Drumbeat: December 14, 2012

With a natural gas tax, everyone can benefit

I’m talking about a tax on natural gas, imposed at the wellhead, that would effectively raise the price from current levels to those closer to the world price. The effect on chemical companies and power companies and other end users would be roughly the same as allowing unrestricted exports to drive up the price. But instead of the energy industry capturing all the windfall, much of it could be captured instead by the government.

The proceeds from this tax could be rebated to consumers to offset the impact of higher electric prices. Or they could be used to compensate workers in the coal industry for job losses suffered as a result of new air pollution regulations and conversion of coal-burning plants to gas. Or they could be used simply to lower the government’s operating deficit or lessen the need for painful spending cuts or tax increases.

Doctors Urge U.S. to Block Gas Export Terminals

More than 100 physicians urged the Obama administration on Thursday not to approve the construction of liquefied natural gas export terminals until more is known about the health effects of hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process that has opened the way for a big increase in domestic gas production.

Tougher Fracking Regulations Backed by 66%, Poll Shows

Support for regulation of hydraulic fracturing has increased in the past three months, a sign that the gas-drilling practice is facing greater public scrutiny.

A Bloomberg National Poll found that 66 percent of Americans want more government oversight of the process, known as fracking, in which water, chemicals and sand are shot underground to free gas trapped in rock. That’s an increase from 56 percent in a September poll. The poll found 18 percent favored less regulation, down from 29 percent three months ago.

U.K. Government Lifts Ban on Shale Gas Fracking

Britain ended a ban on exploring for gas with hydraulic fracturing, allowing Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. to resume the use of technology that caused earthquakes in 2011.

The U.K. has set up controls to curb the risk of quakes in developing shale gas, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said in London.

“Shale gas could have potential to help the U.K. to diversify its energy mix and provide an indigenous source of gas to support the move to the low-carbon economy,” Davey said.

With U.S. awash in natural gas, why aren’t fuel bills falling?

Here’s a question a lot of homeowners are asking: If there is so much cheap natural gas floating around the United States, why aren’t people’s fuel bills falling?

The answer is that fuel is only part of the fuel bill. A lot of what homeowners pay goes to building new power lines or tending to aging gas pipelines. In one recent rate case, a utility got a rate increase to cover pension costs.

Natural Gas Drops Near 11-Week Low After Unexpected Supply Gain

Natural gas futures fell to the lowest price in almost 11 weeks after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles increased unexpectedly as mild weather cut demand for heating fuels.

Gas slid 1 percent after the Energy Department said inventories rose 2 billion cubic feet in the week ended Dec. 7 to 3.806 trillion cubic feet. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed an expected drop of 3 billion. It was the latest seasonal supply gain since the week ended Dec. 30, 2005, according to department data compiled by Bloomberg.

Oil Heads for Weekly Gain on China, U.S. Manufacturing Outlook

Oil rose in London, heading for a weekly gain as a report signaled manufacturing may expand at a faster pace this month in China, the world’s second-largest crude consumer.

Futures advanced as much as 1 percent and headed for the first weekly increase in three. A preliminary purchasing managers’ index for China by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed a reading of 50.9, higher than a median estimate of 50.8 in a Bloomberg News survey. A figure above 50 indicates an expansion. U.S. industrial production probably climbed 0.3 percent in November, according to a separate Bloomberg survey before Federal Reserve data today.

Cheaper gas drives down wholesale price index

Cheaper gas drove down a measure of wholesale prices in November for the second straight month, a sign inflation remains in check.

The producer price index fell 0.8 percent last month, the steepest drop since May, the Labor Department said Thursday. That follows a 0.2 percent decline in October. The index measures the cost of goods before they reach the consumer.

Consumers get break on lower gas prices

Relief at the pump meant a drop in overall prices in November, according to the government's latest inflation reading.

The Consumer Price Index, the key measure of inflation, fell 0.3% during the month, thanks to the 7.4% drop in gas prices in November alone, the Labor Department said Friday. Overall prices were still up 1.8% compared to a year ago, but that's down from the 2.2% inflation rate recorded in October.

No Opec movement a sign of the times

The group has cast itself as a benign central banker for the world's crude, ensuring energy and economic stability with its 40 per cent share of global supply.

But Opec's influence over the world's energy supply is threatened today by a rise in North American resources, as well as a potential long-term shift towards cleaner forms of energy such as solar and wind.

Add to that the headwinds of a perilously slow global economy, a need for high oil prices to pay for ambitious spending programmes designed by oil-producing nations, and political disruptions inside Opec from a resurgent Iraq.

Oil in for a crude awakening

This morning, the price of oil, West Texas Intermediate crude, is around $US86.00 a barrel. That’s a hefty 10 per cent lower than where it was at the start of 2012 and 40 per cent down from the 2008 peak. It is no exaggeration to say that a crash in the oil price could be around the corner for good old-fashioned supply and demand reasons.

While no one is suggesting that the oil price will crash to $US10 a barrel – the level that The Economist magazine boldly predicted a little over a decade ago – a sharp fall in oil prices over the next couple of years is compelling.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Deep in the Heart of Texas

In recent months the growing supply of “tight” oil in the U.S. produced by fracking has sent numerous organizations and publications into frenzies of exuberance as they described the good economic times that are about to come from so much domestically produced oil. This week the U.S. Department of Energy and even the U.S. Intelligence Community joined in with optimistic forecasts. A National Intelligence Council advisory group issued a report talking about a “tectonic shift” that could have the U.S. producing some 15 million barrels of oil per day and becoming a major energy exporter by 2020. This will cut oil prices, increase economic growth, and add millions of jobs.

Although the U.S. Energy Information Administration is not quite as enthusiastic as the intelligence folks, its latest forecast sees U.S. oil production increasing by 234,000 barrels a day (b/d) each year until 2019 when U.S. oil production reaches 7.5 million b/d before leveling off and then declining gradually for another 20 years to 6 million b/d by 2040. All is fine for the next 30 years. Even when production starts to decline, we really shouldn’t worry because by then our cars will be so efficient that we can get along with much less gasoline.

Bonus Cuts as Jobs Decline for Oil-to-Metal Traders

Investment banks are cutting commodity staff for a second year and pay will probably drop for a third time as revenue declines, bonuses shrink and new regulations limit how much money traders can risk.

Uganda and Kenya plan to build oil pipeline

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda and Kenya have revived plans for an oil pipeline to transport refined petroleum products between the two east African countries, a senior Ugandan official said on Friday.

Landlocked Uganda transports all its fuel - imported primarily through Kenya's Mombasa seaport - in tankers over several hundred kilometres of road. Officials say the method is unreliable, costly and damages roads.

PetroChina Pays $1.2 Billion to Form Encana Joint Venture

PetroChina Co. agreed to pay Encana Corp. C$1.18 billion ($1.2 billion) for a 49.9 percent stake in an Alberta shale formation as Asia’s biggest oil producer steps up acquisitions of overseas oil and gas assets.

PetroChina will also pay C$1 billion over four years to fund development of the project, Encana said in a statement yesterday. The accord follows Beijing-based PetroChina’s agreement this week to pay $1.63 billion for a stake in the Browse liquefied natural gas venture in Australia.

Biggest China Deal Sours as Cnooc Ratings Hit 3-Year Low

China’s biggest foreign acquisition is underwhelming Wall Street.

Cnooc Ltd.’s analyst ratings have sunk to their lowest level in three years just as the Chinese state-controlled oil explorer prepares to buy Canada’s Nexen Inc. for $15.1 billion in a deal that escalates production expenses.

Oman eyes broader role for private sector to create jobs, diversify from oil

(Reuters) - When Oman unveiled a plan this year to build a large petrochemical complex alongside a $6 billion refinery in the southern coastal town of Duqm, officials hailed the project as a step towards diversifying income and creating jobs.

Promoting new industries and expanding downstream oil operations such as petrochemicals have been a cornerstone of the Gulf Arab state's aim to cut its $73 billion economy's reliance on crude oil exports and create jobs to combat unemployment, which the IMF puts at over 24 percent.

Lukoil Sinks on Concern Spending to Cut Payout

OAO Lukoil retreated from a 16-month high in New York on concern new investments outside Russia will limit increases in dividend payments from the nation’s second- biggest crude producer.

American depositary receipts of Lukoil fell 2.2 percent to $64.37 in New York yesterday, driving the first slump in eight days for the Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian stocks in the U.S. Futures expiring Dec. 17 on Moscow’s RTS Index lost 0.3 percent to 149,270 as oil dropped on concern over the U.S. budget. Polyus Gold International Ltd., Russia’s largest miner of the metal, slid the most in a month.

Dueling Protests on Eve of Egypt’s Referendum Vote

CAIRO, Egypt — Both sides in Egypt’s political battle hit the streets today ahead of a vote that will help decide the future of the largest country in the Arab world.

Supporters of President Mohammad Morsi are rallying outside a mosque, urging Egyptians to vote for a constitution that they say will bring stability to a country in political and economic crisis.

But opponents of the constitution are converging on the presidential palace from four different locations, arguing the charter opens the door to conservative Islam and threatens to restrict freedom of speech.

U.S. to send troops, Patriot missiles to Turkey

(CNN) -- The United States gave the go-ahead Friday to deploy Patriot anti-ballistic missiles to Turkey along with enough troops to operate them as the heavily embattled government in neighboring Syria again vehemently denied firing ballistic missiles at rebels.

The United States has accused Damascus of launching Scud-type artillery from the capital at rebels in the country's north. One Washington official said missiles came close to the border of Turkey, a NATO member and staunch U.S. ally.

Abducted mother of Nigeria finance minister freed

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — The mother of Nigeria's finance minister has been released five days after her abduction, an official said Friday, bringing an end to a family crisis which showed few people are out of reach of kidnapping rings in the oil-rich southern delta.

Paul Nwabuikwu, a spokesman for Nigeria's finance ministry, said in a statement that the mother of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was released Friday morning. He offered no other details and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Vt. panel looks at shortage of cash to fix roads

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A special panel appointed to look at the fiscal woes facing Vermont’s transportation system is nearly done with a report to lawmakers on how to fix the problems.

The committee, which meets Friday, was set up by the Legislature to study what to do about the fact that gasoline tax revenues are declining because less gasoline is being sold.

MrEnergyCzar: Chevy Volt Can Help Cope With Peak Oil

For the past two years since the Chevrolet Volt's launch, it has topped Consumer Reports' owner satisfaction survey meaning this is one car with its share of fans.

There's no telling who is Volt fan number one, but one of the more ardent ones is MrEnergyCzar, a peak oil advocate who spends his own time and money to raise awareness for the Volt as one part of his arsenal of preparedness for the effects of oil production having crested past its prime.

How a Texas neighborhood became hybrid heaven

“This is one of the few places where you can see a Chevrolet Volt traffic jam,” laughs Scott Hinson, the lab director for Pecan Street Inc., an alternative energy project in Austin, Texas.

More precisely, Pecan Street is a one-square-mile neighborhood in Austin, Texas, that has become the heart of an ambitious project aimed at testing out alternative technologies – such as plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt as well as “smart grid” electric distribution – and also running an incredibly detailed analysis of how effective such technologies really are at reducing energy consumption.

California planning low-carbon oasis where cars aren't king

NEWARK, Calif. (Reuters) - Vacant industrial land near salt marshes and a derelict rail bridge seem like an odd setting for the beginnings of a lifestyle revolution in scenic California, but planners in the San Francisco Bay suburb of Newark view it as just that.

With an eye on the state's new land-use laws to cut carbon output, Newark's city council just voted to convert 200 acres owned largely by chemical companies into a development that should set the trend for a state bent on decarbonizing its economy, the world's ninth largest.

UK’s reliance on gas set to send business energy bills soaring

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has refuted the government's argument that gas will provide a cheap source of electricity and heating in the future, arguing that the move will instead send energy bills soaring.

U.K. Green Energy Plans Boost Power Bills 54% by 2020

The U.K. government’s effort to expand renewable energy generation will boost household electricity bills by 54 percent by 2020, according to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The green energy program will account for about 40 percent of the increase with 28 percent more due to gains in wholesale power prices as the country shifts away from aging coal-fired generation, the London-based researcher said today. Grid upgrades account for most of the rest of the increase.

Wind-Energy Group Backs Six-Year Phaseout for U.S. Break

The wind-energy industry asked Congress to extend a tax break for six years, a time frame it said was long enough to cut costs and short enough to ease fears the credit will become a permanent part of the tax code.

The American Wind Energy Association, whose members include General Electric Co. and the U.S. unit of Siemens AG, offered the proposal yesterday in a letter to Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat and chairman of the Finance Committee, and other members on the tax-writing panel.

Canadian Solar Sees Growth From Selling Power

Canadian Solar Inc., the solar-panel maker whose shares have dropped 77 percent in the past two years, plans to get almost half its revenue next year from selling solar farms after prices for panels collapsed.

