Drumbeat: May 1, 2013

The U.S. Has Much, Much More Gas and Oil Than We Thought

The United States has double the amount of oil and three times the amount of natural gas than previously thought, stored deep under the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, according to new data the Obama administration released Tuesday.

In announcing the new data in a conference call, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell also said the administration will release within weeks draft rules to regulate hydraulic fracturing, technology that has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact but that is essential to developing all of this energy.

“These world-class formations contain even more energy-resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” Jewell said in a statement.

'Peak Oil' Is Back, but This Time It's a Peak in Demand

Remember peak oil? It’s the theory—current about a decade ago—that global oil production would soon top out, leading to an inexorable rise in prices. Reports and books painted a grim picture of the effects this would have on the global economy; as fracking and seabed discoveries have unlocked new sources of the fossil fuel, most have dismissed peak oil as a flawed concept.

Now a pair of reports from energy-sector analysts say we’re approaching peak oil from the opposite direction: demand.

Natural Resource Scarcity Is a Real Thing

Long story short, we're in nothing like the peak oil nightmare that a naive forward projection of the 2003-08 hockey stick would have led you to expect. But we've hardly conquered oil scarcity either. New discoveries are having trouble keeping pace with rising car ownership in Asia and declining production from many established oil sources. Meanwhile, unconventional oil is coming onto the market in part because oil is scarce and expensive, which makes it profitable to extract hard-to-extract oil. That's better for the economy than if we didn't find any, but it also means we haven't returned to the 1990s oil bounty and most likely never will.

Brent Crude Drops a Second Day as Global Supplies Climb

Brent crude fell for a second day after OPEC’s production increased to a five-month high and an industry group said U.S. stockpiles climbed for the first time in three weeks.

Futures slid as much as 1.7 percent in London after dropping 1.4 percent yesterday. U.S. crude inventories rose by 5.2 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said. Government figures today are projected to show a gain of 1.1 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Daily output by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries increased in April by 194,000 barrels a day, a separate survey indicated. An index of manufacturing in China signaled weaker expansion in April.

Saudi will raise crude output to 15m bpd - prince

Saudi Arabia wants to raise its crude oil production capacity from its current 12.5m barrels per day to 15m barrels per day by 2020, a prince in the kingdom was quoted as saying.

Prince Turki Al Faisal, a former intelligence head, said that the increase would allow for the Gulf country to export up to 10m barrels per day. Prince Turki was speaking at an event at Harvard University on April 25, although a transcript of his comments were only published this week.

Saudi Oil Minister: America Will Remain a Consumer of Saudi Oil

Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi stated that Saudi Arabia is committed to a stable global oil market in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington yesterday morning.

Naimi stressed that Saudi Arabia does not want to see a rise in oil prices, except where this reflects actual market conditions: “In 2012, I came out and called for lower oil prices…. I stressed to the media and others that supply fears were unfounded and that the current prices were not a true reflection of supply–demand fundamentals.”

Making reference to the the peak oil crisis of 2009, Naimi criticized experts who predicted that the world was running out of oil and predicted a shift to other energy sources.

Iraq cements position as second-biggest Opec oil exporter

Iraq's oil exports rose in April to 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd), the country's oil minister said on Tuesday, helping to keep global markets well supplied as shipments from regional rival Iran are crimped by tightening Western sanctions.

Kuwait could see KD 12bln budget surplus in FY13/14 - report

KUWAIT (KUNA) -- Kuwait's budget of the FY 2013/2014 is expected to produce a large surplus as high as KD 12 billion, despite a drop in global oil prices against the backdrop of a weaker economic outlook and stronger non-OPEC oil supplies, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) forecasted in a report released Monday.

The report argued that an oil price of between USD101 and USD105 pb in FY13/14 could generate a budget surplus for Kuwait of between KD 8 and 12 bn this fiscal year, following a surplus of KD 15 bn in FY12/13.

Texas oil sails to Canada, refiners fume over tanker law

New York/London: Oil traders including commodities giant Trafigura and Australian bank Macquarie have quietly begun shipping US crude oil from Texas to Canada, raising the ire of US East Coast refiners who may pay four times as much for a similar voyage.

In the latest oil trading trend to emerge from the unexpected boom in US shale production, the firms have hired at least seven foreign-flagged tankers to run the route to Canada this year, most of them for the first time, according to market sources and data analysed by Reuters.

US refiners, however, are required by a shipping law from 1920 known as the Jones Act to use more costly US-owned and operated ships if they want to tap into the oil bounty emerging from the Eagle Ford fields of Texas, highlighting the uneven playing field that is taking shape in the Atlantic basin.

