We will almost certainly face a potentially catastrophic, global scale famine in the next couple of decades.

The main reason there are now over seven billion people on earth is largely due to the emergence of two separate technologies. Firstly, cheap fossil fuels have enabled us to grow food on industrial scales. We presently require around 10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce one calorie of food. A century ago each calorie of energy expended produced two calories of food. Secondly, advances in health care, primarily antibiotics and vaccines, have increased human life-spans.

It is an increasing challenge to feed this exponentially increasing population. We produce sufficiently for everyone on earth to have enough food, yet despite this cornucopia a significant proportion of people cannot afford to eat properly. Why?

Cooking Isn't Fun

So the big question is, if cooking from whole ingredients is so easy and cost-effective and healthy, why don’t Americans do it more — particularly the low-income ones who are affected the most by obesity? This is a much trickier question than it seems because it implicitly evokes two pernicious myths about Americans’ cooking habits that I uncovered in the course of my reporting.

The first myth here is that the poor do not cook. We tend to think that low-income Americans are flooding McDonald's, while more affluent citizens dutifully eat better meals prepared at home. In reality, it is the middle class that patronizes the Golden Arches and its competitors. (That’s because fast food may be cheap, but it’s still more expensive than cooking at home.) Indeed, beneficiaries of the Agriculture Department’s food-stamp program (officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) typically spend far more time than other Americans preparing their meals.

A Banker Bets on Organic Farming

Grantham, widely known in the investment community as a supercontrarian, came to my attention last month when I stumbled across an article he wrote in his firm’s quarterly newsletter entitled “Welcome to Dystopia! Entering a Long-Term and Politically Dangerous Food Crisis.” Next to this unexpected headline was a photo of (forgive the stereotype) an expectedly conventional-looking investment banker. Below it, however, were two quotes: one from Bob Marley (“Them belly full but we hungry . . .”) and one from Kenneth Boulding: “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” My attention was caught.

Farm Exports Seen Rising as Drought Pushes Up U.S. Crop Prices

U.S. farm exports will rise 5.1 percent to a record in the next fiscal year as overseas buyers pay more for tight supplies of crops damaged by the worst drought in 50 years, the government forecast.

The value of shipments will increase to $143.5 billion in the year starting Oct. 1 from a revised $136.5 billion in the current year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday in a quarterly report. Export revenue from corn, the biggest U.S. crop, will rise 3.4 percent to $12.1 billion while volume declines as the drought pushes grain prices to records.

Kentuckians Take Distilleries to Court Over Black Gunk

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The sooty-looking black gunk has been here for as long as anyone can remember, creeping on the outside of homes, spreading over porch furniture, blanketing car roofs, mysterious and ever-present.

It was pollution, residents speculated, or maybe something to do with the industrial riverfront. But it turns out the most likely culprit is Kentucky’s signature product, its liquid pride: whiskey, as in bourbon whiskey, distilled and bottled across the city and nearby countryside.

"Sunshade" to fight climate change costed at $5 bln a year

OSLO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Planes or airships could carry sun-dimming materials high into the atmosphere for an affordable price tag of below $5 billion a year as a way to slow climate change, a study indicated on Friday.

Guns, rockets or a pipeline into the stratosphere would be more expensive but generally far cheaper than policies to cut world greenhouse gas emissions, estimated to cost between $200 billion and $2 trillion a year by 2030.

What Will It Take?

One of the panelists, William K. Reilly, who served as Environmental Protection Agency administrator under the first President Bush, said Katrina wasn’t big enough to provoke a real debate on climate change. He speculated that it would take a weather event, or a series of weather events, of epic proportions to galvanize the public and policy makers to take action.

What has happened since then? The thunderstorm and tornado swarms of early 2011, including the monstrous Joplin, Mo., disaster. Hurricane Irene, which inundated much of the Northeast. The worst heat wave in Russia in 1,000 years. Record-shattering heat and drought in much of the United States this year. The lowest level of Arctic sea ice ever measured. The melting of virtually the entire ice sheet of Greenland, something not seen in 30 years of satellite measurements.

Nations warn of broken promises at U.N. climate talks

BANGKOK (Reuters Point Carbon) - Almost 50 of the world's poorest nations said pledges made by rich countries to provide funds to help them adapt to a warmer planet risk being overlooked as U.N. negotiations over a global climate pact to start in 2020 got underway in Bangkok on Wednesday.

The group of mostly African nations said that ill-fated talks launched in 2007 to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol must not end without richer nations pledging financial aid to help them cope with rising sea levels cause by climate change.

Storms, drought overshadow UN climate talks

World climate change negotiators faced warnings Thursday that a string of extreme weather events around the globe show urgent action on emission cuts is needed as they opened new talks in Bangkok.

The week-long meeting in the Thai capital, which was devastated by major floods last year, aims to prepare the ground for a meeting of ministers under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha starting in November.

East Coast National Parks at Risk From Sea Level’s Rise

There are nearly 300 miles of Atlantic shoreline protected as part of the National Park system. This includes Cape Cod, Fire Island, Assateague Island, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Cumberland Island and Canaveral. The beaches attract 11 million visitors each year, putting nearly half a billion dollars into local economies.

But a new report from the Natural Resource Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization outlines how these places Americans have pledged to preserve are changing as the planet warms.

Arctic summer sea ice might thaw by 2015 - or linger for decades

OSLO/LONDON (Reuters) - Ice on the Arctic Ocean could vanish in summertime as early as 2015 or linger for many decades after a thaw to a record low this month that is widely blamed on climate change, according to scientists.

Huge variations in climate experts' predictions complicate long-term plans by everyone from indigenous peoples who depend on ice for hunting to shipping firms hoping for new trans-Arctic shipping routes and oil firms seeking new areas for drilling.

Driest August in Seattle,no rain recorded @ Seatac.

The UK Met Office (the national meteorological service)has just released new long-term climate averages for the country. These have been adjusted up in terms of rainfall and temperatures to reflect current trends:

" ... the increases in UK annual mean temperature are consistent with the trend in warming observed globally over land."


And, as August 2012 sees out its last sunset, we are told that these last 3 months have been the wettest for 100 years and the second wettest on record.



While this year will set a record, it's not that unusual for extremely dry Augusts. Just since 2000, we've had a an August with only 0.02" (2006) and 0.04" (2002). 2012 will be the 10th time overall August has recorded less than a quarter inch of rain.

This is the peak of the dry season -- August only averages 0.88" of rain a month anyway.

"Meh" is too kind. I live in Portland, and we had a sopping wet winter and spring. Seattle is still above average for rainfall this year.

This part of the globe is very likely to get wetter, not drier, as GW proceeds.

I live in Portland, and we had a sopping wet winter and spring. Seattle is still above average for rainfall this year.

That is why Oregon is my next desired target of where to live in the US. But for me, I think I'd like to pre-retire to the Lincoln City area.

Hopefully the rainfall will continue, and the state will continue to be able to be a net producer of farmed food.

Ironicly,I got my first pute in '99 to find out where all the rain was comming from.

Romney said "gasoline prices have doubled" since Obama took office. That's correct, but only because gasoline prices were unusually depressed when Obama was inaugurated due to the recession and financial crisis.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney mentioned high gas prices at least a couple of times in his speech on Thursday night. Like Gail mentions if you want low gasoline prices expect to be in a recession.

Sort of a wierd speach, overall. He promised "energy independence" by 2020, to come from our reserves of oil, gas and coal. 12 Million new jobs promised (interestingly the same number predicted by economists if we continue as is) if we embrace the 'plan' he described. As I recall that was resegregating schools (vouchers do that, ya know), returning to the cold war, and (implicitly) invading Iran.

Oh, he also dissed Russia and China, especially denouncing borrowing money from China. I wonder what would happen if China got tic'd and sold off all of the US debt they hold? I also wonder what reaction China will have when we invade Iran, China being their largest customer for oil.

And, what if China turns to Canada for their oil? Would we then invade Canada?

South Park, watch out. Mitt is coming.


zap - And this is exactly why I constantly struggle to not become an absolute doomer. It's like both sides, R's & D's, are playing poker and are both ready to go all in on a bluff. And the worst part is they are using our chips. At the end of the night they'll both head off to the bar for a nightcap after enjoying the evening being in the game. Their prize was sitting at the Big Table. They come away happy whether they've lost a big pile of chips or not...they weren't there chips. You, OTOH, are sitting there wondering how you could be so busted after listening to all those wonderful promises made to you.

It's like both sides, R's & D's, are playing poker and are both ready to go all in on a bluff. And the worst part is they are using our chips.

RM: Who can tell the difference between R's and D's anymore? I always thought I was a bit right of center, especially on economics, and a bit left of center on social issues. I considered, and still consider myself to be a conservative. That means, you pay for what you buy, and if you can't afford it you don't buy it.