The third-largest solar-panel maker, based in Guelph, Ontario, is developing about 260 megawatts of projects in the Canadian province that it expects to sell for C$1.3 billion ($1.3 billion) over the next 18 months, Chief Financial Officer Michael Potter said. Canadian Solar makes its photovoltaic products in China.

The Great Schism in the Environmental Movement

Leading the charge is a varied group of what I call modernist greens (others refer to them as eco-pragmatists). They are people with deep green bona fides, such as the award-winning U.K. environmental writer Mark Lynas, whose book The God Species champions nuclear power and genetically modified crops as essential for a sustainable planet.

Disputes spring up over bottled water sources

A four-year study released in 1999 by the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded that most bottled water is of good quality. Still, the environmental watchdog group's tests of 103 brands found some traces of contamination in 23. Similarly, a 2008 report by the Environmental Working Group, a public health watchdog, found 38 chemical pollutants in bottle of 10 brands of bottled water.

Both organizations and a 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office concluded that the Food and Drug Administration's oversight of bottled water is less stringent than the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of public tap water.

Q. and A.: Jeremy Irons and ‘Trashed’

A new documentary about the ultimate fate of just about everything we lug home from the mall opens on Friday in limited release in the United States. “Trashed,” directed by Candida Brady and starring Jeremy Irons, delves into the less festive side of consumerism and waste disposal — overflowing landfills in England, a toxic trash incinerator in Iceland, a hospital for children with birth defects in Vietnam.

Storm Recovery Won’t Be ‘Business as Usual,’ Official Says

Speaking in Lower Manhattan at a conference on waterfront restoration organized by the Municipal Art Society and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Mr. Donovan said long-term redevelopment would go beyond repairs and “just recreating what was there.”

He said the recovery would require building sturdier structures but also questioning whether rebuilding makes sense in some cases. He later told reporters that “the vast majority of communities can be rebuilt safely.”

Utilities eyed for climate change plans

ALBANY — In the wake of Superstorm Sandy's devastation, a coalition of interest groups wants the state to require that public utilities prepare plans to protect systems from dangers posed by man-made climate change.

No Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card on Sea Level

In essence, the paper found, the increase of snowfall will steepen the gradient from the top of the ice sheet to the ocean. The ice will not just grow ever higher, however. Instead, the increasing weight will exert increased pressure on ice as it flows downhill toward the sea, causing it to speed up. Icebergs breaking off into the ocean at the mouth of glaciers, and extra ice flowing into floating ice shelves, will return much of the increased snowfall to the sea.

The paper suggests that this effect will not entirely offset ice gain over the study period, which extended to the year 2500, but will offset 30 to 65 percent of it, depending on the exact assumptions used to set up the computer modeling. Those numbers suggest that the eastern Antarctic ice gain will not be large enough to counteract the water that will probably be pouring into the ocean in coming centuries from the ice melting in Greenland and western Antarctica.

Rising Temperatures Threaten Fundamental Change for Ski Slopes

Whether this winter turns out to be warm or cold, scientists say that climate change means the long-term outlook for skiers everywhere is bleak. The threat of global warming hangs over almost every resort, from Sugarloaf in Maine to Squaw Valley in California. As temperatures rise, analysts predict that scores of the nation’s ski centers, especially those at lower elevations and latitudes, will eventually vanish.

Global warming is not due to the sun, confirms leaked IPCC report

To sum up,

The leaked IPCC report states that there may be some connection between GCRs and some aspects of the climate system.

However, the report is also consistent with the body of scientific literature in stating that research indicates GCRs are not effective at seeding clouds and have very little influence on global temperatures.

Extreme weather leads to more belief that global warming is a problem, poll shows

WASHINGTON — Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.

Belief and worry about climate change are inching up among Americans in general, but concern is growing faster among people who don't often trust scientists on the environment. In follow-up interviews, some of those doubters said they believe their own eyes as they've watched thermometers rise, New York City subway tunnels flood, polar ice melt and Midwestern farm fields dry up.

Following is a link to my final slide in my net exports summary that I prepared for an upcoming meeting:


This shows the normalized ECI values for 1995 to 2001 inclusive for the Six Country* Case History, and the normalized ECI values for Global Net Exports** (GNE) and for Saudi Arabia and the normalized GNE/CNI values for ANE (Available Net Exports, or GNE less the Chindia region's net imports).

Some definitions:

ECI = Export Capacity Index, ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption

GNE/CNI = Global Net Exports divided by Chindia's Net Imports

Index Year = Year One = 1995 for Six Countries and 2005 otherwise

*Six Countries = Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina, Malaysia

**GNE = Top 33 net exporters in 2005, BP + Minor EIA data, total petroleum liquids

The chart shows that the Six Country ECI fell by 15% in six years, the GNE ECI ratio fell by 14% in six years, the Saudi ECI ratio fell by 30% in six years and the ANE GNE/CNI ratio fell by 41% in six years.

At an ECI ratio of 1.0, net exports = zero, and at a GNE/CNI ratio of 1.0, the volume of globally net exported oil available to about 153 net oil importing countries = zero. As these numbers and the chart show, the trend lines are self-evident. All four data sets are headed toward 1.0 ratios.

Given that these net export declines tend to show a "shark fin" pattern, I have estimated when these various ratios would approach 1.0 and I then integrated the area under a right triangle, to get an estimate of post-index year CNE (Cumulative Net Exports).

I am working on a slide showing the estimated year by year decline in remaining post-index year CNE for each of these four data sets (Six Countries, GNE, Saudi Arabia, ANE). This new slide will be analogous to looking at the decline of fuel in a gas tank, at various points in time, as one proceeds on a trip (except that there are no more gas stations, of course).

At the end of 2001, estimated remaining post-1995 CNE for the Six Countries were down to 39%, an implied post-1995 CNE rate of change of -16%/year, versus a 1995 to 2001 production rate of change of -1.0%/year. The actual post-1995 CNE rate of change was -23%/year, versus a production rate of change of -1.0%/year, since actual post-1995 CNE were down to 25% at the end of 2001. In other words, the volume of net exports in the "Net Export Fuel Tank" was falling 23 times faster than production was declining over this six year period from 1995 to 2001.

The following estimates are based on the 2005 to 2011 rates of declines in the key ratios for GNE, for Saudi net exports and for ANE:

For GNE, I estimate that remaining post-2005 Global CNE were down to 78%, an implied post-2005 Global CNE rate of change of -4.1%/year, versus a (2005) Top 33 net exporters' rate of change in production of +0.3%/year.

For Saudi net exports, I estimate that remaining post-2005 Saudi CNE were down to 62%, an implied post-2005 Saudi CNE rate of change of -8%/year, versus a Saudi production rate of change of +0.2%/year.

For ANE, I estimate that remaining post-2005 Available CNE were down to 52%, an implied post-2005 Availalbe CNE rate of change of -11%/year, versus a GNE rate of change of -0.8%/year. In other words, I estimate that the remaining cumulative volume of Global Net Exports of oil that will be available to about 153 net oil importing countries is falling about 14 times faster than the rate of decline in Global Net Exports from 2005 to 2011.

As noted above, the actual Six Country Six Year CNE depletion rate (23%/year) was about 50% higher than the estimate (16%/year), which was based on extrapolating the six year rate of change in the Six Country ECI ratio.

So when does the sh*t hit the fan? :o)

In my opinion, in 2005, as the volume of ANE fell at 2.6%/year from 2005 to 2011, and as annual Brent crude oil prices rose from $55 in 2005 to $111 in 2011. I think that we are only maintaining something resembling BAU because of a sky high post-2005 Available CNE depletion rate (which I estimate at about 11%/year from 2005 to 2011). So, estimated depletion percentage per year divided by measured ANE decline rate is (11/2.6) = 4.2. In other words, I estimate that the remaining volume of Available CNE is falling at about four times the rate that the measured volume of ANE fell from 2005 to 2011.

The bank balance model.

Assume that you deposited $55,000 into a bank account and then immediately withdrew $10,000. One year later, you withdrew $9,000, a year after that you withdrew $8,000, and so on.

I’ve broken the annual withdrawals into thirds:

Index Year: $55,000 = $10,000 = $45,000

Year One: $45,000 - $9,000 = $36,000
Year Two: 36,000 - 8,000 = 28,000
Year Three: 28,000 - 7,000 = 21,000

At the end of Year Three, the withdrawal decline rate was 12%/year ($10,000 to $7,000 in three years), but the post-index year bank balance depletion rate was 25%/year ($45,000 from end of index year to $21,000 at end of year three). So, the ratio of the bank balance depletion rate to the withdrawal decline rate was (25/12) = 2.1. In other words, one would be depleting the bank balance at about twice the rate that withdrawals were falling.

Year Four: 21,000 - 6,000 = 15,000
Year Five: 15,000 - 5,000 = 10,000
Year Six; 10,000 - 4,000 = 6,000

Year Seven: 6,000 - 3,000 = 3,000
Year Eight: 3,000 - 2,000 = 1,000
Year Nine 1,000 - 1,000 = Zero

Blake Clayton at the Atlantic must be reading your notes ...

The Middle East's Surging Thirst for Oil—in 3 Charts

[This] piece argues that the Middle East's rising oil consumption, driven by access to cheap government-subsidized oil, is becoming more central to global oil market fundamentals. These countries are facing a growing appetite for their own oil, which limits the amount they can export. Unless government leaders in the region chart a new course by addressing subsidies, the implications for their fiscal positions, as well as for world oil supply, are problematic.

Take a look at the energy intensity of these economies, or the amount of energy they use to produce a unit of GDP. As the chart below illustrates, the energy intensity of Middle Eastern economies is head and shoulders above most anywhere else--including China.

Norway's production was down again in November. Production figures November 2012

The average daily liquid production in November was: 1 443 000 barrels of oil, 250 000 barrels of NGL and 74 000 barrels of condensate.


As you can see from the chart, production for the last three months has been way below forecast. The IEA said production for the North Sea was up in November. I don't know what the UK did but they were wrong as far as Norway is concerned.

Norway's Crude Oil Output Continues to Disappoint

November crude oil production was 15% below the official forecast, while September (and October) were also off by 12% and 15% respectively, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said.

Ron P.

Interestingly- this month Norwegian MSM did'nt even bother to comment on the decline numbers.
Then, after all, it's a slight relief that at least some int.MSN, a few in the blogsphere and Norwegian shadow-news are following the slo-mo-oil- dominoes of the North Sea.
New powerful production decline ( google ranslate) http://translate.google.no/translate?client=opera&hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&...

I don't know if anyone caught this in the NYTimes:

American Bull by Roger Cohen

"American Bull" in more ways that one. He brings up the fantasy of America as swimming in oil, more or less, and becoming a net exporter. 2x the oil! Like America before the oil shocks! It's pretty strange.

Here is the money quote:

Several developments lie behind this looming geostrategic shift. The first is the advent of shale oil and natural gas production made possible by new technologies. The second is the increase in oil production from deep water offshore operations. Between them, by somewhere between 2020 and 2030, these new sources are expected almost to double U.S. domestic oil production, currently running at between six and seven million barrels a day.

Combine that with improved mileage for cars and a switch in trucking to cheap liquefied natural gas and a once unimaginable scenario becomes reality: The United States wipes out its need for oil imports. Eliminating need, of course, does not necessarily mean eliminating imports completely but it does mean a change in American leverage.

Let's review the history of the last 50 years with a chart from the Energy Export databrowser:

So he is predicting that in the next 8-18 years we're going to wipe out almost all of the imports, presumably without a devastating economic crash.

I would be willing to wager that he's not in the habit of looking at historical data. Because if he were, he would not make such an absurd prediction.


The cornucopians are fantasizing via shale oil & NG (from fracking) on a scale similar to the pronouncements of oil to be extracted in a post Saddam Iraq, reaching a zenith of an estimated 12 mbd! Maybe they should take example from the slow increase in Iraqi oil production to slow down their outrageous fantasies of impending US world oil domination and energy independence.

Bingo! "New technologies" will fix it. You play the "new technologies" card and Americans just go numb and you can do whatever you want to them. The magic words that fix everything.

This really is the progress and technology religion about as clearly illustrated as you can get. People really do believe it will save us, and there's going to be hell to pay when their priests cannot deliver.

...there's going to be hell to pay when their priests cannot deliver.

Their priests will blame the flock for not believing hard enough to make it come true. They'll tell them they owe it to their children to believe with greater determination.

That's the usual religious reaction to not getting your promised pony "You didn't believe enough, were impure etc. etc. try harder". Your basic doubling down. There is no such thing as learning from failure.

Re: Extreme weather leads to more belief that global warming is a problem, poll shows

These poll results are heartening, but the public has a way of forgetting past weather. As mentioned in the story, public perception of AGW took a negative slide after a few winters which were perceived as being colder, a view heightened by more snowfall.

The scientific view has been that the greatest warming would be in late Fall and early Winter, which appears to be happening in parts of the US. But, winter will always follow and warmer conditions could well mean more snowfall, so many people may still be left with the perception that AGW isn't happening. Increasing storm intensity, such as seen in hurricane Sandy's gain in strength during passage over unusually warm water in the Western Atlantic, may prove to be more convincing than a few degrees higher temperature readings on backyard thermometers...