Kazakh oil heads to Asia away from saturated Europe

LONDON (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's oil exports to Asia are on the rise as it seeks to cultivate new buyers for its light crudes outside the saturated European market before steep output increases in the next few years.

Since U.S. shale production has boomed, North American demand for light sweet oil grades from countries such as Libya, Algeria, Nigeria and Azerbaijan has plummeted, creating a global glut of light oil.

Leviathan group raises estimate at Israel gas field to 18.9 tcf

(Reuters) - The U.S-Israeli consortium developing the Leviathan natural gas field off Israel's Mediterranean coast raised on Wednesday the field's estimated reserves to 18.9 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

Leviathan was the world's largest offshore gas discovery of the decade when Texas-based Noble Energy and its Israeli partners found the deposit about 80 miles (130 km) west of the Israeli port of Haifa in 2010.

Shell Starts World’s Largest Gas-Capturing Plant in Iraq

Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and Mitsubishi Corp. started operations at a $17-billion joint venture to capture gas from some of Iraq’s largest oil fields.

The Basrah Gas Co. project, the biggest of its kind, captures so-called associated gas flared from the southern oil fields of Rumaila, West Qurna-1 and Zubair, according to a statement on Shell’s website. Iraq’s state-owned South Gas Co. holds a 51 percent stake in the 25-year venture, while Shell owns 44 percent and Mitsubishi the remainder.

Billionaire Plots to Beat Chevron to Largest Latin Shale

Argentina’s Eurnekian family, after becoming billionaires from media and airports, is planning to become the government’s first shale oil and gas partner.

Eduardo Eurnekian, tapping a fortune of at least $1.3 billion, has pledged $700 million in two deals to hasten a definitive partnership with Argentine government-owned YPF SA to develop its Vaca Muerta fields. After his $500 million preliminary accord with YPF in October, the 70-year-old last week paid about $200 million for 81 percent of Cia. General de Combustibles SA, an oil producer and shareholder in pipelines to YPF’s first operating shale-gas well.

Shell bid for sour gasfield wins out

Royal Dutch Shell confirmed yesterday it had won the tender for Abu Dhabi's Bab sour gasfield, a technically challenging project that underpins the emirate's industrial diversification.

Cnooc Considers Dollar Bond Issue

Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore energy explorer, is considering a sale of dollar-denominated bonds, five people familiar with the matter said.

The company may raise about $5 billion in the offering, two of the people said, asking not to be identified because the terms aren’t set. A borrowing that large would match the biggest note sale in the U.S. currency in Asia outside Japan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Beijing-based Cnooc may begin marketing the securities to investors as early as this quarter, one of the people said.

Canadian Oil Sands profit drops on weak production

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, which owns the largest stake in Syncrude Canada Ltd, said on Tuesday that first-quarter profit fell by nearly half as operating problems and the oil sands facility lowered production.

Canadian Oil Sands, which has a 37% stake in the massive Syncrude tar sands mining and synthetic crude operation in northern Alberta, said profit fell 44% to $177-million, or 37 cents a share, from a year-earlier $318-million, or 66 cents.

Chesapeake Swings to Profit as Demand Spike Boost Prices

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the U.S. natural gas producer that replaced its chief executive officer in March amid conflict-of-interest questions, swung to a higher profit than expected as gas prices rallied on strengthening demand.

Net income was $58 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with a loss of $28 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier, the Oklahoma City-based company said in a statement today. Excluding non-cash hedging losses and severance expenses, per-share profit was 5 cents higher than the average of 28 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Talisman Energy posts loss as production falls

(Reuters) - Talisman Energy Inc posted a quarterly loss as the sale of some North Sea assets hurt production but the oil and gas company said it expected significant growth in higher-margin liquids output in the second half of this year and into 2014.

The Canadian company, which has been refocusing operations to deal with low natural gas prices, completed the sale of a 49 percent stake in its North Sea operations to Sinopec Corp for $1.5 billion in December.

High oil prices can cushion impact of Iran sanctions

Even at reduced export levels, Iran is benefiting from near-record oil prices. As recently as the 1999 oil price slump, it was receiving just $250 per person in oil export revenues; in 2012,that grew to $875. And 2011's inflation-adjusted oil revenues of around $95 billion were the second-highest the country has ever received, after 1974.

The sanctions have laid bare the Iranian administration's remarkable incompetence and waste. This historic oil boom was squandered on handouts, corruption and a surge of imports encouraged by a wildly overvalued exchange rate.

If anything, the collapse of the rial has returned it to a realistic rate, given Iran's continuing high inflation, making domestic industry more competitive. Ironically, sanctions pressure has spurred Tehran's fractious polity to take long-needed steps, upgrading domestic oil refining and removing costly energy subsidies. The economy shrank 1.9 per cent last year - serious, but hardly comparable to Greece's 6.8 per cent fall.