Of course, I do not believe that businessmen make good governors. Our government is a extension of us, as an extended family. The President and Congress are the head of a family, and like their own families, the goal is to support, educate, and prepare their family for the future. All the while trying not to go broke. No profit, though. As a husband, father, and grandfather,I try to do those things and be a good example and leader. The reward is in succeeding... not in financial gain. If I come out ahead financially at the end of my life, that will be interesting to those who survive me, but avail me naught. The peace that I have with what I do, though, is not measurable in capitalistic terms. It is, I suppose, spiritual in some way.

Anyway, I think those who play zero sum games have serious sociopathic problems, and are perhaps to be pitied. At my table, all who play come out ahead.

Best to you and yours.


Zaphod - Nice middle paragraph, got me feeling all warm and fuzzy, except this part:

The President and Congress are the head of a family, and like their own families, the goal is to support, educate, and prepare their family for the future. All the while trying not to go broke. No profit, though.

I used to believe that. Maybe it was even partly true, way back when, in another lifetime. But now? Definitely not. The purpose and goal of the Prez & Congress now is to grift and graft as much as possible, to fleece the peeps whilst paying lip service to the values that you live your life by. The American people have been bought, sold, and shipped down the river by the monied elite of the world. Elections are nothing but a distraction. We are deep into bread and circus territory.

Sorry for the mini-rant. But I like your handle, like your comments, and this one just prompted me to spout off a bit on the farce that our society has become, IMHO.

Don't get me wrong, I am agreat admirer of the US and many of its great people, ideals, achievements, and institutions, but for those of us outside the US and living in countries where the word liberal doesnt mean anything extreme the US has long been characterised, affectionately, as:

'A one-party state with two right wings'

Having said that for most us who don't get to vote for your president are feeling a lot safer with relatively sane current one than the complete pack of crazies we saw at Tampa, but still, it does seem to be a nutty system you have there. Best hope for a second term Obama being able to do something to help get y'all less hooked on the oil drug; I guess it depends on what sort of congress he gets too?

The other US use of a word that has us 'Fourners' really puzzled is Freedom. It always seems to be evoked as a justification for violence.... And that thing you have with guns too: You do know that's insane right?

Might be good to put Romney promises or hopes in perspective :

a very interesting paper on future growth prospects for the U.S. and effects of economic headwinds (including energy scarcity)


No commentator even mentions energy...

Who Wears the Pants in This Economy?

It's an article about how the Great Recession (as well as the decline in manufacturing in general, and the longer trend of social change) is affecting even the evangelical south.

The changes in gender dynamics are forcing a rethinking of a basic philosophy in Alex City, and in the broader evangelical community. As R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., wrote in a blog a few years ago: “Christians committed to a biblical model of marriage and gender relations must look to this social revolution with a deeper level of concern.” What Christians should worry about, he argues, is “the long-term consequences of a new matriarchal world order.”

Like everyone of their generation I spoke to, Charles and Sarah Beth Gettys both insisted that Charles was still the “head of the household.” I often asked couples why the men got to retain the title if they weren’t fulfilling most of the attending duties. Sometimes they answered by redefining “head” as “spiritual head,” meaning biblically ordained as the leader. Often it came down to the man as the ultimate protector, the domestic superhero: if someone broke into the house, if the children were in trouble or out of control, if the roof caved in, if there was a tornado, if we needed him, he would rescue us. One man I met, Rob Pridgen, even discussed this in vaguely apocalyptic terms. If the country was self-destructing, and if we could no longer import food or rely on our government to protect us, then we would all remember what men were for.

"What Christians should worry about, he argues, is “the long-term consequences of a new matriarchal world order.”

Funny. What consequences? Where I come from, in the "evangelical south", women have generally always "worn the pants", though they don't have the same macho need to advertise such. They also understand the power of the..... well.. Anyhow, it's no wonder movies like Steel Magnolias are so popular here. I suppose the Good Rev. Mohler is worried about Baptist men losing their manhood, or somesuch.

As the article points out, circumstances have a way of redefining whatever roles we choose. It's usually best to just go with it. Too bad so many in our society have such brittle egos.

then we would all remember what men were for

Lets see, cannon fodder...

This is a tough situation for the fundamental christian crowd to deal with. Most of the jobs lost since 1970 were jobs traditionally done by working class men and the politicians they have tended to support helped cause this to happen. The trade off to get support for forcing their morals on everyone else is to lose one of their most precious concepts.

Right, Rye. Their claim to be 'pro-life' is a bit specious to me.

More about pro-life: this is a buzzword positioned by professional liars and weazels. It intimates that anyone who opposes a pro-life position is anti-life, which is certainly not the case for me, nor I would guess for anyone who takes a "pro-choice" position. They set up a straw man that is unassailable. In my view, if they are pro-life, they will support, provide health care for, and provide education for those lives they insist are paramount to the life of their mother. And, they will stop sending those babies off to war!

And, more importantly, or as importantly, they will pay for their decisions through their taxes.

About that: my balanced budget amendment is simple: make all spending bills taxing bills, and make any bill passed include an expense estimate for those impacted. Limit abortions > pay for babies; make war > pay for war; allow pollution > pay for damage to the environment. That way those who vote for spending cannot turn around and claim they have lowered taxes! All they are doing is kicking the can down the road. It also allows intelligent, informed decision making, based on needs, desires and ability to pay.

Say "good night", Grover.


Re: "pro-life"

Recently I was talking to some friends of mine and they told me from their perspective (as women) they couldn't see why men even get any power in making this decision. They said they could see in a marriage it being a mutual issue, but otherwise, who's business is it of some guy?

I couldn't really disagree with that.

The value of human life is basically an operations research problem taking into account the weight of gunpower, lead, and brass.

In WW I, a density of about 4000 men per kilometer was required to overwhelm the opposition's defenses in a sustained attack. At that number, you could count on overrunning their defenses before your attacking forces were annihilated.

Had General Alexander von Kluck not detached units to screen what he thought were British forces on his right flank, and had not units been transfered prematurely to East Prussia, von Kluck could have swung west of Paris and surrounded the city. But by that time he had insufficient men per kilometer, the French halted the German advance at the Marne, and the 20th Century unfolded.

Taxation and literacy have come up. Taxation is needed so that the sovereign has money to pay soldiers and to obtain weapons and provisions. It is critical to waging war.

Literacy arose later so that large armies could understand written orders and so that military logistics could be more systematically organized. At first literacy was not universal, but compulsory education was intended to develop the abilities needed by the commissioned and noncommisioned officers.

I've always wondered how the Tea Party is going to shrink government while expanding the Empire.
We don't need taxes to finance wars so long as the bankers will, but when the credit runs short, it's back to squeezing the peons.

We may be approaching that moment -- if the Republicans think the debt is out of control, but the military needs continue to grow, there will have to be a pretty powerful tax collecting apparatus.

"Often it came down to the man as the ultimate protector, the domestic superhero: if someone broke into the house, if the children were in trouble or out of control, if the roof caved in, if there was a tornado, if we needed him, he would rescue us."

You mean the man gets expended to save the rest of the family, and the eldest son gets sacrificed next. Very traditional.


For 2010, 4322 men died at work, as compared to 368 women. So about 92% of the workplace fatalities are men.

It has begun: Strategic Petroleum Reserve tapped using swap agreement:

Energy Department Announces Emergency Oil Loan In Response to Hurricane Isaac-Related Request
August 31, 2012 - 11:17am

WASHINGTON, DC – Following a request yesterday from Marathon Petroleum Company, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today that the Energy Department has agreed to lend 1 million barrels of sweet crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s (SPR) Bayou Choctaw site in Louisiana to address the short term impact on the company’s refining capacity caused by Hurricane Isaac, which is resulting in limited crude oil shortages.

The loan, which is distinct from a release from the SPR, will be provided to Marathon Petroleum Company under short-term contractual agreements. Under the agreement, Marathon Petroleum Company will return an equal amount of similar quality oil to the Reserve within three months, plus premium barrels, which is similar to interest. The SPR will be ready to begin oil deliveries later today.

“Today’s announcement is part of the broader federal effort to respond to those impacted by Hurricane Isaac,” said Secretary Chu. “This emergency loan from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will help ensure Marathon’s refining operations have the crude oil they need to continue operating.”

In addition to the authority to drawdown and sell oil from the SPR in response to global oil supply disruptions, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act empowers the Energy Department to make loans of crude oil. The Department has used this authority to address short-term, emergency supply disruptions on eight previous occasions, most recently following Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

The Administration continues to keep all options on the table to address additional or sustained supply issues.


