Drumbeat: October 6, 2012

Saudi Arabia to Lead $740 Billion Oil Spending Through 2017

Oil producers in the Middle East and North Africa plan to invest $740 billion on energy projects in the next five years, led by Saudi Arabia, according to Arab Petroleum Investments Corp.

High oil prices will allow them to resume projects that were delayed at the height of the financial crisis, the inter-governmental energy lender said.

Kingdom assures world of oil flow

Ankara—Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi stressed that Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have been ensuring a steady supply of oil to global markets at reasonable prices besides expressing their willingness to meet additional energy demand.

“In the first quarter of 2012, high price levels prompted the Kingdom to launch its own initiative to help calm fears about oil supplies and work with others to restore the oil prices to reasonable levels,” Al-Naimi said while speaking at the fifth International Energy Conference in the Turkish capital Ankara.

“However, the fears have not completely been allayed, and I repeat here today that there is no shortage of oil supplies. Its stocks remain high, and we can meet any additional demand on oil,” Al-Naimi said.

Oil Caps Third Weekly Drop on Supply

Oil capped a third weekly drop in New York as signals that supply is exceeding demand outweighed an unexpected decline in the unemployment rate.

Futures completed the longest run of weekly decreases since June after the Energy Department reported Oct. 3 that U.S. crude output rose to 6.52 million barrels a day last week, the most since December 1996. Prices pared their descent earlier when government data showed the U.S. added 114,000 jobs last month as the jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent.

Saudi Arabia Boosts Supertanker Charters to U.S. Gulf of Mexico

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest state-owned crude producer, increased the number of supertankers it hired to haul oil to the U.S.

The company chartered at least seven very large crude carriers to load a total of about 14 million barrels in October, compared with about four a month so far this year, according to data from Athens-based Optima Shipbrokers Ltd. Brokers report tanker bookings when the deals are provisional and charters are then sometimes canceled.

'Insane' jump in California gas prices starts to ease

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES -- An unprecedented spike in California gasoline prices showed signs of easing on Friday, with some supply-stricken service stations preparing to reopen and retail rates poised to ease after topping $5 a gallon in many places.

This week's abrupt price spike blindsided the state's car-loving consumers and left some retailers in Los Angeles scrambling for supply, causing wholesale prices to surge and driving up pump prices by an average of 36 cents a gallon.

Calif. gas prices equal all-time high

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The price of gasoline equaled the all-time average high in California of $4.61 a gallon Saturday, fueled by a reduced supply and a volatile market.

Prices throughout the state were expected to increase for several more days before leveling off, after a temporary reduction in supply triggered a price spike that saw fuming motorists paying $5 or more per gallon in some locations and station owners shutting down pumps in others.

Despite problems, local stations say they still have gas

The gasoline shortage driving up prices all over California is also forcing some independent gas station operators to shut down their pumps or pay inordinately high prices for wholesale gas.

But in Santa Maria, most gas station operators say they’re not having a problem getting gasoline, even though some distributors are rationing allocations.

IMF chief praises Gulf effort on oil price management

RIYADH (Reuters) - IMF chief Christine Lagarde praised Gulf oil exporters on Saturday for their help in stabilising the global economy by managing oil prices, despite complaints by some Western countries that energy costs are still too high.

"It gives me an opportunity to thank the GCC countries for their ... stabilising role in the global economy because of the good monitoring and good management of oil prices ..." the International Monetary Fund's managing director said.

IMF chief predicts sustainable, but reduced growth in Gulf states

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- The head of the International Monetary Fund has predicted that the economies of the oil-rich countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council will grow at sustainable but reduced rates.

Petrobras sweetens pay raise offer, will likely avert strike

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras on Friday sweetened a pay increase offer to thousands of workers, which will likely help the company avert a strike.

Russia's Rosneft to invest $18 billion in old refineries, says report

MOSCOW: Russia's state oil company Rosneft plans to spend $18 billion on its refinery infrastructure over the next three years, a report said Saturday after the company's chief met with investors.

The oil company unveiled a $25 billion programme to modernise its Soviet-era refineries, Interfax news agency reported, quoting data given by Rosneft president Igor Sechin to investors in London.

Afghanistan reels from Exxon blow

With foreign aid set to decline and Nato forces soon to withdraw, what hope there is in Afghanistan lies under the ground. But much of those mineral riches are likely to remain out of reach for the near future.

Last week, the apparent exit of ExxonMobil from the group of companies vying for oil rights in the Tajik Basin signalled waning appetite among top-tier investors to take on operations in a place with deteriorating security, a lack of infrastructure and a reputation for corruption.

Colombia Combats Martians Robbing Crude for Cocaine Labs

Colombia, once the largest supplier of cocaine worldwide, is cracking down on traffickers by thwarting theft of oil used to make the drug.

Police are destroying clandestine refineries where guerrillas and crime gangs process crude stolen from pipelines to use in cocaine production, said Lieutenant Colonel Hector Alvarez Yotagri, head of a police unit that tracks the practice.

“Each refinery is a big part of oil theft,” he said yesterday in a phone interview from central Colombia. “They still have rustic labs nearby. Going after the refineries diminishes their resources.”

China likely to cut fuel prices this month: analysts

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China is likely to cut its gasoline and diesel prices this month, as the international crude oil prices to which China's prices are linked are expected to head south.

Data released by Chem99.com, a major oil industry service provider, showed that as of Friday, the basket of crude oil prices used to calculate China's own fuel prices, namely Brent, Cinta, and Dubai, went down by an average of 1.86 percent since a previous adjustment last month.

Rwanda raises fuel prices, blames cost of oil on global markets

KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwanda has increased fuel prices after global crude prices rose, the country's ministry of trade and industry said on Friday.

Rwanda had lowered fuel prices in August, a move which officials said at the time would help bring down inflation.

Nigeria LNG declares force majeure as of October 4

LONDON (Reuters) - Nigeria liquefied natural gas (LNG) on Friday declared a force majeure on plant output after an attempt to steal crude oil from a pipeline led to a fire, Shell said.

Nigeria arraigns eight fuel subsidy fraud suspects

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned eight suspects on Friday in connection with part of a multi-billion dollar fraud involving the state fuel subsidy programme.

Nigeria paid for nearly twice as much motor fuel as the country consumed between 2009 and 2011, one parliamentary inquiry found, in fraudulent deals that cost the treasury $6.8 billion over that time.

Iran calls EU Ban on Iran's Gas "propaganda"

The Iranian Oil Ministry downplayed the importance of the recent threat by the European Union to ban imports of Iran's natural gas supplies, reminding that Iran has no gas export to the EU members at all, FNA reported.

There Is No Hyperinflation in Iran – The Real Story Is Much More Interesting

The politically-important lower classes – which represent a significant amount of voters – are shielded from devaluation of the dollar because their day to day lives don't even involve dollars. Salehi-Isfahani told Business Insider, "The Iranian currency is very worthwhile for poor people. They go to work, they get their daily wage, they go buy their chicken and bread, and they get the same that they got the day before."

