Drumbeat: April 19, 2013

‘Peak oil’ fades, ‘fracking’ trends higher on Google searches

Has peak oil peaked? Judging from the number of Google searches, it looks that way. On the other hand, the history of Google searches for terms related to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is on an upswing, although it ticked lower recently.

Viewing the search history of “peak oil” over time revealed that the last time it was a really popular search in the U.S. was around 2005. Fracking lies low until 2010, then it pops.

Peak Everything Prophet Downgrades Peak Oil?

Jeremy Grantham is a fascinating dude. He is a highly successful capitalist who blames capitalism for killing the planet. If you’re familiar with this “connoisseur of [market] bubbles,” as the New York Times referred to him in a profile, it’s probably due to his increasingly Malthusian outlook. In 2011, he warned that “accelerated demand” from developing countries was depleting the earth’s natural resources. He declared that we “now live in a different, more constrained, world in which prices of raw materials will rise and shortages will be common.”

This resource depletion (peak everything!), combined with global warming, poses an existential threat to civilization, Grantham argues. Though some of his recent peak claims have been questioned by experts and ridiculed by pundits, his message has deeply resonated with greens, peak oilers, and climate activists.

The Limits of the Earth, Part 1: Problems

The world is facing incredibly serious natural resource and environmental challenges: Climate change, fresh water depletion, ocean over-fishing, deforestation, air and water pollution, the struggle to feed a planet of billions.

All of these challenges are exacerbated by ever rising demand – over the next 40 years estimates are that demand for fresh water will rise 50%, demand for food will rise 70%, and demand for energy will nearly double – all in the same period that we need to tackle climate change, depletion of rivers and aquifers, and deforestation.

The Limits of the Earth, Part 2: Expanding the Limits

Ending growth isn’t a realistic option. Billions of people in the developing world want access to more resources, deserve those resources as much as those of us in the rich world do, and need them in order to rise out of poverty. Growth won’t end without a struggle. And that struggle could turn violent, as it has in the past.

There’s only one acceptable way out of our current predicament. And that is to grow the total pie of resources available to the world’s inhabitants. And a close look at the numbers and at the human history of innovation suggests this is possible.

WTI Crude Advances for a Second Day as Brent Climbs Above $100

West Texas Intermediate crude rose for a second day to trim its third weekly drop, the longest losing streak since November. Brent climbed above $100 a barrel.

WTI advanced as much as 1.2 percent in New York. Prices increased the most in three weeks yesterday after the 14-day relative-strength index sank below 30 on April 17, a signal that the market is oversold, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Futures may decline next week on signs that economic growth is slowing, according to a weekly Bloomberg News survey.

Opec worries remain despite oil prices topping $100 a barrel

The quota has been notched up to include Iraq, but with a lack of individual quotas, Saudi Arabia pumping as it sees fit, and rebuilding nations such as Iraq and Libya pumping as much as they can, for now the target remains just that.

But ministers may want to think about curbing production to within the official 30 million barrels per day (bpd) as prices remain near or below $100 - the preface to what some say is a market correction coming in the second half of this year.

Tenders issued for Fujairah gas terminal work

A gas import project that will help alleviate a supply crunch in Abu Dhabi is moving towards the construction stage, as tenders for key components of the offshore terminal have been issued.

Once completed, the floating terminal will be moored off the coast of the northern emirate of Fujairah, and have the capacity to import 9 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per annum.

BP delays Mad Dog Phase 2 oil project in U.S. Gulf

(Reuters) - BP said it was delaying a major oil project in the Gulf of Mexico as rising costs make current development plans difficult to justify.

"The current development plan for Mad Dog Phase 2 is not as attractive as previously modeled, due largely to market conditions and industry inflation," the company said in a statement.

Biggest LBO Collapse Seen as Boon to Texas Power Market

As Texas warns of potential power shortages and blackouts this summer, the state’s biggest electricity producer is teetering toward bankruptcy. That may turn out to be a boon to the $34 billion Texas power market.

A reorganization of Energy Future Holdings Corp., which lost money because of low natural gas prices after the largest leveraged buyout, would probably leave its power-generating unit with less debt and more free cash to invest in improving output capacity, according to former Texas regulator Brett Perlman. Power demand in Texas is growing faster than supplies, which may force the state to call for conservation on the hottest days this year.

Statoil finds new oil deposits in North Sea

Norwegian energy giant Statoil has said it has found "significant" new oil resources in the North Sea.

The company estimates the discovery could yield between 40 and 150 million barrels of oil.

Sabic to Cut About 1,050 Jobs, Close Some Assets in Europe

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, plans to cut about 1,050 positions and close some assets in Europe as the company responds to diminished demand.

Saudi Basic Industries, also known as Sabic, has started talks with works councils and trade unions on the plan, it said in a statement today. The job cuts will take place across Europe, a third of which will be contracting staff and two-thirds Sabic employees, it said.

Blackstone Power Cable From Quebec to New York Approved

Blackstone Group LP, the world’s largest private-equity firm, won approval from state regulators for a $2.2 billion power line that would bring electricity to New York City from Quebec.

The New York Public Service Commission unanimously approved the 333-mile (531-kilometer) Champlain Hudson Power Express at a meeting in Albany today. The line, which would stretch from the Canadian border to Astoria, Queens, would be able to deliver 1,000 megawatts of electricity, about 10 percent of the city’s needs. The project would send mostly hydropower from Quebec, the commission said.

Polish PM Sacks Minister Over Gas Pipeline Confusion

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk sacked his treasury minister Friday following confusion over a Russian proposal to build a gas pipeline on Polish territory, and said the country may need to create an energy ministry to implement a consistent energy policy, rather than have it scattered across ministries, listed companies and regulators.

Wall St. Warms to Siberia as Largest Cash Hoard Beckons

OAO Surgutneftegas, Russia’s third- largest oil producer with a $31 billion market value, for years has refused to disclose its cash position under international reporting standards or whether it holds its own shares.

That’s no problem for Wall Street. FMR LLC’s Fidelity Investments, Swiss manager Pictet & Cie, and BNP Paribas SA’s assets management arm -- the three biggest foreign holders of the company’s preferred stock -- all added shares, filings made by the funds in the last three months show.

They’re counting on the Siberian oil driller to prove its financial strength this month when it publishes its first accounts under International Financial Reporting Standards. The Surgut, Russia-based company will reveal it holds $28 billion in cash, according to the median estimate of a Bloomberg survey of 13 analysts. That’s more than any of the world’s largest oil companies. Chevron Corp. had $21 billion at Dec. 31.

Official: Iran Plans to Inaugurate Four New Oil Refineries by Yearend

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian energy official announced that the country plans to complete construction of four new refineries by the end of the current Iranian year (ends March 20, 2014).

"Iran will complete projects related to four refineries by the end of the current year," Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) Alireza Zeighami said on Thursday.

He noted that Iran is now self-sufficient in fuel production after its international suppliers stopped selling gasoline to Tehran under the US-led western pressures.

Manhunt underway for bombing suspect; one suspect dead

BOSTON -- The city and parts of its suburbs were locked down Friday as the manhunt intensified for the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, hours after the other suspect was killed in a dramatic firefight with police in nearby Watertown, authorities said.

The fugitive is Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, the brother of the dead suspect who was not immediately identified, law enforcement authorities told USA TODAY. Both suspects have been in the U.S. for about a year, living as legal U.S. residents in Cambridge, and authorities are reviewing their possible ties to Chechnya, an area of Russia plagued by Islamic insurgency said the official who is not authorized to comment publicly.

