Drumbeat: March 8, 2013

We Live In An Age Of Energy Abundance

What will it take for us to realise that the doom-mongers and peak-oil theorists are wrong, and that we live in an era of energy abundance?

We are not lacking in evidence. Over the past 20 years, global oil consumption has increased by thirty per cent, but proven reserves have increased at twice that rate. The IEA has said that there are many sources of uncertainty surrounding future oil supplies, but the size of the resource base is not one of them. Today’s proven oil reserves are sufficient to provide for over fifty years of demand at current rates. If estimates of undiscovered resources and future improvements in technology are included, this rises to almost two hundred years.

BP CEO: ‘Peak oil’ talk quieted by abundance

HOUSTON – BP CEO Robert Dudley said booming oil-and-gas production from sources including onshore shale formations and deepwater regions has defeated arguments that global oil production will soon peak and go into an irreversible decline.

Dudley, in a speech, noted projections of overall global demand energy growing by over a third by 2030, including the need for around 16 million more barrels per day at that time.

But he said that the ability produce from oil-and-gas reservoirs that were once out-of-reach will enable supply to keep up.

Is Peak Oil A Myth?

We were supposed to be close to running out of oil right now, but we have more than ever. But is that actually more dangerous than having none of it?

Brent Crude Falls to 2013 Low as Pipeline Flow Resumes

Brent crude declined to its lowest level this year, erasing this week’s advance, as flows increased through a North Sea pipeline after a five-day halt.

Brent futures dropped as much as 1.8 percent to the lowest since Dec. 26. The Brent Pipeline System in the North Sea is “approaching” its targeted flow rate of 80,000 barrels a day, an official for Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA), or Taqa, said by phone today. The system had an unplanned halt on March 2. West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed, paring losses after the U.S. added more jobs than forecast last month.

OPEC to Boost Shipments on Western Demand, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will raise shipments this month in anticipation of a rebound in demand as refiners in the U.S. and Europe finish maintenance, according to Oil Movements.

Snowy Roads Aren't Putting a Damper on High Gas Prices

With all the snow on the roads, one would think that would be put a damper on gasoline prices. Not so. They have increased about 50 cents a gallon this year to about an average of $3.80 a gallon. And the kids haven’t even gotten out of classes for the spring break. What’s going on?

New York Gasoline Sinks to 1-Year Low on Imports

New York Harbor gasoline weakened to the lowest level in almost a year as U.S. East Coast imports increased and nationwide demand for gasoline declined.

North Sea Buzzard share of Forties output hits lowest level of year: BP

London (Platts) - The UK's Buzzard oil field contributed only 16% of Forties blend output in the week of February 18-24, down from 33% the previous week, BP data showed Friday.

This is the lowest contribution of Buzzard to Forties seen so far in 2013, and BP did not provide data for previous years.

U.K.’s Record Norway Gas Need Spells Price Jumps

The U.K. has never been so reliant on natural gas from Norway, raising the possibility of higher prices when supplies to Europe’s biggest market for the fuel are disrupted.

Gas for same-day delivery surged 64 percent to a seven-year high on March 4 after a power failure cut supply from Norway’s Ormen Lange, Europe’s third-largest gas field.

Ethanol Outpaces Gasoline on Longest Supply Drop Since 2010

Ethanol outpaced gasoline as plant shutdowns led to the longest streak of weekly supply declines since October 2010.

The spread narrowed 3.74 cents to 68.73 cents a gallon a day after the Energy Information Administration said ethanol inventories fell for a fifth week to a 13-week low and output slipped for the first time since Jan. 25.

This Time It's The Same - And That's Not Good

We are trapped in an era when the average hourly wage buys a de minimus amount of energy and just as we saw heading into 2008, this relative price surge is occurring just as the macro-economic data itself is rolling over. This time it's the same - a double-dip in macro surprises driven by relative gas prices.

Nigerian Lawmakers Reveal Regional Divide in Oil-Bill Debate

Nigerian lawmakers split along regional lines as they began debating a proposed law to reform regulation and funding of Africa’s biggest oil industry.

A plan in the bill to set aside 10 percent of profits from oil companies’ operations in Nigeria for communities in the southern Niger River delta, home to the country’s oil industry, was opposed by senators from the north, who argued that oil-rich states were already getting too much federal revenue. Southern senators backed the plan.

Gazprom Scores Big in Israel

The mammoth Russia state gas firm Gazprom signed an agreement last week in Israel that not only solidly improves its commercial liquefied natural gas (LNG) strategy, but also looks set to shift the geopolitical balance in the strategic Mediterranean region in the company’s favor.

India May Halt Iran Oil Imports on Refinery Insurance

Indian refiners including Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. may be forced to halt purchases of Iranian crude as local insurers refuse to cover the risks for any refinery using that oil, a company executive said.

Liberia says to ink oil deal with Exxon, COPL

DAKAR (Reuters) - Liberia will sign off on a deal giving oil major Exxon Mobil and its partner Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited rights to develop an offshore oil block, a presidential spokeswoman said on Friday.

Landing the world's largest private sector oil company will add heft to Liberia's nascent oil industry. The deal comes as the impoverished West African state is seeking to overhaul its petroleum policy and bolster transparency.

Russia Says 'No Gift' to Norway in Maritime Delimitation Deal

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denied that the 2010 maritime delimitation deal with Norway was Moscow’s “gift” to Oslo, as a number of Russian media outlets recently put it.

The Russian-Norwegian treaty on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean came into force in July 2011. The document was signed in September 2010, after nearly 40-year-long talks to define the exclusive economic zones and delimitate the continental shelf.

Interior Dept. Nominee Is Questioned on Public Land Use

WASHINGTON — Sally Jewell, President Obama’s nominee for interior secretary, deflected many of the questions she faced at her confirmation hearing Thursday but made clear she supports expanded oil and gas development on public lands and waters, including exploratory drilling off the North Slope of Alaska and seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Obama Interior Pick Championed Outdoor Jobs Over Oil

“Protecting America’s parks, waters and trails is about protecting the economy, the communities and the people whose lives depend on the ability to play outside,” Jewell, president of Recreational Equipment Inc., told the 22-member governors’ group at a resort in Washington’s Cascade mountains.

Selling fleece jackets, fishing poles, skis and kayaks -- REI’s business -- is a $646 billion industry, making it a bigger part of the U.S. economy than manufacturing pharmaceuticals or refining gasoline, according to an industry report Jewell highlighted that day.

Vattenfall axes 2,500 jobs amid low electricity prices

The Swedish energy group Vattenfall said Wednesday that it would axe 2,500 jobs, including 1,500 in Germany, by the end of next year owing to excess supply in Europe's electricity market.

Keystone Fails Texas Common-Carrier Test, Court Is Told

TransCanada Corp. faces court arguments from Texas landowners that its plans for the Keystone XL pipeline to transport Canadian tar-sands oil to coastal refineries don’t give it the right to condemn their property.

One farmer, in an appellate hearing today in Beaumont, Texas, seeks to build on a state Supreme Court decision and what may be a groundswell of support for property rights and environmental protection in a state whose laws and courts have historically accommodated the oil and gas industry.

BP, Transocean Officials Botched Tests, Witness Testifies

The rig’s crew misinterpreted results of negative pressure tests done April 20, 2010, that showed the Macondo well was unstable, Richard Heenan, a Canadian engineer who has supervised off-shore drilling projects, told a judge yesterday in a trial over spill claims. The U.S. government contends the botched tests led to the blast, which killed 11 workers and sent more than 4 million barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf.

“I couldn’t believe, based on what I saw, that the people on the rig came to the conclusion that this was a successful test,” Heenan told a federal judge yesterday in New Orleans. The handling of the check “was a gross and extreme departure” from accepted oil-industry standards, he said.

As Fracking Increases, So Do Fears About Water Supply

CARRIZO SPRINGS, Tex. — In this South Texas stretch of mesquite trees and cactus, where the land is sometimes too dry to grow crops, the local aquifer is being strained in the search for oil. The reason is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling process that requires massive amounts of water.

“We just can’t sustain it,” Hugh Fitzsimons, a Dimmit County bison rancher who serves on the board of his local groundwater district, said last month as he drove his pickup down a dusty road.

Nuclear plant inspections need to improve: report

(Reuters) - More than one-third of U.S. nuclear power plants suffered safety-related incidents over the past three years, and nuclear regulators and plant operators need to improve inspections to prevent such events, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said in a report on Thursday.

Looming Cuts Add to Problems at Nuclear Site

Nature might, in the end, bat last at Hanford, in deciding whether the land can ever be healed, but in the meantime government policy and spending decisions are running the bases.

“I’m very disturbed that at the very month that we have six new leaking tanks of radioactive material, the sequestration hits, which could result in the furlough of several thousand people,” said Mr. Inslee, a Democrat and a former congressman.

Japan: Flooding Complicates Clean-up at Nuclear Plant

REUTERS - Tokyo Electric Power Co is struggling to stop groundwater flooding into damaged reactors at its wrecked Fukushima plant and it may take four years to fix the problem, possibly delaying the removal of melted uranium fuel.

Propane: It's not just for barbecues anymore

Home satellite TV provider DISH Network Corp has signed a deal to run 200 of its trucks on propane, in the latest indication that the niche fuel could soon rival natural gas as the United States' cheap transport alternative.

Once considered a low value by-product of oil refining and natural gas processing, used primarily in home heating and in industry, propane is now being used as a fuel in some new school buses and trucks around the country. That is happening as businesses like DISH look for ways to move away from dearer gasoline and diesel so that they can cut their fuel bills.

The Peak Oil Crisis: An Electric Car in Your Future?

Every now and again some good news shows up, so this week I am going to share it with you. It has to do with electric-powered cars.

Noam Chomsky: Will Capitalism Destroy Civilization?

There have been serious debates over the years about whether capitalism is compatible with democracy. If we keep to really existing capitalist democracy – RECD for short – the question is effectively answered: They are radically incompatible.

It seems to me unlikely that civilization can survive RECD and the sharply attenuated democracy that goes along with it. But could functioning democracy make a difference?

Why Our Current Way of Living Has No Future

All of the sordid and spellbinding rackets working their hoodoo on the financial scene have obscured a whole other dimension of the fiasco that America finds itself in, namely the way we have arranged the logistics of everyday life on our landscape – the tragedy of Suburbia.

I call it a tragedy because it represents a sequence of extremely unfortunate choices made by our society over several generations. History will not forgive the excuses we make for ourselves, nor will it shed a tear for the tribulations we will induce for ourselves by living this way. History may, however, draw attention to our remarkable lack of a sense of consequence in transforming this lovely, beckoning New World continent into a wilderness of free parking. In any case, we’re stuck with what we’ve done, and the question naturally arises: What will we do now?

Windfarms 'about creating wealth for Ireland', minister says

Speaking to Midlands radio, Rabbitte said: "This is about jobs and creating wealth for Ireland.

"Why is the emphasis on the protest and not that we are creating new jobs in a sector that is renewable and brings down the cost of energy to Ireland? It creates a whole new possibility, it's a sector that wasn't there before."

Proposed Dam Presents Economic and Environmental Challenges in Alaska

At a time when large dams are being taken down, not put up, the state of Alaska is proposing to construct one of the tallest and most expensive hydroelectric dams ever built in North America.

Egypt hungry for 'food revolution'

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Low-income households in Egypt are being hit by soaring food prices, placing a major strain on many poor families in the country, who are struggling to put basic staples on the table.

Inside a small Cairo apartment, Howeida Nageh is dicing a few tomatoes in her kitchen. Her three sons have arrived home from school and they are hungry. Yet, the only food available is these tomatoes and a piece of bread -- and this will be the boys' only meal for the day.

Smart, Innovative Farmers in the Dakotas

Even as farm commodity prices have been strong, the input costs for industrial farming methods have been increasing. Given a fall in commodity prices, these inputs might not be recovered and these days we’re talking real money to plant a crop. Then, there is that pesky problem of Roundup resistant weeds so that additional labor or chemical expense is required anyway, on top of the high input costs already paid up front.

Where is this headed? I don’t know, but it just might be the way these smart farmers in the Dakotas are approaching farming.

Sardines in India latest indicator of how your food is on the move

Mumbai’s new sardine bounty is an example of how warmer temperatures may be redrawing the world’s geographic distribution of food with potential implications for what and how we eat.

Exelon's not alone: Caterpillar ditched FutureGen, too

Exelon Corp. isn't the only major Illinois corporation to pull out of the alliance developing the federally subsidized FutureGen “clean coal” power plant downstate. Add Caterpillar Inc. to the list.

And, like Exelon, Caterpillar is part of a group mounting a legal challenge to the state's recent decision to hike electric bills statewide to cover the $600 million of the $1.6 billion project not paid for by the U.S. Department of Energy.

CERAWEEK - Gates favors nuclear power to help limit climate change

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates said that expanding nuclear power and making it safer was the most economic way to ward off climate change.

In an address to the IHS CERAWeek conference of international energy company executives, he said safe and reliable reactors were the best option and dismissed wind and solar energy as less practical.

No, Minister Oliver, the oil sands have not become 'green'

Many Canadians must have wondered if George Orwell was alive and well this week as they read that the Alberta oil sands were being pitched to U.S. officials as “green” by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

“Canada is the environmentally responsible choice for the U.S. to meet its energy needs in oil for years to come,” the minister told an audience in Chicago – a message he repeated over and over in his U.S. tour, part of a calculated mission to associate Alberta bitumen with ecological benefits.

Canada's Oil Industry Begs to Be Taxed

Fort McMurray, in Western Canada, is surrounded by thick boreal forest, but you can still make out the oil-rich town from dozens of miles away. Plumes of carbon-rich smoke hover above it, a byproduct of the oil industry’s efforts to mine a peanut-butter-thick form of crude from vast stretches of tar sands.

Canadian oil companies know there’s no hiding it’s a dirty business and the country’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse-gas emissions. They worry their oil will be barred from foreign markets because it’s a bigger polluter than other fossil fuels. To stave off costs that could come with more regulation, the industry is doing something unusual: It’s asking the Canadian government to slap a national pollution tax on its filthy crude.

Climate change poses a far greater threat to Scotland's future oil revenues

Scotland's fate as a rich independent nation is again being fought over with a battle raging over the risks of relying on North Sea oil. But in future, climate change will pose a far more serious challenge.

Canada's Arctic glaciers headed for unstoppable thaw: study

OSLO (Reuters) - Canadian glaciers that are the world's third biggest store of ice after Antarctica and Greenland seem headed for an irreversible melt that will push up sea levels, scientists said on Thursday.

About 20 percent of the ice in glaciers, on islands such as Ellesmere or Devon off northern Canada, could vanish by the end of the 21st century in a melt that would add 3.5 cm (1.4 inch) to global sea levels, they said.

Recent heat spike unlike anything in 11,000 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study looking at 11,000 years of climate temperatures shows the world in the middle of a dramatic U-turn, lurching from near-record cooling to a heat spike.

Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny marine organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until an unprecedented reversal in the 20th century.

Scientists say it is further evidence that modern-day global warming isn't natural, but the result of rising carbon dioxide emissions that have rapidly grown since the Industrial Revolution began roughly 250 years ago.

How Re-Fueling Your Car Can Build Equity in Your Home

"If you are one of the typical Americans who drives about 40 miles a day, then you should consider an atypical scenario if you happen to be planning on building a new home.

If you are taking out a mortgage to build a new home and are willing to take advantage of the falling price of photovoltaic panels, then you have an opportunity to increase the value of your home and stop throwing money away on transportation fuel.

40 miles per day in a car that gets 30 miles per gallon will cost you about $140 a month (assuming a gas price of $3.50 a gallon).

This is $1680 a year that you will never see again.

Solar panels in your home mortgage and an electric car in your garage make financial sense.

Odd..? Are cars free in the US? and battery packs? Maybe live nearer than 20 miles away?

I don't fancy a 40 mile drive in a 10 year old electric car in winter with the heater on.

Hello Pondlife,

I understand your concern. I have been working on an EV conversion that has comfortable range of 20 miles. Lead Acid pack but no heater yet. With that said, a dream came to mind of a little boy tugging on his uncle's trouser at Kitty Hawk, NC and saying: "Uncle Boeing... What do you mean "in flight meals", Orville didn't have time to unwrap a sandwich???" The Wrights could not make it 20 miles let alone 2 miles.

Two day ago on the Electric Vehicle Discussion List came this link to a Road and Track review of the Tesla Model S full loaded at $93K:


Road and Track has never been a fan of EVs including GM's EV1 nor Toyota's Rav4 Electric. This article demands it be read. Not for the car but for the concept that EVs have arrived.

But we have to be careful. There are still a lot of naysayers and people who do not want to see EV supplant ICE cars. I understand them. Here in Forbes is a clip about the New York Times review about the Tesla Model S: "Broder recounted his round-trip drive between Washington and Stonington, Conn., which included stops at the first fast-charging stations in the Northeast. But in the frigid weather, he wrote, the Model S didn’t have enough juice to complete the trip, and ended up being hauled to a charging station on a flat bed truck." (Ref: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2013/02/11/fake-or-not-new-york-...) Elon Musk shoved back and showed the cars telemetered data for the trip and the NYT's reviewer was caught fabricating his story.

Several day later, a group of Tesla owners got together and completed the same trip over the same route without any problems. (Ref: http://allthingsd.com/20130217/tesla-owners-hit-the-road-to-prove-long-d...)

There is a Beatle's song with the refrain: "Take a sad song and make it better...". There are people working on EV and our energy situation. I think we have to be aware of where things are but also where they could go. EV have come a long ways.

Back to my little conversion. A fellow showed up at one of our meetings with a Lithium Ion pack that cost him $11+k with about $3+k in a battery management system. He has driven his buggy over 120 miles on a charge with charge remaining. Pondlife, I'll see your 40 miles. Double it and I'll throw in Heat and A/C to boot.

While I have been very leary of "pronouncements" of "breakthroughs" because most do not pan out, This one **may** bear watching: http://www.clbattery.com/. The battery was tested and had an energy density of 525 whr/kg and is supposed to cost 70% less. No mention was made of it cycle life, calendar life, safety (there are "safe" lithium ion batteries (e.g. LiFePO4)), temperature operating range, cost, durability, etc. Still, we know that there are people trying to take a "not so sad song" and make it better.

