Drumbeat: February 8, 2013

Study: 66 Percent of Your Fill-Up Goes Into Oil Company Coffers

That new car you just bought? You’ll spend almost as much – if not more – filling it up as you paid at the dealer. And the majority of it will go directly into oil company’s pockets.

That’s the finding from a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists which found that, over the average lifespan of a vehicle, owners will spend about $20,000 in fuel during its 15-year run on the road and $14,000 will go directly to oil companies. For every $50 fill-up, $33 goes into the coffers of Chevron, ExxonMobile or BP, while very little of the remaining cash goes into the local economy or even back to oil company investors.

Brent Crude Advances to Nine-Month High, Boosts Premium to WTI

Brent crude, headed for a fourth weekly advance, climbed to a nine-month high in London after stronger-than-expected trade data from China, the world’s second-biggest user.

Futures rose to more than $118 a barrel for the first time since May 3, boosting their premium to West Texas Intermediate for an eighth day to the most in almost two months. China’s exports climbed 25 percent in January from a year earlier and crude imports increased to the highest level in eight months, customs figures showed. Oil markets will “remain tight” in the first quarter and may push prices above its forecasts, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

Deutsche Bank Said to Fire 10 Traders as Banks Retrench

Deutsche Bank AG fired between 10 and 12 European power and natural gas traders in London as it cuts staff trading physical commodities, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Oil’s slide makes slippery going for investors

Commodity prices have had a great ride over the past few years, but many experts believe that boom to be at an end. The implications are huge for Canadian investors because commodities drive almost half of the country’s domestic equity market.

“You go back five years and we were sitting there looking at peak oil,” says Craig Basinger, the Toronto-based chief investment officer at Macquarie Private Wealth Inc. “Copper was in short supply because of China’s growth. The list was long as to why the bull market in commodities would last – it was the super-cycle that would just keep going.”

No longer: Macquarie’s latest outlook declares the super-cycle to be over and says investors shouldn’t “expect to see the surprising commodity price increases of the last decade.” Still, prices will stabilize, the report says, with some increases “in the order of 30 per cent or more still possible.”

China Crude Imports Rise to Eight-Month High on Refining

China’s crude oil imports rose to the highest level in eight months in January as refineries boosted runs amid signs of an economic recovery.

China bought 24.87 million metric tons of crude more than it exported last month, according to figures released on the website of the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs today. That’s equivalent to 5.88 million barrels a day, the most since May, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

China January Coal Imports Rise 56% From Year Ago, Customs Says

China’s January coal imports rose 56 percent from a year ago, according to data released by the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs.

China, the world’s biggest energy user, brought in 30.55 million metric tons of coal last month, the customs data showed today. The country purchased a record 35.11 million tons from overseas in December.

Exxon Qua force majeure to delay cargoes at least 4 days-traders

LONDON/ABUJA (Reuters) - The force majeure on Exxon Mobil's Qua Iboe grade in Nigeria will cause delays of four to eight days on affected cargoes, traders said on Friday.

Yemen's main oil pipeline attacked, pumping halted

(Reuters) - Attackers blew up Yemen's main oil export pipeline on Friday, halting the flow of crude, an official working for the state-run Safer oil company said, the latest in a series of attacks.

Yemen's oil and gas pipelines have been repeatedly sabotaged by insurgents and tribesmen, especially since anti-government protests created a power vacuum in 2011, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings for the impoverished country.

Kazakhstan warns Kyrgyzstan on possible cessation of gas supplies

Kazakhstan has warned Kyrgyzstan on possible cessation of gas supplies due to Kyrgyz party's debts, 24.kg reported with the reference to Deputy General Director of Kyrgyzgas Kuralbek Naskeyev.

Wrong oil pricing policy leads to inflation: Jayalalithaa

Chennai Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Friday said wrong economic policies of the central government was the reason for the continuous inflation.

Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks on Governor K. Rosaiah's address to the assembly, she said most of the price increase is due to the policy decisions taken by the central government and cited the pricing of oil.

'Country pricing' a cause of Canada-U.S. price gaps

Canadians are paying far more than Americans for the same products because of a systemic and unjustifiable markup scheme by many manufacturers, a retail expert says.

A Marketplace report on Canada-U.S. price gaps found Canadians paying higher prices — more than double in some cases — for the same retail goods because of an industry phenomenon called "country pricing."

Algeria weakens Statoil’s production

Statoil increased production by eight percent in 2012. The company warns of a decline this year, partly because of uncertainty relating to operation of the In Aménas plant in Algeria.

Brazil Prepares to Surprise Drillers This Time With Gas

As Brazil prepares for its first-ever auction of shale-gas acreage, it has a message for global prospectors: The country that discovered the world’s biggest offshore oil finds this century may have almost twice as much natural gas onshore as is currently estimated.

Brazil’s energy regulator known as ANP made the assertion in a preliminary estimate of potential reserves, in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. The estimate is 88 percent higher than the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s calculation that Brazil may have 226 trillion cubic feet of gas held in shale, a sedimentary rock increasingly being harvested for fuels around the world.

Japan gives another $3b to Adnoc

Tokyo: Japan will give a $3 billion (Dh11.02 billion) loan to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to help boost the oil developer’s upstream business and strengthen bilateral relations, Japan’s trade ministry said on Friday.

The deal, which coincides with the visit this weekend to Saudi Arabia and the UAE by Japanese trade minister Toshimitsu Motegi, is set to be signed on Sunday by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Adnoc, the ministry said.

UK tax charges hit Taqa profit

Profits at Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) dropped by 14 per cent last year on the back of one-off tax charges in the United Kingdom and depressed commodity prices in North America.

Total Set to Get Tanzania Oil, Gas Exploration Licenses

Tanzania is set to award exploration permits to Total SA, Europe’s third-largest crude producer, to search for oil and gas in the East African country, Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo said.

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania is facing growing public discontent over the beneficiaries of vast natural gas discoveries in the country, while simmering power struggles in the ruling party threaten to undermine the stability of the government.

East Africa's second-biggest economy wants to become a regional energy hub following major discoveries of natural gas offshore. But residents of a gas-rich region are threatening to block a major gas pipeline project until they see a bigger share of the benefits.

Despite US opposition, oil trade with Iraq is legal, PM Erdoğan says

Turkey will continue its oil trade with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan has said, while confirming the trade as legitimate.

Turkey is supporting its neighbor in its need to trade and buying petrol in return, he said during an interview with reporters on his way back from a mission to Eastern Europe yesterday. Below are his responses to questions from journalists.

Explorer Seeks $2.2 Billion Russian Redemption: Corporate India

Oil & Natural Gas Corp., stung by criticism its biggest Russian acquisition has failed to pay off, is banking on crude trapped in Siberian shale rocks to redeem its $2.2 billion wager.

Imperial Energy Corp., which India’s biggest oil explorer bought in 2009, is seeking bids from surveyors to assess the Bazhenov formation, ONGC Chairman Sudhir Vasudeva said in an interview, without giving details. Bazhenov may hold as much as 360 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, Bloomberg Industries said in a Dec. 19 report, citing estimates by Russian subsoil agency Rosnedra. Venezuela holds 296.5 billion barrels, the world’s biggest known oil reserves.

Time for 21st Century Energy Policy

During the 1970s, fears of “peak oil” drove policymakers to rethink our nation’s energy policy. The idea that America was running out of precious energy supplies was generally accepted as fact. In response to this energy crisis, leaders in Washington implemented an energy strategy aimed at phasing out traditional energy sources and spending more on developing alternatives. But over the last few years, the energy landscape has dramatically changed. America has experienced a massive energy boom, in large part due to advancements in technology and innovation, defying previous notions of resource scarcity and putting the goal of North American energy independence closer to reality.

But while our nation’s energy outlook has improved, our energy policies have failed to keep pace. To fully embrace the benefits of America’s newfound energy abundance, it’s time for Washington to adopt a new, more modern energy strategy.

Fossil fuel subsidies “are public enemy number one”

Fossil fuel subsidies amount to little more than an incentive to pollute and as such are “public enemy number one to sustainable development” Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency said at the European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) recent annual conference.

Birol added that subsidies for fossil fuels-which amounted to half a trillion US dollars worldwide in 2011-keep oil and gas artificially cheap and made it hard for clean alternatives, like wind, to compete.

Eni Stands by Chief Scaroni as Algerian Corruption Probe Widens

Eni SpA stood by its Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni as a probe into alleged bribery by Saipem SpA, where it’s the largest shareholder, widened to include him.

“Eni and its CEO declare themselves totally unrelated to the object of the investigation,” the Rome-based oil company said in a statement yesterday. Chairman Giuseppe Recchi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera today that he sees no reason for Scaroni to resign.

Earthquakes Hit Gas-Rich Groningen Province in Netherlands

The Dutch province of Groningen, which sits on the Slochteren natural gas deposit, was hit by two earthquakes as pressure grows on Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. to cut output amid forecasts for heavier temblors.

Two quakes measuring 3.2 and 2.7 on the Richter scale struck the area just before midnight and in the early morning today, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, or KNMI, said in a statement on its website. The village of Zandeweer, 200 kilometers (124 miles) northeast of Amsterdam, was at the epicenter, according to the KNMI.

Koch Brothers Driving Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada to Cut Out Venezuelan Oil

Greg Palast: Koch brothers could save two billion dollars a year if they can replace Venezuelan heavy crude crude with Canadian tar sands - one of the dirtiest sources of carbon emissions on the planet

Keystone XL: pressure on Kerry ahead of meeting with Canada counterpart

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, steps into America's biggest environmental controversy on Friday in his first meeting with a foreign minister since his swearing in.

Kerry's meeting in Washington with Canadian foreign minister, John Baird, will almost certainly touch on the Keystone XL pipeline project: a symbol of dirty oil for environmentalists, a route to market for land-locked Alberta. "I have no doubt that subject will come up, as it always does with our Canadian counterparts," the state department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, told reporters.

Fracking Boom Delayed by Kites as Poland Seeks Gas Independence

Poland’s path to energy independence through shale gas is being delayed by skylarks, red kites and local farmers hesitant to grant access to their land.

The nation is sitting on the European Union’s biggest reserves of the fuel, enough to last at least 50 years and free it from dependence on Russia, according to the Polish Geological Institute. Exploiting the deposits will require the government to allay the concerns of the Kashubian ethnic minority, farmers, environmentalists and the tourism industry that hydraulic fracturing, the drilling method that made the U.S. the world’s biggest producer, will pollute their water.

New tech said to clean up fracking water

A new water desalination technology may prove a savior for the oil and natural gas industries confronting growing concerns about the wastewater that flows to the surface in the months and years after a well is fracked.

In fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, operations 3 million to 5 million gallons of water are injected deep underground, along with sand and a chemical cocktail, to fracture shale rock and extract the embedded natural gas.

Environmental watchdog worried about rise of fracking

Chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process — commonly called fracking — were of particular concern to Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan in his last report as auditor of Canadian environmental regulations that was tabled today in the House of Commons.

The federal government told Vaughan that fracking is an emerging issue, and it is only now looking into it. Provinces, for the most part, are responsible for regulating the oil and gas sector, but Ottawa is in the driver’s seat when it comes to toxic substances.

Oil-spill plan can't cope with supertankers

The Harper government's disaster planning has not kept pace with proposals to greatly expand oilsands exports from B.C. ports using supertankers, Canada's environment commissioner said Tuesday.

Scott Vaughan said in a report that the number of tanker trips from the West Coast will increase to 2,400 a year from 600 in 2010 because of increased exports of natural gas and oilsands crude via proposed pipelines to B.C. from Alberta. And the tankers needed to ship that petroleum will have "significantly greater" capacity than the vessels that dock in B.C. ports today.

Edison ignored safety risks at San Onofre, Sen. Boxer says

Southern California Edison was aware of problems with replacement steam generators at its San Onofre nuclear power plant but chose not to make fixes, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer charged Wednesday.

Boxer cited a leaked report from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of the steam generators, obtained by her office. It is the first indication from government officials that Edison and Mitsubishi knew the system had problems before it was even installed.

The nuclear plant, a prime supplier of power in Southern California, has been off line for more than a year after a small amount of radioactive steam leaked from the plant's tubing.

We don't need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on

Making the case for new nuclear this week, George Monbiot admitted that, what with the proposed nuclear waste dump in Cumbria being rejected and Centrica pulling out of new nuclear in the UK, the facts are not exactly working in his favour. But his argument raised two crucial questions.

First, what is actually happening as a result of Germany's nuclear phase-out? Is Angela Merkel now barrelling down a catastrophic, high-carbon coal path, or is the reality more complex?

Airbus May Switch A350 Battery to Avoid 787 Lithium Woes

Airbus SAS is developing plans to use standard batteries in its A350 model and jettison the lithium- ion power source that grounded Boeing Co.’s rival 787 Dreamliner, two people familiar with the plans said.

Pricey insurance for speedy 'golf carts' has retirees outraged

Go greased lightning? Not exactly, and Florida retirement community residents aren’t too happy about paying up to $1,000 to insure “hot rods” that have a top speed of only 25 miles per hour.

Now, state lawmakers are taking action to help seniors avoid pricey premiums on their LSVs, an acronym that stands for “low-speed vehicle.” In plain English, it’s a souped-up, street legal golf cart that can be driven on roads with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or lower.

Out of the BBOXX thinking comes solar-powered electricity to Africa

An estimated 500 million people live in Africa without electricity. In many places the infrastructure does not exist and expensive diesel generators are out of reach.

But over the past few years, BBOXX, a small London-based business has been revolutionising the lives of thousands through a little solar-powered box of electricity and now the company is planning to provide electricity to 20 million people in Africa by 2020.

U.K. Approves 66 Megawatt Wind Farm Developed by Ecotricity

Ecotricity Group Ltd., a supplier of renewable energy, said it won permission from the U.K. government to develop a 66 megawatt wind farm in Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire near England’s east coast.

Air pollution may lower birth weight, study finds

A pregnant woman's exposure to outdoor air pollution may increase the risk her baby will weigh less at birth, according to a large multinational study.

