Drumbeat: December 5, 2012

UK oil output seen rising in next few years - study

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's North Sea oil output, long in decline, is likely to increase in the next few years, according to research published on Wednesday, reflecting the impact of rising investment, high prices and tax breaks.

Oil output will reach 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 based on an oil price of $90 a barrel, the University of Aberdeen study predicted. Last year, production fell more than 17 percent to average 1.04 million bpd.

"Oil production should revive from recent levels for a period of several years, particularly with the higher-price scenario, where the increase could be substantial," the study by Alexander Kemp and Linda Stephen concluded.

Fracking in the U.K.: Britain Looks to Boost Shale Gas

Could a European shale-gas revolution start in Britain? While efforts to drill gas from shale deposits have stalled on the Continent, the British government could soon give the go-ahead to drilling and provide tax breaks to encourage it.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, scheduled to unveil a new government energy plan on Dec. 5, has said he wants to ensure that “Britain is not left behind” the U.S., where a shale-gas boom has dramatically lowered prices and ended the country’s dependence on imported gas.

Oil futures rise ahead of EIA report

LONDON (MarketWatch) — Oil futures inched higher on Wednesday, ahead of a closely watched supply report later in the day, while a firmer greenback added pressure on dollar-denominated commodities and capped gains.

...On Wednesday, oil prices found support in data from the American Petroleum Institute released late the prior day, showing crude-oil supplies fell 2.2 million barrels—more than expected—for the week ended Nov. 30.

The API data came ahead of the more closely watched U.S. Energy Information Administration report due later Wednesday. Analysts polled by Platts expect a 1.25 million-barrel decline in crude-oil supplies. They also forecast a rise of 2 million barrels in gasoline inventories and a climb of 800,000 barrels in distillate supplies.

Through the looking glass: curious tale of rising oil prices

If 2011 was a remarkable year for oil exporters, 2012 was a Wonderland. Last year, for the first time, the oil price averaged more than US$100 per barrel of Brent crude. This year, the price has been even higher - $111.90. As Lewis Carroll's Alice would have observed, it was curiouser and curiouser that such high prices persisted despite a weak global economy and rising stocks.

Reflecting on the high oil prices from 2003 until now reveals three key drivers. Developing Asian countries, above all China, were undergoing economic booms and fast-rising demand. Non-Opec production was weak. And therefore Opec, enjoying tight markets, was able to maintain discipline - making sharp production cuts to revive prices after the 2008 economic crash.

Over the past decade, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait made only measured increases in production while potential rivals - Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Libya and Nigeria - struggled.

Iran says extracts data from U.S. spy drone

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has obtained data from a U.S. intelligence drone that shows it was spying on the country's military sites and oil terminals, Iranian media reported its armed forces as saying on Wednesday.

Iran announced on Tuesday that it had captured a ScanEagle drone belonging to the United States, but Washington said there was no evidence to support the assertion.

Dollar-Less Iranians Discover Virtual Currency

Under sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies, dollars are hard to come by in Iran. The rial fell from 20,160 against the greenback on the street market in August to 36,500 rials to the dollar in October. It’s settled, for now, around 27,000. The central bank’s fixed official rate is 12,260. Yet there’s one currency in Iran that has kept its value and can be used to purchase goods from abroad: bitcoins, the online-only currency.

Egypt's Mursi leaves palace as police battle protesters

(Reuters) - Egyptian police battled thousands of protesters outside President Mohamed Mursi's palace in Cairo on Tuesday, prompting the Islamist leader to leave the building, presidency sources said.

Officers fired teargas at up to 10,000 demonstrators angered by Mursi's drive to hold a referendum on a new constitution on December 15. Some broke through police lines around his palace and protested next to the perimeter wall.

Rebel Assault Shows Assad’s Infrastructure as New Target

The grainy footage showed gunmen crouched amid the sparse vegetation of a Syrian hillside overlooking a key hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates River.

“Get down, get down, your position is not good,” a rebel commander can be heard saying on an unverified YouTube video posted by fighters of the Tawheed Brigade opposing President Bashar al-Assad. “Spread out in twos and threes,” the voice says. The sound of gunfire is heard. The next film purports to show the control room of the 630-megawatt Tishrin Dam following the assault, while a third displays captured military hardware including assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Dana Gas receives welcome boost with $50m Iraq payment

The finances of Dana Gas were given a shot in the arm this week as the company received payments worth nearly US$50 million (Dh183.6m) for gas produced in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The payout comes as political developments in Iraq and Egypt cast doubt over future payments, after outstanding receipts worth hundreds of millions prevented Dana from repaying a maturing bond in October.

BP wraps up $12bn Indonesia gas deal

The Indonesian subsidiary of the British oil giant BP yesterday said a US$12.1 billion (Dh44.44bn) deal to expand its liquid natural gas operations in the country had been given final approval.

Gazprom touts environmental record

MOSCOW (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom said it was able to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 3.8 million tons in 2011 through voluntary efforts.

The Russian energy company, a world leader in natural gas extraction, said its energy savings and efficiency program for a three-year period ending in 2013 could lead to savings of around 6.4 tons of fuel equivalent.

Plains All American to buy crude oil rail terminals for $500 mln

(Reuters) - Plains All American Pipeline LP said it will buy four operating crude oil rail terminals and other assets from U.S. Development Group for about $500 million as North American oil output growth continues to outpace infrastructure development.

The company said it will buy three crude oil rail loading terminals in the Eagle Ford, Bakken and Niobrara shale fields, with a loading capacity of about 85,000 barrels per day. The other assets include a rail unloading terminal at St. James, Louisiana and another terminal being developed in California.

Best-Performing Fund Manager Sees U.S. Pipeline Growth

McCarthy’s Midstream/Energy Fund Inc. made 32 percent in the last 12 months, the best return of 259 energy funds with more than $100 million worldwide, data compiled by Bloomberg show. His top investments are general partners such as Williams Cos. and Kinder Morgan Inc., according to Sept. 30 data. The industry has room to increase profit in 2013, as the drilling boom in U.S. shale fields creates a need for more pipelines, processing plants and compressor stations, McCarthy said.

“We think the development of the unconventional fields is a multi-year, if not a multi-decade, process,” McCarthy, 53, formerly a banker at UBS Securities LLC, said in an interview.

Record Asia Oil Takeovers Match U.S. Pace for First Time

Woodside Petroleum Ltd.’s purchase of a stake in Israel’s largest natural gas deposit takes Asia- Pacific oil and gas acquisitions to a record $99 billion this year, tying the U.S. for the first time.

ATP Equity Holder Ask for Probe of Oil Reserves’ Value

ATP Oil & Gas Corp.’s equity holders asked a judge to appoint an examiner to investigate the value of the bankrupt Gulf of Mexico oil producer’s petroleum reserves.

An examiner is needed to determine whether the reserves have fallen so far in value that ATP should be sold in a “fire- sale liquidation,” a committee of equity security holders said yesterday in court papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston. A report by ATP’s bankruptcy lenders claims the reserves are worth much less than previously estimated, the committee said.

Repsol Sues Chevron Over Argentine Shale Development

Repsol SA, the Madrid-based oil and gas company, accused Chevron Corp. in a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan of improperly obtaining rights to develop Argentine shale and natural gas resources.

In a complaint filed yesterday, Repsol accuses Chevron of getting those rights from Buenos Aires-based YPF SA in negotiations with officers appointed by Argentina’s government, which expropriated the company, not “legitimate managers” appointed by Repsol as its majority shareholder.

On Tap at Belfer Center: Oil and Water: Study Shows Oil Production Capacity Much Greater Than Expected

Oil production capacity is surging in the United States and several other countries at such a fast pace that global oil output capacity is likely to grow by nearly 20 percent by 2020—possibly prompting a plunge or even a collapse in oil prices.

This was the conclusion reached by Belfer Center researcher Leonardo Maugeri following his field-by-field analysis of the world’s major oil formations and exploration projects.

Shell’s Failed Arctic Oil Spill Equipment: ‘Breached Like A Whale’ And ‘Crushed Like A Beer Can’

After struggling to get the last of their drilling equipment out of the Beaufort Sea as winter sea ice encroached, it appeared the long list of criticisms and setbacks that marked Shell’s first Arctic Ocean drilling season had come to an end.

That respite was very brief.

Paris Faces Darkness as City Set for Illumination Ban

Paris’s legendary label as the “City of Light” may soon lose some of its luster.

The French minister for energy and environment unveiled last week a proposal for lights in and outside shops, offices, and public buildings -- including the flagship Louis Vuitton store and the Lido cabaret house on Paris’s Avenue des Champs Elysees -- to be turned off between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. starting in July. The plan, to be applied across French cities, towns and villages, is aimed at saving energy and money and showing “sobriety,” Minister Delphine Batho said.

Diamonds Dug in Gusty Arctic Too Remote for Diesel Fuel

The four windmills dug into northern Canada’s tundra that power Rio Tinto Group’s $5.2 billion Diavik diamond mine are the world’s first designed to work in gusts as cold as 40 degrees below zero.

The mining company has sunk $30 million into wind energy because roads are frozen and closed to diesel fuel deliveries for 10 months a year. Near the opposite pole, in Argentina, Barrick Gold Corp. is testing the highest wind turbine at 4,100 meters (13,450 feet), an altitude almost halfway up Mt. Everest. The machine was designed for low air density and provides 20 percent of a Barrick gold mine’s power on windy days.

Smart Water Measures May Save Utilities $12.5 Billion

More efficient use of water may save utilities $12.5 billion a year, funds that may be used for infrastructure improvements and to offset some of the scarcity issues that affect at least a third of the world’s population, according to a report.

When a Green Revolution Runs out of Water

CIUDAD OBREGÓN, Mexico–The Green Revolution sprang forth from this valley of wheat farms in Sonora State, producing the food required to feed a rapidly expanding population. But the water that has nourished crops here for decades and sustained the Yaqui people for centuries is threatened.

The federal and Sonora State governments are building an aqueduct to take water from the Yaqui River to supply the mushrooming manufacturing hub of Hermosillo, 175 miles south of the Arizona border at Nogales. There, burgeoning automotive and aerospace industries and a booming population have put demands on water destined for agricultural purposes.

Wasted Stimulus Work Leaves River Rocks Blocking Barges

In 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, seeking a method less expensive and damaging to wildlife than dynamiting to clear rocks from the Mississippi River, committed $5.7 million to an experimental grinding process.

The project, financed by President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus program, was futile and called off after two efforts, one in 2011 and another earlier this year, totaling about four weeks.

Tracking a Parliament of Tiny Owls

Mr. Weidensaul says he hopes the saw-whets pass on a lesson of their own to the many volunteers, some of whom are as young as 11, that dedicate their time to the Ned Smith Center. “When you put an owl on the head or shoulder of a fourth grader, it creates a spark of interest in conservation and ornithology in someone who may not have had it before,” he said. “A number of kids have grown up in our project over the past 15 years, and some are now off doing amazing things in the field of science.”

The work may also help inform development decisions. Several hundred wind turbines already operate on the saw-whet’s migratory routes, and more may rise in years to come. Mr. Weidensaul often receives calls from turbine consultants asking how many owls are passing through, where they are going and at what altitude. Much of this information is still lacking, however. No one yet knows where the saw-whets wind up on their southern journey, for example, though birds have turned up as far south as Atlanta and Birmingham.

Asian Cities’ Air Quality Getting Worse, Experts Warn

HONG KONG — Air pollution has worsened markedly in Asian cities in recent years and presents a growing threat to human health, according to experts at a conference that began on Wednesday.

Resisted for Blocking the View, Dunes Prove They Blunt Storms

LONG BEACH, N.Y. — Surfers railed against the project because they said it would interfere with the curl of the waves. Local businesses reliant on beach tourism hated it, too. Who would flock to the historic Boardwalk, they asked, if sand dunes were engineered to rise up and obscure the ocean view?

And many residents did not care for the aesthetics of the $98 million plan — declaring that they preferred the beach wide and flat, with the soft, light-colored native sand that they had grown up with.

So, six years ago, after the Army Corps of Engineers proposed to erect dunes and elevate beaches along more than six miles of coast to protect this barrier island, the Long Beach City Council voted 5 to 0 against paying its $7 million initial share and taking part.

Many of Long Beach’s 33,000 residents would come to regret it.

Sand Dunes Alone Will Not Save the Day

“If I was king, we would restore dunes, but we wouldn’t rebuild destroyed homes close to the beach, and we’d move some buildings back anyhow,” said Orrin H. Pilkey, the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University. “We would also put in regulations prohibiting intensification and development.”

Much of the dune debate leaves out those factors, Dr. Pilkey said. It’s a problem, he said, given that a severe storm will breach or remove even a large dune system. Whether a system holds up during the storm depends upon its size, the amount of vegetation anchoring the dunes and the storm’s ferocity.

Still Building at the Edges of the City, Even as Tides Rise

On the last Sunday in October, with the storm on its way, railroad workers in yellow slickers unrolled a 90-foot-long rubber bladder at the gaping mouth of a tunnel on the West Side of Manhattan. They began filling it with water, 32,000 gallons. Once engorged, the bladder stood five feet high. It was a formidable plug intended to defend Pennsylvania Station against Hudson River waters surging from the west into the train yards, and from there into the station.

The plan, as a news release from the Long Island Rail Road said, was “to fight water with water.”

It looked like a good, prudent idea. Then the storm came.

Orthodox Leader Deepens Progressive Stance on Environment

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has preached that caring for the environment is a religious imperative, a stance he has taken far enough to be considered revolutionary by some theologians.

U.S. Could Cut Power Plant Pollution 26%, NRDC Says

President Barack Obama could cut greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. power plants 26 percent by 2020, the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a plan that puts pressure on the administration to issue new rules.

