Drumbeat: September 7, 2012

Insiders suspected in Saudi cyber attack

(Reuters) - One or more insiders with high-level access are suspected of assisting the hackers who damaged some 30,000 computers at Saudi Arabia's national oil company last month, sources familiar with the company's investigation say.

The attack using a computer virus known as Shamoon against Saudi Aramco - the world's biggest oil company - is one of the most destructive cyber strikes conducted against a single business.

Shamoon spread through the company's network and wiped computers' hard drives clean. Saudi Aramco says damage was limited to office computers and did not affect systems software that might hurt technical operations.

The hackers' apparent access to a mole, willing to take personal risk to help, is an extraordinary development in a country where open dissent is banned.

Crude Trades Near One-Week High as Slower Hiring Curbs Optimism

Oil traded near the highest close this week as speculation that jobs growth in the U.S. is slowing countered optimism that a European Central Bank plan will address the region’s debt crisis.

Crude was little changed after rising as much as 0.6 percent. Payrolls in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of crude, probably rose at a reduced pace in August, economists said before a Labor Department report today. ECB President Mario Draghi announced plans yesterday to reduce interest rates for struggling nations in the euro area.

Europe facing further diesel price hikes

Europe may face soaring diesel prices this autumn after a string of refinery accidents ahead of routine closures have tightened fuel supplies worldwide, sounding alarm bells in Western governments. The United States is pressing for a release of oil stocks from Western nations, supervised by the International Energy Agency. The reluctant IEA has stressed that the problem is not with crude supply, but with the flow of products from refineries, as wholesale fuel prices in Asian markets have already hit four-year highs..

Shale Boom Cuts Gulf Oil Premium to 24-Year Low

The U.S. shale boom has driven the cost of Gulf Coast light, sweet oil to its lowest level versus Brent crude in almost a quarter century as the nation’s dependence on foreign supplies wanes.

Light Louisiana Sweet, the benchmark grade for the Gulf Coast known as LLS, has traded on the spot market at an average of 15 cents a barrel more than Brent this year, the smallest premium since at least 1988, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The spread’s highest annual average was $4.02 in 2008.

UK gas prices fall as output rises, exports drop

LONDON (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices fell on Friday morning as supplies from the UK Continental Shelf rebounded and exports towards Belgium were reduced.

Gas for weekend delivery fell 0.40 pence to 60.10 pence a therm, while month-ahead gas shed nearly half a penny to 59.75 pence.

Prices softened despite evidence of mild gas shortages at the British hub, undersupplied by 3 million cubic metres/day (mcm/day), according to National Grid data.

Hurricane Leslie Edges Northward as Bermuda Issues Watch

North Atlantic Refining Ltd. has a 115,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Come-By-Chance, Newfoundland, 90 miles west of the provincial capital of St. John’s.

The Miami-based NHC is also tracking a remnant of Hurricane Isaac that re-entered the Gulf of Mexico and has a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical system within two days.

US can maintain oil growth – Credit Suisse

(Argus) — The US can maintain oil production growth at around 600,000 b/d because of shale development, the Gulf of Mexico and, potentially, the Arctic, but requires a near-term oil price of $95/bl for Brent, according to Switzerland-based bank Credit Suisse.

The required price could drop to $80/bl over time. US growth is seen accounting for 80pc of the global net gain in production capacity but, under the bank's model, that still leaves global spare capacity at just 2-3pc in 2015.

The future of oil

Higher supply costs mostly reflect a lack of new, low cost sources of production. Deep-sea oil, oil sands and shale oil are all far more expensive to extract than conventional onshore or shallow offshore. This supply issues have been exacerbated by increased demand from fast growing emerging economies.

With stagnating Western economies and falling real incomes, however, an argument could be made that falling developed market demand may help offset the demand picture. Riley is not convinced:

"You might well think that demand has a ceiling in the developed world, but that ignores the low base that many of these emerging countries are coming from. Vehicle penetration in China, for example, is currently below where it was in the US in 1920 so there is still plenty of room for growth."

Saudi Arabia May Become Oil Importer by 2030

This may concentrate a few minds in The Kingdom. The country is already planning an 80GW nuclear blitz though they are woefully short of nuclear power experts.

It has big hopes from solar projects based on successes of solar farms in California. Both nuclear and solar would allow it export more of its oil output.

A great deal could change. New desalination filters should reduce energy use drastically, for instance. Saudi fuel subsidy policies may change.

Iraq's Kurd oil row too big to last - Genel's Hayward

ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq and its Kurdish region both have too much at stake not to settle their dispute over oil, although they may take a year or so to do it, the head of the largest producer there said.

"The scale of the opportunity for Kurdistan and for Iraq is so large that there will be a resolution," Genel Chief Executive Tony Hayward, former boss of BP, said in an interview.

Japan in final stages of talks to buy disputed islands, prime minister says

Tokyo (CNN) -- The Japanese government is in the final stages of negotiations to bring a hotly disputed set of small islands in the East China Sea under public ownership, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Friday, stressing his country's claims of sovereignty.

The islands are at the heart of a bitter diplomatic argument between Japan and China that has resulted in occasionally violent acts of public protest. The uninhabited islands, known in Japan as Senkaku and in China as Diaoyu, are privately owned by a Japanese family.

Govt may hike fuel prices next week

NEW DELHI: The government may hike petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene prices simultaneously as early as next week, with oil minister S Jaipal Reddy today saying “difficult and painful” decisions need to be taken.

“There are no immediate proposals to raise prices of various oil products including petrol,” Mr Reddy told reporters. Though he did not specify when the hike may take place, indications are it could be done after the Cabinet meets next week.

Oil firms fall on bourses on delay in fuel price hike

Shares of Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum reversed their gains on Friday, dropping by up to 3.3 per cent after Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy said there are no immediate proposals to raise fuel prices, including petrol.

Indonesia not able to 'wipe out' fuel subsidies, says Pertamina head

Indonesia won't be able to fully do away with fuel subsidies as its economy grows and its middle class adopts higher material aspirations, state-owned Pertamina's President Director Karen Agustiawan said Friday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Vladivostok.

"Yes, the middle class ... are starting to buy cars, they are trying to buy refrigerators and air-conditioners, but they are not at the level where they can buy energy at [market prices]," she said. "So what we are trying to do ... is to reduce the amount of subsidy used in the household.

China’s Roads-to-Subways Construction Spurs Stocks Rally

China approved plans to build 2,018 kilometers (1,254 miles) of roads, spurring the biggest stock- market rally in almost eight months on signs the government is stepping up stimulus efforts to revive economic growth.

Brazil to Reduce Power Costs, Pressure Banks to Foster Growth

Brazil will cut energy costs for companies and consumers while pressuring banks to lower lending rates to accelerate growth in the world’s sixth-largest economy, President Dilma Rousseff said.

Electricity rates will fall by an average of 16.2 percent for households and as much as 28 percent for producers starting next year, Rousseff said yesterday in a nationally-televised speech to commemorate Brazil’s Independence Day. The move marks a change for the 64-year-old president’s administration, which had previously focused on bolstering consumer demand to aid growth.

Record interest in Norway's mature oil fields

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian authorities have received applications from a record number of oil companies keen to take part in this year's oil production licensing round for Norway's mature offshore areas, including two oil majors that did not apply last year.

China-Russia JV Tianjin refinery gets right to export oil products

China has granted the future Tianjin refinery, a joint project of Russia's Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation, the right to export its oil products, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said at a conference Friday.

Sinopec, Nabors to Replace YPF Frankenstein Rigs, Official Says

YPF SA , Argentina’s biggest energy company, signed contracts with oil services providers including Nabors Industries Ltd. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. to rent 14 drilling rigs for its shale exploration program, a YPF official briefed on the matter said.

The contracts, awarded through private auctions, will increase the number of rigs used by the Buenos Aires-based company by 47 percent from the first half of 2012, the YPF official said.

U.S. congressman confirms high-level U.S.-Israel spat over Iran

(Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blew up at the U.S. ambassador last month because he was "at wits' end" over what he sees as the Obama administration's lack of clarity on Iran's nuclear program, a U.S. congressman who was at the meeting said.

Shell mulls bid in Iraq oil auction

Royal Dutch Shell is weighing making a bid in an Iraqi auction of exploration rights that Baghdad has promised to make more lucrative for foreign investors.

In Iraq's last tender, not a single western oil major made a bid, and only three of 12 contracts were ultimately awarded, mostly to smaller independent companies. Last week the Iraqi oil ministry said it was revamping the economic terms for its fifth auction since 2003.

Russia's Rosneft to reorganize to reflect growing gas, offshore focus

Russia's largest crude oil producer Rosneft plans to change its organizational structure to reflect its growing interest in gas production and offshore operations, the company's CEO Igor Sechin said Friday.

"We are increasingly more engaged in gas [operations]...offshore [activities] have also emerged, this requires optimization of the organizational structure," Sechin told reporters on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Russia's Vladivostok.

Fliers pinched as airfares take off; blame fuel, mergers, profits

Fares were up this year, from facilities such as Memphis International Airport to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson to Boston's Logan. Don't expect them to drop any time soon.

The volatile price of jet fuel, multiple airline mergers that have winnowed competition and a determination by carriers to not offer more seats than there are passengers to fill them have let airlines boost prices and their bottom lines.

Tests show oil found on Louisiana shore came from BP spill

(CNN) -- Preliminary lab results show two oil samples taken on the Louisiana coast are from BP's 2010 Gulf spill, state officials said Thursday.

Brazil federal police accuse Petrobras of environmental crimes

RIO DE JANEIRO--Brazilian state-run energy giant Petrobras could face criminal and civil actions after federal police alleged the company isn't properly treating wastewater from refining and oil production before releasing it into local waterways and the Atlantic Ocean, a police official said.

The investigation has been completed and forwarded to the federal prosecutor's office, Fabio Scliar, who heads the federal police's environmental crimes unit in Rio de Janeiro, told Dow Jones Newswires in a phone interview.

Is Fracking Good for the Environment?

Is increased production of natural gas from shale deposits good for the environment? At first glance: yes: natural gas releases less CO2 into the atmosphere than coal, so replacing coal-fired electrical plants with gas-fired plants is a win for global warming. And since fracking makes natural gas cheaper, it helps stimulate a switch from coal to gas.

But wait: it turns out you also have to account for leakage. The problem is that natural gas is methane, a powerful greenhouse gas in its own right, and when you extract natural gas from shale formations, some of it inevitably leaks out.

For Farms in the West, Oil Wells Are Thirsty Rivals

GREELEY, Colo. — A new race for water is rippling through the drought-scorched heartland, pitting farmers against oil and gas interests, driven by new drilling techniques that use powerful streams of water, sand and chemicals to crack the ground and release stores of oil and gas.

A single such well can require five million gallons of water, and energy companies are flocking to water auctions, farm ponds, irrigation ditches and municipal fire hydrants to get what they need.

That thirst is helping to drive an explosion of oil production here, but it is also complicating the long and emotional struggle over who drinks and who does not in the arid and fast-growing West. Farmers and environmental activists say they are worried that deep-pocketed energy companies will have purchase on increasingly scarce water supplies as they drill deep new wells that use the technique of hydraulic fracturing.

Jeff Ruin: Why I Am Canadian for the Great Bear

Considering that Canada exports over 2 million barrels a day to the US market, getting shortchanged $20 per barrel is no trifling matter. It works out to some $1.2-billion a month or roughly $15-billion a year. That’s a much bigger subsidy than the one Alberta producers were forced to give Ontario and Quebec energy consumers in the 1980s when they had to accept made-in-Canada oil prices under the still reviled National Energy Plan. Today Alberta producers have to accept even more punitive terms for their oil from made-in-USA prices.