What does this mean? It means that it could be possible to exchange these batteries with the batteries of the above tested Tesla Model S and instead of having an EPA estimated range of 265 miles, the range becomes 795 miles on one charge. It also means the the pack cost is reduced and the $53K base model of the Tesla Model S could be sold for something in the low $30K range. The Cal Battery site mentions going into **production** in 2014.

Also the Cal Battery site indicates that electric utilities could use the batteries to absorb the excess from solar panels so that generation is evened out.

The R&T link above has a summary line that brings a sense of vindication to those who have stayed the course with EVs.

"Elon Musk shoved back and showed the cars telemetered data for the trip and the NYT's reviewer was caught fabricating his story."

So says Musk. Believe it if you want.

I've read through the story a huge amount. The guy did lie about the speed he was driving. But real issue is that the was was being a bonehead.
-He took it for a long trip and didn't turn on range mode. (Mistake 1)
-Arriving at his first destination with very little charge left he then decides not to charge fully! (WHY?) (mistake 2)
-He then gets to a destination with not many miles left and leaves the car outside in the cold and does not plug it in overnight (mistake 3 Just 120V outlet would have been enough.)
-He wakes up with few miles, charges at a low-speed charger for only like an hour.
-He then tries to drive 61 miles when the car says that it only has 29 miles of charge. (Mistake 4).

I guess if you are that clueless then don't buy new technology.

Having had this roll around in my head for a while I think I see what happened. Like most "accidents" it looks like a series of compounding mini-mistakes.

He pulled into the overnight stop showing plenty of range left (90 miles range to go 46 miles).

What he didn't realize: The pack was fully warm, showing, and could achieve maximal range based on that. Overnight the pack would get cold and lose real and displayed range.

Then a series of mixups occurred in rapid fashion:

They told me that the loss of battery power when parked overnight could be restored by properly “conditioning” the battery, a half-hour process, which I undertook by sitting in the car with the heat on low, as they instructed. That proved ineffective; the conditioning process actually reduced the range by 24 percent (to 19 miles, from 25 miles).

I'm thinking he was supposed to be plugged in during the "conditioning process" - as in "while plugged in turn on the heat for a while". That was the true mistake number 1...he threw away range in an unplugged, stationary car, running the heater

It was also Tesla that told me that an hour of charging (at a lower power level) at a public utility in Norwich, Conn., would give me adequate range to reach the Supercharger 61 miles away, even though the car’s range estimator read 32 miles – because, again, I was told that moderate-speed driving would “restore” the battery power lost overnight.

There's probably a time frame or lack of communication problem that happened here - IF he hadn't "conditioned" the car as before and thrown away range and had he simply driven to the slow charger in the first place...the one hour of charge probably would have been enough to make it.

So he probably had the option to plug in at the hotel and "condition" the battery, OR to drive to the public charge station (probably L2) and charge for an hour. Instead he sat and wasted the battery at the hotel not being plugged in, and then proceeded to do a pitiful charge led to believe it would be enough.

It's likely that the Tesla engineers (as should long time owners), being familiar with the car, would "have a feel" for how much range bounces back given the temperature and likely gave him two sets of instructions he could follow. Had he simply driven to the public charge station (without the un-plugged conditioning) and plugged in for an hour the pack with the temperature rebound and 1 hour charge should have gotten him to the "Supercharger."

So maybe the Tesla engineers talked to fast, or they were distracted and unaware of the mistake he made, and he did something stupid.

The thing is...he was only doing what the people at Tesla told him to do. They claim they were able to remotely monitor the condition of the battery, and that's why they told him it had been plugged in long enough. Maybe he should have known better than to listen to the company that made the car?

Or was he?

These guys pushed the limits but actually spent the time to know what they were getting themselves into...


But by now I've gained enough familiarity with our Tesla to assume the car would readjust once I started driving and things warmed up. (Owners would likely pre-condition the car before leaving, using household current to raise the battery temperature and heat the cabin.) Indeed, 30 miles into my trip, the car predicted 55 miles of range. Occasionally the "rated" and "projected" agreed. I considered stopping in Milford, CT, for a quick "supercharge" as I had a few days earlier, but changed my mind in the spirit of my experiment. I knew the distance to my office was 55 miles at that point, so I decided to risk taking one for the team to determine the Model S real-world range when it's cold outside and you drive the car as you would any other car, electric or not. Call me a gambler, but I kept cruising and crossed my fingers.

This has been one of the big flops for EV's...not informing the buyers/drivers of what to really expect of the cars, but instead giving them a pie-in-the-sky best-case estimate:

"One additional takeaway: Perhaps it's the "projected range" that needs to display more prominently than the "rated range."

I'm not sure he lied about the speed he was driving. Maybe he simply made a mistake. Or maybe he's right: having different sized tires on the car screwed up speedometer or odometer somehow.

Or maybe he's right: having different sized tires on the car screwed up speedometer or odometer somehow.

The reading for the speedometer/odometer is typically on the output shaft of the transmission...so what it reads is the revolutions of the tires.

For automobile tires IIRC the term "19" wheel" refers to the diameter of the bead-seat of the tire. Then you have the tire itself which is something like 235/50R19...the 235 is width in mm, 50 is the aspect ratio of the height to width, and R is the diameter of the rim on which it's mounted.

So a 235/50/R19 tire will be 50% it's height as width for 117.5 mm tall making the diameter of the whole shebang (19" + 117.5mm + 117.5mm) = 28.25 inches. Pi*D = 88.8 inches

A 235/50/R21 will be 30.25 inches diameter. Pi*D = 95 inches. Meaning the 21" wheels, if they have the same sidewall aspect ratio and width, will travel 6.2 inches farther per revolution than the 19" wheels. If the speedo/odo has been calibrated for the 19" wheels and you put 21" wheels (with the above assumption), it will read slower that it is actually traveling. If the speedo/odo has been calibrated for the 21" wheels and you put on 19" wheels it will indicate a higher speed than you're actually traveling.

Often All Season tires will have a taller sidewall than summer sport tires, so the 19" wheels they gave him may have been close to the total diameter of the 21" wheels that were originally equipped. So his indicated speed should have been greater than or close to his actual speed. So if Tesla's data is based on satellite navigation, the speedometer would have been indicating higher than that - which would make the journalist's argument even worse.

He wasn't really making an argument. It was just a suggestion. Really, the only way the average person knows what speed they were traveling is if they have cruise control set (and it's accurate). In that section of the country, it's unlikely you can use cruise control - too congested.

I think it's far more likely that this was a mistake or a misunderstanding, rather than an attempt to "get" Tesla. As you say, he was not educated about the vehicle, and his article is written for people like himself. It sounds like even the tech support people he talked to were not properly educated about it.

Does anyone have information about how much power the conditioning of the battery requires? If it is fully charged and you leave the cars plugged in for a few days in a northeast winter, how much power does it use to keep the battery warm?

There was also a follow on journey by 6 Tesla owners and they did not have any trouble following the same route the reporter followed. Did the 6 owners travel slower than normal to conserve "fuel"?? They know we don't.

If Elon Musk is lying, the time the Tesla was hooked up to the NYT reporter's car at the refueling stops should also be a matter of record. Someone had to pay for the electricity even if it was "free". All the commercial electric chargers that I know have that feature. I assume the utilities would want to closely monitor the recharging to see what effect the fast recharging will have on their systems. How much electricity was transferred, for how long, and when should be a base part of their statistics. They would be derelict in their duties if they did not.

Will the NYT and its reporter sue Musk??? We'll see. If I were the NYT, I would want to protect the integrity of my newspaper and its reporters. All I have seen from the NYT is talk. However, if the evidence is not favorable to the NYT or if Musk is right, there will be no law suit. We'll see.

I was involved in a major aircraft accident. There was "talk" that it was "Pilot Error" and other talk that it was "Ground Crew" error. A colonel told everyone to shut up and rightly so. A board of inquiry was set up and an engine expert was brought in. The expert determined that a part failed due to mechanical stress and it was the cause of the accident. There was no error on anybody's part. The colonel was right. The gossip was detrimental to morale and cooperation that was needed between the flight crew and the ground crew.

I would love to see a reputable entity get to the bottom of this. A law suit would bring in those experts especially witnesses for the utilities. The NHTSA would be another candidate but there was no accident involved.

Musk is more likely to sue than the Times, IMO.

He's already sued the BBC for supposedly libeling the car. He lost. And appealed. And lost the appeal.

From looking at the driving data, it's clear neither Musk nor Broder was 100% accurate in their charges. Any lawsuit would likely get tossed.


It is truly mind-boggling that the "Happy Motoring by any Means' mentality extends to
a number of posters on this site. You should be using solar power for your home needs not to continue with Auto Addiction via electric cars. Auto Addiction for the vast majority of US transit is NOT SUSTAINABLE!

Lets outline some of the costs of Auto Addiction whether via Electric Cars or not:

1)the Car itself costs $30K with average costs per year of $9300 per year according to AAA themselves, the official Auto Addiction boosters of the USA

2)It requires 10-12x the Green space or as Lester Brown has calculated 1 football field of asphalt for every 5 personal cars. Guess what Happy Motorers? Asphalt comes from oil and has also quadrupled in price in lockstep with the price of oil. Highways require constant repaving for that football field of asphalt and many on TOD who are forced into Auto Addiction will note the eruption of the typical annual potholes on many roads

3)It kills 30,000 Americans per year (leading cause of youth deaths) and injures hundreds of thousands, some crippled for life

4)Auto Addiction has been directly implicated in the US epidemic of obesity. Those living in the few US cities which do not require cars like NYC show much lower rates of obesity as people have to WALK (god forbid!)

5)Auto Addiction has been implicated in asthma from air pollution. This effect may be ameliorated by cleanly powered all electric cars and somewhat reduced by hybrids

6)Auto Addiction consumes vast quantities of resources for the 250 Million personal cars in the US in metals, rubber or rubber substitutes (from oil most likely!), plastics (again from oil most likely!)etc.

Why oh why this monomania for Auto Addiction by any means?

As I have pointed out repeatedly the US has many options if we just ran our existing Green Transit and then augmented it by slowly restoring strategic Rail branches, implementing clean running (possibly electric!) shuttles and buses. To repeat once again the Brookings indepth study in May, 2011 found that ALREADY 70% of working age Americans in the top 100 US metro areas ALREADY live only 3/4th's mile from a Transit Stop.
The US has 233,000 miles of Rail all over the place from Kansas to Vermont to the 1,000 miles of Rail in my home state of New Jersey, more densely populated than China sitting there doing mostly NOTHING!

The train I took to work this morning as I do every morning just had the most beautiful views of the freshly fallen snow and Winter Wonderland even in densely populated New Jersey because it does not need to destroy whole swathes of woods and Green space but requires the space of not even 2 highway lanes between the gorgeous trees and fields of the Garden State. I do not need a robot to drive to work because the engineer does it for me on tracks so safe there are 0 deaths per year (excepting suicides on the tracks)
and I can relax, read a book or converse with the many acquaintances I have made on the train.

And oh yes, what has persuaded a few coworkers who have connections available, it costs me only $100 per month for a monthly Rail pass which I can use 24x7 and provide part of trips to NYC and local stops as much as I want. Versus $500 per month if I drove to work!
Hence saving me $400 per month while helping to save the planet and make new friends.

Are minds so stilted they can see no other alternatives to Auto Addiction?

Come on!

The problem is getting from A to B - in this case, from infrastructure based around cars to walkable, bikeable neighborhoods with transit.

Getting away from cars is hard when the grocery store is a couple miles away, and across a major road. Getting away from cars is hard when all of the entertainment and social stuff is 10 miles away, your work is 20 miles away, and there is no public transit or it is unreliable.

New Jersey is one thing. Florida, Texas, that's not the same. There is a serious sprawl problem that can't be fixed in a day. Electric cars are going to be part of the mix on the way to a different type of society and infrastructure.

Perhaps it's just a lesser evil, but for many it's a neccessary evil.

In the aggregate, obviously not everyone can work close to work, etc. in the short term. On an individual level, however, I, a middle class person managed throughout my life to live very close to work, even in the Washington, D.C. area. That was because I was willing to sacrifice house size for proximity. The vast majority of my coworkers were not willing to do so. Part of the issue was not just house size but the reluctance to live near persons of a different color. This is not a guess on my part.

I agree that low powered and highly efficient small EVs could be an appropriate supplement to a transportation system dominated by rail, walking, biking, bussing, street cars, etc. There are, of course,already areas like this in the U.S. and especially Europe. But if we plan to simply plug and play EVs for IGCEs, we will just continue to live in auto hell, even if the devil doesn't reside there.

The reason everything is so far away, of course, is that we live in an auto dominated culture. And that was the plan that succeeded. Things would be much more compact with less roads and parking lots.

Yes, absolutely NO public transit here. I wonder if the day will ever come when "regular citizens" will be required to use electric transportation so as to save the fossil fuels for us farmers to produce the food needed to feed the nation?

We farm and ranch in Wyoming - with 2 expensive diesel pickups necessary to handle various towing and transport work. To keep some of the worst wear off those vehicles, we have been using another old 'ranch-broke' pickup for all the pasture work - fences, looking at cattle, wells, etc. These tasks never take us more than 5 miles from home. To get away from the old pickup we just bought - at my wife's insistence and to her credit - a Polaris side-by-side EV. We have less than 50 miles on it. We live about 40 miles from any shopping so using it as a commuter vehicle is not in the cards anyway. To make a long story short, we are very pleased so far. The quiet operation is great. It will go as fast out across the pasture as any gas pickup, and it has selectable 4-wheel drive and superb climbability - it will climb the side of any draw or hill any rational driver would attempt. We have to charge it from the grid, and our first priority will be to try to find a way to charge it off the grid via solar or ?? . So far we have left it in the quonset during the recent snow storms - it has no heater so as much for our comfort as anything else. Cold weather performance yet to be tested. Anyway we have taken the plunge as far as we can at this time - so far the water is fine.

I think the EV quad's are a great tool, and will be the perfect answer to those who like to paint EV's as silly little Golf Carts.. If they get you where you're going, they're a lot better than silly.

You could build a nice PV charging system for it for around $1200, including shipping. Four of the JA-285s from Sunelec at $.54/watt and an Outback FM-60 charge controller (currently on clearance at Sunelec: $434.00; Wow!) hooked directly to the 48 volt battery in the Polaris would give a charge rate of up to about 24 amps. Add a 48 volt inverter and the EV can be a mobile backup power source. Mount the PV on your quonset hut, or build a little shed roof for the EV (my plan). You could find a less expensive MPPT charge controller, but the Outback will leave room for expansion; always nice.

New Jersey does have public transit, but it is mainly useful if your job is in Newark or New York. If you live in one municipality and work in another, you would be very fortunate to find a bus-bus or bus-rail connection that will get you there and back in a reasonable time.

A key social change to reduce dependency on cars would be to discourage home ownership and to encourage renting. This give people much more flexibility in moving and living nearer to where they work. They may still need a car, but they can shorten the commutes dramatically. A home owner with an underwater mortgage can't move -- they have to commute long distances to wherever they can find work.

1) Get a used car and don't drive so much.

2) Roads do not have to be made from asphalt. Concrete and concrete that removes carbon from the atmosphere is possible. If freight hauling is switched from semi-trailer trucks to trains, then the primary cause of road damage would be eliminated making roads more durable and decreasing maintenance costs.

3) 4,092 pedestrians were killed in accidents with cars in 2009 in the US on public roads, and the number would increase if more people walked. Other pedestrians are killed in parking lots and murdered, raped and mugged. There were 715 fatalities in train accidents in 2012 in the US which would undoubtedly increase with more passengers traveling by train. You seem to be in a hurry to live a long, low quality life and increase human population.

4) Who cares?

5) Pollution from burning coal does this too. China is choking on smog.

6) The underlying problem is too many people, and you favor policies that increase human population.

Written by orbit7er:
Why oh why this monomania for Auto Addiction by any means?

Isn't that really answered by the question, why is there a need for surface transportation? People have used slaves, oxen, horses and wagons, so there seems to be a need. Affordable urban houses might reduce the distance that must be traveled to find one. Apartments are horribly unsustainable sardine cans for packing overpopulated people together. People can transport more things purchased in shops in their vehicles than in public transportation. Urbanites have no chance of survival without transportation bringing them necessities from far away. Under the world's current trajectory, New York is unsustainable, if for no other reason, because it will be underwater, so you will need some transportation to escape the waves.

The last time I used a bus, I had to go to the bus station to buy a ticket, return on another day to ride it, travel 100 miles out of my way to Union Station, Los Angeles, wait to transfer to another bus, wait at multiple stops for others to get on and off and then walk to my final destination. It took half a day and $32 to travel 80 miles. I will not use public transit unless I am forced.

The problem is that you live in and around Los Angeles. Although there are places even in L.A. where one can get by pretty well with minimal car usage. People have used slaves etc. in the past but they didn't live in ridiculous places like L.A. Having lived in Frankfurt, it doesn't have to be that hard to live without a car. I used to take a two minute walk to the bus stop, ride the bus for five minutes, transfer to the subway with no more than a three minute wait and then be right in front of my office in another 5 minutes. All for a fixed price of $45 per month. Today it is $105 per month. Anecdotal, to be sure. But no more anecdotal than your L.A. experience.

I also lived in an apartment but didn't see any sardines.

I don't disagree that one can live wonderfully (in many, certain cases) without OWNING a car, but the fact is, there will still be the need for cars around us.. by which I mean the whole range of powered wheels, apart from tracked vehicles.

As I persist in saying as we plow through this subject again and again, we are not going to stop travelling around for supply reasons, for social reasons, for emergency reasons, etc etc.. and we WILL need cars and trucks for this. They certainly do NOT have to be fulfilling today's model of Auto-mania, and in fact I agree that they MUST not be that.. but I think EV's will be the tool of choice for a great deal of future transportation, hand in hand with Bikes and Trains that will have filled a much greater portion of the pie by then.