University of Michigan social historian and Middle Eastern affairs expert Dr. Juan Cole agreed, telling Business Insider, "It's just that you don't pay for your eggs in Iran in dollars."

U.S. official: 2 Tunisians questioned about deadly Benghazi attack on U.S. Consulate

(CNN) -- There is a connection between two Tunisians detained for questioning in Turkey and the attack on an American Consulate in Libya that left four dead, the U.S. defense chief said.

"We know there is some connection but, frankly, we really don't have all the specifics," Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told reporters Friday.

The Tunisians -- who had been on a watch list provided by the United States to Turkish authorities -- are being questioned at the request of the United States, said a U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation. They entered Turkey this week.

Syria and Turkey clash for fourth day

(CNN) -- Turkish soldiers returned fire Saturday after a shell from Syria landed near a border village, state media reported, as clashes between the two neighbors entered a fourth day.

The shell hit the countryside of a Turkish village in Hatay province, about 50 meters (164 feet) into Turkey, the local government said.

Japan to highlight 'flip-flops' in China's claim of Senkaku Islands in bid to drum up international support

Kyodo (ANI): The Japanese Government is planning to highlight inconsistencies in China's territorial claim over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in a bid to drum up international support for its case, Foreign Ministry officials have said.

The officials said that the government would aim to disprove China's assertion that it has long claimed the East China Sea islets by stressing that 'Beijing did not lodge any formal protest over their sovereignty until the early 1970s'.

Chávez reelection at risk as Venezuela's oil heartland moves on

In Venezuela's oil-rich east, some say the administration's management of natural resources – including oil spills and refinery accidents – has pushed them toward the opposition.

Venezuela election result set to upset global oil politics

According to studies, Venezuela has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become number one in the world for proven oil reserves, largely thanks to the heavy crude found in this vast alluvial plain.

Whether this multi-trillion dollar asset is controlled by Hugo Chávez or the opposition challenger, Henrique Capriles, will influence which countries and companies are given the priority to exploit them and how much drivers around the world pay at the pump. According to a report this year by BP, Venezuela has reserves of 296.5bn barrels, about 10% more than Saudi Arabia and 18% of the global total. At the country's current levels of production, this would last about 100 years.

If Chávez wins – as most polls suggest – he has promised to ramp up production and reduce his country's dependence on the US market by doubling crude exports to Asia. To further this goal, Venezuela plans to build a pipeline through Colombia to the Pacific which would reduce costs and transport times to China and other Asian markets.

BP And Chesapeake To Fight In Court Over Land Deal Gone Sour

Chesapeake Energy and BP are currently locked in a legal fracas over a 2008 Oklahoma land deal. Arbitration didn’t work, so a fight in U.S. Court in the Western District of Oklahoma is likely next year. The dispute — which has been in and out of arbitration, and now looks headed to trial early next year — is interesting in that it reveals that about 7% of the natural gas acreage it sold to BP, it didn’t even own the rights to.

China taps shale gas through combined efforts

BEIJING -- China is exploring an optimized energy structure by tapping into shale gas resources through the joint efforts of local authorities, enterprises and researchers.

The country's second round of auctions for shale gas licenses, which will be held in late October, has elicited substantial interest from more than 70 domestic companies, including Sinopec and PetroChina, the country's two largest oil producers.

Why Susan Scott Buried TransCanada's Money on Her Family Farm

Scott has been fighting to protect her farm, her cabin and her trees since before she ever heard of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. Having already beaten back a previous oil pipeline and a power line, she was stunned when she got wind of TransCanada's plans for her property.

"I'm going like, 'What now?'" Scott told Truthout.

Scott says she was intimidated into signing a contractual agreement with TransCanada for her land. "I said, 'I ain't signing that,' and [a TransCanada representative] said to me, 'Let me tell you why you ought to, because they are going file charges, take you to court and they're going to sue you. You're going to have to pay lawyer fees, you're going to have to pay court costs,' and God only knows what else they're going to come up with, and I'm going like, 'I am a farmer. I don't have that kind of money. I'm a farmer for heaven's sakes!"

Tesla CEO plays down concerns

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Mitt Romney branded electric-car maker Tesla as one of the government-supported "losers" in green technology during the presidential debate this week, but CEO Elon Musk says there's nothing to worry about.

Who Needs Fracking When You Have DNA?

Biotechnology offers the hope of providing a variety of vehicle fuels and other products from renewable sources. I believe this flexibility and the renewable nature of feedstocks, joined with genetically modified micro-organisms, will help bring energy independence to America.

Elon Musk’s SolarCity Plans IPO, Supported by Solar Slump

SolarCity Corp., the developer of rooftop solar-power systems whose chairman is Elon Musk, filed to raise more than $200 million in an initial public offering that shows there are areas within the renewable-energy industry that benefit from cheap panels.

The New Values Voters: Faith Groups And Climate Change

For years, polling analysis on the environment has been grouped with other policy concerns like the economy and national security, rather than with “culture” issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. But when the idea of environmental stewardship and care for the earth is articulated as a moral concern, this takes priority with voters above those traditionally listed culture issues. For their part, faith groups on both sides of the aisle are becoming bolder in their commitment to tackling climate change as a moral issue.


'Calif. gas prices spike at $5 per gallon'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California gas prices will increase for several more days before leveling off after a temporary reduction in supply triggered a price spike that saw fuming motorists paying $5 or more per gallon in some locations and station owners shutting down pumps in others.

So much for the cheaper winter blend.

Five dollars? Ha! The price of regular is nearing SIX dollars/gl at some locations. The gasoline price websites only provide info about stations in big cities and towns, small towns likely have higher prices.

California, welcome to European style gasoline pricing! Now you just have to:

- learn to drive a lot less.
- drive a more fuel efficient vehicle.
- greatly expand your transit systems.
- greatly expand and modernize your intercity rail system.
- greatly expand your bicycling networks.

That should take a few decades if you're lucky.

You forgot abandon the McMansions in the suburbs. Suburbs with high rise buildings are far more efficient. It does not necessarily have to be bad and could actually be quit good with a commuter train which could take you downtown to the night clubs and home again for a reasonable price.

The suburbs could add train routes, bus routes, carpooling, more energy efficient vehicles, electric vehicles, slow down and/or plant gardens. All of those things will probably be done before a suburb is abandoned due to high fuel prices. Someone would have to spend huge amounts of capital and consume expensive energy to construct highrise apartments while the price of suburban houses would decline due to reduced demand. High priced construction and low cost existing housing makes the investment look bad. People must also be convinced to live in cramped, noisy apartments on land they do not own. Apartments and rent are for poor people. Much adaptation is possible and impoverishment and population decline are probably necessary before abandonment will occur.