Who exactly is getting that missing $20 per barrel? US motorists certainly don’t get any break at the pumps. They’re paying the same price for their gasoline whether it is made from Canadian bitumen or any other feedstock. But the refinery making that gasoline is sure making a lot more money when it uses bitumen from Alberta than when it has to pay world oil prices for its crude.

Texas raises speed limit to 85 mph on busy highway

Texas will soon open a stretch of highway with the highest speed limit in the country, giving eager drivers a chance to rip through a trip between two of the state's largest metropolitan areas.

The Texas Transportation Commission has approved a speed limit of 85 miles per hour for a 41-mile toll road several miles east of the increasingly crowded Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

Renewable Energy Is Obama Goal for Next Term, Aide Says

President Barack Obama’s effort to develop renewable power sources and persuade Congress to adopt a long-term energy policy will be priorities should he win a second term, his top climate and energy aide said.

Clean-energy programs and efficiency initiatives will be a focus for the president if he’s re-elected in November, Heather Zichal, Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, told reporters today in Washington.

Opponents of Malaysia Rare Earth Plant Promise to Protest

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Opponents of a rare earth refinery in Malaysia refused to back down Thursday after the authorities gave the Australian company behind the project the approval to proceed.

One group, Himpunan Hijau, has vowed to blockade the port in the Malaysian town of Kuantan, near the plant, if the company, Lynas, tries to import the raw earth materials from Australia.

France committed to closing its oldest nuclear reactor by 2017

The French Energy Minister says the government is committed to closing the country’s oldest nuclear reactor by 2017. Two people were burnt in an accident there earlier this week.

Japan Axing Nuclear for Renewables Means Missing Carbon Goal

Phasing out nuclear power in Japan will cost the country the equivalent of $622 billion to build a power grid around renewable energy and means it will fail to meet a target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

That’s an estimate from the government as it mulls going ahead with a recommendation made yesterday by its own advisory body to eliminate use of atomic power, an option favored in public opinion polls, in its first post-Fukushima energy policy.

Japan's Fukushima operator to release more video on disaster

(Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, has bowed to pressure from the media and government and decided to release more video footage of staff trying to contain the March 2011 crisis.

China Price War Draining Jobs in Germany’s Solar Valley

When Thomas Behling returned to his home state of Saxony-Anhalt in 2006, he was drawn by a job in the solar industry and the chance to participate in Germany’s renewable energy boom. He was fired in July.

Behling’s employer, Sovello GmbH, produced its last solar panel on Aug. 26, sending 1,000 workers home after attempts to find an investor to save the seven-year-old company failed. Next door, Q-Cells SE, once the world’s largest solar-cell maker, is being acquired by Hanwha Group of South Korea as soaring debt brought it to the brink of bankruptcy. At least 12 German solar companies filed for protection from creditors in the past year.

North Dakota boom towns balance beauty and business

Now part of the national park created in his memory, the weathered remnants of Roosevelt's "Walden Pond of the West" retain their sense of remoteness in the least populated region of one of the USA's least-visited states.

But on a ridge beyond the quivering cottonwoods and grasshoppers flitting through knee-high prairie grass, an oil well pierces the horizon. It's a symbol of the "carbon rush" that has earned North Dakota the country's lowest unemployment rate and ranked it second to Texas in oil production — and is rapidly transforming what the late CBS newsman and native son Eric Sevareid called the "rectangular blank spot in the nation's mind."

Diversity spreads to all corners of the U.S.

The impact is striking in rural areas where white populations are shrinking as young people leave and the elderly who stay die. When Hispanics and Asians move in, minority kids are born and alter the dynamics. Many rural schools have added English-as-a-second-language classes and social service agencies have hired translators.

"There are literally hundreds of American counties that would be losing population if it were not for minority growth," Johnson says. "This diversity is bringing them young people they had been losing for a long time and new opportunities."

With Their Food Scarce From Drought, More Animals Try Dining in Town

At least two candy stores have been burglarized this summer by ravenous, drought-starved bears. They are being struck by cars as they roam dark highways, far from their normal foraging grounds. Growing numbers are invading campsites and kitchens in search of food. One even tried to storm a hotel bar in Telluride, Colo.

In addition to destroying crops, this summer’s record-breaking drought has also killed off the wild acorns, berries and grasses that sustain animals like mule deer, elk and bears. Without that food, the great outdoors is pushing its way inside, looking for calories wherever they can be found.

Shell CO2 capture bets on emissions targets

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell's investment in a carbon capture plant at its tar sands facility in Alberta shows the company recognises the threat of climate policies targeting unconventional oil.

The project will help shield Shell against future penalties on tar sands, as planned by California and the European Union, while its commercial success will also depend on demand for the CCS technology which it develops.

EU's greenhouse gas emissions down 2.5% in 2011

The European Union's (EU) greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.5% in 2011 despite higher coal consumption, according to new estimates from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The Baffling Nexus of Climate Change and Health

In 2004, a rare tropical fungus caused a string of respiratory failures and neural disorders along the Pacific Northwest coast, baffling the health community. That same year, Alaskan cruise ship passengers dining on local oysters fell sick with a gastric virus typically found in warm water estuaries. Now Texas, after an unusually wet spring and dry summer, is battling what may become the country’s worst recorded outbreak of West Nile virus.

African farmers must do more to beat climate change -study

OSLO (Reuters) - African farmers are finding new ways to cope with droughts, erosion and other ravages of climate change but need to develop even more techniques to thrive in an increasingly uncertain environment, scientists said on Friday. Smallholders have started to plant more drought-resistant and faster-growing crops to keep the harvests coming in, according to a survey of 700 households in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.

The Shale Revolution: What Could Go Wrong?

So why is John Hofmeister, the former chief of U.S. operations for Shell, sounding an alarm? "Unless something seriously changes in the next five years," he said in an interview, "we'll be standing in gas lines because there won't be enough oil to go around."

The reason is that there's still disagreement over the factors governing the growth of production from the new fields. Among those factors: the direction of global supply and demand, how price will help or hinder exploration, whether new regulation will impede development, and how long it will take to build the infrastructure needed to get more oil to market.

Mr. Hofmeister said he believes forecasts also understate the "decline" rate of shale fields. The hydrocarbons tend to flow robustly in the first months of drilling, then decline before plateauing at lower levels. To sustain growth, companies will need to drill many wells at a rate "beyond the capacity of the industry as currently defined," he says. "Those who ballyhoo oil shale and say that this will take care of us—no, it won't."*

*Consistent with two recent reports, summarized by Deborah Rogers:

USGS Releases Damning EUR’s For Shale

Shale Oil Reserves Questioned Too (Eagle Ford Report)

If we subtract out the natural gas component, my guess is that the mean and median crude oil only EUR components for the Eagle Ford wells could easily be on the order of 160,000 BO and 120,000 BO respectively.

In any case, I suspect that 90% of US shale oil wells that were producing in 2010 will be down to 10 bpd or less, or be plugged and abandoned, in 2020.

Lots of people seem to be, in effect, saying that "I guess Art Berman was right."

Yes, but even Hofmeister used to parrot the line that the Fed's QE was responsible for the high oil prices a few years back.

QE can increase them short-term by maybe 10-15 dollars, but QE cannot explain a secular rise of over 400 % over the past 10 years.

So this tells you what quality of the so-called 'experts' are made of in the oil industry. And Hofmeister is actually one of the more reasonable types.

The USGS report on shale oil(or tight oil, if we're precise) isn't as strong as it was on shale gas, simply because the shale gas industry has been more thoroughly explored. The tight oil reported looked a lot more on early production rates.

According to the report, initial rates of production per well has been demonstrably lower(by over 50 %, in some cases much more) than what the industry tells the media via their PR reps.

And I mean this is pretty interesting, because tight oil is precisely known for high Initial Production(IP) rates and fast declines. So when the IP is much lower than what the companies try to pretend, that means that they are running a much bigger financial (and geological) deficit already when the intial decline starts to set in.

Gregor Macdonald has a guest post over a zero hedge that makes much the same observation

The Repricing Of Oil

However, QE does not in itself raise oil prices. If the global economy were “normal,” then QE would certainly flow through more directly to oil prices. (If the global economy were truly normal, there would be no QE). But the global economy, and especially Western economies, exited normal four years ago. During the present phase, therefore, QE is largely a psychological inducement and has few, if any, structural implications. QE functions more as a behavioral trigger, preventing economies from falling below their current level of stagnation. Accordingly, QE does not increase the price of oil during a time of debt deflation. Rather, QE simply maintains the global economy at the drip-feed level, thus allowing the OECD and non-OECD to continue their respective decline and advance. The result is a kind of stasis between oil supply and oil demand.

Among other highlights:

  • Western oil co's no longer set prices with the power of giant oil fields
  • The industry has fractured into many small and medium sized co's nimble enough to chase the smaller plays
  • Spare capacity is evaporating rapidly, especially OPEC
  • Insufficient supply will eventually destroy more demand, especially OECD
  • We are at the mercy of "the cruel math of the marginal barrel"


The hackers' apparent access to a mole, willing to take personal risk to help, is an extraordinary development in a country where open dissent is banned.

This statement hurts my head. Since when do dissenters care about what the establishment declares banned?

Since when do dissenters care about what the establishment declares banned?

Are you joking? If they didn't care then they would not be dissenters. Anyway from that link up top:
Exclusive: Insiders suspected in Saudi cyber attack

Hackers from a group called "The Cutting Sword of Justice" claimed responsibility for the attack. They say the computer virus gave them access to documents from Aramco's computers, and have threatened to release secrets. No documents have so far been published.

Now what secrets could Aramco have on its computers that they wish to keep from the world? Could it be production or decline rate figures from Ghawar or other fields? Things that most countries would publish openly is top secret in Saudi? Why?

Ron P.

Are you joking? If they didn't care then they would not be dissenters.

I read spudw's statement differently: "Since when do dissenters kowtow to the wishes of an authoritarian regime (i.e.care) and therefore refrain from dissenting merely because dissent is banned?"

The point is dissenters care, they care about that they do not have free expression, they care about an oppressive regime that does not allow open dissent. And they care that they must at least appear to be kowtowing the wishes of the regime whether they are actually kowtowing or not. If they did not care they would not be dissenters. People who don't care are the kowtowers.

Ron P.

Obviously we're using the word 'care' in two different senses. I have no problem with your assessment, Ron, inasmuch as a dissenter is impelled to dissent by a notion of the rightness and necessity of the dissent. They care in that sense of the word. I simply wanted to point out that it is at least reasonable to assume that what spudw might have meant is that dissenters often willfully flaunt rules (do not care to follow them). I mean, if they didn't disregard the rules then dissent would never take place, by definition. A somewhat different sense of the word 'care', but one that is not unusual in common discourse.

I would never have started this discussion were it not that you seemed to be jumping on spudw for an interpretation of his/her post that is not the only possible interpretation, and probably (I think) not the one he/she intended.

But I hereby give up. I do appreciate your contributions to the drumbeat, and thought I could add something. Guess not.

Low, I read spud the same as you, and was happy to see your post.

I did too - and frankly, I thought it was pretty clear. Darwinian jumps in with both feet sometimes, before he engages his thinking apparatus.

Now what secrets could Aramco have on its computers that they wish to keep from the world?

That would be the Secret of Perpetual Reserves, of course.

Here's an unusually good story from the WSJ (September 7, 2012, on page A2):

Record Ice Thaw in Arctic, Greenland

It's behind their paywall, but google can find it...