E. Swanson

Agnotology is the study of the emergence and perpetuation of scientific and other group ignorance within a society. This would be a good example for the textbooks of that discipline. The record reveals that right wing politics engenders and perpetutates ignorance of this type. A good deal of it is centered in right wing evangelical meme complexes.

Bottom of the barrel...

With all the tar sands, fracking and horizontal drilling, it should be obvious that we are scraping the "bottom of the barrel". We should be looking for alternatives before it is too late.

Wind turbines, nuclear power plants and all the rest take fossil fuels to make. We should be using our remaining fossil fuels to create renewable sustainable energy sources. Let's see if we are as smart as we think we are.

Company Unveils Small Personal-Sized Hydroelectricity Generator (w/Video)

Japanese company Ibasei has unveiled a new idea in hydroelectricity generation; a turbine that can be placed in virtually any fast moving stream or river to generate small amounts of electricity for immediate use or as a charging station. Called the Cappa, it resembles an engine on a jet aircraft and can be easily placed into a location in just minutes.

The idea behind the Cappa is that not all hydroelectric systems need to be huge, and they don't have to plug a river or be situated at an optimal location either. Instead, any spot where the river narrows causing swift movement of the water can be used. The Cappa is put in place by fashioning a couple of spans of some sort across the river or stream to form bridges. The turbine is then lowered into the water and held in place by the frame resting on the span. Once in the water, the Cappa goes to work without any further ado. For water running at 2 m/s the turbine will generate about 250 W of electricity. Placing five of them in a stream could conceivably produce up to a 1 kW (allowing for control losses). To increase the efficiency of the turbine, engineers have tailored a diffuser that causes water flowing over the blades to move faster.

They also see it as an alternative to gas powered generators that people use when the electricity goes out.

Gravity Powered Lights (video)

GravityLight is a revolutionary new approach to storing energy and creating illumination. It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight which powers GravityLight, creating 30 minutes of light on its descent...

Well, ok, but how about teaching beekeeping, how to collect the wax, and make beeswax candles for light?

At least the lights are smoke free.


But it's good smoke. ;)
And there's honey, pollination, bird-food, heat/energy, increased potential for biodiversity/resilience/regeneration, self-sufficiency and revenue generation, etc., included.

And mead, too, my notanoilman, for some personal, social, spiritual and historical lubrication...

'It can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks', Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat has observed, 'antedating the cultivation of the soil.'

Also, how are the lights manufactured, supported (fixed, maintained), and shipped, etc.? (Probably in part with smoke.)

Nothing against honey, bees or the good wax.. but these either/or volleys keep throwing each of the presented ideas into a strange dichotomy.

I can't see how these two things are either incompatible in the world together, or are mutually exclusive. As with the wind-up clocks comparison the other day, I think the very simple application of raised weights as an easily 'charged' storage mechanism is both obvious AND brilliant in how many places it can be applied right under (or over) our noses.

I do recognize the ways that manufactured tech goods have a some real vulnerabilities and come with the legacy of a frequently toxic system, but I don't agree with the view that all our electrical, mechanical and chemical developments are either doomed or need to be shunned.

I'm also a big fan of weights used to drive Heliostats, as they do with some of the Sheffler Dishes for large Cookstoves across parts of India, and using simple flywheels for various tool applications.. like the Exercise Bikes and Treadle Sewing Machine Tables I've been adapting into shop tools over the last many years.

Technology CAN be created and applied appropriately. Maybe it's not forever, but what is?

(Wow, I almost dropped in a Blade-Runner line there.. I need an origami Pink Unicorn pic now, don't I? "Too bad she's not going to live!" -Says the future Cmdr Adama)


While I'm not necessarily suggesting this in this case, Bob, I would nevertheless be cautious about mischaracterizing, as either/or propositions, philosophic (i.e., comparative) analyses about technology.

Technology seems to need philosophy or it's flirting with technology for technology's sake, yes? Like, do we really need it; how; why; where; when; what are (potentially far better) alternatives; what can they offer by comparison; what effects/implications will this tech have over time; what will it replace, diminish or destroy; what about other ramifications, such as lock-in? Stuff like that, which, it is imagined, you understand.

Peace, with beeswax candles and real women. ;)

~ Caelan

Mead, Ok, beeswax candles are in. I do agree with Bob's post, below, that we tend to be too either/or in these matters.


Unsure what you mean by 'too'.
But I'm simply interested in healthy and important discussions about technology. And there's; the old saying that, just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should; the law of diminishing returns; and perhaps a school-of-thought or two that would argue that just about any technology is a "neither/nor".

"In principle, nuclear reactors are dangerous... In my mind, nuclear reactors do not belong on the surface of the earth."
~ Dr. Edward Teller

"...we've seen now that the nuclear industry cannot be trusted, and this technology simply does not belong on this planet."
~ Harvey Wasserman

To use this light as an example. One camp is LED not candle. The other camp is candle not LED. Each has a list of reasons why theirs works and is the perfect solution and a list of why the other sucks and is a failure. The same goes for PV, wind power, smart grid, EVs, nuclear, fracking etc etc. All very polarised, too one way or another. OTOH Bob makes the point that it is not just one solution and I have to agree. It is a mix of solutions, one size does not fit all. Here I could get a lot of energy from solar but wind not so much and water not at all (except, maybe, a turbine run off the rainy season storms for a quick boost). But if I combined the PV and wind, allowing for a daily N/S swing and keeping a low profile to avoid lightning, I would get a useful mix. Add some serious power conservation and I would have a high degree of self sufficiency except when I need air con in the rainy season. The combination gives the advantage, just one factor is not enough and many people blow their horn over just one aspect.


Hope you understood the ramble.

Thanks for the elaboration, NAOM, and understood...
Reading it made me wonder if Bob's contention was influenced more by discussions that had more to do with very limited end-use considerations, and that, if the entire life-cycle (if that's the correct term) was taken into account-- prospecting, mining, displacement of locals, civil unrest, local pollution, negative long-term effects of various kinds, lock-in, energy use and abuse, pressures on flora and fauna, corruption and cartels, wage-slavery, manufacturing, shipping, maintenance and support, end-of-life and disposal issues, etc.-- if we were thorough, vigorous and honest with ourselves in these discussions-- assuming of course that we're not exactly-- if some (either/or, etc.) concerns would almost vanish, the answers/truths emerge and become, perhaps in retrospect, almost self-evident.

Within our technologies' vast infrastructures and layers lie seemingly innumerous embedded dynamics that are often, for all intents and purposes, invisible, uncounted, unappreciated. This is in part what needs to form part of the discussion.


Philips has announced the replacement to its popular 12.5-watt Endura/AmbientLED A19 that uses less energy and provides more light. It's more pleasing to the eye both on and off, which makes it better fit for applications where the lamp is fully or partially exposed. The redesign also eliminates any banding issues that can occur when the lamp is positioned in close proximity to a shade or lens (this due to the vertical heat channels that were used in the original design). But, most importantly, it's now available in both 2,700K and 5,000K, the latter being a popular choice in warmer climates.

See: http://ledsmagazine.com/news/9/12/10

BTW, a couple weeks ago, we were discussing a bicycle shop that I had retrofitted. I popped-in to say hello to the owner and whilst there snapped this picture: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/BPLR.jpg

For this client, we replaced thirty-six 100-watt A19s with an equal number of 9.7-watt L-Prizes; three 100-watt A19s in their single lamp pendants with 12-watt short neck EnduraLED PAR30s; thirty 50-watt GU10 halogens with 5.5-watt EnduraLED GU10s; and eleven 50-watt MR16 halogens with 10-watt EnduraLED MR16s. With that, the screw-in portion of their lighting load dropped from 5,950-watts to 660, a near 90 per cent reduction.


I have a bike that I bought in Halifax. Maybe that's the bike shop. Do they sell Specialized? The cog's "ratchet" is failing and so it often slips under pedaling, which can be annoying if not kind of dangerous. (I won't mention another problem with one of its shocks.) So I have to go back from Liverpool to Halifax to get it replaced under warranty. It's more or less my only form of transportation. Last month, the local bus that served the area quit serving it, so now I have to look for alternatives and they are more expensive or sporadic. In all my years biking, I've never had this component fail.

When-- or if, to be charitable-- the curtains close for industrial civilization, it may happen this kind of way-- "fractal/catabolic"-- and then it may eventually be back to local manufacture, daylight hours and/or beeswax candles. Let's enjoy and revel in your lovely lighting, Paul, while it lasts.

BTW, if you're available for a lift, feel free.

I confess I don't have the smarts to deduce what might happen five, ten or twenty years hence, so I'm quite content to leave that burden to someone else. My personal and professional goal is to eliminate as much coal-fired generation in this province between now and the end of the world as we know it, or until such time as they strap me to a wheel chair in the hall of some retirement home, head bent over with drool running down my cheek, whichever should come first.


I hear you.

I never knew there was a Liverpool in Nova Scotia before! Last time that I had the freewheel slipping it needed cleaning and lubing, full of dirt, though the problem is coming back and I may need to change it..


I just got in from a chilly ride. Yes, freewheel... While the bike is new, it did make me think that there may have been one particular session that might have done something. But it's a mountain bike. I've biked for years, year-round, without worrying about the freewheel.

Just own it, man...your legs have become too powerful for the machines of mere mortals!

I've destroyed the freehub mechanism before...it went from skippy to free-spin pretty quickly. I suspect you have the tools and your mention of "warranty" is key, but if you don't have the tools and this is your primary ride - I'd suggest buying a set. A pair of chain-whips (or whip+cassette tool), flat wrenches and allen wrench could have that replaced in about ten minutes.

Yes, makes sense and thanks for the support, Substrate. I used to have tools, and kind of rebuilt/swapped parts off some bikes to the best of my abilities, and even stripped the paint off/suped up an extra-shiny-framed Mongoose, only to have it stolen (ya ok I guess it looked too good) but have been moving around so much lately, that they were either lost, or someone inherited them. I recall, years ago, eying an internal hub for want for something better than a derailleur with more gears than we-- even grannies-- seem to need.

Here's practically an all-wood bike incidentally, (which would probably get composted in no time, without tools. I suspect that some of the last retail outlets left standing will be tool-shops):

My chain whip is made from a piece of steel blagged from a local metal basher and bits of my old, rusted chain. A very easy to make tool.



Wow, thanks for that info on the bulb. It's handy as I prefer the whiter light and that it is available in 60W equivalent. From the photos it looks like it is white which may be a help for sales.The display ones I see have large notices 'white when lit', so the yellow may be putting some off. I know right where they will be of use, in a high pendent lamp I need to install where setting up a scaffold tower to change a bulb would be a pain. Good to hear that they may appear in Home Depot but I hope the prices improve down here, they are still very expensive with no discounting or schemes.

I wonder if you could pose a question to your rep. One concern I have with going to LED light is the effect of lots of lightning and strikes to the local grid, we get the tropical rainy season with lots of the accompanying light effects. How well do the lights stand up to this or is some added protection advisable? I wouldn't weep at a CFL popping but a LED would make my eyes water.

Bike shop looks good, that is certainly some saving there.


Dirty power and electronics always gives me the heebee-jeebees, but the DOE's torture tests on the L-Prize lamps are certainly encouraging. I'd take the plunge, but keep my receipt handy should you ever need to replace it under warranty (I'm guessing the warranty on this new lamp is six years).

In another section of this store, the designer painted the ceiling a dark charcoal grey and the insides of the fluorescent fixtures this same colour (why she didn't paint the lamps black at the same time beats me).

See: http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo69/HereinHalifax/Img_2042.jpg

There are lots of jazzy linear fluorescent pendants out there that could have provided "that hip look", but would have done the job using one-third as much energy.



Raised weights store very little power, LEDS consume very little power. A simplistic idea coupled with marketing. The raised weights are substituting for a button cell battery and a PV cell, which are smaller, more convenient, cheaper to manufacture and ship, more useful, etc.

While DC Motor Generators are simple and easily substituted/improvised with the mountains of little motors all over the place now, and finding something with a little heft to be the actual storage medium is as simple as getting some dirt, water or about anything else you have around.

I just find it odd to see all the 'principled challenging' of this idea. It's simple, but I don't find it simplistic.. Certainly it is far more clunky than PV and Little Batts, (which I also constantly lobby for, in their own right) but you can implement the concept with endless sorts of locally available materials, and this purchased version is hardly any less usable.

It's not all about being 'small and convenient', since all the renewables are ALSO out there fighting for their place against power sources that are often far more Cheap, Convenient and Energy Dense than they are. 'Convenience' is one of the crutches that we have to recognize is tying us to many unfortunate habits and preferences.

As with the continual questions about Renewable Energy Storage, Intermittency and the need for great amounts of Surface area in application, very simple notions like this seem to be silly from our present perspective, considering the amount of material, space or effort is taken up by them.. but we also have to look at the latent externalities, hidden costs and dependencies that all the other 'more convenient' forms of Power Usage, Generation and Storage carry in them, where something as elemental as this, as unimpressive as one might find it, is as simple as mud, and as unoffensive and unbeholden to the rest of the world.

