Drumbeat: January 19, 2013

U.S. Oil Demand Falls to 16-Year Low, API Reports

U.S. oil demand fell to the lowest level in 16 years in 2012 as economic growth weakened while domestic output surged the most in more than 150 years, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Total petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, dropped 2 percent from 2011 to 18.6 million barrels a day last year, the lowest level since 1996, the industry-funded group said in a monthly report today. Oil production increased the most since 1859 to the highest level in 15 years, the API said.

A Big Day for the Dow and a Bigger Peak Oil Myth

The peak oil hypothesis may have merit over the very long run, but it's been disproven so often on shorter time frames that we have to accept that it's folly to predict the availability of resources in the future using only the knowledge available to the present.

Oil Caps Longest Run of Weekly Gains in 14 Months

Oil capped the longest weekly winning streak in 14 months in New York as House Republicans planned a vote next week on a three-month extension of the U.S. borrowing authority.

Prices rose 7 cents as the Republicans dropped their insistence that a short-term continuation be accompanied by a dollar-for-dollar government spending cut. Economic growth accelerated in China, the world’s second-biggest oil-consuming country. Oil fell earlier as the euro weakened versus the dollar and U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly declined.

Oil-Tanker Returns Plunge Most This Year on Dearth of Cargoes

Returns for the largest oil tankers on the industry’s busiest trade route, linking the Middle East and Asia, plunged the most this year as traders booked the ships they needed for January with vessels left to spare.

Energy Rigs in U.S. Slump to 22-Month Low, Baker Hughes Says

Gas and oil rigs in the U.S. dropped for the eighth straight week to the lowest level since March 2011 as energy producers’ demand for new equipment weakened.

Oil rigs declined by seven to 1,316 this week, the lowest level in almost 10 months, data posted on Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)’s website show. The gas count dropped by five to 429, the field- services company based in Houston said. Total energy rigs fell by 12 to 1,749.

Petrobras Gasoline Price Rise Undecided on Inflation

A gasoline-price increase for Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4), the state-controlled oil company responsible for supplying Brazil’s fuel consumption, is still undecided as the government weighs the impact on inflation.

Strong revenue from crude exports and an increase in the amount of ethanol mixed with gasoline in June will help compensate Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based producer is known, for selling imported gasoline and diesel at a loss, Energy Minister Edison Lobao said yesterday in an interview.

No rollback in diesel price hike: Minister

Jaipur (IANS) Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily Saturday ruled out the possibility of government rolling back the decision allowing Oil marketing Companies (OMCs) to revise diesel prices from time to time.

"India is the only country where we have the regulation of the diesel prices. We have to pay dollars and billions of crore are paid. If we go on paying in dollars ultimately the country will become bankrupt," Moily said, when asked if government was contemplating rolling back the partial deregulation of diesel prices as demanded by the entire opposition and parties supporting the government.

Brent Pipeline Resumes Flows; Nigeria Bonny Crude Price Stable

The Brent pipeline system is pumping oil from all North Sea platforms except Cormorant Alpha, the operating company said. There were no bids or offers for North Sea or Russian Urals crudes.

Gulf Coast Fuels Fall as Motiva Startup to Boost Supplies

U.S. Gulf Coast fuels weakened on speculation the restart of a crude unit at Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery will add to regional supplies.

Motiva is restarting the 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit at its Port Arthur facility after finishing pipe repairs, two people familiar with operations said. The pipestill is expected to be processing as much as 200,000 barrels a day by the end of the weekend, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

West Texas Oils Strengthen on Seaway, Pending Pipeline Projects

West Texas oils strengthened on the spot market, helped by the Seaway pipeline expansion and the impending completion of several pipeline projects designed to drain a glut of crude bottlenecked in the region.

California Gasoline Weakens After Valero, Tesoro Restart Units

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles slid against futures for the fourth straight day after Valero Energy Corp. started two units at its refinery in Southern California.

Valero’s 78,000-barrel-a-day Wilmington plant near Los Angeles returned to service the fluid catalytic cracker and the alkylation unit, which were shut Dec. 21 to repair a leak, Bill Day, a Valero spokesman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail today.

Frigid Weather Set to Punch Northeast Fuel Users as January Ends

A blast of Arctic air is expected to descend on the Midwest and East Coast next week, sending temperatures plummeting from Chicago to New York and boosting demand for heating fuels.

Temperatures in the Northeast are expected to drop 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) next week before returning to seasonal levels in about 10 days, according to Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group LLC. That may be just a lull before the next cold blast arrives, said Rogers from his office in Bethesda, Maryland.

Heating Oil Gains on Forecasts for Colder Weather in Northeast

Heating oil gained on forecasts for colder-than-normal weather in the U.S. Northeast next week at a time when supplies of the fuel are declining.

U.S. Economy Not So Fragile After All

Although most economists got at least some things right about the U.S. economy over the past two years, the one nearly universal error was the expectation that the economy was fragile. The U.S. economy has proven to be anything but fragile.

I believe this to be the single biggest error that economists have made over the last two years. During that time, the U.S. has survived the fallout from a major debt crisis in Europe, a divisive election, temporarily going over the fiscal cliff, gasoline prices that have been on a yo-yo, a tsunami in Japan, and Hurricane Sandy, which shut down New York and even the stock exchanges for a couple of days. These are not signs of a fragile economy.

West African leaders gather over Mali crisis as France plans more troops

(CNN) -- The total number of French troops in Mali could top 2,500, France's defense minister said Saturday as West African leaders discuss plans for additional forces to help battle militants in the north.

Burned bodies found at besieged Algeria gas plant

ALGIERS/IN AMENAS, Algeria (Reuters) - Algerian special forces on Saturday found 15 burned bodies at a desert gas plant raided by al Qaeda-linked fighters, two days after the army launched an assault to free hostages being held there by the Islamists, a source familiar with the crisis said.

Efforts were underway to identify the bodies, the source told Reuters. It was not clear how they had died.

Algeria Hostage Death Count Trickles in as Hunt Goes on

An accounting of deaths in the hostage crisis at a remote natural gas facility is trickling out of Algeria, where security forces have been combing through the large complex seeking al-Qaeda-linked militants and about 30 foreigners whose fate is unknown.

Two more Statoil employees safe in Algeria - CEO

OSLO (Reuters) - Two more employees of Norwegian energy firm Statoil have been "brought to safety" in Algeria, leaving six unaccounted for at a gas facility attacked by gunmen on Wednesday, Chief Executive Helge Lund said on Saturday.

British ambassador to travel to Algerian crisis site: sources

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's ambassador to Algeria is expected to travel to the gas complex where an international hostage crisis has been unfolding since Wednesday, British sources in London said on Saturday.

Algeria gas plant raiders are led by jihadi veteran - reports

ALGIERS (Reuters) - The field commander of the Islamist group that attacked a gas plant in the Algerian desert this week and seized many hostages is a veteran fighter from Niger called Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri, Mauritanian news agencies reported.

After Algerian incident, W.Africa fears Mali spillover

DAKAR (Reuters) - By seizing hundreds of hostages at a gas plant in the Algerian desert, al Qaeda-linked militants angry at French intervention in Mali sent a clear message: they could strike anywhere in the Sahara.

Many experts now believe the sight of a former colonial power leading unprepared West African armies into war against Islamists in Mali could spark similar attacks across a swathe of smaller, more vulnerable nations to the south.

The energy giants at most risk in Northern Africa

FORTUNE -- The Sahara has suddenly become the most dangerous place in the world to do business. The killing of Western energy workers by Islamic militants in southern Algeria has shocked the financial community and brought long fought tribal and religious battles to the frontlines of the seemingly endless "War on Terror."

Bill Gates-Led Group Invests $1 Billion in Orascom Construction

Bill Gates is leading a group of U.S. investors committing $1 billion for a stake in construction and fertilizer company OCI NV in one of Egypt’s largest foreign currency inflows since the 2011 uprising.

State transportation officials say they need $200 million more; locals say $800 million

INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers are working on ways to pour a major chunk of Indiana's next two-year spending plan into $1 billion worth of holes that have developed in state and local roads budgets.

A confluence of factors – federal belt-tightening, the end of the Major Moves program and dwindling gasoline tax revenues as drivers switch to fuel-efficient vehicles – are undercutting the Indiana's old infrastructure funding streams.

Corbett talks pension issues, refineries at Temple symposium

PHILADELPHIA — Gov. Tom Corbett said Pennsylvania’s future will rely on public pensions and the Marcellus Shale, and it may be even brighter if the process with the refineries is replicated.

Obama administration delays hydraulic fracturing rule

In response to criticism from both the oil industry and environmentalists, the Obama administration is scrapping a 2012 plan to impose tough new mandates governing drilling on public lands.

The decision to replace last year’s proposal with an entirely new draft rule — and take public comment on the initiative — forces a major delay in the final regulations, which are set to be the first major federal rules governing the hydraulic fracturing process key to unlocking oil and gas nationwide.

Is ‘Wild West’ Era for Gas Drilling Coming to an End?

While in Washington to run a panel at an invaluable conference on disasters and the environment this week, I spent a few minutes in a studio to discuss the issues and opportunities surrounding hydraulic fracturing for natural gas (and oil) on the Current TV show The War Room, hosted by Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan.

Salvagers tight-lipped on Shell vessel recovery

ANCHORAGE, Alaska The united command overseeing the salvage of the Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill barge that ran aground on a remote Alaska island will release minimal information on the vessel until an assessment is completed, a spokeswoman said.

Ken Salazar’s Legacy

Mr. Salazar made many important contributions. Mr. Obama told him to design a balanced energy strategy on the public lands administered by his department, and for the most part he did. He took a far more measured approach to oil and gas exploration than the “drill now, drill everywhere” people around George W. Bush. He orchestrated a major overhaul of safety standards for drilling, and remade his department’s regulatory machinery, in the wake of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He initiated new standards for hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas fields on public lands. And he moved cautiously on oil drilling in the Arctic. But his biggest contribution to a sensible long-term energy strategy is one whose fruits will not be visible for years, and one for which he has not been widely recognized: a plan setting aside hundreds of thousands of acres of Western lands for the future development of solar and wind power. Painstakingly negotiated with multiple stakeholders, including states, industry and the environmental community, the plan provides a roadmap for future development aimed at maximizing clean energy sources without harming the environment, particularly endangered species and other wildlife.

Drought Points Up Critical Role of Waterways

If the river got so low that navigation had to stop, grain exports and the other commodities could get a lot more expensive very quickly.

Barges, it turns out, are a remarkably efficient way to move goods along the Mississippi and its tributaries. The load aboard one fully loaded 15-barge tow, if transferred to a train, would require more than 200 rail cars. Try to move the goods by truck, and you’ll need a fleet of more than 1,000. And when the river is running well, tow boats might push 24 barges or even more. So by comparison with road or rail transport, the Mississippi is relatively green.

Living with Beijing's 'air-pocalypse'

haze. It's another bad-air day in Beijing. You can barely see. You can barely breathe. But you can feel -- and even taste -- the grit floating in the air.

The World Health Organization has set healthy level of Air Quality Index at 25 micrograms, while Beijing considers a 300 reading as "Bad" and 500 as "Hazardous." Last weekend, however, it breached 700!

E.P.A. Extends Deadline for Navajo Plant’s Pollution Controls

In a bid to clean up one of the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants without causing economic harm to the Navajo Nation that surrounds it, the Environmental Protection Agency indicated on Friday that it would give the plant’s owners five extra years, until 2023, to install expensive state-of-the art emissions reduction equipment.

Preparing the bay for rising sea levels

"There are two reactions to dealing with sea level rise; there is fight and there is flight," said Will Travis, senior adviser to the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee, which coordinates planning efforts among regional agencies.