Adding insulation, solar panels, and buying a Volt or plug in Prius, is much cheaper than abandoning a suburban home. These adaptations/mitigations may not come cheap, but compared to the price of a house are a bargain.

However, if you are buying a home, the sunk costs of the seller are not your problem. In the modern age of tight oil supplies and high gasoline costs, it is important to look at transportation costs to work, shopping, and schools.

For young people, a home in the far flung suburbs will fail the transportation cost analysis, and they will prefer to buy in the inner city area. The costs of abandoning the home are left to the seller who has no buyers but can no longer afford to pay the mortgage after paying for transportation, and the bank which holds the mortgage. It is the modern reality for many people.


"Someone would have to spend huge amounts of capital and consume expensive energy to construct highrise apartments while the price of suburban houses would decline due to reduced demand. "

Contrary to popular belief, high rise or skyscrapers, especially for housing, aren't that much an efficient shape to increase density at all (as generic shapes at the scale of a city).

That is, if you compare "generic urbanisms" made of towers, slabs, or courtyard buildings for instance, having the number of storeys as a variable and under the same natural lighting constraints in the appartments, with the resulting FAR (floor area ratio, no unit number, that is the number of housing square meters of square feet builded per square meter or feet on the ground) as the main criteria, towers do not provide better results at all, more the contrary. Plus it is asymptotic anyway, further to 10 storeys or so you don't gain anything.

One key aspect to remember here is that if you can make a tower very high, the "thickness" of it is always constrained by having windows in the flats (and for office buildings you can make huge open spaces, not the same for housing). And whatever the thickness of a building, it blocks the light in the same way.

Note : this was looked up by Leslie Martin and Lionel March in the sixties in Cambridge, you can check for instance the two pdfs linked below :

And if you are concerned about the future reliability of the electric service, you might want to avoid living more than 5 or 6 floors up. On the other hand, a novel I read recently ("Etiquette for an Apocalypse" by Anne Mendel) had a comment about one advantage of living on the 9th floor of a building without a functional elevator being that the looters never made it up that far. :)

What is so efficient about urbanism is the shared space. This applies to several things.

First, number of exposed outside walls is much less b/c of shared wall space, unlike a single family home.

Second, public resources are shared more intensively and thus their maintenance is much less. This includes everything public: roads, parks, sidewalks, trees and landscaping, sewer/water lines are shorter, fewer electric poles to topple, etc.

Third, denser populations allow much more efficient public transit to operate, if not always at a profit, then at least near the breakeven point. Once this becomes possible, families often own just one car instead of two, greatly reducing the need for parking space that tends to sprawl things out and require more energy.

So all else being equal (ie, same amount of insulation in buildings, same mpg for your car, etc), urban areas can easily be twice as efficient as suburban areas. So as energy costs rise (erratically) over time, urban areas become much more attractive for new families.

Yes plus the energy consumed by elevators is nothing but negligible.
Roma was already buildings with 5 or 6 floors I think, most of paris is as well. And especially for courtyard type buildings, somehow it is around an optimum for density.
One thing interesting is that before elevators (like beginning XIXth century) the "top" floor in a social sense was the second one (3rd in US counting) with the highest ceiling height for instance, and then it moved to the last one or second before last.

Why have windows in flats?

Wouldn't it be more efficient to use solid walls to minimize the HVAC and then use LCD panels to create virtual windows when the rooms are occupied?

I for sure wouldn't buy or rent any of these (and the case for many people I think).
(and why using the word virtual ? it isn't virtual, but a tv screen instead of a window that is all)

Well, in the winter you drive to work before sunrise, work in a windowless office all day, and then drive home after sunset.

Why have windows in the apartment?

Not sure, pure market aspect if you wish, or not feeling like a rat.
Besides, south facing windows can be very efficient solar energy gathering devices, especially in winter.
And why moving to an office ? Maybe a more important question.

South facing windows only gather a lot of energy during a few hours per day. The rest of the time the sun is at quite an angle or it is twilight or darkness. Then you lose energy unless the windows are very good (and expensive). Plus, in the summer they increase the air conditioning load.

Its not just offices. There are lots of jobs that are in buildings with little or no window exposure. Factories, restaurants, retail stores, etc. all have large areas where people work without windows. For example, there may be windows in the restaurant, and you may get near them occasionally if you are a waiter or bus boy, but not if you are in the kitchen.

South facing windows in high or medium latitudes are good in winter and summer : they gather light and heat available in winter, and don't in summer, simple geometry and sun angle aspects.
Then yes, in winter you might want to have additional closure when there is no light.
Anyway I still consider architecture as an important aspect of the living environment, and a lot of "idées reçues" still exist in that domain.
(plus I find science fiction as an utterly boring genre in litterature)

"South facing windows only..."

No one size fits all, of course, but you might want to give this a read...

In many areas, it's the law. It's not considered a livable space if there are no windows.

Yeah, in the UK there must be an openable part of a certain percentage of the floor area for ventilation.


Amory Lovins has said many times that the greatest oil resources are found in Detroit-the oil you do not need because the technology developers largely in Detroit improve fuel efficiency of transport by several quantum leaps, reducing the need for more oil. This is the core of our present dilemma. The interests vested in continued high oil prices are applying more influence to squelch and neutralize the interests that promote fuel efficiency, not only for personal transport but for public transport as well. Who in TOD-o-sphere owns a plug-in hybrid, please tell us how it has reduced your fuel consumption without reducing your freedom. And if anyone has calculated the life-cycle savings of the plug-in hybrid or a plain hybrid for $5/gallon, whatever the assumptions, we would like to hear.

I've been driving a '95 S10 since '03. Staggered seating would work fine for me. My concern, however is cargo space. Is there any ? Or does the cockpit take up all that chassis ?

After talking about all of the technology that went into this thing and saying "The car itself is about the length and width of a subcompact VW Polo" which I think sells decently around the world. The thing looks awesome and at the end of the article they tack on...

"Inside Line says: Sorry, guys, but we'd guess you're not going to get many dates in this car. — Paul Lienert, Correspondent"

...and there's your problem.

Young American adults are not driving as much as previous generations and have high unemployment. The dating crowd might not be the appropriate demographic for any model of automobile.

That's a good point. I don't know whether it's cause or effect, but cars just don't hold the place they used to among young people. If you don't even want to learn to drive, cars are not going to be all that appealing as phallic symbols.

Now that you meantion it...the young people I know don't brag about their wheels. They brag about their phones and other technology. They don't want to be first in their class to get a driver's license or a car, they want to be the first to get an iPhone 5.


Even in Angola when we wanted to give away some mobile phones as safety awards. I showed one of the locals a range of phones that we were considering.

His comment, "you won't pick up a girl with any of them"

This comment would have surprised me if it was made at home, it was even more surprising to hear it in a place like Angola, but this is coming is coming from a person who doesn't own a mobile phone!