Has Nigeria's Niger Delta managed to buy peace?

So far around 30,000 people have been granted amnesty by the Nigerian government.

In what is a very expensive commitment, each is supposed to receive 65,000 naira ($410, £265) per month.

Thousands have also been given training for jobs as diverse as pipe welding and learning to become a pilot.

The amnesty programme costs close to $500m a year, but that is small change compared to the extra oil money accrued since the peace deal was struck.

Massacre in Nigeria Spurs Outcry Over Military Tactics

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Days later, the survivors’ faces tensed at the memory of the grim evening: soldiers dousing thatched-roof homes with gasoline, setting them on fire and shooting residents when they tried to flee. As the village went up in smoke, one said, a soldier threw a child back into the flames.

Even by the scorched-earth standards of the Nigerian military’s campaign against Islamist insurgents stalking the nation’s north, what happened on the muddy shores of Lake Chad this month appears exceptional.

Search for oil expands in Somaliland

Somaliland hopes that exploration by international oil companies will unearth reserves similar to those in nearby Yemen, and is in talks to increase the number of companies taking on acreage in the quasi-autonomous region.

The region, which considers itself independent from Somalia but is not recognised by the international community, last week signed its second deal with an established international player - Norway's DNO International, a company that merged with the UAE's RAK Petroleum.

A Hidden Victim of Somali Pirates: Science

Scientists from around the globe, specializing in subjects as diverse as plate tectonics, plankton evolution, oceanography, and climate change, are decrying a growing void of research that has spread across hundreds of thousands of square miles of the Indian Ocean near the Horn of Africa—an immense, watery "data hole" swept clean of scientific research by the threat of Somali buccaneering.

Major efforts to study the dynamics of monsoons, predict global warming, or dig into seafloors to reveal humankind's prehistory have been scuttled by the same gangs of freebooters who, over the course of the past decade, have killed dozens of mariners, held thousands more hostage, and, by one World Bank estimate, fleeced the world of $18 billion a year in economic losses.

The cost to science may be less visible to the public. But it won't be borne solely by scholars.

Shell Moves Australia Head to U.S. Arctic Program

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is moving its Australian head to run operations in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday, as the oil major attempts to recover from a series of drilling setbacks in the icy north.

Ann Pickard, who has been overseeing billions of dollars of investments in Australian gas-export projects, will take up a new role in the U.S. on June 1, the person said.

BP Will Finance $340 Million in Gulf Restoration Projects

LAFITTE, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal says BP has agreed to finance $340 million in restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mr. Jindal said Tuesday that the money was part of the $1 billion that BP agreed to pay for early restoration work after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Fracking Ruled Out by Pennsylvania in Town’s Water Case

Methane in the water wells of a Pennsylvania town visited by Yoko Ono in her campaign against hydraulic fracturing wasn’t caused by nearby drilling for natural gas, the state environmental regulator said.

In the northeastern town of Franklin Forks, samples from three private water wells are comparable in their chemical makeup to the natural spring at a nearby park where methane had been detected long before fracking began in the area, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Japan Utilities Raising Prices Offer Abe Wrong Inflation

Japan’s power utilities reported combined losses of about 1.6 trillion yen a year ago, the equivalent of $20 billion at the time. Yesterday, they repeated the performance.

On the face of it, the bad news for the companies looks like a boost for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his 2 percent inflation target in Japan as the utilities will probably raise electricity tariffs. Except it’s the wrong kind of inflation.

Japan eyes opportunities in UAE's new nuclear age

ABU DHABI // Shinzo Abe has not been shy about putting Abu Dhabi at the top of his agenda, whether in 2007 when he became the second Japanese prime minister to visit the emirate, or today as he arrives for an official visit just months into his second run as head of state.

But a different set of opportunities today hang in the balance, from an onshore oil concession where Japan's Inpex has emerged as one of an elite set of nine bidders, to potential nuclear service contracts, a lifeline for Japanese companies with little business at home after the Fukushima disaster.

New Brighton man charged with stealing copper from nuclear plant property

SHIPPINGPORT — A hole in a fence allowed a New Brighton man to steal more than 1,400 pounds of copper since January from a building within the shadow of a nuclear reactor, authorities said Friday.

U.S. electric car maker Coda files for bankruptcy

U.S. green car startup Coda Holdings Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday after selling just 100 of its all-electric sedans, another example of battery-powered vehicles' failure to break into the mass market.

Biofuel Pioneer Forsakes Renewables to Make Gas-Fed Fuels

Alan Shaw, the chemist and executive who led a six-year effort to turn inedible crops into fuels to displace gasoline, has renounced the industry he helped pioneer and decided the future instead lies with natural gas.