Extreme weather is new normal, U.N.'s Ban tells climate talks

DOHA (Reuters) - Extreme weather is the new normal and poses a threat to the human race, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday as he sought to revive deadlocked global climate change talks.

AP Interview: UN chief blames rich for warming

DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- Rich countries are to blame for climate change and should take the lead in forging a global climate pact by 2015, a deadline that "must be met," the head of the United Nations said Wednesday.

On the sidelines of international climate talks in Qatar, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was "only fair and reasonable that the developed world should bear most of the responsibility" in fighting the gradual warming of the planet.

US more likely to ratify new climate deal, says envoy

DOHA — US deputy envoy on climate change Jonathan Pershing said on Wednesday morning the US was more likely to ratify the new legally binding global agreement on climate change that the world is negotiating than its predecessor, which it signed but never ratified.

The US is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, linked to climate change, accounting for 18.27% of total global emissions.

Climate Disasters Cost Arab Nations $12 Billion, World Bank Says

Disasters related to global warming have cost Arab nations $12 billion in the past 30 years and will accelerate as climbing temperatures make many cities in the region unlivable, the World Bank said in a report.

Without curbs on fossil-fuel emissions, the region can expect average temperatures to rise 6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, triple the target agreed on at United Nations climate talks and higher than the World Bank’s 4-degree estimate for the world.

Rising sea level puts island nations like Nauru at risk

(CNN) -- Kieren Keke remembers growing up on the Pacific island of Nauru, the world's smallest independent republic.

"The weather patterns were predictable," he says. "There was a wet season and a dry season, an annual cycle. When there was drought, it was limited."

"Now it's different," he tells CNN. "There's no predictability -- periods of drought can last seven or eight years, and when we get storms they are more intense. The coastline is being eroded. Now the sea is right up to people's doorsteps."

To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios

SWARTHMORE, Pa. — A group of Swarthmore College students is asking the school administration to take a seemingly simple step to combat pollution and climate change: sell off the endowment’s holdings in large fossil fuel companies. For months, they have been getting a simple answer: no.

As they consider how to ratchet up their campaign, the students suddenly find themselves at the vanguard of a national movement.

In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda.

Fossil-Fuel Subsidies of Rich Nations Five Times Climate Aid

Rich countries spend five times more on fossil-fuel subsidies than on aid to help developing nations cut their emissions and protect against the effects of climate change, the Oil Change International campaign group said.

In 2011, 22 industrialized nations paid $58.7 billion in subsidies to the oil, coal and gas industries and to consumers of the fuels, compared with climate-aid flows of $11.2 billion, according to calculations by the Washington-based group.

The data underline the steps developed nations may be able to take to cut their emissions as ministers from 190 nations meet in Doha to discuss measures to curb global warming. Eliminating the subsidies would reduce incentives to pollute and help rich nations meet their pledge to provide $100 billion a year in climate aid by 2020, said Stephen Kretzmann, the founder of Oil Change International.

From "Wasted Stimulus Work..."

“We cannot study this any longer, we need action, we need water now,”

Of course the demolition, which probably has to be done, will not bring more water, just room for barges on a shrinking river. Any desire to address issues that lead to drought? ** crickets **

"...we need water now"

This is an interesting situation to follow. Will the drought continue with water levels dropping further or suddenly spring back to life? There is always this presumption that even if some weather related problems occur, there is a manmade fix. We can throw money at hurricane relief, but we can't force the water level of the Mississippi to rise if rainfall drops to these lower levels permanently? Maybe a long term problem like this will have much more impact on people's views of GW than Sandy did.

I probably missed DB comment on Ken Burns The Dust Bowl on PBS a few weeks ago. If you did not see it is well worth it IMHO.

I was ignorant that accessing the Ogallala acquifer had as much to do with attenuating the dust bowl as did farming techniques, etc.

I was equally shocked that in the last segment when it was stated that about half of the acquifer has been drawn down since the the dust bowl. I cannot find the exact quote, but as I recall it was expressed in feet-depth of the acquifer.


Betting on fossil water

What stands between the United States and another environmental catastrophe that leaves millions of acres blowing in the wind is the Ogallala aquifer, which covers about 175,000 square miles. Geologic action created this reservoir more than a million years ago.

Like oil, this is fossil water that cannot be renewed once it is pumped out. Some 82 percent of the people living above the aquifer depend on it for clean drinking water. Stunningly, much of this precious and irreplaceable water is being used to grow corn to feed pigs and turkeys.

More worrisome, today nearly half the water is gone. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it “is being depleted at an unsustainable rate.” http://ogallala.ars.usda.gov/pdf/aboutogallala.pdf

In Burns’ film, Charles Shaw of Cimarron County, Oklahoma, says, “The only thing holding that ground together is that irrigation water that comes out of the Ogallala…we only got about 20 years of water left.”


I concur that the show is worth watching (and I watch almost no TV - don't have it at home). My only criticism is the bit too much time it spends in minute personal details, but that's Burns' MO. The depletion of aquifers - Ogallala and others - is yet one more precipice we are racing towards. Lester Brown has been beating this drum for decades. Deaf ears, mostly.

So when can we expect the construction crews, with military escort, to cross our border to start work on the NAWAPA project?

Just as soon as someone over here "figures out" that you dirty, toque-head Canuck terrorists have "our" water...

You may know this, but there are people who think Canada is both stealing U.S. water and illegally dumping waste in U.S. water. I met a few of them while working around Detriot a year or so ago, in the context of helping our folks up there deal with public concerns over other issues related to waterways.

So yeah, water is the new oil, keep your friends close and all that interesting times stuff. :-)

We just need to politically wrap a pipeline as economic stimulus and then we can build one all the way to the melting ice sheets and save our coastlines from rising oceans.

I can hear Obama now -

"As strange as this may sound it is cheaper to build a pipeline to the arctic than it is to fix all the destroyed infrastructure cause by rising oceans like we just witnessed in NY with hurricane Sandy and New Orleans previously."

"We need this water to grow corn for ethanol and secure our energy independence."

"This will create 150,000 new jobs by doing this, good jobs, ones you can raise a family on."

Available on Pirate Bay. I wont link to it in order to avoid the site getting problems but it is there if you look.

I think you can watch it free online at the PBS web site, though you might have to be in the U.S.

PBS usually puts their stuff online for free at their web site. They're a non-profit educational network.

Largely funded by the Koch brothers I believe.

National Petroleum Radio usually, but sometime being stenographers for the Pentagon takes president.

The Ogallala aquifer is, I believe, a confined aquifer which differs from an unconfined aquifer in that it is capped with rock that restricts recharge. Most confined aquifers get put on the depletion track as soon as they are tapped. Even unconfined aquifers face depletion because they are basically mined at a rate higher than normal, average recharge rates. Like many of the other tipping points in the gathering storm, aquifers are being stressed for the same reasons - basically too much unfettered use by an ever growing population which is unaware, unconcerned and sometimes actively mislead into thinking the problem is a) not a problem b) not their problem c) not long term d) make up your own.

Apparently the Ogallala does get some recharge, especially from playa lakes where there isn't a caliche caprock. According to the USGS (big pdf) recharge ranges from 0.024 inches/year (0.61 mm) to 6 inches/year (150 mm). However "In parts of the High Plains, annual pumpage of 2 to 100 times greater than annual recharge has caused large water-level declines." There has been some research into Artificial Aquifer Recharge. Note, however, that both these references are from the mid 1980's (just what I could dig up quickly). The situation is probably much worse now.

Bottom line is that the Great Plains are probably f**cked in the long run, with respect to water.

Here's how I've come to grok the issue via Lester Brown: Aquifer of 100 units, recharge of 10 units/yr. Pump less than 10 units/yr, all OK indefinitely. Pump 11 units/yr - trouble ahead. @ 11 units/yr of pumping, it would take 100 yrs to deplete the aquifer (-1/yr). What typically happens is that usage increases, such that the timeframe is shortened. In any event, say 20 units/yr is being pulled from the aquifer. Other than the need for deeper wells (familiar?), all works until that fateful year when all of a sudden, there's nothing left except the 10 recharge units. So water needs go from 'fully satisfied' to 'not enough by half' in a single year. Apparently Ogallala as well as other aquifers, such as in China, are in this situation. Certainly it's not quite that simple, but this does paint an understandable portrait of the problem.

Geologic action created this reservoir more than a million years ago.

More than a million years ago indeed. The Ogallala is a remnant of Miocene sediments that at one time covered the ancient Rocky Mountains. The Miocene is listed as 23 to 5 million years ago. A remnant also forms the 'gangplank' early settlers followed in their trip across the continent. The gangplank is a steady rise from western Nebraska to the continental divide. Union Pacific's transcontinental railroad follows the gangplank.

In Miocene time, the Rocky Mountains were rejuvenated and Miocene aged rock was eroded and deposited in the Gulf of Mexico. One mystery is where did all the Miocene sediments go ? Not enough sediments in the Gulf of Mexico to account for all that was eroded from the Rocky Mountain region.

There is a discussion of the Miocene in John McPhee's book 'Rising from the Plains', Noonday Press, 1986.

If any of you have never had the pleasure of reading any of John McPhee's books do yourself a big favor and get one.
Encounters with the Archdruid. Curve of the binding energy.

2nd the recommendation of McPhee. "Coming into the Country", about several Alaska issues, and "The Founding Fish", about shad's role in US history, and our decimation of them, are two I've enjoyed. He weaves natural history seamlessly into his story telling.

Even if the quantity of rain returns, if it comes in fewer-larger storms that may not be sufficient to operate shipping on the Mississippi River as has been done up to now.

This is an interesting situation to follow. Will the drought continue with water levels dropping further or suddenly spring back to life?

In the spring/summer of 2011, the opposite problem occurred. The Ohio flooded for much of the spring. Records were set for the release rates from the Missouri dams because the ACoE was worried that one or more the dams might fail under the strain. The Missouri below Omaha was at flood stage until sometime in October. Lots of places along the lower Mississippi were very badly flooded (IIRC, a bunch of people in the Atchafalaya basin were unpleasantly surprised that the ACoE was willing to flood them out in order to save Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Some of the climate change models predict increased winter and spring precipitation in the parts of Wyoming and Montana that feed the Missouri.

I'm 35 miles from the Headwaters of the Missouri River. Yesterday it poured. In 60+ years, I've never seen rain in December. Who knows how much snow we'll get in the mountains this winter. Year-to-year weather patterns have varied alot in the last ten years, from drought to spring time flooding.

But don't worry............

Round Tripper,

One year they are dynamiting the berms because the river is too high, the next year thinking of dynamiting rocks on the bottom of the river because it is too low.

Goldilocks seems to have been poisoned.

Wasted stimulus work? Why here in New York I personally saw dirt being scraped from the side of the road with stimulus money. Just because to my untrained eye there was no reason to do this and it seemed to have no value short or long term it seem unfair to call it wasted....

Link up top: On Tap at Belfer Center: Oil and Water: Study Shows Oil Production Capacity Much Greater Than Expected

Contrary to some predictions that world oil production has peaked or will soon do so, Maugeri projects that output should grow from the current 93 million barrels per day to 110 million barrels per day by 2020, the biggest jump in any decade since the 1980s.

This is an article that harks back to the much discussed Leonard Maugeri PDF file: Oil: The Next Revolutio.

There are two things very much wrong with that statement. First there was no jump at all in the decade of the 80s. in 1979 world C+C production was 62.674 mb/d. In 1990 it was 60.497 kb/d. So measuring from the previous peak in 1979 C+C production actually dropped by 2.177 mb/d during the 1980s. Of course so called "proven reserves" increased dramatically during the 1980s, due to all OPEC countries increasing their proven reserves with a pencil in order to keep their quota as high as possible.

And the world in not currently producing anywhere close to 93 million barrels per day, not even if you count NGLs, ethanol and everything else. What the article did not mention was Maugeri was talking about "production capacity" not actual production. Which explains why Maugeri thought "production capacity" went up in the 80s. If "proven reserves" increased dramatically during the 80s then "production capacity" must have done likewise even though actual production fell.

Wow! This guy is a real genius.

Another article appeared yesterday that refers to the same Maugeri study: Remembering "Peak Oil" Madness

What a difference a few years makes. The end is no longer nigh notes an item on future oil production in the winter issue of Harvard's Belfer Center newsletter:

And he quotes at length from Maugeri's paper:

"Oil production capacity is surging in the United States and several other countries at such a fast pace that global oil output capacity is likely to grow by nearly 20 percent by 2020—possibly prompting a plunge or even a collapse in oil prices."

Ron P.

Isn't it nice how you can buy Harvard's name to throw out whatever you want? Especially tamp down all the noise about expensive oil, after all cheap bountiful oil is in everyone's interest, whether your Harvard, Goldman, GM, ADM...go down the list.

I wouldn't call it buying Harvard's name - Harvard is a product of the system and one of the major supports of the system. IT is not a mistake that presidents, persidential contenders, and advisors are disproportionately from Harvard. Harvard is very willing to put its muscle behind this sort of stuff. That's what it exists for.

I don't know if it's what it exists for, but organizations like Harvard tend to be very conventional. They're at the top, so their natural tendency is to try to preserve the status quo.

The iconoclasts tend to come from very good second tier institutions. Like Avis, they're not on top, so they try harder.