As ever, this is an additional energy tool.. maybe one at the basest level, but I sure want that end of the spectrum covered, since any of us might be right there with it any old time now.

GravityLight is a revolutionary new approach to storing energy...

To achieve this we launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo and we have been thrilled by the support shown during the first 24 hours of the campaign start. But it's not yet over we still need your support by contributing to the project and spreading the word.

So what's the revolution, adding LEDs?


Between 1280 and 1320, there is an increase in the number of references to clocks and horologes in church records, and this probably indicates that a new type of clock mechanism had been devised. Existing clock mechanisms that used water power were being adapted to take their driving power from falling weights.

Pardon me while I whip up an IndieGoGo proposal for a trebuchet garbage disposal powered by a PV panels... Because no one should tinker for free.

Go for a walk around maybe "5" in the morning, and notice the birds starting to wake up. What's their "secret"? What is "5"?

It looks like they've manufactured a very nice little generator. There's just a couple of problems:

1) No chance you'll ever get a permit to actually put that into a river around here.

2) If you can get around item 1, you can accomplish the same thing for a couple hundred dollars with a small undershot water wheel and a car alternator.

So the question is, are you willing to gush the price of a new car to keep the generator out of sight?

"Permits? We don't need no stinkin' permits!"

I would certainly build my own, but there are the builders and the non-builders. (Who do other things that we builders DON'T care to do.. Blessed are the Customers!)

"I would certainly build my own,"

Building it isn't the issue. Inserting the device into "Waters of the State" is the issue. In Washington, all waters are "of the State", and all land below the high-water line, which is also legally defined. Also, any tree that overhangs Waters of the State also belongs to the State, as the shade may influence Critical Habitat.

Water law varies greatly from state to state, so other states are certainly different.

Nobody looks at my creek, and I already have solar I can plug into. No permits required.


Here in BC some dweeb made a mistake and actually assessed that we own the land under the river I live on. Of course that is impossible as laws preclude actually doing anything to the river bottom. Although, I do have a well...fully cased in the bottom of the river bed. It was there when I bought the place. I shut it down after I runined a pump due to sand....the 1.25" line was even heat traced and insulated. I now use the well to stand on at low tide to fish for salmon in September!! My neighbour finally got the tax assesment modified for all of us, although with annual taxes of $350.00 the extra burden wasn't too onerous.

However, I will be installing my own waterwheel this summer with a dc gen and will call it a 'pontoon boat' if anyone complains. No one complains about my dock which is held out with a ramp and stiff leg. Should be okay? Who knows, but we do have fewer inspector and enforcement types roaming about these days due to cuts in Govt.

I feel more and more like Copperhead Road, everyday!! :-)


Yair . . . Paulo. I'm a bit puzzled. If the screw propellor replaced the paddlewheel why would you go back to the paddle wheel for a generator in a stream?

Seems to me less hassles to build a larger version of one of the units towed behind sail boats. Friends have a little one and I have seen it pumping out six amps of 12volt juice on a nice easy reach.

Just a thought.


A screw is more efficient, but for a stream application paddle wheels don't mess with the fish. On the downside, you need a pretty good size wheel to make a decent amount of power. To make 200 watts in a typical 5 FPS stream you might need paddles about 1 ft deep by 10 ft wide. But it works if you've got the elbow room.

This is the same design as some large commercial units I've worked on - the flume pipe/tail race has been renamed though. The degree of flaring to produce a low pressure zone varies with the application. This turbine design is vulnerable to damage and jamming from sticks, etc. - You will lose a lot of efficiency from trash racks in this low head application. The advertisement skips how this is dealt with. To me that would be the most interesting part of the design, because everything else is very old technology here. I imagine one could look up the patents and find some small angle that is supposed to be an improvement, etc.
It is amazing how much new technology is repackaged old tech.


President Vladimir Putin, who extended his 12-year rule this year after enduring the biggest unrest since he came to power, said in his annual state-of-the-nation address on Dec. 12 that Russia needs to reduce its vulnerability to sudden swings in commodity prices.

Under current estimates, Russia’s known oil reserves, including fields in the Arctic, are enough to sustain the current rate of production for just 20 years, according to the EBRD. Kazakhstan, by comparison, can sustain current output for 60 years, Saudi Arabia for more than 70 years and the United Arab Emirates for more than 90 years, the EBRD said.

70 years X 10 million barrels/day = 256 billion barrels??? ...so they are just taking their "reserves" and dividing it out? As if there is no curve to production?


They get everything wrong. Kazakhstan reports 30 billion barrels of reserves and produces 1.5 mb/d, though they hope to produce a bit next year. Right now they have a reserves to production ration of 20 to 1. But that probably does not include Kashagan field with 11 billion barrels of reserves. Their current production is already in decline but Kashagan has not yet come on line yet. It is already several years behind schedule. It is supposed to start producing 350,000 barrels per day sometime next year. It will likely never produce the 1 mb/d that many expects it to. The Kashagan reserve numbers have been revised downward in the last few years.

And those reserves for Saudi and the UAE are bogus. They have far less than one half that amount.

Russia has a reserves to production ratio of 17 to 1. Meaning if those reserve numbers are accurate then they should start to decline in the next couple of years. Russia's old Western Siberia fields are in steep decline but they have managed to bring new Eastern Siberia fields on line to keep production on a slightly increasing plateau. But still the lions share of Russian production comes from their old giant fields that have a steep decline rate.

Ron P.

Yes, it's better referred to as the Reserves to Production Ratio (R/P) than as years of oil left. What an R/P of 17 means is that Russia better get the oil rigs out and start looking for new oil, or otherwise their oil production is going to go into decline in a few years. If they don't find enough oil to replace their production, then their oil production is going to go into decline regardless, and they better start planning for that eventuality. So should all of their customers.

It might be prudent for them to reduce their oil production rate now and stretch the curve out longer to ease the transition, but I think they are too addicted to oil revenues to do that. Most likely they will hit the wall hard, and the production decline will be very steep and very traumatic for them - and other countries.

Here in Canada we have an R/P of about 140, so we don't really have to worry about it for another century or so, but we are rather unique in that regard. We have much more oil than Russia, and far fewer people. And our manufacturing sector is bigger and more competitive than Russia's, too.

"We have much more oil than Russia, and far fewer people."

...interesting strategy

"...we don't really have to worry about it for another century or so..."

Second Japan Nuclear Plant at Fault Risk

A second nuclear plant in Japan sits atop a possibly active seismic fault, government-appointed experts said Friday, days after the first facility was said to be at risk.

A panel appointed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said fractured strips of earth beneath the Higashidori plant's compound in northern Japan may be active faults, meaning it would likely have to be scrapped.

On Monday, geologists said it was probable that the Tsuruga nuclear plant in the centre of the country was sitting on faults that showed signs of geologically recent movement.

Fukushima operator Tepco admits culpability

The operator of a Japanese nuclear power plant that blew up after a tsunami last year has admitted its lack of a safety culture and bad habits were behind the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years, its most forthright admission yet of culpability.

The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), said it accepted the findings of a parliamentary inquiry into the Fukushima nuclear disaster that accused the company of "collusion" with industry regulators.

"We admit, we completely admit, that part [about the lack of a safety culture and bad habits] of the parliamentary report," Anegawa told a news conference in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

Anegawa, who has worked at the Fukushima plant, said there were some misunderstandings in the "technological part" of the report. "But [for] most of the investigation of our organisation culture, we admit that, and we will try to change," he said.

... "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

Helium balloons could cause world shortage, claims British chemist

Helium balloons may add a certain festive touch to parties—but a British scientist claims that the decorations could potentially set off a world helium shortage.

How does one get helium? It's a byproduct of the petrochemical industry, released when helium pockets are penetrated during oil or gas drilling.

Has anyone seen evidence of there being a helium shortage?

I mentioned this possibility at an MRI meeting more than a decade ago
R Wilson radiology ret.

It's been a regular topic of discussion in NMR circles for quite a while with some facilities reporting an inability to get the LHe needed to keep their magnets from quenching.

So far, I haven't personally encountered problems but we don't use that much and we have a long history with our supplier. It's not clear to me how much of this is due to temporary disruptions and how much to attribute to the 1996 helium privatization act so brilliantly conceived by our political classes.

In Europe we have faced in the last three year increasing difficulties to get Helium, sometimes it does not really help to be for two decades customer, the supplier simply do not have the helium.

10 years ago you usually got in August the message that due to maintenance work in NG production facilities in Africa the helium supply may be limited in September/October so you planned accordingly, a 100 liter refill is good for three month at least.

In 2009 I faced the first time the problem that my supplier was not able to deliver in November and I started making emergency plans. Fortunately, a competitor could deliver from some emergency stocks. A quenched 600 MHz magnet means costs of around 20000 EUR as you have to pay a service engineer for at least three days and you need 500 liter helium to cool down and refill.

Three weeks ago my colleagues had problems to get helium for their three spectrometer, fortunately, my supplier could deliver.

That's unfair! :-)

The last generation of magnets of both Varian and Bruker reduce the helium demand by 70%, however, you pay for an additional cryo system, but in case of helium shortage the way to go :-)

My wife came home about 6 months ago complaining that the party stores no longer had a stock of already inflated seasonal helium balloons (e.g. Graduation, holiday) displayed in the store. You had to wait in line to have them inflated. I took that as a sign that individual stores are feeling a pinch and are attempting to limit losses...

smash, a restaurant that used to have a number of balloons up against the ceiling on strings for the kids to take now blows one up if a kid wants one. It seems to make sense to me to reduce the waste.

Regarding Helium Issue I work for a Multinational company who have just spent approx $20 million installing new production line. Line contains 3 automated Helium leak test cells. When Project manager went order Supplies of Helium he was told by Air Products that they are not accepting any new customers, full stop. Serious panic.
Only managed to get supplies by ordering trough sister plant on their account @300Euro for K size tank
Watch this space

The helium shortage has been discussed here quite a bit over the years. Searching on helium will turn up a bunch of stuff.

Stop-Start Engines Stop Waste, Start Jobs

The average American idles his or her engine about 16 minutes a day. That means we burn about 10.6 billion gallons of gas each year–nearly a month’s supply–to go absolutely nowhere. That gas is wasted.

According to the automotive experts at Edmunds.com, “You can make a Corolla get the same gas mileage as an 18-wheeler by sitting in the car with the air-conditioner running while waiting in an elementary-school pickup line.”

... Stop-start technology automatically shuts off your engine when your car is stopped, but leaves your radio, air conditioning, and other electronics running off the battery. When you release the brakes or engage the clutch, the engine seamlessly restarts. The technology can boost fuel efficiency by 5 to 10 percent.

Start-stop technology is already standard in some vehicles, or adds an incremental cost of about $300 as an option–a cost that’s recouped in less than 2 years, according to the American Automobile Association.

Yeah, start-stop is a sadly ignored simple technology. And one of the major reasons why is that it is completely invisible to the EPA MPG ratings. Their tests are for the MPG of cars moving. Idle time is not considered AT ALL. So they should adjust their ratings somehow to reflect the savings from start-stop technology.

Their tests are for the MPG of cars moving. Idle time is not considered AT ALL

Interesting observation.

They'd need to come up with test scenarios for 'stopped' as well as 'stop and go traffic', it seems.

Would be nice if they stated mpg numbers for real-life interstate speeds 65, 75 mph. People might not be as shocked when their real-life car delivers miserable numbers. It can be equally surprising how "in the terlit" mpg goes at really slow speeds (in a non-hybrid).

I think folks might be happily surprised at just going -5mph from the posted speed limit on the highway or freeway (stay to the right as slower traffic please)

Back in June 2012 did a family car trip vacation from California to Oregon to visit relatives, and documented this:

Getting almost 27mpg in a big friggin V-6 3.5L 2011 Honda Pilot. A Pilot filled with five people, and fully loaded down with our stuff for the drive up. I just did mild hyper-mile-ing of going 60mph in a 65, and used 91octane fuel. Going that little big slower makes a huge impact. — at Somewhere south of Salem, OR.

I've used this technology for years. I call it a "key" ;-/

True. But evidently it has to be automatically applied -or in most cases it isn't used. Of course people may be semi-legitimately concerned about abusing their starter. Hybrids already incorporate something like this.

"Of course people may be semi-legitimately concerned about abusing their starter."

Especially older people. I remember Dad changing the starter in his cars every few years. I haven't changed a starter since the '80s. The 22 year old pickup still has the original.

I'm half convinced it's the electronic ignitions and fuel injection. Even when it's 20 below, the truck cranks up in a few seconds. Dad had to grind the starter a long time in the hope that enough gas would atomize to start the engine. And all that grinding killed the starter as well as the battery.