Formerly chief executive officer of Codexis Inc., the first advanced biofuel technology company to trade on a U.S. exchange, Shaw now says it’s impossible to economically turn crop waste, wood and plants like switchgrass into fuel. He’s trying to do it instead with gas, in his new post as CEO of Calysta Energy LLC.

Verizon to invest $100 million in solar, fuel cell technology

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Verizon said on Tuesday it plans to invest $100 million in solar power and fuel cells at 19 facilities in seven U.S. states to cut its carbon footprint and make its operations more resilient to storms and other disasters.

The energy project should be complete by next year, with installations at corporate offices, call centers, data centers and central offices of the telecommunications giant in Arizona, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.

California Joins Chinese Province to Go Green

Wouldn't it be nice if China and the United States fixed the problem of climate change? Wouldn't it be nice if the globe's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, the two largest energy users and the two largest industrial producers found a way to help each other succeed on an issue that neither they, nor anyone else, can afford to lose?

The Modern American Farmer

Many came to agriculture through an interest in food systems and social justice. They included young men and women who believe organically grown local food should be available to people of all races and income levels. Such activists believe the U.S. food system needs to get out from under the control of multinational corporations, and that a warming planet demands sustainable, regional food systems. To make these things happen, they seek careers in farming.

The students in New York City’s first Farm Beginnings class represent a new chapter of an enduring American story. Immigrants and ethnic minorities have always gone into farming — some against their will, some willingly. But in an important way, this is a different version of that story. When software engineers from India and social justice activists from the South Bronx want to enter agriculture, something has changed in American culture. Farming’s new cachet is impossible to deny — and its appeal is more widespread than many cynics believe.

Endless growth will not deliver a healthy economy

To judge the health of the economy by whether growth rises or falls by a fraction of 1% is like measuring the height of the tide to see whether the ocean is thriving, or sick and polluted. Regardless, in the eyes of commentators, a mere 0.3% increase in growth granted a reprieve from the harshest judgment on the economic strategy of the chancellor, George Osborne, and by extension the whole austerity programme of the coalition.

It's ironic that lust for unsustainable growth of returns in the financial sector destroyed conditions for significant wider growth in the economy. Now all mainstream politicians yearn for nothing more than its return.

What passes for meaningful public debate about economics today concerns almost entirely who has the most convincing plan to restore growth. Who, in other words, can exert the strongest lunar pull to deliver a high tide, in the unscientific hope that this will be the same thing as ensuring a healthy, thriving ocean.

A possible new way to manage water and snow in thirsty California

Like a pitcher taking the mound on opening day, Frank Gehrke gets the spotlight in California every early April. That’s when the otherwise obscure state water official trudges into the Sierra Nevada mountains, media in tow, and plunges aluminum tubes into the snow.

With those snow samples — and historical data and mathematical formulas — Gehrke and his colleagues can tell anxious farmers and hydroelectric power generators how much water they can expect for the coming summer.

Ofgem to investigate energy firms for missing home efficiency targets

British Gas, SSE and Scottish Power are among six energy firms to be investigated by the energy regulator Ofgem after failing to deliver enough energy efficiency measures to UK households.

Under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert), legislation which was in place until the end of 2012, the big six energy companies had to introduce measures such as installing insulation or switching a household's heating fuel from oil to gas to help reduce UK carbon emissions.

U.S. pragmatic approach leads climate talks: Wynn

(Reuters) - A U.S. submission to U.N.-backed negotiations shows how a scaled-down global climate deal which falls short of a full treaty can be agreed in 2015.

Much will depend on the United States, as the world's second biggest carbon emitter whose present administration will be in place beyond the deadline for agreement on a new deal.

Report Cites Large Release of Sewage From Hurricane Sandy

Over 10 billion gallons of raw and partly treated sewage gushed into waterways and bubbled up onto streets and into homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy — enough to cover Central Park in a 41-foot-high pile of sludge, a nonprofit research group said in a report released on Tuesday.

Climate change: When rain, rain won't go away

This wasn't just another 1-in-500-years event happening, a freak occurrence, a one-off event. Rather, experts see it as the new normal across the Northeast, the latest in a series of calamitous weather events occurring because of, or amplified by, climate change.

From valleys staggered by Irene, to coasts battered by Superstorm Sandy, the 24-hour outbursts of rain and snow, or "extreme precipitation," has increased by 74% in the past six decades there, according to January's draft of the federal National Climate Assessment report.

Such storms have become the signature of climate change across the Northeast, afflicting older cities and towns built at a time of more modest rainfall. This heavy flooding is undermining aging bridges, eroding roads and overwhelming drainage systems.