That means either abandoning low-lying areas or erecting shoreline protection, be it traditional structures like dams or new concepts like the one Kuth and Ranieri have in mind.

Or both. In the end, planners studying this issue believe that the realities of time, finances, politics and lethargy may force the region to make hard choices about what to protect, what to abandon and what level of risk the region is willing to live with.

Mayors focus on "local warming," urge Obama to act

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Reeling from an historic drought, the hottest year on record and more frequent wild weather, mayors from a number of U.S. cities urged the White House this week to take the lead on setting an agenda to address climate change.

City leaders said that only the federal government has the tools and clout to address greenhouse gases often blamed for warming the planet, while mayors focus on issues of "local warming" such as providing a reliable water supply or protecting citizens during dangerous weather events such as the 1995 Chicago heat wave that was blamed for over 700 deaths.

As many as seven links up top deal with the crisis in Algeria. Here is one that got overlooked however. And I post it not just as a comment on Algeria but as a comment on Peak Oil.

Will the Algeria hostage crisis alter the oil industry?

This political factor is only really important because “we have reached or passed ‘peak oil’ [the point at which the maximum level of oil production is reached and then expected to decline],” Antonin explained.

The novelty of today’s situation, according to the specialist, is the combination of fewer resources, higher demand (from countries like China, most notably), and geopolitical risk and uncertainty.

According to that analysis, targeted attacks like the one in Algeria could be just the beginning of a whole new era in the oil industry.

At least there are some people in the world who do not think that shale oil production in the USA has delayed the peak of world oil production forever.

Ron P.

apparently it's now over with 7 hostages killed


the same journal has this picture


translation: new reserves found in south algeria

The father of a friend from public school is one of the still-missing Statoil-employees from Norway. They live 2km from my parents' house. Unfortunate business we have to be present internationally, but I suppose that's what happens to a company in growth and whose domestic reserve base is shrinking. 4-6 billion barrels left, of a 30 billion barrel URR ~.

Yeah, statoil has built up a great amount of expertise in oil drilling, especially off-shore. As the amount of fields available in Norway shrinks, more & more Norwegian engineers are being deployed world-wide in other areas. I expect that there will be small contingents of Norwegians in Russia, Brazil, and in African countries.

Ron - Again what's old is new again: "According to that analysis, targeted attacks like the one in Algeria could be just the beginning of a whole new era in the oil industry." New? Hardly. Such attacks on oil field infrastructure have been happening for decades. I've seen reports of oil field hands dying in such attacks since I started 37 years ago. Maybe just because the MSM is more focused on energy these days it just looks like a new development. Just like the "new" shales plays and techology that will save us from PO. Heck, about 30 years ago a company tried to seduce me into a contract in Libya while its infrastructure was being attacked...by the US Navy. LOL. Might want to ask the Columbian federales about them pesky indians blowing up pipelines in the southern part of the country. Might also check in with the U'wa tribe down there while they're at it. At least you would think the older members of the MSM would have vivid mental images of hundreds of burning Kuwait wells. But that was more than two decades ago so I guess memories fade.

I suppose it's just the same ole: "If it bleeds it leads" idea except it's even more news worthy if it's "new" blood.

Wasn't the scale of this facility -which was supposedly better guarded than your average military base, sort of unprecedented? Now maybe this was a one off, by forces that have been specializing in making money via kidknapping, or maybe it signals that the game is entering a new phase?

On the MSM, TV especially, everything is 'new again'.

There are a number of facets of what's on the box (TV) that aren't directly related to the immediate content. What's not there is as big as what is. Yes, if it bleeds it leads is a basic one.

But also, TV and 'news' especially, exists without history. Without context.

So most everything is 'new', just by virtue of the medium.

Yet paradoxically, at the same time, TV and movies are recycling shows, ideas, people from the very first years of its relatively recent existence. Sequels, prequels, remakes, spin-offs. A vast portion of the content is recycled. Much of what's on is self-referential: Shows about other shows.

Ever wondered why the stories don't make sense? Why people are confused after watching? Why the more you watch the less you know (proven by studies)?

It's that 'newness' thing. TV doesn't teach or inform or bother with history. Think about it...

Most of the entertainment media (including those that claim to be about news), has learned that people want an immediate emotional connection, not to learn new stuff -or worse have to actually analyse stuff. So they serve up emotional pablum.

Also recycling is cheaper. Or tricking underpaid members of the general public into replacing "talent", as in reality TV. Why break the bank developing good drama, when god enough audiences can be had on the cheap.

If in Canada, Columbian - OK.

If in South America, Columbian => Colombian, por favor.



This was a natural gas facility . . . I wonder what would have happened to world oil markets if this had been an large oil refining facility.


re. effects on North African oil & gas and to markets over-all, this vicious, significant attack will unsettle people at every level.
BBC News at 6 pm EST said 85 dead and Al Jazeera just posted "at least 81."
The gravity of what has occurred is just beginning to sink in, one would think.

EIA Algeria Crude Oil and Lease Condensate Production, January 2000 to September 2012

There are many consecutive months with identical data suggesting the EIA's data is inaccurate.

Although the attack was on a natural gas refinery there are reports that international workers are generally leaving Algeria which could impact crude oil production too.

In regard to rising sea levels;

"That means either abandoning low-lying areas or erecting shoreline protection,"

Does anyone know what happens legally when the seas rise and cover private land, Or when the land sinks. Part of the Gulf coast is sinking; does Louisiana or anyone else have a legal basis for what happens to submerged private property?

In California, the Coastal Commission does not allow property owners to reinforce the cliffs below their houses. The legal construct is: let nature run its course.

In low-lying areas, there are dikes and there is "flood" insurance. Dikes can be extended, but as lands "subside," insurance companies back away, leaving only government supported schemes in their wake. These supports will no doubt get more contentious.

Jeff Skoll, eBay's "first employee," funded Al Gore's movie. Before the movie hit the theaters, he told his staff to sell all his resort properties in the Carribbean. (He didn't wait for the answer to your question.)

The second question will be to the insurers. I imagine the question to be, "Will you insure my property?"

I suspect the Answer will be "no" more frequently as time goes by.

People in less risky areas are getting fed up with having to fund infrastructure repairs/replacements/upgrades in more distaster prone areas. Here in Western NC, we no longer care how much revenue is generated by coastal tourism, etc. We have our own infrastructure that is past due and was scheduled for replacement, some of it decades ago, due entirely to normal wear and lifespan. Our insurance rates increase after every hurricane, even though we are hundreds of miles from the coast. Time to rethink the whole thing...

The only thing crazier than continuing to rebuild in areas like barrier islands is continuing to insure buildings in areas like barrier islands.

I don't have a problem with insuring such risk's, providing the rates are determined by the best science. So these rich folk can build there if they want, but they will have to pay full freight on the insurance. The key is to not force others to subsidize their chosen lifestyle.

But what about the public infrastructure to such areas? Look at the road that Ghung lists in his post. Why should everyone else pay to rebuild risky roads that only a few people use?

Agreed, there are other issues. How much public money should be spent on such roads being one of them.

It's not really 'should' but 'can'. I expect there will be some hard decisions as to what is and isn't critical infrastructure, paved roads going back to gravel and all that. These coastal highways and bridges are low-hanging fruit; just let the ocean take them back. I'm sure some would agree that the money and resources would be better spent keeping water out of Lower Manhattan. Politically, it's about pissing off the fewest people. Still, letting go of these things seems un-American somehow ;-/

I would hope a road that had an expected lifetime of only a few years, because of its exposure to storms, could either be privatized (i.e. funding thrown onto the users), or primitivized -gravel, which when damaged or destroyed can be easily fixed by a bulldozer.

Instead of rebuilding on barrier islands they could park RV's or build docks or boat ramps. An RV could move out of the way of an approaching storm.

Not least because it's often the extremely wealthy who are living in harm's way. Few want to pay to rebuild the vacation home of a millionaire...for the third time.

I've visited people here. Poor folks not allowed. Zoom out to view the insanity of the location. I liked it better when I was a kid; just a few shacks and fishing piers back then.

Our (your) tax dollars have gone to rebuild this road several times.

I wonder what the insurance costs on these places.

Beautiful, isn't it...

But Ghung, your legislature (was mine as well 'till not so long ago) has made sea level rise illegal, so no problem.

(I know that's not what they really did, but what they did do - ban consideration of SLR in planning decisions - is perhaps even more insane.)

Extreme weather can affect the world GDP, from property damage to crop loss. We will all pay the price one way or the other.

Update: See San Mateo's story about dikes, flood zones and FEMA. Each state will be different. All states will contend (contentiously!) with FEMA.

The second question will be to the insurers. I imagine the question to be, "Will you insure my property?"
I suspect the Answer will be "no" more frequently as time goes by.

I think insurance costs are going to thing that finally gets the right-wing to wrap their heads around climate change. Well, insurance costs and a few more smack downs from floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, etc. They still deny evolution and won't listen to those 'elitist' scientists. But when actual money and health is involved then they start listening. When they find that they can no longer get insurance or the insurance costs are prohibitively expensive, they may start to change their views.

Ironically, there will be a few rounds of crying to the government for help as we have already seen when storms happen (what happened to 'rugged individualism' and 'self-reliance'?). And helping people hit by storms is something that should be done. However, the government should NOT help rebuild in areas that are just going to be hit again. And if people do want to rebuild in designated dangerous areas (such as obvious low-lying storm surge targets close to the shore), they should be told that they will get no help if they get smacked down. Help you once, shame on you . . . help you twice, shame on me.

A friend of mine works in reinsurance. He says that insurance premiums are going up significantly (20%+ YoY for weather related coverage) for two reasons: insurance companies are pricing in a higher risk of extreme weather events but also that the return on their assets is literally a fraction of what it used to be.
What in insurance company essentially does it charge a premium and then invest it in a basket of assets. As the return of those assets has been going down there is less to pay out- a bigger part has to come from premium payers.

PV – Very complex and I couldn’t find anything about a change in status. The states and feds fought for decades over the boundary between the two. It was eventually settled. Likewise with ownership between a state and private ownership: As defined by the law, those near shore submerged lands belong to the state. In fact an odd thing happened in FL: the state sold the submerged lands in front of McMansions to a real estate developer. Some homeowners had built docks and now the ownership of those docks was in question. The developer offered to sell the submerged land to the homeowners for $100,000 per tiny tract. Even stranger: the developer had the right to build a fence in the water that would block the view.

I’ll bet that any lands that become “submerged lands” by the current legal definitions will belong to the state. Whether the state has to compensate those former owners will be a big question. Another question will be a change in ownership between the states and feds. The non-legal definition of the state/fed boundary is “X miles from the shoreline”. So does the shoreline moving inland change the boundary? I suspect not. Couldn’t find the legal definition of the boundary but I suspect it has been established based upon very detailed lat/long delineations and isn’t just X miles out from the shoreline. In Texas and La. such delineations are measured by the fraction of a foot.

Rockman, that example from Florida must be pretty old right now. Either that or somebody got paid off. Beaches are public property and access to them is required by state law. While technically the state owns those areas, selling them to a developer would be extremely unusual and probably prompt lawsuits at the least. Not that the state of Florida doesn't know corruption...

You may be mixing it up with a rather different case - there is a fair amount of beach replenisment done in Florida as the sand tends to move a lot, and there was a case where the homeowners complained that their private beachfront got taken away when the state added sand. In an unsurprising decision, they lost:


Adam – Not old at all:


And it had nothing to do with beachfront property. The discussion was about the ownership of submerged lands. The submerged land was acquired by the county and then sold to the developer.

That article is from 2002. I vaugely remember the fit over the lake thing, as it was in a neighborhood very near mine. Apparently it ended up leading to laws to stop that practice (http://www.ccfj.net/HOAFLgrabbers.html).