Senate Panel Approves Obama’s Energy Secretary Nominee

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the nomination of Ernest Moniz as secretary of the Energy Department, setting up a confirmation vote by the full Senate.

Moniz, whom President Barack Obama nominated for the position last month, heads the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Institute and serves on the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.

Baker Hughes's profit drops 30% on weak revenue

Baker Hughes Inc. posted a first-quarter profit that was down 30% from a year earlier as the oilfield services company reported lower revenue from its key North America segment, although results beat Street views.

An overproduction of natural gas has resulted in low prices and pushed energy companies to shift their operations to oil-rich shale, a transition that has resulted in inefficiencies and higher costs for oil-field service providers as they haul their crews to new, harder-to-tap fields. The transition has weighed on Baker Hughes's pressure-pumping business.

Schlumberger Profit Falls on Lower North American Prices

Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield-services provider, said first-quarter profit fell on lower hydraulic fracturing prices in North America.

Net income declined to $1.26 billion, or 94 cents a share, from $1.3 billion, or 97 cents, a year earlier, Houston- and Paris-based Schlumberger said in a statement on Business Wire today. Excluding one-time items, the company exceeded the 98- cent average of 32 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

U.K.’s Bowland Shale Depth Means Wells Won’t Mar Landscape

The thickness of shale rock in northwest England will allow gas production with minimal disruption above the surface, the head of the explorer aiming to drill in the area said.

Shale in England’s Bowland basin is about three times as thick as the Marcellus deposit in the northeastern U.S. according to a geologist at the U.K.’s Keele University. That will allow horizontal wells to be stacked on top of one another, minimizing the number of well-heads on the surface, said Francis Egan, chief executive officer of Cuadrilla Resources Ltd.

State Department Said to Post All Keystone Comments

The State Department will post all public comments on its review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on a website, reversing its position, according to a department official.

The department, which in March said it wouldn’t release the comments, also will provide additional opportunities for public input during the National Interest Determination period, said Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of State for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs.

Keystone XL Supporters and Critics Square off in Nebraska

TransCanada Corp.’s new route for its Keystone XL pipeline, aimed at easing residents’ concerns, drew some of the same complaints at a hearing from activists and Nebraska landowners who said it remained a threat to land and water.

“We are amongst those with the most to lose and the least to gain from the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Randy Thompson, a Nebraska rancher and chairman of the “All Risk, No Reward” coalition that opposes the pipeline to carry bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

EDF May Let Talks for New U.K. Nuclear Plant Fail

Electricite de France SA, which is negotiating to build the U.K.’s first new nuclear power plants in almost two decades, is preparing to allow the talks to fail because of a dispute over the price of electricity.

Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio said the French utility isn’t “in a hurry” to agree with the government the so-called strike price it will receive for power produced at the planned plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England.

More faults may be seen as active under plant

More faults may be regarded as active under the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, a survey by its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., showed Thursday.

Exelon, Entergy Rise to Highest in 5 Months on Gas Price

Exelon Corp. and Entergy Corp., the two largest U.S. nuclear power operators, rose to their highest in five months as increasing natural gas prices boost wholesale electricity rates.

Exelon, based in Chicago, climbed 0.8 percent to $36.37 at 12:51 p.m. in New York, the highest price since Nov. 1. New Orleans-based Entergy gained 1.5 percent to $70.23, the highest since Nov. 2. Both power producers have risen 9 percent in the past month, outpacing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Utilities Index, which has increased 5.7 percent since March 18.

Who's to blame for the middle class struggle?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The middle class is feeling squeezed, and they have plenty of blame to throw around. Some are very quick to point the finger at the poor. In fact, they were more resentful of the poor than the rich, big business and government.

Jobs keep creeping out of downtowns

The recession put the brakes on job growth but did nothing to reverse a decades-long trend: job sprawl.

Despite the economic slump, the share of metropolitan areas' jobs farther from downtowns increased from 2000 to 2010, according to Brookings Institution research out Thursday. The share of jobs located in or near a downtown declined in 91 of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas.

America's jobs are moving to the suburbs

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Despite a short reprieve during the recession, the number of jobs moving to the nation's suburbs grew over the last decade, potentially clogging roadways and reducing job access for the poor.

'Ferrari' train driving high-speed rail renaissance

Rome, Italy (CNN) -- As chairman of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo is used to making things that move at breakneck speed. But rather than flashy sports cars for wealthy motor enthusiasts, the Italian businessman's latest high-velocity project aims to cater for the traveling masses.

The Italo train from NTV -- a passenger rail company of which di Montezemolo is also chairman -- is a high-speed service that has been dashing between Milan, Rome and other major Italian cities since April.

Chevy Cruze diesel: 46 highway mpg, but only 27 in town

Chevrolet says the diesel version of its Cruze compact sedan will be rated by the government at 46 miles per gallon on the highway, the best of any non-hybrid car.

But mileage ratings in the city and in city/highway mix aren't so spectacular.

City rating: just 27 mpg; mix, 33 mpg.

A look under the hood: why electric car startup Fisker crashed and burned

How did this do-gooder dream that was supposed to combine Silicon Valley-backed tech innovation, gorgeous design, and eco-friendly hot-rod cars turn out so horribly wrong for so many people? That’s what I’ve tried to find out in a dozen interviews in recent weeks with people at the center of the Fisker story.

Fisker Spent $660,000 on Each $103,000 Plug-in Car

Fisker Automotive Inc. spent more than six times as much U.S. taxpayer and investor money to produce each luxury plug-in car it sold than the company received from customers, according to a research report.

City CarShare Releases Annual Report on Carsharing Impact

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In honor of Earth Day 2013, City CarShare, the largest nonprofit carsharing organization in North America, released an environmental report detailing the organization’s positive impact for the San Francisco Bay Area for 2012 and to-date. Results show that on Earth Day alone, 68,000 fewer miles will be driven on Bay Area roads due to City CarShare’s transit-oriented carshare service. The organization reported that, in 2012, a total of 25 million fewer miles were driven overall due to City CarShare. Its positive impact on the local environment last year included a savings of 85 million fewer pounds of CO2 emissions and 4.3 million fewer gallons of gasoline used.

Solarworld Drops to Nine-Year Low on 2012 Loss

Solarworld AG, Germany’s biggest solar-panel maker, fell to a nine-year low in Frankfurt after estimating a loss equivalent to half of its share capital.

Solarworld, based in Bonn, declined 27 percent to 67 euro cents by the close, the lowest level since December 2003, after saying it sees a 2012 net loss of 520 million euros ($678 million) to 550 million euros under local accounting rules. The loss was mainly from writedowns on stakes in and loans to units and affiliates. Equity capital will be about minus 20 million euros to minus 50 million euros, it said in a statement.

Why is the National Trust investing in renewables while fighting a windfarm?

All praise to the National Trust for announcing on Thursday it would increase the use of renewable energies at its properties. The promise to produce more than half of its power and heat from heat pumps, wood, solar and hydroelectric power by 2020 is a model for all organisations.

But at the same time as cutting its use of fossil fuels it is actively opposing others who want to do the same on land adjacent to its own. As the largest environmental organisation in the UK, with 4 million members, its overall influence on the development of renewable energy is not benign.

Green buildings can help India minimise power shortages

New Delhi (IANS) The Indian government must set stricter norms and push for the development of energy-efficient buildings so that the country can minimise power shortages and curb burgeoning petroleum import bills, say experts.