DOE received only one request for Isaac SPR crude loan-source

NEW YORK | Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:23pm IST

Aug 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Energy has not received additional requests from refiners in the U.S. Gulf Coast for crude oil loans from government emergency reserves, a source familiar with the discussions said on Friday.

The DOE earlier on Friday said it had agreed to loan Marathon Petroleum Company 1 million barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to replace oil supplies disrupted by Hurricane Isaac this week.

The DOE would be ready to quickly respond to further requests from companies impacted by the storm, however, the source said.


The DOE added it continues to "keep all options on the table to address additional or sustained oil supply issues."

The White House has been mulling plans to tap the emergency reserves as tension over Iran's nuclear program and Western sanctions on Tehran have boosted oil prices.

Sources have said the Obama administration is in the data gathering process and would not likely make a decision on a larger tapping of the reserves until early September.

Energy Secretary Chu has the power to make small loans of a few million barrels from SPR which can hold up to 727 million barrels.


Does anybody think that Obama's decision, to tap the strategic petroleum reserve at this time, seems a little premature; like maybe kinda panic-y?

Are we in more immediate danger than he is letting on?

---Just Askin'

Obama may be wanting to dampen price volatility prior to election.

Yeah. Re-election panic.



To what extent is the Oil Drum and many of it's contributors to blame for the general misunderstanding of the term Peak Oil.

George Monbiot over several years,


like many on this website published articles warning people that oil production was about to go into decline. Several ASPO speakers quoted 2005 or 2008 as being the year of peak oil and have tried to cover their error by now claiming it was the start of a plautaux in production.

The fact is global production is now 2.2 million barrels per day more than 2005 or 2008.


It is little wonder we see articles like this springing up, describing peak oil writers as being similar to Jehovah's Witnesses who on finding Armageddon did not arrive when predicted just simply move the date forward.


Those who continually made erroneous statements concerning the imminent peak of oil production have done the peak oil argument a great disservice.
Those who were not so blinkered and looked at the wider issues of finance, technology and political issues now find explaining peak oil in the right context to people almost impossible.

Well done oil drum!

TYS - You're welcome. And thanks for your contribution to the effort. BTW I can match you one PO Armagedonite for every cornucopian who has predicted a never ending supply of fossil fuels. We can start with abiotic oil crowd if you like. Arguing such complex tech issues utilizing such outlier positions seems a waste of time, don't you agree?


Cornucopians are the real danger but armagedonites(is that a word) with their incorrect predictions of oil production falling by 1 or 2% after 2008 have done a great deal of harm to the debate.
Two wrongs do not make a right, it just get everyone totally confused.

We now have the situation where George Monbiot who was a advocate of peak oil publishing in a British newspaper that he was wrong and technology has swept peak oil away.

The reason why he and many others no longer believe in peak oil is due to the Armagedonites and their poor understanding of the interplay between price, technology, economic factors and politics.

I was told by an ASPO speaker a few years ago that peak oil happened in 2005, which is clearly wrong and does nothing to persuade ordinary people of the real risks we face.

TYS - I agree: both extremes confuse the issue...equally

"I was told by an ASPO speaker a few years ago that peak oil happened in 2005, which is clearly wrong and does nothing to persuade ordinary people of the real risks we face."

But there you go adding confusion to the discussion. PO timing was never important nor will it ever be important. Doesn't make a bit of difference if it happened in 2005 and or if it happens in 2020. The exact date of PO has no bearing on anyone's life. It doesn't matter to anyone who has lost their livelihood 3 years ago to high energy prices what that "magical" date might be. The thousands of our military and the tens of thousands of civilians who died as we "exported democracy" to the ME are just as dead regardless of when PO has or will occur. Folks who sit in half frozen homes and sweating out their precious bodily fluids don't care at all what that date was or will be.

You're casting blame on folks for guessing the wrong date and thus hurting the conversation. I offer that you and anyone else that offers what they consider a more accurate date is doing just as much harm whether your guess is correct or not. It's the dynamics that surround the PO date that are important. And those dynamics have been significantly impacting the world for a number of years now and, IMHO, will continue to severely impact the lives of hundreds of millions for many years to come. And none of this impact will depend on whether PO happened 6 years ago or 10 years into the future. For me it's the same as two passengers on the deck of the Titanic arguing about exactly what time the ship hit the iceberg. The dynamics of the ship sinking are in progess. Just as they are with respect to PO IMHO.

Yes: I am a plateauite and proud of it. LOL. All you PO clock watchers can keep beating on each other for all I care. I'm just going to sit here in my lounge chair, sip my brandy and watch in amazement as our ship goes down by the bow. Cheers!

I am not adding confusion, I was simply saying what an ASPO lecturer told me.

He has also never admitted he was wrong, it is this sort of intellectual dishonesty which has caused the confusion. If people here criticize Daniel Yergin why are they not even handed in their treatment of those that are wrong on the other side?

But as it has been said above, this site has had voices covering the range, from alarm to shrug, from IT'S RIGHT NOW! to 'It won't be a problem, if it ever even comes' ... so sure, there is confusion out there, and you would prefer clarity and action, I suppose. Nice work if you can get it.

But your basic contention of 'It is the fault of TOD..' is unnecessary, IMO. This has been an open, fair discussion, and people can take and make from it what they will. There is very little comparison between what gets said here (for free), and what Yergin and IHS/CERA sell to the marketplace with their proscribed conclusions.

The discussion may be open and fair but the articles have been biased for many years.

The IIEA have been doing some very serious work at trying to incorporate geological facts and economic facts into calculations which actually reflect reality.

There work bridges the gap between those who incorrectly predicted peak oil in 2005 and those who think prices will ensure endless and plentiful amounts of oil.


Most people here will find this informative.

For my part, Jimmy Carter was barely on time in warning us about Peak Oil, whether he used the words or not at the time of his Energy Speeches in the late Seventies. The writing was on the wall, and as Hillel says of the Torah, 'The rest is commentary'*

You seem to be crusading for what I consider an interesting footnote. We are all Angels dancing on the Head of a Pin called Peak oil, and that edge back there is 2005, and the other edge is still to be reached.. but it seems clear that we are perched at our about the precipice, and there are enormous (for us) jobs to be done, parachutes to be designed or resewn, and neighbors to be convinced, governments to be cajoled. On those points, this site has been very largely unified and correct, and any of these errors you are so keen to have pointed out are possibly useful technical details, but do not fundamentally change the message, which has been clear enough. To me, that message is, "The die is cast, energy-wise, and we'd better get real about our response to it."

*“What is hateful to thyself do not do to another. That is the whole Law, the rest is Commentary.”

Thanks. This is quite good. What remains left out are 2-3 factors. First, net energy is declining sharply. The days of 100:1 return are long gone, as are even the days of 25:1. Deep off-shore, polar and oil from other challenging environments is likely at or below 10:1, so the net available is less for the same 'production' (read extraction). 2nd, the shift to 'total liquids' masks the lesser energy density of NGL's & ethanol, which have only about 2/3rds the energy per unit volume of crude. 3rd, the per capita availability of useful energy from 'total liquids' is left out. Even if the net energy and density were constant, the plateau means there is less available per capita over time, for as Lester Brown puts it, there are nearly a quarter million more humans at the dinner table each evening...

Net energy is important, but there is a huge amount that can and is being done on the consumption side(not all countries are as profligate as the US)
On a bus journey in London perhaps a couple of hundred people will get on and off the bus. If all these people drove, collectively they would have used perhaps 100 gallons of fuel. The bus used perhaps 20 gallons.
Since most fuel is used by cars, it is very feasible for people to switch from car to bus travel and still do all they NEED to do.
As oil gets more expensive local people will demand more buses, a new route was put in where my parents live and now they can get a bus to the main town and also the main supermarket. Thousands of people who drove to these places can now take the bus.
Buses do not take very long to build and bus routes set up in a matter of months.

As oil gets more expensive local people will demand more buses

Yes, but that doesn't lower high oilprices which are very bad for the economy. The transition away from oil just started way too late if it has started significantly at all.

I was told by an ASPO speaker a few years ago that peak oil happened in 2005

Peak oil started in 2005 and that is very bad news for oil exports from that year on.

Perhaps you could share with us how you've been more correct at predicting how the complexities of peak oil have played out,, or are you just heckling from the cheap seats? This site has always been open for anyone to put forth their opinions on peak oil, so where've you been the last 6+ years? Are you just a Monday morning quarterback who didn't even watch the game? Just askin'...

"The fact is global production is now 2.2 million barrels per day more than 2005 or 2008."

Wow. And the price per each barrel is how much higher?

Actually 3 years ago I stated on this site that oil production had not peaked and probably would not until about 2015. I would say 90% of the posters at the time were of the firm view that oil production was already in permanent decline and trashed my assertions.

