Drumbeat: February 13, 2013

Diesel shortage pushes Egyptians to the brink

Diesel supplies are drying up as a cash-strapped government struggles to cap a mounting bill for subsidies it has promised the IMF it will reform to secure an elusive $4.8 billion loan desperately needed to keep a sagging economy afloat.

The situation appears near breakdown with growing shortages, unsustainable subsidies and foreign exchange reserves running out, raising the risk that fuel bottlenecks lead to food shortages and pose a risk to political stability.

Foreign reserves are down below $15 billion, less than three months' imports, despite deposits from Qatar and Turkey. The Egyptian pound has lost 8 percent of its value this year and a black market has emerged for hard currency.

The nation's strategic reserve of diesel fuel is down to three days' supply, the official MENA news agency quoted a government official as saying last week. Bakeries that use diesel to make staple subsidized bread have been told to keep 10 days' fuel supply but not all have the capacity.

OPEC Warns on Risks to U.S. Production Growth

LONDON – The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Tuesday warned that expectations of growth in non-OPEC oil supply this year--seen as essential to meeting global oil demand in the long term--were subject to a high level of risk, particularly in the U.S.

Strong growth in U.S. oil output in recent years as a result of technologies that have made it possible to release large reserves of oil trapped in shale rock has taken many by surprise and started a shift in global trading patterns that could threaten OPEC's dominance of the oil market.

Opec raises oil output forecast as emerging economies fuel demand

Opec raised forecasts for the amount of crude it will need to supply this year because of stronger fuel demand in emerging economies.

The Opec will have to provide an average of 29.8 million barrels per day in 2013, or 100,000 bpd more than it estimated a month ago. The producer group's output in January was 500,000 bpd larger than this, at 30.3 million bpd, according to Opec's monthly market report published today.

Oil Trades Near One-Week High; API Reports First Inventory Drop

West Texas Intermediate traded near the highest level in more than a week. U.S. crude stockpiles declined for the first time this year, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Futures were 0.4 percent higher in New York after climbing 0.5 percent yesterday. Crude inventories fell 2.3 million barrels last week, the first drop in six weeks, data from the industry-funded API showed yesterday. An Energy Department report today may show supplies rose, according to a Bloomberg News survey. The International Energy Agency trimmed forecasts for global oil demand because of constrained economic expansion.

“Declining inventory levels in the U.S.” are supporting prices, said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “If the U.S. Energy Department reports a similar fall in stocks, oil prices are likely to climb further.”

Oil May Head to $100 With Two-Year Support: Technical Analysis

Oil in New York may rise toward $100 a barrel if buying interest along the two-year moving average propels prices above a range of about $98.25 to $98.35 a barrel, according to Barclays Plc.

The two-year mean is underpinning closing prices on the weekly chart at about $95.15 a barrel, Barclays analysts including Jordan Kotick, global head of technical strategy, said in a report dated yesterday. Buyers are emerging near the $95 level, signaling the market may test the $98.25 to $98.35 a barrel range, according to the report.

Norway January gas output falls 6% on year to 10.5 Bcm: NPD

London (Platts) - Norway's gas production in January fell 6.3% year on year to 10.5 billion cubic meters, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said Wednesday.

The NPD's preliminary January total is down from 11.2 Bcm in January 2012.

It is also lower than the final output figure for December of 10.9 Bcm.

Norway, Europe's second-biggest gas supplier after Russia, is facing a downward trend in gas production for 2013.

Fujairah oil storage capacity to rise by 2 million cubic metres

The port outside the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Gulf oil export route which Iran has threatened to block, has seen a boom in storage facility building since late 2009.

But the pace of construction has slowed over the last year, several traders said, with the looming threat of overcapacity and lower forward prices for oil making storage unattractive.

Indian Oil October-December Profit Jumps 34%

Indian Oil Corp. (530965.BY) Wednesday posted a 34% jump in its fiscal-third-quarter net profit, helped by a government cash compensation to offset its losses from selling fuel products at state-set rates and an increase in diesel prices.

Widening trade deficit is worrying aspect, says Commerce Secretary S.R. Rao

New Delhi (ANI): Expressing concern over the huge surge in the import of petroleum and crude oil, Commerce Secretary S.R. Rao on Wednesday said that the widening trade deficit is a worrying aspect for the Indian economy.

"The worrying aspect as usual is the widening trade deficit and our figures show that substantial increase in the import of petroleum and crude oil is widening this trade deficit," Rao, while talking to reporters here.

India to Ensure Refiners Running Iran Crude Oil Get Insurance: Source

India will ensure its refiners have insurance for plants that run crude from Iran, a government source said on Wednesday, allaying fears that imports from the sanctions-hit country may have to be halted.

State-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp said on Tuesday it might not be able to use Iranian crude at its plants from June if insurers refused to renew contracts on its plants because of western sanctions.

India faces major energy shortfalls

India should step up its development of green energy solutions, including wind and solar power, to help solve the major shortfalls in its energy system, industry leaders have urged.

"In many of the rural areas, renewable energy is the first and most obvious solution," said Christoph Frei, the secretary general of the World Energy Council. "There's an opportunity for more, particularly when one thinks about the poverty aspect. There seems to be commitment, but if you look at the big picture, it remains a very small portion of the overall system."

Like banks, oil played a big part in the crisis

The standard view of the 2007-09 crash and recession focuses on excess leverage by banks and governments. Many of the received views on the issue conclude that United States and European growth must stay subdued for a while as the wounds of financial insobriety heal.

However, many have overlooked the role of the oil price explosion after 2005 in exacerbating and even causing the crisis. In the latter half of the 2000s, the world experienced an unexpected energy shortage, as oil demand rose significantly, driven by the rapid expansion of Asian economies. A worldwide economic slowdown was inevitable to reduce oil demand.

Shale Boom Draws EON to Hire U.S. Traders as Europe Shrinks

EON SE will start a U.S. power and natural-gas trading operation as Germany’s largest utility seeks to profit from North America’s shale-gas revolution.

The company, which already trades U.S. power and gas derivatives from Germany, will hire five traders in Chicago, executives at EON said. The group will trade physical power and gas, may lease pipeline and storage capacity and is looking to secure liquefied natural gas capacity from the U.S., they said.

New Zealand should prepare urgently for coming oil shortages

It may be a very serious mistake to assume that oil will continue to be readily available, Bruce Robinson a Peak Oil expert said today.

Trouble in the Middle East, such as Iran being bombed, might cause a sudden world oil shortage, as 20% of the world’s oil is shipped from the Persian Gulf, through the narrow Strait of Hormuz.

As well, global oil shortages are likely, perhaps within 5 years. Existing giant oilfields are now declining faster than new fields are being discovered. Peak Oil will cause substantial disruptions to automobile dependent countries. The on-going hype in the US and now in Australia about shale oil is unlikely to change the overall picture.

BP Energy Outlook: why the oil giant's forecasts are flawed

The oil giant’s long-term forecast—really an “exercise of the imagination”—was greeted with a sort of breathless astonishment by the media who took it for a statement of fact concerning the one thing about which we cannot know anything for certain: the future.

My first response to the coverage was: “Well, what did you expect the company to say?” This is the world’s third largest oil company. Of course, its forecast through 2030 is that the world will remain hooked on fossil fuels, particularly oil which, BP tells us, is going to be plentiful despite what those peak oil killjoys are saying.

Russia plans $25-$30 bln oil-for-loans deal with China

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Rosneft is seeking to borrow up to $30 billion from China in exchange for possibly doubling oil supplies, making Beijing the largest consumer of Russian oil and further diverting supplies away from Europe.

Four industry sources familiar with the situation told Reuters Rosneft was in talks with China's state firm CNPC about the borrowing, which would echo a $25 billion deal the two companies clinched last decade.

Malaysia lobbied Canada on Petronas-Progress bid, documents show

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak asked his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper to reverse the initial rejection of Petroliam Nasional Bhd.’s $5.2-billion takeover of Progress Energy Resources Corp., correspondence between the two leaders shows.

Libya's crude exports over 485 mln barrels in 2012 -NOC

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Libya's crude oil exports totaled 485.149 million barrels in 2012, state energy company National Oil Corporation said on Wednesday. NOC itself exported 379.508 million barrels last year, and the rest represents its partners' share, it said in a statement on its website.

IEA sees Iran oil export sales falling as West tightens sanctions

Iranian oil output will likely fall further from its lowest in three decades as the West tightens sanctions on the country, depriving Tehran of hard currency revenues, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.

Total Pledges 2013 Production Growth After Profit Rises 13%

Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, expects production to increase as much as 3 percent this year after reporting a 13 percent rise in 2012 profit on an improved refining performance.

Tullow CEO Says Focus on Exploration Over Developing Oil Finds

Tullow Oil Plc, the worst-performing oil stock in the U.K.’s benchmark index, will maintain its focus on exploration rather than developing existing discoveries.

“We are an exploration-led company, there’s no value in chasing production targets,” Chief Executive Officer Aidan Heavey said in an interview after Tullow published annual results today. “We will farm down developments as appropriate.”

U.S. to Lease 38 Million Acres in Gulf Next Month for Oil, Gas Drilling

The U.S. Department of the Interior said Thursday it has finalized plans to auction off oil and gas drilling leases for up to 38 million acres in the central Gulf of Mexico next month, giving oil companies a chance to expand their footprint in the booming offshore oil region.

The lease sale scheduled for March 20 in New Orleans will offer all unleased areas in the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, which the department said could lead to the production of up to nearly a billion barrels of oil and nearly 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Cnooc Wins Final Approval for $15.1 Billion Nexen Buy

Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil and natural gas producer, won approval to acquire the U.S. assets of Nexen Inc., its last regulatory hurdle in the $15.1 billion purchase of the Canadian energy company.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. approved the deal, now expected to close the week of Feb. 25, Nexen said in a statement yesterday. The panel reviews takeovers by foreign-owned companies for national security implications. Cnooc’s acquisition of the Calgary-based company falls under U.S. jurisdiction because of Nexen’s Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations, which account for about 8 percent of its output.

Merger costs, overruns reduce Duke profit, but results top expectations on higher power prices

NEW YORK — Duke Energy Corp.’s fourth-quarter earnings topped Wall Street expectations as electric rates rose and more extreme weather increased demand for power. But results were reduced by merger costs and cost overruns at an Indiana power plant.

GDF Suez Cutting Record Dividend Seen in Options Market

GDF Suez SA Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet says the French utility’s dividend is a sacred cow -- even at a world-leading 10.2 percent yield. Options traders don’t believe him.

Rosneft-Exxon JV gets boost from new Arctic oil licences

(Reuters) - Russia's top oil producer Rosneft will move its new licences into its tie-up with North American major ExxonMobil to tap into the country's vast Arctic resources, a source close to the Russian company said.

Shell may cancel second summer of Arctic drilling due to rig damages

ANCHORAGE -- Royal Dutch Shell plans to send its two offshore drilling rigs to Asia for extensive repairs will likely mean the cancellation of its second summer of drilling in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, unless it can find replacements fit to do the work -- something that may prove to be a challenge.

Rigs able to operate in harsh Arctic conditions are rare and even if found, would have to be modified and receive U.S. government blessing to operate in a remote and environmentally sensitive area in less than five months.

The likely delay is the latest bump in what has been a tough road to Arctic drilling for the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, underscoring the increasing difficulty big oil companies have in finding large deposits of conventional oil.

Jeremy Grantham to join Keystone pipeline protest

FORTUNE -- Jeremy Grantham, 74-year-old chief investment strategist of the $106 billion Boston-based investment-management firm GMO LLC, says he will participate in a surprise show of civil disobedience planned by the Sierra Club in Washington Wednesday morning protesting the completion of TransCanada Corp.'s controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

It is an unusual move for a fund manager, but Grantham's reputation as an outspoken climate-change activist precedes him. While he does not expect to be arrested, Sierra Club National Press Secretary Maggie Kao says the environmental group's board voted to allow acts of "civil disobedience" for the first time in its 120-year history as part of Wednesday's action. That effectively means the group expects its protest to "result in arrests," she said, declining to elaborate on the particulars of the action. The protest will begin at 11 a.m. ET at Lafayette Square near the White House.

New York Governor Puts Off Decision on Drilling

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is becoming Hamlet on the Shale.

On Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo’s administration again delayed making a decision on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing, a controversial drilling method used to extract natural gas from rock formations like the Marcellus Shale, which extends from the Appalachian Mountains to New York.

Town Sued After Barring Debate on Gas Extraction at Meetings

In September, Sanford’s town board unanimously approved a resolution to bar any more discussion of gas drilling at its monthly meetings because the issue was taking up too much of its time.

The resolution said the town had already heard extensively from both sides. It understood their positions. And it did not plan to hear any more until the state completed its environmental review.

Now Sanford finds itself in the middle of a legal dispute, an unexpected new front in the fracking wars that offers some broader questions about how best to reconcile free speech and a governing body’s need to efficiently conduct its business.

Shale gas finds could kill Nuclear in UK

Nuclear power stations in Canada and the United States are closing because they cannot compete with cheap power being produced from shale gas.

This revolution in the way North America produces its electricity is sending shock waves through the nuclear industry in Europe too. New nuclear build will be spectacularly uneconomic if a fracking industry is successful in the United Kingdom.

Microscopic fibers may be culprit in 787 battery failure, NTSB says

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether tiny fiber-like formations, known as dendrites, inside lithium-ion batteries could have played a role in battery failures on two Boeing Co 787 Dreamliners last month.

Dendrites - just one of several possible causes under investigation by the agency - accumulate as a battery is charged and discharged, and can cause short circuits, according to battery experts.

The high cost of America's bad roads and bridges

Waste and drinking water projects are particularly underfunded. ASCE predicts that sector will receive only a third of its required funding by 2020.

Roads and surface transportation will only get about half their projected $1.7 trillion need for capital projects. Inland ports and waterways also are funded at about of their needs.

The electric grid and airports fare better, receiving most of the funding they require, according to ASCE.

People may feel the financial impact of underinvestment most directly on the roads. Researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute estimate that, unless spending increases, congestion and rough roads will cost the average Texas household $6,100 a year in wasted fuel, vehicle repairs, and time lost sitting in traffic between now and 2035.

In Liberals' Dreams, This Is What America's High-Speed Rail Network Looks Like

In the real world, President Obama's grand plans for a national high-speed rail system sputtered out in the face of Republican opposition. But in the alternate world depicted by graphic artist Alfred Twu, we've realized them all, and more.

The map above depicts Twu's vision of an America whose major cities are all connected by state-of-the-art, 220 mph trains. His map isn't strictly based on the Obama administration's actual plans, shown here. It's far more ambitious than that. In short, it's a mass-transit lover's wildest dream. New York to Boston in an hour flat. New York to Los Angeles in a single day. Connections to Vancouver, Toronto, and Monterrey.

Plugging In, Dutch Put Electric Cars to the Test

AMSTERDAM — When Patrick Langevoort’s company issued him an electric vehicle two years ago, the first months were filled with misadventure: he found himself far from Amsterdam, with only a 25 percent charge remaining, unable to find the charging point listed on a map. Though the car was supposed to travel 100 miles on a full battery, he discovered that cold weather and fast driving decreased that range.

But electric vehicles have improved, the network of charging stations in the Netherlands has expanded and drivers like Mr. Langevoort are getting used to the particularities of electric driving. “I used to be a real petrol head,” said Mr. Langevoort, who works for a company that manages electricity networks. “Now, I’ve sold my petrol car.”

Cost not capacity the crucial statistic for renewable energy

Burke says the bigger story about renewables is not about arbitrary round numbers but the approaching of a tipping point where renewables compete with fossil fuels in a risk averse world “that could change all the conventional wisdom about the future”.

This could price out the coal industry and force investors to respond. Then and only then would politicians react to a new energy market and embrace the sector.

IG: Grant money for battery company not “managed effectively”

The Energy Department gave $150 million in economic recovery act funds to a battery company, LG Chem Michigan, which has yet to manufacture cells used in any vehicles sold to the public and whose workers passed time watching movies, playing board, card and video games or volunteering for animal shelters and community groups.

Those are the conclusions of a report released Wednesday morning by Energy Department Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman, who said that the grant to a subsidiary of South Korean giant LG “had not been managed effectively.”

Shadows obscure solar industry

Solar stocks kicked off the year with a sharp rally, prompted in part by the news last month that a company controlled by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had bought two SunPower solar projects in California for US$2.5 billion (Dh9.18bn).

But there are still clouds on the horizon that are prompting concern that there is not much warmth due for the industry just yet.

German city takes the battle to China

SolarWorld, based in a quiet suburb of the German town of Bonn, is one of the western solar industry's most potent weapons.

It is leading trade cases on behalf of American and European Union solar companies against Chinese competitors for selling products below their manufacturing cost, and has succeeded so far in getting the EU to launch an investigation and the United States to adopt anti-dumping policies.

Steep Challenges for a Chinese Eco-City

TIANJIN — Fifty years ago, during a time of food shortages, China’s young socialist government singled out a few farm villages as role models for the nation, saying that their high crop yields made them examples that other communities could learn from.

Today, facing challenges like runaway urbanization, soaring energy consumption and environmental degradation, China is hoping to establish a different set of paragons. With its cities expected to swell by another 350 million residents in the next 25 years, according to World Bank estimates, the government is scurrying to find sustainable urban solutions. To that end, it hopes to have 100 model cities, 200 model counties, 1,000 model districts and 10,000 model towns by 2015.

But already, some of the model cities mapped out early on, like Dongtan, an eco-city that was to house 500,000 people on Chongming Island near Shanghai, have been abandoned because of a range of problems ranging from official corruption to targets that proved overly ambitious.

Hemp Growing Finds Allies of a New Stripe in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. — In 1996 the actor Woody Harrelson, who has a sideline as an activist for legalizing marijuana, was arrested in Kentucky for planting four hemp seeds.

Last month Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, announced his support for growing hemp in Kentucky, his home state.

Between those jarringly disparate events lies the evolution of hemp from a countercultural cause to an issue championed by farmers in the heartland and conservative lawmakers.

Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning in France

(Reuters) - A French court on Monday declared U.S. biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgment that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides.

In the first such case heard in court in France, grain grower Paul Francois, 47, says he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

South Americans Face Upheaval in Deadly Water Battles

It was the deadliest clash in 18 months of protests in Peru’s Cajamarca region, where many residents say Newmont’s $5 billion Conga mine will take water their villages and farms need to survive.