Times are definitely changing.

I think it is a trend. As time goes on we can do less and less in the real world as we are constrained by failing systems, over population, climate change and energy depletion. And so we retreat into a world where we still feel we have ability to do things and have some control. Young men now have flash phones instead of flash cars as the latter is increasingly beyond their means. Same for homes, families, real food or even things made out natural materials rather than synthetic.

Same applies to nations too. In WW1 countries put standing armies into the field in their millions for years on end, now even the richest nations can hardly field an army and rely on special forces and drones. In the UK the Victorians covered the Country in railways whereas today it can hardly afford to build a single line. Same for roads, sewer networks, power grids and other infrastructure we take for granted. Almost impossible to replicate today.

Only the rich can afford to live like medieval peasants theses days with a nice house in the countryside and working a only few days a week. :)

Progress is how we manage our perceptions and live with our losses and disabilities. Like someone with a degenerative disease kept going with technological intervention, but yet a mere shadow of their former self, incapable of doing what they once did. That's where the human race is at today.

"...the young people I know don't brag about their wheels."

That's probably because they're driving Kias and Hyundais since they're the only thing they can afford. The phone thing is an interesting twist but I think that it's driven more by contact time. How often can you pull out your new car and flash it around at lunch with your friends or at work/etc? With a car you have limited opportunities to show it off.

Still, the priorities do seem to be different...the "always-on" connection of the smart phone - tweeting, texting, facebook - is becoming more important than what you use to get from point A to point B. Also having a gaming system such as an Xbox with online subscription ("Xbox Live") provides the opportunity to "hang out" for hours at a time with one's friends (even talking to each other at the same time) in a common activity (usually killing things) without actually going anywhere.

So what's probably happening is that people are going "Hmm $100/month for phone, gaming subscription, and Netflix...or should I buy a fancier car..." and realizing that the car is just going to sit around for 22 hours out of the 24 hours of the day while they could instead be gaming and chatting with their friends.

But at the end of the day we're still driven by that lizard part of the brain and people are out buying the latest and greatest Chrome Phallus Deluxe SUV because it "makes them feel like a man" or "is going to be safe." Maybe I just have a crappy selection of women where I live, but even the non-gold diggers still like to see a nice car.

P.S. I've been waiting a frackin' decade for VW to make a production 1 Liter. Where did cabin scooters go?

Amory Lovins is clinging to a BAU paradigm, as he advocating the current economic structure, only with efficient energy.
One can drive your carbon fiber auto to Aspen to ski for the week!
He will have to make other plans also.

Is applying fuel-efficiency technology to achieve 100-300 MPG part of BAU? Is it BAU to reduce global oil consumption to 20% of the current consumption? These are of course rhetorical questions, and the answer is clearly that radical reduction of global oil consumption by improved fuel efficiency of all kinds, including only riding a bike to where-ever you go, is not BAU.

Anyone conscious seeks energy efficiency.
Only the reality challenged cling to a lifestyle in the rear view mirror.

"Anyone conscious seeks energy efficiency. Only the reality challenged cling to a lifestyle in the rear view mirror."

Sadly, not the mainstream reality. For my fellow Joes and Janes, going green(er) extends to swapping out a few light bulbs and perhaps planting a small vegi patch (both arguably not worth a scratch).

Many here still fail to grasp "the scale" of the problem. For example...

"Global scheduled airline flights are expected to decrease by 0.4% in September 2012 versus 2011, although seat capacity will be 2% higher.

"Worldwide, airlines have decreased flights by 11,799 and increased seats by 6,088,628. The total number of scheduled flights operating in September 2012 will be 2,615,534 and offered seats 340,191,374."


0.4%... Hmmph.

Cheers, Matt

Action is usually even less than changing lightbulbs. Usually it consists of saving a few plastic bags a month, and maybe buying a few less bottled waters, all the while planning their next long distance airflight. I think you've actually observed the better half of the distribution.
Now, maybe we have one percent who seem to grasp the fact that change has to go much deeper than that, and have cut their consumption be below half of the usual per capita rate.

Apparently, I live in the land of the barely living unconscious zombified who are into somehow thinking that nothing whatsoever has changed, where a significant number of people leave their engines running on their giant SUVs and trucks as they spend their gabbing in the post office with the post mistress. I just want to whack some of these old ladies on the side of the head. One of these days, I am going to drive off with one of their vehicles and drive it into the nearest river.

Confiscate the keys "to prevent accident or theft" and hand them in to the police station.


Unfortunately many very industrious and capable people in the power utility industry, the coal industry, the refining industry and the upstream oil and gas industry are working overtime to prevent the fuel effiency and energy efficiency improvement potential possible today from being realized. And most individual end users are in fact completely oblivious to their energy consumption. The only way reality will be recognized by these is when supply chains start to fail and the prices spike.

The problem is that the majority of the population seems to have their automobiles confused with their genitalia. People won't willingly swap their sweet lifestyle statement for a gutless appliance until they have to. Until the concept of 200 MPG gets sexy, most folks will go down hard.

What I could really use is an ultra light 4x4 with variable height suspension that gets 200 MPG. You don't need much horsepower to crawl up a dirt road at 15 MPH. It doesn't have to conquer the Rubicon; just a foot of clearance, a good flexible suspension, skid plates under the vitals, and a selectable rear locker. If it could carry two people and four big duffel bags I'd buy one.

The latest iteration of four wheel all terrain vehicles (quads) seem to be what you are considering. Some are available with diesel engines. Most are smaller than economy cars and probably are more fuel efficient. In the Northwest Territories villages (Canada) I never saw an economy car. It was all trucks and atvs.


If I have to get a motor vehicle, this is one of the 3 options on my list for consideration. They are used a lot around here and with the state of the roads seem like a good option.


Amory Lovins: ROFL.

Michael Filloon at Seeking Alpha indicates why he disagrees with the Likvern "Red Queen" BAkken oil plateau thesis.


What the Oildrum Red Queen article misses is the geology is only a small part of what makes a good well. There is no doubt Alger and Sanish fields are some of the best Williston Basin acreage, but fields like Westberg and Poe have produced excellent results as well. The author stated that the Liffrig well is the average producer in North Dakota, but that was also a time when the majority of producers were still using twenty stage fracs and getting comfortable with the geology.

In future articles on this subject I [Michael Filloon] will tie in more recent results and how those compare with the wells completed two and three years ago. What these well results will show is how closely production is tied into well design and has little to do with small sweet spots from one mile to the next. This is important, as much of the information used in this research back in 2010 had very large production differences from one operator to the next. We will also see that very large specific areas are economic. Those companies that fail to spend money to produce oil in the Bakken will find depletion numbers much higher than that of a company that understands the long term benefits of using the best completion methods.

This article states:

What the Red Queen article misses is the geology is only a small part of what makes a good well.