E. Swanson

Good article. Thanks.

And this from the Beeb

Arctic ice melting at 'amazing' speed, scientists find

Early research investigating the implications suggests that a massive reduction in sea ice is likely to have an impact on the path of the jet stream, the high-altitude wind that guides weather systems, including storms.

The course and speed of the jet stream is governed by the difference in temperature between the Tropics and the Arctic, so a change on the scale being observed now could be felt across Europe and beyond.

Should make for some, um, "interesting times".


The course and speed of the jet stream is governed by the difference in temperature between the Tropics and the Arctic, so a change on the scale being observed now could be felt across Europe and beyond.

I think these discussions in the MSM will start to move opinion regarding the urgency of climate change. Climate scientists have been able to make increasingly specific cause-and-effect linkages regarding greenhouse forcing. Conversely, AGW skeptics are increasingly bereft of evidence-based arguments.

Even once a plurality agrees about the enormity of the problem, there is unlikely to be a consensus about what to do. It's hard enough to agree on what to do about the national debt, a problem far smaller in severity......

"AGW skeptics are increasingly bereft of evidence-based arguments."

You are joking of course. Perhaps you haven't heard that fact-checkers aren't welcome in certain circles.

Perhaps you haven't heard that fact-checkers aren't welcome in certain circles.

Fact-checkers are always welcome!

Fact-checkers are those who publish papers in peer reviewed scientific journals after dedicating decades to a particular field of science and are therefore considered experts themselves in said field. While it is possible to be a true scientific skeptic and even dispute and overturn a scientific consensus by coming up with new theories based on facts, it is only considered valid scientifically if it passes peer review.

Denialists and cranks, not so much!


Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one’s viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical assertions.


Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the scientific method. Nevertheless, consensus may be based on both scientific arguments and the scientific method.[1]

Consensus is normally achieved through communication at conferences, the publication process, replication (reproducible results by others) and peer review. These lead to a situation in which those within the discipline can often recognize such a consensus where it exists, but communicating to outsiders that consensus has been reached can be difficult, because the 'normal' debates through which science progresses may seem to outsiders as contestation.[2] On occasion, scientific institutes issue position statements intended to communicate a summary of the science from the "inside" to the "outside" of the scientific community. In cases where there is little controversy regarding the subject under study, establishing what the consensus is can be quite straightforward.

There is currently a strong scientific consensus regarding AGW or Climate Change.


More than two decades after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began publishing the latest scientific consensus on the globe’s changing climate, widespread doubts persist in the U.S. over whether there really is widespread agreement among scientists. It’s the primary argument of those who deny basic scientific foundations of warming.

But new and innovative survey results suggest the consensus among scientists might actually be stronger than the scientists themselves had thought.

Unless you're a Republican, in which case, knowing what you are talking about automatically invalidates anything you say. If there are any Republicans out there who are not know-nothings, you really need to wake up an address this.

Yes - but the scientific status of "peer review" can be, and has been in the past, grossly over-stated. There have been erroneous faddish movements, and there have been peer-supported disasters. I prefer a healthy scepticism over peer back-slapping ... most of the time.


There was an interesting paragraph in that story:

The speed of the Arctic ice melt is astounding, scientists say. "It is a greater change than we could even imagine 20 years ago, even 10 years ago," Dr. Kim Holmen, international director of the Norwegian Polar Institute told the BBC. "And it has taken us by surprise and we must adjust our understanding of the system and we must adjust our science and we must adjust our feelings for the nature around us."

(Common Dreams, BBC). Not a good sign, in one sense, but definitely a serious sign in any sense.

One scientist calculates the affect of the loss of ice as:

Prof Wadhams calculates this absorption of the sun's rays is having an effect "the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man".

(BBC News). Twenty years of CO2 release is catastrophic.

Looks like the US $ is collapsing today in spite of the fact that the survival of its main competitor Euro is in doubt. This is a very bad sign. This is probably the final opportunity for people to convert their savings into hard assets or paper assets backed by hard assets. In my opinion, deflationists like Stoneleigh who advise people to stay in cash are wrong. If you stay mostly in cash/fixed income, you will be wiped out as paper currencies are devalued to nothing in order to prop up the financial system and keep the banks open.

It doesn't have to be anything dramatic like people pushing wheelbarrows full of cash to buy groceries (it is too late to do anything when that happens). A real inflation of 18% will destroy the purchasing power of your cash by 50% every 4 years.

This is just my opinion. Do your own due diligence. I am not responsible for anyone's profit or loss.

In my opinion deflation/stagflation/hyperinflation are all similar phenomena, and different from standard inflation which is driven by organic growth and which is what everybody purportedly wants.

We have lived with inflation for a long time now, 60-100 years. Inflation is driven by growth in energy and economic activity, which spurs demand for credit which in turn spurs increases in money supply.

That is now coming to an end. In that sense, and in that sense alone, are Stoneleigh and the deflationists correct. The vast majority of assets out there which people assume have value will proven to be mostly worthless. Money, however, is an abstract concept and only subject to political forces. There is no doubt that unpayable debt will be monetized with base money creation, which means your cash will become worth less and less.

Still, you can't get rid of currency altogether. Even if you did, another currency would simply have to pop up to take its place. Along those lines, best to stay mostly in some combination of precious metals (hard currency) and cash, as this provides the liquidity needed to adjust to changing circumstances. Remember that everybody is always trying to sell you something, and in order to navigate this world now you have to resist that urge to "buy."

In that sense, and in that sense alone, are Stoneleigh and the deflationists correct.

For most people the crux of the matter is that $100 will buy a lot less 10 years from now. Stoneleigh's advice is to keep most of your financial assets in cash. In my opinion that is suicidal.

Stoneleigh is correct about deflation. If we were not in a strongly deflationary economy, the hyperinflation would have already begun. It is not until the deflational pressures are relieved, through deleveraging (at a level that will be determined by reality - thanks JK), that it will. Worry that this is going to happen may be what is preventing a QE3 today.

OTOH, who has cash?


Here is what it boils down to: Where would you invest your money for the next 10 years? Stoneleigh's advice is to stay in cash. Do you agree?

holding cash in a fractional reserve banking system makes no sense.

People have ego. They analyze things and come to a conclusion, but when reality changes they refuse to let go of their earlier conclusions, that's what I can say about Stoneleigh. CB's won't allow deflation come what may, that should be amply clear by now.

Cash, in a variety of selected currencies, has a place in a portfolio.

Also stocks in hydroelectric utilities in several nations (Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand) could be an interesting storehouse of wealth. Decent dividends, spread risk, long lived energy producing assets.

The relative valuation of the earning stream could vary. Some climate risk (+ & -). But such a portfolio would almost certainly have some residual value.


A real inflation of 18% will destroy the purchasing power of your cash by 50% every 4 years.

On the bright side gold has popped by over USD$40 per ounce today. Sure glad I listened to the gold bugs a few years ago.


Not surprisingly folks are paying well for inflation protection.

TIPS are at negative interest of 1.38% for five years, and negative .92% for ten.


Gold, though, is really just a good place holder. Historically, gold has been 1 oz. per week's work for average worker. Other than being another way to determine what wages are (abt. $435/wk), but not to set wages, it isn't worth much to the average person if things get really hard. I'd rather be trading using eggs and pottery, since if I can't get any takers for my goods, I can still eat the eggs and use the pottery to hold grain, water, etc, whereas the gold bug will be left with bling.


Gold is not a good store of value in that it has negative carry - it costs money to simply have it. Therefore the net value of it, CP, decays over time.

If you stay mostly in cash/fixed income, you will be wiped out as paper currencies are devalued to nothing in order to prop up the financial system and keep the banks open.

Absolutely agree. The 3rd QE is designed to be open ended, meaning any time and for any amount. How is that anything but pure desperation to keep BAU at the expense of the value of the dollar? Might monetize the debt, but it also reduces the value of cash.

I can hear Dick Cheney now...

"What part of non-negotiable don't you understand?"

Expect food and energy to get expensive and all the junk you do not really need to get cheap and then unavailable.

If the U.S. dollar decreases in value dramatically, then the price of crude oil in U.S. dollars will increase creating an oil price shock. Like in 2008 demand for crude oil will eventually decline causing the price to collapse and unemployment to increase. Oil price shock....

August jobs report: Hiring slows, unemployment falls

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The labor market lost momentum last month as job growth fell to a disappointingly slow pace. The unemployment rate also fell, as more people stopped looking for jobs.

...The unemployment rate fell largely because 368,000 people stopped looking for work. Just 63.5% of the working-age population was either employed or actively looking for work -- a 30-year low, according to Capital Economics.

"...368,000 people stopped looking for work."

Another 368,000 who aren't paying income taxes or contributing to entitlement programs unless they're living off of investments/pensions. Still, unemployment drops?

"Just 63.5% of the working-age population was either employed or actively looking for work"

And the other 36.5%? Still consuming on some level, somehow.

The "headline" unemployment rate measures the percent of people who are both unemployed and actively looking for work. If fewer people are looking, the headline rate drops. There are other measures that account for underemployed and "discouraged" workers. Google "U-3" or "U-6" to look at those measures, or try http://www.shadowstats.com

The other 36.5% percent includes the prison population, college and grad school students, early retirees, disability, unemployment, and informal/black market workers.

The US definition of unemployemnt have always bugered me. You stop beeing unemployed when you give up and stop looking? That gotta mess up statistics!

That is precisely why it is done.

The current system came about in 1982, for political reasons. (The CPI was also changed in a similar fashion the same year.)

So what does one get when one uses the long-term average of the past 30 or so years which happens to be 65.8%? One gets an unemployment number that is 45% higher than the reported 8.1%, or 11.7%. That is what the real unemployment rate is assuming the US labor participation rate was realistic and not manipulated by the BLS cronies and the Bank of Spain assisted Arima-X-13 seasonal adjustment models.


Just saying... we need to look long and hard at what we are reading from our overlords. Just keep saying, "everything is fine" over and over, and if enough people come to believe it, maybe everything will be just fine.


...The unemployment rate fell largely because 368,000 people stopped looking for work.

So all we have to do to reduce the unemployment to zero is convince the other 12.5 million unemployed Americans to just quit looking as well. Problem solved!

We are going to have to go back to the labor force participation rates of earlier this century - a bit below 60%. We're getting there. More people need to be at home doing useful things there, fewer people need to not work outside of the home. It's a weird thing to say, but it's true. Unfortunately, companies now assume they don't need to pay enough for workers to support a family, so there are a lot of problems until labor organizes again.

Thankfully the sex divide is going away in the division of these types of labor. We don't need to recreate the 50's to get back to their labor rates. We will probably need more people living together, though.

Yeah, I think back 60 years, when I was a kid, almost all of the women in our neighborhood (lower middle class-upper working class) stayed at home. They weren't unemployed or discouraged job seekers. They were homemakers, and definitely not in the "labor force".

Who are the discouraged workers? Not the old or middle-aged. It's the young.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The drop in the unemployment rate in August isn't particularly good news for the economy -- it's driven mostly by nearly 400,000 people dropping out of the labor force, rather than more people finding jobs.

But those dropping out aren't so much the discouraged 30-, 40- or 50-year olds. In fact, the Labor Department said there was a modest decline in the overall number of discouraged job seekers.

The drop is because so many young adults, aged 16 to 24, are no longer looking for work.

Quick request for data (sorry I usually have time to look it up myself).

Dollar cost of Net crude oil + oil product imports for the USA in 2011 and projected for 2012.

Nearest billion $ (or even $10 billion for 2012) is fine.