"Power bills can be cut by almost 30 percent just by upgrading the buildings to energy efficient standards," Frances Beinecke, president, New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council, told IANS.

7 tips for buyers looking for a green home

If you're in the market to buy an eco-friendly dwelling, researchers say you should expect to pay more for a so-called green home. How much more depends on a number of factors, but in a recent study looking at data from 1.6 million California home sales from 2007 to 2012, University of California researchers found that green-certified single-family homes sold for $34,800 more -- or 9 percent more -- than comparable homes that weren't certified green.

Green is in vogue. Amber Turner, a broker with Living Room Realtors in Portland, Ore., estimates that about three-quarters of her buyers begin their search with a strong interest in green, even if what they mean by green is vague.

Missouri: Floods Predicted Along the Mississippi

The Mississippi River, so low for much of the winter that barge traffic was nearly halted, could reach up to 10 feet above flood stage by the middle of next week in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, National Weather Service hydrologists said Wednesday.

Dispute in Hamptons Set Off by Effort to Hold Back Ocean

Across a section of this wealthy town, some residents, accustomed to having their way in the business world, are now trying to hold back the ocean.

But the flurry of construction on beachfront residences since the hurricane is touching off bitter disputes over the environment, real estate and class.

Some local officials said they were worried that the owners were engaging in an arms race with nature, installing higher and higher barricades that could rapidly hasten erosion — essentially sacrificing public beaches to save private homes.

East Coast Rebuilding, But Vulnerable to Future Sandys

NEW YORK — In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, local governments are rethinking how to best protect the U.S. coastline from storms and flooding, which appear likely to exert a larger toll as the result of sea level rise and climate change.

The coast is now much less protected for the next storm, because Sandy's storm surge and winds destroyed dunes, flood walls and other barriers, said Joe Vietri, director of coastal and storm risk management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at a news conference here today (April 17).

Australia Urged To Formally Recognise Climate Change Refugee Status

Australia, a close neighbour of small, low-lying South Pacific states at the frontline of climate change, should be the first country to formally recognise climate change refugees, the country's main refugee advisory body has said.

The Refugee Council of Australia has told the Australian government that it should create a new refugee category for those fleeing the effects of climate change so that they can be offered protection similar to those escaping war or persecution.

Study: Warming could make Montana wine region

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Climate change warnings tend to focus on the losers, but western Montana would come up a winery winner, according to a new scientific analysis of temperature trends.

"Winter temperatures have been a limit to vineyard growth in our state," said Gary Tabor, director of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation in Bozeman and one of the co-authors of "Climate Change, Wine and Conservation" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "So as we see our temperatures not being as Montanan as before, we're seeing the impact of climate change in how people look at agriculture. Folks in Oregon and Washington are looking at our vineyards here to expand production."

South Florida assessing impact of climate change on roads, bridges, railroads, airports

In August, Tropical Storm Isaac flooded neighborhood roads in central and western Palm Beach County, dumping a historic 15 inches of rain in a few hours. In November, Hurricane Sandy washed out a portion of State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale.

South Florida transportation planners think these examples are the beginning of the impact that rising sea levels, strong storm surges and flooding are going to have on the region's transportation infrastructure.

"It's going to happen more often," said Roger Del Rio, a project coordinator with the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization.

States threaten lawsuit to force EPA to issue power plant rules

Ten states have threatened to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, which missed an April 13 deadline to finalise rules on new power plant emissions, unless it issues guidelines promptly.

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing the agency for failing to complete its New Source Performance Standards to curb greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants despite President Barack Obama's pledge to combat climate change.

Carbon-Intensive Investors Risk $6 Trillion ‘Bubble,’ Study Says

Investors in carbon-intensive business could see $6 trillion wasted as policies limiting global warming stop them from exploiting their coal, oil and gas reserves, according to a report.

The top 200 oil, gas and mining companies spent $674 billion last year finding and developing fossil fuel resources, according to research by the Carbon Tracker Initiative and a climate-change research unit at the London School of Economics. If this rate continues for the next decade some $6 trillion risks being wasted on “unburnable” or stranded assets, according to the report, released today.

Fossil fuels and vested interests: a society in denial

The report released by Lord Stern and thinktank Carbon Tracker paints a picture of society in denial. It shows we're pumping almost $700bn (£458bn) of hard-earned savings and pensions annually into finding new reserves of fossil fuels, even though it's clear that almost all of those reserves will have to be written off to provide a decent chance of keeping the planet safe.

The ever-inflating "carbon bubble" is only part of the bigger picture, because most of the world's fuel – around three-quarters in total and almost all the oil and gas – is owned not by listed companies but by governments. And we don't need only to stop expanding the world's fossil fuel reserves; we also need to get used to the idea that we can't burn most of what we already have.

How your pension is being used in a $6 trillion climate gamble

Suppose you weren’t worried that we humans are destroying our water supply and eroding our ability to feed ourselves by burning coal and gas and oil and hence changing climate. Suppose you thought that was all liberal hooey. What might worry you about fossil fuels instead? How about a six trillion dollar bet, including a big slug of your own money, on people not doing what they have said they are going to do, and that some have already sworn to do in law?

Six trillion dollars is what oil, gas, and coal companies will invest over the next ten years on turning fossil fuel deposits into reserves, assuming last year’s level of investment stays the same. Reserves are by definition bodies of oil, gas or coal that can be drilled or mined economically. Regulators allow companies, currently, to book them as assets, and on the assumption that they are at zero risk of being stranded - left below ground, "value"unrealized - over the full life of their exploitation. Yet a report published today shows they are at very real risk of being stranded, and in large quantity.

Australia's dirty little climate change secret

Forget the carbon price, forget the opposition’s Direct Action climate plan. Australia could probably meet its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without either, provided we did one thing. But you won’t hear the politicians talk about it.

A statistical analysis by Crikey, based on data released this week, indicates that if Australia’s high population growth rate were reined in, the country would already be meeting its targets to cut pollution. In fact, we’d probably be under those targets.

Gorbachev sees global failure to address eco-risks

GENEVA (AP) — Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Thursday painted a dim picture of the world's environmental progress, two decades after he founded the environmental group Green Cross International.

Laying much of the blame on a lack of leadership and vision, he railed against governments for falling short on nuclear disarmament, waste, development and climate change.

House removes limits on greenhouse gases

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will no longer have the authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions under a proposal the Texas House of Representatives passed on Thursday.

Rise in U.S. Gas Production Fuels Unexpected Plunge in Emissions

U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions have fallen dramatically in recent years, in large part because the country is making more electricity with natural gas instead of coal.

Energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is widely believed to contribute to global warming, have fallen 12% between 2005 and 2012 and are at their lowest level since 1994, according to a recent estimate by the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Energy Department.

"Has peak oil peaked? Judging from the number of Google searches, it looks that way."


"Has Evolution peaked? Judging from the number of Google searches, it looks that way."

mind you I guess fewer news items possibly means that Peak Oil is now accepted fact.....


The 'theory' of peak oil has a hard quality to it - the party is over. Trying to talk about this makes one a bit of a social outcast as denial is our favorite way of dealing with hard issues. Better to find a weaker group to blame our problems on, the search begins...

Since "Peak Oil Peaked" in 2005, globally we have consumed about 190 Gb of Crude + Condensate, which is equivalent to the reserves from 9 North Slopes of Alaska:


For some reason, your comment struck me as macabre and terribly funny. You have a way producing facts which throw cold water on foolishness.