Conservation by other means is already underway.

Vast tracts of the American landscape will become badlands, where few dare to venture, whether by foot, car, or plane. Urbanites will stay in cities and the auto monoculture will be replaced by a more chaotic but more sustainable hodgepodge of walking, cycling, public transport, and small cars/EVs. The remainder of the fuel will be used by the agricultural provinces to produce and transport food to the cities. Things will slow down dramatically. As such, the economy will be stuck in a more or less permanent depression. Investments will go nowhere, and currencies might fail.

Expect widespread bankruptcies in the airline, auto, and tourism industries. Followed closely by finance and healthcare which will spell the end of modern Americana.

Interesting times.

The difficulty is that we are trying to adapt our transportation system to our land use pattern rather than the other way around. Cheap, abundant fuel enabled middle class families of the last century to do what they had wanted to do since before the Civil War, escape the city. In the 19th Century that was feasible only via commuter rail lines. The interurban trolley lines were just expanding the trend when the first highway acts of the 20th Century established a viable roadway network. Mass production of personal vehicles and reliable roads opened up new options, but the Great Depression stopped everything.

After WWII, of course, the suburban empire was underway. Even before the Interstates were built, intercity rail travel was falling fast, despite air travel being too expensive and new for most. It was the system of federal and state roadways, though, along with a generous federal mortgage program and a resurgent 1950s economy, that allowed builders to construct the early suburbs. In a matter of only two decades we fundamentally changed our land use system.

What we have now is a sunk cost in an unsustainable development pattern. No combination of electric vehicles, public transit, work-from-home, or any other option is going to rescue the outlying subdivisions. They will be abandoned to the too-big-to-fail banks and be stripped for whatever materials are valuable. Any subdivision that doesn't have sanitary sewers, a proxy for urbanization, is a candidate to return to agricultural use.

The residential developments happening in my mid-South city are usually within sight of the downtown skyline. We are adopting Bus Rapid Transit, commuter rail, and bikeways. For young people the city is a place to which they aspire, not something from which they wish to escape. The difference is critical.

My generation of boomers will remain in our suburban houses, of course, increasingly combining trips and shortening our travels. Yet we will also notice the "for lease" signs in the nearby yards and the notices nailed to the doors where our neighbors used to live. Much will be made of the death of suburbia, but in the end what cannot be sustained will not be.

Well said DFT - and it's salient that you have received no replies. The reason being of course is that everything you have said is true ... and many of the mind games played on here do not address the suburban-transport realities you have articulated ... too many ferals up in the boonies, I think. Not that I mind them ... they're just not hunting where the prey is, sadly.

To view the ideal no auto society that you are advocating please look at videos on youtube of North Korea.

Re: Recent heat spike unlike anything in 11,000 years

The Hockey Stick story, Part II.

EDIT: The report is behind a pay wall from SCIENCE, but the figures may be seen in the supplemental material.

Look at figures S3 and S4.

E. Swanson

but will it convince China to stop building coal fired stations ?

or India?

or stop Australia shipping its coal reserves to China ? ( its their kids legacy - now they'll have a new one instead )

or Poland - they're in the news today - 90% coal fired electricity generation and by EU they have to change!

Sorry pessimistic that anything will change - what can be burned will be!


but will it convince China to stop building coal fired stations ?

or India?

Outside of Germany and maybe a few other European countries, we can't even get rich nations to ease up on carbon usage because none of us wants to give up what we have for creature comforts. So how can we expect poorer people to stop using coal which is helping them improve their lives?

The climate is f@#ked.

A big dust storm is currently blowing across China.
The smog caused by coal pollution in China this winter hit record levels of over 880 on the pollution scale.
(According to the American Embassy measurements in Beijing)
The dust storm right now has pollution levels up to 1880.
I have no idea how big this dust storm is compared to previous years.
It's the first time we have had access to real time data.
I suspect this is actually not an unusual storm.
The way it is moving it will be over me in 12 more hours.

this is going to sound mean, and I'm not directing it at anyone in particular, but the general attitude that "we" over here are helpless because of what "they" over there are doing.

Do you think we should wait for the guy next door, the guy across the street and the guy behind up to stop abusing his kids before we stop abusing ours?

That's what I see when people throw up a strawman when confronted with US energy consumption or carbon emissions.

How about we lead. That's what leaders do.

We absolutely should lead and once we have set an example, we can impose appropriate sanctions and taxes on those who choose not to follow. Some will object that sanctions are something you impose for things like apartheid or nuclear weapons. But frankly, we are faced with something far more dangerous and existential than either of those.

Hockey Stick? Looking at the graph I don't think that's an apropriate description anymore. How about Brick Wall?

Andrew Revkin at the NYT has a story about this including interesting comments from Mike 'hockey stick' Mann and Robbert 'Berkely Earth' Rohde. A warning though, for sanity sake, don't read the the comments, a full regiment from the denialist horde is present in full battledress...

Link up top: We Live In An Age Of Energy Abundance

Over the past 20 years, global oil consumption has increased by thirty per cent, but proven reserves have increased at twice that rate.

This is a deliberately misleading statistic that only people completely ignorant of how reserves are added to the data base usually ever uses. But this is Lord John Browne the former chief executive of BP, a man who should know better. Over the last twenty years, while oil consumption has increased 20 percent, actual discoveries of new oil have not nearly kept pace.

The proven reserves listed by the BP Statistical Review, Lord Browne's source, are as phony as a three dollar bill. No OPEC nation, since the 70s, have adjusted their reserves to reflect actual production or discoveries. Instead they continually increase them... with a pencil. And most of the reserves added in the last few years comes from Venezuela and Canada, adding oil sands to their reserves causing a huge jump in "apparent" world oil reserves. But these deposits have been known for decades. Lord Browne's words gives one the impression that this is all new oil just recently discovered.

What is the motive behind people publishing these nonsensical reserve numbers? They know they are meaningless.

Ron P.

I love the final paragraph from the article:

We live in an era of energy abundance. Polemics about resource scarcity or peak oil are wrong, and divert attention away from the real questions. The sooner we realise this, the sooner we can focus our efforts on adapting to a new reality.

I wonder if they'd start singing a different song if they were hauled before Congress and asked to explain why, if we live in an age of energy abundance, the price of gasoline is so high, and why excess profits taxes on oil companies would not be in order.

Astute question.

Good idea, but don't put sockpuppets like senator Barton in front them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv0siXm2cpc

So... what are the "real questions" ?

How soon can we completely fry the planet - there - is that a real question ?

I'm kind of wondering if Lord Browne's desire to look at 'energy abundance' questions has anything to do with BP shuttering their solar power division because of lack of profits.

BP, no longer 'Beyond Petroleum'; now "Bigger Profits".

If a $111 average Brent price for two years reflects resource abundance and an outlook for perpetual increases in oil production, I wonder what the price of oil would be if resources were scarce and if oil production did not increase forever.

Lol, quite funny indeed
But the thing is, this desperate propaganda, how disgusting as it is, definitely works.
Works for what ? Not very easy to tell.

Is it working though?

I think it is starting to back-fire on them. Go read the comments sections under some of these articles and you'll see people posting things like "If we are producing so much oil then why did it cost me $60 to fill my tank?"

Too much cornucopian propaganda when the reality at the gas pump tells people a different story is getting people to become quite cynical and distrustful.

Written by YvesT:
Works for what?

To keep people addicted to oil companies' products to the last, bitter, overpriced drop to maximize their profit.

Yes partly for sure, and to reassure themselves, or to have a "party line" on which to stick to as well.

Every time one of these guys talks about abundance, what they're really trying to do is spur consumption growth. They want a return to that blind age of fat, happy exuberance. It was so much easier then, wasn't it? So you can't blame them for wistfully longing for a return to the good old days...

Ironically, spurring consumption of dirty, dangerous and depleting fossil fuels will result in the exact opposite of abundance. And I have to laugh every time I hear someone from BP talking about renewable energy. As if they wanted it!

I guess to keep the Proles quite and the shareholders happy

This guy was on a while back on Minitru (BBC) proposing a flat R/P ratio projection - you know one that oil will not have peak/s but a square block graph projection that stops suddenly at 2030 !

Well I guess you guys have heard of crazy Lordships over here , this is one!


Talking about crazy Lordships I loved Peter O'Toole as a crazy Lord in "The Ruling Class"!
Great sarcastic movie but also deals with some interesting philosophical issues.
"How do you know you are God?"

"Because when I pray I find that I am talking to myself"

No provision for comments, and the links to the author and Forbes aren't working for me. Says a lot.

OK... original article, open to comments, here:


Ron, I know you mean well, but why debunk the same arguments over and over again here on the Oil Drum?
Everybody on this list knows Peal Oil is real. There is no one to convince, we all agree that such articles are a heap of misinformed bull.
Why would you even waste your time with them?

Because new readers come here often, and these articles keep coming out. If we don't keep debunking the bunk, they win. I've been commenting more at the source articles. One recent, fairly simple comment at CNN (about the death of peak oil) got me over 450 up arrows, only 7 down arrows. Simply clarifying what peak oil means, and doesn't mean, kept my comment on top, hopefully read by tens of thousands. That's why.

On CNN, or on any other mainstream website, I completely agree.
On the drum, I'm not so sure. Here, such articles often create an inflated tree of comments where everybody has something to say to mock the stupidity of said article or said author. Some kind of slaughter. I'm not convinced that's really useful.

I agree that it seems like we're often preaching to the choir here, and that much of it seems like noise, but a lot of that 'noise' can be refined into rebuttals to be used elsewhere. I often paraphrase and refine the conclusions hamered out here and post them in comment sections of the source article. Unchallenged assumptions and outright lies being propogated in the MSM can become defacto truths. Beats nodding our heads in agreement, or worse yet, surrendering to a more powerful, if dishonest, process, IMO. Besides, we feel better when we get these things off our chests ;-/

"...such articles often create an inflated tree of comments..."

So collapse the thread and move on. That's what the little minus tab is for.

Yeah, I guess I can't really disagree with you here.
My comment stemmed from being tired of reading the same arguments over and over again, but you're right, I could just collapse the thread.

Simulacrum, my experience with web traffic on blog/forum type sites is that the ratio of readers to posters [fixed] is generally 1000 to 1. So Ghung is correct, these repetitions might be boring if you read/post here a lot, but the fact is, most readers of these pages do not post, and do not read it a lot. Each drumbeat page generated creates a very long tail of search engine traffic that could last for years after it was current, and each web page exists as a unique entity when visitors come to it via whatever source. This is sometimes hard for normal users of a site to grasp.

While I tend to also get a bit bored by darwinian's repetitions, the fact is, the mass media (the corporate version mostly, but sadly not only) has been spraying out these ridiculous cornucopian ignorance stories, for a variety of reasons, from cynical attempts to pump up stock prices for tight oil/gas firms, to just dumb ignorance or wishful thinking. What I find increasingly tiresome is the articles that pretend we are now in energy independence mode, or nearing it, ignoring all reality, particularly the in your face reality of per barrel oil prices, and the still absurdly low $4 a gallon or thereabouts gas prices USA residents are still able to get away with paying. High however to them. So darwinian is really doing a service by reposting the same objections, as is westtexas, rockman, etc, this nonsense has to be exposed for the fraud and fairy tale it is.

However, with that said, I see this past year's wave of articles on 'the end of peak oil', 'energy independence', etc, somewhat differently. To me, these are in fact proof positive that we are now at peak oil, because there would be no need to deny its material reality if it were not present. Nor would there be a need to push bad drilling stocks if the oil was actually what it was supposed to be. Some have said that we can only know when peak global production rates of oil occurs in the rear view mirror, some 5 to 10 years after, but let me suggest that is not the case, in fact, we can know it is here by the reaction of the mass media, and that is the reaction I am now seeing.

Think of an ugly person who has never had a mirror, one day they get one, and then start saying, I'm not ugly, I'm not ugly, I'm not ugly... These articles are our ugly society's first step towards admitting the fact that the failure to properly plan and generate a viable plan b is a mistake, and the magnitude of that mistake can be seen by the vehemence of the denial.

I don't like posting here much because I have little to add to the discussion though I enjoy following it, and I personally enjoy seeing the fine debunking of mass media bs and nonsense, just as I enjoy it on realclimate.org and other fine climate science websites.

Party on, as they say.

Seems the change happening in cyberspace is all the Cornucopians talking about 'Peak Oil,' even if they are desparately attempting to debunk it.


Must just be us.

PV/Solar dwarfs peak oil and shale oil with a lot of interest in Japan and Australia: http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=Peak%20Oil%2C%20Shale%20Oil%20%2B...

Boiling Frogs? No one cares about gas prices any more (or "oh crap, that looks bad"): http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=Peak%20Oil%2C%20Shale%20Oil%20%2B...

Humor and wit is the only weapon we hold against them.

I agree that it seems like we're often preaching to the choir here, and that much of it seems like noise, but a lot of that 'noise' can be refined into rebuttals to be used elsewhere.

Excellent point! Just this week I used wrote a comment to the following local news story

Chávez's death brings hope, uncertainty to oil patch

Venezuela's oil production is poised to reverse a dramatic decline that has seen exports fall by nearly half during Hugo Chávez's time as president. [snip]

"Without his charisma and force of character, it is not at all clear how his successors will maintain the system he created," said Daniel Yergin, author of a Pulitzer Prize winning book on global energy politics.

If I say so myself, writing under the moniker "Peak Oiler", I think I did a pretty good job of calling out Yergin's credentials by quoting (with references) his predictions for world oil production and long term prices. I then put the possibilty that "Venezuela's oil production is poised to reverse a dramatic decline" in perspective by outlining points about the nature of Venezuela's oil reserves that I have learned from the banter on this site.

I could not have done it without all of you guys! We must continue to try and insert a dose of reality into these MSM fairy tales whenever we can. In my case I got one down arrow but, absolutely no one challenged what I wrote. How could they have? I've learned from the best!

Alan from the islands

The article was posted up top by Leanan for people who visit The Oil Drum to get resource depletion news as well as to give us regulars an opportunity to comment on them. TOD has far more people visiting it to read comments than you might realize.

Every time one of these nonsensical arguments is made we have an obligation to refute it. If it is a new MSM article then it needs to be refuted anew.

I understand it irritates people who really believe that we really have an abundance of natural resources, enough to last for hundreds of years, but you guys will just have to learn to live with it.

Ron P.

"I understand it irritates people who really believe that we really have an abundance of natural resources, enough to last for hundreds of years, but you guys will just have to learn to live with it."

You think that's why it irritates me?
Good God...

Sorry I must have confused you with Smeagle from and his Green River Shale posts. So I guess you are irritated for some other reason. As for me I never get tired of folks on this list debunking the oil company shills and the MSM cornucopians who believe that everything is right with the world.

But if this bothers you,... well I still think you will just have to learn to live with it. Either that or click the little - sign in the upper left hand corner of the post.

However if you think these posts, like my original post above, are unproductive, then just read the reply by got2surf below. Very informative... and he would never have posted it if I had not posted my complaint about Lord Browne.

Ron P.

I doubt that oil company shills and MSM actually believe what they are writing; it is spin, pure and simple. For instance, they know that Peak Oil does not mean we are almost out of oil. And yet, day after day we see stupid articles that try to say that it does. And, they know that we do not have more oil today than we did ten years ago, or for that matter ten minutes ago. We have what we started with, less what we have burned or what has boiled away naturally over millenia.

Keep posting, my friend. I know people who just read TOD for the first time last week and are still trying to cope!


Righto I'll bite.

Once all the natural gas is gone, and the oil is gone, and as a species we are down to the 'high hanging' fruit. Unless humans somehow sprout wings and turn into angels, doing all their cooking, heating, producing and traveling by the light of the sun, and breath of the wind then the green river is a prime target for energy extraction. Now snowy days can be a tad cold and overcast, with very little ambient energy. If the choice is between being cold, eating raw food and living in the dark on one hand, and extracting some burnable oil shale on the hand, then say hello to a fuel that makes the tar sands look green.

Given the evidence to date, with companies already attempting to turn a profit from these resources, it's a given that they will be exploited. How long did it take for tight oil to go from 'not going to happen' to making the US the next Saudi America?

How long did it take for tight oil to go from 'not going to happen' to making the US the next Saudi America?

How about never. The US has not become the next Saudi Arabia and never will. And that's also about how long it will take to make the Green River Shale the source of the next oil boom in the US.

The Green River Shale is not a prime anything.

Ron P.

In the seventies there was a lot of hype about the shale in western Colorado along with a number of pilot projects that got nowhere. I agree with Ron.

Obviously the price wasn't right.

I am not sure it is about price alone. There is an interesting post by Randy Udall on "Just try heating your home with oil shale."

"First, you'd learn that there's three times more energy in a pound of split pine or recycled phone books or cattle manure or Cap'n Crunch than in a pound of oil shale."

"Next, you'd learn that 85 percent of oil shale is inert mineral matter."

And the ash that is left over is a hazardous waste.

Heating oil shale to a sufficiently high temperature causes the chemical process of pyrolysis to yield a vapor. Upon cooling the vapor, the liquid shale oil—an unconventional oil—is separated from combustible oil-shale gas (the term shale gas can also refer to gas occurring naturally in shales). Oil shale can also be burnt directly in furnaces as a low-grade fuel for power generation and district heating or used as a raw material in chemical and construction-materials processing.[2][6]

Oil shale gains attention as a potential abundant source of oil whenever the price of crude oil rises.[7][8] At the same time, oil-shale mining and processing raise a number of environmental concerns, such as land use, waste disposal, water use, waste-water management, greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution.[9][10] Estonia and China have well-established oil shale industries, and Brazil, Germany, Russia also utilize oil shal

Interesting article on wikipedia about how a few other countries have well established shale industries, maybe Randy Udall has an agenda to push, he certainly isn't giveing a realistic picture.

"...maybe Randy Udall has an agenda to push..."

Are you getting paid for this garbage or just miss the point? He described an absurd scenario to point out how ridiculously poor the quality of reservoir the shales are.

Do you not know who he is? Of course he has an agenda to push!!!