I found some gross #s but not net. And we export slightly more oil products than we import.



'I knew it all along.. didn't I?'—Understanding hindsight bias

Roese and Vohs propose that there are three levels of hindsight bias that stack on top of each other, from basic memory processes up to higher-level inference and belief. The first level of hindsight bias, memory distortion, involves misremembering an earlier opinion or judgment ("I said it would happen"). The second level, inevitability, centers on our belief that the event was inevitable ("It had to happen"). And the third level, foreseeability, involves the belief that we personally could have foreseen the event ("I knew it would happen").

... Research shows that we selectively recall information that confirms what we know to be true and we try to create a narrative that makes sense out of the information we have. When this narrative is easy to generate, we interpret that to mean that the outcome must have been foreseeable. Furthermore, research suggests that we have a need for closure that motivates us to see the world as orderly and predictable and to do whatever we can to promote a positive view of ourselves.

also "I knew it!" Hindsight more likely to affect men

"Furthermore, research suggests that we have a need for closure that motivates us to see the world as orderly and predictable and to do whatever we can to promote a positive view of ourselves."

Interesting, though a minority accepts that the world isn't as orderly and predictable as we would like to believe, and incorporates that into their thinking and planning. Perhaps the combination of a majority who assume order and predictability, and the fact that this is a false assumption is what drives some of us to question the long term viability of an increasingly less resilient civilization.

Hoping for the best and planning for the best doesn't seem prudent these days. While I have a fairly positive view of myself, it isn't so much tied to a positive view of our collective prospects.

Don't know if anyone has seen this already, but this sounds like a potential game changer.
I often see posts here about how low the market share is for HEVs, and how replacing the entire fleet of ICE cars with hybrids would take decades. This kit appears to have the potential to radically change that, by allowing most existing ICE cars and light trucks to be inexpensively retrofitted as hybrids.

The Kit That Turns Any Car Into A Hybrid


Game changer, sorry but no. Very interesting technology but not a game changer for several reasons.

1) IF, it could be mass produced and did manage to double the efficiency of an ICE engine. You have the little problem of Jevon's Paradox. If my car now gets 40 MPG I can drive it twice as much. You still have to do oil changes, new tires, routine maintenance and the like, but now you are doing them more often since you are now driving further.

2) Cost- they were quoting $3000 price for the full system. Not going to happen, the new Li Iron Phosphate batteries are still too expensive and would cost about $3000 on their own. More real world cost for the system, 2 hub motors, 2 controllers and batteries, $8,000 - $10,000.

3) Basic Physics, it still takes the same amount of energy to power a vehicle down the road. So what you save in gasoline, you make up for in electricity costs. Plus added GHG emissions, since most power plants in the US are coal fired.

So sorry, but this still doesn't change the facts that the days of personal transportation are about over. This could be useful in a diesel/electric hybrid bus, or some other means of mass transit. I could add a 4 on the list, added costs to maintain roads and bridges from all the extra miles driven.

I probably should have been clearer on what I meant by "game changer". I meant it more in terms of getting the U.S. auto fleet converted from ICE to HEVs, not "global solution to overpopulation and resource depletion". You may be right, but it's still interesting and worth a look IMHO.

I would be more interested in a wheel hub kit to simplify a full EV conversion. Pull the engine/transaxle from an old, lightweight VW bug or Corvair, add a large battery pack and wheel hubs, toodle around.


Here is a link for an automotive wheel hub, it bolts to a buick 15" wheel. At 1300 rpm on a 15" wheel would give you a top end of 85 mph. Have fun. Their $800.


They have the controllers for them too.

Wow, Thanks! They other stuff I'm interested in as well. Bookmarked.

Worth reading as well

Having destroyed and ripped apart a 6kw hub motor (on my lithium evd.) Let me explain the weakness of these motors.

If you look closely you will see all the wiring going into the axle of the hub. At that point is where the wires melt together (on the cheaper chinese hub motors I worked with.) There is just no good way to cool the wires at that point. I melted my hall sensor wiring together at that point with 700 lbs (bike and 2 riders) going up hill at 40mph in 80F weather. Its a fairly easy fix. One must disasemble the motor and replace the wiring with something much higher rated (insulation) than what is there. But ultimately (unless you shut down the motor when it gets hot) it may happen again and again.

I would love to get hub motors it would simplify any conversion but it looks like they all have this weekness. However, Jack R is getting a set from Chry for a smartcar conversion. So perhaps we will see better quality at work and the problem will be solved.

The above motor looks like the one that a place here in Ann arbor uses for their scooter. They replace the hall sensor wires with high temp ones before they even put it on the bike. That takes care of the problem but their bikes are 700lbs with 2 riders and the bike itself. Not 2000 lbs.

There is no reason aside from cooling that a hub motor wouldnt work in your application as long as you understand its failure mode and its for a light weight car. Acceleration however will be marginal with 2 of them now if you did 4...

But ultimately a mars or D&D even would work for light weight cars and an altrex controller. But it really depends on your application.

1) IF, it could be mass produced and did manage to double the efficiency of an ICE engine. You have the little problem of Jevon's Paradox. If my car now gets 40 MPG I can drive it twice as much. You still have to do oil changes, new tires, routine maintenance and the like, but now you are doing them more often since you are now driving further.

I just don't buy that. People don't drive extra miles just to use up their travel budget if they switch to a car that gets better fuel mileage.

Maybe not everyone...but for a lot of people, the cost of gasoline limits their travels.

But how large is overall effect, the total Vehicle Miles Travelled for 2011 look pretty high.

I honestly haven't a clue. For me, the price of gas is not really an issue. I have a small, fuel-efficient car, and I don't drive much.

But I am seeing more people begging for gas money at the local gas station. Wal-Mart said a few years back that the cost of gas had had a major effect on their business (because they're typically out in the boonies, an expensive drive for their core customer). Various vacation surveys show the price of gas is a major factor on where people choose to go on vacation. When gas prices go down, sales of gas-guzzlers go up.

Exactly. Why the automatic negativity? Sure, some people will drive more (Jevon's paradox in action), but others won't. And regardless, what's so awful about helping the U.S. (or other countries) convert to HEVs a little faster? It's no silver bullet, but what single solution ever is?

Yeah, this is where Jeavon's gets stretched past the breaking point.. and particularly the extrapolations about maintenance, where EV's have markedly fewer maintenance needs than ICE cars. The only Oil you'll be changing is probably the differential, if ever.

The increase in steam engine efficiency oft cited with Jevon's paradox wasn't just an improvement, it was a breakthrough. Throw in the Industrial Revolution as another variable and few situations are directly comparable.

Basic Physics, it still takes the same amount of energy to power a vehicle down the road.

Not true. Regenerative braking recovers some of the energy that would otherwise be dissipated as waste heat from braking, so that the hybrid requires less energy per mile.

Beyond which, ICE's throw away a great percentage of their available energy as waste-heat.. it's not 'the same amount of energy' at all.

Basic Physics, it still takes the same amount of energy to power a vehicle down the road. So what you save in gasoline, you make up for in electricity costs.

That ones wrong. You assume the same efficiency levels for two quite different ways of delivering torque to wheels is the same -and you assume the price per BTU is the same. Neither assumption holds. So if this kit is really cheap and easy to install, it would make a big diff. I really really doubt it is either.

Hybrids also save in a few other ways. They allow the engine to turn off at stops, and while coasting. While cruising in electric mode the ICE can be turned off, eliminating the internal friction of the engine (this is the big one for traditional hybrids). And regenerative braking.

The biggest part of the engine internal friction may be eliminated by future engines, that are designed to use only as many cyllinders as are needed at the moment. It might be that radical changes in engines, needed to meet the 54mpg CAFE standards could make hybrid uneconomic (i.e. with a really efficient engine, that can minimize engine braking the saving from the hybrid may not be large enough to justify the additional cost.

Enemy of state,

"That ones wrong. You assume the same efficiency levels for two quite different ways of delivering torque to wheels is the same -and you assume the price per BTU is the same."

Sorry one this one you are wrong and my original statement is correct. The amount of energy needed to propel a vehicle down the road is based on the mass of the vehicle, the wind resistance, and the rolling resistance of the tires. The biggest problem with modern vehicles is the mass of the vehicles, north of 2 tons, and the wind resistance. The wind resistance is based on the width of the vehicle x the height of the vehicle. On and average small passenger car weighing in at 3000 to 3500 lbs, that is 5' wide and 4' tall, you would need about 11Kh of electricity or 14Hp to maintain a constant 55 MPH. Be it gas, diesel, or EV, the math is the same. W=Fd. Work = Force over distance.

A couple of errors in your equations for energy to move a ground vehicle:

Rolling resistance is a linear function of speed, but the drive train of an ICE vehicle is part of that equation. Electric vehicles may have no drive train with motors mounted on stub axles, so they have inherently less rolling resistance.

Wind resistance is a cubic function of speed, but has the "shape factor" or coefficient of flow involved. So force to move a vehicle is more than just frontal area but also depends on shape and speed. If Electric vehicles have limited horsepower and lower speed they will likely use less energy per mile for this reason. Unless speed governors are put on ICE vehicles, the owners will almost always use the available horsepower to accelerate to speed faster and cruise at a higher speed. When was the last time you saw an SUV going 60 mph down a highway in the US west where speed limits are universally 75 mph?

The force required to move a vehicle is usually described as being comprised of 3 main terms, as first described for railroads as the Davis Equation. The aerodynamic term is a function of the velocity squared and the same applies to other vehicles, such as cars or aircraft. As a result, the power required is a function of the velocity cubed. However, fuel economy is proportional to the velocity squared. Leaving out various constants and the efficiency of conversion of the motor/engine:

Power == energy / time, as in Gallons / Hour for the motor, thus:

Gallons == Power x Time

Miles / Gallon ==  Velocity x Time / Velocity ^3 x Time

Thus, for the aerodynamic component:

MPG == 1 / Velocity^2

E. Swanson

Your comment misses the effects of body shape on aerodynamic drag. Some of the recent small car designs have sharply cutoff rear sections with high roof lines. This design has also become popular with many of the "cross over" designs as well. The result is a higher drag coefficient compared to longer cars with sloping rear sections. A recent example is the new Nissan Versa coup, which comes with a smaller 1600cc engine, while the older Versa hatchback has an 1800cc engine. The sedan is EPA rated at 30/38 mpg city/highway, while the hatchback with the larger engine is rated at 28/34 mpg. Both have 0-60 test times which are similar. Of course, the transmission option selected will influence things as well. It's just not as simple as you describe. Here's more:

Automobile drag coefficient

The Art Of Aerodynamics And The Automobile

Edit - Added another link:
Car Aerodynamics Have Stalled

E. Swanson

The basic problem of current cars is not mass, it is the decision to use a combustion engine! This decision converts for one unit of fossil energy that is used to propel the car at least two units of fossil energy into waste heat; mass is an additioinal issue, however, not the most important.

The mass of a car is of critical importance. There is no logical reason for a car that carries 1 person back and forth to work everyday to weigh in at 4000 lbs. A motorcycle or scooter that runs a gas engine but only weighs in at 150 to 400lbs can get 70 - 100 mpg. Ask yourself this question, if your vehicle ran out of gas and you had to push it to a station, would you rather push a motorcycle/scooter or a big SUV?

In response to: "Sorry one this one you are wrong and my original statement is correct. The amount of energy needed to propel a vehicle down the road is based on the mass of the vehicle, the wind resistance, and the rolling resistance of the tires."