“He died in a pool of blood,” says Adelaida Tabaco, Garcia’s widow, 38, sobbing inside her half-built adobe house in Celendin. “The only thing the people want is water for families, but the mining companies want to take it. And soldiers will kill if you get in the way.”

The injured and dead in Celendin, 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Lima, are victims in a continent-wide conflict that pits South American governments and big, often foreign- based companies against people who stand to lose their homes as water is diverted to industrial uses.

Hurricane’s Downgrade Undercut Warnings, Report Finds

Days before Hurricane Sandy hit, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center knew that it was going to pack a wallop when it slammed into the East Coast.

But they also knew that the storm was unlikely to make landfall as a hurricane — leaving them with some very undesirable decisions to make about how to warn the public about what was on the way, according to a report released by the center on Tuesday.

Hoboken Mayor Seeks Storm Protection More Suitable for High-Rise Buildings

HOBOKEN, N.J. — Places long accustomed to the routine beatings of hurricanes have shaped this country’s traditional response to them: evacuate during the storm, then elevate the buildings or retreat inland to protect against the next onslaught.

But what works along vast expanses of shoreline is less suited to cities that are densely populated. Jolted into a new reality by Hurricane Sandy — which hit not only communities of bungalows but urban areas stacked with high-rises — experts said that coastal cities must figure out a new approach to hurricane preparation and recovery.

EU Aviation Carbon Emissions to Decline in 2013, New Energy Says

Greenhouse-gas emissions from flights within Europe will probably fall this year as airlines renew fleets with fuel-efficient aircraft and pack planes more tightly, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Airlines’ carbon dioxide emissions within the European Union probably fell 2 million metric tons, or 3 percent, last year to 64 million tons, Itamar Orlandi, a New Energy analyst in London, said by e-mail. Emissions may decline another 1 million tons this year as high oil prices curb demand, he said.

Carbon emission limits on coal-fired power plants require flexibility

The US government can overcome industry resistance to planned carbon emissions limits on coal-fired power plants only by offering a wide range of options to comply, from buying credits to making renewable energy or efficiency improvements.

Report: Europe could halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

By 2030, Europe could be generating more than 40% of its energy from renewables, using 38% less energy than in 2005 and emitting 50% less greenhouse gases than it did in 1990, a new WWF report shows.

“Achieving such levels would put the EU on track to deliver a 100% renewably powered energy system by 2050 at the latest,” says the report, Re-energising Europe, prepared for WWF by the Ecofys consultancy.

Obama threatens to curb carbon if Congress fails to address climate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is looking for steps his administration could take to limit carbon pollution and prepare cities for climate change, measures that will be considered if Congress fails to act on the issue, senior administration officials told reporters on Tuesday.

Obama proposed on Tuesday to divert some of the royalties from the boom in oil and gas production to invest in research for electric and natural gas vehicles and bio fuels, part of a plan to tackle climate change described in his State of the Union speech.

Sunlit Permafrost Unleashes Carbon at Faster Pace

As ice melts in the Arctic it can expose the ancient carbon lurking in the once-hidden permafrost to the sun's rays. The result? Carbon dioxide is spewing into the atmosphere more quickly than previously thought, according to new research.

NBC Reports that U.S. is on Fast Track to Energy Independence:


Just when one sees a little hope and reason from the likes of Slate's article 'The Myth of Saudi America', one realizes that TPTB are drowning out reality with a drumbeat of cornocopian articles such as this.

It would be nice if we used our third-order harmonic uptick of NorthAm oil and NG production to scramble to posture ourselves for the inevitable post-PO/post-obvious and irrefutable production decline situation, but it will not be so.

There's a discussion of this story in the previous Drumbeat.

USA is not alone, one of my colleagues told me about the 'Shale revolution' in US and how it will forever change the world as we know it, that's when I pulled him aside and showed him the typical depletion rates of a fracked well and the amount of resources required to start drilling, he knows some maths so he got the picture. Only a few days ago I read about an article asking India to have policies which will help launch a similar revolution in India, the writer didn't even know if India had any shale. I saw plenty of bobble heads in the comments section.

Yes this propaganda is really global, and truly amazing ...

A prominent Rail advocate just got back from a trip to the are of North Dakota where the
Shale oil boom is occurring with some interesting observations. He got rides with an oil worker and also a former reporter who have lived there all their lives. This is their 3rd oil boom and they know full well it will bust eventually. They said despite the hoopla there is not a big business push for a cheaper pipeline on variable costs than the current Rail oil
tankers because they do not expect it to last. A pipeline takes a lot more capital which pays off only if it will be used for enough years in the future. These longtime residents did not
expect it the boom to last long enough to make a pipeline payoff.
So currently Rail is being used...

One has to wonder what big bet the Citigroup is placing in the oil area. The Citi analysts seem to be a big source for most of these oil cornucopia articles.

Of course, these guys, among many others, were also quite bullish on real estate a few years ago. It's always interesting to review the five year stock price for Citigroup.

I had to do my own little bit to burst that little bubble in my neck of the woods! More closer to the tail of this DB.

Alan from the islands

I published on "Le Monde"'s website
a graph showing the oil output decline of all major IOC from 2000 to 2012 :

by the way, here in France, Total's output declined in 2012 for the 8th year in a row !

The French Oil Man Matthew Auzanneau has a new blog out this morning, primarily about the French oil company Total. He just got their latest report with their production numbers for 2012. It is in French but you can click on the "translate" button and get a pretty good translation in English.

Production of oil group Total declines for the 8th year

Significantly lower than in previous years, the decline in the production of lightweight black gold Total does not extend less decline that has lasted eight years. It seems to confirm a trend that also know the main competitors of Total since the mid 2000s.

Extraction of Total oil stood at 1.22 million barrels per day (mb / d) in 2012, down 0.5% compared to 2011 . The decline of 19.2% compared to 2007 (start date of soaring oil prices, revenues and investments Total) and 28% compared to 2004 , the start of the lower production group.

Ron P.

Thanks, Ron, that was a great find. I have often wanted to make such a graph myself but have been just too lazy to go through all those quarterly and annual reports. Thanks again--his graph goes in my file.

That first paragraph is hard to read in English. The problem is that it's hard to read in French, too: very clunky writing. Here's my translation:

Much lower than recent years, the smaller retreat of Total's black gold production doesn't prolong the decline as much as over the last eight years. It does seem to confirm the tendency already known by Total's main competitors since the mid-2000s.

I added "does" to the second sentence, because "It seems..." would have not made much sense there.

Your translation is pretty good, but can be improved - you're right, the first sentence is rather clunky. This paragraph should read:

Total's slight retreat in oil production, while much smaller than the retreat experienced in the last few years, is nonetheless the continuation of a trend that has now been lasting for eight years. It does seem to confirm the tendency already known by Total's main competitors since the mid-2000s.

The new OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report came out yesterday with OPEC production numbers for January.

Total OPEC crude only production was 30,320,000 barrels per day. That is down 21,000 barrels per day from December. But December the 2012 December production numbers were also revised down by 24,000 bp/d and the November 2012 production numbers were revised down by 101,000 bp/d.

Their total Crude Only numbers are down 1,299,000 barrels from their recent peak in April 2012 and are down 1,352,000 barrels from their all time peak in July of 2008.

OPEC Crude Only photo OpecCrudeOnly-2_zps74fa7f4b.jpg

Saudi production was down 76,000 bp/d from last month to 9,105,000 bp/d and that is down 821,000 bp/d from their peak in June 2012.

Also, even OPEC is starting to hedge their bets on US shale plays. On page 38 of this PDF file, bold mine:

However, there are remaining risks associated with the growth forecast on the back of weather, technical, environmental and price factors. The heavy decline rate associated with wells producing from shale plays in the first year is seen as a major factor that could impact growth. Furthermore, price levels could have an impact on operators’ budgets and limit capex as the year progresses. Additionally, the ethanol production margin is a major risk factor on production, as some producers recently reduced output due to weak margins. Moreover, severe weather conditions could dampen the output from projects in the Gulf of Mexico and other areas. Technical factors could delay startups of different projects that are essential to growth in 2013. On a quarterly basis, US oil production is seen to stand at 10.42 mb/d, 10.49 mb/d, 10.52 mb/d and 10.60 mb/d, respectively.

The above quote is the source of the link up top: OPEC Warns on Risks to U.S. Production Growth

Ron P.

A long front page article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram regarding a range of more pessimistic per well EUR's for the Barnett Shale. Three sources are estimating that average EUR per well will be about 33% to 47% of the most optimistic industry estimates of about 3 BCF per well.

Report questions long-term productivity of gas wells in Barnett Shale:

The IEA's new Highlights of the latest OMR, with their best guess production numbers for January, is out this morning. The full report is available only to paid subscribers but will be made available free in two weeks.

Global supplies fell by 300 kb/d in January, to 90.8 mb/d. Non-OPEC production slipped by 190 kb/d from the prior month, to 54.2 mb/d but is expected to increase by 750 kb/d in 1Q13 y-o-y. For 2013, non-OPEC supply is projected to rise by 1 mb/d to 54.4 mb/d.

Ron P.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending February 8, 2013

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged over 14.3 million barrels per day during the week ending February 8, 2013, 121 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 83.8 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 8.9 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging just under 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.5 million barrels per day last week, down by 56 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged over 7.7 million barrels per day, 1.0 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 611 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 143 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 0.6 million barrels from the previous week. At 372.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.8 million barrels last week but remained in the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 3.7 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels last week, but remained well above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 7.4 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged just over 18.6 million barrels per day, up by 1.6 percent from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged over 8.4 million barrels per day, up by 4.4 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 1.4 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.2 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

I wonder if I am the only one who thinks the Tuesday API estimates are a joke, since they almost never are close to the Wed. EIA numbers. I have no idea why the API even tries any more, since I can't think of anyone who would find their estimate useful for anything. I am not even sure the long term averages are close to each other.

Just so no one gets too excited about offering 32 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico up for lease. The total number of lease blocks in the GOM is 29,089 covering 159.6 million acres. Currently here are 5,960 blocks leased and account for 32.2 million acres. Of that number 4,863 lease blocks (26.7 million acres) are not producing.


You’ll notice that the majority of the Deep Water GOM blocks are already leased. Folks should also be aware that the majority of the 38 million acres being offered in the next sale have already been leased at least once, drilled at least once and many have been produced and abandoned. The last GOM lease sale received high bids on only 650,000 acres and the one before 2.4 million acres. That’s typical these days: less than 10% of the blocks offered even receive just one bid.

There are certainly a few more fields left to be discovered in the GOM. But folks shouldn’t be impressed by that 32 million acre number: this is not virgin hunting ground. Nearly all of those DW tracts have been evaluated seismically many years ago and with the rest of the shelf area has undergone many, many tens of $billions in seismic and drilling evaluations for the last 50+ years. In oil patch terms it has already been heavily picked over. So is the govt estimate of the reserve potential valid? I don’t know. But if the companies only lease a small percentage of those blocks offered it won’t matter: if it ain’t leased it won’t get drilled. And if it don’t get drilled it ain’t gonna produce nothin.

Rockman or anybody else for that matter
Does anybody have any idea of how much "virgin" area in the gulf exists that the US could, at least theoretically, lease that has never before been offered for leasing?

And if this is a non-zero number are there any areas yet to be drilled in the gulf "owned" by the US that oil companies would be salivating over if it was offered for lease?

Just wondering about the future potential for oil in the US gulf.

I was doing some coal calculations. Considering a world consumption of 8 billion short tons of coal per year, and using 65ft. long, 100-ton hopper cars, the train to feed that annual consumption would encircle the earth 39.5 times at the equator (no space between hopper cars). If all of that coal were consumed at a single point, a single giant maw of a furnace, the train cars would be propelled into it at 136 miles per hour, day and night, all year long and the speed is increasing.

Carbon tax, carbon credits, clean coal, switching cars to electric – all political smoke and mirrors, there isn’t enough time to massage half measures into place. There are over 1,000 new coal fired power stations being planned now.

The industrial engine is running and the concentration of gas is increasing in the hermetically sealed chamber that we all inhabit. Is this really what we want to do or perhaps we really don't have free will. I hope we don't find any more oil at all, but it probably doesn't matter since coal is more than adequate to lead us to the finale.

Ring around the earth,
Pocket full of mirth,
Ashes, ashes,
We all fall down.

D – Well aren’t you the Gloomy Gus. Reality can do that to you. LOL. “…there isn’t enough time to massage half measures into place…Is this really what we want to do or perhaps we really don't have free will.”

And that’s the problem isn’t it: we do have free will and “we” are exercising that free will to do whatever it takes to maintain BAU regardless of the collateral damage. I made a comment yesterday that likely made some folks angry with me. But I don’t hang out here to make friends or try to convince that things will be OK...just trust the oil companies. I try to offer folks a very close and insider-look at the energy industry as I see it. The truth may be ugly and depressing but it’s still the truth and no one can wage a successful campaign if they don’t understand what they’re up against. And yes: often it’s not a pretty picture. But it’s the truth IMHO. And as you just pointed out the truth can be very depressing.

My comment: despite some theatrical hand-wringing by Big Oil’s PR folks no one in the oil patch is really worried about anyone stifling our efforts be it drilling in the DW GOM or producing the tar sands. And for good reason: we have the full support and protection of most of the 300 million US citizens. I don’t work with coal but I’m rather confident they aren’t too worried in general. We may not be burning more coal in the US but we’re doing our part to supply folks in other countries. Your stats would bear that out. That doesn’t make the energy industry less a part of the process but it clearly shows the consumers are in charge.

I know folks who are battling on the AGW front don’t like hearing this. It certainly doesn’t mean they should give up the fight. Last night the POTUS offered all kinds of possibilities for dealing with the environment and energy conservation. AND do what he can to increase oil/NG production in this country. And, if I didn’t miss it, didn’t say anything about not increasing our coal exports to other countries. He’s already done a little bit for the Illinois coal industry that will be shipping their production to a Texas coal-fired power plant for the next 30 years thanks his EPA issuing them their final Clean Air permit a couple of years ago.

Words can be a wonderful inspiration. At least until counter-point actions show up.

Maybe there were some comments yesterday after my last comment but didn't detect that people were angry with you. Everyone loves you just too much. :<)

Aaargh. As much as I would wish otherwise, your message seems to usually be grounded in reality and reality bites.

I voted for Obama but I must say he is a fraud. But that is just another word for politician and I did not expect anything less or more. His introduction to the global warming part of this speech gave me a glimmer of hope and then he started talking about what he was going to do. All of the above as well as a lot unsaid brought me quickly back to reality world.

I take issue with this idea of "free will" and just dismissing all our actions to that - similar to the "invisible hand" perhaps ?

That will has been anything but free - it has been propagandized to relentlessly for decades and decades to the point that there is no other reality known to a great many of those 300 million citizens you mention. The full support and protection you mention is far from organic - it is only present now because there is virtually no alternative that can exist on a meaningful scale in a population that has grown in lockstep with the degree of brainwashing it has been subjected to...

And it's not as if these actions have been without opposition but that opposition has been by and large steamrolled - not because their cause wasn't the "Truth" but because they didn't have the money and virtually complete control of the message. If the AGW crowd had the time and virtually limitless money to build an infrastructure of convincing people that they had to live extremely simple, almost poverty level, existence or risk making their planet unlivable I'd say it would stand a very good chance of succeeding. And there would be nothing free will about that either - that radically different view would also be the product of relentless propaganda - a view that would no doubt have the full support and protection of the vast majority of the population.

Those 300 million you mention would have a radically different idea of "truth" and "reality" had they been subjected to 80 years of marketing a low carbon lifestyle and relentless bicycle ads on every available media outlet.

It's an extremely annoying point of view for those of us 40 and under - I would love to think some kind of different lifestyle is possible but the inertia is such now and things have spun so far out of control that it is nearly impossible to survive, let alone thrive, in a world full of constructs that you had no part in or certainly didn't approve of yet, despite that, control essentially every part of your existence.

To me this is akin to the banksters constantly trying to shift the blame for the housing bubble to those who got all the screwed up mortgages:

Market relentlessly to the population how you are basically nothing if you don't "own" a house.
Provide an "innovative" method for those people you've convinced that they just have to own a house.
Oops - those "innovations" have a wide range of undesirable side effect.
Eventually have the whole thing blow up.
Act shocked, shocked I say ! that people were so undisciplined such as to fall for all that marketing.
Rather than at least share the blame, point the finger at those that were relentlessly marketed to and blame them for the smoking wreckage.
Walk away shaking your head at them for causing such a mess...

Maybe only some people have free will, while others are so easily manipulated by propaganda that they are simply products of their environments and do as they are told. Who is to say that our leaders, the ones doing the telling, have free will? Perhaps they are just as manipulated and groomed as the lowly peons. The global elite groom each successive generations of elite, controlling access to power in such a way as to maintain continuity across generations.

I would suggest that what you are trying to do is precisely what the bankers and their Republican backers did: "We had no choice in the matter, we were forced into it by the propaganda/CRA!" It is not so simple as that when it comes to the genesis of our consumption-based society.

Our consumer society did not magically appear out of thin air, nor was there some secret cabal that led the public kicking and screaming down a path of greater and greater energy consumption. We have desired possessions and consumption since before we were human. Yes, our leaders could have attempted to force an ascetic lifestyle upon themselves and us, but this asceticism is inimical to a Will to Power. Moreover, it is far easier to get people to go along with plans that align with their innate desires. Just as abstinence-only education is doomed to failure, plans that require energy-poverty are also doomed to failure.

"The car is on fire, and there is no driver at the wheel... We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."

Our consumer society did not magically appear out of thin air, nor was there some secret cabal that led the public kicking and screaming down a path of greater and greater energy consumption.

Well sure. But OTOH, capitalism grew a major business sometimes referred to as "Madison Avenue" to advertise, and to persuade people that they need more and more trinkets. And the advertising business is learning ever more sophisticated physcological methods of getting its desired message across. So while we have some measure of free will, we are also heavily affected by the prevailing culture around us.

Obviously there is no money to be made marketing ascetic lifechoices, so advertising chases the buck, which is all the incentive it needs.

Indeed - one only need to watch that BBC documentary "The Century of the Self" and learn about Bernays etc. and you start to realize that yeah - they really did pretty much make it appear out of thin air.

From the wiki page about the documentary:

Paul Mazur, a leading Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers, is cited as declaring: "We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed.