"Udall is co-founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil-USA and has keynoted annual conferences for the American Solar Energy Society and American Wind Energy Association.He is on the Board of Directors of the Post Carbon Institute."

Obviously not, however there is a decent flow of oil currently comming from tight oil. Which is not the point at all, as you should be able to work out. There is a profitable industry now, exploiting tight oil, and just as you can't work out that there will be a profitable industry exploiting shale oil, others dismissed tight oil. You are the only one taling about green river being prime, or the next oil boom, why?

Green River Shale, while not prime anything, is an external energy source, which humans need.
The Maximum Power Principle of H. T. Odum would seem to indicate that any species will make use of whatever energy sources are available to it, to the extent that it can. Even if we temporarily defeat this tendency with respect to humans’ use of fossil fuels, I don’t see any way that we can defeat this tendency for the long term.

Just because you don't agree with something, or have moral objections, doesn't mean it isn't profitable, or wont be profitable.

So let me get this straight . . . you argued that fast-growing solar power which people are using successfully to provide power . . . is bad.

But this oil shale where no one really gets much out of it except some money-losing pilot projects and Estonians that burn it like coal . . . is good.

Are you able to detect an irrational bias that you seem to have here?

Sure, we could burn it like coal too . . . but we have coal already. No one has been able to figure out how to get oil out if it profitably. I think coal to liquids, biofuels, and gas to liquids will be used before oil shale gets any traction. Unless someone comes up with some miracle idea that no one else figured out in the last 60 years. But the chance of that is pretty darn slim.

I never argued solar was bad, just that when it's built up to any degree it's uneconomic, likewise never said oil shale is good, just that it is a resource, and animals like to exploit every available resource as much as possible. Why would I be making moral judgements? Must be a shadow?

The highest hanging fruit is....
From this post

and animals like to exploit every available resource as much as possible.

In that case, why would animals NOT exploit solar PV, especially where the resource is good? Actually, being an animal that likes to exploit every available resource as much as possible, I'm planning on setting up a total of 15kW of nameplate capacity, spread over three locations in the next couple of months!

Alan from the islands

Good point. Maybe because the way we organise ourselves ie. economics, restricts access to resources. Or maybe there are currently better, cheaper or more reliable resources available? Who knows?
However PV will not provide much heat and cooking energy in colder climates, just saying.

Good for you with the PV.

What you wrote:

"However PV will not provide much heat and cooking energy in colder climates, just saying."

How it translates with cues from your other posts:

"PV won't work in Greenland during the winter because there's no sun 24 hours a day! That means photovoltaics don't work anywhere and we should drill shale!"

Non Sequitur. Have you ever considered that a large scale build out of PV in the mid latitudes will free up resources for the high latitudes? Right now the mid-latitudes are using coal, oil, and natural gas for heating, cooling, and transportation - something they don't need to be doing. In the long run the high latitudes need to be evacuated or adapted to what's available.

Just for example that 15 kay dub that Alan plans to install will probably displace something on the order of 2,000 gallons of fuel-oil per year.

The high latitudes might be the only place we can live without air conditioning, if some of the more pessimistic predictions about global warming come to pass.

Between spring equinox and fall equinox, higher latitudes get more hours of sunlight than lower latitudes. That's how they grow those giant cabbages in Alaska. Our PV production isn't great in December, but we manage. I expect that those determined to will manage as well. 24/7/365 is an industrial era thing.

Yes, solar power is used in the cold, dark northeast, even now, with the fossil fuel fiesta ongoing.

Just saying...calls to evacuate the northern latitudes might be ill-advised.

Yeah, we may all end up moving in with Stoneleigh, or Nanuk of the North ;-/

Altitudinal emigration is more economical than latitudinal emigration & has a better chance of keeping you in your home territory instead of being a refugee in someone else's.

Yes, but for some high percentage (90%?) of Americans, moving to a higher altitude is not an option - not all of the people in Manhattan can grow broccoli on Clingman Dome! (Assuming the people of Manhattan would even know how to even grow broccoli).

Don't forget you have to live with the darkness. I live on 55 deg N, and have two depression periods every fall. One in sept/oct turnover, when I start noticing it getting darker, but that one is over in a few days. The second in december when it is at the darkest and that is weeks long and I just feel heavy. It gets worse the longer north you are.

It actually didn't need any translation. It was a very simple and clear sentence. If it pleases you to attribute quotes to me, that I never made, or even implied, then go for it, fight your own shadow.

What do you mean,that if solar is built up to any degree, it is uneconomic. It has already become as cheap as the grid in some places and prices are still coming down. Is that true of oil shale? Show us some numbers how it is even on any path to becoming worthwhile using given the alternatives.

If, indeed, oil shale ever becomes the only alternative, this doesn't mean it is economic. And if it becomes the only alternative, it is the end of civilization anyway so it is absurd to include it in discussions how we are becoming the new Saudi Arabia. More like we are becoming the new Somalia in that instance.

From the thread, The Price of Solar Power, Luis de Sousa, February 26, 2013, he means that solar drives the price of extra electricity to zero or lower for the small amount of power traded in a market around noon on sunny days. He thinks this means that an even larger build out of PV in Germany will make PV uneconomic because it would get zero price sometimes when traded in a market. We tried to set him straight....

We are probably like voices crying the wilderness, but cry we must. If we were not plowing a lot of plowed ground here, it would be a cold,dark place, inhospitable, not worth visiting. I know people who spend hundreds of hours every year playing bridge. Sure, maybe we are beating our heads against the wall here. But we would be beating our heads against the wall, anyway. And this activity is less unpleasant when done with others.

Visiting here is cheaper than visiting a psychoanalyst and a lot more fun.

Yes I agree we need to refute Peak Oil denials with cornucopianism everytime it crops up its ugly head. Generally these claims are just different spins on the same deceptions and twisting of the facts but they still need to be refuted in any particular spin. The Peak Oil denialists are funded and this whole propaganda campaign is no doubt coming from the same Oil Fossil Fuel profiteers that have also been ceaselessly propagandizing Global Warming/Climate Change denialism. Like the tobacco companies before them.

In the same light Auto Addiction as one of the root causes of Oil Addiction and the death knell of our civilization must also be constantly pointed out and its boosters challenged as I try to do..

I agree completely.

Here's another to refute...


"Can shale oil fuel Australia? [Jan 25] ....Earlier this week, Linc Energy released two reports estimating the amount of oil in the Arckaringa Basin near Coober Pedy in South Australia. Independent reports from Gustavson Associates and DeGolyer and MacNaughton put the untapped basin, located in South Australia at between 233 billion and 103 billion barrels of oil equivalent respectively..."

It doesn't matter if the oil is too difficult/uneconomical to extract. As long as we Average Joes and Janes are told "there's plenty left" or that "plenty more oil/gas is yet to be discovered", nothing's going to change. We'll believe the hype and our FF lifestyle will continue as THE PROMISE holds fast. Sadly, there's nothing the TOD community can do about that.

Now, off to install the new spa. ;)

Regards, Matt

Hi S,

What would be useful?

We'd welcome feedback and assistance on the project drafted here: www.oildepletion.wordpress.com. The idea being to have the National Academy of Sciences address the one topic they avoid (since 1982): global oil supply, it's decline, impacts of decline and policy options. AKA "Peak Oil." That way, the organization dedicated (1863) to providing the US - citizenry, governments and all - with scientifically sound conclusions can weigh in.

Take a look and send me an email if you're so inclined. (It's been a while since I've posted the link.) (BTW, check out the signatories.)

Thank you.

+1 yes we have to - the reason this site exists - a bit of sanity


Yes commenting on the source articles can be quite effective, and made easy thanks to Leanan great scanning work.

Why would you even waste your time with them?

Why does Drumbeat always start with a counter-peak oil article? Maybe the question shouldn't surround the responses as much as why these type of cornucopian articles get top billing.

Why does Drumbeat always start with a counter-peak oil article?

Because that is just about the only kind you can find on MSM anymore. We only see the occasional pro peak oil articles about once a week from Kurt Cobb or Tom Whipple. So any articles posted about peak oil, from MSM, would just naturally be counter peak oil articles.

But I don't have a problem with this. The point is to examine their argument and see what kind of foundation the author has for making such an assumption. If their facts are correct, and they indeed do point to an abundance of oil for decades upon decades into the future, then perhaps we are wrong. But I have always found their arguments are based on faulty assumptions, like: "Proven reserves have dramatically increased in the past twenty to thirty years so therefore peak oil is a myth."

So bring the counter peak oil arguments on. They should be grist for our mill. If not then we are the one who have a problem.

Ron P.

I read google news and have it ID stories with the words "peak oil" in them. I can confirm that virtually all the stories have to do with debunking peak oil.

Yeah. It's a relatively recent thing. When oil prices were spiking, there were a lot more stories friendly to peak oil.

Not surprising. It's like how people are more likely to believe global warming is true if it's hot, or if there's a dead ficus in the room instead of a live one. Both the strength and the weakness of the human reasoning system. Intuitive assumptions allow us to jump to conclusions faster than a super computer. Unfortunately, said conclusions aren't always correct.

I guess at some point in history there were alot of round earth deniers. First they laugh at you, then they fight you, ...

Actually, that is what I want to see on this site. I do want to know about what the best counter arguments to peak oil are and to know what is smoke and mirrors. I always have doubts that the arguments for near term peak oil are correct, but the preponderance of evidence in my mind is in favor of near term peak oil. What we believe about peak oil could be in error if we are operating on faulty data about what oil reserves actually are available--that error could be in either direction.

However, when MSM articles come out with hand-waving arguments devoid of evidence, I am comforted when others more versed than I confront with evidence. It does help me to remember the evidence when I am being baffled by bullsh*t.

rdberg – Here’s my view of all the debates about the exact date of global PO: an OK tech discussion but of little interest beyond. The quickest way to explain my opinion: hypothetical A – global PO happened May 2005. How would assumptions change future expectations? Hypothetical B – global PO won’t happen until May 2018. How will that assumptions change future expectations?

Simple answer for me: neither A nor B change my expectations. The PO discussion is about the effect of rising oil prices and concerns over access to oil. That goes way beyond what is the absolute date of max global oil production.

That’s why I would try to move the debate from the PO date to the POD…Peak Oil Dynamic. The POD is just short hand for all those many aspects of the relationship between energy and society. IOW all those aspects we focus on here at TOD. It covers everything from price spikes leading to recessions, spending $trillions and thousands of lives keeping Middle East oil supplies secure to the development of high cost resources like the shales and to Deep Water oil where the POTUS has approved over 400 Deep Water drill permits after the Macondo blow outand to Shell Oil’s aborted attempt to drill in Arctic waters, etc, etc, etc.

The POD exists as it does regardless of the exact date of global PO. Consider just one aspect in detail: the boom in the development of the oily fractured shales. The optimists argue the resulting increased oil production proves PO isn’t real. IMHO this situation is one of the best proofs available that PO is a very real and serious factor. The reason the shales are being developed are the current high prices. High prices resulting from the POD. We could have been drilling the Eagle Ford, Bakken, etc. as we are today 20 years ago if prices had been high enough. The prices were high enough 20 years ago to produce one of the hottest oil plays at the time…the fractured Austin Chalk in Texas that had to be drilled horizontally and frac’d to be viable. I doubt the most ardent believer in PO would argue we hit that global PO date in 1990. Similarly we aren’t drilling up the current shale plays because global PO has already hit but because the POD has been in effect for decades.

Decades??? Am I nuts? Well, yeah but that’s another issue. LOL. When I started at Mobil Oil in 1975 my first mentor explained the POD/PO in detail. It wasn’t called that by the oil patch…it was the “reserve replacement problem”. When prices spiked in the late 70’s the oil patch responded by drilling every prospect they could find: 4500+ drilling rigs running. More than twice as many as we have turning to the right today. Over 30 years ago we didn’t mount one of the largest military operations since WWII to free the Kuwait people…we were freeing oil wells. Just part of the long and extensive life of the POD IMHO.

Consider my ramblings as well as all the other aspects of the POD I didn’t highlight like the fed keeping interest rates down in an effort to buffer the economy against high energy costs and the emotional debate over the Keystone pipeline. Compared to all those discussion points how interested are you in hearing folks debate the date of global PO? Not interesting to me in the least.

Shorter Cornucopian: "We are awash in oil; therefore, we must drill everywhere as soon as possible."

If only Gingrich had been elected President, we would have $2.50 gas by now so we could accelerate our consumption of a non renewable resource. My father was conservative. Gingrich ain't no conservative.

The debate about time frame this short is absurd, of course, because shouldn't we be thinking in terms of generations? But as you have so eloquently stated, we don't and we won't.

Funny. In 1975 I was biking to work in part because I was concerned with the coming oil shortage and pollution. And I weren't even an oil man. And I do remember all those Mobil oil commercials berating environmentalists. Nothing much has changed.

I enjoy getting the sum up of the news stream on the subject a few days a week. It keeps me informed about what is going on in the news streams, and I want that information. I do however ony rarely read them. I have had enough people lie to me in my days already.

Ugh . . . these abundance stories are annoying. Just a bunch of handwaving tricks to hide the real issue:
-Redefine peak oil as 'running out of oil'
-Focus on the local boost in production (while ignoring depletion in the North Sea, Alaska, Cantarell, etc.)
-Point to 'reserve growth' . . . this is just more oil moved from resources into reserves due to the higher prices!
-Give number of years at current consumption rates . . . never mind that those years are misleading because depletion increases as consumption rates rise.
-And speaking of consumption rates, NEVER mention the massive amount of new cars being purchased in China.

Peak oil should focus on the price . . . that is what hurts people. The actual peak date, production volume, etc. is irrelevant. It is the price that consumers pay which affects real lives.

" It is the price that consumers pay which affects real lives."

I think it's important to go beyond price. I try to be a little thorn in people's side, plant a seed of awareness that most of the gallon of gasoline they just burned is gone forever, at least as a fuel; irreplacable at any price. They can replace it with another gallon of gas, but it too will be gone forever, like a wasted day.

Anyway, off to burn some fossil fuel ;-/

HI Spec and Ghung,

Thanks - great comments.

The thing about price, though: price can be very low and still - not a good thing. Example, once price has gone way up, recession/depression follows, price drops. etc. So...it's not only the price, per se.

And of course, the fact we're talking about the one-time resource that is unique in its function (i.e., to power global industrial civilization).

Focusing on price one will overlook the calamity of shortages awaiting the world on the falling edge. The high price is the dominant factor around the peak, but later we will have both.

A lot of the discussion here on TOD is about the depletion of oil and the increasing difficulty and expense of extracting oil. Doesn't it seem a shame that the vehicles used for our transportation waste most of the fuel that is put in them?

"What is the motivation...?"

To allay their own fear. A fear that may be 100% unconscious, below the surface. Or one that may only arise in the quieter moments, or perhaps never arise at all. But it is there, driving them.

Our conscious selves are driven primarily by unconscious forces (we are not rational creatures, we are rationalizing creatures).

The louder they proclaim, the harder they try, all in an effort to NOT face what they truly fear - change. Change to BAU, change to their lives, change to what they know and are at least reasonably comfortable with. Fear that they may be wasting their lives, fear that the other is right and they are wrong. Fear their job will go away, they will lose their house and their car and their comforts.

People publish misleading statistics because they fear not being loved? Yes. Fear they will be left alone, without love, to die.

Peak oil is a psychological problem.

We build great edifices in the name of denial.


I think you hit it right on the head, in terms of what is discussed/reported with respect to Peak Oil.

Cornucopians are anxious to bury the peak oil concept, but in order for their articles to garner attention they have to use the phrase, and to get more attention they have to make their denials all the more emphatic. They don't seem to understand that their emphatic denials approach hysteria (whistling past the graveyard), and do as much to keep the peak oil concept alive as to bury it.

If they are so confident about abundance, they should focus on the business consequences of abundance and avoid mentioning peak oil altogether. But then they know no one will read their stuff. Which should make them ask themselves 'why do we keep having to debunk peak oil?'.

As discussed elsewhere in today's DB (and many others) cornucopians don't have a great answer for why prices are so high if the supply picture is so much improved from 10 years ago. Today's prices are a signal of the Peak Oil Dynamic (hat tip to ROCKMAN) in which the demand impacts of high prices confound what might otherwise be a smooth Hubbert function of peaking and declining production.

Steve – the other day I offered a potential response to the cornucopians re: increased oil production. Exactly along the lines of your comment: the increase in oil production is actually a symptom of PO and not an argument against it. It’s typical that when one increases the price of any commodity it’s production goes up. Every resource in the world, be it copper, gravel, oil, etc. have deposits that are too expensive to develop at a certain price. Increase the price and those resources will become economic and production will increase. The oil in the shales have been known for more than a half decade. The technology used to recover it today has been around for more than 20 years.
It would interesting to see the response of any cornie when some TODster offers them that view. Let us know if you give it a try. I suspect a common response will be that it’s those darn speculators causing the higher prices. Even though it’s not true there’s an easy counter IMHO: just say yes…and the speculators’ ability to impact the market place is another symptom of PO. If there truly were a great abundance of oil they wouldn’t be able to have much control over the market.

I think you meant 'more than half a century'.

And yep . . . I always point out that the only reason production is up is BECAUSE of higher oil prices. And oil prices are up because of oil scarcity (and increased demand from China).

These abundance articles are spreading misinformation. I feel sorry for the people who gain confidence from them and go out and buy gas guzzlers. They are going to be quite upset a few years down the road trying to feed those beasts.

spec - Yep but what's 40 years amongst friends. LOL. I'm tarred. Had to go out to a well at 1AM this morning. I drive up and my consultant says goods news...just got it fixed. I said it would have been better news if he had called to tell me that at 10 last night.

It is a shame that more folks don't at least know the risk they are facing. A big push on selling p/u trucks in Texas right now. And I hear Ford is about to come out with a big change in the F-150 that they hope will ramp up sales. You would think the new highs for this time of year would slow it down. But times are good in Texas and getting better so I suppose folks are just taking this as the new normal.

the speculators’ ability to impact the market place is another symptom of PO. If there truly were a great abundance of oil they wouldn’t be able to have much control over the market.