Yes that is true, but you fail to account for efficiency and the fact that an internal combustion engine (ice) runs while the vehicle is stopped in traffic. The efficiency of a typical ice is around 20%, whereas the combined efficiency of an electric motor and its controller is around 80% during most driving. Some data: A bit under 3 years ago I converted a Suzuki Swift to electric. Over that time it has used on average 216 Wh/mile from the wall socket (including battery charger losses). With the ice the car's EPA rating was 32 mpg, but it typically got more like 40 mpg. According to the D.O.E. a gallon of gas is about 33.7 kWh worth of energy, so with the ice the car used about 843 Wh/mile, or 3.9 times as much energy as it does as an electric.

Top speed is about 90 mph, range is 75 miles for 1/2 highway 1/2 secondary road speeds, 0 to 60 mph in 16 seconds. Yes, I use an ice powered car for long trips, but those are rare, so easily 95% of my driving is in the ev, including regular trips with about 4500 ft elevation gain up into the mountains through a summit at about 9000 ft.

If I can get 30 vs: 20 mpg then my cost per mile given $4 gasoline goes from twenty cents to fifteen cents and I save a nickel a mile for my in town driving. If I drive 5000 miles a year in town I save $250 in fuel costs. But wait! I have to pay for the electricity to charge the batteries. Oh, and I have to amortize that three thousand plus dollars I paid for the kit. And I have to buy a $1500 replacement battery in five years.

So I'm paying $300 a year for battery replacement plus $300 a year to amortize the cost of the kit. I'm paying $100 a year in electricity cost.

Each year I'm spending $700 to save $250.

Obviously these assumptive numbers can be twiddled but it will be very hard to get the yearly expense to be less than the fully amortized cost of the kit.

And, by the way, since there are no standards for the configuration of the back brake hubs there will have to be hundreds of custom designed motor assemblies to fit all the different kinds of vehicles. The same manufacturer will change the back brake geometry one year to the next. That creates a stocking and manufacturing nightmare. I suppose there could be a JIT custom manufacturing process but it's hard to imagine it could be profitable at the price point they put forth - $3000.

It is highly unlikely that the car manufacturers will have any interest in standardizing so that an upstart like this can sell an expensive add on. That's money they want for themselves. Anyway, the whole point of the project is to create a product that can be retrofitted on existing gas and diesel cars. Seems like they will have to settle on a few popular models - and that will drive up the price of those models on the used car market if the product catches on.

The engineering idea is brilliant - too bad the economics don't work.

IMHO this dog won't hunt, even at $3000.

Yeah, asking folks to shell out a few bucks to cut their vehicle's carbon emissions is too much to ask, especially when they can DUMP THEM INTO THE ATMOSPHERE ESSENTIALLY FOR FREE.

Let's double the miles driven, assume rising costs for fuel over the life of the vehicle, throw in a small carbon tax for fun and redo the math.

Yeah, asking folks to shell out a few bucks to cut their vehicle's carbon emissions is too much to ask, especially when they can DUMP THEM INTO THE ATMOSPHERE ESSENTIALLY FOR FREE.

I'm not going to get into an argument with you about this. Just my opinion. If you want to redo the math then go ahead and post it. No need for sarcasm.

I think the final selling price of this will have to be nearly double what they are suggesting. And investing $5000 in a gadget for a vehicle that has 100,000 miles on it seems far too steep. The savings could triple and it still would be a marginal investment.

There's probably a niche market for this. I would think it would be a slam dunk for pizza delivery vehicles and courier cars that spend a lot of time in slow traffic. I just don't think it's going to be a mass selling thing and certainly not a "game changer." One thing it doesn't fix is that, unlike in a hybrid, the engine is always running. That wastes fuel. And it's dumping out CO2 all the time it sits at the stop light.

I may be wrong but I don't think it dumps energy back into the batteries during braking. It could be done I suppose by taking a derivative of the velocity and switching over to a generator mode when I brake.

I hope the idea sells well - it's, as I said before, a very elegant and clever idea. I'm not dumping on it. I drive 1000 miles a year so there's no way it would EVER make sense for me. My preferred way of saving is to only drive when I absolutely have to. I'd rather have a root canal than spend 200 hours a year in stop and go traffic.

I agree LJR. Unless the buyer is religious about carbon emissions, something that people may wish they had been in the future but are not today, it will take a positive economic model, one that pays off big time, today, to induce most to this product.

One of the underlying thesis of TOD has always been that the impact on the economy will be the end of oil, gas, and coal. Unless and until people see a difference today, or a profit in the near term, they are going to stay with BAU. Even those with good hearts and motives, like all of us.

Be patient, though, my friend. Need will overcome want... sometimes in ways not anticipated or desired. Where we are when we experience our individual epiphany about peak oil, AGW, or whatever, will often determine what and to what extent we are able to change, or even participate. Sunk costs make moving difficult; local infrastructure by way of transportation, power and availability of water, job location, type of work, family needs, medical transportation needs - all can transcend all else, forcing individuals into use of automobiles (and continuing to use old cars), remaining in place. Status quo has a power almost like a black hole... it can suck in everything and hold it in place without even being visible. BAU is just the quasar emitted by that force.


Not being sarcastic at all. Most people drive more than 5K miles/year, and don't pay nearly the full cycle costs for doing so.

As a person that has follow the EV biz for a while, this is just another dreamer. Hub motors are awesome and so is electrified drive.

But building a system with hub motors and batteries large enough to be relevant will cost MUCH more than $3000. The system is definitely buildable but it will be much more expensive and it will probably not be worth the cost.


Having build a couple of EV's in my life. The most efficient, and cheapest were small fully enclosed motorcycles/ bicycles, velo pods basically. With a small 1 hp motor and a single car battery we were getting 20 - 25 mph for over 50 miles and still had charge left. I know its not fast but by law, anything under 2 hp or 1000 watts is classified as a bike. No license needed, no inspection, nothing basically free transportation.

Texas raises speed limit to 85 mph on busy highway

I wonder how much gasoline the US would consume if all the US went to this higher speed limit. I guess when the cliff is ahead some will step on the accelerator rather than the brake.

Are we seeing a manic fling?



If any of you have ever had to drive across Texas before, you would understand why this is actually a good thing, not a bad thing. ;-)
I wish California would do the same thing for the I-5 between L.A. & S.F.

As far as fuel economy goes, I think it's useful to point out that optimum fuel efficiency does not always necessarily = lower speeds. Some German cars (Autobahn has no speed limit) are designed so that they reach optimum efficiency at higher speeds than in the U.S.

As far as fuel economy goes, I think it's useful to point out that optimum fuel efficiency does not always necessarily = lower speeds."

Yeah, but it usually does. Simple physics. I've driven across TX several times, and the only reason I was in a hurry was to avoid being run over.

I've driven across TX several times, and the only reason I was in a hurry was to avoid being run over.

The main reason I was in a hurry was to get the hell out of TX. ;-)

I lived there for a couple of years, but I didn't like the climate, I didn't like the topography (or rather the lack of topography), and I never quite fit in socially. Texas just isn't my kind of place.

But hey, that's just me.

I wish California would do the same thing for the I-5 between L.A. & S.F

Well, lots of people already do 80. If we raised the limit to 85 people would probably go 100!

And they would do this right through the tule fog, so instead of 30-car pile-ups we would have 50-car pile-ups.

And they would do this right through the tule fog, so instead of 30-car pile-ups we would have 50-car pile-ups.

Which would reduce the number of cars, ergo... win-win! You get faster commute times between LA & SF *and* fewer people clogging the roads. What could be better??

Having lived in Fresno through the 90s, I remember several 100+ pileups in the fog, and at least one 500 car pileup. It happens every year, like clockwork. It's as if the annual tule fog takes them by surprise, or something.

"Like, wow, didn't see that coming!"

This is one reason I have to chuckle whenever I hear someone touting the genius of our species.

Actually, we have the technology -infrared cameras, to see through this stuff now. We just gotta wait until it gets cheap enough to become ubiquitous.

We have this in Sweden too. Every year when the first snow falls, busses and trains get delayed or canceled like madly. And every year we ask the same question "how hard was this to predict"?

Regarding the post upthread about that we tend to re-shape the past so we can say we knew the present would happen, I say NOW this will happen the upcoming winter. Bookmark my post!

Pileup size probably wouldn't go from 30-50. More like 500! This would be a big win for the environment. Reducing the population by a substantial percentage!

First, cars are pretty safe these days. Not sure about 100 mph crashes, but most people would probably survive.

But really, we need to do a lot better than that to put a dent in population growth. Like 200,000 people each day. That's a lot of crashes!

In a 80 Km/h head on crash with a tree, you die in a modern safe car with all the safety gizmos even if you sit in the back seat.

But then, I survived a 100 Km/h crash, but that was special conditions, and not head on to a fixed target.

In modern cars the safety systems will over ride the driver if the car is racing into an obstacle at high speed. Not all cases are covered but most of the times it works. A car has two radar systems in front, a short range and a long range radar, besides these there's stereo camera as well. Algorithms detect and apply brakes in milliseconds.

Safety systems override the driver if car racing into an obstacle at high speed? By Golly, just what our planet needs.
Let's go buy one- and hurry up about it!

Pileups improve GDP as well. Seems like a plan...

HARM – Actually not that big a deal: our new Texas Autobahn is only 41 miles long. So driving the new speed limit saves 8 minutes…at the cost of the toll fee. OTOH the short trip won’t burn up much extra fuel either.

But, optimal efficiency is usually closer to 40mph, not 80. besides people usually spped so a limit of 85 means an average speed of what 95 or 100? You might save a bit on internal loses at higher speeds (using a higher gear for instance), but air drag goes as velocity cubed (suared per unit distance), so its very hard to make up for this factor.

Sorry HARM, but you are wrong on this one. At U of Missouri our automotive design class studied this very concept of optimal speed. As I stated in an above thread the energy required to move a vehicle depends partially on the wind resistance which is a factor of the speed cubed (V x V x V). The efficiency of the ICE depends on max torque at a given horse power and the engine will try to deliver whatever horsepower is required to maintain a speed designated by the driver.

Because speeds above 50 mph make the wind resistance function the dominant factor in the overall force or energy consumption equation, higher speed much above 50 will ALWAYS mean greater energy consumption. A few cars may get best milage at 55 or even 60, but I would like to see hard evidence that any car will get best fuel economy at 80 mph versus 55 or 60. The physics prove these claims to be false.

I drive the New York State Thruway every work day, and I'd estimate a third to a half of the drivers already do 80 to 85 mph, with a posted speed limit of 65 mph. I think many drivers look at the posted speed limit as a "suggested" speed. Sort of like the "suggested" donation you're expected to make at the Easter Egg Museum or some other venue.....

Perhaps it's a population control gambit, next they will relax the limit for blood alcohol while driving...

Interestingly enough some countries in Europe are actually increasing speed limits..... beats me....


By federal regulation (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) speed limits are set at the 85th percentile of driver speeds. Believe it or not, 85 percent of drivers choose the proper speed (with respect to roadway design and characteristics) whether there is a speed limit or not. The only purpose of a speed limit sign is to advise a driver unfamiliar with the road what the appropriate speed is based on what the majority of drivers choose.

All the radar, patrols, exotic signs, etc., make no difference. You cannot impose unreasonable speeds with reasonable enforcement. In fact, I would argue that the 55 mph speed limit on freeways imposed during the 1970's made a generation of drivers less respectful of traffic signs in general, just as right turn on red led to an increase in pedestrian accidents due to drivers being told that "red" no longer really meant "stop" and thus turning without observing pedestrians in the crosswalks.