The increased price of oil was exactly what many expected but this does not equate to falling production but to global demand increasing at a rate greater than supply can increase. The 2.2mbd being insufficient and thus price limits demand.

Following and posting on TOD for 7 years now, I disagree some of your characterizations of a TOD consensus. In fact, I don't remember there ever being a 90% consensus on any specific issue, excepting the fact that Peak Oil would more or less occur some time between 2005 and 2030.

Anyway, I did make a very specific prediction about oil in 2005 - that light sweet crude would peak out in 2005. You can check my posts on that issue. Here is one for example going back 5 years:

May 10, 2007 - 9:30am
It's premature to think we will make it through our second year post-peak light sweet crude without higher prices.

By the way, the price of oil did rise from there in 2007.

Using your definition of oil that includes various liquids of lesser energy content per unit, it is possible we may not have reached peak oil by total volume yet. But if not this year or within a year or two, it is coming and best that we adjust while we have time before the fall.

Has anyone calculated the actual energy content of all the liquid substances called "oil" to account for the energy differences as more and more substitutions are made for "light sweet crude" but still called "oil?"

Maybe "oil" production didn't peak in 2005, but maybe total Joules did?

You were one of those people, who constantly made assumptions based on irrelevant data.
There is no correlation between US oil imports and global peak I hope you have worked that out these last 5 years.

How do you know for sure light sweet crude peaked in 2005? What data do you use?


This is the data for Crude oil and condensate, it does not include natural gas plant liquids, or biofuels.

Production in 2005 was 73.5 the last 2 quarters have been over 75 and the last being 75.6

It would be good to see your data source.

"adjust while we have time before the fall"-----

wild shrieks of hysterical laughter

anything but that....

I don't think that human beings can adjust while there is time. What is happening now in economies around the world proves that.

People work it out afterwards. After job losses, after all your friends are living with their parents, after the reactors melt down....

Then we pick up the broken shards of our lives and try to pull things together without getting expectations too high.

As long as "there is time" no one will be the first to blink...

To what extent is the Oil Drum and many of it's contributors to blame for the general misunderstanding of the term Peak Oil.

Anyone who has followed TOD over the years would know better. (TYS = member for 1 week 2 days.) The "general misunderstanding" is fed to the general public on a DAILY basis by deniers in the MSM, who equate Peak Oil with "running out".

Yes, there have been articles on TOD suggesting a peak in the last 7 years, but they are only a small part of a whole range of opinions, from imminent doom to perpetual abundance. TOD is a discussion site, and has no consensus position on the timing of Peak Oil.

More than 5 years ago as a concerned ignoramus, I found TOD useful for numbers and for the explanation that the significant point of interest was the 'rate of extraction', rather than 'reserves' of oil. It was explained using numbers and graphs how over many decades the global rate of oil extraction had been raised to a very high level (while individual fields and regions had depleted). This quantification clearly raised an important question. At what future date would it become difficult or practically impossible globally to keep increasing this huge average daily delivery? Early estimates on TOD quoted a group of concerned geologists, and argued for dates between 2005 and 2017, using varying but usually clear enough assumptions. Some predicted an ‘undulating plateau’; arguing for a few years of plateau before an inexorable decline in daily oil.

I also found it informative to have definitions of different hydrocarbon liquids, including the increasing amount of rather different liquid collected from increasing natural gas extraction. 'Crude oil' is the major part of 'all liquids', but not the only part. And so on...

I have also learned (thank you Rockman, Westtexas and others) about some of the investment criteria necessary for continued extraction of NG and oil, the advantages and limits of extraction technologies, and the rapidly tightening competition for oil among importing countries, as exporters use more of their own product.

Hello TYS,,..

Is peak oil dead ? How can something that was never alive be dead?

even if we have several trillions barrels of oil - there will be STILL a peak of extraction rate

forget about the world for a moment , something here closer to home for me

explain please why North Sea oil has peaked in production rate despite further discoveries ? I am swayed by facts you know I'm listening ( re : reading )

your argument smacks of illogical thinking , wells peak, geographical areas peak , and , yes , the world will ( or has ) peak in the production rate of oil - who CARES if its 2005 or 2012 or 2018 , thats not a long time you know , fer gods sake!

the world is, of course, a finite place

sorry I am just a former average joe 6 pack turned billy beer barrel but even I can see that once once on pub runs dry there's only so many pubs left in town and they are further away each one.......

better minds here on TOD will give you more concise reasons :-)



PS: sorry, must stop getting emotional !


You are indeed emotional and allowing your emotions to cloud what you have heard and causing you to assume I have said what I have not.

So firstly calm down and read properly what I have said.................

Now you have done that kindly show me what I have said that is incorrect?

I can certainly show those who repeatedly claimed 2005 or 2008 was the peak to be substantially wrong.

Over 2 million barrels a day of production increase is not small potatoes and should make people adjust their position.

What happened around 2005 is global supply could no longer meet rapidly increasing demand.
However supply has grown but obviously not sufficiently to meet demand, therefor the price has risen and probably will continue to do so over the coming years.

Your argument that the date does not matter is absurd, you may as well be in the CERA camp and say no problem until 2030, an reasonably accurate prediction of the plautaux is essential for planning.

Did I mention the North Sea? The reasons for it's decline are obvious, but we are talking about total world production. Have a look at Angola, Azerbaijan, Canada, Iraq, Russia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia.

Some of the errors written about on this website regarding these countries has been embarrassing to say the least.

TYS – Just offering a somewhat different perspective. Also, you didn’t seem to respond to my other reply that the prediction of the actually date of PO, whether correct or not, is of no relevance at all. And thus, IMHO, any debate about the validity of such calls adds pointless confusion to folks trying to understanding the dynamics of PO and the implications for the world’s economy. Thus I must assume you agree with me. Thank you for your support and welcome to the Church of the Plateauites.

“I can certainly show those who repeatedly claimed 2005 or 2008 was the peak to be substantially wrong.” And there are entire websites dedicated to abiotic oil and other fantasies purporting a never ending oil supply. So what? As I responded to you earlier: arguing any subject using the extreme outliers is a waste of time IMHO. Granted they are natural targets to go after making it easier for one to present an air of superiority. I used to enjoy such a feeling when I would beat my daughter at Tic-Tack-Toe when she was 5 yo. Of course, by the time she was 8 yo it wasn’t as easy. LOL

“Over 2 million barrels a day of production increase is not small potatoes and should make people adjust their position.” Not sure how large a garden you plow but in mine an increase of less than 3% is small potatoes. Especially when you consider the much short life spans of many of these new wells compared to the old heritage fields. Thunderhorse and every other DW GOM field and every Eagle Ford well producing that new oil today will be plugged and abandoned when Ghawar Field is still kicking out a significant amount of oil. My position feels rather secure so I think I stay where I am. But thanks for the offer anyway.

“However supply has grown but obviously not sufficiently to meet demand,” Talk about confusing folks! LOL. Currently supply is meeting 100% of demand: every buyer that can pay for oil at its current price can buy every bbl they want. When oil hit $147/bbl every buyer who could afford the price had all the oil they wanted. In fact, the world was greatly oversupplied with $147/bbl oil at that time given how many importers cut back on consumption. The only time when the market wouldn’t be well supplied is when oil prices drop so low that the number of buyers exceed max production capability. I can understand your confusion. Many folks think the significant impact of PO has to do with how much oil might be produced at some point in time. But I think some folks are beginning to see the light: it’s the price of oil as the differential between production and consumption requirements increases that drives the PO dynamics. Not some statistical date when max oil production has or will be reached.

“Some of the errors written about on this website regarding these countries has been embarrassing to say the least.” You mean as you just did including Brazil in your list of oil exporters. According to the CIA Fact Book in 2011 Brazil was the 19th largest oil importer on the planet at about 630,000 bopd. But I understand your confusion. Many folks have difficulty understanding that PO and proven reserves in the ground are two separate issues. Brazil may have a lot of UNDEVELOPED oil in their Deep Water trend but not much of it is flowing yet. And won’t be for many years. Will Brazil ever be a net exporter? Time will tell. But given the efforts by the Brazilian govt to increase their LNG import capabilities in recent years I have to wonder if their govt is anticipating keeping much of that future oil in country for their own domestic growth. Who knows: Brazil may be the poster child for ELM and we haven’t even noticed due to the confusion caused by folks who imply Brazil is an oil exporter.


I do not know why you are taking this so personally as your position of a plateau is far more reasonable than many who have written articles on this site.

The 2.2mbd is not small when viewed against those who predicted a thousand times here and on any radio and TV station that would listen, that oil production would fall 2/3% a year after 2008 some even said 2005. An error of around 8mbd, it is no wonder that the likes of George Monbiot think peak oil is a farce.