Especially FARMERS and others who drive a tractor. Farmers do not turn of their engines. During the price hike of 2008 my cousin, who lives on the country side, told me that gas is now so expensive, farmers now turn of their engines when not actually using the tractor. Thats when I first got the feeling oil prices was unnatural high.
Like when they go home and have dinner, the tractor is on for the whole hour, why turn it of? A farmer turns on the tractor in the morning, and off when he park it in the barn at the evening. Multiple hours a day of idle running is standard.

There was a myth that it takes so much more fuel to restart an engine that they are better off leaving it run.

In the past many believed that as gospel, I think many now realize it's not true.

Back when diesels were started with pony motors, starting was such an ordeal that leaving them running through lunch made sense.

"with pony motors"

Learn something new every day...using an electrical motor to start a smaller gasoline motor which is then used to start the large diesel motor. I'll bet those old beasts were ornery as hell when cold too. I'd also be willing to bet that the original pony motors may have been equine, and boy would that have been a pain.

Electric starter on the pony motor, no such luck.

It was a rope starter, not even a automatic recoil. But once you had the pony motor running you could spin the diesel for long enough for the oil to get flowing good before releasing the lever that held the exhaust valves open.

Since they shared cooling systems, it warmed the diesel to help in cold weather.

Caterpillar D2 Pony Motor Start Up

Fisherman more so, but with good reason. Anchors don't hold well in that steep breaking swell just before the reefs/cliffs. And quite often the coast guard or your fellow fisherman arrive too late.
As one fisherman told me almost 30 years ago "You never know for sure it will start back up.".

In the context here, we're talking about re-starting a warm engine after a few seconds or minutes being turned off. That is easy for the starter. I've done that many times manually, and some cars are now made to do that automatically, and not just hybrids that have bigger electric engines than a "starter".


I would discourage frequent auto engine shutdown/restart if the car has a conventional starter that engages gear teeth on the flywheel (or flexplate, as it is called in automatic transmissions).


Fuel savings might get canceled out by higher costs of possibly having to replace the starter, flywheel (or flexplate), if the gear teeth get damaged with premature wear.

I think start/stop is a great idea, but needs to use the special electrical motors as used in most hybrid designs, not a conventional starter motor based design that engages a flywheel/flexplate.

I still do that in traffic. When in my early 20's I though it might save gas to do it when coasting down the side of a mountain driving a Ford Capri. It's awkward to lock your steering column into no-theft position when going 70mph down a hill and a curve approaching. And I was using a cheap key copy that took several tries to get unlocked. And I couldn't use the brakes because they pulled to the left and had to be corrected for, which would put me into oncoming traffic.

ah, youth.

I only did that once, although I routinely coasted in idle/neutral. But I was up in the mountains with almost no gas, and terrified I'd run out. It was scary driving down the canyon without power brakes/power steering, but at least the steering lockup required a further (beyond off) key twist.

An aunt locked the steering while descending the Mt Washington auto road once.

Oh does that bring back bad memories. In one of those times when I've been a complete flaming idiot, I misjudged how far my fuel supply would last and didn't pay adequate attention to the "next gas: 10,000 miles" sign back on I-70. I ended up pulling a camping trailer down the switchbacks into Moab UT on fumes. I've never been so happy to see a gas station in my life.

Brrr, gives me chills thinking about it.

It's nice to hear that someone else was as dumb in their youth as I was. My passenger was not pleased at that particular attempt to save gasoline as we rolled across the oncoming lane and into the grassy strip beyond. At least we were only going about 30 on neighborhood streets.

Young and sweet, only 17, dressed in the protective gear of above-the-knee shorts and a T; 120 mph cruises through the Montreal Lafontaine tunnel, etc., on a motorcycle.
Traffic-jams, death and taxes had little meaning.

Alive to talk about it because a friend, who checked-up my bike, forgot the antifreeze, and during one fall cold snap, a piston almost seized. That's how I know about Wiseco. :D
Swapped the piston, sold the bike.

Negligence can save lives.

'ah, youth'? Bah! I'll be young to my grave!

Heh. I think you could tell the "ah, youth" comment was bittersweet with that ironic flavor.

Yes, stay young. I'm still deciding what to do when I grow up.


I know a few of us go back to WWII. At that time we lived in the country and there weren't any stop lights/signs until we got to the city. However, there were a lot of hills and my dad always coasted down them to save gas - remember, it was rationed and saving a little bit helped.


Back then it was almost all standard transmissions - I worry a bit about throwout bearings, having lost them several times (twice was on one vehicle) over the years, until I stopped coasting as much. I worry more with automatic transmissions, I am not sure that every design will properly lubricate itself while coasting in neutral, so I limit coasting to when I really need to stretch the fuel (and you sure can stretch it a lot).

I tried switching off on downhills and while slowing down. Eventually blew a gasket. I think it was the repeated heating and cooling of the cylinder head that did it.

Probably coincidence, blown head gaskets are common anyway; normally caused by loss of coolant followed by serious overheating, which causes a warped head. Even then, often steel cylinder heads survive an isolated overheating event.
Once many years ago I left my diesel rabbit idling without a working thermal switch, I went to bed and later the next day discovered the vehicle idling with all (I mean absolutely all) of the coolant boiled away and the heat gauge pinned. And had been pinned for hours, it had been idling for 17 hours IIRC (it was a weekend, I didn't get out to the driveway for some time). It was good to go, no repair needed, some permanent loss of power but I used it for several more years. It was minus 20 F that night & diesels don't produce much heat at idle, which helps.

“You can make a Corolla get the same gas mileage as an 18-wheeler by sitting in the car with the air-conditioner running while waiting in an elementary-school pickup line.”

A patently false and stupid statement, as if you are not moving your mileage is obviously zero. An 18 wheeler gets better than that. It would be more informative to know what percentage of the total fuel volume used occurs while idling and motionless. This is the maximum opportunity for savings, and I expect it is actually a fairly small percentage. It may make sense to add this extra technology cost and complexity to new cars, but it will be a while until it penetrates far enough to make a difference. Meanwhile, I cannot imagine idling for 16 minutes a day, and I'm kind of skeptical.

Mostly I guess, technofluff like this does not really address the major problem we have in any significant way but it makes people feel like they're doing the right thing while they continue BAU. And helps sell new cars.

It is not false & stupid statement . . . the point is obviously averaging together the moving and idling time. The car is not permanently parked in front of the school.

But 16 minutes a day of idle . . . yeah it is crazy but I'm certain that some people that deal with stop & go heavy traffic deal with it. That is 8 minutes to work and 8 minutes coming home from work. Add up all the time at stoplights and stuck in traffic. It adds up. Start-stop, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs can all provide savings for this problem.

OK, so they have electric power steering and power brakes? Because if not, they cannot shut off the engine with the vehicle moving. Again, this looks on the surface to be of minor benefit, but I see it as really another gimmick to sell new cars and perpetuate the car culture, and that won't really be much change.

10.6 billion gallons/yr = 265,000,000 bbl/yr = 725,000 bbl/day

725,000 bbl/day / 18,000,000 bbl/day = 0.04 * 100 = 4% of US daily oil consumption which is better than nothing.

I call foul on using all 10.6 billion gallons! It will not be possible to save 100% of that, even if the number is correct.

T - ... It will not be possible to save 100% of that ...

Why not?

Originally cars did not require a license plate - now they all do. Same with emission controls. It's a regulatory issue. Say for instance, If you want to sell a new car in the U.S. then it must have this system. In 7-10 years probably >90% of the vehicles would have it or install it after market. As fuel price increases there will be an additional incentive.

This is just a another efficiency 'wedge'

Because the engine will still need to idle sometimes, and because it will take a long time to replace the vehicle fleet with cars that have this capability. Therefore the opportunity for savings is less than 100%.

OK, so they have electric power steering and power brakes? Because if not, they cannot shut off the engine with the vehicle moving.

Not sure exactly how it works but I drove my sister's manual shift Volvo station wagon in Germany and it automatically shuts the engine off whenever you stop at a stoplight. It starts right up again as soon as you engage the clutch and hit the gas.

BTW you see signs everywhere that say this: "Bitte Motor abstellen", which means please turn off your engine.

I am getting way off topic for TOD, but:

Power brakes on most cars run via engine vacuum, and the system due to it's design, you still have assist for one or two brake pedal presses before the vacuum is exhausted, even in a car with the engine off (try it in your driveway, with parking brake applied for safety).

Large commercial vehicles typically use air brakes, and there is a tank that applies assist, and would have pressure even if the engine/compressor was off, for a few pedal presses.

Most power steering is assist via hydraulics powered by the engine (some new ones are electrical assist), so that would be bad, but who needs to move the steering wheel when stopped?

You need that. In a panic stop where the wheels momentarily lockup with manual transmission, the engine stalls. The only times that happened to me was a panic stop on ice.

Electric power steering is becoming common - it's in all of the Prii and a lot of high-end luxury cars are getting it these days...wouldn't be surprised to see it become standard in the coming years.

The Prii have an electrically driven vacuum pump to boost the brakes when the engine is off.

My Honda has Lock/Off - Unlock/Accessory - On - Start...and I'd engine-off coast all of the time, freewheel the motor if I needed to regen the vacuum. On the old route I'd sometimes go about 1.5 miles with the engine off on the way home and 1 mile on the way in.

Start stop is becomming more or less standard in europe as idling is included in eu fuel economy tests. Road tax tax/Company car tax/ is based on co2 emmisions/economy
BTW You dont need power steering or brakes when you are stoped ! But a lot of european cars use electric power stering pump that only runs as required

The power steering/brakes work off pneumatic pressure. You still have some pressure available after the engine is turned off, it needs power to repressurize.

The power steering/brakes work off pneumatic pressure.

The brakes work off negative pneumatic pressure, also known as a vacuum. There is enough storage for 1 or 2 uses. Ralph, how do the power brakes work on your diesel? Diesels don't have any vacuum source. I know big trucks have an air compressor.

Power steering works off a hydraulic pump on the engine. No storage, engine not running, no power steering.

Even the electric power steering on my subaru will not work off the battery only, alternator has to be operating.

As jonathan said above, we all have our dumb mistakes in our youth. I wanted to see how hard it was to steer my new car with the motor off. So at about 80 I turned off the engine, but without thinking, I didn't stop at the first click, I went 2 clicks and pulled the key out. Got real hard to steer real quick, had to hold back the panic to get the key back in and turned.

Well, I'm not Ralph, but my VW diesels ran a vacuum booster pump of the same intermediate shaft that ran the oil pump.

I've been driving a stop-start car these last two years. They are becoming more common in Europe. It does not save much for me, because I rarely drive in stop-start traffic and always coast as soon as I see an obstruction ahead, so I am rarely stationary for more than a few seconds. It does work very smoothly, and the sudden total silence in the car is startling.

Having seen so many vehicles that people leave running, I find it easily believable. Wait in the car at the doctors office for a patient, sit in the car to listen to the radio -people have no clue they could do this for hours with the engine off without the battery going dead, so they run the engine. Very very common.
Of course 18wheelers are the worst offenders, those guys really have an aversion to turning their engines off.

But the interior temperature might vary by a half a degree from optimal, so the engine must be run to provide heat or A/C. We have lived in our cocoons for generations now. The real world is alien to us, and it will be some shock when it must be dealt with once again. As it shall.

Back when the group earthFirst! had a funny newsletter, they had all sorts of fundraising products they made small change on. One was a series of car stickers made of the cheapest, gummiest non-shiny paper imaginable so they could only be removed with a razor blade and turpentine. Notably, these featured various green messages as well as humorous statements, and were not meant for the buyer's own car. I'm not saying I did that, I'm just saying it was a nice product category.

"While waiting in an elementary-school pickup line.”


I've always wondered why people don't park a block or two away and walk to get the little ones, or tell the medium sized ones to meet them on the corner. At ten minutes pick-up and ten minutes drop-off thats about 7 hours a month of time that you could be walking through the neighborhood that contains your child's school instead of idling in traffic. Talk about opportunities missed, opportunity to engage in mild exercise, to interact with community, to "patrol" environment surrounding offspring's school etc.

Around here I see a lot of parents idling in cars while waiting for the school bus, whether picking up or dropping off. In at least one case in my neighborhood the parent is in the car while the kid is standing outside the car.

Not only do a lot of people idle their cars here in the winter (rather cold) and in the summer (sometimes hot), but also when the outside temperature is around "room temperature".

And while picking kids up at school, the car is kept running unattended - which is against state law, but is done en masse every day in front of every school.

I knew of one person who lived next to the school but drove around the block just to be one of those 'doing the school run'.


16 minutes a day, That you find impossible? How many traffic lights is in the trip from point A to Point B, How many stop Signs? If you live in the Rural places, not a lot. If you live in a City A lot more. In stop and go traffic Lights cycle pretty fast for the person sitting there. But when I get rides, I try not to talk to the driver while we are moving, only during the stops. From My Doctor's office to My house there are mostly stop lights, 10 of them, If we hit (stop) at 50% of them, that is 5, then 5 on the way back. That gives me 10 stops, or about 96 seconds for each stop. There you go. 16 minutes stopped in traffic easy.