Howard Gardner, who has won McArthur genius awards for his work on the origins of genius, found that genius springs from the edges. The elite, including schools like Harvard, tend not to produce it, because of that tendency toward conventionality that being at the top creates. But you need some connection to that center, too. It's difficult to develop genius in isolation, or extreme poverty. It builds on what comes before, and if you don't know what comes before, you're at a huge disadvantage.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending November 30, 2012

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged over 15.4 million barrels per day during the week ending November 30, 255 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 90.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging over 4.8 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 8.2 million barrels per day last week, up by 112 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.0 million barrels per day, 848 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 513 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 155 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 371.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 7.9 million barrels last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 3.0 million barrels last week but remained well below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.3 million barrels last week, but remained well above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 5.9 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged over 19.0 million barrels per day, up by 2.6 percent from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged over 8.6 million barrels per day, up by 0.1 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged over 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 1.8 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 1.2 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Re: UK oil output seen rising in next few years - study

Remarkable, so the U.K will ramp oil production by ~40% over the next few years.. Pretty impressive, maybe you can turn printed fiatcos into oil afterall, whocoudanode?

Actually, if the production increase happens as forecast, it'll be over 50%. In the first nine months of 2012, oil production was down a further 12.4% on the same period in 2011, see http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/statistics/source/oil/et3_10.xls . Over 50% increase in just 5 years would be a truly astonishing achievement!

UK natural gas production is also plummeting, down 13.5% in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. This after a fall of 20.8% in 2011. See http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/statistics/source/gas/et4_2.xls .

Could it be that the remarkable optimism of the Aberdeen study has to do with the fact that the authors are part-funded by 'a group of oil companies' (don't expect this to be mentioned in news reports)? See second page of this pdf http://homepages.abdn.ac.uk/e.phimister/pages/acreef/acreef%20papers/nsp... .

In 2011, the UK government increased taxes on the oil industry, and the Aberdeen academics produced a study (above pdf) concluding that 'The analysis indicates that the policy of maximising economic recovery from the UKCS has been impeded by the tax increases.' Subsequently, the government cut taxes on the oil industry, and now the academics are producing a wildly optimistic forecast. Could the fact that they are funded by the oil industry have anything to do with their conclusions?

I have a pretty good imagination but I just never could bring myself to take a job which relied on just making $hit up for a living....

F - "I just never could bring myself to take a job which relied on just making $hit up for a living...." Then you certainly would have little future as a petroleum geologist. LOL. Really. Many geologists I've worked with couldn't find oil on their driveway. The few good geologists develop reasonable scenarios to justify drilling. The others make up stories by selectively picking data that supports their interpretations. I'm not talking about pitching unrealistic ideas to the public but to their employers and cohorts working with them. I learned early on when reviewing prospects to not focus so much on what's being presented but what isn't being said. Lies of omission are very common. I never accept data blindly even from folks I tend to trust. I always go to the source. I've caught geologists that removed wells from they maps that shed a negative light on their idea. I've seen managers recommend drilling projects they knew had very little chance of success. But in the months it took to get the well drilled they could hang onto their salaries. Not getting wells drilled can get you fired as quickly as drilling dry holes.

So if the technical folks are willing to play such games with the folks signing their paychecks should anyone be surprised to see what they dish out to the public/politicians?

Rockman, there is a difference between being unduly optimistic and simply making $hit up....

Percentages can be misleading.
When 100 goes to 200 it goes up by 100%
When 200 goes back down to 100 it goes down 50%
In 1999 the UK produced roughly 2.9m bbls, now they produce about 1.1 so that is a 62% decline.
To get back to 2.9 however would require a 163% increase.
(in other words, watch your base number…..)


Deniability ?

Liability ?


F - Some would say it's a fine line. But that really depends upon one's ability to be introspective. A simple comparison: a major league baseball player is ranked one of the top if he only gets a hit 1 out 3 times at bat. IOW a 66% failure rate. If a geologist were to hit 1 out of 3 conventional wildcats he would be one of the richest in the biz very quickly. Exploration geologists, like westexas, have to be optimistic about their work product. Otherwise it can become very difficult to get out of bed every morning.

OTOH I have a tendency to not believe one damn word an explorationiist has to say. LOL. Why? If you haven't heard the story: when I was a pup starting in 1975 I was tasked with drilling development wells in the offshore GOM based upon the exploration geologists' maps. The 2 exploratory wells did find some oil/NG. Those were extrapolated across the rest of the field. My first 5 "low risk" development wells based upon those maps were dry holes. They reduced the field reserves from 125 bcf and 25 million bo to 25 bcf and 1 million bo. So were those geologists overly optimistic, just plain incompetent or did their desire to make a better year-end bonus blind them to the reality? I really did give a crap what the answer was. My nickname became the "undevelopment geologist". I did not find that humorous. I still don't. LOL.

Remember geologists (as well as the corporate managers) are making big bets where their reward can be huge. But they are almost always betting with someone else's money. And this is where being cruelly and unselfishly honest with yourself is critical. I've seen many cases when a geologist truly believed in his obviously crappy prospect. At times the flaws have been so obvious it was uncomfortable pointing them out. This differs from those who know they have crappy prospects but it's all they have to pitch so they'll do their best to deceive their audience. The same can be said for anyone with an agenda that requires them to convince folks of the likelihood of the unlikely happening.

It can be a fine line at times but I try not to argue against folks who make simple optimistic projections about our future energy supplies. OTOH it's difficult to pass on statements that are grossly ignorant/deceptive.

F - Some would say it's a fine line. But that really depends upon one's ability to be introspective. A simple comparison: a major league baseball player is ranked one of the top if he only gets a hit 1 out 3 times at bat. IOW a 66% failure rate. If a geologist were to hit 1 out of 3 conventional wildcats he would be one of the richest in the biz very quickly. Exploration geologists, like westexas, have to be optimistic about their work product. Otherwise it can become very difficult to get out of bed every morning.

OTOH I have a tendency to not believe one damn word an explorationiist has to say. LOL. Why? If you haven't heard the story: when I was a pup starting in 1975 I was tasked with drilling development wells in the offshore GOM based upon the exploration geologists' maps. The 2 exploratory wells did find some oil/NG. Those were extrapolated across the rest of the field. My first 5 "low risk" development wells based upon those maps were dry holes. They reduced the field reserves from 125 bcf and 25 million bo to 25 bcf and 1 million bo. So were those geologists overly optimistic, just plain incompetent or did their desire to make a better year-end bonus blind them to the reality? I really didn't give a crap what the answer was. My nickname became the "undevelopment geologist". I did not find that humorous. I still don't. LOL.

Remember geologists (as well as the corporate managers) are making big bets where their reward can be huge. But they are almost always betting with someone else's money. And this is where being cruelly and unselfishly honest with yourself is critical. I've seen many cases when a geologist truly believed in his obviously crappy prospect. At times the flaws have been so obvious it was uncomfortable pointing them out. This differs from those who know they have crappy prospects but it's all they have to pitch so they'll do their best to deceive their audience. The same can be said for anyone with an agenda that requires them to convince folks of the likelihood of the unlikely happening.

It can be a fine line at times but I try not to argue against folks who make simple optimistic projections about our future energy supplies. OTOH it's difficult to pass on statements that are grossly ignorant/deceptive.

Do you guys toss a coin before drilling a hole ? :)

WI - Never is the decision left up purely to chance. There are very distinct motives behind every choice. Some honest/honorable and others not so much. I've had contracts terminated because I wouldn't sign off on bogus interpretations. And I've forced operators to sign disclaimers before I would release data to them so in case they lied to someone I could prove that I didn't participate in the lie.

Do you guys toss a coin before drilling a hole ?

Personally, I toss darts at a map.


I had a friend who prospected gold in the Forty-Mile country. First few seasons he and his partner used to spin a bottle on a quad map before they dragged their heavily laden plastic sleds off into the wilderness following general bearing at which the bottle stopped. They eventually made a strike, though I think they had refined their methods some by then.

Of course in that country even 'sophisticated plans' can go awry. The guys went out travelling light on the trip they finally made a decent strike, but they had a supply plane contracted to come in after about a week or two. Well a huge fog settled in and wouldn't move for many days. No planes could come into that. They were running out of food and decided they had better walk out but got lost following the ridges (it's near impossible to walk in those tangled bottoms). Finally the fog lifted enough for them to see the bottoms and the flow direction of the streams so they could figure where they were. They darned near didn't make it back.

Of course we refine our dart throwing with some expensive seismic, logs from other wells in the area, etc. Even with that, however, drilling exploration wells is always a gamble. Heck, even drilling development wells has an element of risk. It isn't all that difficult to drill a dry hole in the middle of a known oil field. I've done that, more than once. The earth is full of surprises. Sometimes good surprises, sometimes not so good.

Regarding the Forty-Mile country, I once did a caribou hunt on one of those ridge systems. One of the Warbelow bros from 40 Mile Air flew us up in a super-cub. Landed on a sloping tennis court sized spot on a ridge. Quite exciting. We didn't go down into the valley bottoms at all on that trip. Looked like mosquito h*ll down there! Taking off in the super cub from that ridge top was even more exciting.

Not getting wells drilled can get you fired as quickly as drilling dry holes.

True, that.


Er, that's a little disconcerting to hear...
For an Average Joe that already has enough concerns. :(

Come on guys, let's take a positive attitude here.

Once Buzzard and Elgin/Franklin are back on stream again, that gives us something like a 25% production rebound. Then we've got Mariner/Bressay and Clair Extension to look forward to - maybe another 25%. So that totals 50% increase!

It would of course be very bad manners to mention decline rates in our other producing fields...

Over 50% increase in just 5 years would be a truly astonishing achievement!...

Could it be that the remarkable optimism of the Aberdeen study has to do with the fact that the authors are part-funded by 'a group of oil companies'...

Or could it have anything to do with trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the scots, so a good deal can be negotiated to both kick them out of the union AND have tax funds heading south of the border that aren't backed up by production?

"Sure, you can have the oil revenues, provided you give us a one of fee of £xxbn to cover the long term loss of tax revenue. We'll even take it in exchanged liability for the debts of RBS."

This is why I'm happy when I get back to TOD:

Plenty of distressing facts, alternating w. :) :).

You would think that the UK production would be an ideal subject for rigorous research in academic circles, or even by an enthusiastic TOD contributor. The stats on individual field production rates are all there, recorded monthly. The onshore contribution is negligible, if you remove Wytch Farm, which is really an offshore field produced by deviated wells from onshore. So current UK production comes from only just over 150 fields (25 of which are onshore).


Instead of this no doubt worthy statistical assessment by a think tank using Monte Carlo scenarios, a more grounded, journalistic approach would be welcome. In addition to the monthly production data, there are several regular sources of reported 'new' activity. Combining the new data with the historical declines, should give a much more accurate estimate of what we can be expecting to produce in each of the next 5 years.

They are probably nationalists. The SNP is relying on oil revenues to balance the budget for an independent Scotland. If oil doesn't go back up, an independent Scotland would be bankrupt in short order. With a referendum on independence coming up soon, the SNP is boosting Scottish oil to make independence look lucrative rather than admit it will require tax increases or benefit reductions.

Sounds a good explanation.


Re: Through the looking glass: curious tale of rising oil prices (uptop)

As Lewis Carroll's Alice would have observed, it was curiouser and curiouser that such high prices persisted despite a weak global economy and rising stocks.

Some definitions:

GNE = Top 33 net exporters in 2005, BP + Minor EIA data, total petroleum liquids
CNI = Chindia's Net Imports

If the GNE/CNI ratio were to hit 1.0, the Chindia region alone would theoretically consume 100% of GNE, which most of us think can't happen, but the rate of decline in the ratio has accelerated in recent years, at least through 2011. So we are currently headed, at an accelerating rate of decline, toward a situation that would destroy a good deal of the global economy.

New chart, courtesy of a helpful Oil Drummer: Ratio of GNE to CNI versus annual Brent crude oil prices:

In 2002, there were 11 barrels of GNE for every one barrel that Chindia net imported, and the annual Brent price was $25.

In 2011, there were 5.3 barrels of GNE for every one barrel that Chindia net imported, and the annual Brent price was $111.

At the 2005 to 2011 rate of decline in the ratio of GNE to CNI, in 2030 there would be one barrel of GNE for every one barrel that Chindia would net import, and oil prices would be?

Looks like the ratio may level off at 5:1 or 4:1, which equals Chindia's share of the world economy.

There's something strange going on with your graph: 2004 follows 2002, 2008 follows 2006, 2012 follows 2010.

Thanks. The slides are a work in progress.

For the poor, 'recovery' is a mirage

This pain has festered even as the circumstances for many Americans have improved. Although the U.S. poverty rate hovers at a daunting 15%, economists agree a slow recovery is afoot. Housing prices are stabilizing, manufacturing is rebounding and last week's consumer confidence index reached the highest level in five years.

But for people in Troy — and the tens of millions of Americans like them — the daily hardships of poverty aren't captured in statistics or healed by political promises. As lawmakers in Washington grapple with the "fiscal cliff" and Americans do their holiday shopping, thousands of people in Miami County are managing on little or no income.

Rather than being in an economic recovery, I contend that we entered an ever deepening economic depression in 2007. This view is based on the following:

1.While GDP has grown an average of less than 3% since 2009, Federal Government debt has grown at an average rate of 8% of GDP. Therefore the real productive economy has grown at an average rate of minus 5%.
2.The Federal Reserve has tripled its balance sheet over this same period. This action destroys wealth. Additionally, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve has repeatedly encouraged the Federal Government to borrow and spend even more.
3.The unemployment rate has declined from near 10% to 8.2%, but this is a misleading, almost fraudulent, statistic. The unemployment rate ignores those who have dropped out of the labor force. The unemployment rate has fallen but the number of people employed has fallen at a greater rate. Therefore, there are now fewer people employed than at the beginning of 2007.
4.Wages and salaries have declined relative to officially stated cost of living for at least a decade.
5.Interest rates have been held at historic lows for the past three years.
6.Residential real estate prices have fallen 30%. There are approximately 5.8 million single-family residences currently in default or foreclosure
7.There are approximately 46 million people on SNAP (food stamps).
8. Student debt is approaching $1.0 trillion and exceeds both credit card and automobile debt.
9.In August, 12.5 million workers were unemployed and 5.0 million had been unemployed more than 26 weeks. Another large group was employed part time, frequently in low paid retail clerk and fast food jobs.