I do understand basic economics, here however we have a dilemma of trying to explain the rise in oil price. If there were sufficient supply as there was in 2002 then the price would still be in the $20-$30 price range.

It is now around $110, how would you explain the price increase??

Why am I confused about Brazil? I did not say they were exporters did I?
I was highlighting countries that have increased production over the last few years and the OIL Drum has run articles on many of them which have been dire and based on limited knowledge.

CIA fact book is somewhat out of date, Brazil production is 2.6 and consumption is 2.5 also so they are going from a large importer to an exporter in just a few years. Quite significant I would say.



A less extreme and more informed position is required by most Oil Drum writers and here it is.


TYS - If you understand basic economics then you shouldn't see any "dilemma" in explaining the oil price rise. In a reasonably functioning market, demand always equals supply because the price adjusts to bring the 2 into balance. I'm confused because your comments further up the thread seem to show you are fully aware of this. In summary, although C&C production has increased by 2 mbpd since 2005, that has not been sufficient to quench the demand which would have been seen (eg in Q1 2012) if price had stayed at its 2005 level; the price has had to rise (significantly) in order both to reduce demand (from what it would have been in Q1 2012 assuming 2005 price) and to increase supply (from what it would have been in Q1 2012 assuming 2005 price).


Your EIA link is interesting: it shows a jump of 2.452 mbpd between Q2 of 2011 and Q1 of 2012.
I'm wondering how that difference is explained.
I note that Canada and USA combined make up almost half of that, with Canada increasing by 0.405 and USA by 0.607 mbpd.
But what is the source of those increases: NGLs from USA and Canadian gas sector? Does EIA include Canadian bitumen in its stats for C&C? Does it include shale oil?

Could someone please clarify?


The figures are for crude and condensate, so they do include Canadian Tar Sands production.
They should not include NGLs.

If the shale oil is oil then it is included and should not include NGL form shale gas.

Do EIA stats refute or confirm Peak Oil?

After a bit of digging, I will try to answer my own questions:
1. NGLs should not be included in C&C total, according to EIA's definition:
"Lease condensate: A mixture consisting primarily of hydrocarbons heavier than pentanes that is recovered as a liquid from natural gas in lease separation facilities. This category excludes natural gas plant liquids, such as butane and propane, which are recovered at downstream natural gas processing plants or facilities."

2. Bitumen is included in C&C according to this:
"Of the 2.7 million bbl/d of crude produced in Canada in 2009, 1.35 million bbl/d of that derived from the oil sands of Alberta."
However, I am puzzled by this (from the same EIA web-page re. Canada:
"Total oil production in Canada amounted to 3.46 million bbl/d in 2010, of which 2.65 million bbl/d was crude oil." Should the first part not read, " Total liquid production" since NGLs are not the same as oil?
Canadian production of NGLs (excluding pentanes plus) totals about 500 Mb/d (2009):
- ethane: 40 494 m³/d (255 Mb/d)
- Propane: 24 730 m³/d (155 Mb/d), but NEB graph on same page says 182,000 bpd of propane.
- Butane: 13 924 m³/d (88 Mb/d)
It is worth noting that 0.8 mbpd (23%) of Canada's "oil" production does not come from oil, which is a much higher percentage of non-petroleum than the world as a whole (ie. global NGLs as a percentage of global "all-liquids" production).

3. EIA certainly considers shale oil as crude oil:

In conclusion, TYS states, "The fact is global production is now 2.2 million barrels per day more than 2005 or 2008" and offers this as evidence that PO analysts are blinkered and erroneous.
However, the disagreement centers on definitions: it appears that much of the increase in global C&C production is not coming from what most people would consider to be oil, which is conventional, 'pumpable' petroleum.
Rather, much of the increase has come from shale oil (now around 1 mbpd, I believe) and Canadian bitumen (which industry says is 1.6 mbpd, not 1.35 mbpd).

Rather than refuting PO, one might argue that the EIA stats affirm it: conventional oil production remains stuck on a plateau around 74 mbpd (since late 2004), and we are turning increasingly to liquid fuel resources which are more expensive and more energy & water-intensive. This is consistent with what PO analysts have warned about for many decades.

As for timing of peak, I agree with Rockman and others: there is little value in trying to predict the timing of peak oil, Armageddon, the Big Quake, etc.
There is value in examining data and trends, anticipating various effects, and discussing, planning & acting accordingly.

Roughly half of Canadian oil production is now bitumen from the oil sands, and the proportion is steadily increasing. Most of it is being exported to the US, and Canada is by far the largest source of US oil imports. If the EIA didn't include it in the oil total it would be seriously misleading. Bitumen is just oil that will not flow toward a well under reservoir conditions, so they have to mine it or heat it to extract it.

Interestingly, a lot of the NGL produced in the US is being exported to Canada to dilute bitumen to allow it to flow in pipelines. It comes back to the US in the form of dilbit (diluted bitumen). When they receive it, the oil refineries separate it from the oil stream and re-export it to Canada to dilute more bitumen. It's an NGL recycling system with the NGLs being exported multiple times. Hopefully the EIA accounts for this correctly.

"Shale oil", i.e. oil produced from tight shales and similar rock formations, as distinct from "oil shale", i.e. kerogen trapped in marlestone, does account for a lot of the increase in US production. There is no "oil shale" production at all in the US today, and probably will not be for some decades to come, if ever.

I think you'll find that SaudiArabia accounts for another appr 1 mbpd, between those 2 time periods.

Quite right, Hinson

KSA has always been the world's leading (only?) swing producer... for how much longer, remains to be seen.
If KSA were to increase or decrease its production by another million, I don't think people would read too much into it, at least not in the short term (re. their motives and ability to swing their production).

I was looking for more structural/supply-based explanations of the increase, and I think that the increases in Cdn bitumen and US shale oil account for a good deal of the supply growth which TYS trumpets as proof that PO analysts were incorrect/blinkered.

"Peak Oil" is actually pretty irrelevant. In 1998, I think it was the March Scientific American, Jean Laherrere and Colin Campbell wrote their now classic article "The End of Cheap Oil". By now people should realize that they were dead on correct. As it looks to me now, 2005 was roughly the year that cheap oil was no longer, unless you think that $60, $80, $100 per barrel oil is cheap (discounting a brief overshoot to the downside after the 2008 spike to ~$140/bbl).

So, whether there is a peak or not is not the issue. Robert Rapier had it nailed with his "Peak Lite", that is simply that worldwide demand has passed worldwide production, regardless of the fact that there have been a couple of minor upticks in production since 2005.

And I don't think it would make a bit of difference to "The Powers That Be" whether there is an actual peak or just the continuation of "Peak Lite", there will continue to be political blather about energy independence as the wheels continue to come off the world economy.

Anybody remember who it was, about a week ago that was slamming the site with the same demand that we acknowledge a great Mea Culpa for this missed prediction? (How do you say 'Wea Culpa' in latin?)

Deja vu, all over again.

TYI, did you re-enlist with a new moniker?

Life in the middle of a Slo-motion Train Wreck. This calls for immediate discussion!

(How do you say 'Wea Culpa' in latin?)

Nostris culpis, assuming it remains in the ablative case (as I believe the original phrase is).

Mea culpa: My fault/My mistake - nominative case

Nostra culpa: Our fault


"Mea Culpa" in the original English-translated liturgical context: Through my fault - ablative case

Nostris Culpis: Our fault/Our win: open to interpretation

nostris delictis: Our faults/Our failings/Our sins


meae culpae: My faults

delinquimus: Our mistake

Michel de Nostredame
Nostra damus: Ours we give

Cosa Nostra: Our thing (Italian)

Ubi Caritas

Doug Casey on Peak Oil

The guy should say what he means and quit holding back:

There shouldn't be any controversy, as the facts are clear – and there wouldn't be any, if so many people weren't so obstinate about misunderstanding plain English. For instance, I was just reading an article the other day, entitled Whatever Happened to Peak Oil?, in which the writer comes across as if not an idiot, then at least intellectually dishonest. He does so first by his reference to an apocalyptic religious prediction, where he implies that those who credit M. King Hubbert's Peak Oil theory are like foolish religious fanatics, as opposed to analysts of a possible geological reality, and second – and more important – by showing a complete failure to grasp the very simple essence of the Peak Oil argument.

(emphasis added) ...

The thing about peak oil that is so hard to convey is that it's just a statement of the obvious; oil is finite, and at some point it will not be worth it to use it for energy. Perhaps because we tend to get wrapped up talking about the potential consequences, the basic idea sometimes gets lost.

But as they say, it's difficult to get someone to understand something when their salary (or way of life) depends on them not understanding it.