"People must be trained"

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Yes, Madison Avenue has done a great job of promoting a consumption society, but they did not create it out of thin air. My favorite example is the "diamond is forever" campaign, since it represents a mass cultural shift for a fundamental social construct (marriage). Even there, though, engagement rings had existed throughout history, as have betrothal gifts and dowries in various forms, and so Madison Avenue hijacked an existing meme for their own purposes.

The marketing of fast food, new cars, cigarettes, booze, etc., also represent areas where existing memes or predilections are amplified. Cigarettes have been especially damaging, but again, tobacco smoking existed long before Madison Avenue came along to mind control everyone. It's not that Madison Avenue is ineffectual, but instead that their powers are limited by existing social constructs.

Now, if we use our vast marketing infrastructure to promote what we consider to be more beneficial actions, we can shift our consumption patterns dramatically. It seems unlikely that this will happen, given that it would lead to the wholesale destruction of entire industries and crash the economy in its current form, but one can hope. Maybe in some post-crash scenario, we'll wise up to our ability to influence ourselves and apply the power towards more useful ends.

OTOH the Koch Bros, Karl Rove and the plutocrats spent BILLIONS trying to win the last election and they lost even the Senate seat in N. Dakota!
Of course they did voter suppression but mostly spend tons of $$$ on TV ads...

Obama and Wimpocrats on the other hand did spend a lot on the ground game....
The Republicans even lost the House in terms of popular votes as well but only held on due to gerrymandering...

"All your wealth will not buy your health..."

The $120mil spent on climate change denial since 2002 by Donors Trust & Capital Fund seems to have worked a treat.

I really like this kind of calculations! 80 mbpd equals the flow of the
River Scheldt in my hometown Antwerp, Belgium. Imagine the cloud of steam when it evaporates. That gives you an idea of the amount of CO2 we pump into the air.

Mankind created an extra river on earth. A river of considerable size, but a vertical one: from the soil to the air. This kind of comparison makes it more easy to explain our predicament to friends and family.

Not to mention the Rio Gas, the Coalstream and the Methanedelta... :-)

Blimey! Would you mind if I printed that on a tee shirt? >:-{

I get the 39. x circumference number, but the speed of the consuming train I get is a bit different.

8,000,000,000 ton per year / 100 ton per car = 80,000,000 cars per year

x 65 feet/car = 5,200,000,000 feet per year

x 1 mile/5280 feet = 984,848.5 miles (of coal train per year)

x 1 year/365 days = 2,698 miles of coal train per day (4,342 kilometers each day)

x 1 day/24 hours = 112 miles of coal train/hour (180 kph)

Did I miss something?

You are correct. Upon recalculation I arrived at the same result. I was using an online calculator and fouled up the input. If the space between hopper cars were included at five feet between each hopper we would get to approx. 121 mph. It might take 2-3 more years of global coal consumption growth to reach 136 mph. In any case, it’s a massive beast we’ve created that must be fed continuously at a faster and faster rate. There is a dopamine momentum, a pleasure related motivation for acquiring the Western lifestyle with A/C, cars, McMansions, well stocked groceries, clean water, modern medicine and so on, marketed by those willing to provide it at a profit. Unfortunately, long after the American dream and the fungal colony we call civilization collapses for lack of nutrition, the toxic side effects will remain for tens of thousands of years. Our minds are technological incubators in service to the insane ambitions of pleasure loving limbic systems. The doomsday bomb has already exploded and we've channeled its energies into our complex structures. We're so engaged by our "amazing" progess we have failed to see ourselves in the proper perspective.

Just wanted you to know that I found your initial calculation post, & this clarification one, to be mathematically lyrical, very visually/viscerally impactful, and have been spreading a lightly edited together version around, giving you credit, of course.

24 hours = 112 miles of coal train

I guess if we are going to get CO2 levels back down to 350 ppm, we're gonna have to keep the length of that coal train per day from exceeding 200 miles. (sarc off)

At the risk of depressing you further, here is another 2 GW of coal power coming on line.


According to James Hansen only one coal plant would have been enough to prevent the slow cooldown to the next ice age which would make this coal plant good thing. But somehow I have this feeling we're trying too much...

'rough ride' that's got to qualify for the understatement of the week!


Wow - love the visual...

How about an annual world oil consumption train? How many cars and at what speed would they wiz past me?

I'll take a shot.

83,576,000 barrels of crude per day / 714.286 barrels (30,000 gallon tank car) = 117,006 cars/day

117,006 x 59.52 feet between couplings = 6,964,197 feet/day

6,964,197 feet per day / 5280 feet per mile = 1318.98 miles/day

1318.98 miles per day / 24 hours = 54.96 miles per hour.

Crude, however, needs to be processed much more than coal. Running the oil train has added cars to your coal train for electricity generation and to your as yet unmeasured natural gas train to upgrade the heavy oil portion.

I'm a big fan of scale and time. Analogies like this seem to really put some things into perspective.

Take all the oil that has ever been burned for the past 150 years or so and burn it all at once-- say, within a few seconds. From a geological-time standpoint, that seems pretty much how fast it is and it might be equivalent to a meteorite impact of the kind of the effect-- maybe even far greater-- that wiped out the dinosaurs, but maybe especially also...

The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event, informally known as the Great Dying, was an extinction event that occurred 252.28 Ma (million years) ago, forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. It is the Earth's most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct. It is the only known mass extinction of insects. Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event, possibly up to 10 million years.

Researchers have variously suggested that there were from one to three distinct pulses, or phases, of extinction. There are several proposed mechanisms for the extinctions; the earlier phase was likely due to gradual environmental change, while the latter phase has been argued to be due to a catastrophic event. Suggested mechanisms for the latter include large or multiple bolide impact events, increased volcanism, coal/gas fires and explosions from the Siberian Traps, and sudden release of methane clathrate from the sea floor; gradual changes include sea-level change, anoxia, increasing aridity, and a shift in ocean circulation driven by climate change.
~ Wikipedia

Thank you for visiting Pangaea. Please come again.

Maybe all these extinction events are toughening Life up for the Big One -- when the sun expands.

And 5 billion years goes by (snaps fingers) just like that. 2.5 billion years, and before you know it, it's lights out.

Storage Solutions for Renewable Energy
Perhaps someone can inform me about Storage Solutions for renewable energy. AFAIK, the following 4 exist:
- pumped storage of water.
- large batteries
- spinning masses
- ammonia(NH4) or CH4

Which of these is the most practical now and in the future?

I've been following a somewhat novel approach that looks promising:


Pumped storage is very good when it's available, but if this solution pans out I would put it ahead of the other three.

This looks like a Stirling engine sandwiched between two heat exchangers....

My main question would be around the efficiency of the containers holding the cold and hot "mineral particulate"... given the huge delta between stored and ambient temperatures there would have to be leakage of heat/cold over time. This leakage would reduce efficiencies as the temerpature delta driving the Stirling would reduce.

I wonder what the efficiency of the process would be for seasonal storage rather than diurnal... I ask this as the output to storage ratio of 1:3 looks geared to relatively short term storage.

LNG storage tanks are fairly tight, thermally, as are other cryo-storage solutions. Plenty off off-the-shelf stuff there.

It's not a Stirling engine. From the FAQ:

The Stirling cycle is not suitable for PHES as, quite apart from the problems of realising it as a highly reversible cycle, it requires heat to be added and rejected at constant temperatures. This is incompatible with near-reversible cooling or heating a store material between two reference temperatures.

Efficiency must depend on maintaining a big temperature differential, which implies big physical size / small output.

Excess production capacity which are idled then demand is high is probably very energy efficient. For example ammonia , aluminium or whatever require relatively large amounts of energy to produce.

Then more electricity is produced than needed for other things the aluminium electrolysis is turned on. The efficiency will be almost the same although some more capital is needed for the excess production capacity and storage.

If this where centrally planned in a communistic country the electrolysis would be turned on then there is plenty of electricity available. In a market economy the aluminium plant will notice electricity is cheap and it is good economy to make as much aluminium as could be sold.

It may not be quite that easy. Take Aluminum production. Some of the energy is needed to keep the "cell" temperature up. If the electrolyte freezes a lot of money will be lost. And even operating at say half speed, likely reduces efficiency, and there may be thermal cycling going on, as some parts of the equipment cool/warm as the production rate is throttled. So we have two different issues. One, is lower capacity factors on the capital equipment, means that the return on capital (absolutely sacred to MBA types) is reduced. The second one, is how well does the system respond to changing the rate of production?

To satisfy the MBA types you supply electricity at a lower price on the understanding that the process will be stopped when demand is high.

I know Eskom has this type of arrangement with the gold mines which stop pumping water during peak electricity demand.

I think there is some of this sort of trading today. During a rare emergency, you can reduce our power, in return for lower rates. But, written in the contracts is some upper limit to the hours of curtailment, and it is quite low. In the all renewables economy curtailment 1% of the time won't cut it, the percentage will have to be much higher, and it will effect ROI.

80% round-trip efficiency -- which is what they claim -- implies about 90% one-way efficiency, so a COP in the range of 8 to 10. The only heat pumps that achieve that use a transcritical cycle at pretty high (but not outlandish) pressures. For argon, above about 720 psi. IIRC, transcritical-cycle heat pump performance is pretty sensitive to the temperature on the heat-rejection side, so they'll want a storage medium with high thermal conductivity. Pea-sized gravel is an interesting choice; rock for thermal mass, air channels for fast thermal conduction.

In short, plenty of engineering problems involved in making it work, but theoretically feasible.

I can think of at least a couple more that are at the demonstration level or better.

Pumped storage of air. The efficiency can be (apparently) 70% round trip, from electricity to compressed air and back. This level of efficiency requires the storage of heat removed from the air during compression.

There's a company working on compressed air stored underwater - essentially large polyester balloons that are inflated by a pump on the surface. They were scheduled to run a 1MW, 4MWh demonstration facility with Toronto Hydro in 2012.


Stored heat such as molten salt. This document (page 11) show a tank with 1.5 MWh capacity; it's 3 m in diameter x 6 m tall:


Batteries have the highest efficiency. Simple reason is there is no conversion, so no losses due to 'work' in the thermodynamic sense. There is also 100% efficiency turning electricity into heat, but you lose a lot converting heat back into work. Compressed air works, but I imagine anything more then low pressure would be pretty costly. At low pressure you can use natural caverns or possibly old gas wells etc, I'm not sure how well they would work at high pressure.

That's too simplistic. From the 10,000ft view perhaps the battery stores electrical energy so it is not converted into another form, yeah OK. But if the source is AC or at a different voltage than there are conversions and losses. That does not mean compressed air makes sense, but nothing is 100% efficient.

Excuse me, but there is most certainly IS a conversion - from electrical energy to chemical energy. A battery doesn't "store electricity". It uses electrical energy in a reversible chemical reaction. You charge the battery, and the energy is stored as a higher-energy chemical state that what it was when discharged. When you discharge the battery, you let the chemistry run "downhill".

Batteries are a form of pumped storage, when you think about it.

Good point - I should have thought about it a little longer.....

Just to chime in, the only thing that comes to mind that directly stores "electricity" would be a capacitor, and even that is a bit simplistic. We think of electricity as current, or flowing charge (electrons), while capacitors store electrons that aren't moving, resulting in a voltage across the capacitor plates. Under the right circumstances, this voltage can result again in flowing electrons.

Even then, capacitors can't be 100% efficient, because every voltage source capable of charging a capacitor has some internal resistance which results in power dissipation during charging. The math blows up if you try to connect an ideal voltage source to an ideal capacitor, because you'd have a circuit with voltage and no resistance.

Well, there is superconducting magnetic energy storage where the energy is stored in a magnetic field, possibly the most efficient existing method with > 90% round trip efficiency. 20MWh systems have been tested.

Capacitors are funny. A capacitor that is two plates in a vacuum, stores the energy as pure electric field. But usually we use dielectric material between the plates. This can increase the amount of charge stored (for a given voltage) by many times (the ratio is the dielectric constant). The dielectric works because the individual molecules can be polarized, either rotated, or deformed by the presence of the electric field partially cancelling out the field. So in some sense it is a sort of chemical energy as well. In any case, this shape change of the molecules isn't completely lossless. Dielectric constants are therefore frequency dependent. So with a dielectric capacitor some energy is dissipated in the body of the dielectric, and some is lost as resistance to current flow in the plates. Also some charge may leak through or around the dielectric.

Because the plates of a capacitor repel each other there must be something physical pressing them together which would store energy as strain energy.

Actually they attract (opposite charges). Ideally, there is no strain (movement). Even an ideal capacitor (perfectly stiff) stores the energy in the electric field. But a real one, will also store some elastic internal energy as well.

In reality there can be a piezoelectric effect; I've heard ceramic capacitors sing when the voltage across them pulsed at a few kHz. Fun. And intolerable--we needed to replace them with expensive film caps instead.

Oops. But if they attract there must be something between the plates holding them apart with a force equal to the mutual attraction. That would hold strain energy of compression.

Batteries, don't have anything approaching perfect efficiency. You have to have more than the chemical energy (per electron) required to drive charge into the battery, and less than that voltage to bleed charge off. To first order you could model this an internal resistance.

The most efficient storage is rotating machinery (flywheels), and ultra-capacitors, which can exceed 99%. Both of these also support high power (power per pound or quart is very high), but low capacity KWhours and high price.

One study I read suggests fuel cells as a storage medium (along with vehicle to grid and batteries) and that overbuilding the wind and solar supply and distributing it widely with a minimum of storage is the least costly method of providing a 90 % renewable grid.
Link to paper is below:



There are a couple others, but they require some flexibility in your expectations.

(Of course, more brittle expectations have the opportunity to hold fast, until they snap..)

One is that the energy gets stored at the end of the line, with the user as Heat or Cold, this taking the form of Freezers, Refrigerators, Space Heaters, Water Heaters and other such tools that will ultimately USE the stored temps, not that they would reconvert them back into electricity again. The tools to implement this already exist, (with some development still developing as far as the triggering and control of these appliances.. but generally not a real technical barrier.) in the form of various thermal mass materials, from ceramics, water, refrigerant and brine, to stone and sand.. plus piles and piles of insulation. Either storing more extreme temps in the same mass, or keeping some necessary and constant temps over a far greater amount of thermal storage mass. Space Heaters capable of storage are already in use, as Paul has shared with us from Nova Scotia. In fact, I have now signed up for TOU power pricing from Central Maine Power, and can apply the same technique with my Heat-Pump and 260 gallon thermal storage tank.

Another is the V2G and Electric Vehicles forming an end use storage, whether it becomes a source that feeds back to the grid, or simply is drawing current triggered by price signals, to be used for transport whenever needed, and at times feeding the power back to the vehicle owners who have other ways of applying the stored power.

These two, of course, build from very small stores of power, and only gain in broader support for the grid with a sheer mass of numbers installed.

I'm still a bit leery about V2G, with the high cost of vehicle batteries and difficulty of replacement. Cycling your Prius' battery when not necessary seems penny wise, pound foolish, though I don't have any data to prove this. It may be more cost efective over time to put in a fairly small lead-acid battery set and a hybrid/grid-interactive inverter. The price of these is coming down. I still have the dream of an all electric vehicle charged by PV (now at $.69/watt, pallet price, at that site: 5985 watts for $4130.)

BTW just ordered 40 more 235W panels. My wife and I figure what we don't use can benefit the kids in the future.

Gosh, Aug, how many Kw will you have? Careful, PV gets addictive ;-/

I'm building racks today, on the livingroom floor (another advantage of having slab floors). Almost ready to put them on the roof, but the wind picked up and the temperature is dropping. Tomorrow will be a nicer day anyway.

Damn, that is a great price. But sadly, those big 285 Watt panels are too much for the popular Enphase 215 microinverter.

But not the new Power One (Aurora) 250 or 300 watt MI.


Or the Enecsys SMI-S263W-72, if you're in Canada.

Alan from the islands

Nice. The 480 watt version specs show these things would be a near-perfect match for two of the Suntech 280s I linked to. Need to search out a price.

I'm still not convinced (at least my doomer id isn't) that micro-inverters are the way to go. A good hybrid inverter like this and a couple of good charge contollers would cost a little more than $4k and give you the option of battery backup. Assembly would be a bit more complicated, but none of this is really difficult, electrically.

Folks like Humbubba often express frustration that their grid-tie systems are useless in an outage. The 6Kw Xantrex inverter I linked to is on sale at my first link above, under $2900, add $1200 for two Outback FM80s, BOS costs likely won't wash, but they'll be close. The added versatility is worth the extra cost, IMO, and batteries can pay for themselves if one has TOU billing (charge at night, sell back during peak). Options worth considering.

Anyway, enough talk. I have PV to mount on this beautiful day ;-/

edit: The 480 watt inverter, doing all the math, wouldn't quite handle the two 280 watts panels I suggested, though the 240 watt version of the same panels (I'm installing now) would match up nicely. Too many irons in the fire today.

I'd be interested in links to pictures of your mounts if you're willing. I'm going to be building my own too. If you don't want to post them, my email is in my profile.

Thanks, August

Excuse the mess. That's Gutter, my roof dog, doing an inspection. Found him in a ditch on a rainy night. When he bit me, I knew he was a keeper; luv at first bite. Great squirrel dog too.

Our other arrays are in the background returning to their eastern stops. If you want some pics of how I built the trackers, let me know. Quite cheap to build. The rack I'm building now will be one of three, fixed at 35 degrees due south, each holding a string of four 240s (960 watts per, at 128 volts, 2 strings into our new FX80; not quite sure how I'll configure the rest. Hot water maybe, or split the string into our MX60 controllers (max them out).

Great! I'd be interested in the info about your trackers. I'm not sure about them here though, in fall we sometimes have winds of 35-40 MPH sustained with gusts to 50+. I'd think it'd be easier to build fixed mounts that would stand up to the winds.

I think if you have unobstructed sun, you know what you are doing, and you don't have trouble dealing with permitting/building then standard string-inverters are the way to go. They'll be cheaper per watt.

However, if you have trees, chimneys, or other things that obstruct some panels at some times, then the micro-inverters will make sure the shade only impacts the panels that are shaded. With a string, shading on one panel can degrade the performance of the entire string.

And if you want to build the system yourself, simplify matters for yourself, and simplify getting permits then micro-inverters are easier to deal with than string inverters. There is no huge DC voltage that you need to deal with. No DC shut-off. No string-sizing. All you need to do is get a 240V circuit with a shut-off to your roof. That is not too hard even for the week-end DIYer. The rest is all handled by the micro-inverters. Just look how simple this wiring diagram is:

It is nothing but a 240V branch circuit. If you can wire up an electric dryer then you can wire up a PV system with microinverters.