The laws that apply to the beachfront and the laws that apply to "submerged land" are very similar - the state owns them and theoretically has a duty to see that it is used for the benefit of the public - article ten, section 11 of the Florida constitution states:

The title to lands under navigable waters, within the boundaries of the state, which have not been alienated, including beaches below mean high water lines, is held by the state, by virtue of its sovereignty, in trust for all the people. Sale of such lands may be authorized by law, but only when in the public interest. Private use of portions of such lands may be authorized by law, but only when not contrary to the public interest.

While I don't know how this applies in the lake situation, it would certainly apply any "submerged land" faced with docks. On further review, it seems these lands were given to the developments by the state when they were first built, which then neglected to pay taxes on it (due to a mistake of the developers or HOA - in the South Pasadena case, the 'land' was granted to a developer in 1957), which led to them being sold at auction. The South Pasadena case led to a lawsuit but I don't know whether it ever went through, as they decided to pay off the guy in the end (for much less):


He also lost the lake when he didn't pay restitution for tax fraud:


Insurance often doesn't pay out for an Act of God.

Now the question arises, is sea level rise an act of God or an act of Man?

I smell litigation.

Does anyone know what happens legally when the seas rise and cover private land

ONce covered with water in the US of A you have 'navigable waters' along with international wildlife ideas like "the Canadian Goose can now nest there"

a legal basis for what happens to submerged private property

Look toward the state DNR and what "property owners" can now do with property next to water.

Does anyone know what happens legally when the seas rise and cover private land

Washaway Beach, Wa is currently the fastest eroding spot on the Pacific coast:

It is also the cheapest beachfront property in the country:

I couldn't find a direct reference to the law, but the article makes it clear that folks in the area don't expect to own anything after the sea moves in.

Russia’s oil production up by over one percent in 2012

Russia’s overall oil production in 2012 went up by 1.3 percent on 2011 to reach 518.017 million tons, according to a release issued by the central administration of the fuel and energy complex...

Meanwhile, Russian oil exports went down by one percent in 2012 and stood at 239.644 million tons.

Got that, Russian oil production was up by 1.3 percent but Russian oil exports were down by 1 percent. That is ELM in action. However:

Rosneft leads Russian oil output to new high

* IEA sees Russia's oil production declining by 100,000 bpd in 2013...

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects non-OPEC supplies to grow by 900,000 bpd to 54.17 million bpd in 2013, taking total consumption up to an average of 90.52 million bpd, while production in Russia will decline.

Russian production has been declining since the end of December and is now down about 85 thousand barrels per day from where it stood on December 28th according to the Russian energy site CDU TEK. Of course there is no guarantee that this decline will continue. But it is likely that the normally highly optimistic IEA is close to being correct this time (about Russia). While most Russian watchers have been predicting a peak in Russian oil production for years, 2012 just may have been the peak.

Of course almost all of that gain that the EIA is expecting from non-OPEC is expected to come from the US.

Ron P.

Syria joins Greece and Africa deforesting the planet ...

Syrians Decimate Forests to Survive Winter

Desperate to make it through the bitter cold, many people forced to break the law to provide warmth.

"Syria joins Greece and Africa deforesting the planet ..."

...and Haiti.

Easter Island Earth. Must...build...more...Moai.

Where I live is surrounded by forest, one of the reasons I moved here. Unfortunately, if the population of France decides to burn wood for their energy needs, it won't last ten minutes. Already there's schemes to generate electricity from biomass moving into the region, in this case biomass meaning the area's natural assets, the forest.

The stories we hear makes it sound as though the threat is from individuals desperate for wood to keep warm. When really the threat is from the State and the Companies it favours. People from Paris are not going to suddenly appear here cutting wood, but the same cannot be said about commercial enterprises or the State (not unlike France's military intervention in Mali to support its nuclear industry).

It's hard to see how the System will not stop at destroying everything in its effort to survive. 200 species a day going extinct is just the start, we'll probably make it onto the endangered list in a decade or so.

Burgundy: I am not aware of the nuclear-industry connection to the Mali conflict. Care to educate us? Thanks.

Google "Mali Uranium", and hold the deluge...

There is another factor that this web site doesn't cover - it seems 80% of the exports from Mali are gold.

Mali might produce uranium but it doesn't make it into this list of (20) uranium producing countries:


Note that Niger, Mali's neighbour, comes in fourth after Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.

Edit: Uranium isn't even mentioned in the Wiki entry on Mali. Gold is 80% of mining activity, followed by kaolin, salt, phosphate, and limestone. Link:


Perhaps there is fear that the influence of the islamists in Mali will spread to neighboring Niger? In so far as I recall, France is dependent on NW African sources for uranium for its electricity. There was a big scandal in the French press about how French negligent uranium mining and non-clean-up of mining wastes led to the poisoning and sky-rocketing cancer rates of the local Taureg, very similar to the Americans poisoning the Navaho with uranium mining wastes and the Canadians poisoning the Dene (this is not widely discussed). I'm not sure if any of this got into the Anglo press.

Personal Note

My father recently cracked his arm just below the ball of the shoulder joint earlier this week. I am in Georgetown Kentucky caring for him. Likely several months.

Springer is interested in two books with me as author or co-author.

One is on transportation choices for the future. Develop criteria (for Economics, National Security, Environment (several aspects), Energy (talk @ Peak Oil) & Practicality.
Then apply criteria to all of the proposed solutions.
Then model long term impact of top 3 win-win-win-win-win choices.

The other is basically a download from Ed Tennyson on transit planning (see what we have done for Washington DC), transit operations and transit economics.

Best Hopes,


Transition towns are not the only social model that's being considered ...

Meet the Men Who Want to Build an Armed Castle Commune for ‘Patriots’

... Among other things, the designs for the Citadel include a “perimeter defense” with castle-style fortified walls and towers, an on-site gun factory, hotels, schools, a “firearms museum,” a “town militia,” jail and farmer’s market. As of now, the community is planned for Benewah County in Northern Idaho. Prospective residents of the Citadel are asked to submit to an application process that includes agreeing to participate in the militia and pass periodic proficiency tests with multiple types of firearms.

“Marxists, Socialists, Liberals and Establishment Republicans will likely find that life in our community is incompatible with their existing ideology and preferred lifestyles,” the website says.

The Citadel Town Plan somehow reminds me of Buchenwald or Auschwitz, or maybe [Branch Davidian] Waco,TX.

Seriously sick, and yet embraced by 5-10% of the population

also West Point Combating Terrorism Center Report: Understanding America’s Violent Far Right

... Anti-federalism is normally identified in the literature as the “Militia” or “Patriot” movement. Anti-federalist and anti-government sentiments were present in American society before the 1990s in diverse movements and ideological associations promoting anti-taxation, gun rights, survivalist practices, and libertarian ideas. However, most scholars concur that the 1980s “farm crises,” combined with the implications of rapid economic, cultural and technological changes in American society, growing political influences of minority groups, and attempts to revise gun control and environmental legislation, facilitated the rapid emergence of a cohesive movement in the mid to late 1990s. In other words, the militia movement was a reactive social movement which mobilized in response to specific perceived threats.

The anti-federalist movement’s ideology is based on the idea that there is an urgent need to undermine the influence, legitimacy and practical sovereignty of the federal government and its proxy organizations. ...

It's a bit like the Doomsday Prepper folks. Those who are stupid enough to broadcast their plans to the whole world (or are stupid enough to join such an effort) probably won't last long. Besides, when their collective level of trust is so low, they likely won't be able to trust each other for long when TSHTF.

From their site:

Every Patriot selected to live within the Citadel Community will voluntarily agree to follow the footsteps of our Founding Fathers by swearing to one another our lives, our fortunes and our Sacred Honor to defend one another and Liberty against all enemies, foreign and domestic. All Patriots selected to live within the Citadel Community agree to abide all Constitutional laws, both Federal and State.

Who decides who the "enemies" are?

What if you don't voluntarily agree?

You'd always have the option of joining Glen Beck and his Independence Community...


Those familiar with Ayn Rand’s famed novel, Atlas Shrugged, knows the question: “Who is John Galt?”

The answer comes at the end of the popular novel and reveals that Galt is simply (or actually, not so simply) a creator. A philosopher. An inventor. Someone who, as Glenn Beck explained in his studio Thursday evening, refused to live under the oppression of an all-powerful government bent on tamping down the very incentives that give great minds a chance to flourish.

Galt railed against the collectivist system and believed that only through freedom could people tap into their divine potential to become creators of their own: leaders, businessmen, artists, and so on. The community that was created in this spirit was called “Galt’s Gultch,” and it is that very ideal Beck strives to emulate in his own enterprises. In fact, that’s why he moved to Texas.

Drawing on this free market, limited-government model, Beck said he aspires to build an actual community based on just that.

You don't get to join/move in. More interesting if you did join, but later change your mind, what are the conditions on your removal from the place? Do you have to abandon your investment, or sell your place to whomever they recruit to replace you?

Your participation is 'voluntary' at the start.

Look at this is an HOA and a way to fleece people for more than they'd get from a straight up HOA for a bad location for expensive housing.

I see it as a classic "wrap yourself up in the flag to fleece others" move.

*slow claps for the ex-con who set it up*

One thing I always found wierd about military organizations is that, joining may be voluntary, but leaving is a capital offense. As the song says, "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave".

Yes. Deserters are shot. The most important military "technology", is the model for controlling the soldiers. This seems to have been largely perfected thousands of years ago. Immediate execution of deserters -and often of those deemed cowardly in battle, is a big part of this. Make sure the common soldier is more afraid of his own officers, than of the enemy. How else could you take a gaggle of young men, and force them to do terribly difficult dangerous work -for little pay, and not expect to have them revolt.

And the continuous espousing of valor of soldiers as a romantic virtue, when in fact it's just another job, dirtier than most if anything. That may be true if you are really defending your home (the place you live and not the narrative of a nation state) from invaders but in reality most wars are part of empire building, power struggle and land grab under the guise of defense.

Yet on rare occasions cracks appear in this. The WWI Christmas truce would be an example.

I recall a letter to the editor from someone who served under Marshal Tito in WWII. Tito was merciless and used to randomly execute soldiers to maintain discipline. The letter writer said that during the two years he served, he was terrified every day of his own side. Of the Germans, not much.

It worked, too. Yugoslavia fell apart after Tito died.

But is it necessary? I don't think so. I did my compulsory year in the army in South Africa at 50c a day because that was what all my friends did. Okay, there wasn't a war on, but in wartime plenty of people volunteer. You seldom have to press-gang them or force them at gunpoint unless the situation is really dire.

Self herding, paranoid schizophrenic, (with violent tendencies), sociopaths; armed to the teeth and crammed together in a castle. Sounds like a great idea!

Does the acronym somehow spell out 'Tinderbox'?

I don't recall if I saw this one here or not, but it might complement the above..

The assistant manager, Ann Marie Nowaczyk, whose presence reflects some hard-earned wisdom that nobody keeps a bunch of men on good behavior like a woman, says that she rarely has to use her “mom voice” to stifle trouble. Mostly people come back exhausted, eat and go to bed, she said, then start another 12-hour shift. “I think a lot of people in town think of oil field workers as trash,” she said. “They’re just like anybody else, working their butts off.”

Law enforcement and building inspection officials say most camps have not been problematic, but there have been exceptions. One camp outside Williston was shut down for allowing sewage to flow freely over the property. Others have had fights. Unauthorized encampments are easy to spot along country roads.


Well, not the one I was meaning to link, but it does the job. There was one about women finding waitress work near the ND sites, but no longer feeling safe even going out for a walk, and so 'no amount of money is worth not even being able to go outside..' ..