Hurricane Isaac 'drove Mississippi River backwards'

The storm surge ahead of Hurricane Isaac made the Mississippi River run backwards for 24 hours. US Geological Survey (USGS) instruments at Belle Chasse in Louisiana recorded the flow of the river, finding it running in reverse on Tuesday.

The flow reached nearly 5,200 cubic metres per second (182,000 cubic feet per second) upriver, with a height of nearly 3m (10ft) above average.

As the hurricane carried on across land, instruments from the USGS' national network at Baton Rouge, Louisiana - 150km (100mi) upriver - recorded a 2.5m (8ft) rise above normal height.

... Wonder if the 'saline wedge' affected NOLA fresh water intakes?

S - And particularly more so when you consider the based of the MR is almost 200' below sea level at Nawlins. Just during low fow periods there is that concern.

Misery in La. as Isaac flooding leaves power out

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Isaac sloshed northwards into the nation's midsection Friday after flooding stretches of Louisiana and knocking out power, leaving entire water-logged neighborhoods without lights, air conditioning or clean water.

It will be a few days before the soupy brown water recedes and people forced out of flooded neighborhoods can return home. And the damage may not be done. Officials were pumping water from a reservoir to ease the pressure behind an Isaac-stressed dam in Mississippi on the Louisiana border. In Arkansas, power lines were downed and trees knocked over as Isaac moved north into the state.

PSC: 632K without power, about 30 percent of state


The Public Service Commission says 632,000 homes and businesses are without power across Louisiana. That's about 30 percent of state customers.

That's down from 901,000 customers - about 47 percent of the state - at the height of the storm, and from 821,000 customers Wednesday.

Drivers hunt for gas as power remains spotty


Drivers patrolled streets looking for gas and faced long waits at stations that had power to pump Friday in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

Some stations were out of gas, but at others clerks said they had gas but no power to pump it.

At the Magnolia Discount Gas Station in New Orleans' Carrollton neighborhood, employee Gadeaon Fentessa said up to 50 drivers an hour were pulling in, hopeful they could pump. He had the gas, but no power.

Some stations were out of gas, but at others clerks said they had gas but no power to pump it.

I don't know what happens in New Orleans but here in Florida the sun usually comes out after a hurricane!

Now imagine if there was a technology that could somehow transform photons from the sun into electricity and use it to power pumps...

WTF is wrong with people?!

*humor* Costco is currently having a sale on estate generators with auto cutover switches, only US$5k or so. They are also having a sale on Honeywell portable 7kW generators that run on... gasoline.

Imagine the sales and goodwill the local gas station will get if they are able to fuel people because they were prepared to sell even without utility power being up.... ; )

Corn lobby outgrows US farm subsidies

It's a counter-intuitive policy for a lobby group to try and limit direct cash payments to its members, but Jon Doggett, spokesman for the National Corn Growers Association, said now is not the time for the US federal government to be spending $5bn per year directly subsiding corn farmers, regardless of prices or yields.

... Critics complain that large industrial farms receive the majority of government handouts.

The top 10 per cent of farmers collected 74 per cent of all subsidies between 1995 and 2010, according to the Environmental Working Group, a research organisation, amounting to nearly $166bn. The bottom 80 per cent of recipients collected an average of $587 per year, while 62 per cent of US farmers did not receive any subsidies

"We send billions of dollars to these large commercial farms which are highly profitable and highly subsidised," Don Carr, senior adviser to the Environmental Working Group, told Al Jazeera. "Direct payments are tied directly to acreage; the largest farms get the largest subsidies." US Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has called farm subsidies a matter of "national security".

To analysts like Carr, Romney's support for subsidies is ironic. "You can have people talking about the free market in every aspect of the government, except for farm policy," Carr said. "US farm policy has been a bi-partisan pork-barrel boondoggle. Both parties have used it to deliver federal dollars back to their states and districts."

Qatari Gas Company Hit With Virus in Wave of Attacks on Energy Companies

The Qatari natural gas company commonly known as RasGas has been hit with a virus that shut down its website and e-mail servers, according to news reports.

The malware, however, did not affect the company’s operational computers that control the production and delivery of gas, an official of the Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas company told Bloomberg. Qatar is the world’s largest producer of liquified natural gas. RasGas, a joint operation of Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil, distributes about 36 million tons of the resource annually.

The attack reportedly began Aug. 27. The RasGas website was still unavailable on Thursday, three days after the attack.

Affluent people less likely to reach out to others in times of chaos, study suggests

Crises are said to bring people closer together. But a new study from UC Berkeley suggests that while the have-nots reach out to one another in times of trouble, the wealthy are more apt to find comfort in material possessions.

"In times of uncertainty, we see a dramatic polarization, with the rich more focused on holding onto and attaining wealth and the poor spending more time with friends and loved ones," said Paul Piff, a post-doctoral scholar in psychology at UC Berkeley and lead author of the paper published online this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

S - I can certainly attest to that. I've known a number of millionaires over the years when not one ever reached and asked me for help. OTOH having a few $million tends to make one not be so needy. LOL. Of course, there have been a few along the way that did reach out and ask for some help/support. But they were the ones who lost everything in the oil patch bust in the '80. I knew one who lived two years in his buddy's pool house when he busted. Lucky for him his friend held together. "...when asked if they would move across the country for a higher-paying job, ...the lower class responded that they would decline in favor of staying close to friends, family and colleagues. By contrast, upper class participants opted to take the job..." I can relate to that: I left my lovely Nawlins for a job in big/bad/ugly Houston. Cut ties with my family back there. Except, of course, for the 1/3 of my pay check I would mail back to them every month.

When you read the entire report it states what seems to be obvious before hand: if you're poor and have limited options when time are getting harder you reach out to whoever is close for help. Can't fault them for that: many of us have been there at one time. OTOH when you're wealthy and times start looking potentially unstable you check your banks statement, give a sigh of relief and then don't reach out for help you don't need. Nothing in the experiments tested whether the affluent/non-affluent would reach out to help someone else. Just if they would reach out for their personal benefit.

Rock -

In regards to the rich 'reaching out', I think the authors meant "reaching out to help others" rather than "reaching out for help from others".

In these cases the rich are in a position to help but choose not to, and instead, choose to hold on to their possessions.

... kinda like Gollum - "... my precious'

S - Check out the details of the experiments they ran. They essentially tested how a person responded to the stress by reaching out to others for help for themselves or at least putting themselves in the proximity of others to get help. Which I personally don't believe is saying anything negative about those folks. It's basic human nature. In times of need (your need) who would you prefer to turn to: strangers or someone you have a connection with? Again, check out the basic premise: people that don't need help, or at least don't feel they will need help, don't try to build support groups around themselves. I thought I read the piece objectively...tell me if I didn't.

In another lifetime I was taught a very important rule: when the sh*t hits the fan stay with your unit...if they don't take care of you nobody will. LOL.

Rock -

Your're right - I'm wrong

... though the experiments were a bit more nuanced - ... assess how social class shapes the likelihood of people turning to others or to wealth in the face of perceived chaos

Everything You Think You Know About China Is Wrong

For the last 40 years, Americans have lagged in recognizing the declining fortunes of their foreign rivals. In the 1970s they thought the Soviet Union was 10 feet tall -- ascendant even though corruption and inefficiency were destroying the vital organs of a decaying communist regime. In the late 1980s, they feared that Japan was going to economically overtake the United States, yet the crony capitalism, speculative madness, and political corruption evident throughout the 1980s led to the collapse of the Japanese economy in 1991.

Could the same malady have struck Americans when it comes to China? The latest news from Beijing is indicative of Chinese weakness: a persistent slowdown of economic growth, a glut of unsold goods, rising bad bank loans, a bursting real estate bubble, and a vicious power struggle at the top, coupled with unending political scandals. Many factors that have powered China's rise, such as the demographic dividend, disregard for the environment, supercheap labor, and virtually unlimited access to external markets, are either receding or disappearing.

"...a persistent slowdown of economic growth, a glut of unsold goods, rising bad bank loans, a bursting real estate bubble, and a vicious power struggle at the top, coupled with unending political scandals..." Sounds like they've come close to reaching the goal many contries have struggled towards: parity with the USA.

Starting to hear that "Giant Sucking Sound" all over ...

China’s fears grow over eurozone crisis

Beijing has until now backed austerity across Euroland, but the severity of China's own downturn has begun to rattle policymakers.

Exports of electronic goods to Italy crashed 43pc in July from a year earlier, and sales to Germany fell 11pc. Caixin reported that processing trade to Europe fell 21pc.

The country's two largest shipping groups COSCO and China Shipping both reported a drastic losses today. The Shanghai composite index of stocks threatened to break below 2000 today, the lowest since the Lehman crisis.