Researchers from 14 sites in nine countries, including Seoul, South Korea; Atlanta; and Vancouver, British Columbia, compiled the average levels of particulate air pollution in the cities. Sources of particulate air pollution include traffic exhaust, power plants and even dust.

Obama’s Choice to Lead Interior Dept. Has Oil Sector and Conservation Credentials

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday nominated Sally Jewell, the chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., to lead the Interior Department, with a vow that she will balance the agency’s sometimes conflicting mandates to promote resource development and preserve the nation’s natural heritage.

Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is considering naming nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz, one of his science and energy advisers, as the next energy secretary, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Moniz, who was undersecretary at the Energy Department during the Clinton administration, is a familiar figure on Capitol Hill, where he has often talked to lawmakers about how abundant supplies of U.S. natural gas will gradually replace coal as a source of electricity.

Energy’s Steven Chu has an awesome sense of humor

The Onion today published an amusing story with the headline “Hungover Energy Secretary Wakes Up Next To Solar Panel.” It contains an incriminating photo of a perplexed Steven Chu in bed wearing a tank-top, and this classic quote: “This is bad. I really need to stop doing this. I’ve got to get this thing out of here before my wife gets home.”

But what is even better than the story is this: Chu actually responded on his official Facebook page, and denied the alleged affair with a solar panel was behind his decision to step down from the Energy Department.

In California, Reading the Snow to Tell the Future for the Water Supply

In California’s water system, one of the world’s most sophisticated and complex, the snowpack plays a leading role by supplying water to more than 25 million people and almost one million acres of farmland. Snow that accumulates on the Sierra Nevada’s 400-mile range starts to melt in the spring, draining into rivers that feed reservoirs below.

As Mr. Gehrke and his team gauge the depth and water content of the snowpack, other department officials begin forecasting how much water the snowpack will be able to deliver this year.

Private Equity Purifies Pacific to Boost California Water

After a decade of struggles to assuage environmentalists, raise almost $1 billion and win permits, Poseidon Resources Group will finally answer a critical question: Is converting seawater to drinking water a profitable venture in the U.S. when there are cheaper options?

The developer of water infrastructure projects began site work last month on the Carlsbad desalination plant, the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. When completed in 2016, the facility 33 miles (53 kilometers) north of San Diego each day will create 54 million gallons of drinking water after drawing it from the salty Pacific Ocean.

Water-Reuse Ideas Go Forward, Despite ‘Toilet to Tap’ Concerns

WICHITA FALLS — The idea of turning treated sewage into drinking water may give some people pause.

But with lake levels having officially dropped below 40 percent of capacity on Tuesday, this onetime oil boomtown plans to move ahead with the technology. The city hopes to produce five million gallons of water a day next year with potable-reuse technology, which officials say is safe.

Carbon Glut Fueled by Overgenerous EU Cap, Climate Mundial Says

Europe’s glut of emissions permits is the fault of regulators’ overgenerous allocation of the allowances, rather than the region’s economic slowdown, according to carbon-market adviser Climate Mundial Ltd.

EU Carbon Allowances Head for Biggest Two-Week Gain Since August

European Union carbon permits headed for their biggest two-week gain since August, as nations weigh intervening in the market and natural gas and power contracts advanced.

EU allowances for December rose 7.6 percent to 4.52 euros a metric ton, taking the weekly increase to 4.2 percent, according to data from ICE Futures Europe in London. They rose 5.6 percent last week. United Nations Certified Emission Reduction credits for December were unchanged at 33 cents at 12:15 p.m.

States’ Group Calls for 45% Cut in Amount of Carbon Emissions Allowed

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the country’s first regional system for capping carbon emissions and creating a market in carbon allowances, proposed a fundamental change on Thursday to increase electrical utilities’ incentive to cut emissions from fossil-fuel plants by raising the cost of compliance.

Amazon forest more resilient to climate change than feared - study

OSLO (Reuters) - The Amazon rainforest is less vulnerable to die off because of global warming than widely believed because the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide also acts as an airborne fertiliser, a study showed on Wednesday.

The boost to growth from CO2, the main gas from burning fossil fuels blamed for causing climate change, was likely to exceed damaging effects of rising temperatures this century such as drought, it said.

Dow Chemical leads way as climate talks go corporate

The global warming debate, once the exclusive domain of governments and green non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has gone corporate.

Oil majors and other industrial giants have stepped up their game, knowing that any caps on emissions will hit their bottom line.

Power, privilege and climate change: A tale of two presidents

With less than five percent of the world's population, the US consumes about a quarter of the world's fossil fuels.

Europe sees coal renaissance, but is Powder River Basin coal too late?

Your currywurst sausage imported from Europe may have been cooked with electricity from coal.

Some European countries have taken a renewed interest in coal-fired power generation after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. For instance, in Germany, there was a three-month moratorium on permit extensions on old nuclear power plants in 2011.

Under Obama, coal country fights for its way of life

(Reuters) - Leon Lieser has been a coal miner 49 years, his bent fingers testament to his first job, loading coal by hand into a bucket. Mining also led to a hip replacement and a knee replacement. He loves his job and his industry, despite what it has done to his body.

"It's a way of life. It's a proud life," said Lieser, 66.

It may also be doomed. Lieser's boss, Robert Murray, chief executive of Murray Energy Corp, said he fears for the end of coal, prodded by a U.S. president who has promoted wind and solar power while cracking down on emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Obama will not match climate rhetoric

(Reuters) - Climate change will not be a top issue in the United States under President Barack Obama, despite the soaring rhetoric in his Inaugural Address last month.

Past failure to pass sweeping U.S. climate legislation will probably instead see his administration target modest, discrete, broadly popular measures on efficiency, fuel economy and long-term tax breaks for renewable energy.

Australia taxed carbon and the sky didn’t fall

Australia, Canada’s cousin, has got climate-change policy right. Canada, predictably, has got it wrong.

Here are two countries with huge geographies, forbidding climates, vast distances, abundant fossil fuels and small populations. Climate-change skeptics and scoffers abound in both countries. Down Under, they’re now in retreat; in Canada, they’re part of the government and prominent in certain media outlets.

Fuel efficiency is a skills issue

The move by the European Commission to make sure that logistics operations “internalise external costs” – code for paying the full price for their environmental impacts – presents a challenge for our sector. Companies will increasingly pay for decarbonising the supply chain and that will call for particular skills sets relating to compliance and environmental audits.

A Cheap and Easy Plan to Stop Global Warming

Here is the plan. Customize several Gulfstream business jets with military engines and with equipment to produce and disperse fine droplets of sulfuric acid. Fly the jets up around 20 kilometers—significantly higher than the cruising altitude for a commercial jetliner but still well within their range. At that altitude in the tropics, the aircraft are in the lower stratosphere. The planes spray the sulfuric acid, carefully controlling the rate of its release. The sulfur combines with water vapor to form sulfate aerosols, fine particles less than a micrometer in diameter. These get swept upward by natural wind patterns and are dispersed over the globe, including the poles. Once spread across the stratosphere, the aerosols will reflect about 1 percent of the sunlight hitting Earth back into space. Increasing what scientists call the planet’s albedo, or reflective power, will partially offset the warming effects caused by rising levels of greenhouse gases.

Business Gains Seen in U.S. Standards for Power Plants

Rules to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from operating U.S. power plants will be a boon for companies willing to invest in clean energy, said Carol Browner, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

The Scary Truth About How Much Climate Change is Costing You

In the United States, 2011 and 2012 were the two most extreme years on record for destructive weather events. A record 14 weather disasters occurred in 2011, sustaining more than $1 billion each in economic losses for a total of $60.6 billion. Last year brought 11 weather disasters that each cost $1 billion or more; while the total economic loss has not been determined, experts say the dollar figure is almost certain to exceed 2011’s. Meanwhile, the insurance industry estimates that its losses from 2012’s natural disasters will total $58 billion—more than double the average yearly losses of $27 billion from 2000 to 2011.

As incidents of extreme weather mount, so do the costs to taxpayers. Congress allocated $61 billion to pay for superstorm Sandy. (That figure, by the way, almost entirely cancels out the new revenue raised by the New Year’s Day fiscal-cliff deal that increased taxes on the wealthy.) Taxpayers also paid out a record $20 billion in federal crop-insurance claims in 2012, to cover the devastating losses from the record drought that scorched the nation’s heartland last summer.

New map pinpoints cities to avoid as sea levels rise

SYDNEY, Tokyo and Buenos Aires watch out. These cities will experience some of the greatest sea level rises by 2100, according to one of the most comprehensive predictions to date.

New NYC Flood Maps Miss Climate Threat to Sandy Rebuilding

InsideClimateNews.org -- When the federal government released updated flood maps for the New York City region last week, residents were shocked to find that the number of houses and businesses in the region's flood zone had doubled since the maps were last revised, in 1986.

But it now appears that those maps might have underestimated the extent of New York's flood risk, because they don't factor in the effects of future climate change. Scientists say that by the 2080s, sea levels off the city's coast could rise by as much as five feet from melting glaciers, making storm surges more severe and causing floods much further inland than the new maps indicate.

The maps also don't incorporate data from Hurricane Sandy, which caused catastrophic flooding in the nation's financial capital. Many structures destroyed by the superstorm are not included in the newly drawn flood zones.

Saudi Arabia Stabilizes Oil Output as OPEC Maintain Cap

Saudi Arabia kept production near 9 million barrels for a second month, according to a Gulf official with knowledge of the country’s oil policy, helping to maintain OPEC output at close to the group’s official ceiling…

The kingdom, while keeping its production stable, supplied 9.26 million barrels a day to the market compared to 9.15 million a month ago, he said. The difference of 210,000 barrels between supply to market in January and production figures is made up for by deliveries from inventories, he said.

This guy is obviously an insider, else how would he know the exact number of barrels exported and the exact number of barrels they had to pull from storage to deliver that amount. And why are they drawing down their inventories in the middle of the winter when they should be building them? Remember this was 210,000 barrels per day that they drew from storage during January. However we do get the usual denial, the one we see over and over again.

The desert kingdom denied last month what it said were suggestions that it cut oil production in December to push crude prices higher and attributed the reduction to weaker demand, according to Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, an adviser to Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi.

But I agree with them in this case. It was not to push crude prices higher at all. They pulled crude from inventory in an attempt to keep prices lower.

Brent as well as the OPEC basket price have both been over $100 for over six months now and were rising sharply in both December and January when their production dropped so sharply. Brent, at this moment, sits at $118.15, the highest it has been since last May. Saudi had a reason to draw from inventories in order to increase deliveries, they were worried about those high prices.

OPEC deliveries, according to Tanker Trackers, for the week ending February 23, sits at 23.68 million barrels per day, and have been at about that level for six weeks now. That is about one million barrels per day below where they were for the week ending December 7th.

A side note, the Brent-WTI spread is now back above $22 after sliding to around $16 just a few weeks ago. Seems that extra oil coming out of North Dakota and Canada is not helping world prices all that much.

Edit: Another story just came out a few minutes ago on this same subject:
OPEC oil flow drops as Saudi squeezes production

John Kingston, Platts global director of news said: “This report is yet another affirmation that Saudi Arabia is willing to narrow what had looked like a big gap between supply and demand almost completely from its own production. All data a few months ago was pointing to a gap that looked large; now, it’s a lot smaller. And the biggest factor in closing that gap has been a reduction from Saudi Arabia.”

How on earth can anyone think there is a gap between supply and demand when the world price is above $118 a barrel and climbing, and has been climbing since November?

Ron P.

Powerpoint version of Saudi 2002 to 2011 ECI Chart follows. ECI = Export Capacity Index, the ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption (BP data base). At an ECI ratio of 1.0, net oil exports = zero.

While TOD members post info. on SA #'s, Google news is running this article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-08/trade-deficit-in-u-s-plunges-on...

“The trend toward energy independence is there, and it is picking up,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston with more than 30 years of experience in refining and trading. “This bodes well for our economy. As our oil production increases, our reliance on other parts of the world for oil comes down.”

How many articles lately have been claiming the US is headed towards energy independence vs. how many are discussing the price of oil and its implications regarding peak oil? MSM sure has a long way to catch up.

As some have pointed out, our consumption is declining in the face of high oil prices while our production is ramping up due to the same high oil prices. So long as oil prices continue rising, our consumption and production numbers will inch ever closer together...

These are good finds, and illustrate just how much harder it is for SA and its water carriers to spin the market. I had to read John Kingston's quote twice through, but I think that by 'reduction from Saudi Arabia' he must mean reduction in inventories, yah?

I think it was WestTexas who quotes XOM as saying they would 'bury the world in oil if the price went over $40' back in 2006: is there anyone around to make that claim today with oil at $120? Apparently just Saudi Arabia, and only by drawing from inventories.

Saudi net oil exports, 2002 to 2011 (BP, total petroleum liquids, mbpd):

2002: 7.2
2003: 8.3
2004: 8.7
2005: 9.1
2006: 8.7
2007: 8.3
2008: 8.4
2009: 7.3
2010: 7.2
2011: 8.3

When will BP release 2012 numbers? 2nd qtr of 2013?

Yep, usually in June.

Excellent. Well I look forward to seeing KSA's net oil exports for 2012. As I'm sure you are as well...

westexas... well according to the IEA, Saudi Arabia consumed on average 3.04 mbd of oil in 2012. The EIA states that Saudi Arabia's total liquid production from Jan-Oct is about 11.6 mbd. So it looks like the Saudi's net oil exports might actually increase in 2012 to something like 8.5-8.6 mbd.

Of course BP will have different figures. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

It looks like the 2012 Saudi ECI ratio might be around 3.8 in 2012, versus 3.9 in 2011, and versus 5.6 in 2005.

I'm down to the final three graphs on my long delayed paper on the ECI concept, but a key point I am making is how almost everyone is overlooking CNE (Cumulative Net Export) depletion. And as Ron pointed out some time ago, an increase in the production/net export rate is an increase in the depletion rate.

I am using the Six Country* Case History as an example of a net export decline, and an extrapolation of the initial six year (1995 to 2001) rate of decline in their combined ECI ratio suggested that remaining post-1995 CNE were down to 39% at the end of 2001 (in reality they were down to 25%).