Judging from how much usage the toll road currently has, I'd say they raised the limit as a way of attracting more cars. That road is east of the I35 corridor and nobody I know ever uses it. Why? Well aside from the fact that paying to drive on a road when there exist a parallel one for no charge, most people don't want to drive further to drive faster. I take the back roads whenever I can... calmer drive, nice scenery, very little difference in distance and time. I think they are desperate to increase the usage of these toll roads.

The contract has the toll road owner paying Texas DoH (DoT is a misnomer) a $65 million bonus for an 80 mph speed limit and a $100 million bonus for an 85 mph speed limit.

The result was pre-ordained.

BTW, I would not buy stock in the toll road owning company.


Mount Fuji 'under more pressure than last eruption'

Pressure in the magma chamber of Japan's Mount Fuji is now higher than it was the last time the volcano erupted more than 300 years ago, scientists say, according to a report Thursday.

Tectonic shifts triggered by last year's huge 9.0 magnitude undersea quake have left the chamber under 16 times the minimum pressure at which an eruption can occur, researchers said.

Mount Fuji, an almost perfectly cone-shaped mountain that stands as one of Japan's national symbols, last erupted in 1707, after an earthquake struck and boosted the pressure on its magma chamber, the report said, citing researchers.

How exciting!

How bad was the 1707 eruption I wonder?

You got me curious. I found this on the 1707 eruption. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C5%8Dei_eruption_of_Mount_Fuji

Mostly a lot of ash, no lava.

Bury the radioactive material under volcanic ash?


It never ceases to amaze that while talking about big plans for renewables and new government incentives, the same government allows SEC rules that encourage artificially low nat gas prices that have done enormous damage to the same renewable energy industry that they purport to support

In the EU, we subsidize suger farmers, and now plan to put a tax on suger in food to combat the accelerating obesity. Not once have a politician brought up the obvious connection.

U.S. Attack on Iran Would Take Hundreds of Planes, Ships, and Missiles

There’s been a lot of loose talk and leaked tales about what an attack on Iran might ultimately entail. Anthony Cordesman, one of Washington’s best-connected defense analysts, has put together a remarkably detailed inventory of what it would take to strike Iran (.pdf), cataloging everything from the number of bombers required to the types of bombs they ought to carry. He analyzes both Israeli and American strikes, both nuclear and not. He examines possible Iranian counterattacks, and ways to neutralize them. It leads Cordesman to a two-fold conclusion: ...

A US attack on Iran would totally destabilise the Middle East, close the Straights of Hormuz, and ruin what is left of the world economy.

Then expect revolution and social meltdown in many many places.

"A US attack on Iran would totally destabilise the Middle East..."

But the Empire needs its perpetual war shock doctrine to survive. Oh my! What to do?

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Didn't we already cover this?

Yee Hah!!! Hit the accelerator. Full manic rush!


After all, what good is it to be an empire if you can't do empire-type stuff? And being an evil empire is even more fun! Right, Mr. Cheney?

I say nuke'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...

What, you want the terr'ists to win or sumpthin? Who's side you on anyway? U-S-A, U-S-A, I-S-R-A-E-L, I-S-R-A-E-L!!

What is the purpose of Iran's nuclear program? Its neither here nor there. Surely they could have made a bomb by now if they really wanted to. It looks to me that the real purpose has evolved into a way of shoring up internal support for the government. They are going to maintain the current situation for as long as they can, carefully avoiding giving America an excuse to attack them.

Iran hit peak oil in 1977. My guess is that the original purpose was just what it was advertised to be: a domestic nuclear reactor. However, they never got around to building the big fat transmission lines which would take the energy someplace useful. So now a nuclear reactor, ostensibly for domestic energy, is stranded. Repurposing was just too convenient. It just wasn't easy.

I agree, the thing has dragged on for years, to the point where an observer is led to conclude that whatever it was about at the beginning and in the middle, it's about internal Iranian affairs now.

And right out of the blue...

Canada closes embassy in Iran, expels Iranian diplomats

Nobody seems to know why the sole North American embassy in Tehran is being closed. Something brewing??

Zadok, Always found your posts interesting. Glad to see you're still here. Keen observation. Memo from Israel or Hillary?

Thanks. I check the Oil Drum every other day, but I've been slow to contribute lately. Been busier than usual.

Israel or Hillary? Hard to say, but it could be neither. Harper is pursuing a fairly hawkish foreign policy, one that is particularly supportive of Israel. Iran is accusing the Canadian government of being under Zionist influence. They're not far off the mark.

The worry, of course, is that this may be signalling something bigger. Last time Canada closed its embassy in Tehran it was to smuggle American embassy staff out of Iran during the hostage crisis. Harper talks the tough talk, but rhetoric aside, there is no apparent or obvious reason to close diplomatic channels. As Rocky says below, speculation is that we've got the word to get out. Why? That's anybody's guess.

I've looked at other countries that might be on any discreet warning list. UK closed their embassy in Iran last November. Germany still has an embassy, as do several European members of NATO. Now, if we see other European countries pulling out, it may be time to duck.

Current speculation is that the Canadian government has received intel of an upcoming preemptive strike against Iran by ...somebody... and is getting its embassy staff out before the balloon goes up. We'll see.

"Saudi Arabia May Become Oil Importer by 2030"

Citigroup analysts report the above item. Will this be picked up by the major news outlets? If not you have to wonder what exactly it would take to get their attention.

Nope -Yergin, Heritage Foundation, and now even Monbiot all say we are "awash in enough oil to fry us all". This goes against the party line, so it will be summarily dismissed.

I must get on with my novel, events are catching up.

Must be a dystopian novel, eh?


Uppsala professor Kjell Aleklett writes in his blog today about the subject. Like me he belives KSA will never stop runing out of oil exports; they have nothing else to export. Besides tourism around Mecca and Medina, they got only sand. KSA will always set aside a fraction of their oil for export. Don't expect them to stop exporting for a very long time.

He also writes in the blog that global oil exports in 2030 will be at least halved by then compared to 2005.

Designer creates solar powered oven to cheaply freshen salt water

Designer Gabriele Diamanti has created a solar oven he calls the Eliodomestico (household-sun); its purpose is to boil saltwater to produce clean drinking water for people in places where such water is difficult or impossible to obtain. What's unique about the Eliodomestico is that it's been designed in such a way as to be easily built by local people, rather than elsewhere and shipped in. This way, the profits from making and selling the oven remain local.

The whole concept is open-source which means anyone, anywhere that wishes to make one of his ovens is free to do so without having to pay for licensing.

From yesterday, the headline story in the older of the two local dailies:

Unemployment hell

Several qualified young persons have expressed the same frustration, many to the point of depression and hopelessness. Each year, more and more youths are leaving school with no jobs to turn to.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica has revealed that for the first quarter of the year, the overall unemployment rate was at 14.3 per cent, compared to 12.3 per cent last year and 12.4 per cent in 2010.

However, when broken down by age, the youth had the highest unemployment rate. Among the age group 20-24, the figure was 31.4 per cent, compared to 25.2 per cent last year and 29.8 per cent in 2010. Among the age group 25-34, the figure was 16.2 per cent, compared to 13.2 last year and the year before.

"They are selling an idea that is not real because they are telling us to go out and get ourselves qualified and educated and yet after we've done it, we still can't secure a job. So I think they need to do research into what jobs are available before they sell a wholesale package to the youth," said Kanika, who also has friends in a similar position.

Her higher education began with a first degree in international relations and political science and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of the West Indies. She later went to Norman Manley Law School to practise law and worked for two and a half years before heading overseas for her master's.

Returning to Jamaica in 2009 highly qualified, full of confidence and hope, she was prepared to make her mark in her area of expertise.

With all the talk about job creation etc. both locally and in other places across the globe I decided that I would once again try and push the Peak Oil meme as a possible approach to analysing the unemployment problem. I submitted the following comment.

Lots of unemployment in most areas outside the energy and food industries is exactly the kind of scenario that has been predicted by proponents of the belief that world oil production will stagnate and start to decline in the near term. There have been studies done outlining the challenges we will face if world oil production does not grow such as the US DOE commissioned "Hirsch Report" of 2005 and a 112 page study produced in 2010 by the German military's "Bundeswehr Transformation Centre, Future Analysis Branch".

One conclusion is that people all over the world will face increasing challenges as entire sectors of the global economy that, are dependent of economic growth and activity fuelled by cheap transportation fuels, start to decline. For example, it has been said that there is estimated 30% over-capacity in car making in Europe putting about half a million jobs at risk if this overcapacity is to be corrected.

Peak Oil, coming soon to a location near you! We ignore the prospect of a near term peak in world oil production at our peril.

Lo and behold, my comment got published! It shows up ninth from the bottom of the 111 comments sorted in order of popularity (number of "likes") at the time of this post. I'm just surprised that a comment containing the line Peak Oil, coming soon to a location near you! actually got published. I just hope that my comment will open a tiny wedge of awareness in at least some of the people who might read it.

Alan from the islands

People hate to hear it Alan.

Promise resurrection and life after death and they'll follow you to the ends of the earth though.

I gotta give you an "Amen!" on that brother. ;-)

rev. karl

I cannot understand this obsession with universal college education. How many jobs actually require 3+ years of intensive post-secondary education? A significant number, but still only a minority of jobs. Of course the main idea behind getting your bachelors or graduate degree is for the prestige, to increase your social status. When too many do it, especially in times of economic contraction, it becomes a tournament with too many applicants competing for too few jobs. Its going to take a while for people to realize this.

It has always been a tournament. College is more about social status than training, and always has been. It's been used to demand more money, but employers are starting to figure out that they can treat college grads the way they used to treat high school grads and so we're getting a mad scramble as the ladder into higher social classes is pulled up.

Training, especially on the job, used to be a very big thing. Journalism existed without journalism degrees - the guy who worked the mail room but showed potential would move into the news room. Much of the training still must take place on the job, even with a degree, but you can use a degree to weed out potential employees. At this point, most companies have too many rather than too few applicants, so...

Adam – What you say is especially true in the oil patch. Very few geologists coming out with a master’s degree have little more than the basic knowledge to begin OTJ. I was very much the exception having focused of sedimentary processes as an undergrad and doing a petroleum geology thesis in grad school. But even with that background I still needed years of OTJ training to be of much practical use.

When I started (1975) almost all the future petgeos were hired by the majors that essentially required a master’s degree. A master’s degree in volcanology didn’t prepare you to hunt for O&G. The degree requirement was essentially a culling process. If you made it through grad school it gave a hint that you were more trainable and a tad more mature. Not always the case, of course.

It becomes a marker. "I got through college, I am a worthy person, he did not, so he is less worthy, hire me!". Now the marker may be for good old fashioned good breeding (coming from a family with money & connections), or social status or whatever -but if that's what employers want, that's what you gotta get.

US education was designed to teach the basics needed for citizenship in grades one through eight (reading, writing, geography, civics, history), with high school for more intellectual matter (American and English Lit, Latin, Chemistry). My dad, born in 1899, went to Big Pasture high school in southern Oklahoma and graduated with two years of German. His twin sister went right into teaching grade school with her high-school diploma.

Continental education still gives the basics (O level) to sixteen-year-olds, with seventeen- to eighteen- year-olds going on for A levels, the equivalent of two years of US college. US education after WW2 sent returning soldiers to college, expanding the middle-class and giving more people access to prestige schooling.

Now, I fear, the high-schools are holding pens to keep young people off the streets, and colleges are inefficient trade schools. We've lost sight of what education is about -- citizenship and understanding the world we live in.