A couple of interesting articles I archived, one from last year comparing China's path to Detroit's:

The Great China Bubble and Why It Will Collapse

In other words, China is stuck. The currency peg has created a situation where China has prevented its economy from expanding beyond manufacturing. Meanwhile, it’s created a credit-fueled bubble that has undermined the low costs of that manufacturing industry. The only thing that’s left is to keep building things that no one needs.

...and earlier this year:

Short China: Its commodities bubble is set to pop

In “Zero-Sum Future,” Gideon Rachman sees a global paradigm shift, says the New York Times. A “win-win” optimism that dominated the world from 1991 to 2008, where “everyone benefited from growing wealth,” has been “replaced by a zero-sum game in which one nation’s benefit comes at another’s expense.”

Get it? China wins. America loses. Except this new game is rigged. Both are linked as “Chinamerica.” But in a delicate balance with all nations: One collapses, all collapse.

China’s economy looks fabulous today: Not only will it be bigger than America’s in the next decade, by 2040 China’s GDP will reach $123 trillion, estimates Nobel economist Robert Fogel in Foreign Policy. In fact, China will be three times bigger than the entire GDP of the world back in 2000, going from a “poor country” back then to “super rich” nation with a $85,000 per-capita income. By 2040 China will have 40% of global GDP, compared with America’s 14%.

Quite a reversal: Back in 2000 America’s GDP was 22% of the world’s, China just 11%.

Still, gambling with Jim Rogers on China (and against America) is a bad bet. Here’s why: Both history and psychology warn of a global collapse coming, not just in China, although they are leading the way with raging growth.

S - And that's the one variable/feedback loop that's difficult to factor into the MADOR protocol. If a country, like China, were a free standing economy with minor financial connections to the other world economies then monopolizing energy supplies would have few negative effects. But what if much of your energy purchasing power is coming from export sales to economies declining as a result of increased energy costs? Energy costs flamed by your country's relentless acquisition of energy. OTOH it makes sense for China to at least not inhibit the US's efforts to acquire energy. But can it afford not to do the same to one of its other big export market: the EU?

But that brings us back to the US and what position it might take in MADOR. Despite some misconceptions, the USA finished third in exporting last year. We are very dependent upon our exports to keep the economy moving along. With our small population gobbling up a disproportionate share of the world's energy it doesn't leave foreign buyers with a lot of extra capital to buy our goods.

But that brings another question into play: without sufficient energy to create products for export how can China maintain sufficient income to acquire energy? The other complication is the growing class of consumers in China who expect/demand an improving standard of living. But such expectations must have been fueled in part by economic growth. The same growth that demands more energy which demands more capital which requires more exports which requires more overseas buyers which require stronger foreign economies which require growth in those economies which requires affordable energy.

I suppose that was one advantage of the old communist systems of China and Russia: if you denied the possibility of a better life for most of your population you didn't need much economic growth.

Sorry S...gotta take my doomer glasses off for a while. Eyes watering.

"more energy which demands more capital which requires more exports which requires more overseas buyers which require stronger foreign economies which require growth in those economies which requires affordable energy..."

...which requires injections of capital to keep the whole thing going. Rinse, repeat...

Commodity prices are on the upswing as risk appetite firms across financial markets after China took steps to boost its banks’ access to funding, injecting CNY220 billion into the system via 7- and 14-day reverse-repo operation. Investors treated the move as a form of monetary stimulus, with hopes that it will help underpin growth in the world’s second-largest economy bolstering risk-geared assets including crude oil and copper...

Current Account Balance -- trailing twelve months in US$
United States                -483.2 Q1
India                        - 78.2 Q2
Turkey                       - 63.5 Jun
Britian                      - 54.0 Q1
France                       - 52.9 Jun
Brazil                       - 51.8 June

Singapore                    + 50.6 Q2
Netherlands                  + 77.9 Q1
Norway                       + 79.3 Q1
Japan                        + 89.5 Jun
Switzerland                  + 96.2 Q1
Russia                       +105.6 Q2
Saudi Arabia                 +169.1 Q1
China                        +197.1 Q2
Germany                      +209.3 Jun

Data from Economist for listed countries with a current account balance greater than 50 billion dollars.

China is merely the last great industrial power, and not even remotely survivable.
There are large parts of the country with no flowering plants, as the pollinators are extinct.
The last time my brother was there on business, the sky was green during his visit.
If you put yourself in small enough box, things look alright.
A full view is devastating.

Researchers launch new 'Rust-Tracker' to monitor deadly wheat fungus in 27 nations

... An estimated 85 percent of wheat now in production, including most wheat grown in the Americas, Asia and Africa, is susceptible to Ug99 and its variants. For now, however, only the original mutation, Ug99, has been found outside of Africa—in Yemen and Iran. Stem rust can cause farmers to lose their entire crop, but a second rust disease is already causing severe losses worldwide.

Like stem rust, yellow rust (also known as stripe rust) has in recent years become more of an immediate threat, with the emergence of new, highly-aggressive strains that are able to knock out genetic resistance in many of the most popular varieties of wheat. Among the countries that have suffered devastating yellow rust epidemics are Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Morocco, Syria, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with yield losses as high as 40 percent.

Yup. Here, in the wheat stripe rust capital of the country, the Pacific Northwest, we've been there, doing that. The USDA has 15,000 wheat varieties growing at Mt Vernon, Washington. The USDA runs every variety through the ag research station there, to evaluate stripe rust resistance, before releasing it.

I do my own grain trials, because I'm looking for the qualities that make a variety useful at the small scale. I grow out test patches of new varieties and larger amounts (for seed increase) of varieties that performed well in prior years. Some of the wheat varieties have just been flattened by stripe rust. I had one heirloom that was well hyped and failed to even head. It just looks like scruffy grass. Whole test plots of others have been harvested (by hand) and given to my friend's chickens to play with.

Some things do well even in our rust slammed corner. Something came up in a blasted test patch of two foot high scraggly excuse for wheat, something gleaming and full and golden and twice as high. I harvested the two dozen lovely plants and sent the grain to Mt Vernon.

For those that follow Neven's Arctic Sea Ice Blog this video is a laugh-riot ...

Video: Arctic Sea Ice Downfall

p.s.: insider references:

TOBS = Time of OBServation bias correction
DMI = Danish Meteorological Institute - most 'cornicopian' arctic ice assessment around
Anthony [Watts] = climate skeptic, blogger of Watts Up With That
[Steven] Goddard = climate skeptic, blogger of Watts Up With That

h/t to DesdemonaDespair

... This video is screaming for a similar mashup of Yergin, Leonardo Maugeri, John Tierney, et.al. standing around the table the day they realize that Peak Oil is incontrovertible and they can't BS the public anymore.


Classic ...

Great video Seraph. Laughed really hard when Hitler said, "We can't blame it on the wind anymore."

Quite amusing.

What was the "climate elves" post? My search only came up with oblique references to it. I have stayed away from the denier sites. I have only enough emotional energy to manage general main stream inaction let alone straight out denial.


We need to keep humor since it works like a medicine when it is healthy humor like that, but George Monbiot wrote about the dark side of the coin, so I thought I would share it:

"Yesterday was August 28th 2012. Remember that date. It marks the day when the world went raving mad.

Three things of note happened. The first is that a record Arctic ice melt had just been announced by the scientists studying the region. The 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, established in 2007. It has beaten it three weeks before the sea ice is likely to reach its minimum extent. It reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more rapidly than most climate scientists expected. But you could be forgiven for missing it, as it scarcely made the news at all.
When your children ask how and why it all went so wrong, point them to yesterday's date, and explain that the world is not led by rational people."

His piece is in the Guardian.

Dredd - "When your children ask how and why it all went so wrong, point them to yesterday's date, and explain that the world is not led by rational people."

But isn't that exactly the problem we face today: no one making decisions today, whether you agree with them or not, will have to defend those choices to anyone when the error of the ways becomes obvious: they'll be dead. I constantly think about the choices I make everyday regarding the future of my 12 yo daughter. But at 61 yo I doubt I’ll have to defend those decisions to her when she's an adult.

And every policy maker in office today, though they may still be alive years down the road, won't be in office forever and thus won't have to answer such questions unless they volunteer to do so. We have 4 former POTUS's still kicking today. Have you heard any of them apologizing for our current situation with regards to energy?


You wrote:

But isn't that exactly the problem we face today: no one making decisions today, whether you agree with them or not, will have to defend those choices to anyone when the error of the ways becomes obvious: they'll be dead.

My take on it is that if we can't see the obvious all around us, already, then we are already cognitively dead to reality. Which is a symptom of psychopathology that even older children can discern. The pain they suffer as a result of such discernment is also not visible to their psychopathological "parents."