.. and the other day, my wife just regaled me with a tale of riches to be earned in the Bakken fields.. 'what about it honey?'.. hmmm.

UPDATED: 4 People Shot At 3 Different Gun Shows On Gun Appreciation Day

This kind of thing? At least these idiots can provide a little entertainment.

Patriots one and all, I'm sure.

There's a remedy for nuisances like that in the UK

Check general princple section here ...


Yes, I know about ASBO's. I'd be more inclined to file for a Darwin Award for this particular posse of gun-totin' clowns.

There's a right-proper Nat Geo Doomsday prepper in our area.


Guess what he does for a living? Small-scale weapon manufacturer!


Even though he's building guns named after bible characters he's at least one of the few on the show that has a plausible concern:"Ryan Croft is preparing to protect his community following a worldwide financial collapse."

He's at least doing some community outreach and not just bunkering himself in. He is, though, putting his nutritional faith in algae and worms.

nutritional faith in algae and worms.

nobody likes me,
everybody hates me,
i guess i m gonna eat some worms…
short fat slimey ones,
long thin curly ones,
see how they wiggle and squirm

So bite off their heads
and bite off their tails
and throw their skins away
how on earth can anybody live on
a thousand worms a day?

Every Patriot selected to live within the Citadel Community...

Sounds like the beginning of a B movie. Can't see volunteering to become a worker bee at the whim of higher ranking patriots as an answer to pre or post collapse.

They seem to encourage about as much 'Freedom of Expression' as North Korea. Really following in the footsteps of the founding fathers.

"Every Patriot selected...."
Who decides who gets 'selected,' and for what purpose?

"... swearing to one another... our fortunes...."
And they are worried about Socialists?

"... swearing to one another... our fortunes...."

Who was it who's born every minute?

What happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Marxists, Socialists, Liberals and ...

Being "forced" to participate in the militia, sound pretty much like forced community service (of the life risking variety), to me. How does that differ from communism?

How does that differ from communism?

It doesn't. Ayn Rand's philosophy survives for about 5 seconds in the real world outside your head. Once you realize that man is a social animal and must live accordingly your choices are pretty much limited.

Insides the heads of shockingly many, it can survive a lifetime. Its a dangerous delusion, but it has a lot of power to motivate political thinking.

Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan are both Ayn Rand devotees. Greenspan admitted his mistake in the sub prime crash, Ryan has yet to wise up.

The belief becomes part of one's identity, that makes it tough to give up. Its also reached near political-litmus test status.

That manufactured reality is what got us into Iraq, but it's where many libertarians seem to live.
Out here in Montana, everyone's 100-percent behind private property rights, against zoning and eminent domain right up until the point their next door neighbor decides he wants to be a pig farmer, or a transnational oil company wants to build a pipeline through their ranch.

Well, there are libertarians, and there are libertarians. Tying back into the "classical" Liberal vs modern U.S. usage upstream a bit here. To my mind a lot of what gets labelled libertarian here in the U.S. would be better labelled corporatarian. Rand seems to particularly appeal to the latter perspective.

Though some of the Austrians over at the Mises Institute hash over Rand from time to time, they have a much more nuanced view of things than she did, IMHO. So far as property rights, ethics, and a minimalist role of government go, I'd take Murray Rothbard over Ayn Rand any day of the week. Not that any particular creed or view is going to have an answer to everything, it's just I've always found Rand to be deceptively seductive to folks who don't think it through.

What did Rothbard say about pollution in general - what would he have said about Climate Change in particular?

Would he have supported pigovian taxes?

I'll let the man speak for himself:

The Libertarian Manifesto on Pollution

This piece is reasonably short, and he is very readable. Rothbard passed away before the issue of Climate Change had come front and center, so I don't believe I've found anything by him on it in particular. However, there is a much longer piece available by him that might be worth reading, and which further develops the Manifesto:

Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution

As one would expect, his ideas revolve around the concept of property rights, so no, he wouldn't have supported pigovian taxes. However, his take on property rights I think would have provided a framework for tackling climate change, the ultimate form of air pollution. Now, how workable any of this is today, given all past grievances, is anybody's guess, but I think it's worth a look anyway. Just another perspective to add to the market of ideas.

he wouldn't have supported pigovian taxes.

If not, then I can't see him as a sensible thinker. OTOH, I don't know why pigovian taxes can't be seen as essentially an improved accounting of private costs. Perhaps, in his world, it could be imposed as a court-ordered remedy as a result of a successful class action lawsuit.

Another basic question, I think: what is his prescription for the problem of excessive concentration of private power? Does he recognize it as a problem?

Hallo again Nick,

At the risk of putting words into his mouth (and possibly yours), I'll give this a try. Remember I consider Rothbard as just another voice in the discussion, though one I frequently find quite compelling. There are certainly many other compelling voices as well.

Okay, here goes. To the Austro-libertarian like Rothbard the concentration of private power, as you put it, is not the problem, per se. A private individual or corporation, or trade union, does not, in theory, have coercive power over other individuals or corporations or unions.

The problem arises when an individual or group attains privileges which, in practical application, give it an effective coercive power. The libertarian assertion would be this can only really happen if the individual or group obtains this through some sort of government association, the government being the only force socially licensed to use coercion (the police, courts, taxes, military, etc).

I think what you are asking about is the concentration of coercive personal (or corporate) power that has been obtained through government association of one form or another - a favorable law, regulation, tax break, court decision, the exercise of eminent domain, or some other mechanism that give certain folk an effective right to lord it over other folk, or to at least restrict their freedom of action. Since these types of activities have been accumulating over time, the current state of affairs has resulted in a rather disturbing concentration of power in the hands of the privileged few.

If I have assessed your concern correctly then yes, Rothbard gave this a great deal of thought. I can't summarize his thoughts adequately here. I would suggest his The History of Money and Banking in the United States as a good starting point, though, if you are interested.*

If I've completely botched your concern, lemme know and I'll see if I can regroup and redress.

For now, it's off to work though.

* Another cool thing about the Austro-libertarians is that don't have a very high opinion of copyright or patents, so you can view/download their books for free (though, of course, they always are open to donations, LOL)

I guess I'm puzzled by some basic concepts. For instance, the concept of property.

I would guess that Austro-libertarian would consider "property" sacred, and yet it's a social construct which must be enforced by government - otherwise, how do you enforce your property rights?

So, when the US was founded, much of it's property was handed to individuals, who immediately had great power over other people. For instance, if you own rental property, you have power over your tenants.

I'm also puzzled by the concept of Government vs private. For instance, English kings were private people who obtained a monopoly over violence through having the best army. Same thing with Stalin - I think of him as being a dictator and the very opposite of a theoretical communist (who would actually share power equally with the whole population). So, this distinction between Government vs private seems pretty artificial.

We can jeer, but isn't this the sort of thing you would expect post peak oil?

However, my experience with these types in America is that they aren't willing to follow their beliefs to their logical conclusions. As a result, there is still alot of confusion and uncertainty.

Cognitive dissonance is common. "The federal government is evil...support the troops!" "Get your government hands off my Medicare!" That sort of thing.

This is partly because America's founding was in rebellion against an imperial power, but America itself is now the imperial power.

I distinctly remember seeing the news clip of the town hall meeting where the woman blurted out the "Get your government hands off my Medicare!" line. Not sure why I found that particular outburst to be so amusing, but I damn near split a gut I was laughing so hard. :)

Be very careful. Rumors are that this is a scam.

See http://www.survivalblog.com/2013/01/the-iii-citadel-controversy.html.

The one "leader" spent 30 months in jail for extortion, and purports to be creating the solution to societies ill's. Hmmmm...OK sounds great where do I send the check? Doh..WOW! Sadly they will attract some followers.

I live in South West Montana and a lot of Uber Rich have been buying up land like crazy...they all seem very nervous trying to build safe havens with gates etc.-maybe they should be there is not enough money to keep them apart from society.

The anti-federalists started in 1787! Americans have no sense of history.

see Amazon
The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates (Signet Classics) [Mass Market Paperback]
Ralph Ketcham (Editor, Introduction)

Ken Salazar's legacy
I live in an area that's being carved up by industrial-size energy projects and they're not so eco-friendly as The NYTimes claims.
Small communities with no political power are besieged by 450 foot tall towers. Dust storms and flooding have damaged streets and homes, "Take" permits were granted for the killing of protected Peninsular Bighorn Sheep, and a designated "Resource Conservation Area" is slated to have over 12,000 acres given to Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. for construction of hundreds of turbines.
Some links:


Oh they are 'besieged' by 450 foot tall towers . . . which emit no sulfur-dioxide, no mercury, no greenhouse gases, no radioactivity, no smog, etc. Cry me a river.

Dust storms and flooding? Are you blaming the turbines for that? How?

Looking at the second photo in the first link, one can barely make out the wind turbines "spoiling the view" in the distance. Too much smog from San Diego perhaps.

Then, again, I can see Tom's point. If every roof in SoCal had PV on it, and every home had a set of batteries and practiced conservation... One wonders how many folks bitchin' about wind turbines spoiling the view haven't done a thing to minimize their contribution. Tom? You going to help pay for those wind turbines?

Ghung, I took that pic on a very windy day and the towers are maybe eight to ten miles distant. Not smog, dust. This area is 60 miles east of San Diego.

The local utility built a new transmission line following a convoluted path from the desert to central San Diego County.
Yeah, the cost of the line is included in my rates along with the bill for the broken for almost a year San Onofre Nuke Plant. SDG&E gets a guaranteed 11% profit from the electricity provided by The Sunrise Power Link.
The wind projects get a 2 cents per kWhr subsidy, so were all paying for that.
Yeah, renewables are necessary....
I can't match your efficiency/independence but have tried for years. All CFL's, turn everything off when not in use, water heater set at barely warm, cold water for everything but showers, back yard dead, etc.

My point is that all one can do is try. It sucks being forced to pay for things one strenuously objects to. Fortunately with energy, there are options, but once those options have been exhausted one just has to live with it (or not). I object to wars for empire, but I can only reduce my taxable income so much.

At least wind turbines and PV are the devils we see, reminders that we're screwed if we don't do these things. Maybe that's why I find them elegant while gridweenies find them objectionable. I suggest that you continue to document the damage being done under an aegis of green energy, likely for expediancy and profit. Document it here.

If you live in the US and pay taxes you do pay.
Here's one way: http://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/recovery/Pages/1603.aspx
and the Production Tax Credit is another.

Excellent! So you don't mind if we install one in your garden then?

No wind where I am but I am putting PV panels up on the roof. I certainly wouldn't mind turbines in a view. They make me smile every time I see them knowing that they helped reduce the need for a coal plant. I use electricity so I have to take some responsibility for how it is generated. And while solar is great but it is not nearly enough.

In my fashionable village near Cambridge, UK, there is a strong (in my opinion rabid) objection to wind turbines as despoiling the countryside, but the local (real) estate agents make a strong selling point for properties with views of the 200 year old (wheat grinding) windmill.

Make sense of that if you can!

Makes perfect sense.. typically nuts.

Rene Belloq; "Look at this. [holds up a silver pocket watch] It's worthless. Ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless! Like the Ark. Men will kill for it; men like you and me."

.. [and after trapping Indy in the Well of Souls] "... You're about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows, in a thousand years, even you may be worth something!"

I just don't like the fact that everyone uses electricity but they will complain about the generation source no matter what it is. HOAs complain about solar panels, coal is completely awful, wind turbines despoil views and kill birds, natural gas involves fracking, you see the nuclear arguments here on TOD, etc.

All generation systems have advantages and all have disadvantages. We need to try to maximize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages. But we need to have diversity of sources because the advantages & disadvantages of each each changes over time based on technology, the fuel source, political whims, etc.