I believe that at their September meeting, the Federal Reserve validated my position. They decided to hold interest rates near 0% through mid 2015 and establish an open ended printing of $40 billion per month. They stated that both of these extra ordinary actions were required to sustain a still struggling economy.

I apologize for being too lazy to include validating links.

Thanks, TNG,

Don't be lazy, though - I'd like to send your post to my favorite economists. :)

You know how they're always big on references. :)

Yes you are absolutely right.

You have to remember how the propaganda now works:
1) good news is good news.
2) bad news is good news, because the Fed will print more money!

So everything is turned into "good news." The reason is so that society can avoid making difficult changes, so that a select few can run away with billions of fiat dollars.

This was always going to be the endpoint, really.

Fiat dollars are going to zero -- the end game is that a select few run away with gold and silver, and agricultural land.

Why does it have to be a select few? Anyone can buy gold and silver bullion. I don't buy the argument that people don't have money to buy it. People have money to buy $30,000 cars, eat out, eat junk food, go to Disney world, buy too many clothes and shoes... They could buy a cheap used car, save money, and use it to buy hard assets.

The think the problem is that people are too lazy to think for themselves. It is a lot easier to be influenced by TV or authority figures. TV tends to promote what is good for corporations and the very rich people (prescription drugs, debt, junk food, big SUVs, mindless shopping, etc).

Buying gold just isn't very satisfying. It's a lump of yellow metal that might be worth something someday, but right now isn't much use to an American. Frankly I get a much greater rush (and more utility) buying a new pair of mountaineering boots than 1/2oz of gold. I suspect that's the real reason.

Now, you come down from the mountains with a pouch of yellow powder, walk into the trading station and buy a pair of new boots. With your gold. And stock up on more ammo and supply, and then head back up the mountains again. Now that would make you feel manly, wouldn't it?

Unfortunately, *now* I come down from the mountains and need a new pair of boots...go to the store and assuming they actually have any (vs. the internet), I give them my pouch of yellow powder and they look at me like "WTF? We only take cash or credit." Then I have to go exchange my yellow powder for dollars and pay exhange fees and then go back to the store and give them dollars. Of course someday in the future *maybe* there will be a gold bartering system, but if that's the case I'm guessing I won't be buying any fancy mountaineering boots either.

Besides, with dollars still the defacto standard, why in the heck would I get rid of my gold in exchange for anything when instead I can just get rid of worthless paper or binary digits? I'd never spend gold when dollars are still in style. Which brings us back to hoarding gold...which just isn't very stimulating right now.

Buying gold is about protecting your purchasing power and protecting yourself from fraud and counter party default. It is highly unlikely that we will barter with gold; we will always have paper currency. You sell your gold when you have no choice; otherwise you pass it to your heirs or donate it to charity (if you don't have heirs).

3.The unemployment rate has declined from near 10% to 8.2%, but this is a misleading, almost fraudulent, statistic....there are now fewer people employed than at the beginning of 2007.

You are being deeply misleading by conflating two very different time periods.

The unemployment rate in early 2007 was 4.5%. As compared to the period when the unemployment rate was near 10% (late 2009 to early 2010), there are now about 5 million more people employed in the US, with 3 million of those added in the last 12 months.

I watched this series on ABC TV this week:

"Why Poverty? Park Avenue"


740 Park Ave, New York City, is home to some of the wealthiest Americans. Ten minutes to the north, over the Harlem River, is the other Park Avenue in South Bronx, where more than half the population need food stamps and children are 20 times more likely to be killed.
In the last 30 years, inequality has rocketed in the US - many Americans now think the American Dream only applies to those with enough money to lobby politicians for friendly bills from Capitol Hill.

Sadly in Australia we are beginning to see the signs of similar developments.

Shell’s Failed Arctic Oil Spill Equipment: ‘Breached Like A Whale’ And ‘Crushed Like A Beer Can’

So they tried to test the collection of spilled oil using a dome and the dome floated, slammed into something, and failed. Anybody remember how that worked out for the Deepwater Horizon spill? Not too well - The dome in that case thing floated as was readily predictable by anyone who understands the basic physics of flotation. If Shell can't even get basic things like this right in a test in Puget Sound, they have no business drilling offshore in the Arctic.

Wow, check out how much flaring is going on in North Dakota!

I think we are going to regret throwing away so much natural gas some day.

In this image provided by NASA, the United States of America is seen at night from a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The image was made possible by the new satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires, and reflected moonlight. (AP Photo/NASA) l

I was looking at this version earlier

and was quite surprised to see the North Slope was brighter than Anchorage but that turned around when I shrunk the image--the main reason I was surprised is because very little gas is flared on the slope any more and even though the complex is really spread out the lighting is not near as dense as in a city--shrinking the image made dimmer spots almost disappear (oh I'm talking about those dim little spots kind of making a vertical line with a very dim Fairbanks in the center in the upper left corner) and the eye was not as easily deceived. North Dakota shines bright regardless how I size the image.

Our Australian Government has recently passed a token carbon tax, in the hope you Northern Hemites follow suit... Yeah, right!

Why is Western Australia lit up so much on the above photo?

Helluva good question. Hadn't noticed that. What's out there? Any Oz Drummers got thoughts?

Yair . . .

Helluva good question. Hadn't noticed that. What's out there? Any Oz Drummers got thoughts?

Depends when the picture was taken . . . with the time difference maybe they're still partying and the rest of Oz is crashed out? . . . does that work?


The pictures are composites from a month of spring and of fall shots if I recall--got to get the clear nights everywhere...still that huge amount of light in central western Australia, pretty much in the swath bounded by the Great Sandy in the north and Great Victoria in the south...Is there that much mineral development in that arid region?

When I look at a higher def versions far more lights show up in that section of Australia than on Australia's east coast or than in the US Great Basin/Rocky Mountain regions taken together for that matter. Is that light really there, or is it just kind of a pop quiz to see if we are paying any attention?

I think that's where the Australian government is keeping all the giant bioluminescent marsupials it has been breeding...

I knew there had to be a logical explanation.

I'm a long time reader of the oil drum and I finally created an account to reply to this. The lights in Western Australia are wild fires. There's a video from Nasa going into more detail on the lights here. (Video at bottom of the page)


Thanks for the explanation, and welcome. I travelled the Stuart highway - including Uluru/Olgas and Kings Canyon - a decade ago. Saw the 'tracks' that led west from there. Couldn't imagine what could be out there that would yield such lights...

Thanks, I read that and forgot it once quizzed on these pages, F for me.

Thanks UKReader. I got around to asking some friends and posted very belated my reply before I saw this.

Luke - Did you notice the flares offshore Nigeria? They show up clearly on your pic. When I was working offshore Equatorial Guinea dozens were easily visible at night. Between that sight and the 25 million cu ft of NG we were flaring in my field all you could do is get depressed.

Yeah, what is the name of that mega-city in the northern plains near the Canadian border ?..........lessee.... north and east of 45 35 25, 104 42 55...........Wil.........Willis...... oh Williston, Williston, ND.

Not to worry though, the director says flaring is down to 30%......that's encouraging, only 8 million cfd.


Williston is the county seat of Williams County, North Dakota, in the United States.[5] With a population of 14,716 at the 2010 census,[6] The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 2011 population is 16,006,[7] making it the ninth largest city in North Dakota.

Mega-city indeed.

I wonder if there should be a law preventing such large amounts of flaring. Free-marketwise flaring makes sense. But in the long term . . . it just seems we will look back and say "What were we thinking?" It is throwing away silver because the gold is so much more valuable.

Looks like quite a belt of flares below San Antonio, between there and Laredo/Corpus Christi. I don't think there are than many towns there. Don't think Eagle Ford is there, so which play would that be?


Eagle Ford Map

Yes, I think you see it there.


I was pretty sure you would mention the offshore African flares--more extensive N/S than I expected they'd be. I followed a few links and I finally found a trail to a working link to NASA Earth Observatory where I finally found a large image of the flat map that actually loaded in a reasonable amount of time with my end of the wire DSL--guess I'm lucky to have that out at the edge of that tiny dot light in the north?-).

[note: it really helps to have a large laminated world flat map that uses the same distortion technique alongside the computer screen--and that flat map. It is well worth clicking that link and emailing it full sized--a far clearer picture emerges from the email and it is still less than 800KB attachment]

big story of the day....
"NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A new judge was assigned Wednesday to the case against two BP supervisors charged in the deaths of 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in 2010, after the previous judge disclosed his wife owns stock in one of the contractors."

i think this the 3rd judge.

check this one out.....
"Exporting natural gas would benefit the U.S. economy even if it led to higher domestic prices for the fuel, according to a study commissioned by the Energy Department."

the oil drum needs a WTF catagory.

like this one also (happy motoring)
"ATLANTA (AP) -- A chance encounter at a Georgia gas station left a 65-year-old woman dead and a 73-year-old man facing a murder charge after authorities say the woman's car and his motorized wheelchair bumped and he opened fire, police said Wednesday."

the oil drum needs a WTF catagory.

Perfectly logical, it benefits NG producers, who have the money to by politicos. It also perfectly fits into our party now, don't worry about the future culture. Nothing to see here, move right along now.

RE: AP Interview: UN chief blames rich for warming

The UN vote on Palestinian UN limited membership was vigorously opposed by the U.S. and Israel.

The nations rejected the U.S. position overwhelmingly.

The U.S. is the only nation now where it is controversial when a main stream news anchor says global warming is real.

Meanwhile, the Arctic scorecard for 2012 indicates a fundamental change in the Arctic environment:

Large changes in multiple indicators are affecting climate and ecosystems, and, combined, these changes provide strong evidence of the momentum that has developed in the Arctic environmental system due to the impacts of a persistent warming trend that began over 30 years ago. A major source of this momentum is the fact that changes in the sea ice cover, snow cover, glaciers and Greenland ice sheet all conspire to reduce the overall surface reflectivity of the region in the summer, when the sun is ever-present. In other words, bright, white surfaces that reflect summer sunlight are being replaced by darker surfaces, e.g., ocean and land, which absorb sunlight. These conditions increase the capacity to store heat within the Arctic system, which enables more melting - a positive feedback. Thus, we arrive at the conclusion that it is very likely that major changes will continue to occur in the Arctic in years to come

(NOAA 2012 Arctic Report Card).

The U.S. is becoming the focus of the worlds scorn because our foreign policy and environmental policies are approaching pure madness.

I just emerged from a several-day series of meetings...nothing to do with climate change/global warming...but with a group of well-paid, highly educated people working in the public capacity. Two people, during most breaks, including lunches, went on and on (independently) mocking the whole idea of global warming, seething with contempt for the likes of President Carter, Vie President Gore, President Obama, and anyone else they could use as scapegoats to project onto their fear of having to someday possibly amend their wealthy first-World lifestyle, even slightly.

It is interesting how people who talk loud and fast and relentlessly can hijack and monopolize water cooler conversation.

Hey did you all know that we have been experiencing global warming for 10,000 years, and we should be thankful for this, else we would still be an ice age? See, it is just that simple to wave away any namby-pamby concerns...just keep yakking loud and fast and in anger.

There will be no organized,concerted effort to reduce CO2 emissions...we are baking whatever level of AGW that will occur into the cake, and will keep on baking...might as well go outside and shout at the rain.

There will be no organized,concerted effort to reduce CO2 emissions...

I'd say that if you insert the word "voluntary" before the word "effort", you've got it nailed.

There may come a point, and soon, after which it is inappropriate to continue engaging blithering idiots in consensus decision-making.

There may come a point, and soon, after which it is inappropriate to continue engaging blithering idiots in consensus decision-making.

You mean like this interview with Bill Nye and Marc Morano?


That was painful....

yep, good example. Talking fast and sounding sure of yourself trumps facts in most human situations.

It's interesting that climate campaigners have their facts pretty well straight, but treat the culture with a naive fairy-tale level of disconnect, as though they really believe that the earth's big chance at salvation is the more-or-less spontaneous enlightenment of the masses. The masses, it seems to be presumed, will suddenly seize upon the scientific data and smack their foreheads, saying "egad! what geese we have been!" and cast off their existing beliefs in favor of the scientific method; immediately adopting an ethic of ascetic deprivation in the noble cause of saving the planet.

Ain't gonna happen.

Sheep need border collies.

"Sheep need border collies."

Proposal for QOTW, seconders?


I'll second that :)

It's impossible to argue once someone starts shouting at you, if you shut your mouth you are 'defeated' and if you shout back above the din you are now one of them. I recollect Chomsky saying something to this regard, something like (this is from memory) "What do you do when someone yells and calls you a thief, do you reply that you are not a thief ? because that's what all thieves do right ? The accuser has scored a point, the damage is done"

MSM is like that, no meaningful debate can be carried out there, once you are in front of the camera you are in the arena and you are participating in the games, it's all posturing even if you intend to argue constructively.

I agree.
But it might be possible if they are shouting at the crowd rather than at you, to hand them a nice fresh coffee as if to a distressed friend? And then move on.

The thing to do is to analyse the debate method in public. Say to the camera that the guy is talking loud and fast to sound convincing, and that is a well known debate technique, but his facts are actually wrong.

Yes, but in the case of CNN, the thing to do is behave. They created the ruse of a scientific debate to the point they had to post online that the denier was in fact no sort of scientists and that he's wrong. The problem is the cow was out of the barn.

We are so far beyond reality-based news programming that we will not recover. This is all done in a futile effort to outright create false balance rather than report the truth.

An example of telling the truth on MSM ...