Some think DC optimizers might be a better option for shading issues. They are cheaper than microinverters, although don't save as much juice.

But sadly, those big 285 Watt panels are too much for the popular Enphase 215 microinverter.

Actually, for most parts of the world a 285w panel would be a good match for an M215 inverter. Though the M215 is limited to 60-cell panels and most panels over 250w or so are 72 or more, seems like.

It is rare that you're getting 100% of rated capacity from your PV panel. Most of the time, your 215w inverter will be putting out a fraction of its rated output. I'm in Hawaii and bought 250w panels, and I have never yet max'ed out at 215w per inverter, not even for 60 seconds in the summer.

My advice: oversize the PV panel wattage as much as possible to get a good return on the microinverter investment.

Undersizing the microinverter is probably a good idea.

Hopefully the inverter will protect itself during the 1% of the time the panel is putting out more power than it can handle.

What about using 2 panels? One facing East, One Facing West.

Yeah, I don' think the building inspector is going to be real happy when you submit plans to use a microinverter rated for 270W max with a 285W panel. Sure, it would probably work fine but you need to get it approved. And you might eventually fry your micro-inverter with too many really hot sunny days.

Warning: this is how it's done a lot in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Undersizing the inverter is quite common. The panels almost never produce more then 90% of the Wp-rating and inverters are built to 'take' the maximum current from the panel, if the panel produces more power then the inverter can handle and the inverter limits the current then the panel will raise the voltage in response. As long as the maximum voltage is kept below the max DC input voltage of the inverter then it's all right. Undersizing helps to get the voltage in the MPPT range earlier to maximize power production which compensates for the few times that the panels produce more power then the inverter can use.

On a hot day the panels produce less power because of their negative temperature coefficient. The moments a panel produce the most power is in late winter with freezing temperatures, a stiff breeze and a clear sky with white cumulus clouds. When the sun starts shining again when the panels are cooled down due to a cloud passing by and the cloud is redirecting some indirect sunlight on the panels as well, that is when they will deliver peak power for short timespans. Sometimes even more then the max rating.

Yeah, I get it. But none of that is going to impress the local planning department and building inspector when they see you planning to hook up a 285W rated panel to a 270W max rated inverter.

Far as I know, enphase micoinverters are always used with panels rated at higher wattage. It's the most common install here in Hawaii, M215 inverters, and the panel sizes range from 230-255w. That is, it's expected that the panels will be higher max wattage rated than the inverters.

I'd doubt if you can even find an installation company in the USA which is installing M215 systems with panels rated at 215w or less.

The planning department had no problem with my matching 250w panels to them.

Yes . . . it is a 215Watt inverter. It can handled larger panels. But the max rated panel is 270W which is much larger than 215Watts. But putting a 285W panel on a 215Watt inverter rated for a max 270W panel is pushing it too far and they would be right to reject such plans.

OK, if the specs are to 270w, that's what I'd recommend. Oversizing the PV input as far as you can get away with.

It's a nice bright day today and none of my 250w panels have put out more than 149w even in clear midday sun.

Now my impression is that the local permitting people have not a clue in the world, I doubt that'd be a problem, but one wouldn't want to blow out the inverters. It may be that 60-cell panels over 270w don't exist anyhow; I've never seen one.

You can always parallel 2 together. I'm say'n point 1 East and 1 West and go way over.

Slow day in my brain so I checked. The Enphase M215 specs for 60-cell panels are for "up to 270 watts or higher", which is an interesting way to put it.

Apparently 270w is the highest-wattage 60-cell panel now made, but enphase clearly is leaving itself some leeway to be used with any higher wattages that may come along.

I'll go back to my original advice, and say that when they do, they'd probably be a good match for the M215.

I have 26 215W panels in two strings for 5.6kW. It is common in spring for them to output over 6kW for several hours per day, so I don't think undersizing microinverters would be a good idea here in the high desert western US.

I remember hearing thats its best to overspec the inverter. This was a few years back, when panels were still pricy. But, the claim was the (string) inverter will last longer if it isn't being pushed too hard. Has this now changed.

Sorry, I don't have the raw numbers, but I can speculate :p

Assuming that most inverters fail because of capacitor failure then keeping the inverter as cool as possible is paramount. Working at the power limit for longer likely results in higher average temperatures as well, leading to faster degradation of the capacitors. A good cooling design and perhaps added forced cooling could counter this.

But no guarantees, just speculating.

Edit: Perhaps there is another reason.
A lighter inverter is cheaper, the inverter must be exchanged once or twice in the lifetime of a PV panel anyway and probably get cheaper in time. Put the money on the bank and buy a cheaper new one in 10-15 years. Even though the inverter might die earlier it still could be cheaper overall.

There are variations on CAES Compressed Air Energy Storage). The simplest method has very low round trip efficiency, but some methods have been proposed, which either store the heat/cold or do ??? to get to halfway respectable round trip efficiencies.

There is a class of battery called a flow battery, where the reactants are stored in tanks, and the capacity is determined by the size of the tanks/amount of chemicals. I think the largest is in trial near Fairbanks.

Flywheels, are expensive per Joule, but can deliver high power and react quickly. The one company pushing them (don't remember the name) went bankrupt, although the trial project continues. There might be a place for these as a bridge for cover rapid power ramps, which some of the other solutions can't handle.

Beacon Power, another little thorn in Obama's energy initiatives.

When funding new technologies you have to expect some failures. In fact, you have to expect a lot of failures. So I wouldn't be too quick to make political capital out of failure. You don't want to discourage the flow of money to experimental technologies that could prove important.

In this case, flywheel storage for instantaneous frequency regulation sounds like a good idea. Pity they couldn't make it work financially, but at least there's a working full scale proof of concept installation to gather data from. Neat installation too.


True. You should expect some failures. And actually the failure rate of this program is pretty small. But political opportunism being what it is, the few loses/mistakes can be endlessly touted. So the public thinks the whole program stinks/ was a ripoff. Now, if journalists did a proper job, the political opportunists could be put in there place. But that never happens.

Actually your programme is a failure if you don't get failures.

The idea is you are supposed to be pushing at the edges of the envelope of what's possible. You are supposed to be doing novel stuff and gaining winning competitive advantage from it. If you scope your programme such that few fail, you have been too conservative, and as such have failed to optimise the programme as a whole.

We used to work on expecting at least 20% failures. If you didn't get that, it was a black mark on the programme manager.

Agreed. The problem comes from having political enemies who will deliberately misstate the purpose in order to beat you over the head by touting any failures. The tactic (of the enemies) seems to be working. Of course if you are scared to death of any visible failures, you won't fund anything even remotely risky.

Now, in the case of marketplace failure, you might not need to have a project failure rate at all. Many of the projects were stuff like deployments (like a utility scale PV plant). These ought to be low risk and should command low interest rate loans, but currently the market hasn't been doing that.

The article up top posted about Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's bold plans to deal with rising seas in the 1 square mile Hoboken urban area were quite interesting. I have found her to be refreshingly candid and not beholden to vested interests and her thinking on Hoboken adaptations seems the same.

But I am curious what engineers think about this part of her ideas to protect Hoboken:

The mayor is also seeking money to buy two old industrial plots and a parking lot to install tanks to catch water in the southwestern end of the city, which suffered the worst flooding of the storm, despite being landlocked. Additional pumps would back up an existing one that was flushing out 75 million gallons of water a day after the storm.

Is there any way this could be utilized in some fashion for pumped storage of renewable energy? I would not expect a lot of storage but we are going to need all we can get in the not too distant future...

I think that Palisades Avenue on top of the cliff is about 250 feet above the Hudson River. That is probably not enough head. Palisades Avenue is actually in Union City and Jersey City. Hoboken is on the flats between the cliff and the river.

Merrill - I guess the first concern is physical viability rather than political.
Muncipalities and the state of New Jersey can work out the municipal sharing arrangements. Jersey City's reservoir is actually in Parsippany. Those kind of political arrangements can be made and are increasing under budget constraints with more small towns sharing schools, police and other municipal services instead of NJ's traditional "Home Rule" for every little town.

But I guess 250 feet is not enough for viable pumped water storage you are
saying Merrill?

thanks for the feedback!

Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project

The Catskill Mountains are home to a special type of hydroelectric facility that serves as a giant energy-storage device—the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project. Nestled beneath 2,000-foot-tall Brown Mountain, this project generates more than one million kilowatts of electricity in peak demand periods by drawing water from Schoharie Creek and recycling it between two huge reservoirs.

Actually it sounds a lot like the Belgian offshore island pumped storage - assuming there's a hole in Hoboken you can let the sea into ?


Back to canabuck's original question.

Storage Technology: Compressed Air/Gas, Flow Battery, Flywheel, Lead, Liquid Metal, Lithium, Magnesium, Mechanical Storage, Nickel, Sodium, Supercapacitors, Thermal

Pumped Hydro would be under Mechanical.

'Totally drug-resistant' tuberculosis spreads in South Africa
How would the demise of 1, 10 or 100 million people affect the oil markets? World population is growing at 90 Million per year.

My guess: it would only temper the crash from the point of view of the survivors. As will an outbreak of an ordinary flu amongst a weakened populace (take peripheral Europe for example.) It depends on the actual, and thus destructed, demand of the ones that are hit. When it hits subsahara Africa (like HIV does) the economical consequences are, sorry, moderate to non-existent.

Well, sadly, it probably would not affect the oil markets much at all if they occurred in Africa since their oil usage is already pretty low.

If all the Nigerians died, they would cease cutting holes in Shells pipelines, and thus increase Africas export of crude to the west. So I say it would add, not subtract, to the oil consumption.

Now if you make a virus that hit EU or USA, thats another issue.

I read a book quite a few years back that partially focused on the outbreak of drug resistant TB. One point that comes to mind was the accusation that it was actually WHO guidelines that had caused such resistant strains to take hold - i.e. the WHO had advised that when the first course of first line drugs did not work then another first line drug should be administered without first testing to identify the resistant strain.

In a first world country such a practice would have proved effective as the chances of a completely resistant strain emerging are small, however in the developing world where patients would often not complete the regimen it caused the strains there to develop resistance until the point that it was completely resistant to first line drugs. The book was written several years ago and from the sound of that article TB is now resistant to both first line and second line drugs.

If the resistant strain of TB ever became highly contagious (we'd know if it was highly contagious) then the world's population would be seriously effected and it would hit oil markets very hard. Our type of civilisation where we live in overcrowded cities is just waiting for a nice airborne disease to take hold - the fun part about TB is that is doesn't kill you nice and quickly but leaves you weakened but alive. This has the nice effect of making you a burdeon on society as you slowly waste away and a potential source of infection to others.

Drug resistant diseases - just another fun creation of the 20th century for us to deal with.

In South Africa TB drugs are available free from clinics. Poor people who feel better will often sell their drugs instead of completing the program. To counter this they take their drugs under observation. A wet market has developed for drugs which were concealed under the tongue. In extremely resistant cases the authorities incarcerate the patients to make sure they take the drugs and don't spread the disease.

I consider some kind of Flu or some fast moving bacterial disease as a greater threat. TB is a kind of disease that does not cause panic, it's latent and persistent and lot of people carry TB all the time without showing any effects at all, according to WHO estimates upto a third of the world population carries the TB bacteria without ever showing any symptoms. Eventually people will become immune to even drug resistant TB.

A 1918 like Flu pandemic is a different monster, it has the capability to freeze international trade and tip things over.

And now some news from your local vitamin C kook!

There used to be this doctor who Who practised in Los Altos, California. From an obituary:

"Orthomolecular" was a term coined by Nobel laureate Linus Pauling for nutrition and preventative medicine. In the early 1970s, looking for a treatment for his chronic hay fever and stuffy nose, Dr. Cathcart discovered the merits of vitamin C after reading Mr. Pauling's "Vitamin C and the Common Cold." He was fascinated with the idea that with the onset of a viral illness, the body can process increased amounts of vitamin C without causing unpleasant side effects. His research led him to coin the phrase "bowel tolerance theory of vitamin C," a concept that the more potent the viral disease, the higher the dosage of vitamin C that can be used for treatment. He wrote many medical papers describing treatment with vitamin C.

Here's his web page. It looks ancient by today's standards and looks like it would've been a blog if blogging had been started back when he set up that page, Don't know who is keeping it going now that he's no longer with us.


Here's a really interesting story, The Origin of the 42-Year Stonewall of the Successful Treatment of Polio with Massive Doses of Vitamin C

Here's an interesting thought experiment. I have a theory that appropriate doses vitamin C can cure simple teenage acne. Is it more likely that:

1) Medical researchers would go all out to prove that vitamin C, taken in dosages that most doctors consider extreme, can actually relieve the emotional trauma suffered by millions of teenagers worldwide, who have bad acne?

2)The manufacturers of various acne cures and treatments make sure that no research is ever done and if it is ever done, make sure the results never see the light of day?

Just askin'

Alan from the islands

Global Installed Solar Photovoltaic Capacity Reaches 100 GW Milestone


That's a lot of PV....
at 2 to 4 watts per cell (for crystalline silicon), 50 to 25 Billion cells.

I believe I read somewhere that global PV production capacity is currently around 90GW which means we could double the currently installed capacity accumulated over 20-30 years in just one year, next year!

To paraphrase Alan: best hopes for full PV production capacity demand.

Just thinking... if it's $5 a watt for PV, then a $5 billion investment would put up 1 gigawatts more of capacity. That's about the same price as nuclear. I hear in Germany it's closer to $2.50 per watt installed.

It would be trivially easy and cheap (relatively, especially compared to global warming and coal health effects) to double the capacity - except for the issue of not being able to make enough PV. If we went all WWII and put everything in it, solar could replace all coal pretty quickly. Adding in the cost of pumped storage would be an interesting exercise.

I'm not sure whether this is a hopeful thought or a depressing thought. Hopeful that we could or depressing that it seems pretty clear we won't.

One thing the DOE needs to do is create a 'Model PV Solar building code' that simplifies and harmonizes the code requirements for PV solar systems. And if your local country adopts the code, they get $X thousand to help pay for [whatever will make them happy]. (That is the standard way the Federal government gets state & local agencies to do something it wants them to do).

If they simplify the permit process it could greatly speed up and reduce the costs of PV installations. It would make it simpler for both professional installers and DIYers to put up PV systems.

As is, places have all sorts of conflicting and arbitrary rules requiring disconnects here, conduit if you do this, no conduit if you do that, this warning sign, this needs to be on the roof, that needs to be near the main panel, blah blah blah, etc. It is very annoying for the professionals and intimidating and incomprehensible for the DIYers.

This is something that SHOULD get bipartisan support. It helps alt-energy (for the lefties) by reducing burdensome regulations (for the righties).

But Nuclear supposedly has a capacity factor of 90%, for solar in Germany, I'd guess its maybe 9%. But $2.50 is expensive residential in Germany, I'd heard $2.24. 1.1 Euros (maybe $1.50) for commercial flat roofs. Should be even lower for utility farms. If you are comparing against Nukes, its not retail prices, but producer prices to compare against.

Even better, ground mounted large PV in Germany does not receive any feed-in tariff anymore. I.e. these large PV plants have truly reached grid parity, assuming they're still being built. I reckon such installations must be considerably cheaper then $2.50/Wp installed by now.

The price is less than 2.50 USD per watt, however, with the reduced FIT ground mounted PV farms are not longer popular in Germany, the best bet at the moment are projects on industrial roofs (<1200 EUR/kW) with an owner who needs large amounts of electricity during day time, e.g. farmers, small industry, supermarkets. In fact, according to engineer bureaus large ground mounted projects are dead in northern Germany, in contrast, wind power really gets traction.

Hoping that people can help me on this issue. I believe that the average family uses about 1000kwh/month. I have read somewhere that the difference in cost between fossil fuel based electricity and renewable is about 7c/kwh. Don't know if that cost differential is accurate and whether it includes the cost of back up generation to deal with the intermittency of renewable energy?

At 7c/kwh it works out to be about $70/month for the average family. Not inconsequential but probably less than what the average family is spending on their smartphone. My guess with economies of scale and improved technology that differential could be brought down to $35/month. That incremental cost is scarcely catastrophic. does suggest that a fair bit of resiliency can be secured at a fairly insignificant cost.

With regard to the question of intermittency rather than trying to make electricity 24/7 would not an alternative approach be to figure out how we can manage with intermittent electricity e.g. better insulated fridges, thermal masses (that can be heated and cooled when electricity is available) batteries of various kinds. Not saying that it won't require some life style changes e.g. families will no longer be able run off into different rooms but would have to spend more time together to share a single light fixture -who knows that might be a good thing.

No one I know has had a $70 electric bill in about 30 years.

Ron P.

Crazy was talking about the cost differential between grid electricity and PV, if I read him correctly. Regarding the intermittancy, some of us have been living what he describes for years now. No big deal; manage your usage like you do your checkbook, though, over time, managing such a system becomes second nature, almost transparent. Conservation can be habitual, especially living off grid. I cringe when I go places that clearly don't have this operational concept; one reason we aren't feeding the grid. We'd end up slummin' with spoiled gridweenies... and we don't worry about reaching grid parity, not at all, though, all things considered, we're likely getting close to that point.

Yeah, I regret ever taking that damn speed reading course. :-)

Administrative costs are usually half the grid bill. The value of the renewable electricity itself is going to vary with the local renewable resource.
I estimated that with PV in Edmonton, I break even if I can install a grid connected system for $3/watt given locations where I can mount the panels within my suburban setting. Residential wind generation is prohibited by a county bylaw and that resource is insufficient here anyway. Roof mounted PV requires professional installation by another bylaw. Ground based mounts have a theft risk outside my secured backyard, which is effectively in a shadowed well between October and February.
Going offgrid might be especially challenging in some areas. Winter insolation, in my area, would produce less than 10 kWh/month per Kwatt panel and that assumes you are prepared to sweep the snow off roof mounted panels every two weeks. The battery storage requirements just to keep minimal power for lights and enough heat to keep the pipes from freezing, in that season, would far exceed grid connection costs.
If you have to replace service payments for the local county linesman with outlays for a rack manufactured batteries, has your situation improved? I think urban/suburban dwellers are stuck with the grid in some locales, at least for backup where extended lulls occur.