Re: Saudi will raise crude output to 15m bpd - prince (uptop)

WSJ: Rift Emerges Over Saudi Oil Policy
(For article, do Google Search for title)

DUBAI—A rare public dispute over oil policy in Saudi Arabia emerged Tuesday as the kingdom's oil minister and a senior member of its royal family disagreed over long-term production targets for the world's largest crude exporter . . .

"Saudi Arabia's national production management scheme is set to increase total capacity to 15 million barrels per day and have an export potential of 10 [million] barrels per day by 2020," Prince Faisal, a former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and U.K. . . . The prince clarified his position in an email Tuesday. "Saudi consumption may reach five million barrels of oil by then [2020], hence the production capacity of fifteen million barrels," is required to maintain country's export potential, he said.

Saudi Arabia would be lucky to go past production of 9 million barrels a day by 2020 and, "we don't see anything like 15 million barrels a day before 2030, 2040," said Mr. Naimi in an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC Tuesday . . .

Aramco's Chief Executive Khalid al-Falih ruled out increasing Saudi production capacity to 15 million barrels a day in 2011, despite acknowledging that domestic use of crude would rise and thus limit exports, because he said expansion plans in other producing countries such as Iraq and Brazil should be enough to satisfy world markets.

Of course, Brazil is a net importer of petroleum liquids, and even though Iraq has been showing a slow increase in net exports, an extrapolation of the 2008 to 2011 rate of decline in their ECI ratio (ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption) suggests that Iraq could approach zero net exports by around 2031.

On this morning's local news the people of the Baakan is they will have double the reserves previously thought...they have almost turned the corner in convincing people that there is tons of oil and we will never have to worry about oil.

Let's assume that US Crude + Condensate production averages 7.5 mbpd in 2013. Let's further assume an overall decline rate from existing oil wellbores of 10%/year, which I suspect is conservative, given that an increasing share of US C+C production is coming from high decline rate tight/shale plays. So, whatever the decline rate is from existing wellbores, it is almost certainly increasing year over year.

In any case at a 10%/year decline rate, in order to maintain 7.5 mbpd of production, the industry has to add 0.75 mbpd of new production every year. So, from 2013 to 2023, in order to maintain 7.5 mbpd, the industry would have to replace the equivalent of total current US C+C production. In other words, in 10 years, the industry would have to replace the equivalent of current production from every US oil field--from Thunder Horse in the Gulf of Mexico, to the Eagle Ford Play, to the Bakken, to the North Slope of Alaska.

Meanwhile, it seems to me that Saudi oil officials have basically acknowledged that Saudi net oil exports peaked in 2005. Here is the Saudi ECI plot (ratio of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption):


I don't think it is so much a rift as just that Turki bin Faisal Al Saud doesn't know what he is talking about.

They'll just paper this over by saying that he meant to say SA will have the "production capacity" of 15 mbpd but won't actually produce that much. Instead they'll reduce domestic demand with solar power, nuclear, etc.

Based on the email clarification, he was basically saying that if Saudi consumption continues to increase, then they would need to produce 15 mbpd in 2020, in order to maintain net exports. And then we have the comments from the Saudi oil guys, who basically appear to have said that production in 2020 would probably be down, while consumption will probably be up.

So . . . going by what the oil guys say . . . oil prices are going to be much higher in 2020 or Saudi Arabia is going to be in a fiscal mess. I suspect a mix of the two but more of the former.

A factor that also plays into this is that a number of ME currencies are in effect dollars because of the peg to SDRs. That makes it much more difficult for those countries to have an independent monetary policy because in effect they are running a USD economy. As their monetary side is out of their control the only wiggle room they have is on the fiscal side and changes on that side of the monetary system are politically much more difficult.

The end result is that they end up with much more volatility, both economically as well as socially, as otherwise would be the case.
And that suits a number of importing countries (who, of course, shall not be named) just fine.


Below is the transcript of MIN. AL-NAIMI comment on Saudi future oil production.