Tom Ricks and Media Truth-Telling About Fox News

It took less than 90 seconds of airtime, but Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Ricks did real damage to Fox News yesterday when he stated clearly and unequivocally that the channel operates "as a wing of the Republican Party," and that Fox had spent weeks politicizing and hyping the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

By quickly ushering the national security expert off the air and then having a staffer castigate him for being "rude," Fox proved it's not interested in having open debate. ... Fox News might have freaked out when Ricks tied them to the GOP, but outside of Fox studios that's considered common knowledge.

... truth has a lifetime of 90 seconds.

Gone in 90 seconds...

Ricks: How many security contractors died in Iraq do you know?
Anchor: I don't.
Ricks: No, nobody does, because nobody cared.
We know that several hundred died but there was never an official count done. SO when i see this focus on what was essentially a small firefight -- one, I've covered firefights a lot of firefights -- it's impossible to figure out what happened in them sometimes.
And second, I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party."


The Washington Post uncovered a tape with a representative for Fox News president Ailes and then-General Robert Petraeus in Spring of 2011. Ailes pretty much puts his full support behind Petraeus to run for president with himself running the campaign, Rupert Murdoch funding it, and perhaps more of the staff helping in some way. Does this give the public any doubt as to what Fox News' intentions are?

Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, offers General Petraeus the presidency bankrolled by Rupert Murdoch.

We look further into Roger Ailes, the power behind the throne of right wing politics in America, whose emissary was caught on tape offering the recently-disgraced General Petraeus the presidency.

Yeah, that was an awesome 90 seconds of reality that got pushed out on Fox "news". I think Fox has gone so off-the-rails that they actually helped Mitt Romney lose the election. Fox News had been propagating the myth that Obama never uttered the word 'terror' in connection with the Libya attack. This meme got into the Romney campaign and into Mitt Romney himself. Then in the second debate, Mitt Romney said Obama never used the phrase 'attack of terror' in connection with the Libya consulate attack. Obama called him on it, Candy Crowley backed him up, and Mitt got laughed at in front of 65 million people on live national television.

Fox spent the next day whining about Candy stepping into the debate (we can't have truth!) and trying say 'attack of terror' was not the same as a terrorist attack. Clowns. Mitt didn't have much chance but any chance he had was wiped out at that moment.

Ulan Baskaw,

Yes, it is the good citizen who has learned to properly hallucinate with regularity and consistency.

I was thinking the other day that maybe the rest of the world should join forces and declare war on the US.

But then it would not be needed, we could just refuse to export stuff to you or lend you money, if we actually wanted. Just that, we don't.

Clearly a shooting war wouldn't work, the imbalance of fancy shiny military toys being what it is. At some point at expect an effort to embargo companies from denialist nations (not just the US) will get started. Maybe that will get corps to change sides in the debate?

If "the rest of the world" decided that the US (and the rest of the Western World) posed an existential threat to humanity, things might get interesting. However, a frontal attack, as in a war, would be a losing choice, as we (meaning, the US) have a massive capacity to destroy any concentration of enemy forces. Economic warfare would be another option and we may be experiencing that at the moment, for all one can tell. For example, there's the old fear that the Chinese would dump their holdings of US government bonds on the market, pushing interest rates to punishing levels, causing US debt payments to eat the entire Federal budget. Or, inflating the dollar to destroy it's present status as the world reserve currency would probably result in the collapse of the US economy, as oil prices would skyrocket, making the US uncompetitive in the world market. Or, the Euro nations might find themselves targeted one at a time, much like Greece and Spain, eventually breaking up the Euro market, which would hit the US rather hard as well. There's always the possibility that China might side with Iran, buying Iranian oil with gold or consumer goods and shipping both using Chinese flagged tankers, thus bypassing OECD sanctions.

Peak Oil and Global Warming will certainly make the future very interesting. Pass the popcorn and hold on to your seat...

E. Swanson

And with the EU being China's biggest export market weakening their economy helps China how??????
Maybe we can blame it all on the Trilateral Commission, I don't think they have been at the center of the the world wide conspiracy theory market for a few decades now. Their's would seem a fresh face to blame to most of the cybersphere, much like forty-fifty year old men's fashions become the latest and greatest new trend in style.

How you ask? Well, I prefaced my comment by the assumption that the rest of the would decides that western civilization is an existential threat. That would then lead to other countries, such as China and India, deciding that what had been good for their economies was actually bad, or, perhaps, that Global Warming will hurt them more than the loss of business to the Western nations. At the moment, China appears to be unwilling to slow its own environmental destructive activities, but my assumption is that this position would change along with the climate. Otherwise, things will just keep on moving in the same direction, with some progression of local resource wars being the more likely result, not the sort of total World War which Jedi Welder suggested...

E. Swanson

China is also an existential threat but they are insisting on their "right" to continue to grow until they at least catch up to the United States. In the mean time, they feel they get a free pass. The U.S., as long as consider it imperative to continue to grow into the indefinite future cannot do anything sway China to engage in different behavior.

Frankly, about the only thing that would slow down global warming at this point would be a worldwide series of nuclear explosions.

As it is, the current weather patterns in most of the United States would indicate that we may already be in an irreversible pattern of dangerous global warming. As it is, I am still waiting for winter in the mountains of northern Colorado.

The problem is humanity and its insistence on growth into the indefinite future with respect to resource extraction and population expansion. There is nothing on the horizon that would indicate that we are willing to take any short or long term actions that would actually stop or slow down the current trajectory. We are willing to let the ultimate results of the existential threat to occur.

We were willing to fight World War II at the cost of millions of lives and billions of dollars of resources. The sacrifices that were made are incomprehensible to our current generations. We are in a wilderness of indifference, short term pleasure seeking, and complete disregard for future generations of human and non human species. Our irresponsibility is just astounding.

Although there are policies required that depend upon congressional approval, Obama could do a great deal more using his executive authority under the clean air act, for example. But all we hear are crickets and obsession with going over the cliff, which doesn't even come close to representing an existential threat.

You pretty well neutralized you initial assumption when you wrote

Economic warfare would be another option and we may be experiencing that at the moment, for all one can tell

My response was basically 'Yes at the moment we can tell. China is not trying to shred the EU or sink the US because they really are fond of selling them lots and lots of stuff. The massive rural to urban migration right now occurring in China makes their biggest concern about the west whether or not the 'checks' are still good.' I just didn't put it in quite so many words.

A world war possibility is out there, even the big think tanks have started to edge up the odds, but they still rate the probability of one as quite low. I thought it intriguing that, Jedi, a citizen of a country that profited by its neutrality in WWII, suggested starting a shooting war. Maybe he figures Sweden could really be sitting pretty if it was able to skirt the next one too.

So far events haven't started to cascade in the direction of a major conflict. That of course is no guarantee that tighter 'everything' availability for a growing population won't shift things some in a generation give or take. A whole lot really 'depends on the weather.'

Toronto's Mayor Ford...

Model-T Ford breaks down
A city and its government are stuck in gridlock

...Mr Ford’s term has been “a constant sideshow of litigation, gaffes and a distracting focus on high-school football,” said Josh Matlow, who represents a central ward. If the city council is to deal with Toronto’s problems, “this circus” must come to an end, he added.

Stand on the platform at St Andrew subway station in the city centre and Toronto’s problems are evident. The walls are grimy, and sections of vinyl panelling are missing. Renovations begun in 2009 are unfinished. Chronic underfunding of an overburdened public-transport network, and the council’s lengthy wrangling over a new plan have created a shabby and truncated subway that is unfit for the world-class metropolis Toronto claims to be. Although several new light-rail lines funded by Ontario’s provincial government are being built, the lack of public transport means that more than 70% of residents in the greater Toronto area with jobs drive to work. They face longer journey times than commuters in car-obsessed Los Angeles.

Our mayor is truly an embarrassment that grows daily.

However, to put the Economist's figures in context, in 2006 according to Statistics Canada 22.2% of those with jobs used public transit to get to work, the highest figure in Canada (Ottawa - 19.4%, Vancouver 16.5%, Calgary 15.6%), so if we are truly at 30%, which I think is probably wrong, then it would be quite an accomplishment.

Toronto is taking delivery of new subway cars, some of which are in service now, and new streetcars. Two new rail lines are currently under construction (Eglinton & Pearson-Union), the subway is being extended, and GO Transit commuter rail is extended almost every year and a few extensions are currently under way. Two additional LRT lines are planned and funded (Sheppard, Finch), and the Scarborough RT will be refurbished and extended and that project is also funded, though not under way yet.

There is much to complain about with regards to public transit in Toronto, but Ford has generally been unable to show the leadership to bring council to support his transit vision, a fact for which I am extremely grateful.

You got a problem with Ferris wheels. That's a transit vision everyone should have gotten behind!

:  )   sarc off

You got a problem with Ferris wheels.

Perhaps they could make it bigger and lay it on it's side >;-)

sort of like this: http://www.mjcpl.org/rivertorail/images/82.jpg

But with more wagons.


For us BCers it has been a real pleasure to see the eyes of Canada on dysfunctional Toronto than the wacky west coast. I wonder how it feels to morph into this role from smugness of past?


Surprised nobody posted this piece by Professor Hamilton...

Exhaustible Resources and Economic Growth

My view is that with these new fields and new technology, we’ll see further increases in U.S. and world production of oil for the next several years. But, unlike many other economists, I do not expect that to continue for much beyond the next decade. We like to think that the reason we enjoy our high standard of living is because we have been so clever at figuring out how to use the world’s available resources. But we should not dismiss the possibility that there may also have been a nontrivial contribution of simply having been quite lucky to have found an incredibly valuable raw material that was relatively easy to obtain for about a century and a half.

My view is that stagnant world oil production and doubling in the real price of oil over 2005-2010 put significant burdens on the oil-consuming economies. Optimists may expect the next century and a half to look like the last. But we should also consider the possibility that it will be only the next decade that looks like the last.

The title on his blog that linked to his article was just... Peak Oil

I am beginning to think that future will indeed look like some of the dystopian sci-fi movies (sans the flying cars) where technology marches side by side with poverty, we'll possibly get more and more gadgets, maybe even some kind of dream inducing chemicals like inception. All to keep the poor people immersed in some kind of a virtual world. There will be more robots as resources become scarce and more people will be out looking for work, which will unfortunately never come by. There will be counter movements like permaculture and off the grid etc but by and large their impact will be limited.

Just one of the few possible scenarios.

The rich/the rest schism deepens and widens...very plausible.

That is the hope of the plutocracy.

Different hopes for different folks.

Except that they've banned all of the cheap escapist drugs and whatnot. No pot, LSD, cocaine, shrooms. There's alcohol and that works for many people. The pharmaceutical companies want their pound of flesh...need to escape - you need anti-depressants, but you also need medical coverage so you can afford to get the prescription and to buy them.

A self-reinforcing collapse has been created...they've created a wasteland where people want to do drugs to escape - then they've made those drugs illegal, so they send people to prison which puts a huge tax burden on society - then the person has a criminal record and can't get a job, is forced to do what they have to in order to survive, goes back to prison, burden on society - rinse, repeat.

Take for example the woman living in her car so that she can build up enough money to actually get out of the "poverty trap." One day she'll park somewhere she shouldn't have and a cop will give her a ticket or take her in for trespassing or loitering and from there will be a swirl down the bowl...court costs, fines that she might not be able to pay, might cause her to miss work or get fired, her "house" might be impounded. Another life senselessly wasted.

Enter for-profit prisons who lobby for stricter laws so they can get more "clients" and collection agencies who give kickbacks to local courts for being their attack dog and putting people in nouveau debtor's prisons (generally causing them to lose their jobs and wind up worse off than they were before).

Good points about drugs and the spiral but from where I see it our media, TV and now the internet are the real drugs, no conspiracy required, money and business practices ensure it's survival and prosperity. After all who could have predicted that somewhere in the second decade of 21st century a vast number of people will spend 1/3rd of their lives in front of a large glowing screen and the rest in front of a small hand-held glowing screen. In some ways we already live virtual lives.

AFAIK there is still a lot of resistance in society about 'traditional' drugs, but as the cost of 'war on drugs' escalates and they appear as lucrative tax sources I believe that resistance will also go away.

As far as prison system goes as you already mentioned I expect more prison systems to compete with cheap slave labor to ensure it's own survival.

TV and the MSM take advantage of people, while people let themselves be taken advantage of. Without conscious and educated decision making, we tend to stare at the box (television). Put some humans arguing (or naked) on the box and we really stare. Example - Who didn't know who they were going to vote for for pres.? Yet did you stare at all the heat and smoke being generated by the arguing heads on the TV? Why?

Then they sell you/you are sold to advertisers.

In current times, with technology, we're better at taking advantage of humans. And humans seem very willing to allow this. Bad self esteem.... Positive feed-back loop too...

Come on be fair, the better adds (they show up just often enough or maybe not) are very entertaining and often offer some excellent insights into what makes us tick. Without them I might have to read more books, and books generally stick you inside one man's mind(unless enough source material is included...rare)--you sure that route offers clearer insights?-)

Yes that route offers clearer insights. You are active not passive for one thing. TV is definitely not books.

Better ad is an oxymoron. So while you can analyze an ad in regards to what makes us tick at one level they so have you, the advertisers do, at another. The more entertaining the ad the worse it all is.

I do read a fair amount of longer non-fiction in the winter--hit and miss what it will be, a quick walk through the stacks or the book store and hope something jumps out. Choosing what longer pieces to read, considering the involvement it will require, can be a tricky task. I'm hoping my latest quick grab Railroaded by White will be worth the time it gets over the next couple/few weeks. Then we'll see if the author wore me out or made me yearn for more. I can always fall back and give all the PDF papers and reports I've downloaded and skimmed a thorough reading, but somehow I don't think that will happen.