Yeah, Mark, since many areas have little potential for RE, I think that makes it even more important for areas that have good solar or wind oportunities to implement them. Our county recently cracked down on larger PV installations; "spoils the view, hurts home values".

Do people have a fair chance to know when they are missing or being denied a good opportunity?

Primary residence installation is a questionable investment where I live, but summer insolation here is phenomenal. Thousands of summer cottages exist within 2 hours of my home and the expense of having a new rural grid installation is ridiculous, great oppoprtunities there and no awareness.

If we wanted RE to really take off, people need a personal property assessment of the potential. Any property owner gets an annual assessment of the land's value for tax purposes. A sharp banking institution linked to a respected installer/supplier could build a business strategy out of assessing RE potential and promoting it as an investment opportunity. Well, they could in places like Hawaii where the ROI period is reasonably short.

Fighting the home value arguement is difficult without getting numbers that support a value increase into the hands of voting residents.

Our county recently cracked down on larger PV installations; "spoils the view, hurts home values".

Spoils the view? Shingles look that much better? Hurts home values? Yeah, nothing hurts home values like having free electricity! Who would want a home with that?

BTW, sometimes local entities try enforcing laws/rules/regulations that they are now allowed to enforce due to solar access laws. Know your rights.

Regarding the intermittancy, some of us have been living what he describes for years now.

This might be where having perspective helps. Much of the rest-of-the-world lives with intermittancy; their appliances/HVAC are designed to cope and their behaviors adapt. And some of us adapted to it as well.

Didn't Boulding say "if it exists, then it is possible.

Coping well with intermittancy exists. We can deal with it.

Although I imagine first some will whine, look for the guilty party, and claim they're the exceptional case. But after the tears, they'll cope.

Most folks don't grok that they already live with intermittancy in some ways. How many folks play golf or work in the garden when it rains, or mow the lawn at night. Our species has always lived with cycles. Again, we've just gotten spoiled when it comes to limits.

I don't have one now, but my bills were usually about $30.00 the last time I was on the grid.
Except for propane, I'm utility free.

My monthly power bill is about $70, even including electric heat (southern Ontario). 1 person in a condo doesn't need much. Half the bill is regulatory fees.

My power bill for the last 9 months averaged $50/month (306 kWh/month), natural gas heat and hot water, electric dryer and cooking appliances, 2500 sq ft single family home.

Nothing compared to Ghung and others, but when Ron says nobody has a $70 electric bill, I was assuming he meant everyone's bill is higher, maybe he meant the reverse?

I live in the North so I don't need/use AC.


Ron - That's why I snatched up my 2,300 sq ft/2 story townhome for a retirement nest. That's what my bill runs during the low demand periods in the spring and fall. During the hottest months it runs closer to $160/mth. The previous owner (a Halliburton engineer) spent beaucoup $ on insulation and efficency. But I do live on a relatively low cost utility grid. But if it ever starts to get out off hand I have some nice flat roof spots for solar panels. Not much mass transit in my old refinery town but everything I need (except my current job) is less than a 3 mile drive.

My total electric costs:
2012 $457.57
2011 $493.80
2010 $656.66
2009 $697.82

That's for a 4 bedroom 3 bath all electric house. 1 person and 540W of grid tie solar since mid 2011, and SHW since early 2011.

Yikes! My neighbors' average bill is over $300. I was helping them work on reducing it, then they bought a new hot tub, and installed a refrigerator/ice machine in their outdoor grilling center. Party on...

I think this is getting confusing because some people may be referring to a per year cost and some people to a per month cost. Also, the cost of power varies widely depending on where you live. My first 300KWH or so per month are a reasonable $0.12/KWH . . but it goes up exponentially from there. 100 to 130% of baseline is like 18 cents/KWH. 130 to 200% of baseline is 30 cents/KWH!

Yeah, my bad. I've got 4Kw of PV stacked in my living room begging for sunlight. Kind of distracting ;-/

We rarely go over $70 in our 3500 sq ft old log house in NW Wyoming. We heat and cook with wood, have a solar heated greenhouse, heat water and dry clothes with wood and solar. We only use electrons for washing, lights, refrigeration, well pump + irrigation! and computers. 7.2 cents/kwh.

No one I know has had a $70 electric bill in about 30 years.

I had an (annual) bill of $65 last year. But I have grid tied PV. Before that during months when heating or cooling isn't required, that sounds about right.
Of course he was talking about a change of $70/month, not a gross bill of $70.

Sorry Ron,

We pay between $45 and $50 dollars per month here in BC. We have a pre-heat wood fired bronze water tank that stokes the 40 gal electric as used. Our heat is wood with occasional baseboard if we go away for more than a day. We all shower every day and use an electric dryer most of the year as it rains so much here. Our wood costs are around $150 per year as we get culls off the local dryland sort which works out to $350 for 12 cords....but it cannot be split by hand...needs a splitter. Our range is electric. I have looked at PV and it simply does not pay to install it here. I have been recording river flows for many months and that is out too. Being tidal our sustained flows are too intermittant. I built a windmill and set it up on a test bed to watch the wind stop for the two weeks it has been up. I cannot find alternatives that are reasonable beyond wood fired.

Thank God for BC Hydro. The two tiered billing rate is all the incentive needed to turn off the lights and watch the other loads.

The point of this is that regular folks can conserve and live like kings compared to the rest of the world. I just returned from a 'relative' visit down in WA. On the stay I noticed their 'fridge was bursting and knew that at least 1/2 would be tossed before eaten. Everyone drives everywhere...the outlet malls were so full that we passed on by without getting those new runners. (Not worth it). At night the heat turned on when everyone was sleeping. Lights left on all night including outside illumination. I think it is entirely feasible to have $70 dollar electricity bills in 2013.


Yeah, I cringe at the thought of paying $70/mo. We pay about $30 - $5 for the juice we use(~80kWh) and $25 for the connection. Hoping to end that soon and get this house off the grid.

The two tiered billing rate is all the incentive needed to turn off the lights and watch the other loads.

Paulo, do you have an approximate rate in $/kWh that you pay on each tier?

to Kindhearted


I am staring at the current Hydro bill. For sixty days at $.068/kW.h for usage only $87.18. Step two is at $0.10190....for a whopping 3 cent surcharge/penalty. Of course we never go over that. The step two threshold would kick in at 1332 kWh. We used 1282 for those sixty days.

There is a $9.03 conservation rate surcharge and of course HST which is toast April 1. For the basic electricity charge we paid approx $43.59 per month with various cash grabs/levies much like bank statements that bring it up an additional $5.50 dollars per month.

I believe the conservation charges is for fish stocking etc. and habitat restoration work.

Sorry for the delay getting back but I just retired and am now in school full time in order to get some further certifications.


Thanks Paulo for the information.

I'm at about 10.8 cents per kWh for all kWhs (plus customer charge).
Take advantage of those discounted kWhs that you have when you can.

Hi crazyv,

Over the past year, I had solar hot water and 14-247w panels installed. We use about a 1000 kwhr a month so we fit into the "average" BAU family. During the year, we saved about 55% on our total electric house electricity. So if you figure we use 12,000 kwhr a year, we saved 6600 kwhr at a total savings of $726 at $0.11/kwhr. The system cost us, without Federal and State subsidies, $28K. At this rate, the payback is 40 years. However, Duke Energy wants to rais rates 9.7% and the southern Appalachians have been reported to have reached peak coal.

Also, an EV can get around 30 to 40 miles on 10 kwhr of electricity while an efficient ICE car uses about a gallon to go the same distance. That works out to be $1.10 vs $3.40 today or a difference of $2.30/say 40 miles. If I drive 8k miles electrically, that's a savings of $3478. Instead of 40 years, payback is in 8 years.

Ghung is my role model for what I should/could do. I've re-insulated my crawl space, working on that EV, switching to more efficient light bulbs, growing some of our own veggies and looking into other ways of decreasing our ff footprint and ways of saving money.

I hope that answers your question.


Thanks, Peter, but I haven't gotten my wife on board with the EV yet. With our in-progress PV additions, we would have some spare output to put in an EV, and her round trip to work is less than 20 miles. If Subaru comes out with a PHEV there may be hope ;-/

She's always been a good sport about this stuff. Best to not push it (yet). Don't want a car payment, but the monthly on a Volt would be less than half of our ex-mortgage. Alas, no AWD, and our long driveway can be a bear in the snow.

Keep up the good work. Small steps make a big difference. My grid-tied friends recently got their consumption below their average production. It was a ureka momment for them, that they could actually do this. They're already looking for the next big thing.

Hi Ghung,

Four snow tires on a front wheel drive car goes pretty well in the snow, my prius works fine in the snow on pavement, but a long rutted deep snowy driveway, I would be toast. Maybe there will be a Ford Escape plug-in hybrid or maybe Suburu will offer one.


Fuji HI does have a "mild" hybrid Subaru in the works, but no all electric drive range option like the Volt. Won't fit our requirements, but it's a start...


Sounds like you need a Tesla Model X!

Only costs as much as a house...

Since you're pretty DIY friendly have you considered doing a conversion of an already existing 'Ru? Should be able to find one with a blown engine and decent body pretty cheaply.

Or, for a bit less, if one can get their hands on an Escape or Highlander hybrid, one could go this route: http://www.pluginsupply.com/

We're in process of receiving the components for our Prius 10kWh conversion. Will keep y'all posted on performance once it's done.

I ran across that website a month or so ago...very tempting. The Ford Escape Hybrid is just a front-wheel drive - uses the Prius transaxle.

What I haven't seen a good explanation of is how they keep the Motor/Generator 1 from over-speeding above the factory EV speed cutoff.


Let us know how much a pain the install is, too.

The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid may be what you need. It is not available yet but hopefully somewhat soon. It probably won't be cheap though.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is due to be released in the States in Jan 2014.

They are doing them in other countries for around the price of a Volt, for an SUV.

Highlights include ~25 miles of EV range at up to 75mph.

They can be used both to power tools and as an emergency power supply.

4WD is of course built in, without the complications of a transmission tunnel.

The 12kwh battery pack is said by Mitsubishi to be able to be charged twice a day for 10 years without significant capacity loss.
This to me indicates that they might have used the excellent Toshiba SCiB battery, which would also give great cold and hot weather performance, and would stand up to the 7,300 charges they talk about without bother.
They have previously used GS Yuasa batteries, but the Toshiba's are a lot better, so fingers crossed.

Much more information here:

They have been on sale in Japan since Jan 24th, and are available to order in the Netherlands for sale in July.
Australia and New Zealand are also early markets.

Looks like laboratory to production times of Li-ion batteries are going down. It's not too long ago that I first heard of the first Toshiba's SCibB prototypes. Better electron passage through the terminals leads to less physical damage through (dis-)charging and thus better longevity of the battery.

Toshiba SCiB & Mitsubishi: http://phys.org/news/2011-06-toshiba-scib-rechargeable-battery-electric....

Jeebness that looks promising. Why couldn't this have come out when the EV1 was being developed? Whhhyyyy??!!

I'm finding signs of licensing agreements all over the place. If the iMiEv (terrible name) has that battery in it - that would make it a smashing deal compared to the Leaf, which uses IIRC the lithium manganese, though it's kind of lame that they short-changed it up front - 62 mile range new! Ouch! It might still be able to beat out the range on a Leaf after a few years of capacity degradation especially in hot climates where the Leaf appears to be having large capacity losses due to LiMn's poor chemistry. Still doesn't forgive them for skimping so badly on initial range.


Toshiba have been producing lithium titanate batteries for years.
It is a very stable and durable chemistry, also produced by Altairnano, who use it in buses.
The problem is that it has been relatively low energy density, which Toshiba have now ameliorated by upping it to 20Ah, which makes it dense enough for use in cars:

They are working on further increasing the specific energy to around 150Wh/kg:


The Honda Fit EV uses the battery.
It is lease only, but leases are competitive:
(Peder Norby's comments)

To repeat, I don't have concrete information that the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV uses this, and have simply guessed that from the performance specifications.

Here are guesstimates of the price of the Outlander in the US, based on those in other countries:

'Pricing for the US has not been released.

However, pricing has been released for the Netherlands market in 3 trim levels as follows:

Intense+ € 43,490 ($56,807USD)
Instyle € 48,990 ($63,991USD)
Instyle+ € 51,990 ($67,909USD)

By comparison, the Chevrolet Volt sells in the Netherlands under the Opel Ampera nameplate at a starting price of € 46,265 ($60,431USD). In the US, the Volt starts at just under $40,000. Should the Outlander PHEV have a similar price ratio, it would start at about $38,000 in the US.

In addition, the Outlander PHEV should qualify for a Federal tax credit of just over $5800 which would put the final base price at around $32,000.'


Hey thanks, that's interesting. I understand the pricing for this new technology and production numbers, but I cycle to most of my destinations and can't afford such an expensive car for the occasional longer trip.

Tastes great! Less filling!

But, it's still a tall SUV design which weighs in at 4,000 lb and has 4 wheel drive. The specs list the miles per gallon for hybrid operation at 43.5 mpg, but claim 147.9 mpg during plugin operation using EU test mode. The drag coefficient is a not too good .33 and given the tall body style, it's aero drag will be rather high at freeway speeds. Still, it's a technological marvel...

E. Swanson

The VW/Audi group is bringing out a whole range of EREVs in the next few years, many of which will not be SUVs.

They are going for a Volt like EV range of 35-40 miles:

They will produce some BEVs, but think that PHEVs are the way to go for the moment.
As well as large SUVs like the Q7PHEV there will be plug in versions of things like the Golf and Passat.

Their new MQB platform also means that they can offer natural gas versions, and later fuel cell cars, which use natural gas around twice as efficiently as burning it in a combustion engine even after allowing for reforming losses.
Hydrogen can also be produced in a host of other ways as well as from fossil fuels, of course, and substantial input is going to come from things like wind and biogas right from the start.

For the last four years, (ever since we installed our solar PV system) our family has used an average of 16 kwh per day, or 480 kwh per month. Our PV solar system produced, on average 11.7 kwh/day. Our usage in those years covered two teenagers at home, two adults, all attendant electronic gadgetry,2800 square foot house, one large screen LCD TV, and electric back-up for our solar hot water system. Efficient appliances, some conversion to LED lighting. No air conditioning; heat and cooking via natural gas. No electric car, but two electric bicycles.

We are connected to the grid. We generally contribute electricity to the grid March - October, and take from it November - February. December is the worst month--least electricity and hot water produced at the same time kids are home during vacation gobbling up more energy.

We have time of use metering system, so I do shift our household energy use to off-peak (mornings and weekends) as much as I can. In this way, we buy energy at the low price and sell our afternoon PV energy at the higher peak price. The result has been an annual electric bill very close to zero for the previous four years. I also try to wash clothes and run the dishwasher only when the sun is shining so as to maximize our solar hot water (and also because I hang our laundry to dry outside.)

If we had to, I think we could operate our household with little discomfort at 12 kwh/day, or 360kwh/month.

I guess I wasn't clear in my question or hypothesis. I wasn't thinking so much in terms of the economics of individuals installing solar or wind rather than being on the grid. But more of a what if? What if all the power supplied by the utility was from RE. The transmission and administrative costs remain the same the only difference is the cost of producing the energy. To me that incremental cost (compared with the base cost of FF) at $70/month really is not that big. Specially, in the context of all the doomers who predict that civilization will end if we no longer have access to FF based electricity. Even if you double that cost to reflect embedded electricity in all the products we purchase you end up $150/month. Its not inconsequential but it is not the end of civilization.

I am curious- is it even possible to replace all FF electricity with RE or are there other insurmountable resource bottlenecks? If we can't replace all how much can we replace? It seems to me this is the strongest argument for moving to RE- if we are never going to be able go 100% to RE than we better ration our FF so that they will be there in long run.

I think first off you have to look at each region and what kind of renewable energy is available or ever likely to be cost-effective there. Mountainous areas usually have access to nearby hydro-electric while the eastern seaboard by and large does not, for example. The Germans are finding wind and solar can augment each other well, even in northern latitudes. Coastal regions could potentially make use of off-shore wind and tidal, the Midwest plains have prodigious amounts of wind, the southwest has prodigious sun, etc. And if we had a decent, robust electrical grid, some load balancing could occur between regions. (Love the video of the guy in Britain managing the entire electrical load for the country from one room as peak use spikes when everyone turns their teakettle on seconds after the credits for the TV show "East Enders" roll.)

Since American society squanders energy so prolifically, we really don't need to replace all fossil fuels with renewable energy, only about half of it. (Of course, that assumes no increase in population.) Higher energy prices would bring about significant behavioral change and higher energy efficiency through easy applications of current technology. (Insulation, programmable thermostats, LEDs, whole house fans, ceiling fans, bicycles, clothes lines, rail, light rail, etc.) And people will either end up living more densely (close to jobs and shops), or, if they remain far away from jobs and shops, will become mostly self-sufficient and not travel all that much. Again, in order for this to happen, energy from fossil fuel needs to become more expensive to create the appropriate price signal. Many Europeans countries imposed this price signal on themselves over a decade ago and have reaped benefits both in energy efficiency and in renewable energy capacity installed. Whether Americans will agree to this price signal voluntarily or wait until a natural disaster so horrendous occurs that we fear burning fossil fuels more than higher energy prices remains to be seen.

Our family did not find it particularly difficult to cut our electricity usage in half or our natural gas use by two thirds. We've also cut our gasoline usage and VMT in half as well. It just takes some investment and some willingness to pay attention to it.

Doomers are above all realists.

Think about it. Everything we talk about here could have been adapted by all more than 30 years ago. All of the price and economic signals were there. And the world could have agreed on population and migration control measures. And the United States could have begun to downsize its military.

And if we did all of those things, we could have had a reasonably prosperous, equitable world for our children and grandchildren. And much, though not all, of the technological advancement we enjoy would have occurred anyway.

But instead, we went on a debt binge and decided to give the oligarchs billions. Now, ask yourself...why did we do this? And when you answer the question for yourself, you will be a doomer.

Which is not to say that we shouldn't take action, but we should also be realistic about it. Actions mostly save individuals, families, perhaps local communities at most. The world system is beyond saving.

That is impressively low energy use for that many people. I gotta figure out what I am doing wrong. I must have some vampire load I don't know about. Or maybe my fridge is just really inefficient.