"MIN. AL-NAIMI: I don’t know really what he means by 15 million. He may be thinking about our ability to do that, in other words, not that we’re going to do it but that Saudi Arabia is capable of doing it, building capacity to 15 million.
Now, based on what we see as projection and call on Saudi oil, we don’t see anything like that, even 2030 or 2040. So the need to build the facilities and drill wells to produce 15 million or have the capability for 15 million is not there. We will be lucky to go past 9 (million) by 2020.
But you can see what’s happening in the oil market. Supplies are coming from everywhere. We – and we are happy for that. It’s coming from all over, the U.S., Iraq, the Caspian area, Brazil, now Africa, so from everywhere. And a lot of liquids are coming besides oil. You know, when you produce a lot of gas, you also produce a lot of NGLs, so that also feeds into the refineries and satisfies the oil demand.
So we don’t really see a need to build capacity to – beyond what we have today. We have 12 ½ million barrel-per-day capacity. At the production level we are idling at today on 9
million, we have between 2 ½ and 3 ½ million barrels per day spare capacity. So we really don’t need to even think about 15 million.
But I believe he may have meant that Saudi Arabia, based on its reserves, are certainly capable, if called upon one of these days, 15 million. But realistically, and based on all projections that I have seen, including ours, there is no call on us to go past 11 (million), 11.5 (million) by 2030 or 2040. So the – I think it’s – I don’t think he means we are going to build capacity by 2020. I think he says – he means probably – and I normally don’t comment on other people’s statement, but I think because where he is and what he knows about the kingdom – and he has been in a very key position, I think what he means is he’s talking in the U.S. And he’s trying to convince his audience that Saudi Arabia is capable of producing, if called upon, 50 million barrels per day. But we have no plans, nothing like that today, nor do I see it."


Link up top: Saudi will raise crude output to 15m bpd Says Saudi Prince Turki Al Faisal.

No we will not says Saudi Oil Minister, Ali Al Naimi and Aramco’s Chief Executive Khalid Al Falih.

Rift emerges over Saudi oil policy

The comments from the prince, who has no formal government position but is a prominent member of the kingdom’s royal family, were contradicted by Saudi Oil Minister, Ali Al Naimi. There is currently no need to increase crude production capacity beyond 12.5 million barrels a day, Naimi said...

Aramco’s Chief Executive Khalid Al Falih ruled out increasing Saudi production capacity to 15 million barrels a day in 2011, despite acknowledging that domestic use of crude would rise and thus limit exports, because he said expansion plans in other producing countries such as Iraq and Brazil should be enough to satisfy world markets.

Someone should clue the Prince into what's really going on in the Saudi oil patch.

Edit: Sorry Jeff, I was writing while you were posting.

Ron P.

Haha, why don't they just up their production to 12.5 million barrels/day and maintain it there for a year to prove that they're not lying. That would quell the doubters such as myself.

First time I clicked on the link it took me to webdata.alnisrgroup.com, which is a blank page, second try it took me to Gulfnews.com. Strange.

I went back and cleared my cookies and repeated the experiment. Is somebody trying to direct people away from this story?

I doubt it. alnisrgroup.com is the publisher of Gulf News.

Might be some kind of ad, that is being partially blocked (if you're using an Ad-blocker), or just technical difficulties.

Probably right. Does anybody else see an ad there?

No, but I run Ghostery,(just Google it, it will pop up). Catches a LOT of junk. Some news sites are overburdened with ad. and analytic trackers, pages load much more quickly with these blocked.

...or just edit your PC's hosts file to set Advertizing websites to

robert@debian:~$ tail /etc/hosts
#	click.adbrite.com	ads.adbrite.com	bid.openx.net	static.awempire.com	content.pop6.com	static.ads.crakmedia.com	main.exoclick.com	syndication.exoclick.com	cdn1.traffichaus.com

That's funny. You should set up a little CSS on the local host to display smiley-faces in their place.

Thank you for sharing this.

I am not especially knowledgeable about all the behind the scenes computer/software stuff. Computers hit right as I graduated from college. I didn't grow up with them...

So I did install Ghostery just now. I am mainly looking for faster loading and browsing, and less browser crashes (Safari).

It shows 4 sites blocked here on TOD!

Any suggestions? I have it set to 'block everything'. So far so good.

Thanks again.

If you are running FireFox, NoScript works pretty good too.

Just be advised sometimes sites and gadget setups fail when the scripts are denied... for instance I have a wireless USB wireless hub that needs to be setup via TCP/IP. I encountered the strangest setup failures until I noted I still had NoScript running; the setup pages on the wireless hub used HTML with scripts.

Re: upward tight oil and gas estimates- my neck of the woods is rife with frack sand mining projects; is there any summary analysis of the total volume of frack sand that is needed to increase domestic energy production and whether or not it is readily available/exists?

In my neck of the woods (Din’e Be keyah (Navajo land)), Preferred Sands is producing 2 million tons per year and has 130 million tons of reserves (http://www.preferredsands.com/company/arizona.html)

Slick website they've got. Baa shíni' (hope I say that correctly). They dig up our land, and steal the sand to frac someone else's land. But they do it nice and 'green'. I'm not sure I can comprehend the mental gymnastics required to advertize green propants. 'Course I don't depend on them for my daily bread either. Greetings from Tucson.