The following graph shows (from top to bottom) the estimated Six Year decline in post-Index Year CNE for Global Net Exports (GNE), for Saudi Net Exports, for Available Net Exports (ANE) and for the Six Country Case History. The Index Year = 1995 for the Six Country Case History, and 2005 otherwise.


Note that, by definition, we are depleting various measures of post-2005 CNE. The only question is the actual slope of each line. As noted above, the estimated Six Country post-1995 CNE slope was too optimistic.

*Six Country Case History: Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina, Malaysia

westexas... excellent work as always. I look forward to the final graphs and paper on the ECI RATIO when your finished.

I have to say, it is simply amazing how 99.9% of the world is clueless to the work you and others are doing here. As you know, I have been taking some of the work on peak oil, ELM, and the EROI and showing how it will impact the mining industry.

Those folks in the mining industry are completely oblivious. For instance, there is a huge mine underway called the "Alaska Pebble Project". It's massive on all scales. The project is so big that it will not be a commercial mine until 2019-2020.

Here's the clincher. They have a 45 year mine plan. Can you imagine that. Hell, we don't know what the energy situation will be by the end of the decade much less 50+ years...LOL.

Anyhow, I am starting my own website explaining why ENERGY = MONEY. Sure, I will get a lot of heat from people who don't see it, but that will end up being their problem.

Fiat money is not money because it is not a store of TRADE-ABLE ENERGY. Only Gold & Silver are stores of trade-able energy because its already been spent and is sitting right in each 1 oz coin.

Fiat Money, U.S. Treasuries and the bulk of Retirement Assets are Energy IOU's. Paper assets such as these will become increasingly worthless as the energy situation worsens.

Thats my three cents.

I arrived at the same conclusion. The only solution they can think of is to print money to finance the gargantuan deficits and unfunded liabilities. Paper money will be increasingly worth less. It doesn't have to be anything dramatic like taking a wheel barrow full of cash to buy bread. If real inflation rises to 18%, cash will lose half its value every 4 years. I don't really understand why people are not buying at least some gold (if they can afford a $25,000 car, they can afford some gold). Even if the future is unknown how can it hurt to buy a few 1oz coins and keep them in a safe deposit box? You are not earning any interest on your bank deposit anyway.

suyog... precisely. Here is the ironic thing about money. The American public is totally clueless about money. David Tice did a youtube video recently on some boardwalk (I beieve in California).

He took a 1 oz Gold Canadian Maple coin and asked anyone if they could guess the value of the gold coin within 25%, they could get the coin. No one could guess. Then he decided to go for 50% of the value. If they could guess 50% of the value. One guy said something like $150...LOL.

After he could get no correct answers, he tried to sell the 1 oz Canadian Maple Leaf for $25. NO TAKERS...LOL

At the time of the video, the price of gold was $1,670.

This will get ugly as 99% of the public has no clue what money is. No clue whatsoever.

After he could get no correct answers, he tried to sell the 1 oz Canadian Maple Leaf for $25. NO TAKERS...LOL

I agree with you that in the US people don't see gold as money or store of wealth. However, if someone tried to sell me a 1 oz gold coin for $25 I wouldn't buy it either. I would suspect it was a fake.

suyog... yeah, I would think the same way. However, he was trying to give it away if a person could guess the price. One young woman said $3. Can you imagine that? THREE FRICKEN DOLLARS. Of course she wouldn't buy it for $25...LOL

Anyhow, the Chinese Govt bought a record amount of gold in DEC 2012. They know whats going on. Here in the USA, the FED buys 90-95% of the U.S. Treasuries and our banks are completely bankrupt.

One day here, the Chinese and other nations will have a gold trade settlement system.. and that will be the day the U.S. Dollar will be devalued. No one except those in the KNOW (Fed & Top Banks) will be ready. Americans will be wiped out.

Why? Because they can't tell you what the price of gold is...LOL

Yes, and I expect this to happen between 2015-2017. When I tried to tell my colleagues about gold (highly educated, Ph.D types) I was laughed out of the room. I was told that it is intrinsically worthless, it is like beanie babies, a passing fad. After that I never brought up the topic again.

suyog... I feel your pain. Buffoons are everywhere. Even very smart ones. The reason why they can't grasp the value of gold & silver is that they don't understand the trade-able energy value that is stored in each coin.

I don't even try to convince anyone -- just put out the info. The GREAT CULLING is coming.

The attractiveness of gold is that there is a finite supply of it. It cannot be created out of thin air as money can. However, if we have a really serious collapse I would not expect gold to continue to have a high value -- only items that are directly useful for survival would have value.

jstewart... the world has experinced hyperinfations, depressions, world wars... etc and etc. Even though there might be a collapse, the world moves on.

You may indeed be correct in saying the high value of gold might not be there when and if the collapse occurs. There could be several outcomes.

However, would you agree that.. It's better to own an asset that has SOME VALUE than a paper asset that has ZERO?? I say this, because this is the typical response from the highly educated who still cling onto their paper wealth.

Ironic, isn't it. They rather go down with the paper ship rather than chance losing some value in a physical asset.

Again, the buffoons are everywhere.

Could you please lay off calling people names? Thanks.

Leanan... yes, no problem. Got carried away. That is the George Carlin in me.

I would certainly agree that owning a real physical asset would be far better than owning a paper asset if we have a financial collapse or a period of hyper inflation. I would be more inclined to purchase assets that would be of aid in survival, such as rural land that includes good soil for food crops, trees to provide firewood or building material, hand operated tools and wood cook stoves.

I would be more inclined to purchase assets that would be of aid in survival, such as rural land that includes good soil for food crops, trees to provide firewood or building material, hand operated tools and wood cook stoves.

I agree. However most of us don't have the skills or the inclination to farm and don't have the social support structure (friends/relatives) in rural areas. Also, good quality farmland costs a lot of money. Gold is easy to buy and is portable. You can take it with you when you travel. You can buy gold for $2000 or $2 million depending on how much money you have. You can't buy farmland for $2000.

"I would be more inclined to purchase assets that would be of aid in survival, such as rural land that includes good soil for food crops, trees to provide firewood or building material, hand operated tools and wood cook stoves.".

In the scenario of a complete state collapse, those things would be of very little help. If existing power structures were to disappear, there would be a power shift to something of a feudal system, where people who have currently access to military and/or food resources would hire themselves mercenary armies to take over more resources and securing their power. A "local warlord" would take over your little farm, by force if necessary, and you would not have enough resources/weapons to prevent it. As an alternative, if only a financial collapse occurs, but not a state collapse, then the state would direct all its resources to feeding the population (as that is the primary role of a state), which would most likely result in heavily taxing or completely taking over your farm.

take over more resources

Years ago people would poison their own own food and let the raiders take the fish soaked in lye.

Soon the raiders felt the raids were not worth their time.


I eat that fish every christmas. Jummy.

For the benefit of those unfamiliar with it, lutefisk is cod fish that has been dried, soaked in lye, and then rehydrated and boiled. It is somewhat gelatinous in texture, and according to my brother-in-law, who is of German descent and therefore biased, it smells exactly like soiled baby diapers that have been left in a bucket for several days. He and my sister had 5 children so it is an odor familiar to him.

I, being a Canadian of Norwegian descent, quite like the stuff. We have it for Christmas every year and think it's a great treat. My mother thought it was the perfect thing to feed someone who was sick because it was already half-digested. In the old days they used to throw the dried lutefisk up on the roof to store it. Nothing would touch it, not even the mice or the crows, and so it was still good when Christmas came around that year, or the next year, or the year after. A perfect Christmas dinner.

Sadly, modern Norwegians have lost much of their taste for it. They claimed it was because during WWII, the occupying German troops would eat everything else, but they wouldn't eat the lutefisk. The Norwegians had nothing else to eat and got bored with having it day after day. One of my father's cousins had 16 German soldiers occupying his house and toward the end of the war he started feeling sorry for them because they were starving and he and his family were well fed.

The Greeks had a similar experience with retsina, which is wine flavored with pine resin. During WWII the occupying Germans would drink any other kind of wine, but not retsina, so it was all that the Greeks had to drink. It apparently originated because 2000 years ago, the Greeks used to seal their wine amphora with pine resin, and they learned to like the taste of pine resin in their wine. I quite like retsina, too.

2 years ago we had a scandal in Sweden. ICA, the biggest grocery franchise, had case after case where old meat was re-labeled with new fresh dates andsold again as if fresh. This thin was all over the news and was a very hot item at the time.

At the same time, my grandfathers dementia was heading on to the place where he could not handle ordinary tasks, but were still trying. He always had the job of de-luting the lutfisk. Now he poured up the water and dipped the fish, and let it stay in a warm room for days. After the lye was gone, bacterial growth set in. We had to throw it away, and by a new set, pre-de-luted in the shop. I went to the local ICA store and asked for some de-luted lutfisk. And then I added "prefearbly one without bacterias". I still remember the sigh from the store worker.

Possible, but I'm guessing it's highly unlikely. In a scenario of complete collapse, the only things worth anything will be intangibles: your knowledge and skills, and your relationships with other people.

More likely is a "stair step down," which may take many different forms. There was that well-known article posted by someone who lived through the Yugoslavia collapse. He said practical things were worth more than gold: cast iron cookware (because it can be used over open fire), LED headlamps, toilet paper. Gold quickly lost its value, but people who were hungry were willing to trade a meal for personal care items like toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lipstick. Because it made them feel human in a terrible situation.

And there's the example of the Great Depression. People desperate for cash ended up selling their jewelry and heirlooms for pennies on the dollar. (Never mind that whole gold confiscation thing.)

People who are convinced the answer is gold or TIPS or real estate or guns or whatever are fooling themselves, IMO. They are assuming a certain version of the future is what will happen, and chances are they are wrong. Simply because we humans are terrible at predicting the future, even when we should know better. Whatever you believe, chances are, you're wrong. (And I include myself in that.)

Leanan... nothing is certain. There are no guarantees. However, the examples you have given about economic calamities are brief in nature. As I mentioned in several examples, mankind always picks up the pieces and moves on.

Hyperinflations, depressions, world wars, collapses don't go on forever. Again, people pick up the pieces and move on.

I am making the case for gold and silver because they have been historic stores of value. Presently, a percentage of foreign countries are not only increasing their buying of gold as reserves, but they are also moving gold back to their shores from vaults held overseas.

Now, you say that this "Gold Repatriation" is no big deal. You give the example of Germany. While it is true that they are only bringing back a small percentage, it is that very reason that is important.

As I mentioned, there is increasing evidence (GATA), that the central banks have leased gold into the market for the past 10-15 years. In doing this, they have over-subscribed each bar of gold -- possibily several times over.

I believe those at the Bundesbank in Germany understand this system of "Gold Leasing". That is why they have elected only to move a small percentage. GATA actually sued the FED on these Gold Swap Agreements (that are in secrect) and won. As I mentined evidence is now coming out that gold leasing has been going on for nearly 2 decades to surpress the price of gold. Why? Gold is a competing currency to fiat money -- such as the world's reserve currency, the dollar.

We are allowed our opinions on the Drumbeat. I believe energy runs the human body and the modern economy. I also believe gold & silver are the best stores of value, because they are stores of trade-able energy.

If we are going to make BETS as to how the collapse will unfold... I rather make a BET into a phyiscal asset that has over 2,000 years of history as money and a store of value, rather than paper assets that are based on increasing energy supplies to support their future value.

Could you say a few words on what you mean by 'a store of trade-able energy'? It's easy to see how a gallon of diesel fuel is such, or a can of beans, or a stick of firewood. How does one convert the gold coin into useful work?

After the Mongols conquered Baghdad, they locked up the Caliph in a tower with all his gold and and told him he could eat all the gold he could digest. Their point, one of several, is that there is no point in having gold if you don't have food to buy.

In a crisis situation, what use is gold if there is nothing to buy with it? I think this is the point that most people who are obsessed with holding gold miss. In a real crisis, the gold won't buy anything. Starving people will not trade food for gold.

OTOH, they might let you starve to death, and then all take your gold just because you don't need it any more and aren't there to defend it.

RockyMtnGuy... you bring up an excellent point. There is a heirarchy of living. Obtaining Gold or silver is not ones first priority. First, you must have a good home with small piece of land for growing vegetables. Then of course there should be at least 1-2 years of food stored. Then it is wise to have other necessities as well as other skills.

There are more to add to that list and the purpose of this comment is not to list them all, but to state that when a person, family or entity has done these things and "HAS SURPLUS WEALTH"... then I say its wise to own gold and silver.

Ridiculous, so because the Caliph was locked in a tower one shouldn't own gold. A lot of generals have been turned with gold and a lot of battles have been won that way, I'd say gold has a lot of uses. The example you quoted is what I'd call binary thinking. A farmland is useless too if there is a drought and you have to migrate, a gun is also useless if you shoot it and gives away your position.

Every thing has it's time and usage scenarios. Gold is pretty useful in times of need and nothing beats it's utility as a portable store of value in case you have to make a quick escape across the border as my grandfather figured out the hard way. No one's asking anyone to start hoarding gold and turn into Uncle Scrooge but a little diversification never hurt anyone.

I think the Mongols main point was that the Caliph should have traded all his gold for soldiers and weapons to defend Baghdad. If he had done that, they might not have conquered Baghdad and locked him in the tower. The gold itself was not useful, it was what he could buy with it that was useful.

The Mongols themselves used paper money since gold was very heavy. They could trade their gold for a piece of paper at one end of the Mongol empire, cross it, and trade the piece of paper for gold at the other end. That avoided the work of transporting huge amounts of gold back and forth across Eurasia. The Mongols captured a huge amount of gold, but they weren't impressed by its usefulness. A promise to pay was just as good for them.

They would rather own horses as a form of wealth. Horses multiplied in numbers by themselves, and if things got really bad they could eat the spare horses.

clifman... Since the Roman times, man has been using gold and silver as a store of trade-able energy. In those pre-industrial times, a great deal of trade-able energy was done in the "Labor Theory of Value". Basically, it was how labor was used to determine the trading of goods and services. It wasn't a full proof method, but it worked overall.