Geology is only a small part of what makes a good (I assume he means high-flowing) well?? Rockman and other oil extraction experts: Is this really true???

I think Filloon is referring to the range of geologies that would be pretty good to very good in the Bakken, that how well the oil well is setup can have more impact than that range of variance.

“What these well results will show is how closely production is tied into well design and has little to do with small sweet spots from one mile to the next.” I hope for the economy’s sake he’s right. But I’ll not bet on it. In 37 years I’ve closely watched many fractured reservoir plays develop. Some from start to finish. And not is a single instance was production ubiquitous. The winners were those companies, via luck or smarts, which accumulated acreage in the sweet areas. Which is exactly why companies tend to lease large areas and then cull out the poorer areas. “...very large production differences from one operator to the next.” Well, typically an operator concentrates leasing efforts in one area based on their best guess where the sweet spots may be be. Results tend to vary with a company’s guessing ability. BTW every Eagle Ford Shale player gives me the same reason for greatly increasing the number of frac stages they use: to squeeze more production out of the less sweet areas. Recently some frac jobs are costing more than they are spending to drill the well: $4 million to drill and $5+ million to frac.

I’ll remind folks of the excellent stats Rune came up for recent Bakken production. IMHO one of the most meaningful early stats is the initial 12 month cumulative production. High initial flow rates and optimistic EUR numbers are fine but in the end success, and potential, is measured by cash flow. In the last few years the initial 12 month cum from all Bakken wells has decreased from 70,000 bo to 52,000 bo. So if not the result of decreasing sweet spots then I guess it means operators have decided to use even less effective completion techniques then they had been. So I suppose it means the future potential of the Bakken is even greater...when operators stop switching back to older poor technology.

“Is this really true???” Let’s just say that if it is true then I’ve watched companies waste $BILLIONS shooting seismic to identify the better geologic conditions to drill. In the Austin Chalk boom I saw one geophysicist, who convinced folks he could find the sweet spots, make over $2 million. And that was 1987 $’s...back when that was a lot of money. LOL. I’m always amused to hear the wisdom of some folks on any subject from which they actually never engaged in themselves.

BTW I just logged a nice little oil discovery last Wednesday. Probably found about 120,000 bo in a trend where the early fields often found 10 million to 150 million bo. And I made my discovery using technology that is literally light years ahead of how those older fields were discovered. When the sweet spots are gone, baby, they is gone. LOL. And again, for the umpteenth time, the shales plays are not driven by "new technology"...they are driven by price. One obvious example: the dry NG fractured shale plays that were so hot pre 2009. If the tech has improved that much in recent years why are the east Texas shales essentially dead if the tech is even better now than then? I wonder if the 75% decrease in NG prices has something to do with it? But not completely dead: Devon is still drilling a few Haynesville wells around their SWEET SPOT near Carthage, Texas.

It appears that some pipeline companies are a bit skeptical about the Bakken hype. I posted about this in yesterday's Drumbeat: PN Bakken: Enbridge questions Bakken numbers. Enbridge seems to think that they should plan their pipeline construction for lower production levels than some expect.

Enbridge has been in the pipeline business a long time and has seen a lot of oil fields come and go. It is apparent that they are expecting the Bakken to peak sharply and go into a steep decline. They are planning to move an oil volume that is much less than the peak in the long term.

That is interesting.
What capacity are the producers willing to buy to ensure the economics of the pipeline? And thus support the realization of the pipeline.

Producers are aware of the decline rates and also price movements which could affect their considerations of capacity commitments.

Pipeline owners want to ensure shipping volumes that lessens the risk of them ending up holding the short end.
Small committed volumes (bought capacity) => high unit transport costs (and vice versa).

Then and for what it is worth. Running through the numbers for several wells it occurred to me that something that looked as a “speed limit” was something common to all shale plays.
With a “speed limit” I here mean that a certain number of wells out of the total (total normally grows with time) needs to be added just to stay flat.

Add wells below the “speed limit” and total production may decline.
Add wells above the “speed limit” and total production may grow.

FWIIW, below is a chart that illustrates this for Bakken. The yellow line represents the “speed limit”, the green columns actual number of new producing wells added by month. The black line shows month over month production changes.
Allowing some tolerance for time lags it appears as month over month production changes closely follows how new wells are added relative to the “speed limit”.

There may be a take away here and that is at some point all wells added will principally maintain the total production level. This is of course related to the number of wells added and thus the total capacity (drilling, completion, fracking, processing, transport etc.) to add new wells.


I think you've hit upon one of the concepts that many have missed. In 2011 there were roughly 150 rigs adding capacity(60 maintaining) and now in 2012 its more like 90 and if trends continue 2013 may be the last year of increased capacity. Red queen indeed. I wouldn't bet a pipline on that either.

W – In general pipeliners are the most conservative lot in the oil patch. They don’t like taking gambles. Most have their own small geologic/reservoir engineering staff that focuses solely on predicting future trends. Pipeliners are also playing for the long game and aren’t as obsessed with the short game ROR as the rest of us are. A pipeline can take 3X+ as long to payout as a drilling prospect so they accept a lower ROR. OTOH a pipeline can generate revenue for much longer periods (many decades) and often with flat or even higher income streams. But it’s obviously dependent on the through put volume. They make relatively little per unit and thus need long term volume stability.

During the east Texas/N. La. dry shale boom a number of relatively new pipeliners bet the farm on the play staying hot for many years. When NG crashed they were proven very wrong and many went under with their assets picked up cheap by the older more conservative pipeliners.

Pipelines seem a key limiting factor in the logic/economics of expanded US production of 'unconventional' oil and NG?
A lot of NG from tight-oil(?) dual-production wells will continue to get flared off?
Only areas where wells are highly concentrated 'deserve' a pipeline either for oil or NG?
And the flip side of that seems to be that the most concentrated areas of drilling are the ones that will see a concerted rapid decline in production? (If I understand some of the points by Rune et al.)

Oil can leave by truck, even a few barrels a day, but NG is stranded without the pipe, I assume.

Yes, a painful amount of gas is flared. Even in W. Tx, where gas and oil have been produced for decades, and infrastructure of all sorts is mature.

An adaptation where some pipeline, but insufficient for the needs, is simply to run at higher pipeline pressures. Compressors are expensive, but you can stage them successfully. A field I was at last week was running at nearly 1200psi where it once was about 600. There are literally hundreds of big CAT engines (1000hp+) running compressors across that area.

Of course there is a limit to what a pipeline can take; not sure, but I think it's about 1500psi for many.

We saw in San Bruno a couple of years back what happens when a nat gas pipeline can't take the pressure. Presumably these pipelines you are talking about aren't in residential neighborhoods. I suspect that the pipelines have limits that are enforced by law -as well as by physics.