Here's a thought, imagine if I were to tell you that we suddenly found an oil field that contained twice the known existing oil reserves on the planet... heck I'll even up the ante, four times the known existing oil reserves! Now go to my graphic at the link below and tell me that 'Peak Oil' is something we no longer have to worry about... Oh by the way I hate to burst your bubble but we haven't been able to find all that new oil because fortunately it doesn't exist. If it did we'd fry the planet for sure...

You want to laugh some more? Here's a little more cold water for ya!




Even better: Lets say aliens dropped a tank of crude oil. The size beeing 2X all remaining oil. Just turn on the tap and let the black gold flow.

Oil consumption would return to 3.5% growth a year. That means 20 years to double our consumption. We now, in only 20 years, have 2X the oil, but are using it at 2X the time. And we are back at the same problem again.

And then we will simply pray for our new flying spaghetti monster to give us another tank.

Jeeze you guys, paper Ben Franklin's will fix all of it. Someday you can teach your grandchildren how to make paper airplanes out of them. Then again, I have never seen a flying spaghetti monster but I'm searching the internet for an assault fork before they are no longer available.


BP delays Mad Dog Phase 2 oil project in U.S. Gulf

Mad Dog ?? is that the new name for Macondo ? :-)

Winscale to Sellafield and Radiation to majick moonbeams......


Mad Dog has 4 leases but only two produce any Gas or Oil. They completely shut down sometime in April 2011 and resumed production about the middle of August 2012.

Mad Dog C+C production in BP/D and Gas production in MCF/D. The last data point is February 2013
Mad Dog photo MadDog_zps0726543a.jpg

Ron P.

Hi Ron,

Where do you find this Gulf of Mexico data? I couldn't find something similar at eia.gov, the only data there is for the entire Gulf of Mexico.



Go here: BSEE Production Information

Then click on •Production by Planning Area with Daily Production Rates. There you will need to change the first date to the first months data you wish to pull up and the number of lines to 200 or so because it pulls up four entries for every month and 50 is not usually enough. That will give you the production numbers for the entire Gulf of Mexico.

To get individual lease information you will need to click on: •Production Data. There you will need to check three, and only three boxes.
Lease Number (Then type in the lease number in the box)
Production Month (Leave as is from 1 to 12
Production Year (Then change to whatever year you wish to start, and leave the last box as 2013)

Lease numbers can be found at: Deepwater Natural Gas and Oil Discoveries and Fields

Ron P.

Thank you Ron

Mad Dog C+C production

Look at that...Obama comes into office and causes Mad Dog production to start falling! /sarcohol

Perfect peaking profile topping out at about 75k mb/d. Where do you suppose the break-even rate for well abandonment is?

You need to know the operation cost for a well. Say a platform cost 50 000 USD to operate, and you sell the oil for 100 USD/Barrel, there is your number. I don't know the actuall figures, but as they say; there are no offshore stripper wells.

Cute, man...cute. I expect Ron knows, at least whereabouts, the daily costs of the operation - he's good about that kind of thing. So the direction of that comment was towards him and the specifics of that well.

Actually Rockman used to be the go-to guy for this kind of information but...

I am not an oil man so I get all my information from Google. Found this at:

Oil and Gas Lease Equipment and Operating Costs 1994 Through 2009

 	Table 5. Annual Operating Costs for Gulf of Mexico wells in 2009 
(Current US Dollars)
	         Water Depth 
Platform Size	  100-ft	  300-ft	  600-ft
12 Slot	          8,669,600	 8,946,300	
18 Slot  	 10,053,900	10,376,500	10,924,700
GOM Average	  9,361,700	 9,661,400	10,924,700

So in 2009 it cost almost 11 million dollars a year to operate a Mad Dog size rig in the GOM if the rig is in 600 feet of water. Mad Dog depth is 6,025 feet of water so I would guess it would be a bit more. Anyway 11 million works out to be just over 30,000 dollars a day so I would guess the Mad Dog platform costs, in 2013, about 50,000 a day to operate.

ron P.

Hmm...seems pretty low. That would put break-even production at only 500 bbl/day at $100/bbl. If "4 leases" means four wells, that still puts it at only 2,000 bbl/day...they could conceivably chase that down slope for another 7-10ish years.

Regarding Who's to blame for the middle class struggle?, above, while others were blaming Obama, political parties, banksters, etc., yesterday I posted a fairly short comment suggesting that decades of living beyond our means, 5% of the world's population consuming 25% of the world's resources, investing in the wrong things, and resources becoming more constrained/expensive has as much to do with the middle class decline as anything. In short, the collective US population and it's unrealistic expectations are as much to blame as other factors. It was actually a pretty good, concise comment, not pointing a finger at any one person or group. The comment went up and received several up votes.

It's the first time I've ever had a comment deleted from a CNN article. Seems someone in charge didn't like the suggestion that we, collectively, are responsible, and that limits to growth plays a part (I never actually mentioned LTG or PO, just high levels of consumption).

They do not like the one who points out that the King has no clothes.

Yep. Same as elephant in the room.

Interesting experiment. There will be no appropriate responses coming from within the system - perhaps Orlov's recent thread on Organizational Stupidity is a good way to look at it.

Well, CNN isn't in the business of reporting news, it's in the business of selling advertising. They just report the news as a gimmick for getting people to look at the advertising.

My sense, though, is that the decline of the American middle class has something to do with the fact that oil has been, and in fact remains, relatively cheap. It has made good business sense to outsource manufacturing for the American market to countries with cheaper labor and laxer environmental standards (thus lowering the cost of production), because it remains fairly cheap to transport goods from a distant country of origin to the US.

You can export all your jobs to low wage countries, it will destroy your country but not do anything for the low wage worker in the other countries. The rich get richer at everyone else's expense, if they are allowed to.

It is a form of internal neo colonialism. If you can not have colonies in the model of the 1800s, then do them a new way. Make $100 tennis shoes in Vietnam for $5. If you destroy the country you sell the shoes to by exporting jobs, just move to another market and/or another product.

" If you destroy the country you sell the shoes to by exporting jobs, just move to another market and/or another product."

"Capitalism Sacrifice Zones"

Capitalism as it approaches limits to growth appears to be behaving simply as a wealth extractor. Like mining - go in, extract the minerals, when they're depleted you leave. All flows are being directed to the top in rapid fashion...and it's almost not even the 1%, but the 0.1% that are the benefactors.

Globalism was touted, of course, to bring all Earthians wages up to American standards...but as we live on a finite Earth with finite resources with an over-abundance of "mouths to feed" what's it's doing is bringing the wages of "first world" nations down while barely raising them of "third world" with the difference being vectored to the 0.1%. A case could be made that "third world"ers are actually in worse shape now due to the abundance of pollution this has caused.

This trend is particularly troubling for the United States because our entire infrastructure has been built on the cheap with high maintenance and carrying costs - it requires continuous, and large, inputs to keep going.


That's an important point that folks need reminding of: The news is no longer the news. The news is filler between the real content - the ads. All this struggle to 'make the news' is therefore wasted. Even if one's personal crusade can break in to a newscast, it's only there because it can further the end of selling more crap.

And more dangerously, the selling the ideas behind the selling of crap. Telling people, literally, how to think, what to think. That's behind the buying of crap, the idea that the buying of crap is 'democracy' or 'freedom' or 'sexy'.