Personally these days I prefer my fiction acted out. Yes some authors do a marvelous job developing characters and setting, until they have the pieces fleshed out, after that it is a rarity they can bring the story to a close (last 1/2- 1/3 of the book) in a way that seems worth near the effort I've invested getting that far. Hardly a new issue (I wasn't as critical forty odd years ago when some classes pushed 10,000 pages of fiction a semester my way--amazing what a few decades banging around in this world does to preferences).

Visual media fiction requires less time invested at a crack. Watching actors develop their roles, or not, watching writers work the material to its best advantage or not, all the while focusing on how well the camera direction works or not to see if something other than the actors is really the main character of the story while listening to just how effective the scoring is...hardly a passive experience for me.

I know several people who watch no TV. Their non-fiction readings rarely venture from their professional fields and I've read their fiction recommendations from time to time only to be badly disappointed. Forty minutes of David Tenant (never got too into Smith) jumping between idiocy/insights cruising in his 'phone booth' while interacting with some other very engaging performances, or the New Sherlock (Masterpiece) cruising through London doing the same is generally a far better use of what would be my light reading time than cracking the bindings.

I won't get into the ads, I know where you are coming from but all the literature, marketing and education semesters in my background do make analyzing the ones I find worth my time a rewarding experience. And I will disagree that the more entertaining the worse it all is. It is good to laugh and even better when we are really laughing at ourselves.

Jerry Mander - "Four Arguments Against Television", which I haven't read, and "In the Absence of the Sacred", which I highly recommend. The latter sheds some great insight on TV as a medium. Somehow he melds that and the subjugation of Arctic/sub-Arctic natives into a seamless treatise. One of the pillars of my awakening.

"Pillar of my awakening" - well said. In the Absence of the Sacred - same thing for me.

And I hear Jerry has a new book out!

As I've actually spent more than a week or ten amongst Alaska natives who where pretty much preliterate except for shop manuals and I might or might not find it a rewarding experience being blinkered by Mr. Mander for a while (I'll see if it is in the local stacks when I return my current project). That is my original point when you are reading a book you are blinkered, unless enough source material is included for you draw your own insights.

Literacy has been very detrimental to our storytelling ability in general and I'm not arguing that TV hasn't eroded it further for most. But there is some excellent story telling in that medium from time to time and even taking in some of the less than excellent is not a real bad way for me to spend a piece of my time. I won't speak for how it affects everyone else as that is not really my concern at this point in life. I've read a lot from time to time--that has shaped who I am for better or worse. Like I said picking what to read is very tricky business.

I do read current major opinion pieces from time to time like Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel. The latter by far is the more insightful of the two works though there was barely enough meat in it to fill a pamphlet--the publishing industry needs/requires so many pages though--don't think to yourself books and thus the readers are not being manipulated for/by the market.

But trudging my way through Darwin (not the most exciting but a true clear thinker) or daily dose of Madison, Hamilton and Jay suits me better--and their thoughts/opinions have stood the test of time. Most of the new stuff won't--with luck maybe some of the better pieces will still trickle my way--but with the rivers of fluffed up half baked trash being published each day that will take a fair piece of luck. Odds are better I'll pick something up worth while flipping through my nine channels (four are PBS--maybe a Nova or Nature or American Experiencs I haven't seen will catch my interest) at least the color will be vivid on the LED screen--unlike the manilla and black in the book or the interminable white out my window (one can only ski so many hours a week--the habitats at the edge of the herd have downsides, that is why they are still pretty empty).

I just want to say it's frustrating when I keep seeing new posts on this thread and they turn out to be you editing your post over and over (and I can't even tell what you changed). This is like the 5th time this post has been "new".

Sorry about that, I'm a terrible line editor even when go through the preview pane a couple times.

The same has frustrated me in the past with others, of course in the end I only blamed myself as I could have kept track of how many total replies had been posted--2,3,4... new replies and the same number of total replies means somebody doesn't want their fumbling efforts etched into posterity (or whatever you want to call the cyberspere) as they last saw them. Hope I didn't totally kill you buzz for the day.

No worries. Yes, I did start to pay close attention to the number of total posts, but still had to check and clear the "new" tags.

My advice? Don't sweat the small stuff.

Thank you for the thoughtful reply. On a dying thread.

I'm having a hard time finding good fiction. I'm starting to reread books I read years ago - an advantage of age, I remember they were good but I pretty much have forgotten the book and the details.

I know I do have the attitude of the abstainer towards TV, it's defense mechanism in a way.

I still stick my belief that when you are laughing at yourself, you are really laughing at your self for being laughed at by the advertisers who just used you.

Well I do sometimes write in these dying threads mostly for the benefit of myself, satisfies my limited urge to write, glad you actually read it. I used to reread fiction I liked several times over the course of a decade or two, the last being Tolkien--I never picked him up until I was near fifty.

But that can be disappointing as well.

What pray tell has been all the hullabaloo about Moby Dick for more than a century and a half. Yes as an unformed college student it really sucked me in but a reread at sixty exposed the author as more or less as stuck in adolescence with an ax to grind. Legions in the universities have spent lifetimes analyzing that piece and its ilk--talk about wasting a lifetime. Then again a copy of Two Years Before the Mast found its way to me shortly after I reread Melville and even though its author had nowhere near Herman's skills and obviously was weaving stories he'd heard into the tale of his actual experiences I did find it a very worthwhile read.

I live on hill on the edge of a small speck of light on that night time earth picture I posted above, I won't be buying all that much. For me watching some ads is a way to keep in touch with song the main herd is singing these days--of course most ads are disgusting formula pieces, fortunately I've devised very good filtering systems?-)

My vote would be for something like "In Time": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637688/

"In Time" makes for good entertainment, but our future will likely be more prosaic. In fact, you could say that system already exists, albeit in a less extreme form; have no money or access to money, you die. Without jobs, a social safety net provided by the State/charities or family/friends people would die without money. Crime, drugs, addictions, homelessness, starvation, lack of medical care, etc.

Doesn't bode well in our increasingly entropic world where those that are to survive must keep their share of the energy pie constant, even as the pie shrinks leaving everyone else with less. I'd imagine this will be translated into monetary wealth, meaning a lot less money available for the rest of the population. The ranks of the poor will grow and life expectancy will fall.

Those that maintain their access to the remaining energy will in all likelihood become evermore reliant on technology to support their lifestyles. In essence, I believe they will redirect their resources into robotics. A trend that can already be seen today. I guess the real question is whether they will still need the masses (consumers) to create and maintain their wealth and power in some way or will the system evolve to the point where the masses are no longer relevant?

For the many have-nots vs a few elite, "Zardoz" comes to mind. ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070948/ )

It was the top story in the Nov. 30 Drumbeat.

Thanks Leanan,

I should have made more of an effort to see if you had already posted.


If you add "site:theoildrum.com" to your google search, google limits results to theoildrum.com . Very handy feature :-)

Investment Treaties Like FIPA Spin Huge Profits for Lawyers

Canada, for example, is being sued for $250 million and legal teams feast off such wrangling.

By Jamie Biggar and Emma Pullman, TheTyee.ca

According to a new report, "Profiting from injustice: How law firms, arbitrators and financiers are fuelling an investment arbitration boom" by the Corporate Europe Observatory and the Transnational Institute, investor arbitration has boomed in recent years, from 38 cases in 1996 to 450 known cases as of last year. And, these are only the known cases -- there are cases that are not public, but we do not know how many. 

A small group of elite firms with for-profit arbitrators and lawyers are getting rich from these deals. Today, legal and arbitration costs average over US$8 million per dispute -- and sometimes exceed US$30 million. Entire legal teams handle cases with elite law firms charging as much as US$1,000 per hour, per lawyer. Arbitrators also earn hefty salaries: as much as US$1 million per case. 

Taxpayers are paying much of the bill for these law firm profits and the awards they are securing for their corporate clients, and we are talking about big money here.

Canada's Petro Lobbyists Grow Faster than Pipelines

Nation's lobbying laws among the weakest, energy industry gets top access.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, TheTyee.ca

According to a new report by the Polaris Institute, the nation's two largest pipeline companies Enbridge and TransCanada plus four other oil firms met with cabinet ministers 52 times between 2011 and 2012.

The meetings took place while the Harper government designed its omnibus budget (Bill C-38) which ultimately changed or weakened 70 pieces of legislation including most the nation's Fisheries Act (Enbridge found the act "onerous") as well as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

All changes made it easier for foreign and domestic firms to build pipelines and mines by removing key environmental safeguards for water, air, land, fish and endangered species.

In contrast just one federal minister, Joe Oliver, met only once with a major environmental group (Greenpeace) during that same period.

--- snip ---

The report concludes with a call for "full independent public inquiry in order to investigate how Canada may be on the road to becoming a petro-state due to the ability of the petroleum industry to exert influence on the Canadian government policy making through their lobby operations."

Thanks to Kjell Aleklett for his summary of ASPO-Austin:

Thanks for the link Rick

By the way, an interview of Michael Kumhof just published on Matthieu Auzanneau blog :

Thanks for the link Yves.

During my current business trip, I have read the complimentary USA Today the past few days.

Two articles seem to be of potential interest to Oil Drummers:

1. (Tuesday, December 4) 'Cities to Millennials: Don't Leave' Article outlines how some U.S.cites are spending money to lure young urban folks who now have kids into staying vice moving to the 'burbs. Several mentions of how urban living is attractive to young some young folks because they can get to work/stores/etc without requiring owning a car. Very much in-line with Alan Drake's Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) concept.


2. (Wednesday, 5 December) 'Pay-To-Drive Coming To Your City' Article describing how 11 or so U.S. highway segments have or are in the process of implementing 'dynamic pricing' lines...toll lanes which vary the price according to demand continuously and 'guarantee' 45 mph at a minimum. Use EZ Pass to access. Many of these lanes are free for car-poolers, and also for buses, which encourages bus use by providing delay-free bus travel.

(Too soon for a link...today's article)

Signs of the times, and shades of more such things to come, methinks.

PO/Peak Energy per capita adjustment has been going on for some time now...slowly, pretty much under the radar...I eagerly hope for dedicated bikeways.


I think the PO adjustments will continue unabated, but slowly, in the background.

'The French minister for energy and environment unveiled last week a proposal for lights in and outside shops, offices, and public buildings -- including the flagship Louis Vuitton store and the Lido cabaret house on Paris’s Avenue des Champs Elysees -- to be turned off between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. starting in July. The plan, to be applied across French cities, towns and villages, is aimed at saving energy and money and showing “sobriety,” Minister Delphine Batho said.'

That is what happens when barmy faddists get their hands on the levers of power.

France has a surplus of off-peak power, as their nuclear plants run day and night, and the costs of the power then per kilowatt hour is negligible, and the extra CO2 emission minuscule.

Sure, so let's ridicule any attempt to send responsible signals about egregious wasting of energy we don't need to burn, and keep up the appearance that we have such an abundance that we ought to insist upon lighting the sky 24/7.

As soon as I saw the word 'sobriety' in that article, I started wondering who would come in to hoot and holler about it. Well there you go. Party On.. no habla sobriety aqui.

Party On.. no habla sobriety aqui.

Must party on! Sobriety at this point equals a major hangover! Who the heck wants that?

Though a word of warning to those who had a few too many at the office party last night, we have the pictures and they are going to be posted on the bulletin board down by the cooler.

"as their nuclear plants run day and night"

Yes, nuclear can't load follow without compromising the fuel load in some way.

"...since nuclear and coal-fired plants cannot readily alter power output, compared with gas or hydro plants."

"The general opinion about nuclear power plants is that they are not flexible generating units characterized with low or no load following capabilities."

Load following becomes a dance of schedule and state. The result is a variable risk or waste.

Just like solar or wind, they need a means of storing energy in the grid or varying some other source feeding the grid in order to keep the grid happy without incurring the inherent risks. Gas-fired generating stations are the traditional solution.

Even France knows better than to throttle-back a PWR nuclear plant nearing the end of its fuel load cycle.

That's how the Soviets blew up Chernobyl - running it at low power levels to see how it worked. The answer was, "Not very well." It caught fire and exploded.

My brother was quite proud of himself one time for negotiating a negative power rate for a huge gas plant he was running - one of the biggest in North America. The power company was willing to pay HIM to use its electricity. There were two factors involved in this.

First, the power company's big thermal plants couldn't load follow - it took them 24 hours to shut them down without damage, and another 24 hours to start them back up. They needed a big load overnight to use up the power, and my brother's big gas plant was ideal.

Second, if one of their big power plants went down unexpectedly, buying replacement power was a nightmare. They ended up paying $5,000/Mwh one time when they had to outbid California during one of its power crises. My brother agreed to fire up his rows and rows of 30,000 HP gas turbine backup generators when that happened, and replace the commercial power at a set rate. The plant was capable of running on its own NG generators, but commercial power was cheaper. He could supply his NG customers using line pack (the NG already in the pipeline) for several days if necessary and repressurise the line later; and he could also take NG out of storage - they had several old NG fields converted to storage reservoirs.

Anyhow the bottom line is that the French don't have that flexibility since 80% of their power is nuclear and it's not backed up by NG. It is a complete waste of time for them to shut off off their lights from 1am to 7am, and in fact it would probably be cheaper for their nuclear plants if they left all of them on all night.

This is one of the reasons why France is trying hard (although rather unsuccessfully so far) to get people to buy EVs. They've got all sorts of excess power available in the middle of the night and no one to use it. What better time to charge up fleets of EVs that can drive around the next day essentially for free?

But as I've alluded, the plan hasn't worked well. I suspect it is because of a variety reasons:
-EVs are expensive
-Many people in France have good public transport options and use that to commute to work
-Many people park on the street such that they don't have a place to install a charger
-People want to have cars that they can drive to the beach/mountains/etc. on weekends/holidays and EVs suck for that.