I read an interesting take on this. At the Dancing Rabbit ecovillage they decided first to go after behavior change (planful demand destruction?) and only then go after alternatives. They got their energy consumption down to 10% of the average American's. At that point, basic off-the-shelf alternatives easily got them what they needed. (my emphasis below)

Energy Use at Dancing Rabbit

The average American produces 5 times as much CO2 as the world average and easily 30-40% of that comes from energy used directly for things like transportation, home heating and cooling, and electricity. Any attempt to be sustainable must include a shift towards living within the ongoing flow of renewable energy, and away from reliance on fossil fuels.

At Dancing Rabbit, conservation is key. We’ve reduced our consumption to less than 10% of the average American’s for many things including vehicle fuel and electricity. Only once we’ve reduced our demand do we turn to alternative energy sources, like solar and wind, to meet our needs.

Dancing Rabbit energy use

I highly recommend you get a home energy monitor. Three that I've tried are The Energy Detective (TED), Efergy and CurrentCost. They all have a remote display that you can move from room to room and AFAICT all of them have models or options for connecting to a PC or the internet and getting pretty graphs as well as, at least a couple of them, help in identifying and tracking the power use of large loads. You can expect to spend between $100 and $400 and they all require installing sensors in your main circuit breaker panel so, if you're not the type that could replace a defective circuit breaker yourself, you will require about 15 minutes to half an hour of an electrician's time. All well worth it IMO.

Alan from the islands

I recently installed a BrulTech ECM1240 primarily to monitor a shared washroom. This device will monitor up to 7 circuits but typically you get 5 with a couple of 240 circuit monitors. So far I'm pretty happy with it, although their documentation is not too well organized. I considered their new product the GEM that monitors up to 32 circuits plus 4 pulse devices such as water or gas meters, but it would have run me over $600 as compared to the $370 for the 1240 kit.

It would be a good thing to have with a PV system. I'm still chewing on the decision of whether to PV or not to PV. Mostly the ambivalence has to do with some awkward shared property issues.

I purchase 100% wind/solar for a $.0099 per KWH premium. This brings my total cost to $.155/KWH. My solar system used to supply 100% of my home usage. Now I heat with a heat pump and charge an EV. The net additional cost for 100% renewable is $10.00/month during the winter. I suspect that similar options exist for many users.

I remain, as a person of average intelligence, in awe of the marvelous inventiveness of those few of us blessed; they're ability to problem-solve is quite impressive. However, mankind continues to clumsily grapple with long term thinking. All of the machines that assist us in our daily lives, including the so-called renewables, will not be here in fifty years, much less a hundred, and most probably less than twenty. All will need to be replaced, with stuff dug from the ground, using energy sources not easily replaced.

Life in the 22nd century... Hmmm...

Gloomy cheers, Matt

The thing is that we have a few people that are really smart. They invent and create things that are amazing and move our technology forward. But 95% are not that smart. We are the ones that build those things, package those things, ship those things, install those things, advertise those things, sell those things at retail, insure those things, use those things, etc. Most people don't have a clue how their cars work, where there water comes from, how a computer is built, where there electricity comes from, how oil was formed, how oil is drilled, how oil is refined, etc.

Now some of those really smart people are telling we need to use our miracle things less. We don't want to hear that. So we go into denial. We want them to invent technology to allow us to keep using our miracle things and cheaply. And we refuse to use our miracle things less. We have been warned. Our children shall bear the consequences if we refuse to heed the warning.

The MEEK shall inherit the earth.

Maximal Energy-Efficient Knowledge.

Something interesting
One-man bank keeps German village business running

GAMMESFELD, Germany (Reuters) - Peter Breiter, 41, is an unusual banker. Not for him the big bonuses, complicated financial instruments and multi-million deals. He is happy instead writing transaction slips out by hand for the 500 inhabitants of the tiny southern German village of Gammesfeld. "Why would I use a cash machine?" said Friedrich Feldmann, a customer sitting in the bank's small waiting room on his once-weekly visit to withdraw cash. "They cost money anyway."
The Raiffeisen Gammesfeld eG cooperative bank in southern Germany is one of the country's 10 smallest banks by deposits and is the only one to be run by just one member of staff.

I think this is a good example of what going local means, small banks have all but died today. The small lenders I know are all loan sharks waiting to wreck the lives of borrowers.

Breiter said the financial crisis prompted interest in his bank from all over Germany: "One person rang up five times asking for a 4 million euro loan but I had to refuse because he wasn't from Gammesfeld!"

Refusing a loan, imagine that.

This is mighty impressive news - electricity produced from wind is now cheaper in some nations than that produced from coal:


That also ties in with this article I found over the past couple of days. It's from May of last year but, I couldn't find any reference to it on this site. Seems to have slipped through the cracks!

The changing economics of solar PV

Bloomberg New IEnergy Finance (BNEF) has just released an excellent paper illustrating how the economics of Solar PV have dramatically changed since 2008. The paper’s authors are drawn from a diverse group including BNEF, the University of NSW, the CEO of Suntech, the world renowned (at least amongst energy policy nerds) International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, and even a staff member of Australian energy company AGL.[snip]

Their end conclusion is that solar PV is, or will shortly be able to supply electricity to residential households at costs below that from the grid across an incredible array of countries, which they illustrate in the graphic below based on an interest rate on finance of 6 per cent.

Alan from the islands

We are seeing an energy revolution right before our eyes. Shouldn't we be having a lot more discussion of it here?.

BTW. My house uses an average of 6kW-hr/day and we are doing just fine relative to all our friends. No sense of deprivation, Our highest grid bill for last 4 years was $32. We have now got it down to near nothing with our new 3kW worth of PV. Thinking of an EV, real small. Make one?

I have the Prius plugin, which is fairly wimpy as far as EVs go. The computer allows you 3KWhour of EV range. Got 80mpg on today's commute of 46miles. For short trips you sometimes make in on zero gas, though I've seen it turn on the ICE just for ???? I think Ford Energi has about a 50% bigger battery. Mine charges from 120volts in about two and a half hours. Get the guys with big batteries, and you might end end also buying a 240volt charge station.

At 6KWhours/day, I'd think 3KW PV would have you completely covered unless you are in a pretty cloudy climate. Our 2.4KW is averaging 11KWhour per day.

Gad! I've never seen more than 10 kw-hrs/day. Maybe that's the definition of "pretty cloudy", or, maybe we are just especially cared for, what with that nice little circle on the insolation map showing a deep pit right on top of us. Same with wind.

Looks like this place is the pits. That's good, nobody will come here.

I hope you didn't buy Australian panels! I knew a guy who got called in to troubleshoot a solar hot water problem in San Diego. They bought Australian panels, and followed the directions "Install on the north side of the building". Duhhh! You would have thought they woulda noticed the shade.

I rushed right out to check it out, and sure enough, our panels have a clear direct shot at the sun 40 south. But, between them and it, vapor trails! Looks like battle of britain right here all day every day, flyover country- the pits, and me with no fighters and no flak.

Look to Europe (France, Italy, Germany) my friend! All the sensible EVs are coming from there:

Renault Twizy
Bolloré Bluecar
Smartt ED
Mia Electric

and some light trucks:

Piaggio Porter Electric-Power

Alongside these two new additions is a revised edition of the Porter Electric-Power, Europe's best selling 100% electric, zero emissions commercial vehicle, with over 5,000 units sold to date.

Goupil G3
Goupil G5
Alke Electric Vehicles

These are all series production vehicles that are available in some European countries for purchase or for lease today! I think most here would admit that these are practical EVs, designed to do simple things, get you from point A to point B or to carry light loads from one place to another (not too far away). No bells, no whistles, no unnecessary weight. Pity, they typically cost more than a gasoline engine equipped equivalent (to buy).

Alan from the islands

Mia electric car

Price: £22,012 (inc. govt incentive); Top speed: 68mph; 0-62mph: 34sec; Economy: na; Range: 80 miles; CO2: zero at tailpipe; Kerb weight: 840kg; Engine: electric; Power: 13bhp; Torque: 43lb ft; Gearbox: single speed; Battery: 12 KwH; Recharge time: three hours

Interesting stats on that Mia. Too expensive, but 80 miles of stated range off a 12 kWh battery? That's 150 watt-hours per mile - pretty efficient. Surprised by the top speed off a 13 pony motor...it'll take you all day to get there, but it's more zippy than the Twizy at 45mph top speed.

I'd like to see something like the original VW 1 liter with an electric drive which got about 240mpg-diesel off an approximately 9 horsepower motor. With the added weight of a battery pack, bigger motor, and increased dimensions to fit the battery, my magical math tells me it should be able to do around 100 watt-hours/mile. At 100 w-h/m the pack in the Chevy Volt would provide approximately 112 miles of useable range and highway speeds.

It will be interesting to see how utilities, grid operators and their government protectors react to the growing portion of PV power in the mix. Especially when most of it is coming from small unregulated behind-the-meter residential installations. My guess is there will be some pushback, anti-pv regulation and propaganda about grid instability and such in the next few years.

My guess is there will be some pushback, anti-pv regulation and propaganda about grid instability and such in the next few years.

My personal view is that those utilities that choose to treat their customers as partners, with a stake in producing power for the grid, will prosper by finding ways to provide more services and technical assistance. While those that only see their customers as a resource to be controlled and exploited for their own gain and try to push back by being anti-PV, will eventually lose out. The rules of the game and the playing field are changing, some will adapt and some won't. Good riddance to the those that remain stuck in the paradigms of the past, they shan't be missed...

Come to think of it, I wonder if the first repercussions of a larger acceptance and installation of PV in the US might NOT be the 'grid storage' issue, and 'what do we power with at night?' question, but rather the situation that Germany has started seeing, where the old Peak Hours, during the day when businesses were drawing and paying for premium loads starts to be the time when private PV owners can start to bank their KWH directly with their own systems, and are also dumping their excess onto the grid and starting to challenge the profitability of the power that was once the bread and butter of the utilities and generators.

Methinks you have hit a nail on it's head!

Might explain any push back that occurs in the US.

Alan from the islands

when businesses were drawing and paying for premium loads starts to be the time when private PV owners can start to bank their KWH directly with their own systems, and are also dumping their excess onto the grid and starting to challenge the profitability of the power that was once the bread and butter of the utilities and generators.

Which is precisely why I think that those utilities that find profitable ways to partner with their customers who are also producing electricity from their own rooftops will be the ones that survive. The utilities' cheese is being moved. The ones that continue to look for it where it used to be will starve.

Thanks for your reactions. Looking for a nice discussion I find myself in agreement with all of you :D


European satellite confirms UW numbers: Arctic Ocean is on thin ice

Combining the UW model and the new satellite observations suggests the summer minimum in Arctic sea ice is one-fifth of what it was in 1980, when the model begins.

"Other people had argued that 75 to 80 percent ice volume loss was too aggressive," said co-author Axel Schweiger, a polar scientist in the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. "What this new paper shows is that our ice loss estimates may have been too conservative, and that the recent decline is possibly more rapid."

The report is in Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/grl.50193. The article has been accepted for publication, but the final version isn't available as yet:

CryoSat-2 estimates of Arctic sea ice thickness and volume

E. Swanson

Is there a glossary of acronyms used on TOD (The Oil Drum) ?
I'm sure some would find it useful.

No, I don't think there is. But if there were UW would not be found there. UW stands for University of Washington.

Edit: I stand corrected. There is one. Sorry.

The list does not contain WAG. I always wondered over that acronym.

There's also:

SWAG = Scientific Wild A$$ Guess

WAG (UK): - Wives And Girlfriends (with reference to rich sports celebrities)
WAG (US): - Wild Assed Guess (in other words "My estimate" or at least that is how I read it!)

Often hilarious comments can be found in letters to the editor: Letter: We need to expand U.S. oil production

Obama administration has reduced the number of permits by 36 percent when compared to the previous administration, according to the Washington Times.

Geologic reports also show that if federal land were opened up to drilling, the U.S. could have the potential to produce more oil than the Middle East and be energy independent by 2035.

Yes, it's all Obama's fault. If he would only open all that federal land to drilling then we could produce more oil than the entire Middle East.

The bottom line is that we can not replace fossil fuels until more reliable, affordable and abundant sources of energy such as hydrogen are available.

A reliable, affordable and abundant source of energy. Yes, that's hydrogen alright. /sarc

Ron P.

In the big scheme of things we almost couldn't do more damage to our planet than we are right now. It kind of makes me want to say, "Fine, drill anywhere, go for it". See what happens.

Take away the excuses & call the bluff.

I do bluff playing poker for quarters, but somehow I feel a bit reluctant doing the same with my life support system...

Yeah, I know, but then I believe we will burn that oil anyway.

Comments are open if any of you more oil-patch-savy folks want to respond, like ROCK; how many currently available federal leases are being bid on, etc.. The assumption that all of these federal lands are good prospects seems to be a widely held misconception. Are there many currently closed areas you guys are just itchin' and scratchin' to get your drills into?

The next lease sale is offering 32 million acres. The total number of lease blocks in the GOM is 29,089 covering 159.6 million acres. Currently here are 5,960 blocks leased and account for 32.2 million acres. Of that number 4,863 leased blocks (26.7 million acres) are not producing. Many of those blocks have been developed and depleted. They will expire within a few years of the last production unless new production is established. Those that haven’t been produced will automatically expire if no production is established. There are no perpetual fed leases: drill it or lose it or drill it, produce it, deplete it and lose it.


The majority of the Deep Water GOM blocks are already leased. Those blocks and the shallow water ones previously drilled, produced and abandoned comprise the vast majority of the 160 million acres in the GOM. The majority of the 38 million acres being offered in the next sale have already been offered at least once. A great many have been leased at least once, drilled at least once and many have been produced and abandoned. The last GOM lease sale received high bids on only 650,000 acres and the one before 2.4 million acres. That’s typical these days: less than 10% of the blocks offered even receive just one bid.

There are more fields left to be discovered in the GOM. But this is not virgin hunting ground. Nearly all of those DW tracts have been evaluated seismically many years ago and much has already been leased, drilled, produced and depleted. The shallow water areas has undergone many tens of $billions in seismic and drilling evaluations for the last 50+ years. In oil patch terms the GOM has already been heavily picked over. Is the govt estimate of billions of bbls of oil and trillions of cu ft of NG left in the GOM accurate? I don’t know. But if the companies only lease a small percentage of those blocks offered it won’t matter: if it isn’t leased it won’t get drilled. And if it doesn’t get drilled it won’t be producing anything.

Other areas: Not much confidence there are huge offshore reserves out of bounds anywhere with the possible exception of off the CA coast. Onshore: I have little contact with western prospect generators but in general there’s been very little interest in those feds lands even when most were available for leasing. And once again about the BS over the feds tying up the Green River Shale: there are hundreds of thousands of acres of GRS leases owned by private individuals and can be leased at any time just by writing a relatively small check. All it takes is a company that thinks it can make a profit from those leases. So far there have been very few takers of that bet.

It is really annoying how much of the right-wing backs issues based on stereotype and not on reality. They think Obama is a Democrat thus obviously Obama opposes all drilling. Of course in reality he proposed opening up more of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling (right before BP screwed it all up with the Macando spill), US oil production has risen faster in the last 4 years more than any such period in the last 30 years, and even in last night's SOTU speech he talked about more permits.

Of course they'll just whine 'well, that increase in production is all on private land'. Yes . . . BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE THE OIL IS! The oil companies are sitting on plenty of Federal leases where they can drill but I don't blame them for drilling where their best prospects are.

Sources of energy such as hydrogen? Wow. Facepalm. I don't even . . .

Fushion baby. It's coming. Soon. I heard that in 1972. The theory then was that it would be here but for the capitalists who were holding it back.

Fusion, the energy of the future, and always will be.
Except for the Sun, that is.
Doesn't seem to scale very well.

Scales fine to me. Want more power, buy more PV!

Alan from the islands

Good point!
But I was speaking of fusion on Earth.

...coming soon to a high-value target near you.....

I consider PV to be fusion. That's where the energy comes from.

Oh, OK. In that case I would have rearranged it like this

Fusion, the energy of the future, and always will be.
Doesn't seem to scale very well.
Except for the Sun, that is.

Sorry for picking nits.

Alan from the islands

Diesel shortage pushes Egyptians to the brink

I keep saying it . . . Egypt is in danger of slipping into the failed state category. Too little farm land, too little water, oil/gas drying up, way too many people, too many unemployed young people, a few different ethnic/religious groups, neophyte amateur government, and way way too much Islamic rage.

And between recession, wariness due to the revolution, and high airline ticket prices, I presume much of their tourist industry has collapsed.

I suspect much of the subsidized diesel is sold on black markets that arbitrage the subsidy money out to provide some a little extra income.

Egypt is in danger of slipping into the failed state category.

I don't think so. At least not yet. I believe this is ELM at work. They turned to net oil importer in 2010, but they exported again some oil in 2011.
 photo Egypte_zps5480bab9.jpg.
This only due to domestic demand destruction. Since "we" need their oil, they are not alowed to develop; they are not alowed to consume the oil themselves. So their domestic demand must decrease further. A civil war is a way to achieve that. But in a failed state context, it is too risky for Big Oil to go for the black gold. A certain level of security is still needed. I believe "we" will take care of that. Circumstances will take care of overpopulation and the rest of the problems you pointed out correctly IMHO.

I agree, but these things do not always work out so cleanly in spite of the plans. There is so much outside meddling going on there now I would not hazard any guess as to who is playing whom and how it works out.

In times of crisis, voters tend to vote for the populaist party. In Europe it is you local racist party. In the muslim world, it is the islamists. Now look at those partys popularity trends...

And to add to your list: Egypt makes cash from the Suez chanel. Now as the Northern Route is opening up, they get competition there too. Will take some more years to play out, but I guess summertime north-of-siberia sailing routs will be routine by 2016.

Watch the relationship between Egypt and Israel and the American response. We currently give tons of aid to both countries, but like everybody else we are going broke and will have to choose a side.

It's going to get ugly.

Well we give aid to both countries under the terms of the Camp David Peace Accord. Many people have been publicly whining about giving aid to Egypt such as Rand Paul in his Tea Party SOTU response. Asking 'Why are we giving F-15s to the Muslim Brotherhood' is obviously a politically popular talking point. But what happens when you reframe it as "Should we withdraw from our commitments to the Camp David Peace Accord such that Egypt and Israel will no longer have a functioning peace treaty?" . . . I suspect that would poll MUCH differently. I think the fact that Egypt just flooded smuggling tunnels into the Gaza shows that they still want to be in our good graces.