Since then, we have become much more complex. We also have new more complex theories of value such as "Marginal Utility" and "Substitution". However, energy is the constant fundamental link to determining value... in my honest opinion. Why?

If we take just about any manufactured good and break it down, the overwhelming majority of value comes from "Energy" -- in all forms and in all stages.

For instance, a clock is made up of say copper and metal parts. Even though the clock manufacturer only lists energy (electricity cost) as a small percentage of cost... this is only part of the picture.

We have to remember, the copper and metals that went into the clock were mined, milled and refined. This took a great deal of energy. Furthermore, we had the transportation of the copper-metal to the plant that makes the parts that the clock manufacturer uses.

We also cannot forget all the human labor (human labor is a form of energy) that went into all stages of all the parts and transportation all the way up to the clock manufacturing plant. How about the box that holds the clock parts? That box had to be made from wood-pulp which is very energy intensive and then transported to manufacturing clock plant.

I could go on and on, but you see the point I am making. Basically, all we do in our modern economy is TRADE ENERGY FOR ENERGY... even though we might not be able to see it that way. I call it the "Energy Matrix."

Gold and Silver are stores of trade-able energy because there is a certain amount of energy that went into the production of each 1 oz coin. According to my break-even analysis it takes about $1,300-$1,400 an ounce to produce gold today. The majorty of that cost is in energy -- in all forms & in all stages.

Paper assets such as Pension Plans, IRA's, 401K's, Insurance Plans etc and etc are not stores of value, but rather "Energy IOU's". The economy has to burn energy in the future to fulfill the obligations of these so-called assets.

As we all know it's all downhill from here -- as the days of cheap and abundant energy sources are now over.

I hope that explanation helped.

While I can see the value of gold in certaian slow collapse scenarios, as potentially holding value far better than electronic blips or paper currency, I see its intrinsic value much more as Substrate says below. All the energy that goes into its 'production' as you say, cannot be gotten back out. Its high value is a mental fiction just as it is with the Pensions etc. that you list. The energy that goes into making a good tool, on the other hand, can be gotten back out, many times over. No one else need agree with me as to its value, I can use the saw to cut or the spade to dig or the solar water heater to make hot water... The gold, not so much.

clifman... I agree with your overall assumption. However, it seems as if the only outcome that I see people are making is a TOTAL COLLAPSE.

I find it very ironic that people who like to give every reason why owning gold or silver is not really a good store of value, because in the end when everyone is either starving to death or being killed by wild bands of thieves... they explain this while holding onto their paper wealth.

Does that make any sense whatsoever? As I stated several times... a complete collapse of a society is ONE OUTCOME. Furthermore, man always picks up the pieces and moves forward.

Again, if a person holds "Surplus Wealth"... then and only then is it wise to hold gold and silver. Even though these precious metal assets may decline in value, at least they will hold more value than so-called paper assets.

It is really that simple. Gold and Silver have not survived 2,000+ years as money and stores of value because people have denounced their worth in times of crisis and collapse. They have retained this historic value because they are stores of trade-able energy.

Place your BETS wisely.

They have retained this historic value because they are stores of trade-able energy.

I'm not so sure about this. It's true gold has embodied energy, and it doesn't corrode which helps it for the purpose of currency. But I think it has kept value consistently in history because it helps ones reproductive success. It helps to a have gold ring to court the ladies.

Remember, Darwin taught us that there are two goals for organisms: surviving and reproducing.

Everyone here is emphasizing the items necessary for survival (tools, skills, food, energy etc.), as they should. But we are biologically driven to reproduce as well, and gold helps with winning the sexual selection part of evolution.

hand operated tools

Buying old hand tools could be the cheapest metal -> long term value investment one can make.

The State can print new money, or just trade directly using other assets as backing - the world "moves on" as you say. If you're claiming that this is somehow not possible, I'm wondering why you think your gold would be worth anything.

Henriksson... gosh the answer is both simple and complicated at the same time. However, as I mentioned before, the Chinese are buying gold hand over fist. So are many other asian countries, Russia so on and so forth. They see the writing on the wall.

I have not mentioned that many countries are now repatriating their gold back to their own countries. Most of the gold of foreign countries has been held in New York, London, Switz and etc. Hugo Chavez (not a big fan) repatriated Venezuela's gold last year. The world financial community actually made fun of him doing this.

Today, the world is no longer laughing. More countries are asking for their gold back to their own country. Germany just announced a week or so ago that they wanted a portion of their gold back as well. I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Why are countries repatraiting their gold? Because there is increasing evidence that most of the central banks gold (large percentage) has been leased out into the market over the past 10-15 years to surpress the price.

The Central Banks of the world do not trust each other as it pertains to the ownership of gold. This will get very interesting going forward.

That means each gold bar has been over subscribed. We just don't know how many times over.

Gold is as faith-based as paper currency - it's only worth is as an anti-corrosion plating for contacts.

Liquor, tools, pipe, wire, a still, carboys, canning jars...things that are actually useful and store indefinitely have actual storeable value.

Stranded on a desert island, starving - someone offers you a barrel of gold dust or a barrel of salt-beef...where's the value of gold? Stranded on a desert planet...

Gold is not going to protect you if you are stranded on a desert island, if the earth gets hit by an asteroid,if climate change makes agriculture impossible, if there is a nuclear war, etc etc. But it will protect you from Bernanke's our of control money printing.

I think you're making too much of the "repatriating gold" thing. Germany has been doing this for over two decades. 98% of their gold was held overseas, because of fear of Soviet invasion. Since the Berlin wall fell, they've been slowly moving it back home, with a goal of 50% held at home by 2020.

They are also withdrawing all their gold from France. With the introduction of the euro, there's no longer any need to have gold in France for currency exchange. They are leaving a significant amount of gold in London, presumably because they'll still need it there, since the UK kept their own currency.

It makes me wonder about the level of trust that exists. No-one has gone to jail over the mortgage mess or libor rigging. Desperate people can do desperate things that they would not otherwise do. Evil and crooked people can do major damage. We don't even have investigations? Pay a fine but no one goes to jail, unless you are Martha Stewart, imho the scale is breathtaking outside of dictatorships. Then there is the issue of how long can we all get along with each other, nation to nation. I look at the soon to be stranded manufacturing assets in China.
I'm not so sure either way, but if I were Germany I would do exactly what they are doing.
Can we all get along on the down-slope - yes. Like everything else we will be forced into reacting to those who do not play nice, it only takes a few and off we go to war.

But if you really distrusted the whole system...wouldn't you bring home all your gold now, rather than aim for 50% by 2020?

I think this is just a BAU move. They've been doing it since 1990. The only writing on the wall they're seeing is that BAU will continue. (Removing gold from Paris and leaving it in London strikes me as very much a BAU move. It's a vote of confidence in the euro. And if that was just an excuse for re-patriating the gold, why leave so much of it in London?)

Well I don't know. Could be they don't want to set off alarm bells worldwide as I really do believe we are in for some financial trouble shortly. Bring back as much gold as possible without causing a panic. A balanced approach. Doesn't set forth the 'we don't trust you to store our gold" either, which if blantant would make every other CB question what the Germans know. A central bank (gold) run would cause as many problems as it might solve getting ones gold back. Better to boil the frog slowly(?)

The UK starting selling it's gold 200/2001 and Germany removed 2/3 of theirs from London.

"The Bundesbank said it had full trust in the "integrity and independence" of its custodians, and is given detailed accounts each year. Yet it hinted at further steps to secure its reserves. "This could also involve relocating part of the holdings," it said."

I don't buy the full trust statement but what else are they going to say as a practical matter of politics?


They will have to massively devalue the dollar before they back it with a hard asset. After the devaluation, it doesn't matter whether the new dollar is backed by farmland, gold or something else. Gold is "special"; it has a 7000 year history behind it and central banks all over the world keep their reserves in gold. I think the new dollar will be backed by a basket of hard assets which include gold.

To teach the ignorant about the differences between real money and fiat money just show them a couple of dimes (pre '65) and a dollar note. Tell them that the dimes are still worth a gallon of petrol (same as 50 years ago) but the dollar will buy? Perhaps whip out a Morgan as well.
When they get that puzzled look on their face just whip out a 100 trillion Zim note and tell them that is what QE to infinity debt and deficit spending will do to any fiat.
If in Britain just show a sterling crown, in France a 5 franc Napoleon, Germany a 5 Mark etc.

Instead of gold, why not hoard cash .initial fear will have people hoarding cash making it less available Banks will stop lending it the fed will have run out of options...won't there be a flight to safety which is the U.S dollar...then buy comodities such as oil and natural gas at the low end. It seems like natural gas might be a good purchase now it is at its lowest end but soon to go up as depletion continues without much in the way of new gas drilling. Besides the world runs on energy...if there is inflation oil and gas will only go up...

...the FED buys 90-95% of the U.S. Treasuries and our banks are completely bankrupt

I've heard that a few times before so I'm sure it's probably correct. But, that would mean they are buying the money they are borrowing? Is that right? What are they using to buy the treasuries, QE printed money, social security?

Printed money. ie. "expanded balance sheet".

The social security trust money was spent in the 90s.

I think Lyndon Johnson started spending the SS monies to finance the Viet Nam war.

Peak Earl... your gut is correct. However, here is a title from Bloomberg:

Treasury Scarcity to Grow as Fed Buys 90% of New Bonds
Dec 3, 2012

Even as U.S. government debt swells to more than $16 trillion, Treasuries and other dollar fixed- income securities will be in short supply next year as the Federal Reserve soaks up almost all the net new bonds.


According to the article, the Fed is not only buying $45 billion a month in U.S. Treasuries, they are also purchasing up to $40 billion in MBS - mortgage backed securities. Of course these MBS are garbage on the Banks balance sheets. This allows the banks to get rid of this toxic paper, so they can lend out more home mortgages.

Wash, Rinse and Repeat.

I don't know how long this charade can go on. I am quite suprised it has lasted this long.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The reason why the FED is buying so much of the U.S. Treasuries, is due to the fact that foreign countries have cut back their buying substantially.

The Fed cannot allow interest rates to rise as it will destroy the whole Interest Rate Swap mechanism. The majority of the $800 trillion worth of derivatives in the world are in the form of Interest Rate Swaps.

If U.S. interest rates did rise several points it would not only increase the massive annual interest on the debt, but would implode the huge derivative carry trade that is based on very cheap interest rates.

The reason why the FED is buying so much of the U.S. Treasuries, is due to the fact that foreign countries have cut back their buying substantially.

Which begs the question as to why? Maybe because they fear having too much invested in a country this far in debt, which like you say, could suddenly have a huge problem on its hands if interest rates rise.

All this fancy fiscal footwork seems very tenuous, while the stock market rises to near historical heights. Is the glass half full or half empty, or near empty while optimism rises unrealistically? What a strange and precarious situation.

In my opinion, net oil importing OECD countries have gone increasingly into debt, from real creditors and accommodative central banks, trying to keep their "Wants" based economies going, as the developing countries, led by China, have consumed an increasing share of declining volume of post-2005 Global Net Exports of oil*.

The GNE/CNI (Global Net Exports/Chindia's Net Imports) ratio versus global public debt, through 2011 (Debt Data: Economist Magazine):


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

That's not a fair test. The Canadian Maple coin is an investment product, not a form of currency. Even as a Canadian, I've never seen one.

The story I liked was about the Canadian who dropped into the bar he had frequented when he had been a university student in the US. Well the neighbourhood had changed and he realized he was the only white guy in the bar. So he ordered a beer and pulled out a Canadian $2 bill to pay for it. The bill was passed around the bar so everyone could see it!

jstewart... this is one of those areas, where I like to stay away. That is defining what money is. 40 years of amnesia in the U.S. Fiat Monetary system has neutered the public from head down on what money really is.

That is why you have the public walking around claiming gold is worth $3 an ounce.

Gold has been and always will be currency. That is why any U.S. Air force Pilot gets one ounce of gold in his/her emergency kit if they crash. Gold is universal anywhere. Well, maybe not in the United States...LOL

Anyhow, I imagine here in the next few years, Americans will finaly wake up to what real money is. Of course, it will be too late.

That is why any U.S. Air force Pilot gets one ounce of gold in his/her emergency kit if they crash.

This statement is incorrect.

This idea made for a funny scene in 'Dr. Stangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb' though.

In December, a delegation from ASPO-USA, including yours truly, met with senior EIA and DOE personnel in Washington. The first question I asked is, "Has the EIA done any work on modeling future global net exports, assuming a continuing increase in consumption in oil exporting countries?" Answer: No. But, to their credit, at least they agreed to meet with the crazy Peak Oilers.

westexas... you got to be kidding. The world is being run by Buffoons. Probably well educated, but buffoons nonetheless.

There are $85.2 Trillion in global convention assets under management world wide -- according to the Nov 2012 UKCity Managment Report. This amount is broken down into:

$31 trillion Pension Funds
$24 trillion Insurance Funds
$23 trillion Mutual Funds

All of these paper assets are based on an economy that is burning energy to create growth to pay back these energy IOU's. As many of you here realize, its just about all downhill from here as it pertains to liquid energy.

Anyhow, this is more evidence showing that the Buffoons are not just in the energy industry.

Yesterday, dwestlund reproduced the part of the transcript from the Core Labs CEO presentation at the Credit Suisse Energy Summit and it didn't get a lot of comment, so I am going to reproduce the part of the transcript I think was most interesting again, since Core Labs is a multi-$billion company oil service company doing business all around the world and if anyone would have the evidence, I assume they do. Also, they are about the only company in the oil patch that I am aware of making any Peak Oil predictions at all:

"...as many of you know we are peak oil guys, back in 2002, February of 2002, we predicted that the globe would reach its maximum ability to produce crude oil at around 88 to 89 million barrels a day in the year 2008 and we think that's exactly what happened. So, we think we are on that plateau right now and we use a 2.5% global decline curve rate net per year, so we need to add 2.25 million barrels just to stay even with that production. We think that can happen for the next two or three years but ultimately we will see production go into a decline."

In other words, they are expecting decline from the plateau to begin in just 2 or 3 years. We will see.