Thanks for the sarcasm Spec. I wouldn't wish the residents problems on you.
The small town of Ocotillo, California is now home to the Ocotillo Express wind farm. It's located near the base of a mountain range and the watershed drains into the town. Many acres of brush were graded to allow the construction of the project and there was little or nothing done to mitigate the dust from the strong but sporadic winds in the area. Average rainfall is less than eight inches/year but there can be one inch per hour storms.
So with no vegetation to protect the soil and the natural flow of rainwater into arroyos disrupted, there were dust storms and flooding.
This is a small community comprised of lower-income to poor families and retirees.
Please visit:
Global warming? More intense storms? Ocotillo was nearly destroyed by a tropical storm in 1976, my parents knew a family who's business was washed away in the four foot deep flood waters.


I've never understood, why they have to clear so much land. A WT obviously needs a pad cleared, and maybe some spots for the crane, and to temporarily hold parts of towers and blades. Its seems to me that they end up clearing at least ten times as much as necessary. Doing it lower impact should be a priority.

On my commute, they cleared a lot for the 80MW of WTs installed. But this is typical hills on the west border of the central valley, that get at least 15inches of rain per year. They put down grass seed and fertilizer mix, and now a year later, it looks fine.

If you would like to see some pics of the area and construction sites, I'll add an email address to my profile for a few days.
I have visited the area for over 50 years and Ocotillo is a gateway to the largest State Park in California.
Anza was a Spanish explorer. In the 1700's. Borrego is the Spanish name for the Bighorn Sheep that inhabit the area.





No site remediation.
During construction there were tank trucks carrying water to the site from 50 miles away, I'd see them every time I drove I-8 in San Diego County. There was a rural land owner selling well water to the project and ranchers in that area were concerned about depletion of the aquifer, and the increased traffic and damage to the dirt and lightly paved roads.
There are still acres of barren land, dead vegetation and cacti. The desert heals VERY slowly.

The WT construction I witnessed also had water trucks. I think the state requires it to keep the dust down. Apparently dust after construction is over doesn't count? The state is pretty peculiar about dust. New construction has to put up those black plastic fences to contain it etc. But right next door a farmer can release a thousand times as much dust plowing with impunity.

Water tankers
The water that was brought in from 50 miles away was used at the on-site cement plant to provide concrete for the tower support structures.
I never saw any water used for dust control.
Please view the video at the link in another comment.

"Dust storms and flooding? Are you blaming the turbines for that? How?"
It's called storm water runoff. Large areas of forest and the root masses which regulate runoff are destroyed when turbines and the necessary roads are built on mountain ridge lines.
And then, that swift runoff serves to dry out the mountain. So the streams may alternate between very and very low flow.

You might be wish to look at this:http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/
Which is the Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report Released for Public Review. It is released for public comment until about mid April.

The reason I mention the Advisory report is that it shows we should not be too comfy basing today's decisions on the past.

Hey hey ALL,

Does anyone know anything about the SW propane shortage?


The news says that there has been high demand and the weather has been very cold lately, but we have had cold weather before and I don't remember any talk of a propane shortage. Is anyone out there in the know about this?

Thanks in advance,

If propane suppliers would lease folks larger tanks it might help during these high demand times. Most suppliers usually won't lease a tank that won't need filling at least once per year. If you only use 200 gallons a year, they won't lease you a 500 gallon tank. This is one reason we bought our tank, even though we only use a small amount (less every year recently, we used to use much more). We can stockpile when propane is cheap, and usually have several years of storage at any one time. We also get a cut rate (no lease or maintenance fees built in), and we order during the low demand months when prices are low. This summer our regular supplier called and said that prices were really low, and if their driver could stop by and put in a few hundred gallons they would give us a rock bottom rate. I guess they would rather offload the propane at near cost than haul it back to the office. It probably helps that I let our driver squirrel hunt on our place with his kid. I estimate we currently have at least 6 years' supply at normal usage, much more if we were forced to conserve. I also keep a couple of 100 pounders full, and have 'loaned' propane to some less fortunate folks at times. Useful stuff.

I wonder what the current price is in NM during this shortage and high demand.

My 500 gallon tank (actually holds up to 400 gallons of propane) only lasted me a whole year once, thanks to strenuous conservation (i.e. burning more wood than usual). But it's cold here in Vermont. I estimate I need about 1000-1100 gallons propane-equivalent per year for space heating, but I usually get half the heat from wood. And water heating and cooking uses another 100 gallons or so per year.

I do try and time the fillings, partly for price but partly to avoid the times when the driveway is too icy or to muddy. I switched from a 120-gallon tank to a 500-gallon one, and stopped automatic deliveries, after a 30-gallon top-off in mud season created major ruts in the muddy driveway.

Propane here in the Northeast is rather expensive, has been over $3/gallon in recent years, a bit less this year.

Team – I’ve seen nothing to indicate a national problem. Perhaps just a regional distribution problem.


“ U.S. propane production reached record levels and supplies are running at 14-year highs, resulting in lower prices that have encouraged greater exports of the gas, the Energy Information Administration said in its This Week in Petroleum Report.

A byproduct of natural-gas processing, propane production surged amid scaled-up drilling in shale formations in Texas and other areas in recent years. During June, U.S. propane production averaged 1.28 million barrels a day, the highest monthly total in EIA records going back to 1981.

With rising supply and slipping domestic consumption - down about 2% versus recent years – propane prices have fallen to levels making U.S. exports more competitive on the global market. Mexico is the biggest foreign buyer of U.S. propane. The shifting market fundamentals altered propane’s price relationship to other energy sources, such as crude oil and natural gas.”

The high/low was 79F/40F in my back yard of San Gabriel today, so did not feel Winter-y at all.

"The high/low was 79F/40F in my back yard of San Gabriel today,"

Winter is wearing out it's welcome here, 12 F for the low, 25 F for high. It's supposed to surge above freezing later this week.

The temperature here in Northern Arizona was colder than average from the middle of December to the middle of January. This followed above average temperatures in November and the first half of December. Last week there were 4 consecutive days and 5 nights during which the temperature remained below 0 C. Two weeks ago the water in the soil was frozen 5 cm deep and it likely froze deeper last week. My plumbing finally began flowing again today after 9 days of being frozen. Even a ball valve on a 4000 liter water tank buried under 45 cm of rock and dirt stuck from ice requiring hot water bottles to unstick it. For the first time ever my carrots in the garden have been wrecked by the cold. I have been using lots of firewood and can understand why there would be a heightened demand for propane. Based on the things that froze and their duration, the average temperature has not been this low here for at least the last two decades. The weather maps showed this cold spell descended on the Rocky Mountains and area.

Renewable investors in 115MW project fear JPS

Over 200 prospective investors - one-quarter foreigners - attended an OUR meeting at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston Thursday. The turnout "pleasantly surprised" OUR representatives.

It indicated the financial interest in renewable energy that forms part of the Government's 2030 vision to reduce the island's costly dependence on fossil fuels.

This was the pre-bid meeting I attended that set out to answer the questions any interested parties had regarding a RFP (PDF) for the provision of 115MW of electricity from renewable sources for the island of Jamaica. I attended not out of any interest in bidding but, out of curiosity as to what the concerns of the interested parties are. The situation in Jamaica is that an Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) was set up to oversee the operations of the public utilities; electricity, water an sewage, telecommunications and transportation. Their mandate covers levels of service and costs and in this instance the focus is on costs so, any additions to the supply of electricity to the grid have to meet with their approval.

There were several interesting technical, financial and legal issues raised. Towards the end the questions seemed to have all been answered and the moderator asked if there were any further questions and in retrospect, I wonder if I should have asked a question outlining my concerns.

I would have asked what the basis was for their "Indicative Generation Avoided Costs" as stated in the table in Section 1 under Paragraph 9. I would have outlined that my scepticism is based on the extremely poor record of long term energy supply and price forecasts of the IEA and the US DOE's EIA. This would have given me the opportunity to raise the issue of the criticism of these forecasts coming from "certain quarters" and the prospect of a near term continuation in the decline in world oil exports with a possible attendant escalation of fuel prices. I would have then pointed out that this would raise the possibility of their "Indicative Generation Avoided Costs" being unrealistically low and making the cost of electricity from renewable sources seem low in comparison.

Has anybody here ever raised the issue of Peak Oil in a public forum such as this and do you think it would result in any of the attendees being interested enough to "google it"?

I was able to use the opportunity to speak to a senior executive at the Wigton Wind Farm. I asked him how they collected their wind resource data given the fact that I had never seen any evidence of wind resource data being collected (anemometers). Using the example of Jamaica's bauxite reserves, I then broached the subject of Peak Oil to him and on realising that he had never heard of it, explained to him how the production profile of a resource, an oil well in the case of oil, extends to a group of wells, to a field, to a province and to a country. He concluded on his own that it must extend to the world as a whole as well. I then suggested to him that the world may be approaching the limits of oil production growth. I hope that, having indicated to him that a Google search for "Peak Oil" would possibly open a can of worms, he does try it one of these days.

edit: spelling correction
2nd edit: add link to newspaper story with quote

Alan from the islands

Your link is broken and this reply will lock that in (sorry) but I did a quick search on "Wigton wind farm" and a whole bunch of articles popped up talking about the savings VS oil.


"The Wigton Windfarm in Manchester produced enough energy to save the country expenditure estimated at more than $229 million on the importation of oil during the first five months of fiscal year 2011-12, according to data released by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ)."


When combined, Wigton one and Wigton two are expected to help the country avoid 59,643 barrels of oil imports, and net 84,567 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission reduction per year.

Wigton Windfarm was the brainchild of Dr Raymond Wright, former group managing director of the PCJ, to facilitate increased generation of electricity from wind power and other renewable-energy sources.

Conceived by the managing directed of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.


"Economic windfalls are expected as wind operators seek to increase their supply of energy to the electricity grid to seven per cent from the current 2.5 per cent in the near term, saving more than J$1 billion annually in oil imports.

That is according to Dr Mario Anderson, group managing director, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).

The PCJ-operated Wigton Windfarm in Manchester produced enough energy to save the country more than US$5.3 million (J$493 million) on oil imports during fiscal year 2011/12 or 47 per cent more year on year, due to its own expansion."

They might not know about Peak Oil, but they've apparently figured out that they can save a bunch of money.

From your top article: "Consumers pay about US$0.40 per kWh for electricity from power provider JPS."

Yipes! Solar could stomp that..."payback" should be single-digits.

Your link is broken and this reply will lock that in

Sorry about that. Their web site is rather lame and the link is to the "news" page that, has a few pictures of the construction.


Wigton Windfarm Limited is embarking on a wind farm expansion installing an additional 18 MW of generating capacity from nine (9) 2 MW Vestas V80 wind turbines. The project is funded by the PetroCaribe Development Fund and commissioning is expected in 2010.

Good use of the PetroCaribe funds if you ask me!

They might not know about Peak Oil, but they've apparently figured out that they can save a bunch of money.

From the newspaper article about the pre-bid meeting:

But one participant, general manager Wigton Wind Farm, Earl Barrett, complained of an additional financial burden requiring developers to put up at least 20 per cent of the financing of the project, which obviates full financing by banks.

Yeah, this guy sounded like he would have no problem getting 100% financing for any wind project and with his operation being a subsidiary of the state owned PCJ, the requirement to "put up at least 20 per cent of the financing" is his biggest problem. He is the person I spoke to who appeared to be hearing about PO for the first time. The deep red soil in the pictures of the construction of the wind farm, is most likely bauxite as the farm is located in the heart of bauxite mining country making my use of the example of bauxite as an example for resource extraction profiles particularly meaningful to Mr. Barrett.