No, most are quite remote. In fact, I've not seen one that was dangerously close to ANYTHING. Night before I arrived last week, a compressor output manifold failed and burned down several compressors, their motors, and the building they were housed in (most are outside on a pad, but these were enclosed). Nearly as I can tell nobody was much alarmed except for the people who have to file the EPA reports, those who must replace $10M of compressors and account for days of production loss, and the field manager who has to find rental compressors so he can manage to sell the gas for the next year or so before the new compressors arrive.

People die all the time from stupid stuff. Random failures of infrastructure are pretty low on the list. Somehow it seems worse to die from the ground near your home unexpectedly exploding, versus cancer, a car wreck, ill-advised military forays, or the flu, but statistically speaking it's not much to worry about. Not that I'd live near one on purpose.....

A disaster that is photogenic on the evening news will have far more impact than one (or a number of small ones), which isn't. Two very photogenic disasters that I recall were San Bruno (large flames consuming a neighborhood), and especially greatest of all: 9-11, our reaction to that is still costing us zillions.

Hello and for all,

Let me bring some clarifications and point to what was done in my study presented on The Oil Drum Is Shale Oil Production from Bakken Headed for a Run with “The Red Queen”?

Filloon points to that I stated that the Liffrig well represented the average.

That is not the case. The arrow used in the chart points to the area for the first 12 months of production of 85 000 bbls from the “average” well as this became defined by the study.
I should have been more specific about that.

All areas/companies studied had wells that were above the average for Bakken. (Ref figure 06 in my post).

The oldest well that was studied started to flow January 2010. If that makes it an “old” or “new” well I will leave to others to decide upon.

The newest well included in the study started to flow in August 2011.

Newer wells starting to flow as of September 2001 or later had not achieved 12 months of reported flow as of the most recent report used for the study.

Further I deliberately avoided looking into initial flows just to avoid any debates about the significance of flows from the few first days.

It is flow and the long term recovery (the first 2-3 years) that has a heavy influence on well economics (as well as total well costs).

Oil price has been, is and will continue to be the most important parameter for future activities in shale oil plays.


My reading of Rune Likvern's essay is very different from Mr. Filloon. I do not believe that Mr. Likvern was saying that only geology matters, I think his message is that despite improving technology, at some point the various sweet spots become saturated with wells. That is, there is only so much space and when the better areas have run out of room for new wells, oil firms have to move to the next best areas. As this happens the oil recovery per well will be lower. My take is that this is correct.

Based on work I have done with Webhubbletelescope's dispersive discovery model, I think the Bakken will continue to increase output up to between 1 and 1.5 Mb/d and will then plateau for 5 to 10 years and then decline. The model matched the data quite well from Jan 2007 to July 2012.

For a future scenario I assumed the rate of increase of producing wells would decline from the present rate of 4.1 % per month (from Jan 2007 to July 2012) to about 1 % by 2019 (where my scenario ends). In addition I assumed the average well would have lower productivity going forward and that wells drilled in 2013 would be 10 % less productive than 2012, 2014 10 % less than 2013, etc out to 2019. I interpolated between these EUR curves monthly so that the transition would be gradual.

It looks like this:


Note that I do not expect that no new wells will come online after 2020. I am trying to illustrate what happens to output when the Bakken becomes fully drilled, which Mason estimated was at 40,000 wells. If Mason's assumptions are correct and 40,000 wells are the limit, then when we reach 40,000 (around 2025) the decline will begin and it will look somewhat like the chart above after 2020. It will be a little flatter because there will be 40000 wells rather than 25000.

More info at



I would expect the decline to start as soon as the speed limit Rune Likvern mentioned above is reached.

Without using any calculations, basically then the first wells drilled have declined to a very low level new production capacity must be added faster than before or a plateau will be reached. If the sweets spots are drilled first and less production capacity are added over time decline will start already before the plateau point although it will not plateau instead the decline will start.

In summary if production is added slower over time and the first wells will decline to a very low level before fully drilled decline will happen before fully drilled.

The Oil Price That Americans Usually Hear About Has Become Irrelevant

For years, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil has been used as the principal price benchmark against which producers sell to refiners. It is the underlying commodity of the New York Mercantile Exchange's oil futures contracts. It's what you hear about when the nightly news refers to the price of crude. And most analysts agree it is now irrelevant to gas prices. Instead, Brent prices — which is sourced to prices received by refiners in Europe's North Sea — has become the new standard.

Hmm? “Instead, Brent prices — which is sourced to prices received by refiners in Europe's North Sea — has become the new standard.” The price of Bent is completely irrelevant to a refiner who is buying WTI. I sell my Texas crude in Louisiana based on the Light La. Sweet benchmark so I couldn’t care less what Brent or Nigerian Bonnie is selling for. And I’m sure an EU refiner is equally unconcerned what westexas and I are selling our oil for.

“And most analysts agree it is now irrelevant to gas prices” Whose gas prices? So we are to assume that they recent spike in CA is due to a spike in Brent? I appreciate the one point the article makes: if folks are judging our current energy situation based upon WTI FUTURES PRICES then they are truly stumbling through the woods lost IMHO.

Mainstream news in Australia ONLY quotes WTI (ABC also does Brent), along with the price of gold and Aussie vs US dollar (our global benchmarks apparently).

Cheers, Matt

From Chevron, they quote LLS at $107.00 and WTI at $86.50, a differential of $20.50/barrel. See http://crudemarketing.chevron.com/posted_pricing_daily.asp

From Bloomberg, the quote Date Brent Spot at $112.26 and WTI Cushing Spot at $89.88, a differential of $22.38/barrel. See http://www.bloomberg.com/energy/

The key point is that coastal refineries are paying prices similar to Brent for oil of similar quality, since the shipping costs by tanker are low enough that prices more or less even out globally. Therefore, the cost of gas from coastal refineries that goes into the pipelines that distribute refined products is more correlated with the Brent quote than with the WTI quote for oil accessible mostly to midwestern refineries.

Recently, the WTI crack spread has been in excess of $30 per barrel. Here are the most recent Bloomberg crack spreads for WTI and Brent:

WTI crack spread: $26


Brent crack spread: $15


The difference between the two crack spreads has come down somewhat, but it is still about $11. Midwestern refineries have been paying WTI based prices for crude, but largely charging Brent based prices for refined products.

So we are to assume that they recent spike in CA is due to a spike in Brent?

No, we're supposed to (and I believe that you do) realize that the recent spike in CA is due to a batch of regional refinery capacity going off line. And when you look at the usual map of US gasoline prices, we see the highest prices in CA (temporary refinery glitches) and the Northeast (rather more permanent refinery shortages). Yeah, crude prices matter. But the final retail price depends on the whole supply chain.

Nice of California to keep teaching us lessons like this. They gave us a good example of the necessity of getting all the pieces right in electricity markets back in 2000-01.