The presentation meshed so well with the general consensus here nobody had much to say. Also couple months ago there was something similar from core labs

I don't think adding 2.5% per year will do it. According to Wiki Megaprojects Saudi has added 2,710 mb/d since 2008. That works out to be about 540,000 barrels per day per year or about 5 percent of their liquids production. That has kept them about even and it will take that much every year to keep them even in the future. It won't since they have only Manifa, or 900 kb/d coming on line during the next five years. And their fields are all of the super giant type, the kind that declines the slowest.

The North Sea is declining at close to 10 percent per year and the Gulf of Mexico deep water fields are declining at a rate in excess of 15 percent.

I think it will take in excess of 5 million barrels per day, per year, of new oil just to keep production on the plateau. Though that has been happening for several years now it will not happen in the next few years. I expect the decline to start no later than 2014.

Ron P.

Ron P... I don't normally follow the short term markets but Michael Belkin (analyst for hedge funds) did a great interview HERE:http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/Broadcast/Entries/2013/2/3_Michael_Belkin.html

He explains that there are small cycles of expansion and then recession in the global economies. He states that they average about 45 months. This one is presently at 44 months.. according to Belkin. He sees 30% decline in S&P earnings in the next several quarters which means a 30% decline in the S&P average.

Thus, we are going to see a drop in all asset classes -- even oil. We are already seeing indicators showing a big slowdown.

Again, I really could care less about short term moves in the economy as I know PEAK OIL-ELM-FALLING EROI will destroy the system regardless.

But, in the mean while, we will have UPS & DOWNS.

I'd imagine Bernanke is going to print like mad after this occurs and we are going to see serious inflation going forward.

That's my two cents...

I'd imagine Bernanke is going to print like mad after this occurs and we are going to see serious inflation going forward.

That's my two cents...

Seems to be the only game left, i.e. print money to temporarily stave off the inevitable.

I've been reading about oil production in the US and it looks like if the amount of exploration and enhanced production techniques were used in Russia that oil production could significantly expand. ... also from what I've heard from individuals like Birol, etc. on youtube it looks like there is a movement to limit oil production (outside of the U.S and Canada). In Europe I've seen statements that they want to make aggressive cuts to CO2 emissions but this will just crash our economy.

A Cheap and Easy Plan to Stop Global Warming

"The author of this so-called geoengineering scheme, David Keith, doesn’t want to implement it anytime soon, if ever." - He's wiser than the British mob with much the same idea.

Climate warming from CO2 is creating one set of winners and losers. Climate cooling from aerosols will create another. They won't cancel out.

If the USA pumps up stratospheric aerosols and the Chinese harvest fails, who is going to pay? If ozone concentrations drop and skin cancer rates go up by 10%, who is going to pay?

If the USA pumps up stratospheric aerosols and the Chinese harvest fails, who is going to pay? If ozone concentrations drop and skin cancer rates go up by 10%, who is going to pay?

You & Me

I agree with you, but I strongly suspect that some kind of geo-engineering is going to be attempted as climate change hammers world economies harder and harder. Damn the unintended consequences, vent that acid! Fertilize the seas! Mylar sheeting for the Arctic!

I agree, and I suspect the attempt will cause more problems than is fixes. Some of these things can be done without all all that much expense and it may not even be all that apparent they're being done. Actually, to some extent I believe they are already being done. There are weather modification projects, plus some things that might be called accidental geoengineering - things that effect the weather/climate/temperature that may have been byproducts of some other industrial process, like aerosols or contrails, that are could be emphasized or intentionally continued.

None of these things can exactly offset the driving forces and each one of them will have other large effects that are not offset, leading to endless cycles of bad consequences.

Also the money poured into such schemes would be better spent on renewables or even stripped away from them.


Climate change methadone

So what are the problems? Robock’s study looks at a subset of the potential ones – in particular, the impacts on precipitation. These arise because evaporation is more sensitive to changes in solar radiation than it is to long-wave radiation – so increasing LW and decreasing SW (as you would have in a geo-engineered future) gives a net reduction in evaporation even if the temperatures stay pretty constant. In the experiments they report on, there is a substantial reduction in rainfall in the northern tropics (especially the Sahel and the monsoonal belts). This is actually quite a robust result: reductions in tropical precipitation were reported in simpler tests of this idea in papers by Matthews and Caldiera and Bala et al.

Gulfstream's largest jet has a payload of just 1800 lb plus full crew and maximum fuel. It will cruis at 12.9 km, not 20 km, and that probably is not in a fully loaded condition. I wonder whether the figure of 25,000 tons sulfuric acid needed actually comes from. Don't have a link handy, but in other papers I have seen the figure of 10 million tons initial application plus one to two million tons per year.


Never mind the scale of the project. What about ocean acidification? If this works to cool the planet, it might not do us much good if the seas die as a result

Ocean acidification is a huge threat, and it's off nearly everyone's radar.

No real subtleties to model, either. CO2 goes up, the oceans acidify. And stay that way for millions of years. The various forms of calcium carbonate are integral to ocean food webs, and the acidity hasn't changed this fast in at least a third of a billion years.

Most people... heck, most climate campaigners and conservationists... have ignored this.

The additional acidification from this scheme, very little. The extra acidification if we continue burning becuase of it devastating. In this respect its not the geo-engineering thats the problem, its the BAU attitude it might encourage.

Humans have a very poor record when it comes to geoengineering, whether it be intended or not.

CO2 -> global warming, ocean acidification
CFC's -> break down the ozone layer
HCFC's, the fix for CFC's -> more global warming
SOx -> acid rain
Black carbon -> change albedo of glaciers and ice caps
lead from gasoline -> brains of children misform

landuse -> Amazon dries out (and Midwest USA)
nutrient content of runoff -> coral dies, algae and crown of thorns bloom


We're just piss-poor at it and noone who can predict the unwanted and unplanned changes this plan introduces. Besides, it does not stop ocean acidification and if we quit after a while then global warming comes back with a vengeance. So let's just not do this, ok?

lead from gasoline -> brains of children misform

I guess the childrens most poisoned by lead from gasoline are adults now.

Well, there you go! :P

Well, I guess that explains what is wrong with our government.

Accumulate in the food chain ;)

The current president seems better than the one before so the peak might have been reached.

Yeah. It actually tracks quite well with the crime rate drop through the latter part of the century as 20-something men began to be those not exposed to lead from gasoline.

Oil companies make the biggest share of the revenue from motor fuel sales. And they had to do a study to figure this out? LOL. They obviously try to vilify the oil companies for doing exactly what they were created to do. “…$33 goes into the coffers of Chevron, ExxonMobile or BP, while very little of the remaining cash goes into the local economy or even back to oil company investors.” 100% incorrect as I explain below. And exactly why should much of it go into the local economy? Which is actually something if a red herring question also. All the revenue of Big Oil goes into the local economy with one big exception: what it pays for imported oil. I live across the highway from one of the largest refineries in the western hemisphere. A huge chunk of our local economy comes from it: taxes, salaries, secondary businesses. But they contend that most of what consumers pay at the pump goes straight to oil companies. Well, double Da DA! “Crude oil has historically had the biggest share at about 68 percent of the cost of a gallon of gas.” That’s revenue and shouldn’t be confused with profit. A big chunk of that 68% goes to buying imported oil. And of the domestic production Big Oil buys: much of that comes from very small US companies…companies that on average produce less than 10 bopd from all our wells. And that money goes into their local economy. Again they seem to want to paint the picture of some Big Fat Cat collecting all that pump revenue. Every penny that all the Big Oils make goes to buying/refining oil/ producing other products with the balance going to operations and shareholders. They spend a huge chunk of that money of salaries and with local suppliers…all of which flows the local economies. Some of that revenue goes out to shareholders as dividends…all going into their local economies as expenditures or savings. And they money left: that goes into more operational capex which always ends up in local economies…either domestically or abroad.

Couldn’t understand at first why they were pushing this as some big startling news. But then: “So what’s the Union’s solution? They recommend ditching your gas guzzler for something more efficient, specifically a vehicle using the latest fuel-saving technology, including direct-injection and hybrid drivetrains.” Now I understood. There’s nothing wrong with them pitching more fuel efficient vetches. More power to them. But using all that money Big Oil is “hording” and removing from the economy is just silly and does them no credit IMHO.

Well as usual "Happy Motoring Uber Alles" they just don't get it!

If the various levels of government from Federal to State to Local just cut
subsidies to both Oil Addiction with fossil fuel subsidies and Auto Addiction with the hundreds of billions spent on highways like a cost overrun of $1.4 Billion on widening part of the NJ Turnpike from 6 lanes to 12 lanes and invested that in
Green Transit many many more Americans would not have to drive.


Get out of your cars Lemings!

Sickening to see the UCS saying the answer to cars is more cars. Shows you how indoctrinated and confined we are.

All the revenue of Big Oil goes into the local economy with one big exception: what it pays for imported oil...

Well, double Da DA! “Crude oil has historically had the biggest share at about 68 percent of the cost of a gallon of gas.” That’s revenue and shouldn’t be confused with profit. A big chunk of that 68% goes to buying imported oil.

Not to worry. Soon America will become an oil exporter: America’s Oil Revival

Only six month ago Mitt Romney was being mocked on front pages across the nation for suggesting North America could achieve energy independence within the next decade. Romney was careful to include Canada and Mexico, but the editorial writers ignored him anyway. Now six months later you could cross out Canada and Mexico. Within a few months, Congress will be undertaking a contentious debate over whether we should become an energy exporter.

Within a few months no less. And here is their prediction for the entire world by 2030. Billions toe stands for billions of tons equivalent, most of it being natural gas.

Eyeballing that chart, North America will be producing about .3 Billion barrels of crude oil by 2030. That comes to about 6.7 million barrels per day. And the rest of the world combined about 3 million barrels per day. They are apparently figuring no decline in shale oil production at at all during the next 18 years, only ever increasing production. Lots-a-luck with that one.

Ron P.

Within a few months, Congress will be undertaking a contentious debate over whether we should become an energy exporter.

What I don't understand about this quote is why there should be a debate at all. Isn't the USA a capitalist country that believes in free trade? Isn't it a member of the World Trade Organisation and the North American Free Trade Agreement?

If companies believe they can make a profit by exporting gas or oil safely and without harm to the immediate environment, then how can capitalist free-trader politicians possibly stop them? There's nothing to debate. The idea of having a debate about this ought to be ridiculous.

Its an emotional issue. Its also ridiculous, as there is no actual prospect of us becoming a net exporter.

enemy--It is not about the US being a net exporter it is about the US being an exporter at all. There is or is about to be more light crude oil in the gulf coast than the gulf coast refiners can efficiently refine. It might make more economic and energy sense to export that oil to Mexico or Caribbean refineries but current law doesn't allow that. Consequently it is being shipped to Canada instead (because there is an exception for Canadian exports).
So us law and logistics has made it "practical" to ship oil from near the Canadian border all the way to the gulf coast put it on a boat and import it into Canada through the St Lawrence Seaway. I wonder how much of the energy we produced is wasted because of protectionist policies. Probably not that much in the grand scheme of things but situations like this do exist.

(because there is an exception for Canadian exports).

That wouldn't have anything to do with NAFTA by any chance?

Not really, Mexico is part of NAFTA too.
The exceptions routinely granted for exports to Canada have more to do with the fact that a significant part of the Canadian refined product is reimported into the US so that the exports to Canada refineries are not considered actual exports of US energy production because they will mostly come back just in a modified form.

The contribution Oil-Qaeda makes to AGW should be considered a cost or tax they impose on the citizenry, and some of that 66% should go to mediate damages.

The concept of Superfund Sites managed by the EPA could easily be modified to also regulate the revenue by directing it to Superstorm Sandy victims and those who suffer likewise from the damaged global climate system.

The Superstorm Superfund would be a good way to temper the profit-fanaticism of Oil-Qaeda.

The conclusion of the study (oil companies get a huge percentage of the price of fuel) is one more argument supporting the elimination of subsidies to oil companies.

Another “Huh?” story IMHO. “A Marketplace report on Canada-U.S. price gaps found Canadians paying higher prices — more than double in some cases — for the same retail goods because of an industry phenomenon called country pricing.” And what about state pricing…should I pay the same price for an identical house in NY as I pay in Texas? How about city pricing: should I pay the same price for a business lease space in Dallas as I do in a little town in S Texas? How about neighborhood pricing: should I pay the same price for gasoline at an inner city station as I pay at my truck stop station on the outskirts of Houston? The world is certainly full of injustices. But I don’t consider paying local rates for anything as one of the biggies.

BTW: I'm sure Canadians are paying a lot less for plywoord and maple syrup than I pay. LOL.

Hi R man

Actually we don't. The plywood I buy for cabinets comes from Oregon and I am on Vancouver Island. It is a global marketplace in all things, although I do buy dimension cut fir from a sawmill down the road for cash. Ever since the multi-nationals bought up all mill production in BC and have been allowed to ship raw logs south and cut across the line to avoid the softwood 'tariff' imposed by US, I have been forced to become part of the underground economy and proud of it.

We burn Weyerhauser CEOs in effigy where I live as they destroyed our forest industry with their BC arrival around 15 years ago.


Paulo - Thanks. I knew something was up in the timber market up there but couldn't remember the deails. Heck, my Yankee cousins in the NE are probably screwing you guys with regards to maple syrup too. LOL.

I have no idea where things really stand as far as plywood and maple syrup cartels go. Purchasing power injustice is not really significant IMO, but it's good to know that there are agencies in place on the look out to see if the general populous is getting unfairly hosed.
I looked up the UN Human Development Index though and it looks like Canada and the US are on average about equally desirable places to live.
The real injustices are at the local level. There is over a 15 year difference in life expectancy between some US counties. I think there are similar differences within Canada.
From what I could tell, with a little quick scanning, the differences don't seem to be due so much to demographics or environment as much as community attitude. There really do seem to be regions where people just do not seem to give a damn about themselves and how they end up.
Are people forced by circumstance to live on the wrong side of town or do they let their neighbourhood drag down their expectations and willingness to improve?
I think there are a lot of cases where an influential civic leader or a new industry in town had a major impact in rebuilding or breaking a town's attitude and standard of living.