If you really stop and listen to the words it's usually a simple formula: First they tell you who you are - "A Hungry Man", a "Modern Woman", whatever, then they tell you what to do next - buy their brand of crap (or support the troops)!

And I'm really down on NPR these days. They are as bad as FOX. Yes, as bad as FOX. NPR is as bad as FOX because they help persuade liberals of the crap that the wing-nuts already believe. The soothing deep voices and the cutesy stories...

It's been an annoying Friday.

That's my experience too, my comments regarding the planets dwindling resources tend to either get deleted or the article itself disappears from the front page. It's as if no one wants to hear that the Earth is finite.

the Earth is finite.

You're going to get yourself into all sorts of trouble spouting stuff like that. Remember resources are limited but greed has no limits. Give a poor person a thousand dollars and he/she will be eternally grateful. Give that same person a million and their ego will grow until it bursts the borders of what is conceivable with that amount of money. Give him/her a billion and that person will become enraged they do not have 100 billion, and so on. Once mankind breached the borders of being humbled by natural, very limited constraints, greed took over, then anger to have it all and more than is conceivably available. Which is why William Catton wrote about phantom capacity, as humankind devours resources at a pace indicative of greater capacity than actually exists.

Ghung, I understand your comment and frustration. But it is not the answer I would have given. In fact I would have given no answer at all because I don't like the way the question was phrased. To ask "who is to blame" is to imply that someone or some group is culpable, or guilty of wrongdoing and should confess their guilt and do what they can to make amends. And that is the case even if that group is the entire US population.

Today's middle class, or upper class or lower class, were born into the world they live in and are living their lives in the only way they know how. To place blame is to suggest that they, sometime during their early lives, should have seen the error of their ways and then suddenly changed their way of life.

True, some did, but that still does not imply that those who did not are blameworthy or guilty of grievous error.

The correct question would have been, "Why is the middle class having such a struggle?"

Ron P.

Kind of like asking.. 'Why is Caesar having such a struggle with all those knives in his back?'

.. anything else might tend to suggest somebody or group of somebodies intentionally found a far shorter route to greatly expanding their wealth by 'restructuring' in such a way that cheap credit and overzealous lending, among other tricks, would invisibly allow great numbers of 'customers' lead lifestyles with fancier and sparklier facades, while their actual, structural underpinning was all being bled upstream.

Of course, the failure of policymakers to PREVENT such a convenient erosion of the resilience of the society might be just as much at fault.. so who is it that writes fiscal policy, anyhow.. some clerk somewhere?

As Bloomberg found, the biggest banks wouldn’t even be profitable without the expectation that they would be rescued by the government. “The banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry — with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy — would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfare.


Probably the fault of those giving you up votes. If they figured no one was agreeing with you they coulda let it stay.

It's been a tried and true tactic of those with wealth to get the lower classes(from their point of view) to fight among themselves. Thus ignoring how they have so much more than everyone else.

If it is not getting the middle class to attack the poor by making them think the poor are worthless moochers who only want to live off of welfare etc. It's race baiting, followed by religion/ethnic creed. 'Those damn dirty Irish' for example. Or in the current atmosphere, any Arabic looking or sounding people.

Part 2 of the series I posted yesterday: The Disappearing Urban Car (Why Successful Cities Will Be Largely Car-free by the End of 2015).


The first part looked at energy production and consumption. The second examines and extrapolates current demographic trends and generational value shifts.

Improved fuel economy of the US vehicle fleet will not factor into reduced oil use much at all. Though it may seem extraordinary, per the EIA, average fuel economy of all classes of vehicles in the US (cars, SUVs, heavy trucks—you name it!) has gone down the last three years, not up, even with gas prices doubling. As a nation we appear utterly incapable of driving fuel-efficient cars.

It'd be flippin' nice if the MSM would catch on to the fact that fuel efficiency hasn't increased and stop parroting "fuel efficient cars are killing DOT budgets!"

Fuel taxes are not keeping up with the rise in the cost of the materials they use. That's it. Though the last couple of years you could also point to the drop in VMT.

(There are already 6.5 million more 20 – 35 year olds than there are 60+ year olds.)

Explains how Hillary (a woman) and Obama (black dude) were viable candidates and also the just now emerging acceptance of homosexual rights. It wasn't really until the 90s that gay people were open, visible, and being portrayed as "just like everyone else" in television. Shows how long it takes a cultural shift to occur and make it through to politics. Very interesting drop in the 35 year old age bracket correlating to around 1978...just at the time of some of the highest (inflation adjusted) oil prices in history. Another low point in the 10-15 bracket, encompassing 9/11 and the beginning of two wars.

I like the first half of the list, with references, the second half of the list gets a little hand-wavy/hopeful. I do wonder about the prospects for "infill" development. There needs to be actual buildings constructed if people are going to move to the city or prices will simply keep repelling everyone despite all desires to de-suburbanize.

I also wonder what jobs these urbanites are supposed to be finding to support themselves - pay rent, buy food, etc. What services do they have to offer the farmers, electricity producers, bicycle makers, miners, etc. What does the urbanized economy look like and how does it get the raw/basic materials, finished products, and energy it needs? I mean that as an honest question - because I'm trying to imagine it and I'm not coming up with anything.

Right now I see massive infill development in San Francisco. In my nineteen years living here, I have never seen even a fourth so much housing being built. There is quite a bubble going on. In fact there is so much development (either towers downtown or four story residential over ground floor retail) that the mayor has proposed tearing down yet another segment of freeway not because an earthquake has shook it down, but entirely to allow more space for buildings. Interestingly, much of this building boom has gone into spots formerly occupied by car infrastructure--former parking lots, former gas stations, former auto dealerships, even former multi-story parking garages, and, of course, freeways.

As to jobs, well, I don't see how suburbia will offer any more jobs than urban areas, especially if the energy consumption per person in cities is half that of the suburbs. If civilization doesn't totally collapse, market towns and cities have existed for thousands of years for a reason and probably will continue. Goods will likely still be moved by water and even train to distribution centers. Cities will be places where you can buy imports, find specialized skills, get specialized health care, experience fine arts, and move money around.(Traditional roles of cities?) Light manufacturing can happen easily in cities (bikes assembled, etc.) Whether there will be the food and resources overall to support the current population of the US or the world is another question.

Read with interest about the $2.2 * 10E9 (US dollars I presume) transmission line from Quebec to Queens NY. Sigh. It would make a lot of sense to end the bifurcation of electrical distribution in Canada and run some transmission between Manitoba and southern Ontario and points east, (and get the Trans Canada up to four lanes while doing it).

I remember being entranced at the sheer elegance of the concept when I read about the Experimental Lakes project in Science back in the early 80's. So much fantastic science has come from those studies from Upper Ontario lakes starting with acid rain studies and mercury. Mild dictator Harper scuttles it with as much glee as he did the Candian Wheat Board - however there was no Cargill, et. al. to cheer him on about that. There was just Harpers raw hatred of science for a "savings" of a couple million - and driving a stake through anyone else setting up funding to continue the ongoing studies.

Upper Ontario is another Rodney Dangerfield section of Canada that gets no respect from Ottawa or Toronto. Slashed away from Manitoba because of the second Riel Insurrection, it never gets significant funding for anything. Nova Scotia gets to go so deeply into the red over energy infrastructure while Upper Ontario gets bled. It's not like the "heydays" of Yank tourism going into upper Ontario is ever going to come back with the twin threats of the declining middle class in the US and getting over the border gets more onerous each year.