I teach at a community college and I can't remember the last time I heard *anyone* even use the word "citizen." As people here know, it's all about consuming/consumers. An amazing shift in one lifetime. I heard it a LOT in grade school in the 60's.

- rev karl

Destroyed coastal habitats produce significant greenhouse gas

Destruction of coastal habitats may release as much as 1 billion tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere each year, 10 times higher than previously reported, according to a new Duke led study.

"On the high end of our estimates, emissions are almost as much as the carbon dioxide emissions produced by the world's fifth-largest emitter, Japan," ... "This means we have previously ignored a source of greenhouse gas emissions that could rival the emissions of many developed nations."

Interesting in a tangental sorta way ...

Mathematicians offer unified theory of dark matter, dark energy, altering Einstein field equations

Seems gravity may have both positive and negative qualities ... [anti-gravity?]

from arxiv ... Gravitational Field Equations and Theory of Dark Energy and Dark Matter (pdf)

Seems gravity may have both positive and negative qualities ... [anti-gravity?]

Woohoo! Flying cars, at last!

Wait! Wait! Mania springs eternal... why not flying cars that produce energy? Yee hah!!


Jetsons, here we come!

I didn't think that was gravity. But in any case, these new forces/effects only become significant on scales of tens of thousand of light years (for Dark Matter equivalents, and tens of millions of light years for Dark Energy equivalents). So build a machine that large and start harvesting the universes gift of a free lunch!

The equations simply speak of "r", not any particular range of r.

Energy compression, storage, and switching is a human pursuit: Think bow-and-arrow.

The last line is fun:
"Therefore, there is no real vacuum in the universe."

--We don't even know what space is.--

Couple of interesting numbers in the PDF:

Mass of a typical galaxy:
10^11 (100,000,000,000) suns -or-
2 x 10^41 kg (4.4 x 10^41 pounds)
10^41 is ten thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion in American terms.

Radius of a typical galaxy:
10^18 km or 2.2 x 10^18 miles... the diameter would be twice that:
4.4 trillion trillion miles across.

A flight through the Sloan Digital Sky Survey... through the universe...
Most of the "stars" seen beyond our galaxy are other galaxies.
It's a snow-storm of galaxies.
--> very beautiful

Galaxy formation along the bubble-like nonuniformities after the rapid expansion of an early universe:
--> Why the galaxies seem to lay along strands.

Beautiful sky

Azerbaijan oil exports fell 8 percent in the first seven months of the year while production fell 6.3 percent.

Azerbaijan’s Oil, Gas Exports Fall in First Seven Months of Year

The Caspian Sea nation shipped 19 million metric tons of crude, a decline of 8 percent from a year earlier, the State Statistics Committee said in an e-mailed statement. Gas exports dropped 17 percent to 3.27 billion cubic meters.
Azerbaijan pumped 25.9 million tons of oil in the period, a decline of 6.3 percent from a year earlier, the statistics committee said yesterday.

That works out to be 989 kb/d for the first seven months in 2011 and 926 kb/d for the first seven months in 2012.

Ron P.

I would offer this as an example of the fundamental changes that are taking place in North American oil markets:

Flood of Pacific oil exports leaves West Coast refinery thirsty for crude

A wave of Alberta crude oil is washing up on British Columbia shores, destined for export. But the sole refinery on Canada’s West Coast is finding it so difficult to secure domestic oil that it is considering, instead, buying it from as far away as Saudi Arabia.

Chevron Canada operates a refinery in British Columbia, just a couple of kilometres away from a pipeline that carries crude from Alberta’s surging oil sands to Pacific waters. But as Canada’s energy industry pushes for massive expansion of that pipeline to take more Alberta crude to the West Coast in the chase for higher oil prices abroad, Chevron is scrambling to obtain enough domestic oil to fill its refinery.

Chevron's problem is that, while Canadian oil production is slowly but steadily rising, and Alberta oil is now trading at well below world prices, the pipeline to the West Coast is overloaded, and Chevron is having to compete with offshore buyers who are willing to pay much more than Chevron is. Chevron doesn't own much of the oil, so it has to buy it from other oil companies who are not disposed to give Chevron much of a break on prices.

Offshore and West Coast American refineries have been running sample batches of this heavy Canadian oil to see how it refines, and they have decided they like the oil, or more accurately the price, so they are rapidly increasing their demand.

Those early tanker shipments are part of a process: before Californian or Asian refineries take large volumes of Canadian crude, they start with small amounts, running them through their sophisticated machinery to assess performance. If they are happy, they can then sign on to the much bigger quantities of oil that will move west if pipelines like Northern Gateway, and an expanded Trans Mountain, are built.

It’s clear that process has begun, Mr. Fekete said: “There’s definitely crude oil that’s moving to Asia from B.C. these days.”

There are thus two oil markets in North America - one for mid-continental oil refiners who have access to landlocked Alberta and North Dakota oil, and another for coastal refiners who are forced to buy much more expensive OPEC or other seaborne oils. The former are making big profits, and the latter are losing money and shutting down refineries.

Chevron Canada's main competitors - Royal Dutch Shell, Imperial Oil (Exxon), and Suncor Energy (PetroCanada) - all have big refineries and oil sands operations in Alberta and could probably put Chevron out of business any time they wanted to by slashing prices. However they find it more useful to allow Chevron to keep limping along while they make huge profits on the West Coast selling fuel at the same price that Chevron has to charge to break even.

Chevron is appealing to the Canadian government to give it priority access to the pipeline, but it has the fundamental problem that it is not a Canadian company, whereas many of the companies competing with it for pipeline space are Canadian owned.

What do you think about all the cold fusion claims coming out, like the Rossi E-Cat or Bourillium energy LENR hydrogen-4 decay? It seems bogus to me, and even if there is something to it, it would release its energy as helium plus one neutron, and the neutrons are highly damaging, which is the main problem with ITER. We can probably expect more such fraudulent claims as the energy crisis intensifies.

The New Energy Times web site has followed Rossi's dubious claims for a couple years now. It has extensive analyses of Rossi's public demonstrations, along with explanations of the flawed methodology in his experiments that give the appearance of generating excess heat energy. Quick summary: your suspicions are correct, it's bogus. Members of the Church of Free Energy (TM) will be easily convinced by any of Rossi's 2 minute YouTube videos. It takes considerable more time to read through 200 pages of technical scientific papers by engineers and physicists who have examined Rossi's experiments, claims, and devices, to understand why his demonstrations do not hold up under scrutiny:


New Energy Times also has descriptions of several popular LENR theories. AFAIK, all the LENR "theories" are currently hypotheses that are still in need of experimental confirmation and peer review, versus an established scientific theory that is widely accepted as true by experts in the field, such as the big bang theory or plate tectonics. Happy reading!

PS: There is no shortage of such fraudulent claims. Many people have made it a hobby. Pure Energy Systems News (pesn.com), for example, caters specifically to the Church of Free Energy members. Bring your own tin foil hat.

Thanks! Very helpful. What do you think about some of the other cold fusion forms? Any more debunking?

Personally, I don't bother to chase down every claim of cold fusion. If and when one of the cold fusion experiments is reproduced and verified via peer review among independent labs, it will be headline news around the world. Unfortunately, many past results, such as Fleischmann and Pons, have bypassed peer review via a press release to the media (like Rossi's e-cat), although later the results couldn't be duplicated, or the experiments were later found to have flaws. There has been a good deal of discussion within the scientific community as to how this has affected the credibility of science and scientists in general. After 23 years, the (fairly basic) Pons-Fleishmann experiments have yet to be reproduced. The well-publicized Mosier-Boss experiment conducted under SPAWAR has yet to be verified, and alternative explanations that do not involve LENR have called its conclusions into question.

As for cold fusion, the 3 most important questions are:

1. How is the Coulomb barrier is penetrated?
2. Where are the strong neutron emissions?
3. Where is the gamma or x-ray radiation?

Assuming cold fusion or LENR taking place, the changes in quantum states in the reactions, and release of energy, would be observed by some combination of items 2 and 3. While some LENR experiments have claimed to show evidence of 2 or 3, they appear to be anomalous, and have not been reproduced by scientists working independently to verify the results via peer review (as far as I know to date). The various LENR "theories" (hypotheses) to date need to be confirmed experimentally; some read more like magical handwaving and wishful thinking (e.g. hydrino), asserting that quantum particles behave in magical ways that have never been observed experimentally. It's helpful to read the critiques of the various LENR theories by credible physicists, when they can be found; usually one the questions #1-3 above pops up. It's actually a useful exercise into what is, and is not possible in nuclear and quantum physics (as observed and verified experimentally to date).

Try physicsforums.com or forums.randi.org for some of the better discussion/debunking of the science (or pseudoscience) of LENR/cold fusion. The Psiram (formerly esowatch) web site has several entries debunking older free energy scams, not necessarily cold fusion (e.g. Steorn, Joe Cell, Hydrino, CETI Patterson Power Cell, Magniwork):


Last November's cult movie "Thrive" recycled various free energy claims (with no credible independently verifiable proof), which are examined and debunked in a collection of blog entries here:


A physics professor who blogs as bobathon has debunked pseudoscientist Nassim Haramein's claims for a few years now:


Note: The movie "Thrive" and Nassim Haramein provide entertaining pop fiction, yet somehow manage to convince many well-intentioned by scientifically illiterate people that the free energy lunch box is already here, (just suppressed by conspiracies, or aliens, or the illuminati, or similar pop notions that refuse to die). Thus, I've included the last 2 debunking links to be thorough.

East Coast Wholesale Gasoline Price Spikes Upwards

Just when I thought we were safely past the end of the summer driving season, and the possibility of widespread gasoline supply bottlenecks and even shortages was temporarily gone, well, I may have been a bit premature in stating that, judging by the rapid price rise for gasoline along the East Coast today.

Well at least I have been saying the direction of gasoline prices is still generally upwards, as opposed to almost all energy 'experts' saying recently that prices would "fall rapidly" in the "coming weeks".

Low supplies in the East may be directly or indirectly related to the recent refinery explosion in Venezuela, where Venezuela has grabbed gasoline shipments otherwise intended for the US:

The temporary closure of Louisiana refineries due to Hurricane Isaac and a fire at Venezuela's 645,000 barrels-per-day Amuay refinery have also attracted gasoline and gasoline components from Europe.

9/5/12 REUTERS 10:50:50

Gasoline Rises as Refinery Outages Tighten Inventories
By Barbara Powell on September 07, 2012

Spot RBOB in New York jumped 12.12 cents to 35 cents over the October contract, the highest level in almost four years.


USAC gasoline cash differentials rally an average of 15 cents/gal on Isaac impact

Houston (Platts)--7Sep2012/1234 pm EDT/1634 GMT

Hurricane Isaac's push through Louisiana last week was felt in the New York Harbor gasoline market Friday, as cash differentials rallied an average of 15 cents/gal.

The biggest move was seen in the RBOB market, which was heard done at the NYMEX October RBOB contract plus 38 cents/gal compared to Platts Thursday's assessment at plus 17.75 cents/gal, a gain of 20.25 cents/gal.

The CBOB market was up 15 cents/gal, with done deals heard at October plus 30 cents/gal compared to Thursday's assessment at plus 15 cents/gal.


The spike in gasoline price might be caused by the U.S. dollar devaluing.

Rigs available for Nat Gas drilling?

It was only a few years ago that of the approx 2000 oil & gas drilling rigs less than 500 hundred were drilling for oil and greater than 1500 were drilling for gas. Due to the glut of Nat gas and resulting low Nat gas price, combined with the fracture shale oil plays, currently only 500 rigs are drilling for gas and the remainder are drilling for oil.