Canadians are paying more for plywood than Americans, and probably maple syrup, too. They are also paying more for gasoline despite the fact that Canada supplies the US with over 25% of its crude oil and exports more oil to the US than it consumes itself.

It has a lot to do with the size of the consumer market (the US is 10x as big), volume discounts, and the power of the retailing companies, who indulge in a lot more cutthroat competition in the US than in Canada.

Probably the best deal Canadians get is on health care, which is much cheaper in Canada than in the US. Mind you, it's a lot cheaper in just about every other country, too.

I don't follow the issue, but haven't US lumber companies have been complaining that Canada is dumping cheap wood on our market? Maybe we are getting below market value Canadian wood, but Canadians have to pay full price. A decade or so back I heard groans from Japanese. Japanese high tech products were cheaper in New York than Tokyo, and that seemed to be a deliberate result of their governments pro export policy.

One of my first thoughts on that story was "so it's not all GST (Going South Tax) folks"....makes sense, there must be real bargains to burn all that fuel each weekend. IRC, the GST started at about 7%, which I didn't think was enough to pay for the trip.

Re: Time for 21st Century Energy Policy up top

Here we have a commentary by Congressman Ed Whitfield, the representative from Western Kentucky. And, once again, see the Tea Party/Republican vision of the future of US energy production. Whitfield has bought into the rosie projections for future fossil fuel production from the EIA and the IEA, ignoring the impacts on the environment. He writes:

We are even more resolved in the 113th Congress to develop bipartisan solutions to ensure Americans have affordable energy supplies for decades to come. This week, the Energy and Power subcommittee commenced a series of hearings on “American Energy Security and Innovation” to showcase the country’s rich energy resources and commonsense policies that we should be pursuing for the betterment of our nation.

This is the first I've seen about those hearings. The latest, including Daniel Yergin, was on Tuesday, 5 February and the statements and video can be found HERE. Whitfield is the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which almost guarantees that his agenda will receive maximum support, given the R's control of the House. As usual, the politician suggests that we can have all the energy we might want and that it will be cheap to waste as well. No mention of conservation efforts or the major reductions in CO2 emissions which would be required to prevent major climate change...

E. Swanson

Their activities become increasingly divorced from reality, and therefore increasingly irrelevant. Their hearings and the nonsense they bloviate won't really have much effect on what people do - the simple lack of key resources is more powerful than any governmental official and is now in control. These kinds of activities will only demonstrate their increasing impotence.

Twilight wrote:

These kinds of activities will only demonstrate their increasing impotence.

I strongly disagree. Whitfield is promoting greater use of coal, which would appear to be the logical thing to do absent the problem of climate change. There is a considerable quantity of coal in the US which can be extracted, so there is a choice to be made. Congress has the power to set priorities thru legislation and if these clowns have their way, we will go for more coal. Jennifer Morgan from WRI presented testimony which focused on climate change. If the R's continue to ignore the problem, the entire Earrth will suffer the consequences.

E. Swanson

The question is whether politics will impact the extraction of that coal. I don't think there is a whisker of actual difference between the imperialists in either party when it comes to that - the people of either party in power now will do whatever it takes to continue BAU, including whatever they can do to enable the extraction of whatever FF we can get. Their rhetoric will be different, and in fact some of the groups they count as their base have different ideas - but those groups are powerless at present. The politicians don't have to do anything of actual substance to get the support of their base, only scare them with the threat of the other guys.

If we could get some real grass roots groups going then maybe real pressure could be brought to bear to make changes of substance - but time is short. The time to build such an organization would be long, and the government they would hope to influence has a finite lifetime left.

Meanwhile the corporations will extract unfettered and the populace will use whatever energy they want to sell.

Having participated in a few of those "real grass roots" efforts, along with some Democratic Party campaigns, I am very pessimistic about any third party attempts. Remember the Citizens Party? We tried that back in 1980 and time was short even then. Given the time lags in the system before any meaningful change would be possible. How's the Green Party doing in the US? The Tea Party was "captured" by corporate interests which is part of our present situation. The US political system has 2 dominant parties and they have manipulated things in ways which guarantee their hold on the levers of control. After the Citizens United decision, any third party effort would likely be buried under mountains of negative advertizing and MSM negative news. No, guys like Whitefield are firmly in control and will remain so until TSHTF...

E. Swanson

"How's the Green Party doing in the US? "

I was active in the California Green party in the 2000-2003 time frame. I have never before or since been associated with a comparable group of well meaning people but they were so caught up in trying to enact such overly democratic internal policies that they were totally wrapped around the axle. Concurrently there were very many innocent, ultra leftist idealists running around in the midsts that talking about having an effect on national, or even state, policy seemed hopeless to me.

I think it makes some difference. The D's will make it a bit tougher to burn coal, via pollution controls, but will look the other way when the the coal companies seek to increase exports. The R's will be all for both burning more at home, and exporting more. The D's will support a better government/regulatory environmnet for wind/solar, which competes against coal, the R's will strive to make that environment retard the advance of renewables. Neither will come close to what is needed, but one actively pushes us the wrong way, and the other mildly pushes us the right way.

Dog – I agree with you that he’s doing what the folks who elected want him to do. Coal is going to be the cheapest energy source that I see at the moment as we stumble down the PO path. Perhaps not the cheapest in the long run or if all the environmental costs are added but IMHO those will be ignored as they have been for so many decades.

But this thing about sticking it all on the back of the R’s always confuses me. Of course the R’s will play VERBALLY to their base just as the D’s will VERBALLY play to theirs. But as someone pointed out the other day actions are more meaningful than verbiage. For a while the D’s were in control of the entire Congress as well as the Whitehouse for a time not too long ago: where were those sweeping changes to US coal policy then?

So the D’s scream about the horrors of mountain top removal. Yet for a coal company to do so they need to get a permit from the US Corps of Engineers. The COE that works for President Obama and serves at his discretion. And those permits have been issued regardless of which party controlled the presidency.

Want to build a coal-fired power plant in Texas? No problem…just get the appropriate permits from the EPA. Just like the builders of the White Stallion plant in Matagorda County did a couple of years ago. Got their final Clean Air permit from President Obama’s EPA. An EPA, like the COE, that reports to the POTUS. And no: they won’t be burning lignite from our huge active field that only about 80 miles down the road. With the EPA permit in hand White Stallion was able to contract a supply of Illinois coal that will be shipped half way across the country for the next 30 years. And remember its being built on top of a NG field I've been developing for 3 years. And when I say on top of: the plant entrance road runs 60' from one of my NG wells. A plant in the middle of the county that primarily produces NG. A plant that has huge NG pipelines running past it that carry mucho billions of cu ft of NG from offshore fields. NG that has been selling at a huge discount for over 4 years. And why are they going to burn Illinois coal railed half way across the country instead of cheap (and cleaner burning) NG? Maybe that's what it took to get that Clean Air permit from the EPA. The EPA that works for the former senator from. Where was it...oh yeah...Illinois.

I will give credit to the D’s: they do a fine job of verbally blasting such activities while doing little or nothing to stop them. Of course, you have to give equal credit to the R’s for verbally delivering to their base. But as long as both the R’s and D’s struggle to keep BAU nothing will change voluntarily IMHO. Of course, depending on which side of the political fence you fall one tends not to see the hypocrisy of the folks gathered on your side. I am a conservative by most folk’s definition yet I have no trouble clearly hearing the BS coming out of the R side of the aisle...just as I hear it coming from the other side.

Reading back maybe I'm coming off a tad too snippy. Just sometimes it gets too much.

D's were never in control -due to the 60vote defacto Senate rule. Especially after you remove the blue dog D's, and the coal state D's. Pro environment, never had a chance.

"Especially after you remove the blue dog D's, and the coal state D's."

No, no, no. You are not allowed to not count certain Democrats just because they are not your version of Democrats. You can cuss them out, but you still have to count them.

The Republicans are similarly stuck with a bunch of theocrats that are still counted as Republicans.

But those (not with the program) D's, mean that the D's never had anything close to a working majority. The original complaint assumed the party was in a position to enact its program but didn't. And the way that sort of complaint works is the next go around they lose seats (to teapartiers), and anything resembling the alleged agenda is then toast.

I agree that both R's and D's tend to bend with the winds, being politicians. However, CO2 still isn't considered a pollutant in the same way that those other emissions are. That's because CO2 isn't directly harmful to the environment, it's the indirect effects which are going to slowly increase.

Still, there are D's who appear willing to take a stab at regulating CO2 emissions, whereas other states dominated by R's aren't willing to do so. For example, there's this latest bit of news:
Mass. to lower cap on emissions by power plants

Massachusetts and eight other Northeast states are slashing by nearly half the amount of carbon dioxide that power plants are allowed to emit — a dramatic reduction that is expected to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to the state for energy efficiency programs while combating global warming. In announcing the decision Thursday, the states said consumers and businesses should see a negligible impact on their electricity bills when the new limits go into effect next year.

Sad to say, I'm skeptical. I'll believe that they are serious once we find that this plan actually goes into effect...

E. Swanson

And California has Cap and Trade since the new year. CO2 permits went for $10 a ton.

ROCKMAN, Permits to blow off mountain tops are issued by the Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining (OSM).


You are right about the BS. It is so loud and from both sides of their "aisle." And the meanings of words have changed a lot over the past few decades. Sound is BS and action is corrupt. I stopped belonging to clubs a very long time ago.


Lizzie – Thanks. Actually we’re both correct. Multiple groups have to sign off with the COE just being one of them. I didn’t want to burn up too much space of TOD with details. Here’s a bit more about the hypocrisy of the positions of some D’s. Note it was President Obama’s administration that was forced by a fed judge to set aside his efforts to squash an EPA rejection of a permit.


“Controversy also was generated by EPA’s January 2011 veto of a CWA permit that had been issued by the Corps for a surface coal mining project in West Virginia. At the same time,while environmental groups support EPA’s steps to restrict the practice, many favor tougher requirements or even total rejection of mountaintop mining in Appalachia. Federal courts have recently rejected several of the Administration’s actions, including overturning EPA’s veto of the West Virginia mine permit, enhanced permit review procedures, and EPA guidance on factors used in evaluating water quality impacts of Appalachian surface mining permits.”

I don’t mind folks ragging the R’s. Countless examples of them obviously deserving it. But so often in accompanies the lament that if only the D’s had the power. That was the real BS I was poking at. IMHO as long as folks perpetuate the D vs. R propaganda nothing will improve.

I don't mind ragging the R's or the D's either.

Because both are incompetent on several substantial levels, even though one may be better than the other on other less substantial levels.

The problem is that in our current configuration the system is off-bubble, out of kilter, catty wumpus, not plumb, not right on the money, and not on the level.



I strongly disagree. Whitfield is promoting greater use of coal, which would appear to be the logical thing to do absent the problem of climate change.

There is no such thing as "absent the problem of climate change" because it is not absent, it is present.

What is absent in the committee deliberations is reality.

Governors of the North East who have been hit with Irene, Lee, Sandy, and Nemo, so far, are the ones who should be directing committees that require a grasp of reality.

If the R's continue to ignore the problem, the entire Earrth will suffer the consequences.

Again, the entire Earth is present and is presently suffering the consequences of what was not done 50-60 years ago.

A committee still waiting for reality to get here is mentally impotent or worse.

It is tantamount to waiting for right now or yesterday to happen.

There is no such thing as "absent the problem of climate change" because it is not absent, it is present.

It's a huge problem to lift the majority into the acceptance stage, up from bargaining and denial. Many push ideas like solar, windmills, EV's and electric trains, with absolutely no reference to examining action to actively prevent the burning of FF. They expect their "idea" to build buy and sell is solution enough.

So climate change is acknowledged but ignored but as you succinctly explain "it is not absent, it is present".

What is quite amazing is that the "shale revolution or renaissance" mantra is even written in the "background memo" of these hearings :

"« For decades, a commonly held belief was that the U.S. was rapidly depleting a finite amount of energy resources. The trajectory for energy resources, namely oil, natural gas, and coal, had been projected to run sharply downward. This belief of ever dwindling energy resources helped shape our energy policies and had far reaching impacts across the nation and the economy.
However, scientific research and technological advancements not only have led to massive increases in production, but also to a greater understanding of what energy resources we have. The theory of scarcity has been swept aside by the energy boom that is underway in North America and the U.S. specifically. »


Thanks for the links, Yergin testimony is really impressive ...

Does this committee corresponds to a special one off action or is it more or less a "regular" thing ?

Nobody from ASPO had or will have a testimony ?

And our new Sec of the interior: I can see where the oil patch might be smiling but the conservationists/environmental advocates? “And when Sally is confirmed, I’m willing to bet that she will be the first secretary of the interior who frequently hikes Mailbox Peak in her native Washington State and who once spent a month climbing mountains in Antarctica,”. And how much gasoline did she burn driving to her kickoff points in Washington state? And how much pollution did her trip to Antarctica add to that pristine wilderness? And she made a $2 million paycheck one year selling a $gazillion worth of sports and outdoor equipment for what most would consider discretionary spending. If spending money for outdoor equipment (including my hunting guns) and burning thousands of gallons for fuel to enjoy the great outdoors (like when I went hunting) qualifies one as a conservationist then I are one too. LOL. And let’s not forget how much oil I helped contribute to all that fuel used to get all my other fellow conservationists to their outdoor venues…like the fuel to get Sally half way around the world to climb those Antarctic peaks.

I always chuckle when someone accuses the R’s of spinning much worse than the D’s. They all went to the same PR school. LOL.

and they are all from the same political school, neo-liberal, often called "neo-conservative" in the U.S.

slight social policy differences are all that lie between what I like to call "short-term leaders"

all of 'em, going back to Ike, have one thing in mind

Just a small clarification: "neo-conservative" is used in a political context (mostly concerning social and foreign policies), while "neo-liberal" is used in economics (free market, privatization, etc). So the terms are not interchangeable. A person can be a neo-liberal (in the sense of economics), while also being a true liberal in the political sense (as opposed to a neo-conservative). I think the best term describing the american neo-conservatives/neo-liberals (i.e. most of the US political spectrum) based on their policies nowadays would be "neo-feudal" :)



My my Rock, don't get your undies tied in such a knot.