Yessir. The apprehension of a scarce situation moves through a commodity market like wildfire, and folks who have been trading in that market know very exactly how to bid up the price. As you say, they can't manipulate the markets without fundamental scarcity in those markets.

It sticks in my mind that in the great crude oil price run-up of 2008, the experts testifying before Congress at first explained very calmly that higher prices were simply a function of supply and demand, nothing to be concerned about. Once these experts realized the implications of what they were saying (maybe supply has peaked?) they started to spin the yarn about speculators.


It's useful to keep in mind that oil is fairly different from many other commodities. Many commodities go through boom and bust cycles, just as oil used to, and will do so for a long time, even though they're not close to depletion. The price of guar gum, or iron, or lithium (etc, etc) spikes as production hits short-term limits, production rises even as consumption plateaus or falls, suppliers lose their shirts, prices fall, rinse and repeat.

Oil, on the other hand, appears to be distributed differently, in fairly discrete pockets with fairly sharp margins, so that the limits to production are a bit different.

That difference is hard for many people to understand.

Today's prices are a signal of the Peak Oil Dynamic (hat tip to ROCKMAN) in which the demand impacts of high prices confound what might otherwise be a smooth Hubbert function of peaking and declining production.

Speaking of which, it seems like these past two years oil price has been pretty consistent. I'm wondering if this narrow price range will hold for 2013 and or for years thereafter? I know these type of speculative questions are difficult to project, however it is interesting how supply & demand seem to have leveled off at a high, yet consistent price.

Earl - You got me thinking. We all understand how cyclic production and pricing can be. And then add in the time lag factor. But there will be periods where something of equilibrium will be reached. It might be rather short as it was with the gas shale boom to bust. But the bust had as much to do with the recession as an increase in supply IMHO.

The currently oil/price equilibrium may last a while or not. If prices stay where they are (and we don’t have another economic down) AND if the pubcos can keep scraping up enough capex together to drill AND if we don’t run out of viable locations in the shales then we might coast along your price plateau for a while.

Hey…PRICE PLATEAU. I just thought of that term. We talk about how long we may be in a production plateau…or a rising production plateau…or a rising plateau that will be followed by an ever decreasing production plateau. Makes you wonder what a plot of price vs. production might look like. But it won’t be simple. Inflation might need to be accounted for…or not. Maybe westexas has something in his tool box along those lines already.

At least for the last few years the bbls/days should be increasing compared to price to some degree. Again the time lag factor needs to be recognized. Probably not a linear relationship given the feedback loops. Again NG shales: increasing prices added supplies. Recession drives down demand. But operators keep producing even with lower prices because they are desperate for cash flow. And that helps the economy recover to some degree. And recovery increases NG consumption (much by subbing NG for coal). But drilling for dry NG production is still depressed. But the NG associated with the oily shales helps to keep supplies up

Which makes me wonder how NG prices might spike if NG drilling stays low and the wheels come of the oil shale cart for whatever reason and we lose much of that NG source. The pressure would be to switch back to coal but politics might slow up that process as well as export contracts pulling more out of the US.

Dang…this is giving me a headache.

Dang…this is giving me a headache.

Interesting points made though, and we'll just have to see how oil price plays out. 'Price plateau'--that's where we are right now.

"Which makes me wonder how NG prices might spike if NG drilling stays low and the wheels come off..."
That would be blamed on speculators. Dang them!

Got2Surf's comment is very on point. Denial is activated by anxiety. We would not be inundated with "peak oil is dead" articles if there was no anxiety. Oil CEO's are optimists as lots of oil men (almost always men, I haven't heard of any female oil executives) are. You have to be an optimist to be in that business. People like optimists; optimists are sometimes right, but when they are wrong, they are not the only ones who pay. Optimists are frequently unaware of their anxiety. For these folks, it comes out as "peak oil is dead." These conclusions are not based on no evidence, but they are based on weak or skewed evidence.

It is clear, for example, from their statements, that Saudi Arabia does not want the world to think there is PO because their survival is dependent upon our belief that there is plenty of oil. Otherwise, we might more aggressively pursue alternatives. It seems reasonable to conclude that the oil companies would have the same perspective.

The other factor is that oil men are a conservative bunch who don't like to be messed with. From environmentalists or anyone that would suggest that there should be anything that prevents them from getting as much oil as quickly as possible. The belief in PO suggests that maybe we should consider a little conservation as if one were on a raft or, you know, a spaceship. As if we lived on a finite planet. Suggestions that we live on a finite planet or spaceship earth is considered repressive.

I grew up in Oklahoma City around the Petroleum Club crowd so part of my opinions are a direct result of that exposure and not just conjecture based upon reading about the industry. But ROCKMAN doesn't seem as conservative as those people so it's always possible I have been over exposed to an unusually conservative segment of the population. I think Oklahoma is even more conservative than Texas.

ts – Setting aside for a moment exactly what “conservative” means, let’s focus on the statements of those conservative CEO’s. Maybe I’m so close to the action that I assume too much with regards to what folks understand about that cheerleader attitude of the pubcos. One of the prime responsibilities of an oil CEO is to increase stock price. Such a critical aspect the govt has thousands of regulation dealing with such public statement. The companies for their part have lawyers that do nothing but construct press releases that offer the most optimistic view of the future without violating SEC regs.

True story: in 1994 I sat in on a board meeting of a small oil company. The meeting was split evenly between two goals. First, designing a press release that would offer the most optimistic potential future for company operations. Second was to modify the compensation package for the board and management to deal with the anticipated company failure and probable bankruptcy. Which is exactly what happened 2 years later.

So no wonder the public gets confused. Many politicians have similar agendas: there’s what they expect to happen and what they want the public to expect to happen. And it’s often not the same picture.

Back to that “conservative” thing and how it’s applied. How do you do it? Set some point value for each category, like +1 for a conservative position and a –1 for a liberal position. And thus if your sum is above zero you’re a conservative.

So on a personal note: growing up poor in a mixed neighborhood in Nawlins I’m at the opposite end of some of the racism I can bump up against in the oil patch. So -1 maybe. The death penalty…all for it. And not just for murderers…same for anyone using a loaded gun in a robbery. And if I’m in a bad mood that day I could go for executing rapists especially those victimizing children. So +2. I fully support abortion rights. So -2. I also support financially penalizing folks on public support who keep having kids. So +1. I support drilling for oil/NG. So +1. I also support crucifying companies that cheat on the environmental regs while drilling. So -2.

Sorry…lost track of the count. Am I a conservative or a liberal? LOL. The real point of that little expose was one of my favorite rants: how the politicians like to distract the public by turning the discussions into “them vs. us”. By dumbing down the discussion they keep folks from focusing on what’s actually happening IMHO.

Okies only seem more conservative than Texans because our egos are so big we can get loud and brash. Not the mild mannered nature you find north of the Red River.

Am I a conservative or a liberal?

Hmm, you sound more like one of those radical free thinking 'deliberatives', dangerous folks those... >;-)

Arend Lijphart: The Future of Democracy: Reasons for Pessimism, but Also Some Optimism. Scandinavian Political Studies, Vol. 23 ^ No. 3, 2000, pp 265-273.

My conclusion can be summarized in just a few sentences. I believe that a serious problem for the success and spread of democracy in the twenty-first century is the continued popularity, especially among political leaders in not yet or not fully democratic countries, of two major institutions that have negative consequences for democracy: presidential government and majoritarian election systems. This factor, together with the salience of ethnic tensions in many countries, necessitates serious pessimism about the future of democracy. However, politicians do have the ability to learn, and it is certainly not impossible that they will start to listen to the conclusions and recommendations of political scientists.

HTML of the article (slightly misedited) and PDF of the journal issue.


Looks like somebody also needs to take a remedial calculus course, it's not about amounts it's about flow rates.

"Lord John Browne the former chief executive of BP"

BP means big propaganda.

Has anyone commenting actually read the article?

"The second challenge is how to win the argument for a low-carbon future. This remains an environmental necessity"

Yes, obviously I read it. And my comments were not directed at the second challenge, it was directed at the main theme of the argument, that we live in an age of energy abundance and the authors' evidence for making that claim.

However that second challenge is very important but it is one I seldom, if ever, comment on. I believe that we are in a period of fast global warming, and that it is caused by human actions, and there is nothing we, the human population of earth, will do about it. What little action to help is done by a few countries will greatly be outweighed by countries who ignore it and just make it worse.

So I almost always remain silent when the subject is discussed on this list.

Ron P.

Well, obviously if becomes even a bigger challenge when people run around touting the end of peak oil.

For all you biking enthusiasts: "Beyond Safety: Why Women Need Separated Bike Lanes More Than Men Do."


Addresses physiological sensory differences between the sexes, health benefits of walking and biking, deleterious effects of car/truck exhaust, and the American predilection for driving short distances. (Americans drive 70% of trips under a mile.) And a few photos of very fine bike lanes.

I stopped reading when I got to this:

"Statistics show that physically-separated bike lanes that crisscross the lands of bicycle-friendly nations are indeed safer for bicyclists."

Which is the biggest lie of them all. There is no such statistics, because it is simply not true. In fact riding on a separated bike line increases the chances of car-bike colissions and other types of accidents. That's why cyclists who know better always ignore such facilities and ride on the road like everybody else.

So no, women need the same number of bike lanes as men do and that is zero.

Spoken like a true vehicular cyclist. (Almost without exception vehicular cyclists are male.)

Countries with separated bicycle infrastructure have bicycle accident rates that are a fraction of ours. Countries with separated bicycle infrastructure have bicycling participation rates 30 times ours.

Countries without separated bicycle infrastructure have nearly no one bicycling. But for those who like to bicycle in traffic, this suits them fine. Women, children, folks over 50 just slow them down.

Besides, speaking for my wife, she simply will not ride a bike if she has to share the road with autos. And I have seen people, mostly male, use the road even when there is a separated lane right beside it. I used to live in South East Denver and was able to ride my bike all the way downtown with almost no possible contact with cars. There is no way in hell I would have biked to downtown if I had to share the road.

Putting aside the statistics, if you feel safer you will ride more. And that is better for you, everybody else, and the planet.

And when I see a separated bike lane, I use it regardless because I want to support those people who funded those lanes at great expense. It is simple. The more bike lanes, the more people biking. Check out Boulder sometime.

I don't like to bicycle in traffic. I hate it. But I can't deny the hard, cold math. It's safer to bike on the road, for the reason the diagram shows, and, apparently, for other reasons as well. Even on bike paths with no interaction with cars at all, it's less safe. Perhaps because people drop their guard and behave differently, and because the very separation is a problem. Collisions with cars are not the only risk to cyclists.

Perhaps those statistics are valid but the bike path I ride on has a few places where the road crosses in front of the path. I am careful to stop and look both ways before each crossroad. So, I think it all depends on the individual.

Check out this article. Maybe the statistics aren't as cut and dried as you might think.



Objectives. We compared cycling injury risks of 14 route types and other route infrastructure features.

Methods. We recruited 690 city residents injured while cycling in Toronto or Vancouver, Canada. A case-crossover design compared route infrastructure at each injury site to that of a randomly selected control site from the same trip.

Results. Of 14 route types, cycle tracks had the lowest risk (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.11; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.02, 0.54), about one ninth the risk of the reference: major streets with parked cars and no bike infrastructure. Risks on major streets were lower without parked cars (adjusted OR = 0.63; 95% CI = 0.41, 0.96) and with bike lanes (adjusted OR = 0.54; 95% CI = 0.29, 1.01). Local streets also had lower risks (adjusted OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.31, 0.84). Other infrastructure characteristics were associated with increased risks: streetcar or train tracks (adjusted OR = 3.0; 95% CI = 1.8, 5.1), downhill grades (adjusted OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.7, 3.1), and construction (adjusted OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.3, 2.9).

Conclusions. The lower risks on quiet streets and with bike-specific infrastructure along busy streets support the route-design approach used in many northern European countries. Transportation infrastructure with lower bicycling injury risks merits public health support to reduce injuries and promote cycling.

Read More: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300762?journa...

Folks you are missing the bigger picture.

There aren't going to be any cars on the roads in the future! And you know what I mean by that...I mean that economic activity will be slow, people will be stuck where they are, gasoline shortages and rationing, bankruptcies and joblessness.

So yes, people will be driving cars...but they won't get very far, they'll be going pretty slow, and only the rich and the subsidized (like truckers) will get the fuel.

I know it doesn't seem that way now, because we are at peak, and have been at peak since 2005. But once we hit the downward slope things will change dramatically.

So you cyclists are going to have the roads to yourselves! But trust me, it's not going to be paradise.

In other words, it's not going to be anything like today. Throw all assumptions and studies out the window. We are moving into a new world.

I don't think it is going to be paradise but I have lived in areas where I simply did not need a car and life was much better for me from both an economics standpoint and a health standpoint. I was able to trade my car for a bike and have never been happier.

If the world you envision occurs, there will be adjustments to land use patterns, meaning that there will less need for roads and parking lots. Those area can be filled in with housing and commercial establishments so that things will be more compact. Compact urban cities require less mobility in the first place. If they are compact enough, the car is simply not necessary. Or think of the old cities or parts of cities which still exist and how narrow the pathways are. Cars simply cannot travel through those spaces and life goes on quite well.

I will grant you that there will be cases where nothing but a car will do. But just using a car in those instances is a far different world than we use now.

Of course, even though we as a society have choices, we will do nothing much to take the necessary steps to exist in a low oil society and a world were we are headed for climate catastrophe. At the end of the day, we will continue to value short term convenience over long term survival and quality of life.

Separated bikeways increase bicycle riding by huge numbers, partly for the reasons I explain in my linked post. The more bicycle riders, the more car drivers become aware to always look for bicyclists. (And the more bicycle riders, the higher the likelihood any individual car driver is a bicyclist his or herself or has a loved one who cycles. They become people who identify with and care about not hitting cyclists.)

The more car drivers become aware to look for bicyclists, the more the bicycle accident rate drops. So while intersections might become marginally more dangerous (and they really are not very dangerous in the Netherlands and Denmark) the increased number of bicyclists vastly drops the bicycle accident rate overall. Biking becomes not only less stressful and more pleasant, it becomes ten times safer, safe enough for elementary school children to routinely bike to school. Also,curiously, the more bicyclists on the road, the more auto accident and fatality rates drop as well.

So overall, creating separated bicycle infrastructure vastly improves the safety of all bicyclists. Overall, having no separated bicycle infrastructure vastly decreases the safety of all bicyclists. (The US, home of almost no separated bicycle infrastructure, has one of the worst bicycle fatality rates in the world.) Overall, having no separated bicycle infrastructure means bicycling is so unpleasant almost no one bikes.

Some good news for Londoners (UK) - Yesterday the Mayor announced a new 15 mile cycle route across central London. Part of a 900 million pound scheme to make cycling in the city bike-friendly and importantly, more enjoyable. Combine that with the ongoing massive cross-rail project (about 15 billion pounds) and we have some serious transport projects underway.


This is an interesting case of trying to disentangle coupled variables using very incomplete statistical data.

The data that shows accidents decline as more people cycle is unequivocal.

Results: The likelihood that a given person walking or bicycling will be struck by a motorist varies
inversely with the amount of walking or bicycling. This pattern is consistent across communities of varying size, from specific intersections to cities and countries, and across time periods.
Discussion: This result is unexpected. Since it is unlikely that the people walking and bicycling become
more cautious if their numbers are larger, it indicates that the behavior of motorists controls the likelihood of collisions with people walking and bicycling. It appears that motorists adjust their behavior in
the presence of people walking and bicycling. There is an urgent need for further exploration of the
human factors controlling motorist behavior in the presence of people walking and bicycling.
Conclusion:A motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking and bicycling if more people walk
or bicycle. Policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving the safety of people walking and bicycling

The increase in cycling volume after bicycling facilities are created is also well-documented.
Makes sense, because we all know people who know they will not cycle unless they have a safe place to do so (I know plenty, including myself, a 40+ year dedicated cyclist who still avoids environments where I do not "feel" safe), but the tiny numbers of "vehicular cycling" zealots are going to ride (and post with evangelical vehemence too) no matter what.

After buffered bike lanes were installed on Philadelphia's Spruce and Pine streets, bike traffic increased 95% and the number of bicyclists riding on the sidewalks decreased by up to 75%
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, 2010

"Bicycle usage up 95% on Spruce and Pine bike lanes," 10 December 2009
After two streets in Minneapolis were converted to be more bicycle friendly, bike traffic increased 43%, total vehicle crashes decreased, traffic efficiency was maintained, and parking revenues remained consistent.


And the research on the safety impacts of riding on cycle tracks versus riding on streets has given very mixed results.

Most individuals prefer bicycling separated from motor traffic. However, cycle tracks (physically separated bicycle-exclusive paths along roads, as found in The Netherlands) are discouraged in the USA by engineering guidance that suggests that facilities such as cycle tracks are more dangerous than the street. The objective of this study conducted in Montreal (with a longstanding network of cycle tracks) was to compare bicyclist injury rates on cycle tracks versus in the street. For six cycle tracks and comparable reference streets, vehicle/bicycle crashes and health record injury counts were obtained and use counts conducted. The relative risk (RR) of injury on cycle tracks, compared with reference streets, was determined. Overall, 2.5 times as many cyclists rode on cycle tracks compared with reference streets and there were 8.5 injuries and 10.5 crashes per million bicycle-kilometres. The RR of injury on cycle tracks was 0.72 (95% CI 0.60 to 0.85) compared with bicycling in reference streets. These data suggest that the injury risk of bicycling on cycle tracks is less than bicycling in streets. The construction of cycle tracks should not be discouraged...