Yeah, it's not pleasant. I think the Islamists will have to be in power for a bit before people get sick of 'em, though. I have to wonder how they plan on keeping a tourist industry when they are not friendly to anyone from a non-Abrahamic religon and not on great terms with the Christians or Jews either (many of their tourists are Israelis). Egypt is known for its diving and Red Sea beaches, but how well those fit in with conservatives who think flesh is sin is still not clear. Perhaps the issues will force them into moderation?

I've also heard that there are serious problems with lawlessness and crime since the revolution. This could very well subside, but in the meantime it has got to hurt.

Unfortunately, the situation you describe means that even a very well run government will have serious challenges. The end result is far from clear and takes place in the context of most of North Africa being in transition of some sort. Sudan split up, Mali is in a state of civil war, Libya and Tunisia also are recovering from revolution... Not an easy environment. But they haven't been making the news like Mali, which is probably a good sign.

Stumbled upon this the other day...

How to get oil sands crude to the coast, minus the wrangling

Shipping bitumen by rail is an old idea gaining steam as pipelines go under the microscope

People like to have options, Perry says. He gave his first speech on using rail to move bitumen about 20 months ago at an annual oil sands symposium. But converts have been slow to materialize. “It’s a big paradigm change. Producers and buyers and refiners, they move oil by pipe or ship. But what we’ve proved is that when you pipeline heavy oil it costs a lot more than you think. You’re paying to move the diluent there and back. For every barrel you move to the market, only seven-tenths of it is oil and you’ve got to bring the three-tenths that is diluent back.

PipelineOnRail promises a solution. Pure bitumen is about as fluid as molasses. But there are two ways to make the stuff flow, Perry says. Using thinner is only one way. “What we do is heat it up. The stuff that comes out of those steam-assisted gravity drainage plants is pretty near 100 degrees Centigrade. They’ve injected that steam into the ground at nearly 1,000 degrees.”

--- snip ---

Perry points out that oil trains are in use elsewhere. “In Russia, around the Black Sea, they move a lot of heavy oil by rail because they don’t have the same pipeline infrastructures we have. If it arrives at the terminal and it’s cooled off a bit, these cars are jacketed and they have tubes running through them. You just run steam through them. It’s the same as you run molten sulphur or asphalt. They are actually called asphalt railcars.

Pitch drop experiment

Pitch is the name for any of a number of highly viscous liquids which appear solid, most commonly bitumen.

The most famous version of the experiment was started in 1927 by Professor Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, to demonstrate to students that some substances that appear to be solid are in fact very-high-viscosity fluids. Parnell poured a heated sample of pitch into a sealed funnel and allowed it to settle for three years. In 1930, the seal at the neck of the funnel was cut, allowing the pitch to start flowing. Large droplets form and fall over the period of about a decade. The eighth drop fell on 28 November 2000, allowing experimenters to calculate that the pitch has a viscosity approximately 230 billion times that of water.

I thought bitumen was a solid!

That's very interesting. I wonder if, at the ending of the one hundred years or so, the glass funnel would be left entirely clean?
That's if there's anyone left around to check, of course.

It will never be clean. The adhesive action between the glass and the substance would prevent that, I think that's an analogy for the oil under our feet as well. The last barrel or even thousands of barrels will never come out.

Yes. The aperture/molecule size ratio would have some influence on the rate of flow too, don't you think?

Ironically the glass itself is not a complete solid and will slump over time.

I'd heard that, and have since heard it corrected.. (..unless it's been further corrected since!)

The old window glass that looks 'slumped' was actually formed that way in a less sophisticated process, but there are samples of glass from thousands of years ago that have not 'flowed'..

"The notion that glass flows to an appreciable extent over extended periods of time is not supported by empirical research or theoretical analysis.. "

The observation that old windows are sometimes found to be thicker at the bottom than at the top is often offered as supporting evidence for the view that glass flows over a timescale of centuries. The assumption being that the glass was once uniform, but has flowed to its new shape, which is a property of liquid.[40] However, this assumption is incorrect; once solidified, glass does not flow anymore.

- Writing in the American Journal of Physics, materials engineer Edgar D. Zanotto states "... the predicted relaxation time for GeO2 at room temperature is 10^32 years. Hence, the relaxation period (characteristic flow time) of cathedral glasses would be even longer."[43] (10^32 years is many times longer than the estimated age of the Universe.)

- If medieval glass has flowed perceptibly, then ancient Roman and Egyptian objects should have flowed proportionately more — but this is not observed. Similarly, prehistoric obsidian blades should have lost their edge; this is not observed either (although obsidian may have a different viscosity from window glass).[34]

They used to make flat glass by spinning disks of glass which were thinner at the edges than the centre. They would cut the desired shape from the disk, and place it in the frame with the thicker end down, no doubt chuckling at the thought of how they would fool people in the centuries to come.

Love the very idea of an early glass craftsman even thinking of a 'practical joke' that would take centuries to play out. Not sure it ever happened (they'd have to envision future glass making improvements, for one thing), but love the thought.

I'm one of I'm sure many who've had to disabuse themselves of that mis-taught glass flowing meme learned as a kid. Can still picture the teacher & class where it stuck in my brain. Out, out damn pane...

What I don't understand is:

Why don't they just build the refineries right in Alberta, and then transport nice, clean gasoline, diesel, and road asphalt?

Refineries are very expensive and take many years to recover the initial investments. The oil sands producers have many $billions tied up in their operations...who's going to put up the refinery capex? Refineries require a fairly large skilled work force. Refineries produce air pollution. Canadian refineries would still have to buy the tar sands oil...it ain't going to be free. Refineries would have to export huge volumes of product...how would they and who would pay for that investment? The profit margin of a refinery will be determined by fuel oil prices many years in the future. Prices which historically have been difficult to accurately predict. Saudi Arabia has the financial capability of building refineries to process every bbl of oil they produce and export only products. And yet they don't. That might be a hint of why they aren't doing it with the tar sand production.

There are a number of alternatives to shipping the tar sands production out of Canada. The question remains what would be potentially more profitable and who would make that investment?

That's right. Oil refineries are hugely expensive, and there are already too many of them in the world. Global oil production is only going to decline, so building new refineries will be a money-losing investment. In oil sands, the money is to be made on the production end of the business, not in the upgrading or refining end. The existing oil refineries can be optimized to run bitumen much cheaper than new refineries can be built, so that is what companies will do.

...nice, clean gasoline, diesel, and road asphalt is a contradiction in terms. As I constantly have to tell people, oil refineries do not remove toxic chemicals FROM oil, they put toxic chemicals INTO oil!

Refined products like gasoline and diesel fuel are much easier to clean up than oil because much of the spilled material will simply evaporate. Bitumen seems to be the worst type of material to clean up if it gets into a body of water as it tends to sink to the bottom. The cost of cleaning up the 2010 Enbridge dilbit spill on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan reached $765 million last summer and the job still isn't completed.

My relatives have a cabin near Fort St. James in BC and the Northern Gateway pipeline would pass near there. Even people who have worked in resource extraction all their life and are really big on motorized toys are opposed to this pipeline. They see BC as taking all the risks of a spill while receiving little in return. The risk that British Columbian's are being asked to take would be a lot less if the pipeline only carried refined products.

I'm no oilman, but that reply sounds a little squeaky.

Just south of them, Great Falls MT has a refinery for very marginal production north of it. I think it was developed for the few nodding donkeys around Cut Bank, tho I'm sure there were more when it was built.

And why did all those refineries pop up around Billings? No production the size of the tar sands there.

Maybe Robert Rapier will chime in, I know he's worked upstream in the area.

Just a question that I can't seem to find the answer to anywhere. When the EIA talk about "Total Consumption of Petroleum Producs" Am i correct that this is consumption of refined products? The reason I ask has to do with refining capacity. Is a simple comparison of Canada's Consumption to refining capacity via the EIA database a good indicator as to the economic viability additional refineries?

"Obama proposed on Tuesday to divert some of the royalties from the boom in oil and gas production to invest in research for electric and natural gas vehicles and bio fuels, part of a plan to tackle climate change described in his State of the Union speech."

That is the exact approach I laid out in my book Power Plays. I suggested that we use government proceeds from oil drilling to help reduce our dependence on oil. This is the sort of approach that I felt could win support from both political parties.

I think there should be 'grand bargain':
-Open up ANWR for drilling
-Royalties from oil produced will be a % of market price (such that if the price of oil goes up, the people benefit from it too.)
-Royalties pay for green energy programs, EV charging stations, EV tax-credits, etc.

Those three points were all part of the approach I suggested. Government needs to make sure that they are getting a fair price in return for allowing the oil to be extracted. We would earmark that money for programs designed to reduce our oil dependence. For instance, I suggested giving everyone a $2K (or whatever) rebate for buying a car that gets >45 mpg.

spec - "Royalties from oil produced will be a % of market price (such that if the price of oil goes up, the people benefit from it too.)" That's how the system has always been: if the price of oil/NG doubles then so do the royalty payments to the govt. Of course, if the price of oil/NG falls so does the govt royalty check. BTW the govt has collected many $billions from the oil patch in the form of lease bonuses from blocks that never did produce oil/NG. There are no rebates for dry holes. Been a long time since I've seen the stat but the govt has received a huge percentage of the total offshore revenue (royalties + lease bonuses + oil/NG sales)from the offshore leases. A much higher percentage than the standard royalty rate. But consider there was an easten GOM lease sale that brought in over $1 billion to the govt from lease bonuses and not $1 of production was ever taken from those leases. During the late 70's boom it wasn't uncommon to see individual 5,000 ac lease blocks go for $150+ million each. And when prices collapsed in the 80's many of those leases didn't recover the price of the bonus let alone the cost to drill and produce those leases.

I've mentioned it before: that boom, as a result of the huge amount of capex spent (read: wasted), did more economic damage to the oil industry (when prices fell) the any other event I've seen in 38 years. I was working as a development geologist in the GOM at the time and not one field I worked on recovered 100% of the capex spent (lease and drilling costs) to bring them on line. Many projects were approved using oil price projections of $60-80 per bbl. Thanks to the long time lag between leasing and first production those economics didn't pan out so good as oil skidded to less than $15/bbl. Of the 4 companies I worked for 2 went under and the other two were financially crippled for years but survived. That bust is also why there are no longer the "7 Sisters"...the original Big Oil clan. Texaco, Mobil Oil, Gulf Oil...who dat? LOL.

"Royalties pay for green energy programs, EV charging stations, EV tax-credits, etc." Govt royalty income is the single largest revenue source after income taxes. About $10 billion/yr last time I looked. It goes into the general fund and is currently being used (and always has been) to run a portion of the fed govt. Using it for green energy programs is fine but those monies will be taken from existing programs. Unlike Norway's sovereign fund the US govt didn't save that income but instead both parties used it to keep the voters happy. It's a zero sum game: spend the royalty anyway you want but it isn't some extra pile of money sitting there idle.

EDITORIAL - Lesson from a convention centre

For years, the noise from tourism interests was deafening. Jamaica, they argued, was missing out on convention business, because of the absence of an adequate facility to host significant conferences.

What is now noticeable is that none of those who talked loudly, and with such certainty, felt compelled to risk their capital on the venture to reap the rewards.

Eventually, the Jamaican Government, with approximately J$5 billion borrowed from China, built a state-of-the-art convention centre in Montego Bay that was expected to gross nearly J$1 billion in its first year of operation.

In the two years since it opened, the facility, as was reported by this newspaper on Sunday, has had only a trickle of business - and little of that from abroad. What it earns is not nearly enough to service the Chinese loans, much more meet its other expenses.

In other words, Jamaican taxpayers, through the Urban Development Corporation, have to cover an additional J$400 million annually for maintenance, plus pay J$230.4 million (US$2.4 million) to a United States-based company, SMG Worldwide Entertainment, for the management/marketing of the facility. Then there is another J$7.7 million paid to a US-based salesperson who is supposed to market the convention centre in America. These, combined, come to nearly J$640 million a year.

This is a continuation of a story from Sunday that I linked to in the wekend DB. In my DB post I quoted a comment that I had submitted. My comment was only approved after I removed all references to Peak Oil and by then, the next day's edition of the paper was on their web site, so I was very pleased for the opportunity to resubmit my comment. This time the comment was published fairly early on Tuesday and placed energy firmly in the middle of the debate by outlining what the ROI would have been, had the money spent on this facility to date, been spent instead on wind turbines or solar PV arrays. If you scroll down to the comments section of the article, you should quickly figure out which comment is mine.

Alan from the islands

Address energy crisis - Hyman

Financial Analyst Ralston Hyman wants to government to state how it plans to address the country’s energy crisis.

Reacting to the announcement of the National Debt Exchange Programme yesterday, Hyman noted that the country’s biggest problem is not its debt, but underproduction and overconsumption.

He says the country cannot produce efficiently and competitively because the cost of energy is too high.

Hyman maintains that any strategy to grow the economy must include an energy component.[snip]

He maintains that the Government should work towards growing the country out of debt instead of contracting its way out of debt.

Financial analysts warn against public sector cuts

Speaking at an Economic Forum at the Mona School of Business last evening, Dennis Chung said addressing the inefficiency in the sector must be paramount before any decision is taken to cut jobs.

I believe this Economic Forum is an event I attended late Tuesday evening. My business has been keeping me fairly busy so I missed most of it and only managed to catch the tail end of the question and answer/comment section. Well, I got the microphone and dropped the bomb.

- I told the assembled panel of experts and the audience that I had a major concern about energy, energy having been one of the topics of the discussion.

- I told the room about this web site I have been reading for the last five years that has as it's theme "Discussions about energy and our future" and the fact that energy issues are picked to pieces on this site by a cadre of extremely well informed individuals.

- I described how world oil production has been struggling to increase since 2005 (should have said "despite some of the highest oil prices the world has ever seen") and that based on information available to me, I had formed the opinion that it would probably not increase much past where it is now, if at all.

- I said that, despite the hyperbolic news to the contrary, Saudi Arabia was in far more danger of becoming the next USA than the USA becoming the new Saudi Arabia and that, the only way US oil production would exceed that of Saudi Arabia is when Saudi production falls to below that of the US.

- I informed them of an international body called the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and it's affiliates ASPO-USA and ASPO-Europe that, have as part of their mission analysing the effects that declining availability of oil will have on the world or their particular regions.

- I said I was hoping to see the formation of an ASPO-Jamaica to examine the implications for us.

- I then asked what discussions if any were happening to prepare Jamaica for a world experiencing declining oil production.

The response was, "Ok, good point, any further comments or questions?" but, at least I feel like I have thrown down the gauntlet. One fellow who spoke subsequently said something about disagreeing with me but, I said my piece so at least it was out there to be agreed or disagreed with.

There were a few university students there, seeing as it was taking place in one of the lecture rooms on the university campus and one fellow said he couldn't understand why the LNG product had been dropped, if it had so much promise of reducing the cost of electricity. He got a brief answer from one of the "expert" panellists but, I decided I would talk to him, one on one and boy, did I set him straight!

I spent a few minutes with him describing the properties of Natural Gas and the differences between how it's delivered to market, that is, pipelines versus tanks of compressed gas versus tanks of cryogenically cooled liquid. I described the different markets and pointed out that things had happened (Fukishima) that had altered the prices and hence the feasibility of the LNG project. Finally, I pointed him to this site as the ultimate resource for all things energy. He thanked me, took my email address and assured me he would be in touch. Let's see how that works out!

After the meeting also spoke to the Financial Analyst in the first linked story, who was also a panellist and seems to be a popular "talking head" around here. I pointed out to him that, most of the current fleet of generating plants in Jamaica were installed between the 50s and 60s when oil was dirt cheap and that, we could end up in the same pickle we are now, as long as we depend on imported fuel to generate our electricity. He thought that was a good point so, let's see where he goes from here.

It may have all been an exercise in futility but, I have posted links about terrible investments that have been and continue to be made in BAU infrastructure in my neck of the woods and if no one raises these issues, there is absolutely no hope that anything will change until TSHTF and has been duly dispersed everywhere! The tenor of the debate around here has been getting more frantic and contentious so, I think the time is right.

Alan from the islands

Elon Musk has posted the logs associated with the NYT Tesla article.

Also, testimony has begun on the sinking of the Bounty.

Chief Mate Testifies

Rotted Frames on Bounty

My initial suspicions that the ship was not built to last are being shown correct.

Disgraceful. Captain Bligh would not have allowed such conditions.

The NY Times reviewer, John Broder, posted a response to Musk's claim yesterday afternoon. He promised an update when Tesla posted the logs; it hasn't appeared yet.

Not sure the logs will add any light. They aren't the raw data, and Tesla so far has refused to release it. In any case, it sounds to me like this was more misunderstanding/miscommunication than intentional malice on either side. The Times was reviewing the charging system, not the car. At least, that's how they saw it. Elon Musk saw it differently.

Wired has some info about this war of electrons, now with some graphs from data released by Tesla.
Musk should have used a positive attitude to promote his product and company.

Data released by Tesla Motors late Wednesday night directly contradicts a damning review of the automaker’s Model S sedan by The New York Times.

Tesla claims the data, pulled directly from the electric sedan’s on-board computer, proves that New York Times reporter John M. Broder never completely ran out of energy during his extended drive of the Model S, despite his account to the contrary.


That response was just from Elon's initial comments. The logs and a blog post are now up. Broder's behavior is definitely suspect and it shows he was trying to get the car to run out of charge. And he did not accurately state what happened.

I don't think Broder's behavior is suspect. Musk is not exactly known for his commitment to objectivity.

Who's Lying: Tesla or the New York Times? Maybe Neither.

I think it's a tempest in a teacup. Musk probably wouldn't even care about it if not for that looming earnings report.

Do you think Elon faked the logs? The logs contradict Broder's claims of putting it at 54mph in cruise control and driving at 45mph. Either Broder lied, Tesla/Elon faked the logs, or the logs do not accurate reflect the same as what is put on the car's dash display (which seems unlikely).

I'm not very trusting of Elon, he has stretched the truth in the past, and he certainly has reason to do so here. So I tried to check up on his claims. One strange area was the claim of:
"The above helps explain a unique peculiarity at the end of the second leg of Broder’s trip. When he first reached our Milford, Connecticut Supercharger, having driven the car hard and after taking an unplanned detour through downtown Manhattan to give his brother a ride, the display said "0 miles remaining." Instead of plugging in the car, he drove in circles for over half a mile in a tiny, 100-space parking lot. When the Model S valiantly refused to die, he eventually plugged it in. On the later legs, it is clear Broder was determined not to be foiled again."