The vast majority of previous Secretarys of Interior have been lawyers and washed up politicians. I actually think she is a pretty good choice for Secretary of the Interior. Someone with a technical backround (degree in mechanical engineering) who has worked in the oil patch, then in the energy banking industry, then successfully run a 2 billion dollar company.....who also happens to hike, ski, and sail in her off time. What's not to like?

No doubt you would prefer a lawyer like Reagan's James Watt? Or perhaps an Alaskan real estate wheeler dealer like Nixon's Wally Hickell?

We all know about opinions, but in my opinion someone with a varied background like Sally Jewell is an excellent choice for Secretary of the Interior.

Geo – You missed my point. You got brain freeze or something? LOL. Ole Sally and I are distant cousins: we both started our careers at Mobil Oil.

I was poking at the pitch that she is a staunch conservationist because she climbed mountains in Antarctica. IMHO it doesn’t. In fact it makes her an elitist (what do you think that trip cost her) and willing to add a tad of pollution to the region so she can brag about doing what 99.999% of the world doesn’t have the opportunity/money to do.

Heck: a pet engineer with deep banking DNA that’s independently wealthy and doesn’t have to give a crap what any liberal has to say. She doesn’t have to run for re-election or will ever need a paycheck from some liberal think tank/university once she leaves her new post. What’s not to love? LOL.

" ... like Nixon's Wally Hickell?"

I remember riding the elevator with Governor Hickel as he left the capitol headed for D.C.

He came back in a relatively short time after shutting down all oil platforms in California after a spill there.

Hickel was axed by Nixon in a heart beat because Nixon was a big puppet of Oil-Qaeda.

Both Hickel and Nixon were Republicans, but Hickel was a classic conservationist who would not mince words when it came to adult behavior concerning the Earth we depend on for our very lives.

Hickel was a walking contradiction. On the one hand he cracked down on oil companies after the Santa Barbara oil spill. He added several whales to the endangered species list. He was opposed to bombing Cambodia.

On the other hand, he was a relentless and outspoken developer. He never met a megaproject he didn't like. In the early days of oil exploration on the North Slope he sent a cat train dragging gear and supplies across the tundra. The scars from theHickel Highway are still visible today. As governor he tried to build a road from to Cordova along the old Copper River Railroad bed, the trouble was he never bothered to go through the hassle of getting permits, environmental impact studies, etc. He once proposed a water pipeline from Alaska to California, and a railroad tunnel to Russia.

Some of my favorite Wallyisms: "You can't let nature run wild", "You can only clean up the environment with progress", and "a tree looking at another tree doesn't really do anything". Wally was a one of a kind.

Airbus May Switch A350 Battery to Avoid 787 Lithium Woes
Damn Boeing screwed it up for everyone. Nothing wrong with Li-Ions, they just did a bad pack design. Pick a safer Li-Ion chemistry and don't pack them so close together such that if one battery were to short-circuit, it causes the others to blow as well.

It was one cell in the battery that shorted and caused the whole battery to burn.

They haven't found a smoking gun with the Li-Ion fires yet, and unless they do, it will take too long a time before FAA allows them to resume flying.

I think Boeing should fall back and punt on this one. Retrofit with NI-MH for now and get the 787 flying again. Airbus was planning on using Li-Ion.

It is not like Li-Ions are some brand new technology. You probably have one in you pocket right now as a cellphone. The cell should not have ignited so either it was a defective cell or the charging/discharging circuitry is bad. But even when a cell does blow, in an aviation application the pack should be designed such that if a cell does blow it does not take down other cells. But they blew it by picking a very energy dense cell chemistry and packed them all too close together.

But...lithium batteries are not allowed in the hold of aircraft. Not even little batteries like for cell phones or digital cameras. Some countries do not allow them to be mailed, either.

It's old technology...with a long history of catastrophic failure.

But...lithium batteries are not allowed in the hold of aircraft.
Wrong. Loose SPARE batteries are not allowed because they don't want the battery contacts to touch metal and short out. But the cargo holds are filled with Li-Ions on pretty much every flight in the form of laptops, cellphones, iPads, MP3 players, etc.

Li-Ions certainly have risks . . . any time you pack energy in a small place, there are risks. It may be shocking but airplanes are filled with flammable jet fuel! Li-Ions did suffer a black-eye a few years back when there were the exploding laptops. Batteries were recalled and design changes were made. And you almost never see exploding laptops any more.

Switching to NiCads is no panacea . . . there have been plenty of NiCad battery explosions as well. And every year there are people hurt by exploding Lead-acid batteries when they improperly jump-start cars. All energy technology has risks. You just need to handle them properly.

I'm not saying it should be a forbidden technology or anything. But I do think there's something about lithium batteries that makes them more dangerous than nickel. Maybe it's the very thing that makes them so desirable: their superior energy density. Maybe it's something else. But they do seem to be less forgiving: in manufacturing as well as in use.

Toyota ended up delaying a switch to lithium batteries for the Prius couple of years because they found the manufacturing process so difficult. Of course, they didn't stop making Priuses during that time. They used old technology instead, and I don't think it's a bad thing for Airbus to do the same. There's always next year.

Besides, the first Prius was produced in 1997 and designed a couple of years before that when NiMH was the leading battery technology and lithium-ion was only just on the market.

No, I meant in 2010. That was when they were originally going to switch to lithium, but they didn't actually do it until 2012.

didn't actually do it until 2012.

I think they only did it for the plugin.

Toyota had lined up long term contracts for Ni-based batteries and they worked just fine for a conventional hybrid, so they had good reasons not to switch. They are much heavier and very toxic though. Since that is the technology they used, they put out press poo-pooing Li-Ion batteries. (Yes, companies trumpet what they do and criticize the technology their competitors use.) However, when they released their Plug-In Prius, they put a Li-Ion battery in it. I suspect most conventional hybrids will move to Li-Ions over time because the cost advantage of Ni batteries has dropped and decreasing weight is always a goal.

I just would find it strange for people with cellphones, iPads, laptops, cameras, MP3 players, and all sorts of other toys to fear Li-Ions. They hold them right next to their ear.

Toyota announced they were going to switch, but ended up not doing it for a couple of years while they did a re-design. Rather than dissing lithium batteries, they said they were still going to switch, it would just be later. And that is in fact what happened.

I just would find it strange for people with cellphones, iPads, laptops, cameras, MP3 players, and all sorts of other toys to fear Li-Ions. They hold them right next to their ear.

I don't fear lithium batteries. I don't hold them to my ear, but I use them.

But an airplane, especially a new one, is a different situation. One, the battery is far larger. Two, the consequences of failure can be far more disastrous. I don't think it's unreasonable to put a hold on them, given the problems they've had.

After the most recent incidents, but before the 787 grounding, a news anchor asked an airline analyst, and former airline pilot, if he would ride in a 787. He said absolutely not. He said just imagine a fire in the battery compartment on a trans-polar route.

I just would find it strange for people with cellphones, iPads, laptops, cameras, MP3 players, and all sorts of other toys to fear Li-Ions. They hold them right next to their ear.

I think I'll wait to get the first several dreamliner crashes out of the way before booking a lot of flights on them.

Having a Li-ion battery in my pocket cell phone risks a small burn on my thigh, and not likely. With thousands of li-ion cells in series, aggregate probability can make it a riskier thing. Having your batteries start to burn while over the middle of an ocean, in a plane whose controls & compressors are electrical... gee.

I'm frankly slightly nervous about a 3-cell li-ion flashlight I have, which uses three 18650 cells in series, after a fellow in germany blew the end of his thumb off with a similar one, just from one of the cells taking an incomplete charge. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?280909-Ultrafire-1865... I find that I'm mostly using the 18650's in single-cell flashlights now for that reason. Now that I have the image of the series light as a pipe bomb, I find I don't often pick it up...

Held next to your ear doesn't promote the failure mode a rapid change in pressure combined with just having come off of a charge cycle which happens in a plane along with the temperature change

I think most people would say pressurized oxygen was a relatively safe, mature technology. Does this (another Boeing!) issue with them mean they should be replaced? With what? Oxygen Generators?

I'm OK with minimizing risk, but there are inherent dangers in any method of transportation faster than walking (and I'm not so sure about that!)


No running!

Yair . . . how do you explode a lead acid battery jump starting?

I would like to know the sequence of events.

In sixty years of jumpstarting vehicles, earthmovers, boats and aircraft I have never seen it happen . . . burned off a few terminals though where forty eight volts shouldn't happen.


Lead-Acid batteries leak out hydrogen. If there is a pocket of hydrogen then a spark can ignite it.

The trick is to make the last hook-up to a ground that is away from the battery such that a spark won't be near the battery.

A charging battery generates hydrogen.

Friend of mine was charging the battery in his boat getting ready to go out for the day. He crawled back under the back of the boat to make a connection and BOOM. Blew him back, blew the top off the battery, lucky he wasn't hurt bad.

I had a car battery explode. It was a 1991 Ford Taurus. All I did was turn the key to start it. The top of the battery blew off, filling the engine compartment with battery acid. It wasn't a particulary hot or cold day, after an exceptionally arduous trip, just a drive to the shopping center, buy something, then "boom".

I had a similar experience, got into my car one fine morning turned the key and boom! The battery was maybe a year and a half old. Scared the beejepers out of me. Made quite a mess.

I observed the aftermath of PbSO4 battery explosion. (big mess)..

It was a Sears DieHard battery in co-workers auto, it exploded as he was starting the vehicle to go out to lunch.

P.S.. Exploding batteries is well known problem for boaters who cruise long distances.. (Battery box to contain the lead acid spray is almost a requirement)..

scrub - Only once in 40 years of driving: started up a Honda Civic and BANG!!! Apparently the battery leaked H just sitting there. When I cranked a spark must have popped. With the hoood down the gas just accumulated. A low probability but it happened once to me.

Yair . . . Thanks fellers. Guess I've just been lucky.

I always start at the flat battery negative to negative then make the last positive connection onto the flat as well . . . don't know if thats the recomended procedure with the new fangled computer vehicles but so far, it's been working.

I won't jump start anything these days without a warning to the owner.


Since the dead battery is unlikely to have been charging recently, making the last connection on the dead battery dramatically decreases the chances of igniting a hydrogen air pocket. Open hoods and air movement also decrease the risk.

Connection sequence for boosting: "Think Positive"

We're supposed to connect the two positive terminals first, so "think positive."
Then the two negatives, preferably attaching the dead battery last, as Wright points out.

My brother-in-law had a tractor battery explode on him years ago (but was not injured).

Yes, attach the negative of the dead battery last. Attach the clip to ground away from the battery itself, so any small spark that occurs on attachment is not near the battery.

There are many varieties of Lithium Ion battery chemistries out there. Some are safe with lower energy densities and some are more volatile with higher energy densities. Laptops use a cobalt oxide chemistry that can lead to run away fires. On the other hand, the A123 batteries use a different chemistry and are considered safe. Pop the top of a A123 battery and put a flame to the electrolyte, you will a birthday candle like flame and it will quickly go out. The difference is that the A123 batteries are of the LiFePO4 family while the laptop batteries can be of the cobalt oxide or Lithium Polymer variety. The A123 battery type chemistry has an energy density of around 90 wh/kg while the cobalt oxide and Lithium polymer varieties can have twice the energy density.

The more volatile batteries have a Pressure Temperature circuit built into each battery. Electricity is cut off when either the pressure or temperature builds up in the cell. Sony had a massive recall when it was determined that some of their PT circuits in some of their batteries had a defect.

Unfortunately, all Lithium based batteries are being lumped under the same restrictive transportation regulations. Think of it as akin to a regulation that would restrict the ownership of "felines" instead of just "lions and tigers". A person's household pet cat would be treated the same as owning a lion or tiger for a pet.

Lithium-manganese Batteries in EVs Much Safer than Dreamliner Chemistry

Some of those critics have further railed against the use of lithium batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles using the revelation that lithium-cobalt oxide, the type of lithium cell chemistry used in the 787 Dreamliner, is also used in the Tesla Roadster and Model S automobiles. However, most electric car manufacturers have opted to use batteries based on lithium-manganese oxide, and to a lesser degree, lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide and lithium-iron-phosphate chemistries, as laboratory testing shows these are the safest in high-temperature applications. Lithium-manganese batteries may have lower energy density, but compared to lithium-cobalt batteries, they last longer and hold up better when damaged.

Boeing’s Batteries Draw Criticism as Dreamliner Probe Continues

Musk is not alone in raising these issues. The relatively simple looking design of the Boeing battery, manufactured by the Japanese firm GS Yuasa, immediately caught the attention of lithium-ion battery expert Dr. K.M. Abraham. Abraham has been researching and producing lithium-ion batteries since 1976 and says proper design is critical for both power output and safety.

“It did not look like a sophisticated battery pack to me” Abraham said of his first impression after seeing a photo of a Dreamliner battery. The 32-volt Boeing battery uses eight 3.7 volt cells housed in a single metal container.

The manufacturing process is also a major concern, according to Abraham. The 18650 cells used by Tesla and others experienced quality control problems early on, and it was more than a decade before the design and manufacturing was refined. These days, failure rates are extremely low — less than one in a million, said Abraham. He agrees the design used by Tesla reduces the chance of a thermal runaway resulting in a larger event.

Musk must be worried. Any bad news regarding 787 Li-ion batteries is bad news for Tesla.

experts in the field of advanced battery technology say the use of liquid electrolytes in the current lithium-ion batteries remains a safety issue to be resolved.

Boeing gambles on risky Dreamliner batteries

When it first happened and they released that picture I said "I can save them 6 months of trying to figure this out...take Li-ion, pack them like sardines in a box with no thermal management, constantly run current in and out of them, and it'll catch on fire."

I can imagine how this process went. The engineer said "We should use Lithium batteries to save weight" - they went on to design a nice well-ventilated enclosure...then somewhere along the line someone went "whoa, lithium batteries explode - put that in a fireproof box!" so someone came along behind and stuffed them all in a tiny, enclosed box and voila - fire hazard.