Ottawa and Toronto come up with neither a plan for an ecological development blue print for upper Ontario nor a decade or two infrastructure and growth plan a la Alberta.

sarcasm, about a book -- Let New York freeze in the dark.

Peace, Mark


‘Mystery of Chinese bird flu outbreak grows’

The H7N9 virus has been found in 87 people, mostly in eastern China, and killed 17. But it is not clear how people are becoming infected and the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no evidence of the most worrying scenario - sustained transmission between people.

Ok, got that, no evidence of sustained transmission between people, but then there’s this;

The WHO's China representative, Michael O'Leary, issued data on Friday showing that half of the cases analyzed had had no known contact with poultry, the most obvious potential source, but he said it appeared human-to-human transmission was rare.
"This is still an animal virus that occasionally infects humans," he said. "With rare exceptions, we know that people are not getting sick from other people".

Some parsing of the words there, but what we should be alarmed by is half of the cases had no known contact with poultry, which means they got it from other infected people! However, I suppose what they mean by there not being ‘sustained’ transmission is it isn’t airborne yet, however it begs the question of exactly how the person to person transmission is occurring? Thus the mystery of Chinese bird flu grows.

From what I've read - the apparent person-to-person transmission is occurring within families. So there's a lot of potential for infection without it being airborne. Presumably the families are caring for the sick, which often involves contact with bodily fluids, and perhaps sharing of food, utensils, linens, etc.

Ah yes, we all know how easy it is to catch a bug from a family member. I wonder how different that kind of flu is to one that can be transmitted via airborne? I mean, people have to come in contact with the virus somehow. Are some flus just in the air? I don't have a handle on various transmission category definitions, but this one so far is knocking off about 20% of the sample size.

Interesting that if a flu kills no one, many develop immunity either by injection or exposure and many millions can become infected, but if it kills 100% the flu has limited ability to spread and may die out quickly. The point being that a worst case scenario pandemic will kill an optimum percentage of hosts, and what that percentage is up for question. However, 20% is probably in the 'meaty' part of the curve. Not trying to alarm people, just sayin'.

They're really not sure how it's transmitted, but it seems likely that it's exposure to bird droppings or maybe fluids (via slaughtering) that's behind most cases. The ones assumed to be person to person involve people who didn't have direct contact with live animals.

There's a big problem with that understanding - so far there are less confirmed infections of birds than there are of people.

So, either their testing is wrong, or birds aren't the reservoir for the disease.

Which means it *might* still not be transmissible between humans, but on the negative side, it could be transmissible via a route that's not recognised, or controlled.

U.S. Hospitals Told to Be on Lookout for H7N9 Bird Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a conference call with health-care professionals yesterday to review procedures for treating bird-flu patients and controlling infections, Erin Burns, an agency spokeswoman, said in an e- mail. The Atlanta-based agency today issued interim guidance on the use of antiviral agents to treat H7N9 infections.

Issuing the guidance and holding the clinician calls “would be considered routine preparedness measures for an outbreak with pandemic potential,” Burns said.

Not getting it from poultry, does not rule out getting it from other animal reservoirs. The virus has been detected in wild pigeons, which would not be considered to be poultry -and probably wouldn't stick around to be detected after the fact. My guess is several bird species are now carriers, and occasionally a human gets infected from them. So it is probably impossible to stamp it out, only to minimize exposure and start developing defenses -such as vaccines or other treatments.

Weak human to human transmission also wouldn't be a serious threat. By weak I mean one infected human infects far less than one other human. In that case most of the cases would be caught from birds, and the disease would stay at some background level.

what we should be alarmed by is half of the cases had no known contact with poultry, which means they got it from other infected people!

As some others have already pointed out, this is not a valid inference from what was said in the quotation.

To mention just one possibility, a tick-born virus could infect poultry and also humans, without necessitating a poultry-to-human or a human-to-human route of infection. In fact tick-born virus transmission is in the news today in Asia - judging from a phone call to my wife from her mother in Japan - though the virus in question is apparently called SFTS rather than H7N9.

A discussion of SFTS here.

Talk about questionable investments and society in denial.

Audi & VW's Spanking New Digs - A US$13-million first in the region

There's no denying that the new ATL Autohaus complex housing the VW showroom and Audi Terminal has breathed new excitement along the Oxford Road, New Kingston landscape. And after a whopping US$13 million and just under 18 months of construction, it should.

Ever since this complex was completed, I have been playing with the idea of taking a picture of it to show you guys (and gals) the type of investment that are being made in BAU around here but, thanks to picture accompanying this article, you can just visit the link instead. Now, how many years is it going to take recover the US$13 million invested in this complex, from the profits on the sale of automobiles? Will that even be possible if world oil production starts to decline say, 2015 or even 2017?

In light of the fairly influential interests involved in this investment (the family owns the Sandals group of hotels), any suggestion that the increased individual ownership and use of motor cars is not to be encouraged or is unsustainable, is likely to be met with some influential opposition.

edit: added text in italics to make the last sentence make sense and some other stuff. Note to self, never post in a hurry!

Alan from the island

There is no "recovery" of the money invested. The debt is simply recycled into government bonds and rolled over, because government bonds supposedly are risk free and interest rates always decline.

That's the way it's worked the world over for decades now, and not even the financial crisis changed that.

I'm sorry, I don't understand. If you think that this auto dealership was financed with government money, maybe I should have made it clear that, this is a private investment being made by private interests. I would not care except for the fact that the family that owns this business is not averse to urging the government to enact policies in furtherance of private interests, especially when it affects their particular business.

Edit: Just in case anybody's wondering what I am prattling on about, the official opening was on Friday evening and the guest speaker was none other than the Prime Minister! In the video at the following link she is speaking at the opening ceremony about a controversy surrounding some questionable dealings by a member of her cabinet and on the backdrop behind are the logos of the dealership and the two brands they represent.


Just to be clear, the video has nothing to do with Peak Oil or the opening of the dealership or government policy related to energy and transportation. It just shows that the Prime Minister was present at the official opening. Maybe it was she who "cut the ribbon".

Alan from the islands


What makes you think it needs to be recovered ? That's just an appetizer.

Just an observation ...

Juxtapose UK Researcher Sentenced To Three Months' Jail for Faking Data

and How Much Unemployment Was Caused by Reinhart and Rogoff's Arithmetic Mistake?

... This is a big deal because politicians around the world have used this finding from R&R to justify austerity measures that have slowed growth and raised unemployment. In the United States many politicians have pointed to R&R’s work as justification for deficit reduction even though the economy is far below full employment by any reasonable measure. In Europe, R&R’s work and its derivatives have been used to justify austerity policies that have pushed the unemployment rate over 10 percent for the euro zone as a whole and above 20 percent in Greece and Spain. In other words, this is a mistake that has had enormous consequences.

Shouldn't cherrypicking data be a criminal offense?

From the excerpt: Does anyone really think that the choice of data was a mistake?

Economics has always been the projection of ideology by other means....

Re: Carbon-Intensive Investors Risk $6 Trillion ‘Bubble,’ Study Says and Fossil fuels and vested interests: a society in denial from DB

Report: Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets reinforces the recent HSBC Global Research white paper Oil & Carbon Revisited: Value at Risk from ‘Unburnable’ Reserves from January.

Two views of the same problem.

HSBC - How to profit from the bubble
CarbonTracker - How to save the planet

Stranded assets


Seems coal companies are gravely endangered by PV! Gee, how awful.