This does not count stopped for school buses on/off loading students, We had to stop for one the other morning. Or in high traffic times ( this was a morning doctor's visit ( not my idea I like to sleep late in my older years) ). Traffic was backed up over 1/2 mile from the nearest traffic light in our trip. The trip only takes about 15 mintues, but most of it is moving up to 45 miles per hour, while other parts were sitting Idle.

I do take the bus when I can, But the bus idles as well. Every stop to load people on or off, as well as a few stops when they are running ahead of time, they will pull over at a stop that is out of general flow of traffic and stop for a few ( long enough for me to read 3 pages of a book at times). I know it seems much of a waste if you add the numbers up and given those numbers really are large. What they don't also tell you is how much energy it takes for you to move in that car every year. Or tell you how many people are getting rides in their cars, but only take themselves there and back. The numbers are just huge 19 million barrels of oil used every day, mostly to move people from point A to point B. Just amazing what we waste.


Before you start your engine more than necessary consider the cost of replacing the starter when it fails prematurely. I once replaced the starter on a Ford Taurus. The new starter was cheap but it was a 3 hour job to do the switch. There was barely enough space to work.


I do agree. Its not just about saving a bit of fuel, wear and tear on the mechanical parts is important also.
I wouldn't turn it off at say red lights. I used to turn it off parked, or when a policeman is directing a stream of traffic through a one way obstruction, and the wait time may be minutes. For hybrids, the vehicle does it for you, and the design is such that wear is minimized. Note a hybrid won't always stop the engine at rest, the computer monitors multiple things, including temperatures, battery charge, etc., and makes the decision. At least with the hybrid, the ICE can be shutoff while the vehicle is moving (and you even have some motive power). Even the plugin might choose to run the ICE in EV mode, for instance a demand for defrosting heat, or a cold engine, or a demand for more power than electric alone can supply. But its pretty seemless as far as the driver is concerned.

U.S. Drought Expands In Kansas, Oklahoma And Texas

Drought continued to expand through many key farming states within the central United States in the past week, as scattered rainfall failed to replenish parched soils, according to a report issued Thursday by state and federal climatology experts.

... Overall, roughly 61.87 percent of the contiguous United States was in at least "moderate" drought, a slight improvement from 62.37 percent a week earlier.

The portion of the contiguous United States under at least "severe" drought expanded, however, to 42.59 percent from 42.22 percent.

Roughly 63 percent of the new winter wheat crop that U.S. farmers planted in the fall is in drought-hit areas, with the hard red winter wheat belt - especially from South Dakota to Texas - remaining deeply entrenched in drought, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Extreme temperature fluctuations from warmer-than-normal to freezing conditions have stressed the crop, which already was in poor shape due to lack of moisture. [Climate Chaos]

A Former Republican Insider Begs for Sanity

... in 2003, Bruce Bartlett, a former senior policy analyst for Ronald Reagan, the man who claims to have made significant contributions to legitimizing supply-side economics, began to have an “existential crisis.” He was disturbed by the new Republican Party’s out-of-control spending and irresponsible tax cuts. He saw government run wastefully. And he saw Republicans committed to an unwavering denial of Keynesian economics that he knew could help us out of our economic problems in the same way they did in the 1930’s.

He spoke out about it and was basically excommunicated from the Republican Party.

Today, after thirty years of Reaganomics, Bartlett knows that more tax cuts and trickle-down economics isn’t the answer. “Reagan’s policies will not work today,” Bartlett told us. “Today, tax cuts will do no good whatsoever. It is the worst possible solution to any problem at all. We have a lack of aggregate demand. We need to be hiring people and building public works – that’s what the economy needs…I don’t believe in cookie cutter economics.”

... As Eisenhower wrote to his brother Edgar, in 1954, “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things…a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

[Today] Eisenhower would have just called Paul Ryan, “stupid.”


[Today] Eisenhower would have just called Paul Ryan, “stupid.”

He would have been aware of the stupid-stupid-stupid complex as he was of another complex.

Trade Deficit Dots Connect To Billionaires

Connect some current news-item dots:

Mother Nature Is Just Getting Warmed Up: Record-Smashing Early December Assures 2012 Will Be Hottest In U.S. History

... There is a 99.99999999 percent chance that 2012 will be the hottest year ever recorded in the continental 48 states, based on our analysis of 118 years of temperature records through Dec. 10, 2012.

... And remember, we’ve only warmed about a degree and a half Fahrenheit in the past century. We are on track to warm five times times that or more this century. ... Mother Nature is just getting warmed up!

Climate change: the Inuit now have words for ‘bumblebee’ and ‘robin’

Will Shell Oil's Arctic 'beer can' hold up better in second-chance containment trial?

The containment dome Royal Dutch Shell hopes never to use has been transformed, following an accident this September that left it "crushed like a beer can" -- hampering the company's groundbreaking effort to suck oil from the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s North Slope.

Since the accident, Shell's contractors have labored feverishly to get the dome ready for another deployment, said Guiton. He called the Arctic Containment System, as Shell calls its beefed-up barge and dome, a "magnificent piece of engineering work."

On Wednesday, the barge and dome left the Port of Bellingham under the power of tugs Arctic Titan and Garth Foss, Guiton said. According to workers he's met, the Arctic Containment System is headed for sea trials in Puget Sound that will be viewed by company officials.

From Guiton's photos, it's clear the upper part that was crushed has been significantly reinforced, with lateral ribs and an outer frame, as Guiton calls those improvements.

State Officials Urge EPA To Tighten Rules On Methane For Oil And Natural Gas Industry

Connecticut officials joined six other states on Wednesday in urging federal environmental officials to take new action to control methane gas emissions related to the oil and natural gas industries.

... and now there are seven.

Manure Fuels Vehicles With Methane

... When Kluthe originally built the digester, he was required to burn excess methane.

“I got to thinking that was a waste of something that could be used, and I knew I needed to learn how to compress the methane, to have something like compressed natural gas,” he says.

With the help of Kevin Kenney, an ag engineer and president of Grassroots Energy in Lincoln, Kluthe began compressing the methane.

I run 80 percent methane and 20 percent diesel in my truck,” he says. “I get 70 miles to the gallon in the truck when I am using methane. It runs so much quieter and there is more torque than I get burning just diesel.”

S. Korea, Greenland discuss resources development, Arctic shipping routes

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Greenland's Premier Kuupik Kleist agreed Thursday to work closely together for an environment-friendly development of the resources-rich Arctic nation and to open up polar shipping routes, the presidential office said.

Greenland is rich in oil, rare earth materials and other resources. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, about 17 billion barrels of oil are estimated to be buried along Greenland's western coast, with another 31.4 billion barrels along the northwestern coast

Greenland is rich in oil, rare earth materials and other resources. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, about 17 billion barrels of oil are estimated to be buried along Greenland's western coast, with another 31.4 billion barrels along the northwestern coast

How would the USGS know that? Nobody has found that oil yet, so they are counting their eggs before they are hatched, or their oil reserves before any successful wells are drilled.

I recall about 40 years ago running 6,000 magnetic tape reels from a seismic survey offshore of Greenland through a seismic data processing supercomputer. That exercise found nothing, so I remain unconvinced about the USGS estimate.

I'm sure Greenland will be more than happy to take S.Korea's money to take a 'look-see'

I don't suppose that your efforts resulted in a report in the open literature. Or, is it possible that your data might now be in the public domain so that publication might occur? I'm sure that these data would be quite interesting to the rest of us...

E. Swanson

No, totally not in the public domain, proprietary, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreement, if I told you I'd have to kill you, etc. etc. The usual industry thing.

Really, all I know is that they spent six months shooting seismic off the coast of Greenland and didn't find anything worth drilling. What does that tell you? It might not be worth drilling off the coast of Greenland.

The reason the USGS is so confident that there is oil off Greenland is that that part of the Greenland Continental Shelf was once part of the same Shelf as the current North Sea. It all broke apart and that part of the shelf moved west due to continental drift. But the oil should still be there... they think.

Here is how it looked before it all broke apart. Geology of the North Sea

Greenland Coast

Ron P.

That would put the best prospects on the EASTERN coast of Greenland; the original article said the USGS thinks there is oil off the WESTERN coast. As RMG points out, it would be interesting to get a reference on that assertion...

I recall about 40 years ago running 6,000 magnetic tape reels from a seismic survey offshore of Greenland through a seismic data processing supercomputer. That exercise found nothing, so I remain unconvinced about the USGS estimate.

Which of the several W Greenland basins did your seismic cover? Raw field tapes from seis aquisition sucks up an immense amount to tape. While 6,000 reels of mag tape sounds big to the unitiated, I seriously doubt that it would cover that entire area with any kind of decent grid. The USGS assessment covered 5 basins, on both the the Canadian and Greenland sides of Davis Strait and Baffin Bay. Not to belittle your efforts from 40 years ago, but our current understanding of arctic geology is somewhat better than it was then. You are, however, quite correct that only the drill bit will tell for sure what is or is not there.

As always, the USGS assessments are misunderstood by the unitiated. It is an analysis of what might be there, based on the best currently available data and analysis. Note that these assessments always include a low end, high end, and mean case.

To see what the USGS actually said, as opposed to the version filtered through the MSM, see Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the West Greenland–East Canada Province, 2008 fact sheet. Note that the low end is zero. For more details, see Open-File Report 2010-1012 which includes a couple of example seismic lines.

Back in the day, when the computer company I worked for marketing to seismic processing firms, I remember a few tidbits. Marine survey ships couldn't stay out long (couple weeks max), because all the tapes were full of data, and they had to go to port and unload tapes and get new ones! The Operating System types could never understand that you handle bad tapes -not by aborting the application, but by simply discarding the bad tape, and going on with reading the next zillion ones. A few missing pieces of data didn't hurt anything.

Actually, it was 40 years ago and I don't remember many of the details. What does stick in my mind is that they had damaged one of the two tape drives on the ship, and we couldn't read 3000 of the 6000 tapes. The cost of reshooting the survey would have run into the millions, so we went to the tape drive manufacturer and had them custom-build a tape drive that COULD read those 3000 bad tapes.

It's true that our understanding of the geology of the Arctic is much better than it was back then, it's just that I subsequently worked for another company that spent billions of dollars drilling in the Canadian Arctic, and found more or less nothing. The investors lost their shirts, the employees lost their pensions, and the ensuing financial debacle almost brought down the Canadian banking system. It was a learning experience for all of us.

As a result I tend to be sceptical about claims of Arctic oil wealth. I just want to know what the USGS bases its estimates on, other than wild guesses.

It's true that our understanding of the geology of the Arctic is much better than it was back then, it's just that I subsequently worked for another company that spent billions of dollars drilling in the Canadian Arctic, and found more or less nothing. The investors lost their shirts, the employees lost their pensions, and the ensuing financial debacle almost brought down the Canadian banking system. It was a learning experience for all of us.

As a result I tend to be sceptical about claims of Arctic oil wealth. I just want to know what the USGS bases its estimates on, other than wild guesses.

The arctic is a big place. Regarding the basis for the USGS estimates, you could start by looking at the Open File I linked. I will point out (again) that the low end of their estimate was zero. We won't know for sure until we drill. If the Korean investors loose their shirts, that's their problem.

No I didn't read the Open File because my iPad couldn't open it because it was too big. However, I just finished reading it on the PC, and I can't say it was worth the effort. It's glossy but I don't see any solid facts in it, just a lot of speculation. We've already tested a lot of the prospects they think are good. and found them not so good. And I have no confidence in people who take two numbers between 0 and 20,000, and print out a weighted average value of them to five significant digits. There are no significant digits at all in the result.

It's true that the Arctic is a big place, but the Canadian Sector is the second biggest one after the Russian Sector, it is right next door to Greenland, and it has been rather thoroughly explored.

See: The Arctic Island Adventure and Panarctic Oils Ltd

Panarctic was a consortium of 37 companies. It drilled 150 onshore wells and 38 offshore wells in the Canadian Arctic Islands, and found about 17 oil and gas fields. They drilled one commercially successful well, Bent Horn, and produced it for years, but it has since been plugged and abandoned. The rest of what they found was uneconomic. Panarctic no longer exists as a company.

It is important to note where Panarctic drilled most of its wells - nowhere near Greenland. You can stand on a high mountain and see Greenland from Ellesmere Island and Baffin Island, but those were the areas that Panarctic avoided drilling. They figured that the Sverdrup Basin held the best prospects, and they were right, but it wasn't good enough to make any money for them. As the Exploration VP of Panarctic once said, "We ran out of prospects before we ran out of money. People were still willing to give us more money to drill, but we just didn't have any good prospects left."

Also see: Geological/Geophysical Studies in Baffin Bay, etc...

This is an old seismic/magnetic/gravity survey along Baffin Bay and Davis Strait from Northern Greenland to Northern Newfoundland. It took particular interest in areas around oil seeps off Scott Inlet and Cape Dyer, but it surveyed the whole Canadian side of the coast. It's an old document, so all the good prospects have since been drilled. They found oil and gas, but not in commercial quantities. Further south, there are major oil and gas fields offshore of Newfoundland, but then you're getting into a different area that is not much like Greenland.