The log data:

I thought maybe this was a false narrative. I thought, well maybe he had to pull off the freeway and then drive through a little local traffic before getting to the charging station. Nope. He could have pulled straight into a charging spot. The Super-charger is at a rest-stop right on the free-way. No starts & stops required at all, not even a turn required except to pull into the charger spot. Take a look at the Super-Charger station:

So what the heck was he doing with all that 0.6 miles of driving in this little rest stop?!? Can you come up with any other reason for him driving for 0.6 miles in there other than trying to deplete the car's battery? If he wanted to eat, surely he would set up the charger first and not use the drive-thru McDonalds. (Again, unless he was trying to deplete the battery.)

That Slate article didn't seem to add any useful facts to the situation.

I know Elon stretches the truth himself . . . but I doubt he would go so far as to fake the logs.

Given that the speedometer is a digital readout, there shouldn't be much room for argument about how fast the car was being driven. The logged speed is more what I'd expect on I-95. Going 65 will get you run over in MD, so averaging 70 there is reasonable.

On the other hand, the speeds given by Broder are about 6 mph faster that the logged speeds. Is the speedometer display and the logged speed coming from the same variable in the same MCU? Or is it possible for these to be different?

Would be great if Tesla released the raw GPS trackfile including timestamps on all trackpoints.

But then they might not like to acknowledge they are capable of collecting that much data from their cars.

The link I posted has been updated, and Broder has responded, point by point.

Broder says the "driving around the parking lot" was trying to find the charger. He arrived in the dark, and the charger was unlit and poorly marked.

The Slate update also has these interesting points:

As for some of the numerical discrepancies between Tesla's data and Broder's account, Broder didn't have a great explanation other than that he wrote what he had taken down in his notes. That leaves open the question of whether he fudged things a bit or whether Tesla's data is wrong. But Broder points out that the car came with 19-inch wheels and all-season tires rather than 21-inch wheels and summer tires, which in theory could help explain why some readings were slightly off.

Meanwhile, the auto blog Jalopnik offers a possible solution to the mystery of how Broder could think that the battery died entirely at the end of the ill-starred journey, while Musk insists that it had charge remaining. A source told the blog that a secondary battery that powers the control panels might have run out of juice first, and once Broder turned off the car, he couldn't turn it back on because the 12-volt battery is needed to unlock the parking break. That would be a mistake, but again, not something you could expect Broder to know without being told.

It sounds to me like most of the "discrepancies" Musk points to are because of things his own employees told Broder to do.

My initial suspicions that the ship was not built to last are being shown correct.

It was built as a movie prop. Why would anyone expect quality?

And was to be burned in the final scene.

Let me guess... Someone offered to buy it, so they figured a CGI burning was cheaper than the sales price. Maybe they fudged the data, so the customer thought he was going to get a well built ship, not a jury-rigged prop.

Close, but not quite.

Bounty was scheduled to be burned at the end of the film, but actor Marlon Brando protested.

Marlon threatened to walk off the set.

Ah! A mutiny on the Bounty.



Can anyone point me to a study that analyzes the investment and time required to move from gasoline to ng powered vehicles on a wide scale? Some people I talk to seem to feel this will happen naturally and without much fuss.

Behind a pay wall, but...

MEG Files For 3,000 Bbl-A-Day Partial-Upgrading Project

MEG Energy Corp. is preparing to dramatically increase the scale of its testing of a partial upgrading process the company believes will enable bitumen to be pipelined without diluent. MEG also believes the process -- called HI-Q -- can convert bitumen into a crude oil that will have broader market reach than either diluted bitumen (dilbit) or synthetic crude oil.

"The HI-Q process seeks to improve the economics and lower the barriers to entry for converting bitumen into product oil with broader market reach than dilbit or synthetic crude oil, requiring no transport diluent and with higher market value than dilbit," the company says in a regulatory application filed with the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board. "Broad adoption of the process will reduce Alberta's dependence on imported diluents and make better use of the available crude oil pipeline infrastructure delivering Alberta crude to United States and global market," the application says.

While the process does improve the value of the crude by eliminating the need for transportation diluent, MEG hesitates to call it "upgrading" because it is essentially just improving the viscosity

Despite what many people want you to believe, the only real difference between "tar sand" bitumen and conventional heavy oil is viscosity. Bitumen is too sticky to flow through a pipeline, so companies have to dilute it with expensive condensate or synthetic oil to get it to flow ("dilbit" or "synbit"). Alternatively, they can upgrade it to synthetic oil, but this just duplicates the front end of a heavy oil refinery, and many modern refineries (e.g. The ones on the Gulf Coast) could process crude bitumen if it could be delivered to the refinery gate.

This new process reduces the viscosity of the bitumen so it will flow through pipelines to the refineries without adding expensive diluents.

RE: Sunlit Permafrost Unleashes Carbon at Faster Pace

That article has the phrase:

Carbon dioxide is spewing into the atmosphere more quickly than previously thought ...

(Sunlit Permafrost Unleashes Carbon at Faster Pace). That phrase and others very similar to it are popping up everywhere like dandilions in spring.

One has to wonder about the theory that the human species is the most fit to survive as a process of natural selection.

Especially since more than any other species, homo sapiens have to have a very solid grasp of the future in order to be fit to survive.

From your linked article:

The findings suggest thawing Arctic soils could function as a "positive feedback" that amplifies climate change, whereby warming soils release more carbon dioxide that helps drive up temperatures, melting even more soil, according to the release.

We've all heard about positive feedbacks in regards to AGW, but the question is how fast that process could speed up? The question becomes even more poignant as we keep seeing previous predictions of these processes fail, from how fast ice loss would occur in the arctic, or glaciers would recede to how quickly carbon dioxide would spew into the atmosphere from thawing permafrost. Unfortunately, even though these processes/trends are well under way, for whatever reason scientists are still catching up to the speed these feedbacks can accelerate the process. Either that, or people are innately incapable of predicting natural processes, and as such we need to disregard whimpy play it safe projections of just how fast we could get our butts whooped.

The issue with these findings was that they weren't expecting the soil to collapse and therefore expose fresh permafrost to the sun. It speeds the whole process, and when you have 24 hours of sun up there, any feedback like that is quite a biggy.

It's issues like this that almost always force our models to underestimate the feedbacks. Very short term changes like this tend to be positive feedbacks.

Another data point on the danger of chairs...

Forget about busting your buns on the treadmill. A small new study suggests that you’ll be healthier if you spend your time taking long, slow walks – and standing instead of sitting whenever possible.

For those who detest working up a sweat at the gym this might sound too good to be true. But researchers have found that it may be more important to reduce your hours sitting than it is to exercise vigorously, according to the study published in PLOS ONE.

I wonder if it's not so much that exercise is good for as that sitting is bad for you.

That would be good news for the 10% of people for whom it appears exercise is unhealthy.

And bad news for the country's truckers

I've basically converted my drafting table to stand up desk, with a cushioned pad on the floor, like the ones that many retailers have.

I've basically converted my drafting table to stand up desk

Smart move on your part. I took the back off of my computer chair, forcing me to keep my upper body erect with much better back posture and circulation. When I originally did this I could only last 15 minutes, but now the back muscles are stronger I can last about an hour, which helps limit time in front of the CRT. As for my job I'm on my feet in my workshop/s so no problem getting enough exercise. Thighs always a little sore at end of the day.

I've had a kneeler chair at my computer for about fifteen years now. That and an orthopedic mattress were the best investments I ever made for my dodgy back, along with getting rid of my car.

I have always thought that walking was the best exercise. You get those big muscles in your legs moving the blood around, and there is minimal wear and tear on your joints (vs. running, which I used to love, but had to give up for other reasons).

Also, if you have a nice place to walk, preferably in Nature, it is very good for the head as well.

And you don't need to buy any special gear or anything.

I think I'm going to go for a walk...

What I've never been able to figure out is those people who go out to exercise but slow down as soon as they start running.


I've spent most evenings this week doing some work in a park next to the hotels in one of Kingston's busiest business districts. Once I get to the park before the 9 t0 5 crowd gets away from work, I can park and unload my gear easily. Once the mobs arrive, not so much since, all the parking spaces anywhere near to the park are filled. The irony is that many of the people who come to the park to jog or walk went to considerable lengths to upgrade their social status and acquire cars so that they don't have to walk and heaven forbid, take the bus. Now they have to drive to somewhere that they can walk and get some exercise!

Alan from the islands

I worked with a guy who was fit and healthy and still working at 80. He watched his weight, didn't drink or smoke, did yoga etc. He told me his female relatives had all "died of knitting". It was sitting all day knitting and gossiping that killed them off, he believed.

Forget about busting your buns on the treadmill. A small new study suggests that you’ll be healthier if you spend your time taking long, slow walks – and standing instead of sitting whenever possible.

Shucks. I guess I should take the magazine rack out of the bathroom :-(

Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks
Anonymous billionaires donated $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science

Hardly a big surprise. The bastards should be up on Crimes Against Humanity charges.


Greetings All,
I've been lurking at this site for two years now. Lots of smart people with interesting and diverse opinions. Me, a 34 year petroleum geologist, not quite as experienced as the site-fav ROCKMAN, hence, the moniker Rock-jock, to denote my "youthfullness".

Last week at the NAPE conference in Houston, I found out about this little project....http://www.industryweek.com/strategic-siting/g2x-energy-build-13-billion-natural-gas-facility-louisana

Natural gas to Methanol to GASOLINE !!!! voila!

You can read more about the company G2X Energy with a google search.

As long as the shale gas lasts we'll all be swimming in gasoline, and I can drive my seventies muscle car with vigor and impunity.

As long as the shale gas lasts we'll all be swimming in gasoline, and I can drive my seventies muscle car with vigor and impunity.

ROCK-JOCK, glad to have you on TOD.
You can drive your sports car now without impunity (lack of punishment). It may be cheaper to do so if the natural gas to gasoline you mention comes to fruition.

R-J: Did you happen to see an old geologist hobbling around on "polio crutches" at NAPE? That was the Rockman. Other TODsters have offered the merits of methanol conversion of NG especially for all that stranded/flared NG. Maybe some will chime in.

A 34 yo petgeo...now that's a rare thing these days. So you got out of school around 2002 and started school around 1996-98? What happened...got drunk one night and woke up in a Geol 101 class and couldn't escape? LOL. That's what happened to me in 1970. Welcome abaord, your poor bastard.

No, NO Rockman, you misread....I'm a 34 year practicing geologist. Started with EXXON in 1978. Not 34 years old....I'm an old fart like you, just not quite as old as you. I considered putting out a sign at NAPE "Rockman of TOD stop in" 'cause I figured you would be there. I dont recall seeing anybody on polio crutches tho. Love your posts.

Best Regards, R-J

R-J: Yep..as ussual read too fast. Not being very mobile I sat at our booth the entire day while my cohorts roamed the GRB. I had my crutches hidden under the table. Looks a tad odd to see a cripled VP Operations.

As long as the shale gas lasts we'll all be swimming in gasoline, and I can drive my seventies muscle car with vigor and impunity.

Tongue in cheek I presume?

Yeah, sarc...

Rock-Jock, absolutely! Now a rant..............
You can thank all the nice "green aware" motorists for purchasing hybrid, electric and high mileage vehicles that allow you to keep burning in the way you have grown accustomed.

And Obama says to make available more of those modern vehicles to fight climate change. Does everyone believe that? I'm sure they must because electric cars are lauded every day on TOD. What Obama is really saying but which flies right over the heads of the build it, sell it, buy it smarties is "we must maintain BAU to allow us to burn the fossil fuels we need, to keep the economy strong".

So for a little mental exercise, imagine if the world was not increasing the use of wind mills, solar EV's etc. What if we were still driving cars similar to those made in the sixties and seventies. The trend for atmospheric CO2 concentration has continued upward and unabated regardless, we burn 8 billion tonnes of coal and a cubic mile of oil every year. So tell me what has renewables, electric trains and alternative personal transport achieved? What they WILL achieve, is to allow peak burning for as long as possible.

The USA will never leave surplus oil in the ground. Any oil the USA does not purchase and import would help Greece, Spain and Portugal out of their economic disaster.

The demand for oil worldwide is at peak and so the burning is too. Since the seventies world population has more than doubled. We add seventy million people to the planet annually and every day I see written on TOD "baby steps are good".

We need to get honest. Admit the alternate energy things we purchase and use are not going to help anyone but ourselves. They are simply (for those that understand) basic self preservation. We are in fact making things worse by supporting the habit of FF use. Manufacturing and selling hybrid, Ev's windmills or whatever are not non profit, they are not made and distributed by a benevolent society, they are a business venture, they make rich people richer, they are a consumer item, the bread and circuses.

The big SUV a muscle car drivers must crack a smile ever time they see an EV.

You are describing Jevon's Paradox, which states that the more efficiently you use a fuel the cheaper it becomes and the more gets consumed.
The answer to the paradox is to measure the savings and hike the price back up with a direct tax on the fuel until the fuel use declines. They do it in many democracies in Europe. If you say it can't be done in America, then you are saying that Americans need to ask the Germans how to run a democracy.

If you say it can't be done in America, then you are saying that Americans need to ask the Germans how to run a democracy.

No mention of democracy in our Constitution. If anything, the elite at the time were terrified of the common man.
They are less so now, as the media and economic control is almost complete.

I don't think lasting economic control is possible without stable resource use. We will get something different and maybe a terrifying period for both elite and common man. Maybe that's a good thing.

I'm describing no such thing. China is your Jevon's and if it wasn't China it would be Russia or Brazil or Mongolia. Think for yourself but all the same your thinking is childishly naive.
We are burning at peak right now, increased taxes increase revenue and helps conserve a dwindling resource and enable a continuance of the status quo.

Taxes were not increased overnight, they were generally indexed, now that growth is gone taxes are not increasing. They are and were a source of government revenue. If you use your vehicle commercially, fuel consumption is a tax deduction. Governments perfectly understand the importance of cheap fuel to economic prosperity.

It would be easy to legislate for necessary changes, tell me why it hasn't happened? Changes like seriously taxing vehicle use, licenses and registration. Make the burning of FF's prohibitively expensive. Why is exploration and production of FF's encouraged? I'll tell you why, it's because BAU is necessary to an administrations survival and you are the consumer required to keep the charade alive.

The alternative to my thinking is what ... embittered fatalism? All things must eventually fail, our lives, our society, everything in the universe. So what? We can choose to live in negative regret or to at least try to be positive in the face of what appear to be slim odds. Which is the more regrettable form of insanity hopeful self-delusion or regretful despair?

I've tried prolonged and deep depression. It didn't work out for me.

I've never resigned from any game I've ever played even when there was no longer any chance of success and I hope to apply that to life as well. My attitude and emotions vary with my experiences like any one else, often flippant, sometimes irreverant, occasionally thoughtful, but never resigned if I can avoid it.

Is there little to no chance that the powers that be will ever do the right thing? So what? The right action is to always propose what you believe should best be done, no matter who disagrees, because once in a rare while the right action is taken and if it isn't you still stood for something.

We are living in a time of irreversible resource destruction and an unfolding mass extinction event. Is that your point? It does not mark the end of time.

We don't know all the answers, and for that reason alone, I retain hope. There may be a future yet for humanity and opportunities for lives worth living in a changing world. If so, arguing for behaviour change remains logical, sensible, and the responsible action to take on behalf of generations that yet may come.

If you see that as being childishly naive, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Mine will be different and occasionally I will state it.

Last year Sasol announced a GTL plant in the same area. They appear to be different projects, with G2X using Exxon technology and Sasol its own proprietary technology.


Lake Charles, Louisiana, (USA) – South African-based energy and chemicals company, Sasol, today announced it will proceed with front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase for an integrated, 96 000bbl/d gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility and a world-scale ethane cracker with downstream derivatives, at its Lake Charles site in southwest Louisiana.

Has this been posted ?

Saudi Arabia Energy Profile: World’s Second Largest Oil Producer Behind Russia – Analysis

Saudi Arabia produced on average 11.6 million bbl/d of total petroleum liquids in 2012. In addition to 9.8 million bbl/d of crude oil, Saudi Arabia produced 1.8 million bbl/d of natural gas liquids (NGL) and other liquids.


Mv - Many here are aware. You might want to check the net and see how production distribution has changed over time. Some facts might surprise you. At one time the US produced a great deal more oil than all the ME combined. And NG production: the US and Russia have swapped the title back and forth of biggest producer over the last 50 years. Often the US was the largest NG producer on the planet so our current status isn't really much of a surprise.


Interesting link. What I thought was significant from the EIA report was the highlighed quote, 2012 Saudi oil and NGL production. 11.6 million bpd, that's an all time high annual average, and a noteworthy increase over 2011.

Was that already posted/discussed on here ? The EIA report was last updated on February 11,2013.

Here is a link to the actual EIA report:


Your response and non response leads me to ask: Is the subject of Saudi oil production taboo ? New poster, just wondering.

Not taboo.. but the daily threads get abandoned pretty quick, so your question might not get seen.

It's worth considering the number of wells that SA is pushing out this amount of Oil and NG through, and whether that number of sites is really a growth in their overall output ability, or just the freedom to burst into a costly sprint since the price has stayed so robust, and the oil market grows more competitive with the exporting list of countries shrinking and shrinking.

I won't be back to this thread.. the topic will come up again, and again.. etc........

Just a question that I can't seem to find the answer to anywhere. When the EIA talk about "Total Consumption of Petroleum Producs" Am i correct that this is consumption of refined products? The reason I ask has to do with refining capacity. Is a simple comparison of Canada's Consumption to refining capacity via the EIA database a good indicator as to the economic viability additional refineries?

more to worry about.. Solar farts - Article on The 1859 Carrington Event.

LT, Don't understand why you are posting this Dec 2, 2012 article? Other than some CGI, I don't see anything new.

The Carrington event is often brought up here.

Almost comical

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Current Event Notification

... failure of an industrial radiography exposure device, ... camera,... The source did not crank back into a closed and shielded position after use.

* * * UPDATE [9 days later]

"The Licensee supplied additional information... showing the effects of heat on the equipment. The radiography was being conducted at a solar power generation site. The mirrors were rotated down so the radiography could be conducted. The guide tube appears to have partially melted. The manufacturer recommends not exceeding 200 degrees Fahrenheit for the equipment. The steering wheel of their truck was also melted.

"The Licensee is now conducting their work at night."