My question is, once the current Nat gas glut has been consumed and the bulk of the high decline rate gas wells are past their prime, where will the drilling rigs come from to maintain supply of Nat gas to satisfy the increased demand for Nat gas that has been created by the current give away prices? Either companies will happily stop drilling oil wells, but with $100 oil and seemingly unlimited shale wells to drill, that would be unlikely, or natural gas drillers will have to out bid the oil drillers for the rigs. The natural gas drillers will need to out bid the oil drillers for these rigs and fracing spreads. The real question is how high will the price of Nat gas need to go to out bid the oil drillers. Some how I believe Nat Gas will need to be considerable higher than today's price to make it all work.

Rockman may get his chance to get back to his beloved gas wells after all!

‘Mounting Evidence’ of Bug-Resistant Corn Seen by EPA

There’s “mounting evidence” that Monsanto Co. (MON) corn that’s genetically modified to control insects is losing its effectiveness in the Midwest, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

The EPA commented in response to questions about a scientific study last month that found western corn rootworms on two Illinois farms had developed resistance to insecticide produced by Monsanto’s corn. Rootworms affect corn’s ability to draw water and nutrients from the soil and were responsible for about $1 billion a year in damages and pesticide bills until seeds with built-in insecticide were developed a decade ago.

The unintended consequences of GMO! I was kind of under the impression, or was led to believe, that GMO was supposed to solve the insecticide resistance problem?

GMO's are the magic technological bullet that's supposed to fix everything, don't you know? We'll never have to actually have good farming practices every again! /sarc

This was obvious, and the techs and scientists that created this stuff almost certainly knew this was going to happen but were too busy chasing the industry bucks. I have no sympathy for this. Any farmer who didn't realize this was coming is also an idiot. The pool they're playing with (insect pests of corn) is very large and has short generations, so evolving resistance in the face of that sort of pressure was going to happen.

Any farmer who didn't realize this was coming is also an idiot.

Why blame the farmers?!

Reality check! There are Medical Doctors in this country who don't accept the Theory of Evolution because of their religious beliefs. Not to mention that there has been a concerted effort on the part of certain religious groups in the US to "Teach The Controversy" aka Intelligent Design in our educational system.


New research from Gallup conducted earlier this month found that 46 percent of Americans still embrace creationism, the notion that God directly created human beings in their present form at one point in the last 10,000 years. The numbers that extend beyond this are equally fascinating. While nearly half of the nation believes in the aforementioned view, an additional 32 percent maintain that humans evolved — but with God’s guidance. Taken in its collective, this means that 78 percent of Americans believe that God played a substantial role in mankind’s creation


The United States ranks 33rd among 34 other western industrialized countries. The only country included in the study where adults were more likely than Americans to reject evolution was Turkey.

So I don't blame farmers for this, however the scientists at Monsanto, that's another matter entirely, they should be tarred and feathered!

If they had invented a perfect bug resistant corn they would be out of a job. Planned obsolescence, keeps the economy going.

Life found a way!

(We might also, as long as we don't talk ourselves out of it.)

Hot Air About Cheap Natural Gas

By Amory B. Lovins & Jon Creyts

Would you build a buy-and-hold financial portfolio from only junk bonds and no Treasuries by considering only price, not also risk? Not for long. Yet those who say cheap natural gas is killing alternatives—solar, wind, nuclear—make the same error. In truth, they’re doing the math wrong: the gas isn’t really that cheap.

“Cheap gas” reflects only the bare spot price of the commodity without adding the value of its price volatility. Yet such competitors as efficiency and renewables have no fuel and hence no fuel-price volatility: once built, they’re as financially riskless as Treasuries. Of course, much gas is sold not at spot but on long-term contract, especially to its biggest user—electricity generators. But for other players, it’s vital not to become the patsy in the poker game: basic financial economics says asset comparisons must value and equalize risk.

Hat Tip: Climate Progress

Jeff Rubin from Leanan's openers above...

Why I Am Canadian for the Great Bear

Of course, we have to put refineries in environments that can best handle them and not in areas that can’t. The recent proposal to build a refinery in Kitimat is an example of building one in the wrong place. It would bring the risk of both pipeline ruptures and tanker spills to the extraordinary environment and rich ecosystems of the Great Bear Rainforest. But surely refinery capacity can be built in other regions that make more environmental sense.

The export of raw bitumen is simply not in Canada’s long-term economic interests. And regardless of the economics, the Great Bear is no place for oil pipelines, oil refineries, or oil tanker traffic. That’s why I’m supporting Coastal First Nations and WWF as they say “No” to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and I will be supporting their efforts to secure a more sustainable future for the Great Bear region.

NDP leader considers Northern Gateway pipeline dead

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says he supports the idea of refining Alberta's oil in Canada instead of shipping crude to Kitimat, B.C., and then on to Asia, as would be the case with Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project — which he calls a "non-starter."

In an interview that aired Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, the leader of the Official Opposition told guest host Chris Hall he supports the overall idea "of adding the value in Canada, developing, upgrading, processing, refining our own natural resources here."

Canadians, Albertans among them, may start to realize that what Harper and his Cons have planned isn't in Canada's best interest. Perhaps...

There is still that climate change thingy, though. Let's see zero emissions by 2040 to stay below the threshold of "dangerous" climate change doesn't leave much time to amortize tar sands development costs.

aws – This may sound a tad harsh at first but bear with me. “…we have to put refineries in environments that can best handle them and not in areas that can’t.” Best for whom? Granted the wildlife is the area might not care for the refinery in their hood. But I live in Baytown, Texas across the highway from one of the largest refineries in this hemisphere. Many thousands of folks, including children, pregnant women and the elderly live in the area. Is it better for the refinery to be located here or in some unpopulated area?

Granted you may not care for any refinery to be built but we both know you won’t get your wish. So you pick: put it in a populated location or out in the boonies? The refinery will be built so you have to pick. Maybe there’s a less valuable or sensitive rural area for the refinery to be built but how do you measure that? Of course, this is the basic NIMBY situation. But how do you decide which backyard you build in? So again, pick what spot you would build a refinery: in the boonies outside of Vancouver.

The existing Chevron oil refinery in Vancouver is in one of the most densely populated cities in North America. Vancouver has a metropolitan population of over 2 million and is crammed between the ocean and the mountains, so it has very little room to expand - it has to go up rather than out. Land is very, very expensive.

The Port of Vancouver is the busiest port on the West Coast of both North and South America and is very congested. The supertankers coming into the terminals in Vancouver have to cope with a lot of ship traffic, barely fit under the bridges, and barely clear the bottom of the channels.

OTOH, Kitimat is a company town planned and built by the Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) during the 1950s to provide worker housing for a big aluminum refinery there. It is located about 400 miles north of Vancouver if you fly, but takes about 20 hours to drive given the state of the roads. It has a population of about 8,000, which has fallen 7% over the last 5 years as the aluminum industry has fallen on hard times.

It is located in one of the few wide, flat valleys on the coast of British Columbia and is one of the few locations on Canada's Pacific coast that has substantial room for growth. The Port of Kitimat has no bridges over the harbor, is much less congested, and has much deeper and wider channels than Vancouver. It also happens to be one of the very few privately-owned ports in North America.

And that in a nutshell is why companies want to put their oil facilities in Kitimat (the same reasons the aluminum company put its port facilities there). They are already exporting increasing amounts of oil out of Vancouver to the US and Asia, but one would think that Kitimat would be a less hazardous port to export oil out of. An oil spill would certainly affect fewer people, although probably more bears.

Rocky – Easy to understand why most wouldn't want a refinery built in their backyard (or any other backyard they few some kinship towards. I’m one of those rare birds that isn’t upset to see a refinery. Especially at night sine they remind me of Christmas lights. Of course, given the choice of overlooking snow capped mountains and green pasture lands I would go that way anytime. But, living in the Houston area I don’t have that option. And I’m sure the thousands of local refinery workers making 50% more than the average Texas worker doesn’t have much of a problem with the view. OTOH if you don’t work in a refinery and don’t care where you get you motor fuel or how much it costs then why would you support such a development. If I lived in the planned area and didn’t have a vested interest I would certainly be opposed to it. But that’s just letting my self interest rule me. And that’s just human nature.

Hi Seattle folken:
Our run of good weather continues and the sailors invite you to stop by our booth at the Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair tomorrow in Wallingford. We're also part of the Jefferson County Farm Tour next Saturday, 12-4 @ Port Ludlow docks, sailing up some fine Link Lab Artisan sausages and other goods, and sailing back loot for the CSA.

Celebrate harvest season at our 25th annual urban farm festival!

Participate in this fun, lively hands-on community festival with workshops, cooking demonstrations and fun activities for all ages. Eat tasty food and enjoy live music with friends and family. Harvest season is a time to celebrate! The fair helps kick off Tilth Producers' Washington Organics Week.

Bring your friends and family for the seed swap, cider pressing and DIY herb crowns. The kids can participate in crafts in the children's garden, take part in the parade at noon (arrive by 11 a.m.) and see a puppet show. Bring your home made goods for Backyard Barter's barter 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Does Salish Sea Trading Cooperative have T-shirts? That would be a really cool shirt...

"Salish Sea Trading Cooperative, a Ballard non-profit, relies on wind and tide to transport locally produced goods around Puget Sound by sailboat"

Seriously cool

My grandfather arrived here in the NW on a 4 master in the early 1900's and conducted trade under sail in the waters of the Salish Sea.
I am the son of a son of a sailor .

Shell to start drilling surface hole this weekend in the Chukchi

After connecting the Noble Discoverer drillship to anchors at Shell Oil’s Burger Prospect on Friday, the company is set to begin boring an 8.5-inch-wide pilot hole that will extend roughly 1,400 feet below the seabed, creating the foundation for the oil well to come and ensuring no physical obstructions or hidden gas pockets are in the way.

Shell then plans to excavate a 20-foot by 40-foot mud cellar to hold emergency equipment called a blowout preventer that is a last defense against unexpected surges of oil and gas from the well. Although blowout preventers generally rest above the sea floor, the location of Shell’s below the seabed is designed to keep it clear of any large ice floes.

After drilling the pilot hole and excavating the mud cellar, Shell will drill a wider hole to about 1,400 feet, set and cement surface casing, and install the BOP. No deeper drilling until the Arctic Challenger is tested and approved, and arrives on scene.

Federal regulators are barring the company from drilling into oil- and gas-bearing zones until a critical oil spill containment system is on site. And for now, that containment barge, the Arctic Challenger, is still in Washington state, where it has been undergoing retrofits and is ready for trials.

“Testing on the first-ever Arctic containment system is planned for this weekend,” said Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh.

Beaufort drilling is WOW (Waiting on Whales).

'Iran Oil Exports Fall, Embassy Shut'


International sanctions helped drive down Iran's oil exports nearly 45% in July, a new report showed, while Canada said on Friday it had closed its embassy in Tehran and would expel all Iranian diplomats in Canada.

There's a chart showing Iran's oil exports for July down to 940,000 bpd.

This article is 3 days old, but I wonder about the details.

"BP has announced it is introducing new technology which will significantly boost the amount of oil it can extract."

Basically, they are going to partially desalinize sea water before flooding the reservoir (North Sea). They seem to be claiming an increase in percentage extracted from 10% (no intervention) to 33%. I was wondering if there is good data for how much difference using fresh water or mildly saline water makes over using straight sea water in flooding. Obviously, BP figures it's worth the cost of doing this, but I wonder if the value of good publicity helped tip the decision.

Interesting. I wonder how much energy it takes to desalinate the water?

I had no idea that freshwater was better than seawater for water injection.