Yipes! Solar could stomp that..."payback" should be single-digits.

Except that the only way to get that 40 cent rate is to use a grid tie inverter to offset ones consumption. The Standard Offer Contract for interconnection specifies that all electricity supplied to the grid will be paid for at some rate below 40 cents and AFAIK, the details of that rate are not available online. This RFP is looking for utility scale projects, which will bring up land use issues and additional cost if existing rooftops are not used. TPTB here have somehow managed to turn what should be a slam dunk into a fifty fifty shot.

Alan from the islands

This just came over the wire a few hours ago: Has the Potential of Shale Oil and Gas Been Overstated?

The skeptics' view: David Hughes of the Post Carbon Institute is one of the skeptics and has a very pessimistic view about the production potential of shale wells...

His analysis has led him to a sobering conclusion: Bakken wells decline extremely quickly. He finds that, once production from the average Bakken well begins to decline, its production flow falls to a fifth of its peak level within just two years. Separate calculations by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources reached a similar conclusion.

This finding has one major implication. For annual production from the Bakken to keep rising, energy producers will need to bring on more and more new wells each year. According to Hughes' calculations, more than 800 new wells per year will be needed to offset field decline.

However I am wondering if David Hughes may not be a bit optimistic here? I ask this because in November the Bakken saw an increase of 115 wells. This, if it were the case for every month, would lead to an increase of 1,380 new wells per year. But even with 115 new wells in November Bakken production fell off by 15,074 barrels per day. This fits in with what Arthur Berman says here:

His case-by-case analysis of around 2,500 Bakken wells led him to conclude that, unless a lot more wells are drilled, output would fall by nearly 40% within a year. Assuming this rate of depletion, roughly 1,600 new wells will have to be drilled just for production to stay flat. If we extrapolate similar production profiles for other shale wells in the country, the end result for production by 2020 is strikingly lower - just 1 million-2 million barrels per day according to Berman's calculations.

So who is correct Arthur Berman or David Hughes? Does it take 800 new wells per year to keep shale oil production flat or does it take 1600 new wells per year? Both Berman and Hughes are shale oil skeptics, it's just that Berman seems a little more skeptical than Hughes. Or am I missing something here?

Ron P.

How folks arrive at all the various estimates is something I wouldn't mind hearing the regulars here chime in on a bit more. When you arrive at a site and you do all the prep work and finally decide it's worth sticking a straw in the ground, how do you calculate how productive the well is going to be? Is there some magic formula or technology that helps the folks in the oil patch figure this sort of thing out, or is it just work the thing until it starts to come up dry, and then rejigger your numbers for how other wells in the area might do?

Is all of this just a SWAG, or is there more to it than that?

Just a generalized comment as well. When some of us chime in as newbies it's perfectly okay (well, for me at any rate) to gently point us off to specific past TOD posts that will enlighten the way. It'll keep us quiet for quite some time. Plumbing the archives around these parts is pretty much the definition of wading in way over ones head. Part of the fun of a blog I guess.

Templer – Instead of tossing out another guess here’s the model. Appreciating the individual components may help.

Existing producing wells: Easiest group to predict decline. After 4 or 5 years decline is relatively low and can be projected forward. But not too simple: it includes wells drilled over many years, including vertical wells, and utilizing different technologies. But still the easiest to project. This is a solid base of production.

Recently drilled well in the last several years: almost impossible to accurately project projection rates and URR. Folks try to use curve fitting but very inaccurate and more important easily prejudiced by the analyst. Though a smaller number than older wells those high initial rates greatly skew the stats.

But there are other complications with these wells and wells yet drilled. First, technology is not being applied equally. Some laterals are twice as long as others. Some have many more frac stages applied. And those variables will continue with future wells. Second, regardless of the level of tech applied not all locations are created equal. I’m sure you’ve seen discussions of sweet spots. Early in a play no one knows for certain where they are. As a play progresses knowledge is gained and sweet spots are more often drilled. But only by the companies that lease them. Get to the party late and you’re left with less sweet spots but you’re still in the game so you drill them anyway. Then as the play progresses there are fewer sweet spots left to drill so everyone goes after the poorer leases. And that can lead to a major bust in the projection: it was recently reported that drilling in an untested area where Bakken reserves were projected discovered that, in fact, there was no Bakken reservoir rock even present in this area. But sometimes drilling poorer areas leads to discovery of more sweet spots. As has been said: you don’t know what you don’t know.

Now you have to add two entirely different levels of complexity: economics and regulatory. The economic variable is easy enough to appreciate: higher oil prices = more drilling. Except how much more? If the remaining locations are that much less productive even higher prices might not cause an increase in rig counts. And even if the price increase does create more viable locations they won’t be drilled if the companies don’t have sufficient capex. Consider that Chesapeake has sold over $25 billion in assets (including some at fire sale prices) to raise drilling capex and they still claim they are $5-10 billion short in there drilling budget. Long laterals and more frac stages can produce wells with better production even in less sweet spots but at a significantly higher price. Some recent Eagle Ford frac jobs have cost more than the drilling of the well. And then there’s the sunk costs variable: Company A has $100 million tied up in old leases. The current economics allow them to spend another $200 million to develop the better leases. But Company B is a new player and when the additional $100 million tag for leasing the targeted locations the economics aren’t sufficient to go forward.

Now regulatory. Most are aware how much NG is being flared to produce the Bakken oil. That’s currently acceptable to the state and mineral owners in ND. But what happens in 5+ years if oil prices aren’t as high and NG prices increase. The state may decide they would rather see oil development slow up with more focus on bringing NG to the market. A mineral owner, in a new lease, may require the company to pay them royalty on any flared NG whether the company sells it or not. That is not an uncommon provision in Texas and La. This could cause once viable locations to become uneconomic to drill.

And lastly there's the simple concept of finite limits. At one time the horizontal Austin Chalk play was the hottest in the entire world. Yet you don’t hear much about drilling activity in it today for good reason: it has been almost completely developed. You can’t drill what isn’t there.

So that’s not a quantitative answer but understanding the qualitative side of the process explains the wide range of estimates we see. Consider the two end point of the assumption process. Make a projection of all the reasonable but low side assumptions and compare that to a projection of all the reasonable but high side assumptions. A very wide range in answers. And that’s where the debates begin: not so much with the final projections but with what assumptions one decides to use.

And since this is all about models I'll leave you with my crude yet heartfelt opinion about modeling: It's like masterbating - there's nothing wrong with it as long as you don't start beleiving it's the real thing. Given the typical wide range of assumptions a good analyst can make any model whistle Dixie while tap dancing.


Thanks. Very much appreciated. At least I have some idea now.

I gather the Chesapeake issue has at least some analogies to the mortgage issues we're still working through. Financing extended without a whole lot of effort put into whether the end result will be a net win for the person putting up the money. Only the gas biz seems to have a lot more unknowns involved. I can think of at least a few other differences between the two, but it seems a ripe opportunity for a similar fall, as McClendon seems to be experiencing now.

Again, much appreciated. It puts the rig counts and decline rates in better perspective. Another notch up the learning curve.

Templar - Yep...leverage is leverage regardless of the business. Folks justified the high prices they were paying for homes and those high interest rates. No problem: those escalating real estate prices will provide the leverage needed to make the model work. Likewise the pubcos can justify the questionable economics of the shale plays with the leverage provided by increasing stock prices. Another nice business model.

And then comes the incorrect assumptions: real estate prices didn't keep rising...in fact, went the other way. And Chesapeake? Feb 2002 - $5.21/share...pre-shale boom. Shale boom - June 2008...$65.96/share...model working. June 2012 - Still shale booming...$17.82/share...model not so working.

And the future if they can't drill fast enough to keep reserve growth and stock price increasing? And what does the model predict?

Rock - yeah, that's my sense of it too. We've seen this movie before. And it didn't have a happy ending. Not sure why some think watching it again will change that.

Templar - Sometimes I have to push myself a little to interject myself into some discussions. If I didn't have a healthy ego and wasn't something of a show off I probably wouldn't be on TOD. LOL. Not that I have a better crystal ball than anyone else but after 37 years I've been thru booms/busts and the rhetoric (both pro and con) doesn't change much. Ala "Groundhog Day" to keep our movie theme going. Sorta like watching the third remake of a movie. Granted each director has his own take but it's still the same story line. Despite its importance it can become boring very quickly. Same with AGW: I understood the ramifications over 40 years ago (before anyone coined the phrase "AGW", I think) when I studied under a paleoclimatologist. What the climate is going through pales in comparison to what we see in the geologic record. Not that the situation isn't serious (and will get worse IMHO) but it's as Yogi said: deja vu all over again.

An important difference between current changes in CO2 levels and past changes is that they are happening in hundreds of years today rather than over millions of years, so the rate of change of future climate may be quite abrupt relative to past changes. Species can often adapt to slow change, the rocks won't care much, but if we care about our own species and all the other plants and animals on which we depend, the rate of change matters a great deal.

I think we may need to wait until spring. Could this reduction in drilling/fracking simply be caused by subfreezing weather? If so the active rig count should recover with springtime.

Spring time maybe better for fraccing, as some of the chemicals used don't like freezing temps, but as for drilling, the spring thaw actually causes problems of moving heavy rigs over boggy ground. In Canada, they actually have a compulsory stoppage in drilling, until the roads dry out and harden up. Some cold places actually only drill during the cold weather, such as Alaska. So you could expect an increase in drilling during the winter, with a drop off during spring. So we will have wait and see what happens with the Bakken drilling numbers, but things could get very interesting in the Bakken come summer time.

There was a snowstorm and they blamed it on that. The last time they had a dip, in April 2011, it was because of a storm. But freezing weather seems to not affect anything. At least the records show no slowdown because of freezing weather.

Edit: Just found this: PN Bakken: ‘Wake-up call’

Winter storm Brutus was blamed for most of the November decline. It brought operations to a halt for several days and, more telling, exposed infrastructure shortcomings, in particular the heavy dependence on trucks and a snow and ice-vulnerable road system to transport fracking water and other materials to drill sites and production to rail and pipeline terminals.

“When you encounter something like that winter storm, you have to shut wells in, you can’t use the oil,” Helms said, noting that the number of new wells waiting to be hydraulically fractured and put on production in November jumped by 50 to 410 because of bad weather.

But fewer wells are being drilled:

Rig count down again

The Williston Basin drilling rig count averaged 184 in December, down from 186 in November and 188 in October. The count stood at 181 on Dec. 11. The all-time high of 218 rigs was reached on May 29, 2012.

Ron P.

But fewer wells are being drilled:

That's the rig count, not the # of wells being drilled. With improvements in drilling efficiency these days, the rig count can go down even while more wells are being drilled. I don't know if that was the case for November in ND, but that's becoming a common phenomenon in a lot of these plays lately.

What you *really* need to count is spuds (or completions), not rigs. Unfortunately on the NDIC website I can't find where (or if) they tabulate the # of wells spudded or completed.

BTW: How many wells can be drilled on avarage with one drilling rig per year?

I don't know but drilling does not seem to be the problem. Lost the link but a few days ago a link was posted that said there were 410 wells waiting to be fracked. So fracking is the holdup, not drilling.

Edit: See link "PN Bakken: ‘Wake-up call’" above.

Ron P.

Ulenspiegel – Like many aspects in the oil patch the concept of “average” can be misleading. Here are some details: http://info.drillinginfo.com/urb/bakken/. Too much to post here. But the drill time depends on lateral length, vertical depth of the beginning of the horizontal build, the power of the drill rig and the abilities of each drill crew and, lastly, the specific company drilling the well. Collectively it ranges from 30+ days to 80+ days. But how do you weigh for an average if many wells take 35 days or if many take 70 days? And if one operator averages 15% longer to drill the same well as another? And a good bit of the rig productivity is lost in moving from one location to another and rigging up…can take a week. But with pad drilling it might take just a day between wells.