A review of 23 studies on bicycling injuries found that bike facilities (e.g. off-road paths, on-road marked bike lanes, and on-road bike routes) are where bicyclists are safest.
Reynolds, C., et al., 2009
The impact of transportation infrastructure on bicycling injuries and crashes: a review of the literature, Environmental Health, 8:47

So in short, while an individual cycle facility may have slightly higher accident rates than on-street riding, cities with excellent cycle facilities have much higher overall cycling rates, and much much lower cycling accident/death rates. For example, Amsterdam has separated bike facilities everywhere, has 30% of the population commuting by bike, and only has 6 or so cycling fatalities per year, for per mile death rates that nearly an order of magnitude lower than other cities with much less separated cycling


U.S. cyclists are three more likely to be killed than German cyclists and six times more than Dutch cyclists, whether compared per-trip or per-distance traveled. (Reuters, Aug. 28, 2003, by Maggie Fox)

Speaking from my own experience of using bicycles as the main means of transportation for decades both for myself and for my family (and from decades as a design engineer designing lots of stuff but no bike paths), I think the significant variable that is ignored both in studies and in vehement arguments is design. It is possible to design cycle tracks that are either safer or more dangerous than adjacent roads, depending on the design details of built infrastructure. Path/street intersections are inherently dangerous, and our multi-use paths in Boulder typically follow waterways and go under the same bridges that the streams follow, eliminating the possibility of car/bike collisions. When bike path street intersections are required, the details of street/path design are critical to safe interactions (counterflow bikes are very likely to not be seen, etc.).

The other issue that is often ignored is accident severity. There have been many skinned elbows and minor accidents on Boulder's 360+ miles of bike facilities in the 40 years I have lived here. My memory is that Boulder County has about 2 bicylist fatalities per year, but as far as my faulty memory can extend, not a single one of those ~80 bike fatalities has occurred on a separated cycle track. So in counting accident rates, some distinction must be made between skinned elbows and death, paralysis, and brain damage that so frequently result from car/bike collisions.

The situation is just much more complicated than "on-street cycling good, dedicated bike facilities bad" or the inverse. Well-designed separated bike facilities can encourage more timid riders to cycle, making everybody safer(even car drivers, Amsterdam has much lower auto death rates too). But poorly designed bike facilities (or any other kind of facility) can make a more dangerous environment for everybody too.

And the illustration up-thread is a perfect representation of a poorly designed and obsolete bike facility. Holding the bike lane back from the intersection as drawn is indeed bad design because the cyclists appear at a location that is unexpected to turning drivers. In the Netherlands the currently prevalent design approach is to bring the bike path close to travel lanes at the intersection, and then to signal priority to cyclists, allowing them to start and often clear the intersection before turning vehicle motions are allowed by the traffic light. So one bad design cannot provide a reasonable argument to oppose all dedicated bike facilities.

The final argument for dedicated bike facilities is the cyclist experience and health. When I cycle on Boulder's Greenways I listen to bird song and stream flow instead of engines, brakes, horns and tire noise. I smell green plants instead of car exhaust and ground up brake pads and tire particles. I cannot imagine how any reasonable person would not prefer the "green experience" on the Greenway to more time in automobile hell. Obviously the Greenways do not go everywhere I need to go, so I ride plenty on streets too, but I go out of my way to ride in peace and so do many many other riders.

Regardless of mode, people do not detour far off the shortest route: detour ratios (actual distance/shortest distance) were similar, with three-fourths of trips within 10% of the shortest distance and at least 90% within 25%. Differences in the built environment measures en route suggest why bike commuters chose to detour: the actual routes had significantly more bicycle facilities (traffic-calming features, bike stencils, and signage) than did the shortest-path routes. Compared with shortest-path routes, cyclists spent significantly less of their travel distance along arterial roads and significantly more along local roads, off-street paths, and routes with bike facilities

Thanks for that careful review.
Here in Britain re-design for 'traffic calming' has been necessary in most of our towns and cities, especially where residential neighbourhoods are adjacent to city centres. Traffic flows were often difficult to maintain at even the speed of 19thC horse-drawn traffic much of the day, and intense management of car routes has been called for - 'one-way systems' and deterrents such as deliberate width restrictions are common. Unfortunately re-design and traffic management has not generated the safe bike commuting of Amsterdam - we lost whatever biking-to-work habit we had in earlier times, and the old factory towns with workers walking and biking are long gone.

"The data that shows accidents decline as more people cycle is unequivocal."

The same data applies to motorcyclists too. You have to train the cage drivers to look for things smaller than a Suburban.

There is certainly evidence that accident rates decline as the number of cyclists or pedestrians increases. However, it is far from certain what causes the decline. Let's not jump to conclusions, attractive though they may be. The idea that more cyclists cause motorists to be more careful is probably true to some extent, but is unlikely to explain all of the change in accident rates.

Jacobsen in his now-famous Safety in Numbers paper counted commuting cyclists in different cities and compared the count to police reports of collisions involving all cyclists in the community. The most glaring omission in Jacobsen's paper in my opinion was his failure to separate the accidents of child cyclists and drunken night cyclists from those of sober adults, let alone the commuters he counted. He doesn't seem to understand the vast differences in accident rates among vastly different types of cyclists. He doesn't understand that the commuting population does not equal the cycling population. He doesn't seem to understand at all that a cycling population with a high proportion of commuting cyclists is likely to have a lower accident rate than a cycling population with a larger proportion of kids and drunks. And his paper doesn't account for the fact that the cycling population in any given locale changes over time in profound ways beyond a simple headcount. In American cities the ratio of child cyclists to adult cyclists has declined massively in the past several decades, leading to profound changes in several aspects of accident statistics. This is just one way that the cycling population changes over time.

As you can probably tell, I suspect that the "Safety in Numbers" phenomena gets more credit than it's due. Differences in accident rate have much more to do with the cycling population than with the drivers. However, the theory does provide easy answers to difficult problems, so will remain way more attractive than the truth.

Robert Hurst


cycling statistics: http://www.industrializedcyclist.com/lies.html

I was waiting for the day you wrote something I did not agree with, and now it came. No, bike lanes are not less safe, they are more safe. For the very same reasons you hate biking in trafic.

However there are one known factor involved in this; people became careless when they are not aware of risks. So I guess bikers may bike less caresfull on a lane and then expose themself to more risks in risky situations. But the lanes them selves are obviously safer. For example on a road a big vehichle driving fast can drive close to me and drag me with it in the draft. There are drunk drivers and so on. Then of course there are my crazy aunt who drove on the bike lane, but that is another story. Anyway, the base line is you can not build a society so safe people need not take responsibility for their own safety.

On a related account: in Sweden a few years ago they handed out brightly coloured hats (I don't know the english name for them, but the kind hipp hoppers use to wear backwards) to kids aged 4-6. They where told with these hats, car drivers would see them and the risk of them beeing hit by a car would be reduced. Predictably, the kiddos now thought they were imortals and run stright out on the streets like carzy. The hats where withdrawn.

I've heard all those false stereotypes before. Including the fallacious argument of women, children and old folks also have the right to ride etc..., you forgot to include one eyed-people, the blind, the amputee. I have been riding for 5 years in the streets of Madrid, Spain, where we have thankfully almost no cyclist apartheid and where in the last few years the number of vehicular cyclists as you call them (what else is a cyclist supposed to be a pedestrian on wheels?) has increased considerably, including women by the way, and as far as I know the rate of accidents has not increased. However you can not say the same about the Spanish cities where they have tried to copy the Northern European way of getting the roads clean of cyclists. For example Seville and Barcelona are complete disasters, where cyclists get killed on easily prevented accidents caused by segregation of bicycle traffic. Anyway, if you live in the US maybe you can learn from them http://commuteorlando.com/education/instructors.html (two women out of three by the way).

I ride whenever possible on the sidewalk for most New Jersey roads unless there is a wide shoulder. Of course very many roads in New Jersey were farm roads formerly in the "country" in the Garden State before the farms were paved over so they have no sidewalks.

I'm not going to argue with the statistics & it makes sense to design according to reality but I'm not part of the above statistics. I also prefer riding in a lane but when I approach the intersection (as in the diagram) I let the car have the right of way unless I'm positive there's going to be no collision. I have no want to tell a driver was wrong especially if i'm splattered.

Actually, I think the statistics can be argued with.


No wonder accidents happen there. That intersection is designed completely wrong.

- The stop line and 'give way' sign is painted on the road behind the bikelane instead of before.
- There is no speed bump to slow down traffic on the street coming/going from the bottom (when the road from the bottom connects a residential area to a larger road).
- The bike lane does not locally move away from the parallel way to give drivers more distance and time to assess the situation as they turn on the new road. Another example.

I like to follow along with Bicycle Dutch,a cycling enthusiast in NL.He shoots video very often of his rides and shows just how advanced and safe the Netherlands bike system is.I could add much more but the vids speak for themselves.

If only everywhere was as such!


Just watched a few vids, that's really informative stuff and shows some of the decisions for designing safe cycleways. Thanks!

The bike lane does not locally move away from the parallel way? Wow, whenever I ride thru an intersection I find very dangerous to swerve in front of traffic, much safer to keep moving straight, it is crazy that the bike lane forces such behaviour.
The funny thing about the believers in the segregation of traffic by type of vehicle is that they are very afraid of traffic not seeing them from behind, when there is plenty of time to react but however somehow expect that they will be seen in intersections while showing up unexpectedly from the middle of nowhere. It is pretty sad how motorists have expelled cyclists in the Netherlands where there used to be more cyclists before they were segregated in favor of the almighty automobile.

This is a really tricky situation even though orthogonal crossings are worse. Bicycles coming from behind are tricky to spot.

Usually it is the car who is to blame while the bicycle is hurt the most.

In some cases they plant bushes to make the crossings look good but there are obvious disadvantages. It make the most vulnerable feel safer but easier to miss by the cars.

So not true. Under swedish law it is illegal to ride a bike on a pedestrian lane (side walk) so we have to ride our bikes on the road. I nearly died once following that law, and ever since, I bike on the side walk. I rather pay the fines than purchase a wheel chair. And care nuttin' if pedestrians yell at me when I bike on the side walk. Those bike lanes are a true life saver. Good we have lots of bike lanes in Sweden.

What do I do when I navigate those treacherous road crossings? I use my eyes and monitor the trafic situation before making the crossover. Of course I was run over (in slow speed) once, but that was in extreme fog and the driver was not observant, nor aware of the traffic rules. Educational experience, although the new bike wheel costed me 400 kronor.

; )

Commutes by vehicles is so BAU. Telecommute instead, and do guilt-free shopping on the wkend by bike/car/public transit.

Telecommute instead, and do guilt-free shopping on the wkend by bike/car/public transit.

Assuming you find you absolutely must shop on the weekend, you could continue your telecommuting theme and shop online from your cellphone while laying on the beach >;-)

“In this South Texas…where the land is sometimes too dry to grow crops, the local aquifer is being strained in the search for oil. The reason is hydraulic fracturing…“We just can’t sustain it,” Hugh Fitzsimons, a Dimmit County bison rancher who serves on the board of his local groundwater district, said last month…”

Just so there’s no misunderstanding: the oil patch isn’t allowed to take any water from the aquifer. The water rights belong to the public. The withdrawn rate of fresh water is controlled by regulations. And the Edwards aquifer has been under a great strain long before the frac’ng frenzy began. Mostly due to population growth in San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christie. For decades there has been a 60” water pipeline moving billions of gallons of water from the upper coast to Corpus Christie. Identical to what has happened in S CA where the population quickly grew beyond the limits of local water resources.

All the water used for frac’ng is purchased from the landowners who own the rights. They have the option to sell it to anyone for any reason or use it for their own ranching/farming. Thanks to the high price of oil many of the landowners are making more money selling their water than using it themselves. If a landowner doesn’t want to sell his water for frac’ng he doesn’t have to. He can use it for his own commercial enterprise.

Whether used for frac’ng, farming or ranching the same total amount of water is being used. The problem has always been that regardless of how it’s used there never has been enough.

There is a difference between usage and consumption. Isn't water used for farming or domestic purposes more likely to be available for reuse at some point. When the water in my house goes down the drain, it eventually ends up back in the aquifier or downstream for usage by others. There is more evaporation when crops are irrigated but the same principle applies.

ts - Unfortunately the geology doesn’t work that way in this part of the world. Here’s everything you might want to know about the Edwards: http://www.edwardsaquifer.net/ There are other aquifers but they have the same morphology as the Edwards.

The Edwards aquifer is at the surface north of the S Texas population as well as the Eagle Ford play. Rain (what little that falls) recharges the aquifer in this area. Actually it's this recharge area that is closely monitored for pollution. …much more than south where much of the drilling is happening. The EA then dips towards the coast line faster than ground level so it's eventually hundreds to thousands of feet below ground level. So picture a cross section in your mind: at top: ground level. Next deeper - the Edwards aquifer. Next Deeper the EFS. The water that would have been used for irrigation is absorbed into the soil. Even if it percolated deep enough to reach the EA it could only be sourced by going further south in the down dip direction and drilling deeper to get it. But those wells would be too deep to be practical. But that won’t even happen: the water content in the soil layer is such out before it has a chance to travel downwards very far. Much of the ag effort in S Texas use dry farming methods.

This has always been the problem in S Texas. With the aquifers eventually extending out under the GOM there's no way for it to recharge itself from irrigation utilization immediately above it. And this is why the worst results of the drought haven't completely kicked in yet. While farmers/ranchers/frac'ers drew more water from the EA the up dip recharge area got even less. It takes years for that dynamic to travel down dip to the withdrawal wells but it will be get there eventually. Like I said about S CA: Mother Earth says it going to be an arid land…we can’t change that. You can fight it by drawing out that paleowater but eventually, as demand increases, the water supply won't. And then if she gets ornery and cuts back on rainfall for a while it can get very serious very fast.

It’s an easy choice for many landowners: make $500,000 selling his water with no financial risk or plant a crop and make $200,000. Plant a crop and something goes wrong that potential $200,000 crop profit could turn into a much smaller amount or even a loss. What would you do? You might not sell your water. For personal reason, you may choose to not be part of the frac’ng process which would certainly be your option. Like they say: don’t just talk the talk...do it! LOL. But easier said than done when you have a mortgage to pay off or a kid’s college tuition to cover. Personally one of the most satisfying aspects of my career is seeing mail box money go to some mineral owners who have a serious need for the unexpected income. I’ve seen more than a few families pull themselves up from poverty levels thanks to royalty checks. And I've shared some very sad times with more than one land owner after drilling a dry hole. I have a very nice Cajun lady that calls me up every month or so to see when we might start producing an oil well she has a bit of royalty under. She’s never told me but my drilling consultant knew the story: her son-in-law has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Besides wanting to make the rest of his life as comfortable as possible her daughter has two young kids. The entire family lives in a house trailer that probably isn’t worth more than $20,000. I asked my consultant to buy them some groceries from time to time and put it on his expense report. Insignificant compared to what I paid him daily. After his first surprise delivery she thanked him greatly and then asked that he not do it again.

Very sad and satisfying at the same time. Just one more reason I hope the well comes in as good as I expect.

The technical terms used by hydrologists are consumptive and nonconsumptive use. When consumptive use exceeds the renewal rate you are heading for disaster. Every five years the US Geological survey reports on water use, in 1995 the consumptive use and renewal rates looked like this

Curiously they stopped reporting that data after 1995. The 2005 report has this interesting entry for "consumptive use"

the part of water withdrawn that is evaporated, transpired, incorporated into products or crops, consumed by humans or livestock, or otherwise removed from the immediate water environment. Consumptive-use estimates were included in some previous water-use Circulars but were omitted beginning in 2000. Also referred to as water consumed.

North Carolina state hydrology reports quietly dropped the subject around that same time. I think TPTB realized that publishing such data was bad for attracting new business.

Whew! It's a relief to know that the water is being sold by it's owners.

A French look at Fracking:

Interesting analysis

I predict the French will do their own fracking in due time. They'll get tired of being jerked around by the Russia bear on natural gas prices and start fracking for their own natural gas eventually. People's principles pretty much always have a price point.

Hey Kingfish, that water that just came down as rain onto your roof, well it evaporated out of the pond in my backyard. I´m afraid I´ll have to send you a bill... >;-)

I think Corpus Christi gets all of its water from lakes - including that 60" pipe from north coast of Texas. Just saying.

And, some of that water from the Edwards has been sold to fish farmers, whose excess useage has been a problem. Overall though, the problem is as you said... population growth. It is what is driving water shortages in India as well as in the drylands of the USA. Cotton farming in the tablelands of North Texas. In the end, as we all know, nature will take care of that. Meanwhile, there will be some parched throats and dry farms in our future.


p.s. No "e" on the end of Christi.

zap - Yep...Lake Texana. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Texana I cross it all the time heading to my wells. During the worst of the drought in completely disappeared from the view from the highway. Been crossing it for 30 years and never saw it drop that much.

This is not necessarily directed at you, Craig, but what is this with the "Just Saying" phrase? I see it more and more, and it really gets on my nerves.

Spoken almost with a quick shuffle, I'd bet. It's an apology for what you just said, like don't get mad at me. If you need to apologize, then hit your delete button, don't say it.


A phrase used to indicate that we refuse to defend a claim we've made---in other words, that we refuse to offer reasons that what we've said is true.

Just another way of saying IMO or IMHO.

It is a childish, schoolyard retort.

Might as well finish your statement with a nanny-nanny-nanny, thumbs to your ears and waving your fingers.

Meh,, imbrace your inner child. Just sayin' ;-)

Good fun, eh?

'Submitted for your approval'

'Take it as you will'

..as someone said the other day, the rhetorical devices that really disturb me are the ones that imply absolute certainty, not these above (IMO) that temper the absolutism a bit with some humility and acknowledgment of it just being a personal take on the topic.

End of Story.
Ding! We have a Winner!

We have rivers that flood and cross above major aquifers. Does anyone know why the excess is not being diverted to the aquifers? Pollution? Cost?

The EPA has rules in place to try to limit contamination, especially biotic:

As of 2007, nine states require that water used for ASR injection be potable water or drinking water treated to national or state Drinking Water Standards or state ground water standards. Potable water is defined differently in each state but generally refers to water that is high quality and poses no immediate or long term health risk when consumed. Some primacy states allow additional types of water to be used in ASR, including treated effluent, untreated surface and ground water, reclaimed water subject to state recycled water criteria, or “any” injectate. However, state-specifc ASR regulations do not supersede the prohibition of movement of fluid into a USDW. Specifically, EPA regulations provide that “no owner or operator shall construct, operate, maintain, convert, plug, abandon, or conduct any other injection activity in a manner that allows the movement of fluid containing any contaminant into underground sources of drinking water, if the presence of theat contaminant may cause a violation of any primary drinking water regulation under 40 CFR part 142 or may other wise adversely affect the health of persons.” (40 CFR 144.12).