So, not that I want to discourage people from risking their own money, but I don't see much reason to be confident about the chances of finding oil off Greenland. The only reason I can see for drilling it is that there aren't very many other unexplored places left to drill.

RMG, we have been through this tired argument before. Yes, you guys drilled a lot of holes in the shallow water portion of the Canadian Beaufort and on/offshore Sverdrup Basin. Offshore Greenland is not the Beaufort or the Sverdrup. Your late 70's vintage paper with sparker data was no doubt the state of the art.....thirty years ago. Thank you for the link on Panarctic, I hadn't seen that one before and it is interesting, but it doesn't have much to do with Greenland.

You could of course be right, and there is nothing left to be found in Greenland. Even the perhaps over optimistic USGS put zero as their low end estimate for that region. However, the fact that you guys didn't find anything in the Sverdrup or shallow water Canadian Beaufort does not mean that nothing is left to be found in areas you didn't drill. Not everyone has the temperment for exploration, you clearly don't.

As I noted, we have had this discussion before. You may want to review some of the more recent papers that some of your own Canadian chaps have published (ie. GSOC & CSEG). Rather than retype all that, I will just send you to my old post:

Now it is getting late. I've been out in the snow all day participating in an avalanche rescue training scenario with the SAR team I volunteer with. Being one of the oldest geezers in the group, I am tired and am going to bed. Good night.

Yes, I know it gets old after a while. For me it got old about 30 years ago when I realized we were drilling a lot of holes in the Arctic Ocean and not finding any commercial-sized discoveries. We and our competitors did gravity and magnetic surveys shot seismic all over the Canadian Arctic and down the East Coast, drilled a lot of wells, and while we did find a lot of oil and gas fields, we found nothing commercial. There are not any Prudhoe Bay sized fields, and that's what we needed to pay for a pipeline to bring it out.

People reasoned by analogy with the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic Ocean is no Gulf of Mexico. There has been too much tectonic activity, the area is heavily gas prone because most of the reservoirs have been too hot, and those that haven't been too hot have been fractured and the oil has escaped. This is completely different from the GOM which has been abnormally cold and is oil-prone.

Basically, the oil prospects in the Canadian Arctic are not good, unlike the natural gas, coal, and iron ore deposits, which are huge in size.

As far as Greenland is concerned, I don't see a lot of possibilities. Probably it was originally connected to Canada, so the geology should be similar. I know companies have shot seismic around the coasts, and I haven't heard any excitement from them. As far I know, it's much like the Canadian Arctic Islands, but not as good.

Oil sands research worked out a lot better for us. The company I worked for didn't get anywhere with its pilot project, but other people invented SAGD, and that allowed Canada to book another 170 billion barrels of oil, which has been a lot more cost-effective than Arctic drilling. They spent $1 billion in research, and booked nearly $17 trillion in assets. I hear the government has committed another $3 billion to research.

I can't even do avalanche rescue scenarios any more since my hip has gotten too bad - I sat the annual Avalanche Rescue course out this year - I can't even run through the snow with a transceiver any more. There is a real possibility I will head off to the Caribbean next month to have it resurfaced. But you should see the look of terror on the surgeon's face when you tell him the real reason you want a new hip is because you want to ski the double-black diamond runs through the trees again! They don't like that idea.

Off this topic some but thought I'd ask if you happened to the AGS luncheon Thurs. It generated a mostly a shrug up here. One little 900 unit item that for some reason was left readable on the log got some comment. Interesting for me to sit amongst the professionals.

I personally noticed a change in emphasis since the September presentation I attended. No doubt this was given to a different forum (and presented through a weaker medium), but back in September 'Shublik' was in lots of sentences with lots of emphasis. This time the presenter said more about the GRZ, sand and conventional traps. To my ears references to the Shublik seemed thin and rushed. Some around the table thought that formation might be a bit aged for the tight oil game.

The talk by Duncan of Great Bear was really lame, in my opinion. I can't recall the last time (other than a big oil company "Town Hall") when someone talked for so long and said so little of substance. He did show the two slides of the mud logs through the Shublik, but didn't really say much about them, other than that the Shublik is a rich source rock, which we already knew.

The one thing that I found interesting was that now, all of a sudden, he is talking about trying to develop conventional prospects in the Ivishak, Kuparuk, and Brookian. Someone in the Anchorage audience asked him (grinning) if he saw any porosity in those rocks. Ed said something like "well, the Ivishak did look pretty tight" or words to that effect. The point being that the area of his leases has been looked over pretty hard for many years. I think it is highly unlikely (but not impossible) that he can find any good untested conventional prospects down there.

Bottom line is that I think his shale oil play may not be panning out so well. In contrast to his earlier presentations about soon moving to a horizontal frac test, he seemed to not want to talk too much about his next steps. The Fairbanks guys may be right, the Shublik may be a bit cooked on his acreage. Based on my experience, horizontal drilling in the GRZ and Kingak might be challenging. In the fields further north they can be very problematic to drill through with conventional wells unless they are near vertical.

Shale oil could be a game changer on the slope if Duncan can make it work, but so far, I am highly skeptical. Certainly his talk Wednesday didn't make me change my view.

Thanks. And thanks for the heads up, it was gracious of the pros to let me sit in and learn a little.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience." PTdC ...

A Gospel of Wealth

... "It is well, nay, essential for the progress of the race, that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refinements of civilization, rather than that none should be so. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor."

Wow, universal squalor as the only alternative to a wealth chasm dividing society into fragments. This was Andrew Carnegie, writing in 1890 (The Gospel of Wealth). Earlier he'd talked about how, in the old days, "there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food and environment of the chief and those of his retainers."

Furthermore ... The Indians are today where civilized man then was. When visiting the Sioux, I was led to the wigwam of the chief. It was just like the others in external appearance, and, even within, the difference was trifling between it and those of the poorest of his braves. The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization. This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial.

... These are the prejudices -- the spiritual contaminants -- built into the society we inhabit. It begins with the myth of civilization and the abundance of technology and art and fabulous entertainment and great footwear it bestows, however unequally, on all of us, rich and poor alike. The viciousness of the enforcement of this divide is hidden behind the glorious abundance. Without the inequality -- without the rich owning almost everything -- we'd have... drum circles and moccasins. You know, universal squalor.

In the case of Andrew Carnegie, wealth accumulation was a good thing. He used his wealth to start public libraries all over Canada and the United States. Indeed, the first public library here in Ottawa, Canada would not have been built without a $100,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1901. If he had simply paid his employees a slightly higher wage, none of the good things he did with his wealth would have happened.

But only a tiny minority of the super rich behaves like Andrew Carnegie did. Sheldon Adelson, for instance, gave away many millions... to the political campaign of Newt Gingrich, then to Mitt Romney. He hoped to get a hundred fold in return on his investment via lower taxes.

But about wealth. There needs to be a difference because the hard workers need to be rewarded for their efforts and the lazy deserve less reward. However the difference needs to be balanced. When there is a very large gulf between the rich and the poor, as there has been historically in India and other Asian countries, then the difference is way out of balance.

Average Fortune 500 CEO Now Paid 380 Times As Much As The Average Worker

The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay between CEOs of the S&P 500 Index companies and U.S. workers widened to 380 times in 2011 from 343 times in 2010. Back in 1980, the average large company CEO only received 42 times the average worker’s pay.

The CEO now makes 343 times what a worker makes when just 30 years ago it was 42 times a worker's pay. The CEO makes as much in one day as the worker makes in one year. That is way too unbalanced. We are swiftly on our way to becoming a third world country.

Ron P.

To whom do you donate? Gates and Buffet contribute to my favorite charity, Planned Parenthood



But the very existence and need for these countless charitable foundations that are struggling for cash outlays, as long as their work isn't too offensive to the right benefactors, their presence is needed precisely BECAUSE of a system that has generated so much extreme need and imbalance.

It reminds me, oddly I suppose, of the traffic lights here in Portland, as opposed to NYC. We might get a 'WALK' sign if we push a button and wait an uncertain amount of time.. whereas in New York, the WALK light is just part of the cycle, and the rules are absolute and known. Here, there are various types of crosswalks where cars must 'voluntarily' stop for people trying to cross.. just like the assumed social pressure for the rich to give to the right charities, so they can help the poor.

My motto, as a Portland Pedestrian, that I mutter while I wait.. "Don't make me BEG, just to cross the street!"

It's also not unlike the ubiquitous need for Private and Corporate Money to drive the Campaign system. You can only run if you are approved of by the monied elite, on this side or that.. but they're ALL on the Money side.

And in Berkeley. Stopping for those about to step on the street peds is mandatory, and there are zillions of them, its hard to see all of them. [I gotta go there tomorrow, wish me luck!] Also the walk signals emit audible countdown chirps to warn when they are going to turn off the walk signal.

Gosh, such warm fuzzies!

The Homestead Strike was a bloody labor confrontation lasting 143 days in 1892, one of the most serious in U.S. history. Afterwards, the company successfully resumed operations with non-union immigrant employees in place of the Homestead plant workers.

Carnegie was one of more than 50 members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, which has been blamed for the Johnstown Flood that killed 2,209 people in 1889. Prior to the flood, speculators had purchased the abandoned reservoir, made less than well-engineered repairs to the old dam, raised the lake level, built cottages and a clubhouse, and created the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. Less than 20 miles downstream from the dam sat the city of Johnstown. ...members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club gathered to form the Pittsburgh Relief Committee for assistance to the flood victims as well as determining never to speak publicly about the club or the flood. This strategy was a success, and Knox and Reed were able to fend off all lawsuits that would have placed blame upon the club's members. After the flood, Carnegie built Johnstown a new library to replace the one... destroyed in the flood.

Murderous union busting, outsourcing (in effect), information control / obstructing justice... a pioneer.


Our communities, world and future are being corrupted, squandered and stolen, etc., and the march continues...

"Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavour are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question."
~ Ivan Illich

"...the glory of the human has become the desolation of the Earth, and now the desolation of the Earth is becoming the destiny of the human. From here on, the primary judgement of all human institutions, professions, programs and activities will be determined by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore or foster a mutually-enhancing human-Earth relationship..."
~ Thomas Berry

mutually-enhancing human-Earth relationship

Human burns coal. Earth delivers nasty weather. Human gets desperate -increases his rate of burning coal. An enhancing feedback loop at work!

Just a thought I had amidst prayers and tears for the families in CT. We are seeing these extreme explosions of anger far more often than i recall in the past. If so, it seems to me that it is a coarse reflection of the general climate of incivility we are experiencing, and is being led by our political representatives.

Perhaps they are more representative than we wish to acknowledge.


Son kills mother. This seems like a straight within the family murder. Unfortunately mother was a school teacher and son killed mother's students. It is easy to understand how a 20 year old with no hope for the future has nothing to loose. The old are willing to destroy the young to keep getting their social security checks and free unlimited medical care. It is time for the young to leave.

...oddly, the young become old with remarkable rapidity. It is predictable to see all the usual players wrap themselves in this tragedy. Even the president took a moment to wipe his eye. Remember these whole days of coverage and the leadership's public displays of touching emotion?: (Caution: real images of our efforts, not the American press images of yet another shallow hole in the dirt with a yet another small white pickup truck driving by)
http://www.hangthebankers.com/children-of-the-drone/ No? How could all of us forget these things like that? Such monsters... The innocents taken for oil count as nothing while ours are precious? Crazy making, isn't it?: The media demands we ignore that carnage we inflict while prompting us to respond to this carnage we inflict... while at the same time whole movements and protests are made not to exist: there is no people's voice, no allowed response, no reliable knowledge. In China, the same thing is happening: 22 yesterday: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/14/15901085-villager-slashes-... 28 in 2010. "Some were carried out by people who have lost their jobs or felt left out of the country's economic boom." 29: http://behindthewall.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/21/14014789-ax-wielding-m... "vent his rage against society". What we live in is called "Chimerica". There is great inequity. There is total destruction of the societal norms of many diverse individual cultures by assimilation: by having their language and their foundation, their past, destroyed as they join an undifferentiated pool of the largely exploited. Without their culture and society, and being thrown in among collections of the foreign, there is no sense of community or kinship and so no natural limit to response. Add in the new rates of disorders like schizophrenia and manic depression...

Students put mettle to the pedal to build bike-powered charging station

After nearly a year of planning and construction, a small group of dedicated NAU students has discovered a hands-on, interactive way to charge small electronic devices and educate peers about electricity—by pedaling a bicycle at a bike-powered charging station.

To use the station, students plug in their small electronic devices, get on the bike and pedal. The station has a built-in USB outlet for cell phones and iPods.

"This is a device where people can actually feel what power is and where it is coming from," said Matt Petney, an engineering senior and Honors student. "This station will give students a physical idea of the energy they use."

What if NYC had dozens of these around Manhattan after Sandy? You would actually only need the generator part if you had your own bike.