Where EVs shine is as little commuter cars for driving 30 to 60 miles round-trip back & forth to work. That probably does not described the way most French people commute. That describes the way Americans commute but we have $3.50/gallon gasoline.

That's how the Soviets blew up Chernobyl - running it at low power levels to see how it worked.

When external power is disrupted, it takes a while for the backup generators to start up. The theory was that the momentum of the system was enough to supply power to keep the core cooled during that time (a minute or so). This was what they wanted to test.

The test was scheduled just before planned maintenance, and was to be carried out at a low power level. Due to bad planning and perhaps operator error, the reactor was almost shut down instead. They wanted to carry out the test regardless, so they tried to power up to the low power level. In trying to keep the power level up, they went to far and the thing blew. It was not the low power level per se that was the problem, rather the anomalous state of the reactor after being virtually shut down. And, more relevant to this discussion, the quick changes in power level.

Is blew up really the right term? I thought it was mainly that once the graphite got hot enough to ignite, there was no way to put it out. So most of the energy needed to destroy the reactor was chemical; Carbon plus Oxygen.

No, it really did explode. I read an account by a Soviet nuclear expert who arrived on the scene, and asked what was the situation. They said things were under control, and he said, "Well, if they're under control, why are pieces of the reactor core lying all over the parking lot?"

Ejected lumps of graphite moderator from the core of the Chernobyl reactor 4. The control rod channel is seen in the largest lump.

How much graphite burned is questioned.


Hot graphite and water vapor do make carbon monoxide and hydrogen... both of which burn in air. There was lots of zirconium in the design. Uranium itself burns.



A Zirconium fire is more difficult to extinguish then an Uranium or Plutonium fire.

Yes, that is a much more complete description of the event.


While turning the reactor down, the produced Xenon turned it down even more. Pulling the rods turned it back up. Adding cooling water chilled the boiling water bubbles out of existence. The missing voids turned it down even more. Pulling the rods out even more turned it back up. Turned up, it boiled the water. The bubbles, the voids, turned it up even more: water absorbs neutrons, voids do not. Slamming the control rods back in, scramming, displaced even more water because the design of the control rods: featuring a moderating tip, they created even more voids in transit. The 3GW reactor hit 33 gigawatts. A steam explosion lifted the reactor out of its housing. A few second later, another explosion, steam/hydrogen/nuclear, scattered the pieces. Tricky

We have so few gestures, I will settle for some symbolic ones. Perhaps they will sell off some of this excess to some other country. No doubt they already have a surplus at night so perhaps they are dealing with this issue anyway. One would think.

Before you start with the ridicule and the accusations about "barmy faddists" you might want to consider that France has the 9th largest national hydroelectric pumped storage capacity despite being a small country. So France has major opportunities to store the power not wasted lighting up empty buildings and streets in the middle of the night, and to either use that power more effectively or to sell the power into Europe's transnational grid.

And of course other nations on Europe's grid also have very large pumped storage capacity and/or ability to modulate existing hydroelectric power to use excess power from France's nuclear plants. So I think the policy of not wasting electricity producing light for nobody's benefit is eminently sensible, and those opposing it sound more like "barmy faddists" in my opinion.

New data confirm big drop in illegal immigration

New census data released Thursday affirm a clear and sustained drop in illegal immigration, ending more than a decade of increases.

The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. dropped to an estimated 11.1 million last year from a peak of 12 million in 2007, part of an overall waning of Hispanic immigration. For the first time since 1910, Hispanic immigration last year was topped by immigrants from Asia.

Demographers say illegal Hispanic immigration — 80 percent of all illegal immigration comes from Mexico and Latin America — isn't likely to approach its mid-2000 peak again, due in part to a weakened U.S. economy and stronger enforcement but also a graying of the Mexican population.

As ever, many see this as a problem. Need more workers to keep the pyramid scheme going.

I am getting strong "the rats are leaving the ships" vibes from reading this. The trends are deep if you see illegal immigrants re-prioritzing like this.

I think you are over reading it a bit. The 2000 level of illegal immigration was as unsustainable as the housing bubble. Look at those numbers, the illegal population in the US is still a couple million higher than Sweden's total population which is considered skyrockecting of late as maybe a half million people fleeing the third world settled in with you in the last 8-10 years. That is about same number the as negative change in US illegals for about the same time period...not that big a shift in a country of 300+ million.

No-one is illegal. Pyramid scheme or no.

Is TINA True?

... The old saying goes that, "if you keep doing what you've been doing, you're gonna keep getting what you've got."

In the case of old-world capitalism what we've got is a system that's been so used, so abused and so thoroughly gamed, that it now serves the few at the expense of the many.

Those who support keeping what we've got claim that there is no alternative to the capitalist model. They've even enshrined that notion as "TINA." Get it? There's Is No Alternative. Clever little buggers.

Well, actually there are alternatives, and some are even in action. ... Here's a starter dish from The Guardian.

Electric ‘Bicycle’ Goes 80 MPH, 200 Miles on Single Charge

... Mounted inside a water-tight box lies four lithium-ion liquid-cooled batteries that Hanebrink claims will get you 200 miles of travel on a single charge. The 14-speed transmission (yes, 14) lets you hit a top speed of around 80 mph.

When the juice runs out, use a coin to turn the fasteners and pop out the pedals from behind the fairings to go on human power. [... pedaling a 120 lb bike - they got to be kidding]

That would be an electric motorbike and anyone would look like a prize prat pedaling that thing down the road.
Don't the performance claims seem a little overly optimistic too? 200miles at 10MPH and 5 at 80 more likely.
$17K? LMAO, very useful price point!

On a side track, is the life of a LIon battery better with lots of small discharge/charge cycles or do they prefer deep cycles?


I have never heard of any battery that prefers deep cycles.

LIon batteries like being kept 50-70% State of Charge. Pb are happiest at 100% SOC.

Thanks, I picked up a cycle light that has a LIon battery and was contemplating what the best strategy would be. It indicates rough percentages so that should be quite straightforward.


I'll also add that although there are "Deep Cycle" batteries. That only means they tolerate deep cycles better, not that they prefer deep cycles.

Same as LA deep cycle.


Uganda Oil Bill Stirs Chaos In Parliament

Critics say the bill gives too much control to the energy minister, Irene Muloni, and a government they say has a track record of corruption.

Oil was first discovered in the country 2006, but extraction has not started yet. [U.S. troops are on the ground]

Thorium: Proliferation Warnings on Nuclear 'Wonder-Fuel'

The element thorium, which many regard as a potential nuclear "wonder-fuel", could be a greater proliferation threat than previously thought, scientists have warned.

The piece highlights ways in which small quantities of uranium-233, a material useable in nuclear weapons, could be produced covertly from thorium, by chemically separating another isotope, protactinium-233, during its formation.

The authors note that, from previous experiments to separate protactinium-233, it is feasible that just 1.6 tonnes of thorium metal would be enough to produce 8kg of uranium-233 which is the minimum amount required for a nuclear weapon. Using the process identified in their paper, they add that this could be done "in less than a year."

Unplanned repairs hamper Suncor's 2012 oil sands output

Unplanned maintenance at Suncor Energy Inc's oil sands operation has pushed production to the low end of its forecast range for the year despite the startup of a new production unit, Canada's largest energy company said on Thursday.

Suncor said average oil sands output in 2012 is now expected to be closer to 325,000 barrels per day than 340,000 bpd due to unplanned repairs at the company's base plant in northern Alberta in early November. In October, it had trimmed the upper end of its forecast.

In 2011, its oil sands production averaged 326,500 bpd.

... Chief Executive Steve Williams has signaled that Suncor will not be rushing into major capital projects to boost production at any cost.

Williams has already said the proposed facility's economics are threatened by surging volumes of light shale oil in regions such as the North Dakota Bakken.

Pulverized Rocks Used to Strip CO2 From Large Emitting Plants

Researchers in Quebec are developing a process that would see steel, coal and cement plants as well as oil and gas facilities remove most of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from their emissions through chemical reactions with various types of crushed rocks in the stacks.

"You take the waste material, the rock, concrete or mine tailings, and crush it to make a powder and then you send that powder up the chimney with the gas," says Mercier. "The resulting chemical reaction removes 80 per cent of the CO2."

"It's a lower cost, low pressure, low temperature technology that doesn't require capturing purified CO2," Mercier says. "There are a lot of engineering challenges in this but we are well on our way to achieving success."

Interesting. Silicates plus carbonic acid, is natures way of removing CO2. Crushing silicates and leaving them on the ground would slowly sequester atomospheric CO2. Putting them in the high temp high CO2 environment of a stack, maybe that will work too. I suspect there is a bit of a scaleup problem though, as we would need to dispose of several cubic miles of carbonates per year. I doubt there is a market for that much. But, perhaps it is a partial solution. [Only absorbing 80% is another issue, as 20% is still too much].

So do to it on larger scale, you'd just need to dig up and crush rocks to powder? How much energy is involved there? Trying to capture it at the source is better than nothing... barely... and probably less far-fetched than CCS by shooting Co2 into underground reservoirs. But it has an inherent problem - humans. All CO2 capture & sequestration technologies are only for the current conditions of energy opulence & social stability. (CCEOSS)

Any of them can quickly be made more efficient and less expensive by simply stopping CO2 sequestration, once the economy takes its inevitable steep downturn. It will be "temporarily" curtailed and never restarted.

Which is why you can bet the MSM and all invested in BAU will jump on the nihilicious message that "it's too late to stop global warming, we must adapt". Preventing this toxic memeplex from becoming established should be the top priority of climate campaigners. It isn't, but should be.

An alternate sequestration process could involve introducing substances into the chimney via other means. Offhand, I'm thinking cruise missiles or similar materials introduced by nations interested in longer-term human viability on the planet, leading to sequestration in the form of unburned coal. The idea needs more work, but is promising and seems fully scalable.

Deception can be perfected

... New Northwestern University research shows that lying is more malleable than previously thought, and with a certain amount of training and instruction, the art of deception can be perfected.

People generally take longer and make more mistakes when telling lies than telling the truth, because they are holding two conflicting answers in mind and suppressing the honest response, previous research has shown. Consequently, researchers in the present study investigated whether lying can be trained to be more automatic and less task demanding.

"A Repeated Lie Becomes a Truth? The Effect of Intentional Control and Training on Deception" was recently published in Frontiers in Cognitive Science.

... something all politicians know intuitively

In the land of the ignorant, he who learns to believe his own BS is king.

You can't be using your own product or you end up like Romney - surprised that black people and women are still allowed to vote.

On the contrary, if you are in the business of propaganda, the first rule is: never buy you own lies, or you become slaves under them.

This is the difference between CIA and KGB lies during the cold war: The Russians were smart enough not to believe their own lies, while american lies often made it into the White House as truths. Thus, if you can track some "common knowledge" back to the Kreml, then you can be almost 100% sure it is not so.

Propaganda is a specialized sort of BS.

What I was referring to - obliquely - was that deceit is harder for other primates to catch if there are no "tells" which hint that a person is lying. The most effective way for evolution to eliminate all subtle "tells" is to simply make the organism believe what it's saying. So we evolved to believe our own heavily-revised internal narratives because it has long made us individually fitter primates at the small and relatively recent cost of dysfunctional democracies.

If we speak with certainty, the other primates give more weight to our opinion, even if it's utterly disconnected from reality.

I'm aware of the possible irony of my saying that with certainty.

Check out five minute mark from "Assume the position"


When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Kinda like "Morning in America"

Actually politicians do not lie as much as media, who lie lots and lots more.

Why? Give you a hint: Who already have the power?

EU Carbon Capture Projects Lost: MEP

All European projects this year for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, have fallen through, EU sources said Thursday.

European Parliament member Chris Davis, of Britain's Liberal Democrat Party, had championed the CO2 capture/storage scheme and expressed deep disappointment at the latest development.

"Hopes of Europe becoming a world leader in the development of a key technology to combat global warming have been dashed," Davies said.

EU leaders agreed in 2007 to have 12 CCS demonstration projects in operation by 2015 as the bloc sought to take the lead in combatting climate change.

Carbon capture. Easy. Take any biomass, heat it, drive off volatiles for fuel, feedstock, stick the remaining carbon into the ground. Repeat.

That, and solar and wind, is enough to do what is needing to be done. As for the most of it, that which is not needing to be done, quit doing it.

Jeez, what's all this endless jabber about such a simple problem as that?

Study: Large, old trees in decline

The largest living organisms on the planet, the big, old trees that harbour and sustain countless birds and other wildlife, are dying. A report by three of the world's leading ecologists in today's issue of the journal Science warns of an alarming increase in deathrates among trees 100-300 years old in many of the world's forests, woodlands, savannahs, farming areas and even in cities.

"It is a very, very disturbing trend. We are talking about the loss of the biggest living organisms on the planet, of the largest flowering plants on the planet, of organisms that play a key role in regulating and enriching our world," says Professor Bill Laurance of James Cook University.

Their paper Rapid Worldwide Declines of Large Old Trees by David B. Lindenmayer, William F. Laurance and Jerry F. Franklin appears in today's issue of the journal Science.

... can't get the image of the Ents from LOTR out of my head

"For example, populations of large old pines in the dry forests of western North America declined dramatically over the last century because of selective logging, uncharacteristically severe wildfires, and other causes," he adds.

Selective logging? I thought it was because of clearcut logging of most of the Western forests during the last century.

Large fires are a normal feature of pine forests. The mountain pine beetle also has been wiping out large forests full of pine trees in the last decade, and the beetles prefer to attack old pine trees. They tend not to touch the young pine trees. This could be a long term evolutionary thing.