Deserves a lot more comment than it's getting here.

Just for the laughs, go to the Census Bureau's 2012 Statistical Abstract web page at


and look at Document Number 948 - "Electric Power Industry - Net Generation and Net Summer Capacity by State"

It shows the percent of electricity generated by Coal in each State. The Mid-West States, which have among the best Wind Resources in the World, generate much of their electricity from -- can you guess?

Seems coal companies are gravely endangered by PV! Gee, how awful

While coal companies may be indirectly endangered by PV, it is the exploitative business model of the utilities that depend on centralized power distribution to a captive consumer base without other options, that is truly endangered. We are in the beginning phase of a major paradigm shift. Those utility companies that see the writing on the wall and are flexible enough to change their business model into one that provides utility and services to a customer base that now has the potential to be more of a symbiotic partner in an 'anti fragile' distributed network system will be the ones that survive. The old boy dinosaur network will be going extinct soon... Good riddance!

“we don’t have laws in Kansas right now that relate to sustainable
development.” It’s more about preventing sustainable development in the
future. "
Dennis Hedke, Geophysicist

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

The Times Times They Are A Changin
Bob Dylan


The utilities are not quite in such dire shape. They are ignoring a huge benefit the PV companies have . . . they collect on the spread between peak power and non-peak power with net-metering. How:
1) Customer installs PV.
2) At peak, customer with PV generates excess power put onto the grid.
3) Utility sells that PV power to another customer without PV.
4) Utility replaces that power 'borrowed' from the PV customer at night with cheaper off-peak power.

Thus, the utility is able to 'smooth' its load and not require expensive peaker plants.

In the long term, grid-tied PV system owners will eventually need to pay a flat monthly 'transmission fee' for the privilege of doing net-metering (or get off the grid). But if you have to pay $10/month or $20/month or something that would be fine.

I'm not sure about where you live, but this already seems to be a part of my bill: https://www.progress-energy.com/carolinas/home/billing-payments/understa...

A1. Basic Customer Charge: The basic customer charge is a fixed monthly amount to cover the cost of maintaining your electric meter and the wires that bring service to your home or business as well as maintaining customer records, billing and other transactions affecting the account. It is applicable whether or not electricity is used.

I noticed this because I was calculating my rates off of the bill and noticed that on the months I used more the per-unit kWh cost was less, so I knew there had to be a fixed unit in there.

Also a DSM/EE (demand side management/energy efficiency) and REPS (renewable energy portfolio standard) charge.

I think it is adorable how some geeks at the LSE think that we are going to take climate change seriously. No, we are going to burn everything that can burn because we don't give a crap about future generations. We are lazy and greedy and that is a safe bet.

New info on Terra Preta ...

Where Does Charcoal, Or Black Carbon, In Soils Go?

Scientists have uncovered one of nature's long-kept secrets—the true fate of charcoal in the world's soils. The ability to determine the fate of charcoal is critical to knowledge of the global carbon budget, which in turn can help understand and mitigate climate change. However, until now, researchers only had scientific guesses about what happens to charcoal once it's incorporated into soil. They believed it stayed there. Surprisingly, most of these researchers were wrong.

Well, there goes the idea of just making tons of biochar to deal with the CO2 problem. Everything ends up in the ocean in the end, I guess that should be obvious...

So why is terra preta still black? Why hasn't the charcoal dissolved?

Or when they say it dissolves, do they mean over thousands of years, and terra preta is still too new to do that?

Maybe they are on their way to the ocean. From the wiki ...

Terra preta soils are found mainly in Brazilian Amazonia, where Sombroek et al.[12] estimate that they cover at least 0.1 to 0.3%, or 6,300 to 18,900 square kilometres (2,400 to 7,300 sq mi) of low forested Amazonia.

Plots of terra preta exist in small plots averaging 20 hectares (49 acres), but areas of almost 900 acres (360 ha) have also been reported. They are found among various climatic, geological, and topographical situations.[2] Their distributions either follow main water courses, from East Amazonia to the central basin,[14] or are located on interfluvial sites (mainly of circular or lenticular shape and of a smaller size averaging some 1.4 hectares (3.5 acres), see also distribution map of terra preta sites in Amazon basin.

The terra preta is in those places because that's where people lived. It's the remains of old garbage dumps.

Researchers Suggest Conformity Pressure and Desire to Keep-Up Is Pushing Unsustainable Population Growth

Partha Dasgupta an economist with the University of Cambridge and Paul Ehrlich, a conservation biologist at Stanford University have published a paper in the journal Science in which they suggest that peer pressure and a desire to keep up with others can lead to unsustainable population growth. They use data from several sources to compare population growth rates between people in African—where population growth is exploding in some areas—with others where it is not, to show that when people experience peer pressure to have large families and also feel pressure to keep up with the consumption habits of other people where they live, the result can be explosive population growth.

The two researchers note that in many parts of Africa, current growth rates mean a likely doubling of the population by 2050—they add that increased consumption rates by the same people is leading to unsustainable growth patterns due to limited environmental resources. Peer pressure among men to produce as many children as possible (due to historical land tenure issues) they assert, has led to a very high fosterage rate, while the burden of supporting children continues to fall primarily on women. At the same time, they found that despite living on just an average of 1200 international dollars a year, consumption rates in the same areas have been climbing for several years. Taken all together, they say, it makes for an environment full of externalities that promote fertility.

Wind Turbines Operate Under Great Turbulence, With Consequences for Grid Stability

While previous research has shown that wind turbulence causes the power output of wind turbines to be intermittent, a new study has found that wind turbulence may have an even greater impact on power output than previously thought. The researchers modeled the conversion of wind speed to power output using data from a rural wind farm.

... "Looking at an operating wind turbine, one may get the impression that the turbine turns smoothly, but looking at the power output, which is the consequence of the forces and torques inside the machinery, we see that the fluctuations are very turbulent," Peinke told Phys.org. "Changes of MW (more than one thousand horsepower) in seconds become obvious."

The model also reveals that moderately intermittent wind power is converted to highly intermittent power output. In other words, wind turbines do not only transfer wind intermittency to the grid, but they also amplify it. For instance, the researchers observed that changes in wind speed of about 11 m/s within 8 seconds may cause nearby wind turbines to change their power output by about 80%. The researchers attribute this amplification to the nonlinear conversion process and fast reaction time of the output to changes in wind speed.

The data also shows that wind power intermittency does not only affect the output of individual turbines, as previous research has shown, but it also extends to entire wind farms, which has not been observed before.

More information: Patrick Milan, et al. "Turbulent Character of Wind Energy." PRL 110, 138701 (2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.138701

Any sailor could have told the researchers about the sometimes-extreme variability of wind velocity and power, not to mention direction. We euphemistically call these turbulent events "puffs","holes", "headers", and "lifts".

Also, wind shadows, bad air and 'gassed'.

sounds like someone you've been on the losing end of a tacking battle;) Ready about!

Disaster Expert Cites 'Failure to Learn' For Deepwater Horizon Blowout

"There is one common thread to these disasters," Bea said. "They are system disasters. They're caused by human and organizational malfunctions."

And, too often, they occur because there is a "failure to learn" from past mistakes, Bea said.

At his UC Berkeley talk, Bea pointed out that BP had adopted an Operating Management System that outlined a zero-tolerance approach to ensure safe, healthy and environmentally sound practices at its facilities. But the system was in place at only one of the seven drilling rigs operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico—the one it owned, Bea continued. The other six rigs, including Deepwater Horizon, were leased from other companies.