So the answer might range 3 to 8. Not very useful answer, eh? LOL

There is no such thing as drilling an average well. Some wells take years to drill because of adverse conditions. OTOH, I once worked for a company that was drilling shallow gas wells in 24 hours.

They had 4 rigs running within sight of each other (1 mile spacing), and they were drilling 4 wells per day. They didn't even prepare the sites, they just set the rig down on the grass, punched down a well, picked it up, and moved on to the next site. In theory they could drill 1460 wells a year that way, but in practice they only drilled for part of a year and drilled a few hundred wells. They were very low production wells, but the total field production was huge - the field map looked like someone had knocked a bottle of ink over on it, and the geology was simple - drill anywhere. The wellhead equipment looked like a 1950s kettle barbecue and the pipelines like the gas lines leading to your house.

The Bakken is completely different than this. Companies have to find the sweet spots, wells there cost $10 million, not $10,000, and they take a month or three to drill, not a day. And then there's the whole frackage issue.

@the two Rocks

3-8 gives at least the order of magnitude for the Bakken and is a clear improvement compared to my complete lack of knowledge in this field. :-)

U - Still a somewhat useless answer IMHO. Maybe the best measure is the number of wells drilled every month. That will tend to average out the variables.

Ron, have you seen the Bakken Stats graph over at Stuart Staniford's blog? Link.

It shows average barrels/day/well at about 140 for the last four years. During which time, the rig count has gone from under 1000 to about 5000. When I first saw the graph I thought wow, it is a Red Queen situation, an exponential rise in rig count just to keep production flat. And then I saw the production scale was not barrels/day (as I first thought) but barrels per day per well. Big difference!

JN2 - Yes...big difference. But I still think that chart is one of the best graphics I've seen supporting the Red Queen concept. Consider all those new wells weren't drilled the same as the older wells: horizontals getting longer all the time and more frac stages per well. Plus increased knowledge of where the sweet spots are. And to cap it off: a long trend of historic high oil prices. And the "big improvement": average production per well per day is more or less flat. And when most of the sweet spots are drilled? And when the practical limits of lateral lengths and number of frac stages are reached? And if capex availability is insufficient to keep adding ever more wells to offset depletion? And the ultimate potential nail in the coffin: if oil prices fall below a level that justifies a sufficient rig count to keep the average production per well per day flat? Remember the high initial flow rates of the new wells, though not as large as the number of older wells, skews the number higher. Slow down the number of new wells for any reason and depletion guarantees the production per well per day will decline.

The Red Queen concept only applies if she keeps running at the same pace. If she doesn't she transforms from the Red Queen to the Dead Queen

Last year I worked out a math argument for the Red Queen here

The basic observation is that the number of wells producing is growing at an exponential rate while the apparent amount of oil per well is remaining high. How does that work?

In mathematical terms, the total amount produced during a boom period is the convolution of the well number growth rate, N(t), and the depletion rate per well, p(t). The first term is exponentially increasing and the decline rate is exponentially decreasing

If the growth is exponential with a greater than zero exponent, then that term will easily dominate over the declining term. Divide P(t) by N(t), which is the average production per well, and you can see that we have reached the plateau of production proportional to 1/(a+d), which you can clearly see in Staniford's figure, linked below.

The bottom line is that if N(t) does not continue to grow, then the overall decline will set in. What we are seeing in this Red Queen phenomenon is that the latest wells are always dominating the statistics because they swamp out the older ones in terms of numbers contributing to the stat count.

Staniford apparently did not work out the math or delve deeper when he said "Overall, the conclusion I take away is that the productivity of the Bakken well population is reasonably stable and there is no sign of a drop off. "

I would argue that the "productivity of the Bakken well population" is definitely not stable. The decline of a typical Bakken well is definitely immediately damping. It may not be an exponential decline like I used above to make the math analytical, but as long as the decline is steep then the result is the same, which is Red Queen population growth, as Rune Likvern first coined the phenomenon.

I have to give Rune props for giving the observed behavior a cool name.

"It may not be exponential decline like I used above..."

From reports of some Bakken well production earlier reported on The Drumbeat, exponential decline is not far off the descriptioon. First year decline may be 60%, second year 45%, third year 30%, next year 22%, next year 17%, etc. The end result is after six years the production is down to 10% or less of initial year. Maybe the well eventially progresses to terminal decline of 4 or 5% just like the old Bakken wells before fracing.

Has anyone estimated what the Bakken is capable of producing when the drilling is essentially done? Ultimately there will be many thousands of wells that will produce as stripper wells for I think quite a long time - I wonder if and how it would be possible to estimate with any accuracy what that production will be - when all the reservoir cracks opened up by fracking have emptied and the source rock is seeping into the well. The stripper production may be very important eventually.

I wonder if it would make sense to refrack existing wells in the Bakken, or to drill new branches of existing wells to increase reservoir contact. I have no idea how the dynamics of the reservoir and the economy will interact.

Seagatherer – I don’t think it would be too difficult to come up with a reasonable guess. It might take another 2 or 3 years to determine what a viable 5+ year production profile looks like for the average Bakken Hz. Historic average for Bakken vertical wells wouldn’t do. Then it’s just a matter of multiplying the number of 5+ yo wells by that average. We can make a guess right now: given the established decline rates let’s use 30 bopd and X thousand low rate Bakken wells. So 5,000 wells will be producing 150,000 bopd and 10,000 wells 300,000 bopd. Go forward Y years and just decline that number by 4% or 5%.

You’re correct: it does add up. I think some folks forget that the average well of the 3rd largest oil producer on the planet makes less than 10 bopd.

Refrac'ng - There is a history of commercial refrac'ng of shale wells. The gain typically isn't very great but it costs considerably less than drilling a new well. Sidetracking is possible but unless you're going for a shallower/deeper zone than usually it's more cost efficient to drill a new well. The mechanics of sidetracking are not risk free nor very cheap. You also limit the casing size you use in a sidetracked hole.

Yes, I have seen it. But unless you look at the last few years only you do not get the correct picture. Bakken production really took off in July 2011 when the number of wells increased 165% from the previous month, from 60 to 159. From that point, July 11, they have average 146 new wells per month until November when they dropped to 115.

The number of new wells per month is everything. When that falls off then production falls off.

The top chart is Bakken production in kb/d, then barrels per day per well, then the number of Bakken wells.
 photo BakkenBPperD_zpsa40ca417.jpg
Bakken BP per Well photo BakkenBPperWell_zps6c1fb428.jpg
Bakken Wells photo BakenWells_zps20092c8e.jpg

Ron P.

The number of wells that must be drilled to hold production constant is more than half the number of wells drilled the prior year, so I think Arthur Berman is correct. If one factors in the declining productivity of new wells as per Rune Likvern's observation in Is Shale Oil Production from Bakken Headed for a Run with "The Red Queen"? (Sept. 25, 2012), the number will be skewed toward a higher value.

Some modified data from my post on November 14, 2012. The production rates are based on the average Bakken well:

present year: 2,000 wells, average 80,000 b/year/well
last year: 1,200 wells, average 40,000 b/year/well
2 years ago: 700 wells, average 25,000 b/year/well
3 years ago: 300 wells, average 15,000 b/year/well
4 years ago: 200 wells, average 12,000 b/year/well
5 years ago: average production of 10,000 b/year/well

production this year: 637 kb/d
production last year: 369 kb/d
production 2 years ago: 200 kb/d
production 3 years ago: 87.7 kb/d
production 4 years ago: 43.8 kb/d

If one drills no wells in the subsequent year, the production would be 345 kb/d. One would have to drill ((637 - 345)kb/d * 365 d/y) / 80,000 b/year/well = 1332 wells producing an average of 80,000 b/d to keep production constant. If average new well production is declining, then it would have to be more.

A while ago there was a discussion here on whether increased speed increased fuel consumption. I was surprised to see people arguing that they improved fuel consumption by going faster, but had no facts to offer.

Here is a study on a wide variety of "light vehicles" on a dyno. This unfortunately does not take into effect wind resistance and aerodynamics.


ORNL researchers quantify the effect of increasing highway speed on fuel economy

The results are summarized in histogram form in Figure 2, which shows the distribution of fuel economy penalties for each 10-mph increase in speed from 50 mph to 80 mph. A comparison of the three histograms shows a slight shift toward higher mpg penalties for each 10-mph speed increase. In other words, the mph penalty for increasing your speed from 70 mph to 80 mph is slightly greater than the penalty for increasing from 60 mph to 70 mph, which is slightly greater than the penalty for increasing from 50 mph to 60 mph.

To sum up, the faster you go the more you consume, and that is with no aerodynamic effect. But that is what normal logic would tell us anyway. Yes?

Only, the aero drag, by any simple scaling goes up as velocity squared (energy per unit distance). I say simple minded, because the flows Reynolds (and other aero dimensionless numbers), changes, and the flow pattern may not look the same as the speed changes. And for small vehicles, at the sorts of speeds discussed aero drag is typically half or more of the total drag.

Normal logic would tell us wind drag forces goes up as the square of speed, and power goes up as force times velocity, so power required to overcome wind goes up as cube of speed. A way of saying that most of fuel goes to blowing wind.

it's astounding that anybody would ignore the most of it when making a mpg comparison between speeds.

I regularly make the same trip on long, straight, low traffic highways in my diesel car with fuel consumption computer. I also monitor wind speed and direction from online records. Total distance
130 miles.

My best ever journey recorded 97.4 mpg (UK) whilst travelling at an overall average speed of 49mph. Most of the time spent at about 55 mph.

Typical result at average speed of 60 mph with a headwind of about 10 mph (most of the time at about 65mph) returns about 73 mpg.

A 10 mph tailwind (return journey same route, little net change in altitude) pushes that to about 83mpg (UK).

"I was surprised to see people arguing that they improved fuel consumption by going faster, but had no facts to offer."

Continue to be surprised! I have no facts to offer but only this observation gathered over the years...most vehicles (non-hybrid, non-CVT) have a "sweet spot" somewhere between 40mph and 50mph where they've reached their highest gear (the torque converter on automatics has locked) and the engine is moderately loaded. Below that speed the fuel economy will drop off and seems to drop off a cliff below 20mph, and above the sweet spot the aerodynamics will start to bite.

I am sorry for not being more specific, but I believe the majority of people would understand that this was a discussion once top gear is selected. Most discussion has taken place about 50 mph plus.

Graph from a model, not actual data. But since it's from a respected university, I'd expect this to be pretty realistic:


y axis: consumtption
x axis: velocity

"...the majority of people would understand..."

You confuse me as being a "people" :)

Speaking of Top Gear (UK)...
Start the video at 3:30 to see a Prius get worse fuel mileage than a BMW M3. Proving that if you drive the Prius fast on a twisty track and draft it in an M3...the M3 will get better mpg. I do wish the Prius had better handling - being able to maintain momentum through a corner is better than having to slow down and then speed back up.

The sweet spot shows up graphically in the "fuel island plot" or iso-BSFC graph.

For a given load an engine can be designed to run in the sweet spot, but the load varies with hills, curves, winds, accessories, etc. and the BSFC changes substantially with load.

A smart variable transmission might allow staying within the spot. Don't know how well the hybrid synergy drive does this, I can't find any Toyota engineering documents online :) but some owners seem to be accumulating enough data to generate their own graphs.

Please note that the dyno tests do include "road load" and that includes wind drag for the specific vehicles tested. The two SAE standards quantify the road load setting for the tests. The first standard specifies the procedure for the measurement of road load, which one can view HERE. The SAE fuel economy test procedure may be viewed HERE, (behind a pay wall)...