Shades of green. This one is, "we coulda done much more damage digging this stuff up than we did -because we are nice we took a bit of care".

Miwest US CW gathering was at Winona MN for an anti-frac sanding civil disobedience. I think 40 crossed the line.


Powerpoint presentation by prof. emeritus Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo from U of Ill Chica given at retreat. Decent distillation of info.


Opinion: Increased reliance on natural gas could have serious consequences

Crane, whose company is the largest competitive power generator in the United States, producing electricity in 16 states with everything from nuclear and fossil-fuel power plants to solar arrays, said at an energy conference organized by The Wall Street Journal that natural gas is in the process of wiping out the coal industry, and it’s wiping out the nuclear industry faster than anyone anticipated.

Then he dropped a bombshell.

When the natural-gas industry grows up, it’s going to realize that they don’t need the power industry’s transmission and distribution system. They have a better distribution system — the gas pipeline into your house.

All the natural-gas industry needs is a gizmo in the basement of your house to convert your natural gas into electricity. I have no doubt that within the next 12 to 24 months, there’s going to be a technological breakthrough.”

... one gizmo, Sir' coming right up.

That is funny!

How about a Gizmo on your roof to convert sunlight into electricity?

Well, that theory has not worked out so well yet.

NG for your car doesn't work so well since you need a compressor and the compressor is expensive, noisy, uses electricity, and requires expensive periodic maintenance.

Generating electricity with a turbine doesn't work out well because that is not very efficient unless done on a large scale . . . which is what the utilities are there for!

The one possibility is for stationary fuel cell systems that convert NG into electricity. Basically, that BloomBox company that got hyped on 60 minutes but then seems to have dropped off the radar. I don't know what the issue is . . . perhaps the fuel cells are just really expensive or perhaps they have maintenance issues from filters clogging up. But they have not yet seemed to catch on for local microgeneration.

But yeah . . . why install a fuel cell when you can install cheap solar panels instead?

The Bloombox is for businesses only. They are selling them. It is not clear if the O&M over the long haul will be cheap enough, but they have done quite a bit of business.
It is capital intensive, so it is used for baseline power......

My favorite line from GTM about fuel cell companies, "they are very good at oxiding investor capital".

Make me think about alchemists struggle to turn lead to gold. It might have been a better option to show the opposite and run like hell.

"Well, that theory has not worked out so well yet."

My boss's company in Europe -- Lichtblick -- is already doing. They have partnered with Volkswagen to build engines to put in people's homes, and demand to replace the oil fuel oil boilers has been brisk:

Launch of the home power plant

They own the power plant. I guess that makes some sense in that if it is grid tied then you want proper maintenance and frequency.
I have heard the other idea getting floated about is the use of grid controllable residential water heater tanks as storage. Super easy to turn on and off for load adding/shedding as long as the homeowner has hot water when they need it.

These are combined heat and power plants, so hot water is part of it. The real key to making this work is finding a use for the hot water the majority of the year. If that's the case, then the economics look pretty good. You can also use the heat to run an absorption chiller, but less work has been done on that.

Here is a link with some more details.. Volkswagen EcoBlue.

The home power plants are used by LichtBlick for an innovative, intelligent power and heat supply concept. In the long term LichtBlick plans to network 100,000 of these home power plants, like a shoal of fish, to form Germany's largest virtual gas-fired power plant. This decentralized power plant will have the same capacity as two atomic power plants. The electric power generated will supplement fluctuating power from wind farms and solar facilities. The heat which is generated will be stored and will be available for local space heating and hot water supplies.

Very interesting. It is not that they are replacing grid electricity with local natural gas generated electricity, it is more that they are building a large distributed and carefully-controlled fossil fuel back-up system to complement the large distributed renewable electricity system that they already built with wind & solar.

I knew those German Engineers would come up with solutions to the problems of an electricity grid with a large amount of intermittent renewable generation!

Solo of Germany was attempting to do the same with Stirling engines.

Alas, the proposed $2,500 combined heat and power (CHiP or CHP) Stirling units just have not happened.

There is the Bloombox (a fuel cell), although you are talking in the low hundreds of KW. Also it is not at all clear if absent subsidies if it is any cheaper than letting the utility do the generation.


Such gizmos have been around a long time. That particular MEC one isn't up to date, but with a little development, could be-- cheaper, lighter and more efficient. But just as it is, it works pretty well, and is certainly no secret.

Nothing new in the idea, either, my thermo prof gave me this assignment way back in 1948-- any combustion process has available energy which could be turned into electricity- a home gas heating system, for example. Assignment. Do it.

That link doesn't work for me. It also crashes my Firefox and Chrome browsers. hmmm....

EDIT: searching it in Google and it says the site may be compromised.