BP "exempted some of the riskiest sites that they knew" from following its safety system, said Bea. "They (BP directors) decided they couldn't spend the time and money and effort; they would rely on the contractors to take care of those safety things."

The Most Dangerous (Man-Made) Lava Flow

... researchers at the Argonne National Lab have created corium in the laboratory in order to see just that (see below). You can check out some great videos of corium lava flowing like pahoehoe (it has an even lower viscosity, which isn’t a surprise as it is at 2000 ºC (3632 ºF), versus 1100-1200ºC for your average basalt) or crusting over when they pour water over it. This lab used upwards of 1 ton** of UO2 lava in some of their experiments to see how quickly corium might melt through the concrete of a nuclear reactor containment vessel (or building).

They found that corium lava can melt upwards of 30 cm (12″) of concrete in 1 hour! This is why it is so important to know if a nuclear reactor accident has gone into true “meltdown” as the corium lava will rapidly melt its way through the inner containment vessels (or more) in a matter of hours unless it can be cooled again. However, results from these CCI (core-concrete interaction) experiments, suggest that cooling with water may not be sufficient to stop corium from melting the concrete. One thing to remember — much of the melting of concrete during a meltdown occurs within minutes to hours, so keeping the core cool is vital for stopping the corium for breaching that containment vessel.

As the article points out, the corium dilutes itself with the material it melts through, and fairly soon cools below its new melting point. Three Mile Island's melt never got out of the reactor vessel. Chernobyl got out of the reactor and made the elephant's foot, and then stopped. It will indeed be interesting to see how far the core melt at Fukushima traveled. Three different reactor designs, three (or four) different meltdown results. Heck of a way to run a materials testing program.

Read article, guessing that they used DU (depleted Uranium). Might look further to see what their heat source was. Wondering if they added a little zirconium to the mix, that might add a little spice to the party. Not sure if the test reactor in Idaho had a core melt or not. For Fukishima - might not be singular.

From the The Limits of the Earth, Part 2: Expanding the Limits blog post:

What of fertilizer? Nitrogen fertilizer is made from natural gas today, in a process that gives off greenhouse gases. Multiple groups, however, have shown that fertilizer can be synthesized from wind power and nitrogen in the air (where it makes up 78% of the atmosphere). An even more radical approach would be to borrow a trick from legumes. Soy and other legumes fertilize themselves (with help from symbiotic bacteria) by pulling nitrogen from the atmosphere themselves. Early stage projects funded by the Gates Foundation and elsewhere are evaluating whether wheat, corn, rice, and other cereals could be engineered to fertilize themselves from the air in the same way, reducing both the need to apply artificial fertilizer, and the nitrogen runoff that results from it.

Maybe I'm just being a wee bit obtuse here, but aren't there three key components needed for agriculture? I think most with a basic education know of NPK - Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Kalium. I don't think phosphorus can be found in the air, but in the ground - just like oil it will someday reach maximum extraction. Phosphorus is needed to hold DNA together. Yet it's not mentioned at all in the article - there must be a good reason for that, I'm sure.

K=Potassium (don't ask why, there is no K in Potassium).
Phosphorous ends up in the ocean as phosphates are soluble. It is supposed to be recycled back to land by fish being eaten by seabirds => birds pooping over the land. But, will there be any fish? Potassium as a chloride is like salt, it will end up in the ocean. Not sure how you get it back.

I was going to post the same thing but decided to check the definition of kalium first. Turns out that it's the German word for Potassium. Whole K thing makes sense now!

Alan from the islands

Sorry, I was thinking of the Swedish word for the element.

It seems to be one of those really tough questions, and with little knowledge I can only think of a vague "take care of our waste". Fish was used as fertilizer in the past, back when the oceans were teeming with life, but as the stocks were being depleted that became a losing proposition. Perhaps with more sound (read: much less intensive) fishing policies the seas can regain some of its lost glory, but catching fish for fertilizer strikes me on a basic level as burning books for fuel.

And Kali in russian.

K=Potassium (don't ask why, there is no K in Potassium).

Hey enemy, you do realize there are some perfectly good languages out there other than English, right?

Anyways, I didn't know either so I looked it up... >;-)

Potassium's chemical symbol comes from the Latin word kalium (alkali). This obviously makes sense because on the periodic table of chemical elements, Potassium is an alkali metal, one of 7 in Group 1
Source Wiki Answers

Wood ash contains phosphorous and potassium.

Is the Colorado River Damned? Op-Ed

By Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado River Campaign

The warming, drying climate of the Southwest is hitting the river hard. We now know that drought is likely to be the new normal in the Colorado River basin — scientists tell us that climate change could reduce the amount of water in the Colorado River ecosystem by 9 to 20 percent. Predictions of climate change and water usage draining the famed Lake Mead and Lake Powell dry are a small, but real, part of that picture.

I always like to go to this page to check on Lake Mead water levels: http://www.arachnoid.com/NaturalResources/

In 2011 there's a highly anomalous rise in the water level that was attributed to "high rainfall" and snowpack melt, but it occurred during a time when the water level normally drops so I still suspect they did something - releases from upper reservoirs or something, it's also highly suspicious that this miraculous refill happened as it neared critical stage and it stopped just after getting above drought stage. Anyway conspiracies aside...you'll note that this year the refill was weak and the snow pack is supposedly pretty thin (unless the recent batches of weather the past month have changed that) so it'll probably fall by a good bit.

Water depth above minimum power pool of Lakes Mead and Powell 1940 to October 19, 2012. Lake Powell is upriver from Lake Mead. Both lakes increased their water levels in 2011. Data is from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Water depth above minimum power pool of Lakes Mead and Powell 1940 to October 19, 2012

Prospect of “radicalised, authoritarian” Maldives threatens all nations: former president Nasheed


This article was all "Islamic extremists" and then out of nowhere came this:

Nasheed, who is a globally recognised high-profile advocate for climate justice, expounded on how he believed environmental issues, human rights, and political stability are increasingly intertwined.

“The fight against climate change is a human rights issue and the way we respond to it will shape not just our environment, but also geopolitical reality – for generations to come,” he stated while speaking at the University of Copenhagen yesterday (April 16).

“Bad energy policy is not just polluting our planet, it is polluting our politics, warping international relations.”

Regarding above;

"...pumping almost $700bn (£458bn) of hard-earned savings and pensions annually into finding new reserves of fossil fuels, even though it's clear that almost all of those reserves will have to be written off to provide a decent chance of keeping the planet safe..." and... "How your pension is being used in a $6 trillion climate gamble

...and Gorbachev's gripes with government... well, the large-scale centralized nation-state (corporate) oligarchic model-- call it what you will-- is a monster that of course depends on FF, and will do whatever it can to survive, but also, that it may be far more vulnerable and fragile than what some may think: "Pension-pumping", (austerity, etc.) looks pretty desperate and seems to suggest where its priorities are: Not with you, pensioner (etc.).

What concerns me, too, is how strongly so many peer at and cling to reality through the lens of the nation-state model-- the narrative-- as if it's the be all and end all. It really appears as a classic Plato's Cave. Who cares about Putin, Obama or any constitution? (Homeland) Security? Freedom?


"Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision."
~ V. S. Naipaul

~ The Truth About Voting

"...The map is a simulacrum that, as a model, loses all reference to reality... the model, itself, has primacy for us; the real has become irrelevant..."
~ Philosophy and The Matrix - Baudrillard