Obama seeks new Fossil Fuel Source: Methane Hydrates

President Obama, in another move this week to boost fossil fuel energy embraced by his GOP rival Mitt Romney, announced research funding Friday for a new source of natural gas -- methane hydrates.

Describing it as the "world's largest untapped fossil energy resource," his Department of Energy awarded 13 research projects across 11 states to help develop methane hydrates.

also Energy Department Advances Research on Methane Hydrates – the World’s Largest Untapped Fossil Energy Resource

... the FF companies have ~2700 GT of carbon reserves to produce, Hansen says ~ 500 GT is the max limit before we exceed 2C, ... and this 'largest untapped fossil energy resource' is going to add another 1700 GT of carbon to the mix.

... we're toast :-<

Hopefully it's just a political ploy, and a way to funnel more dollars to universities. Then again, I've said it before; we'll just keep burning stuff until we've burned it all,, or die trying.

Where and when it all started.
Cooked our goose a long time ago:

When and how it all ends:

Of course Chris Martinson is part of a group that is selling snake oil for survival. He's an alarmist, some of what he says is dead-on, and some of it is just sales pitch for investments. I sure wish he'd get off the commercialism, but as Rockman has taught us, we all do what we can to help guarantee our DNA survives.

J. Michael Greer (currently on sabatical to complete contracted writings so he's just like Rockman and Chris) has a slightly different view - one of gradual, step down, descent. Jim Kunstler sees a more chaotic and sudden fall, and he sells books about that view. Wizard's First Rule is that people are stupid:

"People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool."

Terry Goodkind, Sword of Truth

While espoused in a fantasy adventure novel, there is a certain ring of truthiness to that. And, it explains a lot!


Chris Martenson came late to the Peak Oil game but has used YouTube, the internet, and the unattributed writings of others (mixed together with a sophomoric economic understanding) to gain sufficient prominence to be invited to speak at major Peak Oil events, standing side-by-side with those who have been doing the heavy lifting for a long time. According to his self-promoting Wikipedia entry

he left Pfizer Groton to 'pursue other goals'.

(fascinating that the entry would put those words in quotes.) Of course, that was exactly the time the Pfizer Groton was encouraging many people to pursue other goals.

I have to hand it to him, coming from the home state of P. T. Barnum, he is carrying on a grand tradition.


"we all do what we can to help guarantee our DNA survives"

That is a myth fostered and perpetuated by one form of denialism, according to professors who teach genetics in the universities and who run labs to provide research data:

"One of the most crazy making yet widespread and potentially dangerous notions is 'oh that behavior is genetic'" (Dr. Sapolsky).

(The "It's In Your Genes" Myth). Another doctor pointed out that it is used by those in power to shift blame:

...the genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoring past and present historical and social factors. In the words of Louis Menand who wrote in the New Yorker very astutely:

“It’s all in the genes”: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are. Why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth? It can’t be the system! There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere.

...which is a good way to put it. So the genetic argument is simply a cop-out that allows us to ignore the social and economic and political factors that in fact underlie many troublesome behaviors... (Dr. Maté).

(ibid). Sometimes we have to read new science to keep up with the ongoing research.

It is depressing. Both parties are competing... to see which one can produce the wilder claims of energy forever, at whatever cost. It really drives the nail in - I said in the last drumbeat that the republicans were the party of fossil fuels, but as Rockman pointed out that's not true. Really, they're both competing to see who can be more pro-anything that is seen to be good for the economy. Global warming forever, as long as we have electricity, A/C, and cars! Gotta keep the machine running!

The catch is that the economy depends on the biosphere.

Oil spill stretches for miles by Exxon Nigeria field

An oil spill near an ExxonMobil oilfield off the southeast coast of Nigeria has spread along the shore for about 15 miles, and locals said it was killing fish they depend on to live.

... In the Iwuokpom-Ibeno fishing community, village elder Iyang Ekong held up one of a load of crabs that a fisherman had caught that morning, only to find they were soaked in toxic oil.

"When I got I home, I realized we can't even eat them because they smell so badly of chemicals. So we're just going to leave them by the waterfront," he said.

Re: Japan Strives to Go Nuclear-Free

This is a depressing article. Almost all of the content is basically "the utilities will go broke" - there are nods to the Fukushima disaster (which is ongoing), rising emissions from fossil fuel use to replace nuclear, and strain on the power grid (which Japan has so far managed to deal with very, very well, which to me proves they can go nuclear free) - but the final calculus clearly is not "is nuclear energy safe for Japan" but "what about the money?" It's like a bankruptcy or reorganization is unthinkable. Or a bailout, for that matter. Which makes me a bit miffed - why are even bothering with private utilities if they are basically an arm of national energy policy anyway? Japan's utilities certainly were when they built the nuclear plants. The actions of the politicians are the embodiment of regulatory capture, they are more concerned with saving the butts of their patrons than with the actual issue. Ultimately, they just don't want to clean up the mess that their forerunners made (with a lot of help from the US, which wanted to sell nuclear to Japan).

No doubt moving away from nuclear is hard. But the financial security of the utilities shouldn't be the main determination! How did we get here in the first place? A nuclear plant suffered a disaster and 3 reactors literally blew their tops. There are other issues, replacing nuclear with renewables in Japan would be a mammoth undertaking on a scale larger than can be done with a feed-in tariff, but really, in a country with one of the world's largest construction industries, perhaps we could get them on windmills instead of roads to nowhere and concrete tetrapods destroying the shoreline... They could leave the nuclear plants shut down, as all but one are today, and things would only be slightly more difficult. It wasn't the end of the world when they shut them down, and it isn't now. So why is it so hard to just keep it that way? Because the utilities might go bankrupt? Really?

It reminds me of the quote "we have to fish harder before they're all gone". They acknowledge the issue but actively work to make it worse. "We have to restart the nuclear plants to get off nuclear".

Obama’s fuel standards don’t add up

I enjoy when drumbeat posts links to cornucopian articles even laypersons like myself can poke fun at.

The new CAFE standards will result in unintended consequences. Most importantly, lighter cars are less safe.

Of course, few people deny this. But then why not have everyone drive Main Battle Tanks to work? Americans love their big cars but they will be forced out of them into smaller cars sooner or later. Petroleum isn't getting any cheaper.

Other losers will be Americans who prefer large vehicles to carry families, equipment, and pets on daily trips or long vacations.

Mostly completely voluntary activities which probably aren't worth squandering petroleum on (of course suburbia probably isn't worth squandering petroleum on either). Americans really love their big cars and when I read comments on other sites they come up with all sorts of flimsy justifications for driving them. e.g. "I'm slightly taller/heaver than average, there's no way I can fit in a compact car" or "I like to go on a camping trip once a year so for the rest of the year I must drive a big SUV".

There have been some recent questions after the Amuay refinery blast as to who subsidizes 12 cents/gallon gasoline in Venezuela.

Well after reviewing the article below from Venezuela, it may be explained by a word that comes to mind, which may not exactly translate into Spanish: Ponzi. PVDSA keeps borrowing money from the central bank of Venezuela, which PDVSA pays back by borrowing money from others.

I suspect that the central bank of Venezuela is following the path of the Federal Reserve in the US - when no one wants to buy your debt, just print up more money.

Pdvsa financial aid from Venezuela's Central Bank up 7% in two weeks
At the end of August 17, the aid totaled USD 26.6 billion

Thursday August 30, 2012 04:21 PM
The financial requirements of state-owned company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) are increasing. Therefore, the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) gives it more resources.

According to monetary base data supplied by the BCV, at the end of July, the aid given by the financial institution to the oil industry stood at USD 24.8 billion, whereas at the end of August 17 it rose to USD 26.6 billion. This means that the financial aid increased 7% in two weeks.

Besides the main activities (exploration, production, refining and trade), Pdvsa has to afford the housing plan, the social programs, the labor liabilities payment, the mining industry and the new program for investment in the Guayana basic enterprises. These financial obligations make bigger the economic necessities.

Those necessities could increase in the light of the expenses that should be paid by Pdvsa to cover the damages caused by the fire in Amuay refinery.


OPEC to G7: Don't call us, we'll call you

After the G7 finance ministers (not the energy ministers) issued a surprise request last Tuesday calling on OPEC and other oil exporters to increase output, OPEC responded yesterday. They did not indicate any intent to set up output due to this request.

In fact, over the last month or so, OPEC exports as a group have been steadily falling.

Gulf oil producers rule out additional output

Posted on » Friday, August 31, 2012

DUBAI: Gulf oil producers are unlikely to ramp up production unless demand rises, Gulf Opec delegates said yesterday.

Finance ministers from the Group of Seven most industrialised nations earlier urged them to raise output to ensure the market is well supplied.


OPEC to cut crude oil exports as refiners halt productions