Living in San Francisco, it's interesting having a ringside seat watching the "insane" jump in gas prices. (Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a corresponding "insane" reduction in driving.)

It seems to me that due to the stair step nature of adding or reducing refinery capacity, there is bound to be overshoot in matching demand as demand goes up or down. With demand going up, refineries would open with extra capacity in anticipation that demand would grow to fill it. Consumers wouldn't feel this impact. Going down the demand curve, however, refineries must close when excess capacity means they are running at a loss and that loss will only get worse. Since refineries in the US in general were losing money on every gallon of gasoline sold the first part of this year, it was obvious the situation couldn't continue. (And I suppose no one can keep a struggling business running on the off chance that one's stronger competitor just might have a fire.) So as US gasoline demand decreases, it is not surprising there will be overshoot at times to too little capacity. Of course, California's gasoline blend regulations play into this, and I'm glad. It's hot and sunny here this weekend. No need to send additional children to the hospital with asthma attacks just so people can have cheap gas to drive their 5000lb vehicles around.

As oil demand drops world-wide (the numbers from southern Europe in the latest IEA report are quite startling), it's interesting to look how per capita consumption is changing in various places around the world. I put together a blog post, "Per Capita Oil Consumption Is Dropping Like a Rock (in Some Countries)" (http://karenlynnallen.blogspot.com/2012/10/per-capita-oil-consumption-is... ). None of it will be new to regular readers of the Oil Drum but I tried to explain Peak Oil concepts in terms someone not familiar with Peak Oil might be able to understand. And then predict what the likely outcome is for the US over the next three years. (You will see that I am a big fan of the Energy Export Databrowser!)

Taomom, great blog entry on per capita oil consumption, thanks. For non-US readers, 0.012 bpppd = approx 1.9 litres pppd.

[edit: changed "European readers" to "non-US readers" as most of the world buys gasoline in litres, including the UK (although beer is still sold in pints :) ]

"According to a report this year by BP, Venezuela has reserves of 296.5bn barrels, about 10% more than Saudi Arabia and 18% of the global total. At the country's current levels of production, this would last about 100 years."

Perhaps someone should scrutinize BP's report, because that reeks of wishful thinking.

BP doesn't have any inside information on Venezuela's oil reserves, it is just repeating the Venezuelan governments estimates, for what they are worth.

Venezuela probably does have the oil, but it is similar in quality, cost, and technical difficulty to the Canadian oil sands, and Venezuela does not have the technical expertise or capital markets that Canada does.

Venezuelan oil production has been falling rather than rising, so the oil will probably last longer than 100 years just because they won't be able to get it out of the ground.

Couldn't have said it better myself.


"the Venezuelan governments estimates, for what they are worth"

And if the report alleging that OPEC has inflated reserves by 70% is bona fide in any significant respect, those estimates are not something to bet the farm on.

Back in about 1984,I did a completion for the company I was with,Sun Exploration & Production Co.
I did the first vertical completion of the Bakken,the Nels Anderson #1,right outside the town of Tioga

There are two Nels Anderson No. 1's in the ndic data base, niether of which was completed in the Bakken. Your memory may have faded.

The Bakken, by current ndic 'pooling' nomenclature, has produced from vertical completion(s) since 1953 in Antelope field.

Just noticed how slow drumbeat gets on Saturday, it's 11pm, only 36 comments- many from the same people. Must be college football or something.

I don't watch football on TV. Don't watch much TV at all, really. For me Saturday is either a day to be out doing something fun outdoors, or else a day to get caught up on chores around home. Today I was doing chores to get the place ready for winter. I checked into Drumbeat a bit in the morning with my coffee, and now for a few minutes in the evening.

Life is too short to waste much more time on the internet.


It's Thanskgiving here in Canada. Most Canadian TODers are probably busy getting ready for tonight's Turkey dinner, or are out checking out the Fall colours, or raking leaves! : )

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

It's Thanskgiving here in Canada. Most Canadian TODers are probably busy getting ready for tonight's Turkey dinner, or are out checking out the Fall colours, or raking leaves! : )

This is no excuse. Canadian Peak Oilers are expected to cover and review depletion issues 364 days a year (I will give you a break for the day after Boxing Day when you are recovering from the punches you absorbed on this very violent holiday you Canadians seem to think is appropriate)

I'm afraid your imagination of Boxing Day has gotten the better of you. :  )

It'a wonderful British carry over. Our betters provided boxes of Christmas left-overs for the servants to take home to the family. The servants didn't get Christmas day off!

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradespeople would receive gifts from their superiors[1] or employers. Today, Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday that occurs on 26 December, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some other Commonwealth nations. (wikipedia)

Worked out alright in the end! Three more public holidays between Christmas and New Years and we Canadians would all have the whole week off over the holidays.

I've been a TOD member for 6 1/2 years (and lurked before that) and 36 comments was pretty close to a "big" day way back. For one thing, there was little reparte; people just posted their information and that was it. Also, the range of topics discussed was far more limited.

I would like to see an open thread on days when Leanan doesn't post links to cut down on threads that go on for hundreds of comments. I don't see this as a problem since the off days are still being moderated.


The issue isn't really moderation. It's that with fewer key posts being posted, we don't want the site swamped with Drumbeats and open threads. It would change the whole character of the site. I'm trying to keep the ratio of key posts to open threads/Drumbeats similar to what it used to be.

Alaska_geo's right. Life's too short to waste a lot of time on the Internet. Go outside and play! ;-)

I'll tell ya, I spend 6-8 hours a day outside either in the garden, working on firewood or some other project. So far this morning I've shredded Douglas fir cones for mulch, worked hauling stuff to the burn pile and picked beets and strawberries. And FWIW I'm just about 74. My wife and I are probably going to take an hour off this afternoon to watch some old Julia Childs DVDs and eat some popcorn.

The boondocks aren't like the "city"; there's always work/chores.


I don't call it "chores". I call it Life :-)

Dealing with debris at Fukushima Daiichi 3

Image: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/uploadedImages/wnn/Images/Fukushima_Da...

The purple outline is where the fuel storage pond lies.

A repulsive mess caused by human stupidity....

Wind turbines star in Australian feature film in production. Probably not the way most TODers think of them.

TURBINES -- The Movie

Green. Efficient. Deadly.

When Attila and Jana, an immigrant couple, move to a rural Australian town as part of a government policy to populate isolated areas, they consider themselves lucky. Although they must work on a wind farm, out in the middle of nowhere, they have each other, and soon, a family. Unfortunately, problems with the locals, isolation, backbreaking labor, a baby, and immigration problems are the least of their worries. For soon, bad things begin to happen to the animals and people in town. Attila suffers from vicious headaches and blackouts. As the situation escalates, and the gore becomes more pronounced, we begin to wonder – are the Turbines only onlookers or guilty of the unthinkable.

(Related Humor) See: Alternative Energy Revolution http://xkcd.com/556/

Will North Dakota's oil boom lead to a duck bust?