There's no need for the plane to have a battery. We've talked on the Oil Drum about how the grid could draw power from plugged in hybrid/electric cars. Just equip each seat with usb and smart phone plugs and tell everyone they need to plug in their laptop and/or smart phone and there's your battery!


plug in their laptop and/or smart phone and there's your Lithium Ion battery!



Precisely. It is an unsafe chemistry packed too tightly.
An analysis of various chemistries here:

And further down, on the packaging:
'“Large cells without enough space between them to isolate against the cell-to-cell thermal domino effect means it is simply a matter of time before there are more incidents of this nature,” said Musk. “Moreover, when thermal runaway occurs with a big cell, a proportionately larger amount of energy is released and it is very difficult to prevent that energy from then heating up the neighboring cells and causing a domino effect that results in the entire pack catching fire.”

Donald Sadoway, an MIT professor of electrical engineering, told Flightglobal that Tesla has properly engineered its lithium-cobalt-oxide battery “to prevent the domino effect, while Boeing evidently doesn’t have that engineering.”'

It is not clear to what extent Boeing engineers are involved. There is a battery supplier, charger supplier, monitor supplier, and an integrator all involved. There may be others as well. It's questionable whether Boeing engineers really understand all the nuances of the interconnected parts from multiple suppliers.

Tainter grins again.

An analysis of various chemistries here:

Yes, its important to understand and appreciate the many different types of lithium chemistries and different types of electrolytes. Some are inherently much safer than others.

And whether the electrolyte is paste or liquid.

With Evolved Brains, Robots Creep Closer To Animal-Like Learning

“Previously if you gave evolution a quadruped, and said ‘make it walk,’ it could do it, but it didn't really understand that it had a four-legged body,” says Clune. “With developmental biology, it realizes the nature of its body, grows a brain that sees the four legs, creates similar neural wiring patterns for each leg, and thus produces regular gaits that have all four legs working together.“

The process is not an immediate cake-walk. Initially the group allowed the evolving digital brains to directly control the quadruped robot. This led to the robot breaking down numerous times because evolution tried crazy walking patterns. To improve matters the team let the brains evolve and control a body in simulation for hundreds of generations until they got the walking motion right and then transferred control to the actual robot.

Restored Payroll Tax Pinches Those Who Earn the Least

Like millions of other Americans, they are feeling the bite from the sharp increase in payroll taxes that took effect at the beginning of January. There are growing signs that the broader economy is suffering, too.

I think the adjustment to the higher payroll tax will take a bite out of the economy. That, in conjunction with higher gas prices. Our gasoline price just went up 10 cents per gallon yesterday.

The payroll taxes may hurt low wage earners the most now but they will probably benefit the most from the longer life span of social security when they reach retirement.

Really have you been paying attention to what the FED has been doing lately...how can you say with confidence that social security will be around and even if it is what will it buy you? Not much

The FED is more of a topic of The Automatic Earth - a site by people who used to have their own section here on TOD.

The "United States" has already been disbanded twice.

(and the old wisdom was 10% of your 'investments' should be in Gold, Silver etc.)

The Surging Oil Exports That Are Shrinking America's Trade Deficit With The Rest Of The World


So from the charts roughly from 2006 - 12 40 mill barrels exported.
Imports reduced by about .8 bill barrels from 2004 -(10-12?).
Somewhat a difference in magnitude.

The decreased demand for oil is a much bigger factor than increased domestic production but not as happy to tout.

I must say I am finding the increasing number of reports dealing with the recent surge in US petrol prices (and of course oil in general) somewhat chortlefying:


The articles all seem to have a somewhat perplexed nature to them - along the lines of how can this be happening now we are so close to energy independence in the US?

I wonder how long it will take before they realise they have been sold a dud?

I'm guessing we will start to really hear some howling about those greedy speculators driving up prices or those evil environmentalists shutting down all the drilling in the US b/c they want to derail America's Energy Independence. And probably some other creative and fantastically false excuses for high prices.

I doubt we will get any truthful responses from TPTB about our liquid fuels and energy predicament this time around. Economic activity will get choked off by high prices and all the pundits will be screaming about some scapegoat causing all the problems.

Funny how a nation full of "capitalists" can't seem to grasp the simple concepts of supply and demand...

Yeah, people just spew the same complaints even when they make no sense. People still complain about no refineries being built . . . uh, we have excess refining capacity, that is why we import oil, refine it, and ship it out to central & south America.

Funny how a nation full of "capitalists" can't seem to grasp the simple concepts of supply and demand.

PeakBeach305, you hit the nail on the head with that comment.

Best hopes for a better appreciation of supply and demand.

Its all about demand, for my cheap fuel fix, which is my god given birthright!

Gas shortages as Northeast snowstorm gives Sandy flashbacks

Motorists across metro New York City descended in droves on area gas stations Thursday night and into Friday as the snow started falling.

“I went out initially at 8 a.m. and it was pure craziness,” said Kenneth R. Mall, a banker from Bayside, Queens. “I wasn’t going to wait an hour.”

Mall returned home and went back out to fill his tank around midnight, when he found that many pumps had already run dry. “I was kind of nervous because I was on empty... I just kept going until I found one,” he said. Mall said he passed nine gas stations that were all out of fuel before finally finding one with gas — and no line — about a 15-minute drive from his house.

Taking part in a gas panic is the most profoundly antisocial un-patriotic the average person can do. I stopped driving for two weeks for Sandy, and will probably do the same for this storm.

Like he wasn't warned.


Why try to fill up at this late hour? It's not like those people are going somewhere the next two days...

It's not that bad. It's a big storm, but unlike Sandy, we're used to blizzards in the northeast. They happen every year.

People will be driving today, if they aren't already.

And another reason people fill up their gas tanks: if the electricity goes out, you can charge your cell phone, laptop, etc. from your car.

I hear about this during and after every storm, that people have run out of charge on their cell phones and laptops, how difficult is it to build a portable DIY bike charger and why isn't there a market for that? you could get some exercise too. A 30 minute spin on the bike would give enough juice to run a typical laptop for 3-4 hours and if you are really fit you could power a small fridge.

Indeed, no need to run a 5L v8 pickeup truck engine idle for an hour burning ~2 liters of highly valuable liquid carbonhydrates to recharge a 60Wh laptop battery. Just remove the start-battery, put it inside and hook-up a 12V DC/AC converter. Much fun for many many hours. Or buy a single 120 Ah SLA battery and keep it charged in the basement if you think laptops and smartphones are necessary every hour of the day.

One liter of gasoline contains almost 10kWh energy, 99.9% of it wasted trying to charge a laptop or cell phone.

...but,, while your phone is charging you can sit in your nice warm truck, stroke the dashboard, stuff like that. Try doing that in the basement :-0

Well, then you'll have plenty of quality time stroking the dashboard while waiting hours in a queue to find out that the petrol station has run out :D

how difficult is it to build a portable DIY bike charger and why isn't there a market for that?

the homemade version

The write a check version

not what you wanted

Has anyone noticed the discussion about climate change related to the current blizzard-storm Nemo?

Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

Any individual tree in a Pine Beetle infected forest is like individual storms in the damaged Global Climate System.

In the west the forests are infested with Pine Beetles.

No one asks "if a particular tree does not have the Pine Beetle yet does that mean there is no Pine Beetle infestation?" in the damaged forest.

Similarly, scientists tell us that the Global Climate System is damaged (like a forest infected with Pine Beetle).

They don't make that diagnosis based on a myopic view, like looking at only one tree to determine if the forest is infected.

Going from tree to tree "this tree is ok, so there is no Beetle infestation in the forest; uh oh, this tree is infected, therefore there is a Beetle infestation."

Instead, they keep their eyes focused on the forest.

Don't deny the forest because of one tree.

Asteroid Impact That Killed the Dinosaurs: New Evidence



Researchers from an international team of scientists have been investigating the demise of the dinosaur, and by using dating techniques on rock and ash samples, they've determined that dinosaurs died out about 66,038,000 years ago, give or take 11,000 years.

The date of extinction appears to coincide with the impact of a comet or asteroid.

Doug fir,

This is an issue akin to the dynamics of denial associated with climate science. That is, once an issue has been decided by a consensus then no longer are denialists mainstream.

The theory you mention has a similar history:

The brave individual, about 50 years ago, noticed that the scientific community was kowtowed, afraid, and timid about even seriously considering the theory that a chunk of asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Simply put, he noticed that there was tyranny of dogma within the scientific world, and that such tyranny would lead us to a bad place.

Therefore, "de Grazia dedicated the whole September 1963 issue of American Behavioral Scientist to the issue" concerning the part that catastrophes, like the chunk of asteroid (meteorite) strike, have played in the evolution on this planet.

(State Crimes Against Democracy, emphasis added). The issue had become a psychological issue based on domination and control.

It took over 40 years, even after the showing that establishment science was bullying scientists who had published the asteroid hypothisis, for them to even consider the issue.

They made the decision in 2010:

A panel of 41 international experts, including UK researchers from Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, University College London and the Open University, reviewed 20 years' worth of research to determine the cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) extinction, which happened around 65 million years ago. The extinction wiped out more than half of all species on the planet, including the dinosaurs, bird-like pterosaurs and large marine reptiles, clearing the way for mammals to become the dominant species on Earth.

The new review of the evidence shows that the extinction was caused by a massive asteroid slamming into Earth at Chicxulub (pronounced chick-shoo-loob) in Mexico. The asteroid, which was around 15 kilometres wide, is believed to have hit Earth with a force one billion times more powerful than the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. It would have blasted material at high velocity into the atmosphere, triggering a chain of events that caused a global winter, wiping out much of life on Earth in a matter of days.

(Live Science, March 2010). Similarly, both the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government recognized global warming induced climate change by law in 1990.

But denialism set in afterward, like it did after the asteroid impact scientific consensus of 2010.

Lately the asteroid impact denialists have been making noises like the climate change deniers have.

Both denier camps still reject the scientific consensus on the two issues.


A story about one five-year-old particularly stands out. The little boy was required to wear black shoes to school. Because he didn’t have black shoes, his mom used a marker to cover up his white and red sneakers. A bit of red and white were still noticeable, so the child was taken home by the cops.

The child was escorted out of school so he and his mother would be taught a lesson.

Ridiculous? Perhaps. But incidents such as this are happening across Mississippi. A new report, “Handcuffs on Success: The Extreme School Discipline Crisis in Mississippi Public Schools,” exposes just how bad it’s become.

Sounds like one of the more bizarre examples of the school to prison pipeline. When I worked in K-12 education in AZ I saw several distressing and unnecessary incidents in which children had police contact or were otherwise harrassed by school admins. I was banned from subbing in one school when I had words over an incident. But I reported it to the Federal Board of Education and this student's parent(s) should do so also.

Fox News Claims Solar Won't Work in America Because It's Not Sunny Like Germany


I guess they haven't seen the insolation map.

Next time you think of Fox - think of what the Law says.


A Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

Yes, News Ltd is well known here for misleading.

The outcome of the judgement above is appalling.
In Australia the press council will require a correction, but of course it will probably appear on page 101 in fine print, next to the death notices - months after the damage has already been done.


Corrections on TV usually happen the next day - if the lawyers get involved.

Whos words do you trust more, the ones of a politician, or of a reporter? Hint: Who already have the power?

Whos words do you trust more, the ones of a politician

"The Law" has many parts.

1 part is what is actually written in a bill.
1 part is how the various agencies think the part above means
1 small part is what the on the ground enforcers have to say on the matter
1 part is what Judges have decided.

The Fox decision is about what a Judge has to say.

eric blair,

You mean Fox thinks that legislators or judges decide how much sunshine there is in Germany and elsewhere?

Sounds like the Luddites in the Carolinas that made it illegal to say, in state documents, that the sea level could rise more than 8 inches.

Faux News' business reporter, Shibani Joshi, does not know how to read an insolation map because she satisfies their employment criteria of not graduating from elementary school.

Shibani Joshi has a wikipedia page. It states that she has an MBA from Harvard. She is also married to an investment advisor that most likely has long positions in various fossil fuels. She is a paid liar.

Lying as a journalist or politician or CEO or banker or lawyer, nothing provides a better foundation than a top-university education.

Says that she also did an an investment banking analyst program at Morgan Stanley. My respect for both the programs just went up by two notches.

Blue Twilight,

It would seem that Operation Mockingbird continues unabated.

Ah, yes, but I suspect Fox News is more the propaganda arm of the Republican Party than the CIA.

Man that segment was filled with such misinformation. What a propaganda network.

Loved this line:

Sure, California might get sun now and then, Joshi conceded, "but here on the East Coast, it's just not going to work."


Gawd! It ain't sun the USA lacks relative to Germany, it's vorsorge.

Myth- Prometheus gave two gifts to man- fire and foresight. He grabbed the one and ignored the other.

and so---.

She sort of retracted her statement.

Germany isn’t all that sunny and a case for a diversified energy world, Fox News, Feb. 8, 2013.

But I incorrectly stated that the chief difference between the U.S. and Germany’s success with solar installations had to do with climate differences on a "Fox and Friends" appearance on Feb. 7. In fact, the difference come down more to subsidies and political priorities and has nothing to with sunshine.


"The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth experienced an automatic shutdown at around 9:15 p.m. Friday after losing off-site power. Spokesman Neil Sheehan says that the reactor shut down without any problems and that backup generators are powering plant equipment.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there's no threat to public safety."

Unrelated to the quoted text above but related to the storm - I wonder how many "preppers" are feeling smug up there right now, how many un-prepped-ers are jealous of the "preppers," and how long it will take the un-prepped-ers before they go back to calling the "preppers" crazy again.

Lt. Col. Daniel Davis

Almost six years ago, Danny Davis (then a Major in the US Army) wrote a well-researched 37-page paper on peak oil ("On the Precipice"). Davis was one of the first US officers to publicly address PO. He continues to do excellent work on several fronts (the Afghan war, veterans & PTSD, oil supply, etc).

Yesterday Huff-Po published these prudent observations re. future oil supply:

Oh sorry I thought drumbeat was for a variety of discussions related to oil...I think that the actions of the FED have greatly influenced the price of oil and the deconstruction of the US dollar will make oil price and supply do some fairly odd things. We are heading into uncharted waters...nothing should be taken for granted..just ask Greece.