ASR standing for aquatic storage and recovery.

Peter – Are you in S Texas? Even if you aren’t this answer might still apply to you. We have a lots of river water in SE Texas that flushes out into the GOM. We could capture a lot of it and build $billions of pipelines to pump (at an additional huge expense) it to the Edwards recharge area where we could inject into the aquifer by the hundreds of wells costing $1+ billion to drill. And then folks could spend millions pumping it out of the ground.

Of course, it would be a lot cheaper to just pipeline it directly to the end users. Which is what we do now so I don’t think that’s the scenario you envision. Rivers flooding in the Edwards recharge area are a major source: the ground there is full of sinkholes and fractures that suck the water right down. I know this will sound stupidly simple but we don’t have a shortage of water in this country. Just some places with too little and others with too much. If you have rivers flooding in an aquifer’s recharge area then problem solved. If not then someone has to pay to get it there. In Texas we’ve long ago built reservoirs along the major coastal rivers to capture those flood waters. Lake Texana is one that captures such waters some of which is pipelined 150 miles to Corpus Christi.

The problem is Texas is that the reservoir systems were built many decades ago. There’s been little ability to expand the system as population grew. There really is no solution to the problem IMHO. It can be delayed by conservation efforts and some reservoir add ons. But eventually nothing can be one to supply a continually growing population. For deacdes some folks have fanatsized about diverting water from the Miss. River out west. Yep: it's that cost you mentioned.

This may interest some. There is a groundwater recharge project in Southern California near Palm Springs that tries to replenish overdrafts from the Coachella Valley's aquifer. The area is a desert where water is used for agriculture as well as many golf courses.

Every year, the Coachella Valley uses almost 400,000 acre-feet of groundwater, but on average only 63,000 acre-feet is replenished naturally through rain or snow melt. Over time excess pumping depletes the aquifer, threatens water supplies to the local population and compromises future growth in the valley.

To replenish groundwater, the new facility uses Colorado River water delivered to the valley via the Coachella Canal, across 120 miles to Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta. The water then travels along existing irrigation pipes, is pumped into 39 recharge basins and left to percolate into the ground.


The valley experiences summer temps of over 100 F (38 C) for months and record high temps are 120 to 125 F.
The Colorado River runs dry long before reaching it's historic delta in the Sea of Cortez.



Hubbert predicted a more or less symmetric bell shaped production curve. I understand that when production is kept at high or growing level (due to whatever technology or investment), the peak is postponed and the production curve must eventually be like a shark fin. No longer symmetrical.
- Is there any evidence allready of individual fields showing shark fin behavior?
- Has anyone tried to update Hubberts curve in that sense?
- Has anyone an idea of timeframe?
- Is it correct to say:"Yes, the shale boom prooves that peak-oil theorists are wrong. The problem is that the catastrophe will only be bigger, since society's response time will be much smaller."

for last question - actually the shale "oil" boom is PROOF that peak oil theory is correct - its the high price of a barrel of oil thats made these plays worth exracting - point out that they are NOT new discoveries and its NOT new tecnologies - what is NEW is the PRICE !!

put it the other away around would these fields be developed if oil was $30 or less for a barrel?

as for the other three , I'm not maths gifted but I suspect we'll have a mix of fields with shark fin drop and some with fat tails - a graph with a shark fin on top of the fat tail

Now how will the World handle the first sign of a drop - not much , spin , spin, spin , but when it cannot be denied any longer I expect all hell to break loose


Obviously neither a bell curve nor a shark fin will be correct as it will be jagged and chaotic.

But if I had to guess, a bell curve is probably closer to the truth. There won't be a shark fin because prices will rise to kill demand and increase supply.

the sharks fin output is a factor of geology , prices will rise ( the market for $500 oil will be well supplied , in current parlance ) but increases in supply will only happen if it there to extract . The point is coming when this increase supply will not prevent a peak in the overall supply of oil. Thus as regions have peaked in the past , the world will, last time looked it was finite.....


Exactly. And there is another thing. Net oil production will produce a shark fin even if actual production is a bell curve. Gad! That means if actual production is a shark fin then net oil production will be.... an even sharper shark fin.

Shark Fin photo SharkFin-1.jpg

Ron P.

On purely theoretical grounds I suspect GLOBAL peak oil looks more like this:

Hubbert's model was developed from aggregating behavior of a set of individual wells but while the open oil market was growing it would have possibly resulted in Gaussian-like depletion since other oil was entering the markets and lowering all-out pumping.

But for the whole earth the situation is different because there will be no imports from Mars or the asteroids (in all likelihood). The above graph provides a theoretical boundary condition for oil depletion given a rising EROI. The price curve would be approximated by the red curve.

That's interesting that peak net would occur before peak gross. In your opinion, has peak net already occurred and if so what year?

The peak of net has to come before the peak of gross since the declining EROI drives the cost of extraction up faster. Net will always lag gross in magnitude so the peak comes sooner.

As to when, that is more difficult to say because we don't keep data on net energy like we do on gross (oil, say). What this theoretical model suggests is that if we are at peak oil (or plateau oil) then the peak of net must have already passed. The model suggests between 20 and 40 years prior to peak oil. If you look at what has been happening in the economy over that time span then it is conceivable that many effects derived from passing peak net (in oil). For example the rush to offshore to lower-energy demand labor markets and to push debt financing start to make more sense.

Yes, was neoliberal free trade an inevitable because necessary efficiency saving?

One possible piece of evidence for it: bad urban planning and building design have mandated energy costs that help price western workers out of the global labour market.

There won't be a shark fin because prices will rise to kill demand and increase supply.

The increase in supply will be what causes the shark fin. Natural decline would create a bell shaped curve. But installing horizontal wells running right along the top of the reservoir will keep production high right up until very near then end. Then there will be a collapse in production from this reservoir. And since most all giant fields have had this practice for a decade or more now, a lot of them will be hitting the end of their life near the same time.

And another thing to consider is the fact that deep water fields, as well as very small fields which most new discoveries are, have a very steep decline rate. This will fit right in with the steep decline of the giant fields caused by horizontal infill drilling, causing a shark fin.

Then there is the wild card, when it becomes obvious that we have hit peak oil, national oil companies will now be more reluctant to produce and export at full capacity. They will be saving at least a little for their own future use.

It is all our own personal guess but my money is on a shark fin decline rate.

Ron P.

I have to agree... I think we're going to be in shark fin soup!


People of a few generations on may wonder about this strange description, having never seen a shark......

Diving mostly in Oz for the past 30 years I expect to see a few > 2 m sharks on every dive. I spent a week in thailand & Burma & saw one <1 m shark. The obvious explanation is they have all been 'finned'. We were chased out of myanmar by a local dynamite fishing; I will give him he benefit of the doubt that it was accidental.
Still, very impressive to see the thousands of gasping fish lying on the bottom. I hope enough floated up to feed his family.

Anyway, all this is going on beneath the surface where nobody knows or cares. I know that what i saw was a sparse version of the original, what with the roughy, tuna & cod Gone. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see it before its all gone.


I'm glad I had the opportunity to see it before its all gone.

As someone who has seen quite a bit, diving over the last, almost 38 years, I sometimes find myself wishing I had never seen any of it. Ignorance might be bliss or at least better than going back and not finding what once was. That is a very sad thing to experience. Even more so when you go with your son to show him how beautiful it is was.

I have never seen a dinosaur.

Sure you have. You may have never seen a non-avian dinosaur, but you have seen dinosaurs.

Nit picker.

I think Hubbert assumed that oil would be replaced by another energy carrier, for example nuclear energy, or synthetic fuel produced by such an energy "too cheap to meter". That led to a symmetrical curve. If there is no good substitute, oil companies go for more and more expensive reservoirs of less and less energy return on energy invested (EROI), and the curve beomes asymmetrical. More to your question: I think the Mexican field Cantarell is basically a shark fin riding on a Hubbert-like curve.

The behavior of the world oil supply will be more complex than a simple Hubbert curve, with multiple curves of different behavior being its components: oil supply from bitumen (Canada, Venezuela) will show different dynamics than light sweet oil, which is already in decline and may crash faster and faster. So you can have a fast decline first, then a secondary peak due to shale oil, then a long tail from bitumen, on which a tertiary peak rides, etc. etc.

If you look at the facts, regardless of what doomers want to happen, it is a shark fin, just going the wrong direction. Production is ramped up as fast as possible, and has a fat tail.

As this Guy said.
And as some of you already know, Doomers don't care about data because they expect the collapse of everything to come any day now.

Here is an example of real life from the aspousa site.

Yeah, the reality from your link:

In total, we believe that if all limits on domestic drilling were removed, it could only increase US oil production by a maximum of 2-3 mbpd in 10 years’ time. Against the background of oil depletion, which removes 3-4 mbpd from world supply every year, the additional oil from ANWR and all other undeveloped federal lands will be underwhelming. As for its effect on prices, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that drilling in ANWR would only reduce the price of gasoline by less than four pennies per gallon—20 years from now!

Exactly, not exactly the shark fin/senca cliff many are hoping for.

Taking their assessment of future oil production, perhaps not. Some here understand that there's a synergy of many factors, of which oil is only one big part; economic; social; environmental... all feed on each other during periods of growth. To expect that they won't feed on each other when virtually all of these systems are either in decline and/or crisis, seems indicative of a linear, narrow, non-systemic view of things.

I'll give pretty good odds that it won't really matter to most people how much oil gets produced 30 years from now. We either solve these things well before that point or we won't be in any position to support the complex systems needed to get at whatever oil is left. There'll be a few groups here and there fighting over a bunch of stripper wells, trying to keep their air conditioners going.

Maybe in a fast total final collapstrophy you'll get the cliff. In which case geology isn't the main factor, just a factor. I disagree with fast collapse because I believe people and systems are not that brittle. People have been clamouring for a collapse since '08, actually longer then that, there has been a decline, in some areas, hardly a collapse. Financial collapse are survivable, and frequent. Environmental will be difficult, and a disaster for many people, but not the end of the world. Same with a decline in oil, see OECD non producing countries imports. We can get by with less. Not sure about social, talk to my grandparents things have constantly been getting worse. Not much evidence that people wont care about oil production in 30 years. Not that I consider shale oil, as actual oil, but it is burnable.

It's been posited by Greer and others that we've been collapsing for several decades but most folks haven't noticed. The US oil peak, the end of the gold standard, accelerated growth of the debt-based economy, Jimi Hendrix died; all in the early '70s.

There are a few words like collapse and sustainable that could do with a good PR campaign with a Precise definition. Then again English itself is a difficult language to communicate clearly without ambiguity or misunderstanding.

Seeking a precise definition to an imprecise, messy, non-linear process? Go for it. And collapse doesn't happen homogenously. I was in the Soviet Union in 1974; collapse was clearly well underway, but they still managed to put people into space and carry out a protracted war while developing some of the greatest aircraft of the era. Moscow had what was touted as the best subway in the world. The same summer, I spent a few days in Yugoslavia; a nice place back then on the surface. Less than two dacades later?

And 'sustainability'? Varies dramatically with location and society.

If the numbers are valid, the cliff will occur regardless of how strong or resilient people are. And it depends on what you mean by the end of the world. The best case scenario for climate change is that the future will be very dangerous. But it could be far worse, meaning catastrophic.

Saying something is not the end of the world will not be comforting for those who have to live in that future world.

And as some of you already know, Doomers don't care about data because they expect the collapse of everything to come any day now.

The same can be said for the extremists on the other side as well and that gets you no where.

That article seems to be from a guy that replaced one over-simplified view with another over simplified view. From the article:

They say confession is good for the soul, so let's try it out. What was my mistake?

In this case, I completely underestimated just effective humans can be in extracting a natural resource (crude oil) they desperately need. I confess—I missed the boat here. Mea culpa. It's a mistake I won't make twice.

And as I look back on my mistake, I see just how foolish I was to underestimate humans in the one type of behavior where they excel—technological cleverness.

He couldn't even accurately identify his mistake that he claims he won't make again! As Rockman has pointed out many times, the Bakken shale was known about for decades and fracking was known about for decades. What was missing was oil prices high enough to make it worthwhile to do. And now with high prices, oil production has increased. His mistake was not fully appreciating how higher prices would bring on a wave of more production.

But where did those high prices come from? Oil scarcity and increased demand . . . peak oil issues. Yes production is up . . . but will the price drop? Nope. If did, they would stop drilling . . . which would cause shortages . . . which would bring the price back up.

I don't agree with Ron's assessment but at least he provided an argument and admitted that we are both just making an educated guess. Just saying 'doomers are wrong because they are doomers' is not even argument.

Doomers don't care about data because they expect the collapse of everything to come any day now.

Doomers follow the data far closer than the cornucopians and I know I do. I don't think anyone on this list has the database I have and I update it almost daily from many sources. But that is the way of cornucopians, they see the world the way they desire. Because they don't follow the data all that close they just naturally assume doomers don't follow it at all.

And it is a lie that doomers expect the collapse of everything any day now. Anyone who reads TOD knows that is not true. Most people here believe it will be a very slow, very long, stepped catbolic collapse. I think it will be a fast collapse but not any day now. The collapse could be as much as a decade or more away.

And by the way, the crude oil data has been relatively flat for 8 years now. There was a slight uptick last year but things have slipped considerably since the peak in April.

But the big data point, which only doomers seem to track, is net oil exports. Net oil imports for every importing nation except China and India are down about 10 percent or more since peaking in 2006. But cornucopians don't seem to care about that data. They only track total liquids and ignore the fact that exporting nations are consuming more and more of their own production each year.

Peak oil for importing nations is over six years in the rear view mirror. And that is a fact us ardent data trackers know well.

Ron P.

There are more then two groups of people in the world, and visitng this site. It's not either/or.
How does the above enlighten us as to why there will be a 'shark fin?' Based on what data?

The Sharkfin or even the Sawtooth seems like a reasonable plot to prepare for, considering that the price upslope of the last dozen years, creating the course that has allowed us to hold a plateau and even squeak production up a tad because previously uneconomic processes are now just coming into some profitability, but these are sitting on that price bubble whose surface tension depends on the same BAU that they are helping to form.

A significantly sized economic, climatic or supply chain hiccup that interrupts the cashflow that makes these high-stakes games like DeepWater Platforms or Multitudes of new holes currently viable could very reasonably produce a cascading downslope in things like 'Helo Rides to Thunder Horse' and miles of pipe and concrete kept available to truck into the Bakken, and all that juice that comes from the other end of these Horses as a Result. A lot of these systems are pretty highly leveraged, mechanically and economically, and like the Big Box stores running with their JIT inventories and pinched employess, they look mighty but could be a whole lot thinner and more brittle than you think.

At which point, those allegedly uneconomic PV panels, which would still be pumping power no matter what the economy could enact, might be looking a lot sweeter to more people.. and where they exist at a home or a business; work could, in some form continue without escalating bills that might shutter that concern, and there would be a chance to be adding value to the system, while the brittle and shuttered programs could be dead in the water.

How does the above enlighten us as to why there will be a 'shark fin?' Based on what data?

Smeagle, I thought it quite obvious that my post was directed at your quote that doomers don't care about the data. I wasn't particularly expressing, in that post, why there will be a shark fin decline.

As to the shark fin we have posted, on this list, hundreds of posts that explain why there will be a shark fin decline. David Murphy explained why we will have a net shark fin curve.

The Net Hubbert Curve: What Does It Mean?

And I have explained that putting hundreds of new horizontal wells right at the top of the reservoir will delay the peak until almost all the oil is gone, creating a shark fin for that particular field. And if all of them are doing it, and they are, then we can expect a shark fin decline curve for all combined.

And George Mobus explains again above why there will be a shark fin decline. That is data plus logical reasoning. What more do you want?

Ron P.

Purely theoretical.

And that's your answer? The future is always theoretical! And unless you are talking about the paths of the planets and the stars and such, it cannot possibly be otherwise. It is always theoretical in spades when you are discussing economics and the rate of decline of natural resources.

And perhaps you think your theory of technological progress forever is not theoretical?

Ron P.

Probably the most shark-finny of the big fields would be Cantarell, and even there they threw the kitchen sink at it to stop too steep a decline.

V – I’ll have re-read Hubbert this weekend. I think I recall that he not only didn’t expect the curve to be symmetrical but would have a long tail. But first to answer your questions.

Fields with shark fin declines: no need to project. There are thousands of depleted oil fields in the US. And a shark fin decline is extremely rare FOR A FIELD. Typically it’s the extreme opposite: a field will peak within the first 10% of its life and then decline slowly. This is particularly true of water drive oil reservoirs which account for the great majority of the population. I’m working on a series of fields along the Texas coast that have produced 4.5 billion bbls of oil. Most were discovered in the 30’s and 40’s. About half that oil came out in 10 -15 years. It’s taken the next 40+ years to produce the second half.

There’s a second and smaller class of oil fields that produce more on a constant pressure decline. These will have a more linear decline (when plotted on log-normal). But again the majority of recovery happens long after the peak.

There are exceptions like Cantarell. But you have to understand what a very rare geologic situation that reservoir is. I’ll let you search for it…too long a story. But the production methods used also adds to the potential shark fin profile. PEMEX injects nitrogen into the top of the reservoir in order to provide pressure to push the oil out. A lot: they produce more N2 than all the other production on the planet combined. Production would hold fairly constant as long as they could keep the N2 cap expanding. But as the cap expands down dip to a producing well they’ll have to shut it in fairly soon lest they deplete the N2 cap also. If the gas cap reaches a lot of producing wells in a short time: shark fin.

But you have to be careful comparing field decline profiles and that of a play, state, country or the world. If all the fields in Texas had begun producing on the same day the decline curve would look very different than it does. But there are similarities at time. In a play or trend the bigger fields are usually discovered first with field size (and thus production rate) decreasing over time. But maybe 20 years after Trend X is heavily drilled the new Trend Y is discovered and production for the entire region gets bumped up. The DW GOM oil play is a good modern example. Oil production on the shallow shelf was in a terminal decline for a long time. But the DW trend has significantly bumped fed offshore production up.