Nice for night time, but during daylight three standard 200w PV panels can provide more power than Lance Armstrong on a bike ; )


Armstrong can ride up the mountains in France generating about 500 watts of power for 20 minutes, something a typical 25-year-old could do for only 30 seconds.

With or with out taking drugs?

I'm guessing the drugs made the difference between 450 and 500, not 200 and 500.

Can Algae-Derived Oils Support Large-Scale, Low-Cost Biofuels Production?

The feasibility and economic projections for large-scale biofuels production from microalgae are examined in a Review article and accompanying Commentary published in Disruptive Science and Technology.

John Benemann, Ian Woertz, and Tryg Lundquist, MicroBio Engineering, Inc. (Walnut Creek, CA) and California State Polytechnic University (San Luis Obispo, CA), present the results of an engineering and economic study of vegetable oil production from microalgae grown in open ponds. In the Review article "Life Cycle Assessment for Microalgae Oil Production" the authors also project the energy input and greenhouse gas emissions required to carry out this process at large scale.

In the Commentary entitled "An Introduction to Photosynthetic Microalgae," Melissa Stark and Ian O'Gara, Accenture, compare algae culture to agriculture and state that for biofuel applications, algae is relatively high risk compared to other technologies and will require "long-term commitment to achieve commercial scale." Algae had "high yield potential" and it "could add significantly to potential biofuel resources."

"As the planet moves inexorably toward populations in excess of 10 billion people, we must find new ways of generating food and fuel," says Editor-in-Chief Alan J. Russell, PhD, Highmark Distinguished Professor, Carnegie Mellon University. "These are national security issues for all countries, as well as moral imperatives. Benemann et al.'s paper on microalgae oil production, and the related commentary by Melissa Stark and Ian O'Gara, point to a sustainable future using this technology."

Full Text: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/dst.2012.0013

and http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/dst.2012.0017

Single spill Could Wipe Out Economic Gains from Northern Gateway, Researchers Warn

... The study, sponsored by WWF-Canada and conducted independently by UBC fisheries economists Ngaio Hotte and Rashid Sumaila, estimates that losses of $300-million in economic activity along with spill cleanup costs of up to $9.6-billion could nullify potential economic gains proposed by Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines LLP.

"We compared the economic benefits of the project to potential losses of spills of varying scales and found that a large-scale spill could cost local fishermen, the Port of Prince Rupert, BC Ferries and marine tourism operators roughly $300-million, 4,000 full-time jobs and $200-million in contribution to GDP over 50 years," says Hotte.

The potential damage from a large spill could be significantly reduced if the pipeline carried refined products instead of bitumen. We know from the Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan that cleaning up Bitumen is much more difficult than cleaning up refined products. Of course, customers in Asia don't want refined products -- they want the raw bitumen that they will refine in their existing refineries. The oil companies also don't want to have to build refineries in Alberta.

Asian countries are stuck between a rock and hard place though. The supply of oil available for export is tight and getting tighter. It's a sellers market and if Canada insisted that only refined products could be piped to the west coast Asian buyers would have little choice other than to agree to those conditions.

Major climate change report draft leaked online: IPCC

A major report on climate change being compiled by the United Nation's climate science panel was on Friday leaked online in what appeared to be an attempt by a climate sceptic to discredit the panel.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the full draft of its Fifth Assessment Report, which is not set for official publication until next September, had been published online by one of 800 experts contributing to the report.

The climate body did not identify the culprit, but a climate sceptic named Alec Rawls announced in a blog posting that he was responsible.

He had published the full draft on a website called "Stop Green Suicide", which had crashed by late Friday afternoon.

Leaked IPCC report reaffirms dangerous climate change

There's lots to read in those 14 chapters. I was wondering what I was going to do to avoid Christmas...

E. Swanson

US Companies Lead Charge to Unleash the Potential of the Battery For Grid Energy Storage

The current edition of Energy Quarterly, published as a special section of the November 2012 MRS Bulletin, takes a long hard look at the battery, detailing both its potentials and its problems, in particular for energy storage in the electrical grid.

With more than 99 per cent of energy storage on the US national grid requiring huge sites where water can be pumped into elevated reservoirs and then flowed through electricity-generating turbines, batteries – portable, modular and easy to install – are increasingly attractive for grid storage.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is trying to develop industry standards for grid battery storage, which should make it easier for utilities to install battery systems in the future. The race is now on to develop new and innovative battery chemistries:

•Boston-based Pellion is working on magnesium-ion batteries
•General Electric has opened a factory to make a new battery based on two-decades-old nickel-sodium-chloride chemistry
•Pittsburgh-based Aquion Energy is close to starting large-scale manufacture of sodium-ion batteries
•Axion Power from Delaware is combining lead-acid battery chemistry with electrochemical capacitors to create hybrid devices that quickly absorb and release charge
•Even flow batteries, a decades-old technology, are seeing a comeback.

As to the drawbacks of batteries, cost and lack of experience are the biggest hurdles to widespread use of battery storage.

More information: EQ is available free to all online at the MRS Bulletin website. Read the full article on battery power at: www.mrs.org/energy-quarterly

EPA Cracks Down On Soot Pollution

Despite objections from the oil industry and power companies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued final rules today to slash the amount of fine-particle soot allowed from smokestacks, wood-burning stoves and diesel vehicles.

The new rules would set their maximum allowable annual standard at between 12 to 13 micrograms per cubic meter, down from the current 15 micrograms per cubic meter.

Yet critics said the new rules come at a cost to the economy. Howard Feldman of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the oil industry, said the standards could potentially increase prices and cut jobs at a time when 12 million Americans remain unemployed.

"The existing standards are working and will continue improving air quality," he said in a statement. "We fear this new rule may be just the beginning of a 'regulatory cliff'" that includes tougher ozone and greenhouse gas limits.

Schlumberger Issues Fourth Quarter 2012 Operational Update

"... The Europe/CIS/Africa Area is experiencing continued contractual delays combined with higher than usual seasonal slowdowns in activity
• North America activity is weaker than anticipated on land in the US and Western Canada..."

why is this when oil is steady around 107 dollars?


"Weaker than anticipated" is a meaningless phrase. Possibly they optimistically anticipated activity to increase, but instead it remained the same. Or possibly they failed to anticipate the pipelines flowing into Cushing, OK, reaching capacity and limiting further expansion of the Canadian tar sands and tight oil in the Baccon.

Thanks for the link Robert

Would anyone happen to have MP3s of these talks anywhere?

From the above link

"[Conference videos are still in production. Expect more information about videos in this space in early 2013]"

Circular logic can turn a lie into official truth, or so it seems. From the Tehran Times:

Figures show Iran has not reduced oil production: OPEC chief

But no, tha's not what the OPEC chief really said:

Abdullah al-Badri said that figures provided by Iran show that the country is producing about 3.7 million barrels per day, the Associated Press reported.

That is, the figures that show Iran had not reduced production at all were provided by Iran, they were not OPEC's figures at all. The writers at the Tehran Times simply twisted them to make them seem as if they were OPEC's figures.

Iranian oil production in November according to:
OPEC "secondary sources": 2,683,000 barrels per day.
...Figures provided by Iran: 3,708,000 barrels per day.

Ron P.

He must be related to Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf

U.S. will send 400 troops to Turkey

En route to Turkey, Panetta signs an order calling for forces to operate two batteries of Patriot missiles intended to guard against a Syrian attack.

... must be Friday night.

I've just heard in the news that Germany will be deploying troops as well. I think the request of the Patriot missiles was a NATO request.

Turkey is a NATO country and have had shells/missiles land in their territory so it is a fair request.

blockquote>... must be Friday night.

The patented absolute perfect evening to put out big news the politicians know we are too distracted to make a fuss over. Like trying to talk to a kid playing a video game.

A lot of distractions. Massive casualties school shooting. Syrian horror show. Israeli cabinet member resignation. Eqypt referendum voting. Japan voting for new PM. Tonight you could nearly hide the breakout of global thermonuclear war on page 35!

Large, old trees disappearing worldwide

Large old trees are rapidly declining in many parts of the world, which has big implications for ecosystems and biodiversity. The new study, published in the journal Science, finds that the loss of large old trees in many areas around the world poses a threat to ecosystem integrity.

The grid of 2030: all renewable, 90 percent of the time

You've probably heard the argument: wind and solar power are well and good, but what about when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine? But it's always windy and sunny somewhere. Given a sufficient distribution of energy resources and a large enough network of electrically conducting tubes, plus a bit of storage, these problems can be overcome—technologically, at least.

Here's the link to the PDF of the paper on how to balance renewable generation & storage to achieve 99.9% reliably and cheaply.


TL;DR version? Overspec your renewable generation such that there's less time when the demand capability isn't there, and that you can use the excess for storage. It's cheaper than having to have more storage or more backup capacity.

Written by The grid of 2030: all renewable, 90 percent of the time:

To achieve a 90-percent target, the renewable infrastructure should be capable of generating 180 percent of the load. To meet demand 99.9 percent of the time, that rises to 290 percent.

They rediscovered the rule known for decades for sizing off-grid photovoltaic systems.

On big trees it's like Soylent Green but for other living things no longer regarded as important. This happened up the road a ways from my place

Is this possible?

From Laura Atkins ASPO slide show

Or is this possible?

From Tadeusz Patzek ASPO slide show

These two visions of U.S. energy future appear totally incompatible. Am I missing something? Is one right and the other wrong or do they both have part of the truth? It's so confusing.

I would say the Rystad forecast is impossibly optimistic. How do they envision 10 years of sustained tight oil production (in ALL the plays), given the high decline rate per well? OTOH, the lower chart may be on the pessimistic side, assuming the 5-year "blip" on the right represents the sum of all the US tight oil plays.

By 2020 we'll know a lot more...

Kingfish – There is one very obvious problem with every one of these optimistic projections of future shale production. It appears they take recent increases and just assume the situation will continue ramping up at the same rate. And then assume that this rate will stop and hold steady apparently forever.

Now some reality questions. First, how much more drilling infrastructure will it take to drill all those wells? And who will make that investment? Second, they are projecting huge increases in plays which haven’t yet surged. There is nothing uniform in shale productivity…IOW not all shales are created equal. Notice they don’t have the Marine Tuscaloosa Shale on the chart. Huge amounts of capex have been spent testing the MTS by Devon et al recently. After some initial optimism I’ve heard rumors the players are starting to back away. And in those plays with a significant recent development history it appears they assume the last half of wells drilled in every play will be as productive as the first half. Throughout the entire history of oil/NG development on the planet this has never happened. And the last unstated assumption appears that there are an unlimited number of locations to drill. I’ve given the details before: the Austin Chalk fractured carbonate shale was the hottest drilling play in the country about 15 years ago. Thousands of hz and vertical wells drilled and a huge increase in oil/NG production in Texas. Do you see than AC in the list of future plays? No and for good reason: the play has been fully developed for the most part. A few wells still being drilled but nothing on the order of the early days. There are physical limits of every play.

All these requirements (huge increase in drilling infrastructure, huge source of capex, consistent high oil prices, a huge number of potential drill sites which have the same productivity throughout the expansion) have to be met because of the rapid decline rates all fractured reservoirs exhibit. As impressive as the gains in production due to wells drilled in the last few years those same wells will be producing an insignificant amount in 10 years…or less. Again, since the predictors of the future usually don’t offer the details of the assumptions behind their projections it’s difficult to level specific criticisms. The question really isn’t about the validity of those curves but the validity of the assumptions that must support those curves. IOW, IMHO, such charts are completely worthless unless all the details of these assumptions are included. Which also means it’s a waste of time to discuss the chart itself without addressing all those issues I’ve highlighted.

Rock, thanks for the great analysis. Any thoughts on the other graph?

We've discussed the Patzek chart here before, but not enough. I've scratched my head over it, since the little bell curves don't seem to correspond well to the timing of actual production episodes. E.g., the curve that is supposed to represent Alaska has decayed to zero by the year 2000.

Thus I suspect this chart is an exercise in top-down curve fitting: coming up with a handful of arbitrary Hubbert-type curves that happen to add up to the observed total production rates. Therefore, I doubt this chart can predict the future.

E.g., the most recent extra little curve is rather steep on both the upslope and downslope. But perhaps the upslope was steep due to the effect of the mid-2000's credit crunch depressing production for a while, and then the so-called economic recovery bouncing back.

So will the downslope perhaps be less steep? I don't think this curve-fitting can really answer that question. Analysis that is more in touch with actual facts, such as Rock's above, regarding drilling rates and heterogeneity of fields, is more useful.

Kingfish - As vt says we've beat on that curve. I take it more as a diagramatic depiction of the reality. The exact numbers may not match up but I think it captures the dynamics better than that rainbow chart. Curve fitting is often in the eye of the beholder.

The same holds true for every projection/model: its validity cannot be evalauted with out details of all the assumptions used to generate it. The charts/graphs may look analytical but IMHO they are saying nothing more than things will be good/bad in the future...trust me. Personally I'm starting to get tired of discussing all projections good or bad unless the assumption details are presented. It falls into the argument as to how many angels can fit on the head of a pin: just as many or a few as your faith allows you to beleive.