E. Swanson

My self note from 2012-06-24 doing a drive of a fully filled with luggage and family Honda Pilot. Embarrassed to say I was feeling a bit boastful:

That's right, 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.

Ah, come on, people, we all know that if we are really interested in fuel economy (reducing carbon) we:

A- go slower ( 65 is way up where air drag is the most of it)
B- Carry less- of everything- car, stuff, people
C- and by far the most effective- don't make the trip.

I have been using C for quite a while now and am very happy with the result- real peaceful, lots of time and money left over to do interesting things, holy feeling.

MAP: Where Each US Region Gets Its Oil Imports

I'm guessing most of PADD 3 is refined & exported to PADD 1

FOR ALL – Finally Hollywood has given us a realistic look into the future of PO. A new movie coming out later this year: “Elysium”. Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. Starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Maybe Matt made enough money cheating those folks out of their Marcellus leases he was able to buy a ticket to those Elysian Fields. LOL. Actually I once lived on Elysian Fields Blvd in the French Quarter in Nawlins. Wasn’t as nice as they said it would be.

"Equality"? Maybe the plan is to screw up the environment on the space station. Maybe some carbon credit scam.

As I remember CORPS http://www.btrc.net/corps had as its "future" 2 levels of humans, one stuck with 1950's level of tech and the other in spaceships round the planet.

And while hunting for a CORPS link I came across this:
and this:

Science fiction that is a plus
Jody Foster and Matt Damon are both smart people. Foster Yale, Damon Harvard.
Looking forward to it.

Elysium is an upcoming American science fiction film written and directed by Neill Blomkamp. The film stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Wagner Moura, Carly Pope and Alice Braga.

Scheduled to be released on August 9, 2013. From its description, sounds like that's where the future is headed. A complete separation of the super wealthy from the masses, either on Earth or as depicted in this movie.

Earl - "...sounds like that's where the future is headed. A complete separation of the super wealthy from the masses," You mean unlike how it is now? LOL. Actually I know a few very wealthy types, like my owner, and they aren't as "separated from the masses" as much as many might think. Granted my owner doesn't live in my neighborhood but I can drive up to his front door anytime I like. The obvious difference is that during civil unrest I would be protecting my homestead while his guys watched over his family.

No, the wealthy are in the same boat as the lower classes. If the boat goes down, they will be running for the lifeboats too.

However, there's a myth that when the Titanic went down, the crew blocked the stairways from the lower class decks so the first class passengers could get into the lifeboats first. That's not true. The truth is that the stairways were narrow and passengers in Steerage were below the water line, where the engines and the coal bunkers were located, and the passengers in First Class were well above waterline on the upper decks, where the lifeboats were located. If the boat is going down, where would you prefer to be?

Rocky - "No, the wealthy are in the same boat as the lower classes". Hmmm...not the folks I know. They'll be on a 180' "boat" with a half dozen 50 cal Barrets manned by guys who know how to use them. LOL. You've probably read some of the same stories about how little some of the wealthiest suffered during the worst years of WWII. The folks I'm talking about can buy whole islands and never lack for a single "necessity" of life. Of course, their are probably a lot of somewhat wealthy folks who think they'll skate thru OK but won't if situations get really bad.

Over the years I've known some very wealth folks who occasionally let me drive for them or play bartender.

I don't know if having a 180' boat with 50 cal guns and a private island would be that useful if the Chinese Navy showed up with an aircraft carrier. Possibly having a winning smile, a few friends in Beijing, and knowing Mandarin would be a better approach. Just make a point of being on the same deck as the lifeboats.

My relatives did pretty good in WWII. At least they had a job, which was better than during the Depression. Of course the job involved shooting Germans or dropping bombs on them, but the pay was good, the hours were good, and they got three square meals a day. It wasn't even that dangerous, compared to coal mining or cutting lumber. My father had the statistics to prove it. Toward the end of the war it got even easier because if they just showed up, the Germans would drop their guns and surrender. My uncle the bomber pilot said it got really boring because he'd fly around all day looking for something to bomb, and then he'd drop his bombs in the ocean on the way back to England because the Germans had nothing left to bomb.

I've known some very wealthy folks who let me cut in front of them in the checkout line at a department store discount sale. They didn't become rich by overpaying for anything, and being polite is always useful if they need a favor. I've never had to drive for them or play bartender, not that I'd be averse to doing that. I was more into cleaning out their sewers, collecting their garbage and digging their graves. It's whatever makes the most money.

There's been a deluge of post apocalyptic movies of late. Not sure what's the reason, perhaps Hollywood producers are trying to cash in on the whole Mayan thing or maybe people are just tired of all the concrete and cement around them.

From Timothy Taylor, The Conversable Economist!

Biofuels and Hunger in Low-Income Countries

Back in late 2011, I amused myself for a time tracking the reports in which various well-known agencies pointed out the flaws in subsidizing biofuels. a June 2011 post, "Everyone Hates Biofuels," I pointed out a report in which 10 international agencies made an unambiguous proposal that high-income countries drop their subsidies for biofuels. I followed up with "The Committee on World Food Security Hates Biofuels" in August 2011 and  "More on Hating Biofuels: The National Research Council" in October 2011.

But of all the problems with subsidizing the production of ethanol from corn--the cost, the distortions in price of farmland, the lack of any reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, and others--clearly the most serious problem is that that it is causing people in low-income countries to go hungry. Timothy A. Wise lays out "The Cost to Developing Countries of U.S. Corn Ethanol Expansion" in a working paper published in October 2012 by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University.

Taylor didn't mention the awful EROI of corn ethanol; leaving that aside there is no moral reason to support the production of corn ethanol.

Hat Tip: Mark Thoma's Economist View.

The only way that overpopulated countries will reduce their populations is to stop exporting cheap food to them. Focus on the moral imperative of halting and reversing human population growth to preserve the biosphere for all species. Each country needs to keep its human population within it local carrying capacity.

Native treaty rights being ignored, London protesters say

Marching in protest may be the only way First Nations will get the attention of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, says Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain.

“The normal processes aren’t getting us very far,” he said Wednesday after about 100 local band members from Sarnia joined a massive rally in London.

As many as 1,000 natives and non-natives formed a convoy along the 17-kilometre route from Highway 401, down Colonel Talbot Dive to Ivey Park, protesting the latest omnibus budget Bill C - 45.

“A lot of legislation is being pushed through by the federal Conservatives without consideration of our treaty rights,” said Plain. “If we don’t voice our displeasure, it will just continue.

“We won’t sit idly by.”

Wednesday’s protest was part of a grassroots movement called Idle No More that is gaining momentum across Canada. It’s attracting people of all ages and is being fueled by the weeklong hunger strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence on Parliament Hill. She says she will fast until Harper agrees to meet with her.

A little background...

Reproductive toxins discovered on Sarnia Reserve

Sarnia Ontario Apr 10, 2008

A second air sample taken by the Aamjiwnaang Bucket Brigade contained some unpleasant results and further revelations about flaws in Canada's pollution laws. The sample was taken on a 'clean air' day on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation Reserve, near Sarnia, Ontario. The volunteer Bucket Brigade had taken the "clean" sample to establish what chemicals are in the air on an average day.

Instead of clean air, the results of the independent test revealed levels of two hazardous sulfur compounds that exceed known health based thresholds. One of the chemicals is listed as a known developmental toxin that can interfere with the reproduction system.

"We were shocked and disappointed that even on a good day our air contains high levels of reproductive toxins," said Vicki Ware of the Aamjiwnaang Environmental Committee who took the sample. "Once again the government has approved companies being permitted to operate without even basic protections for public health and safety."

The sample was taken on March 10, 2008. A United States EPA certified laboratory in California analyzed the sample because Canada does not have independent facilities for testing toxic air samples. The lab results showed the following chemicals present:

- Carbon Disulphide at 41 micrograms per cubic meter,

--- snip ---

The chemical of greatest health concern in the sample is Carbon Disulphide, which is a known reproductive toxin and is listed as such by the State of California. The Aamjiwnaang First Nation has documented a troubling birth ratio problem among band members and received international attention due to high concentration of toxic industries that surround the reserve.


Declining Sex Ratio in a First Nation Community


Members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community near Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, voiced concerns that there appeared to be fewer male children in their community in recent years. In response to these concerns, we assessed the sex ratio (proportion of male births) of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation over the period 1984–2003 as part of a community-based participatory research project. The trend in the proportion of male live births of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation has been declining continuously from the early 1990s to 2003, from an apparently stable sex ratio prior to this time.

--- snip ---

This community is located within the Great Lakes St. Clair River Area of Concern and is situated immediately adjacent to several large petrochemical, polymer, and chemical industrial plants. Although there are several potential factors that could be contributing to the observed decrease in sex ratio of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, the close proximity of this community to a large aggregation of industries and potential exposures to compounds that may influence sex ratios warrants further assessment into the types of chemical exposures for this population.

More background:

Less than half of Canadians support the Idle No More movement: poll

Nearly half of Canadians say they do not support the Idle No More movement and more than half of those with First Nations ancestry share the sentiment, a new poll suggests.

... recent demonstrations have shone the spotlight on Idle No More and First Nations issues, but have not led to widespread support for the movement.

“They do have some level of sympathy among the Canadian population, but not for the things they are actually doing, such as the blockades,” he said. “And if they do more of those things it could erode the support for their goals.”

Among those Canadians surveyed who say they have First Nations ancestry, 52% said they did not support Idle No More, the poll showed.

Support by key demographic:
Conservative: 13%
Liberal: 48%
NDP (socialist): 60%
All Canadians: 39%

The current Canadian government is Conservative.

Video: Passive House: Brooklyn Review

Published on Jan 17, 2013

As winter trudges on, many of us are feeling the sting of high heating bills. but some people in Brooklyn are building and renovating in a way that reduces the energy needed for heating and cooling by up to 90%. it's called the passive house method, and a few such projects recently opened their doors to the public for the annual passive house days event.

Six minutes long. A good overview.

Fine Homebuilding had a good article on the Brooklyn Passive Houses in this month's issue.
(paywall: FHB's internet subscription is worth the money. Lots of useful info if you are handy!)

Buttoned Up for a New Century
Preservation meets performance when a Brooklyn architect applies Passive House principles to four iconic urban town houses


Almost two years after the awful nuclear disaster occurred, a fish caught near Fukushima on Friday January 18th had a record-breaking level of radioactive contamination over 2500x the legal limit. TEPCO measured 'Mike the Murasoi' at 254,000 becquerels per kilogram (with the limit for edible seafood at 100 becquerels). As Le Monde reports, the previous record (caught on August 21st 2012) was a mere 25,800 becquerels/kg. As further precautions, TEPCO is installing new nets 20km around the Fukushima Daichi site to avoid highly contaminated fish gettig too far and being consumed by other species.

Picture of the fish in question:

And TFA the linked TFA links to says it's our old friend cesium. Surprise surprise.


In an unprecedented move, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today retroactively re-categorized 47 Japanese nuclear reactors from "in operation" to "long-term shutdown" in its Power Reactor Information System. Thus, the global number of nuclear reactors listed as "in operation" drops from 437 to 390, a number not seen since Chernobyl-year 1986, when 391 operating units were on the list. Without a doubt, the step is a unique revision of world operational nuclear data -- not to mention a solid recognition of the industrial reality in Japan.

And for the "lets all use fast breeders" - a datapoint:

the Monju Nuclear Power Plant, a fast breeder reactor that has not been generating electricity since a sodium fire severely damaged the plant in 1995, was the only unit that the agency qualified for long-term shutdown before today's reshuffling.

And from elsewhere a comment on Monju - Way over a trillion yen loss, and never operated. In a test run, they encountered a serious problem that they cannot surmount.