"The biggest impact from oil is fragmentation of the countryside," said Lloyd Jones, Fish and Wildlife Service manager at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge near Coleharbor, N.D. "We've had contiguous areas of native prairies and grasslands and wetlands up here forever that have provided extremely valuable and richly diverse habitat.

"When you break that up, which is being done now with the expansion of drilling, you change the picture very dramatically for wildlife. And unfortunately, it's all negative. There's nothing positive about it."

Republican congressman Paul Broun dismisses evolution and other theories
Member of House science committee says evolution, Big Bang theory and embryology are 'lies straight from the pit of hell'


The original speech was posted on YouTube, but has since been removed. Dr. Broun is a rather strange character, his bio from his House web page says he was in the Marine Reserves where he worked as a turbine engine mechanic. I couldn't see any suggestion of his being in the regular marines. He did get a commission as a naval medical officer.

He claims to be a "scientist", but he obviously doesn't comprehend that a scientist must consider all the available data before arriving at a conclusion. Rejection of science based on religious dogma means that he isn't a science. He clearly doesn't understand nuclear fission, yet, he is on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The measurements for the age of the Earth have been made using the same science which runs nuclear power plants and makes nuclear weapons possible, yet Broun thinks he can ignore the results which indicate the Earth is very, very much older than 9,000 years. Heck, one can count the layers in the Greenland ice further back than that...

E. Swanson

For your edification.....


....try not to lose your lunch. It had the effect of a tall, steaming glass of hog fat on my stomach.

Count the dead deer heads displayed on the wall behind him.

Deer? I thought that was Satan's Horned Legion leering in through the window, shaking their cloven hooves at this teller of truth.

Seriously, where do these insane people come from? Utterly lacking in common sense; completely barking mad!

And in a few weeks, these insane people are going to be running the country. And so the Empire swirls round and round the toilet bowl...

Grüß Gott! I just want to sail away.

Lieber Gott im Himmel, ich auch!

I've been involved in faith communities all my life and have seen this across different parts of the United States, not just the rural South. Having a physician speaking is an easy way to "authenticate"these non-scientific ideas, but I have seen cases where a writer or speaker will actually have an earned doctorate in a natural science field from a top university. The writer or speaker will string together impressive-sounding facts supporting the narrative. The audience is convinced by the "expert scientist" and reassured that their world-view is intact despite what they have heard from educators and other authorities.

The root of all this is not faith, but the lack of it. Imagine that your whole theological/philosophical framework rested on the ideas of a 17th Century arch-bishop in the Church of Ireland (James Ussher), and that you have to guard you and your family against any ideas to the contrary. Meanwhile, you never develop the ability to see the God of your understanding at work in the world (which is really the definition of faith.) It's frankly pitiful. Most frustrating is that the same people who obsess over the when and how of our world seem often oblivious to the biblical concept of being good stewards of that same precious Earth.

develop the ability to see the God of your understanding at work in the world (which is really the definition of faith.)

That may be your definition. I prefer:

Faith is believing what you know ain't so.

- Mark Twain

In a classic case of if we new then what we know now, the "Japan to highlight 'flip-flops' in China's claim of Senkaku Islands in bid to drum up international support" story reminds me of some info I dug up for a post I made to the "The Cold Facts About a Hot Commodity: LNG" lead article.

Looking at a map of the area around Japan, one could be fooled into assuming that Sakhalin Island is part of Japan. From a Wikipedia page on Sakhalin Island

Alarmed by the visits of European powers, Japan proclaimed its sovereignty over the whole island in 1807. The Japanese say that it was Mamiya Rinzō who really discovered the Strait of Tartary in 1809,

and later

A katorga (penal colony) was established by Russia on Sakhalin in 1857, but the southern part of the island was held by the Japanese until the 1875 Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1875), when they ceded it to Russia in exchange for the Kuril Islands.

With Sakhalin Island being blessed with significant hydrocarbon resources, it appears to me that Japan's current diplomatic disputes are trying to close a gate through which the horse bolted in 1875. If only Japan had known then what they know now, the modern history of Sakhalin Island may have been remarkably different. Just think how different Japan's energy situation might have been with oil and NG being delivered by pipeline from Sakhalin!

Alan from the islands

In-depth information about the "compounding lab" that distributed fungal meningitis in steriod shots. Creepy.


Even if the Japanese had of kept the southern half of the island, they still would have missed out as most of the oil and gas is in the northern end of the island. The border must be close to where the gas fields start as the railway, by with we crew change by is Japanese narrow gauge (3'6") all the way to Nogliki, from where fly to the rigs.

There doesn't seem to be a clear distinct on where the border was between the Russians and the Japanese, but the Japanese do seem destined to miss out on any domestic energy resources.

Yeow! I just had to pay $4.99/gallon for 91 octane unleaded. For me, means fuel prices jumped from $4.80/gallon on Monday to $4.99/gallon on Sunday.

$4.299 on Monday to $4.539 Friday for 87 octane in Yreka, CA. Don't know what it is after that.

California to give into gasoline distributor industry pressure to reduce prices by allowing the use of winter grade gasoline early. It's not yet clear, but this does not appear to involve a request for a federal EPA waiver - probably because it also does not appear that California is requesting to use already made out of state gasoline that does not conform to state environmental standards (although they may allow out of state gasoline that conforms to winter grade standards).

Gov. Brown takes emergency action to try to reduce gas prices

By Stuart Pfeifer
October 7, 2012, 2:38 p.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown took “emergency steps” Sunday to try to bring down record gas prices in the state.

He directed the California Air Resources Board to increase the fuel supply by allowing the immediate sale and import of cheaper and more available winter-blend gasoline.


Chavez has been declared the winner of the Venezuelan Election, with 54% of the vote and 81% voter turnout. The next point at which he could be democratically and constitutionally replaced would be in 3 years if enough signatures are collected to call for a recall vote.

So far there are fireworks and honking car parades but no sign of unrest. No major problems in the voting process were denounced by the electoral council, opposition, newspapers etc. Most of the complaints were about voting tables opening late, opposition fliers glued to the gutters outside of voting centers, officialist supporters having a dance party too close to the electoral council's headquarters etc.


No major problems in the voting process were denounced by the electoral council, opposition, newspapers etc.

Not bad. Some places have a better track record for democracy than, let's say, the 2000 US election.

As much as Chavez is vilified and caricatured in the US media, he is still popular among his own people.

American industry can no longer supply modern phone systems.

The US depends on foreign suppliers (3 European/2 Chinese) for 4G systems.

If you're lucky, there's a local tech who can look at the front-panel lights before having to call back to China for advice.

Bell Labs Holmdel campus
Past image: http://www.adafruit.com/adablog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/bell_labs.jpg
Present Image: http://blog.nj.com/ledgerupdates_impact/2008/08/large_bell.JPG