The only logging that is not clear cut that I have seen is from journal movie reels. Then we are talking about the forest farmer with his horse who drag out one log in the snow. That is not done any more. It is the money per minute ratio that matters today, and then you need to cut the trees down fast. Clear cut is the only way in this model.

The European version of the bug (not the same as the North American one) prefer inner bark of dead spruce. Only if that is gone will it attack living ones. This is why we have beetle invasions after large storms who bring down massive amounts of timber, such as the Gudrun storm in 2005, or the big one in 1969.

My brothers and I recently had some logging done on our upstate NY property. It was very selective. A forester walked the property and marked every tree to be cut. Some were cut to allow faster growth of better trees. Some small areas (1/2 acre or so each) were clearcut so young plants (deer browse) could grow. Most were cut for lumber or veneer. Besides the wood headed for the mill they hauled out 300 cord of small trees, tree tops etc. Some of the small stuff was sold for firewood and most for wood pulp. I have seen clearcut logging in Maine for paper pulp. A mixed wood managed forest is almost always selectively cut, in my experience.

In Sweden we have mainly only spruce. I think 55% of the land area is covered by it. With spruce you have a 70 year production cycle. You purge the forest twice to benefit the most promising trees. After the first purge the cut trees are left to rot. Sometimes the trees from the second purge is salvaged for pulp or anything. Then clear cut it. By law, you have to replant it again within 3 years.

For a mixed species forest there must be individual tree selection, since they grow at different speed. Thats why we don't do it in Sweden. Remember that Canada has 13 times larger forest area than Sweden, but only 1.6 larger timber production. We have optimized this so we can build our national economy on it.

Yes, the Canadian forests are not nearly as heavily managed as the Swedish forests. Canada is only 145 years old and doesn't date back to the middle ages like Sweden does. My own province of Alberta is only 105 years old and is twice the size of Sweden, with half the population.

Canada is bigger than the United States or Europe (excluding Russia). Despite its size, Canada has fewer people than California or Spain, so there are a lot of trees, and few people to manage them.

Be greatfull. Canada is one of the countries in the world best suited to weather out all upcoming bad stuff waiting for us. Scandinavia is well off to, but I think Canada is even better suited.

The eastern US forests are largely privately owned, and the ownership is quite fragmented. The western US forests are mostly owned by the federal government, or lumber companies, and they have mostly been clear cut.

You can see this as you drive down the highways in Washington and Oregon - the trees are all the same age in any given area, and the age varies from area to area. There are even signs posted along the highway telling in what years the forests were clear cut. Some of them have been clear cut several times. In the few areas of the coastal forests that haven't been cut, it's like driving through a tunnel because the old growth coastal redwoods and cedars are so enormous. They used to grow 300 feet high or more.

The forests in Canada are mostly owned by the provincial governments, and clear cutting is standard - although not as uniform as in the US. The forests in Alberta mostly burned down during the 20th century, and now they are being clear cut since the trees have regrown to marketable size. They never were as impressive as the coastal forests because they routinely burned down once or twice a century. The wet coastal forests would go 500 or 1000 years between major forest fires, and some of the trees had survived two big fires.

Coastal redwoods are not found in Oregon or Washington--their natural range stops within 10 miles of the California/Oregon border.


Their range may stop within 10 miles of the OR/CA border, but if so, it's on the Oregon side. There are definately redwood trees in Oregon.




lol water weasel, I guess I didn't choose my words well. Yes, the northern-most redwood grove is at Loeb State park in oregon. Checking with google, this is about 8.5 miles due north of the state line. Hopefully rocky mtn guy learned a bit too. Were you surprised at this, or knew it ahead?

Were you surprised at this, or knew it ahead?

Moi? I'm on the coast about 80 miles south of Oregon, so I can't help but know a lot about redwoods.

It does seem surprising they don't grow more into Oregon. You'd think the climate would be good for them there.


it's from 1965 does go into range limitations in fair detail

Thanks for the link. Apparently it's just a little too frosty up north for redwood.

best not leave the next sentence out

Certainly, one would imagine, it [frost] reduces the competitive power of the coast redwood so that it is unable to compete with such trees as the Douglas fir which takes its place farther north and incidentally which also takes its place at greater elevations farther south.

Charles thought it important to keep that in mind

"The action of climate seems at first sight to be quite independent of the struggle for existence; but in so far as climate chiefly acts in reducing food, it brings on the most severe struggle between the individuals, whether of the same of of distinct species, which subsist on the same kind of food. Even when climate, for instance cold, acts directly, it will be the least vigorous, which suffer the most. When we travel from south to north, or from damp region to dry, we invariably see some species gradually getting rarer, and finally disappearing; the change is conspicuous, we are tempted to attribute the whole effect to its direct action. But this is a very false view: we forget that each species, even where it is most abounds, is constantly suffering enormous destruction at some period of its life, from enemies or form competitors for the same same place and food; and if these enemies or competitors be in the least degree favoured by any slight change of climate, they will increase in numbers, and, as each area is already fully stocked with inhabitants, the other species will decrease."

The Origin of Species Chapter III "Struggle For Existence"

Here's a newer link that discusses some more effects on the range of coast redwoods


Also here's a link to an entry for Richard St. Barbe Baker, who was instrumental in preserving the redwoods as well as transplanting them to places like Australia & New Zealand.


First link helpful, the second not so--not one put to up some being between me and my surroundings...once we start mentioning (naming) such a being we are doing that whether we know it or not, got to keep language out of the connection...that is today's verse from 'the gospel according to Luke'?-)

...I, me & we even get in the way...language...

not one put to up some being between me

I'm sorry I complained about you editing your posts. Maybe it's a good thing after all.

oh that is garbled...lots of that since my head hit the concrete, oh well at least the thought part is clear before I try to get it into type.

The blockquoted section should read

"not one to put up some being between me"

It might help to insert an "I'm" at the front end of that, though I did leave that out intentionally.

Yes, I lived around there for over 20 years, worked at Adventure's Edge for several years. As a hydrologist, maybe you knew/know Rand at RSL?

Sure, I know Mr. Eads. And I probably met you at AE at some point, since I've been shopping there for 22 years. Well met! Well, sort of...

EDIT: just checked your bio and you've been a member here almost exactly as long as I have. I guess we have a lot in common.

lol, seems you're always a half-step behind me--I left there in 1987. I used to bicycle quite a bit with Rand & his wife A. & play basketball at their house with daughter S. I lived in a mill scrap shack in the redwoods about a mile up the hill from them, commuted by mtn bike thru the community forest, Mark A. would keep piling brush over my access trails. Just got an email from Mark yesterday... Leanan, it's ok to delete this, I realize this isn't a chat room, at least it's a dead drumbeat.

You could email me. (see my profile for address). I don't want to chat here either, but would like to chat.

Yes, I did see redwoods growing in the parks in Oregon, which is why I mentioned them. They look much like the other species of humongous trees I saw growing on the coast, so I didn't think to check their range.

However, if you plant redwoods in southern BC, they will grow, and there are a number of them growing in Vancouver. I don't know why they didn't get there on their own, but the BC cedars, hemlocks, and Douglas firs get adequately big. They've all been logged off now, but they used to have trees in Vancouver over 300 feet high.

BC cedars, hemlocks, and Douglas firs get adequately big

I would use a term more like "every bit as magnificent", or "just as awesomely huge". "Adequately big" is an understatement!

It's understatement - you learn it from the Brits.

The biggest tree ever cut down in Vancouver (in 1895) was 417 feet high and 25 feet in circumference. It was "More than adequately big."

However, if you plant redwoods in southern BC, they will grow, and there are a number of them growing in Vancouver. I don't know why they didn't get there on their own

The 1965 lecture Q/A link I gave goes into that.

Pretty much they came 'they came, they saw, they left'

Well kind of, 60 million years ago the genus Sequoia of which sempervirens (coastal redwood) is the sole remaining species was widespread in the northern hemisphere. Climate has had a few changes in the spell since then and what remains is the single species relic of a genus that has moved/been pushed up and down and out and in from the coast for a good bit now. Things keep moving as they are they'll likely get back to BC and AK on their own again before too awful long (geologically speaking).

I've collected seeds from redwoods in Vancouver and planted them on my mom's property on V Island. They are mostly in the shade and grow slowly. In fact, redwood is the most shade tolerant softwood in the world.

The redwoods seem to need the "fog rain" to thrive, which we don't get here. We'd have to see major climate change from them to move up. The issue is they don't replace themselves under their own canopy.

We also used to have dawn redwood, Metasequoia, in BC. It was thought to be extinct and then in the 1950's I think, they found some growing in China. Then they were transplanted around the world. I also started some of those from seed. They are like redwoods that lose their leaves in winter. They grow fast in the full sun. I wonder if they will re-establish themselves in the natural forests here, since they were just physically excluded for a long time and now may come back.

How much growth are you getting on your seed starts? Pretty cool project. Is V Island your home as well?

Apparently alluvial plains and highly mineralized soil (fungus growth is inhibited in it) favor seed growth, and the seedlings prefer lots of sunlight if they can get it without a bunch competing plants horning in on them. It is interesting how they can be shade tolerant and need open sunlight as well. Old tree from before flowering plants. Hard to say if a primitive single species relic like that could reoccupy old range even if conditions reverted to what existed when it thrived there--which like you say requires a fair piece of changing. It seems their sprouting capability keeps them hanging in there but migration would require seeding you'd think.

The second essay in column on the left goes into coast redwoods in a fair piece of mid 60s detail--good enough for me. The transcription has some rough edges but was worth the read. The Q/A at the end had a moment or two where it almost came to life--the prof seems to have been a pretty good one.

I recently got back from a northern CA trip featuring Avenue of the Giants and other groves, so the topic perked my interest. I won't say that I felt particularly comfortable walking amongst them though--got to the sea shore by sunset every evening. Maybe I've just grown into one of my slender birches, all the time I've spent with them of late, and the big guys made me feel unwelcome?-)

Haven't cracked the December Nat Geo yet but like July,1964 and the October,2009 issues the big tree on the magazine cover extends through the yellow border to the edge of the paper--it can be interesting comparing that magazine's writing from different eras--I've access to quite a few years of them.

You guys might want to take a look at the current National Geographic.


Some private owners of small woodlots do it the old fashioned way. These are usually small holders, who enjoy their 40acres of forest as an intact ecosystem, but also harvest some trees every year. Unfortunately industrial logging wants efficiencies of the harvest, and usually clear cuts.

Economics of Voyageur upgrader challenging: Suncor CEO

Steve Williams said that the economics for upgrading crude are “really challenged” and margins are disappearing. In general, upgrading “is not looking as healthy today as it was a few years ago,” he said.

[Guess they'll be shipping lots of dilbit then...]

---- snip ----

Mr. Williams said he thinks broad public sentiment in the United States and Canada is shifting towards support for the oil sands industry because people increasingly recognize its key role in supplying needed energy to the North American market. However, he acknowledged that the players have done a poor job at getting young people on side.

Indeed, many young people see the oil sands as simply “bad,” he said. “We earned that disrespect and we’ve got to start turning it around... .I am particularly worried about youth and about schools.”

That last quote is disconcerting!

How do they think they are going to get kids to support something that will lead to a climate that is “incompatible with an organized global community”. I suppose you could stop investing in science education in the public school system? If the kids didn't know better I suppose they could get behind the tar sands then. Their will problem be one or two clever ones that'll figure it out though, they'll have to do something about the clever ones, get in and identify them early...

We've had a few clever ones for over a hundred years. Its never slowed down fossil fuel consumption. Why should the future be any different.

I suppose you could stop investing in science education

On the flip side; boost spending in science education and use the leverage to misinform and distract.

China to flatten 700 mountains for new metropolis in the desert
Lanzhou new area plan to begin with 'mountain-moving project', but financial and environmental wisdom of project questioned


I wonder how close we're getting to the equivalent of our last moai being raised up?

Reminds me of a piece of art I saw once. It was labeled, "the last hill", and showed a level grid, with a single rounded hill being attacked by bulldozers.

The University of Guelph 2013 Food Price Index

Canadians to Pay More for Food in 2013, Profs Predict

Predictions are based on factors affecting retail food prices, including climate, economic risks, energy costs, currencies and trade, and Canada’s food distribution and retail landscape. They also considered domestic fundamentals such as consumer debt and inflation.

As last year, climate is expected to be the most unpredictable economic driver of food prices. The North American drought—the most devastating in recent history for the region— pushed 2012 food pieces above expectations, especially for corn and soybeans.

“The coming year may see climate impacts on food prices incur bigger effects,” said Francis Tapon, a U of G economics professor who also worked on the forecast. Current markets lack adequate reserves to safeguard against unforeseen shortages or demands, he said, and must be rebuilt in 2013 to help mitigate consumer food prices. “Any sort of production disruption without quality buffer stocks will be felt much more strongly on Canadian wallets.”

Here is the report: pdf
And in french: pdf

Fond memories of Guelph! Spent a lot of time at The Albion.

They ignore the fact that this summer's drought didn't hit Western Canada, which is where 85% of Canada's farmland is located. Certainly, Ontario experienced the drought that hit most of the US, but in reality, any rise in Canadian food prices was caused by conditions in the US. Most of Canada's Prairies had good crops.

Found something interesting on Ran Prieur
City birds use cigarette butts to smoke out parasites

Stuffing cigarette butts into the lining of nests may seem unwholesome. But a team of ecologists says that far from being unnatural, the use of smoked cigarettes by city birds may be an urban variation of an ancient adaptation.

Birds have long been known to line their nests with vegetation rich in compounds that drive away parasites. Chemicals in tobacco leaves are known to repel arthropods such as parasitic mites, so Monserrat Suárez-Rodríguez, an ecologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, and her colleagues wondered whether city birds were using cigarette butts in the same way.

Does this make those birds dependent on 'technology' ? Adapt or die.