The shales. As you may know these are not like the new Trend Y play I mentioned above. Most have been known to be productive for 40 to 50 years. They boomed now and not long ago because they weren’t profitable at a much lower price. They will continue booming as long as prices stay high AND there are locations to drill. But every trend comes to an end. The Eagle Ford is not the first fractured reservoir to boom down here in Texas. Just a few hundred feet vertically from the EFS is the Austin Chalk. Back in the early 90’s it was the hottest new oil play on the planet. A great many wells drilled horizontally and frac’d. But not much going on in the today: search for the map and you’ll see a rather drilled up trend that covers many counties in Texas. Someday, if prices hold up, you’ll see a similar map for the EFS. And it will be a day when you’ll see very few EFS wells being drilled regardless of the price of oil…just like the AC today.

As far as the shale boom proving the PO theory wrong: IMHO it does just the opposite. If it were not for the current high price of oil the shales wouldn’t be drilled. In the late 90’s every oil company knew there was producible oil in the EFS. I drilled and frac’d my first EFS well over 25 years ago. And the EFS hasn’t boomed thanks to horizontal drilling. The long ago hot Austin Chalk play was developed with hz wells that had t be frac’d. What has made the oily shales boom was the huge increase in oil price. So the question is why have prices risen and stayed up? And an even bigger question: why, with all the increased oil production, haven’t prices come down? PO would seem to be the obvious answer IMHO. And if the US economy along with other global economies grow faster it should become even more obvious.

Consider the boom in the dry NG shales that picked up about 6 or 7 years ago. Increased NG prices caused a surge in drilling those plays. They’ve also have been known for decades. Drilled horizontally and frac’d like the oil shales today. And then NG prices collapsed and the rig counts in those trends dropped 70%. Those plays aren’t dead. They are dormant just like a volcano that hasn’t erupted in a while. If NG prices get high again they’ll boom again, But only until most of the locations are drilled. And then they’ll become relatively extinct just like dozens of other major oil trends in the US have become extinct. I’m currently working in such a nearly extinct oil trend that has produced over 4.5 billion bbls of oil. Thanks to current high prices I can try to squeeze a little more juice out. But even if oil were rise to $500/bbl there will never be a drilling boom in this trend: nearly all the locations have been drilled for over 30 years.

Friday night and nothing on the boob tube. Thank goodness for TOD. LOL

could the action of the FED be driving up prices of oil....they are dumping a lot of money into banks etc?

Demand for oil in the U.S. has not increased. Apparently, the FED has not changed that.

Thanks to you all!

On the linked article : Noam Chomsky: Will Capitalism Destroy Civilization?

I know the headline is misleading. Chomsky asserts that our modernn capitalism, that isn't really capitalism, will destroy us.

I love the article, but people who need to read it will most likely skip it due to the headline or the author's name.

Anyway. Serfs up!

For those who want to see what a society falling apart looks like up close, please see the videos on this page:
Greek Police vs. Demonstrators. A couple of particularly disturbing things -- notice how far away the police are while lobbing tear gas at the crowd -- they must be 200 meters away. And how dangerous do these demonstrators look? Now, if it was in the U.S. we'd have drones handle the situation. Apparently the gas wafted into a school yard sending children to the hospital. Austerity bites.

ok apparently OPEC is really raising output. ESAI Arab Gulf Export Monthly Update - "Energytradingdata for the end of February 2013 indicate that crude exports from the Arab Gulf rose in February." https://energytradingdata.com

Hard to tell. Reuters, on March 1st said OPEC Supply rises by 110,000 bpd led by Iraq, Saudi 110 thousand barrels per day ain't all that much. Anyway the new OPEC MOMR is due out Tuesday. We will know then.

Ron P.

Ron, the Reuters data is a "survey of analysts", i.e. they ask people who are supposed to know but actually don't whereas the energytradingdata.com system is an actual realtime monitoring system.

Asgard, that link came up on my computer with a cookies warning, which I was able to disallow.

You can always delete the cookies afterwards, in the EU now all web sites that use cookies are required by law to explicitly explain that fact and request permission to upload cookies to you.

not to be worried about, it's actually a good sign. there is this EU regulation making compulsory the advertisement of cookies to protect privacy. e.g. you would get the same on the Financial Times.

BP Bows Out Of Solar, But Industry Outlook Still Sunny

I also saw his comment on nightly business report other night saying that Peak oil is something BP doesn't worry about or believe and I don't think he was lying . (Don't see a link)

Well...actually... errr... maybe I should buy BP (do opposite of what makes sense)

I will not even consider purchasing BP Solar's products due to their involvement in the BP-Macondo oil well blowout, and regret that I purchased an MSX-120 just after BP Solar bought out Solarex. I wonder if the environmentalists shunned them into quitting.

I doubt they were drubbed out.

They just discovered the business they were really about, and dropped the PR facade.

I'm actually proud of the little 50 watt Shell Panel that runs the lights in my office and kitchen. I bought that in December 2005, in honor of the Deffeyes prediction around that time, and about when I started reading TOD.

To me it's a symbol of leveraging the one against the other.

BP, once named the 'Anglo-Persian Oil Company', seems to me to be among the last standing of the flagpoles of the British Empire. Smeagol was asking about collapse.. there's a slo-mo train wreck for you. Think Lloyds is watching keenly, or looking the other way?

Formerly majority state-owned, the British government privatised the company in stages between 1979 and 1987. British Petroleum merged with Amoco in 1998 and acquired ARCO and Burmah Castrol in 2000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BP very juicy Wiki page!

.. remember those ARCO panels from the 70's that we talked about last week, still performing to and above spec? I'm betting they might-could outlive the company that subsumed their name.

Well well! Founder was W'm Knox D'arcy. 'Knox Oil and Gas, Houston, may I help you?' (Local Hero, 1982) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh0ja-BTpbk On a hunch, I went a couple scenes into the movie, and at 8:09, there is a cutaway to Knox President Happer's Father, who had 'bought out Knox' .. I can't tell for sure, but it wouldn't be unheard of for a Director who was being a little cute to toss in an extra visual tease in moments like this. (There's a picture of D'arcy at the Wiki site, if you want to see for yourself..)

These are the first panels I actually bought at 'retail'; ten BP-275ULs (75 watters). I think I paid $4.50/watt in 1999.

 photo satpvtracker.jpg

Jay Leno tries out the Army's new "Fuel Efficient" Ground Vehicle Demonstrator.


It gets 7 MPG. LOL.

We can't go to war anymore . . . we can't afford it.

Well that's way better than an M1A2 Abrams tank which is more on the order of half a mile per gallon.

4 gallon to the mile at top speed...

I hope even people not interested in agriculture take a look at the article (and parts 1 and 2 that are linked) up top about innovative farmers/farming.

Way, way back we were the first very small scale certified organic farm in the area. Although I've drifted away from many organic practices as I've aged, e.g., I fertigate with chemical fertilizers, I just love reading these kinds of articles.

If you want to see innovative farming 60 years ago, check out Louis Bromfield's books such as Out of the Earth, Malabar Farm and Pleasant Valley. His farm, Malabar Farm, went bankrupt after he died but it is now a state park in Ohio. They have a web site. I wish I had known of my love for Ag back then because I was attending a college in the late 50's that was only an hour or so away and could have driven up to see it as it was.


Those are very interesting articles. I like to do some home-growing of fruit, veg and herbs in my backyard but a crop rotation including pasture, grazing or growing alfalfa for 5 years in a row does not seem possible on my measly 10-20 square meters or so. Does anybody know how to do this organically on a small scale without chemical fertilizer and pesticides? My northwest-European soil is quite poor and sandy but I do have plenty of compost, compost tea, and could add some homemade biochar to the soil. Links to informative howto-like articles are appreciated.

Well growing alfalfa for five years shouldn't be that hard, you could even sell the seeds, not many minerals go off farm with the seeds.

What I couldn't discern from the article was profit per acre. It's all fine to talk about profit per bushel of corn, but if you only crop corn every 5 years it's not really helpful. If you are buying farmland, with debt, you need to maximise profit per acre, because the selling price is usually a function of maximum profit per acre. I'm not bagging the ideas, it's just difficult if you are starting out, to pay the mortgage (let alone earn a living) and have a system that approaches sustainability.

L. F. Ivanhoe on Hubbert's 'predictions' . 1997

RE: Is Peak Oil A Myth?

Is the notion of finite a myth?

Does finite mean infinite?

Well, we already know that, because of high prices, it becomes economically feasible to produce more oil. Therefore, it follows that if the price of a barrel of oil were raised to infinity, there would be an infinite number of barrels of oil to be produced. QED.

Yeah, it just keeps pointing out how price is what needs to be high-lighted.

Heck, if you crack up the price to $10000/barrel, I'm sure chemists will happily synthesize gasoline. But that just doesn't help the real world at all.

Well it puts a ceiling on the price of oil doesn't it.

The only way peak oil could be wrong is if we discover a portal to a dimension containing an infinite supply of oil.

As I have pointed out several times on the Drumbeat, this is not what is meant by 'peak oil being wrong.' The more 'thoughtful' anti-peak oiler holds that other energy sources will be developed as prices of fossil fuels rise and we will segue on to other energy sources and leave fossil fuels behind, even when the downside of the fossil fuel curve has not yet been fully exploited, thus no peak oil. The cliched example of moving on to crude oil when whale oil became to expensive illustrates the idea best. Whale oil still exists (although whales are fast becoming extinct) but we have better energy sources.

While I don't accept this point of view as being valid (or the scenario as being likely), there is some truth to it and I get weary of the sarcastic remarks about the earth having a 'creamy nougat center' of crude oil. Let's concentrate on what the alternative energy sources are and the probabilities of them supplanting fossil fuels as fossil fuels get more and more expensive to extract, even if still abundant in their hard to extract form.

I've said it before, I'll say it again...there's no curing the cornucopians/optimists. Here are their arguments:

1) If price is high, unconventional sources will be tapped!
2) If price is low, we must be swimming in oil!
3) If conventional fields are declining, unconventional sources will take up the slack!
4) If unconventional fields are declining, we must have alot of conventional left!

See the pattern? Everything is always good news. Always. Global warming is good news...global cooling is good news. Stocks go up...good news. Stocks go down...the Fed will print more, good news. Population rises..we have growth, good news. Population declines...women are empowered, good news.

A guy breaking into your house and putting a gun to your head is good news. Being diagnosed with a terminal cancer is good news.

I'm sick of it.

Actually I took note of the quote:

We were supposed to be close to running out of oil right now, but we have more than ever.

I seem to remember reading that this was exactly the sort of thing that was being said with regards to Hubbert's predictions of a 1970 peak in US production... In 1970....The year when US production peaked.

They don't get it, do they?

Alan from the islands

By definition we will produce/mine more than ever the year of the peak.

PV corner: I'm working on my version of a German problem; too much PV production on these clear cool days. My quest to have the PV system sized to fully charge our ~52KwH battery during one average or better solar day is succeeding. The battery was fully charged by solar noon, which left us with about a 60% surplus potential.

If we had been grid-tied, we would have sent an estimated 20KwH to the grid even while dumping 400 watts into the big water tank. What to do? The tank had around 100K BTU available storage (@29kwh), but the 400 watt (24VDC) electric element in the water tank can only supply a fraction of that in one afternoon. I'm looking at one of these and a small circulation pump (have that), all controlled by one of the solar controllers (which can turn things on and off when the battery gets fully charged). It'll just pump water from the bottom of the tank and return hot water to the top. If the water in the tank gets too hot, the radiant floor system will dump heat into the floors.

The plan in summer is to use the surplus PV production to cool the master suite and/or the great room, while keeping the battery fully charged until sunset. Today I did laundry and dishes (all of both) and was in and out, so I finally dug out an electric room heater and turned it on full blast, charging the living area for tonight's below freezing temps. Our inverters have plenty of capacity. All of this stuff will be automated in the future (not the laundry and dishes), and I expect that power grids will work in a similar way. Just having smart appliances and loads that aren't really time sensitive and can sense when the grid (or your grid-tied system) has surplus power could help balance production and demand. Some of this is already being done.

Have you considered one of those electric thermal storage heaters with the ceramic bricks. Charging them with your excess would keep you warm all night.

I'd second that after having them in my parents' house, many years ago. Modern ones are far better too.


Do you have a second freezer? Programming that to run into a deep freeze is always good.

We have a smaller freezer, 7 cuft I think. Since I added 2" of foam insulation, it hardly runs at all. A DC freezer like a Sunfrost would be nice. I could add controls to run it during surplus production periods, or use a spare panel to make it autonomous. Alas, $$$.

Would it pay to get a grid connection? Your house could be a power exporting profit center.

About $6k - $7k to bring power in, and a load of hassles; permits, easements (which the powerco doesn't have now), re-inspections, etc.. I thought about doing a guerilla conection to my sister's house, but it's ~2000 feet away. An EV seems like the eventual be$t choice.

Electric car or other wheeled things.

midget race track with lots of little battery gocarts to give the local kids a thrill. Only $5 a ride, not responsible for fatalities. See, solar works! Go out and get some.

Turn on some lamps with incandescent bulbs to heat the house.

Depending on your type of floor you could bury a resistance wire in the soil beneath your floor, especially near your plumbing, and store some heat in the soil. It could work in a greenhouse or chicken coop too.

Our floors look like this, slab with radiant hot water tubing, in zones. I have considered putting these in the bathrooms when I tile them. They're polished concrete now but I think they're uuugly. The small resistance heaters in the link are only 120 watts, so they cost more per watt than our last batch of PV panels. Anyway, they're nice to put under the tile, especially under the toilets; keeps'em toasty, but they can produce EM radiation and interference.

Putting heat into soil using electricity is as simple as an appropriate length of underground wire, a circuit breaker and a relay switched regulator.

electrical resistance of 14 gauge copper wire: 2.575 ohms/1000 feet
voltage source: 28 volts
current: 14 A
power dissipated: 392 W
resistance of wire: 2 ohms
2 conductor underground cable with the wires connected in series, length of cable: 388 feet
price of 14/2 UF-B UNDERGROUND WIRE CABLE 500 FEET: $225 at ebay

The cable would dissipate about 1 W/(foot of length). The cable could be shortened to carry more current, but I am not sure how hot the wire would get when buried. 14 Ga copper wire is rated for 15 A, so there will not be a problem with 14 A. 272 feet of cable would carry 20 A and dissipate 560 W or 2.1 W/(foot of length). Bury the cable 1 or 2 feet underground and let it slowly heat the soil. I am not sure how well this would work embedded in mortar beneath tile, but the price would be less than the floor warming mat.

Would an electrical heater for your batteries be useful during winter?

Start setting up a 'community charging store', down by the driveway. (I have no idea what your driveway or available neighbors would be like..) But still, at a nickel per AA equivalent, you'd still be getting something like $25.00/kwh, so it would seem you could make a reasonable business model out of it..

(assuming, from here http://www.allaboutbatteries.com/Energy-tables.html , about 1wh yield from a typical AA Nimh battery, and maybe conservatively, that it would take twice that to charge it.. so 500 AA's charged/kwh..)

Alright, it may be a tad impractical, but it does point out that there may be ways to sell portable power that are a better deal than the utility gets, even in lean times..

Our driveway is a 2300 foot gravel road, and we don't exactly live in the land of EV ;-) I do have plans to use our extra production to charge our own EV at some point. Our nearest town is well within the comfort range of current EVs, but a little far for walking or biking. Hoping to get an electric farm vehicle like the quad you guys discussed above. First things first. I still have a couple more kW of PV to properly mount.

Where do you live, generally speaking, unless you would rather not divulge that information? Sounds like you are living the dream.

Western NC, west of Asheville, somewhere down there ;-/

C'mon down. Real estate is relatively cheap these days and there's a little church in every holler. No fossil fuels to be expolited though.

For sport, and no nefarious reasons, I've been attempting to narrow down your location for a while - particularly since seeing the photos on your flicker account...I had already written off North and South of Asheville...the terrain just didn't look right for that, and it didn't look like Black Mountain or Marion either. So I was headed in the right direction, but didn't expect you to be clear across the mountain, either. Makes it a little bit far to invite you for a casual beerski.

Real estate in Asheville is decidedly NOT cheap or I'd live there. I'd have to be making probably double what I currently make to be able to actually afford it. Heavily tourist oriented - it's going to be hit pretty hard when things go to shite but we do have breweries popping up all over the place so we'll at least have beer! North of Asheville is also pretty expensive, Black Mountain to the east - expensive...west and south are really the only places not expensive, but of course - completely automobile dependent and the highest crime areas. Wünderbar. There's the appearance of a public transit system, but it's a joke.

I would consider replacing that 400w element with a normal 240v AC element. Use a 120 to 240 transformer off your inverters. You can choose the element rating that works best. 2200w and 4500w are common sizes.

I think his 400 W heating element runs from his batteries through a relay dissipating 28 VDC and 14 A. Adding a second heating element controlled by another relay at a slightly higher trigger voltage would allow better charge management of his batteries. It is better to have several smaller power shunts than one big one.

BP CEO: ‘Peak oil’ talk quieted by abundance

It is hard not to laugh at that when you consider that BP original stood for "British Petroleum". Yes, Britain where the North Sea oil field is in steep decline and Britain has transitioned from being an oil exporter to an oil importer. So tell me all about that British Oil Abundance.

The global publicly traded energy producers face liquidation, surely they must know that.

When oil becomes too strategically valuable to waste, expect all of it, everywhere, to be essentially nationalized.

Game over, BP. And Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron. Nice to know you.

Oh, and, when you go can you take GM and JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs with you? The party's over and they don't want to leave.

Re: Vattenfall axes 2,500 jobs amid low electricity prices

Interesting. Last weeks big news was that Vattenfalls purchase of the dutch company Neon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.V._Nuon_Energy) was probably the worst deal made in the history of Sweden. One week later they cut 2500 jobs due to low electricity prices. I am so not surpriced.