Popped right up for me (Linux/Firefox). Must be a Windows thing. I've been setting up my new data PC (found a nice little Dell in the dump; changed out the main board), dealing with XP again.... gosh, I wish these PV and weather programs worked on Linux/Wine. Anyway, the old Toshiba 667MHz laptop started complaining after running 24/7/365 for nine years; been logging solar production since 2005. It's going to be work fun going through all that data.

Worked fine for me Linux(Ubuntu) Firefox also. Windows?????? Is that dinosaur still lumbering across the tubes?

Windows7 (Vista Fixed) is actually pretty good - I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. Despite how user friendly Linux has gotten with Ubuntu it still takes some savvy when something goes a little wrong and Win7 has come a long way with diagnostics and wins, as usual, on compatibility and ease of casual use.

A dark horse out there is that Steam has released a Linux version of their gaming client...which probably means real support for graphics drivers - one of the major things that's been holding Linux back from more widespread use.

"Windows7 (Vista Fixed) is actually pretty good - I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it."

I was quick to dismiss the price... and the amount of bloat and complexity they threw at it to try and make it idiot proof. They should have given anyone who bought Vista a free upgrade. Besides, Ubuntu forces me back to my PC roots; command line stuff, all that, though I've found it quite easy for the most part, and more 'democratic'. It's the anti-microsoft.

If it doesn't come pre-loaded then it's certainly hard to justify versus the free of Ubuntu. Vista is actually what got me using Ubuntu to begin with (I left the machine as dual-boot, but primary is Ubuntu) - but I use Win7 as well. As far as offering a free upgrade from Vista to Win7 as a "Mea Culpa" for turning everyone who bought Vista into beta testers...they actually did do that. It was only for a short time when Win7 came out, but they did do it.

Since there is or was no AutoCAD Linux version, I used to run it in Virtualbox, but its cursor was too sluggish, at least on my old laptop.

You need some pretty good resources to run a virtual machine and they usually don't have access to the 3D hardware acceleration (which might have been your problem). But if your chipset is capable of hardware virtualization support you'll also probably have to go into the BIOS and enable it. Windows has been the platform for most commercial program development (photo/video has trended towards Mac), so a Linux user winds up having a dual-boot machine or trying to fiddle with Wine which is hit or miss.

Yes, that's what seemed to be the case, being an older Inspiron 6000, circa, 2006. I was looking at QEMU for awhile and had a pure:dyne USB live Linux for other stuff, but it started having internet access problems, probably because of a USB port short from hitting the laptop on its corner once, which did in the DVD player/burner. And then the pure:dyne project quit. :D <-- (magazine smiley)
I have a new laptop now, but don't have the time or desire to fiddle with it, in part because sometimes it can become endless. Besides, where do you find your Win7 operating system? It didn't come with any discs. I presume it's an image file somewhere, and I can burn a disc, but it will likely take yet more fiddling and I'd rather be working on a garden, the house or on my bike learning wild edibles/medicinals on the road. Or learning how to play an actual fiddle.

It's an insidious thing that's taken hold across the industry - they no longer supply the disks for systems which come pre-installed. So for a normal person who just wants to grab their computer and go, if they have a serious problem and need to re-install, they're up feces creek. Sometimes there's a hidden restore partition, but this doesn't help in a disk crash. It saves the manufacturer like 50 cents but can cost you a whole lot more if something goes wrong.

You'll have to get some DVDRs and go to Start -> Control Panel, in the upper right click the drop-down menu to "Large Icons" and then find "Backup and Restore." In the left hand panel you'll find "Create a System Repair Disk" - which you'll want to do as soon as possible - and also "Create a System Image." If you choose to put the system image on DVD it'll take quite a number - especially if you've already set up your system and have stuff on it - a brand new system, untouched, will take about three. If you have a lot of stuff, you're better off using an external hard drive.

I can back up my home folder on any media that will accommodate it. My preference is an external USB HD. I've had a netbook hard disk fail and I was able to surf the net using my live Ubuntu "CD", running of a USB flash drive until the replacement hard disk arrived.

Once I've used the partitioning tool that comes on the "live" linux, to shrink the Windows partition and create a root and swap partition (home partition optional), it usually takes me less than half an hour to install linux and add flash and the various media codecs. Unless there's a work related reason why people must run Windows, I really cannot understand why they still put up with all that crap!

Alan from the islands

I've been running AutoSketch in Ubuntu/Wine. Runs quite well; very fast. Mini-ITX AMD board with embedded ATI graphics.

I work in 3D with ACAD. Windoze is "fine" for now, given that it came with the system. What are you doing with AutoSketch incidentally?

Tried LibreCAD?


I bought a Toshiba laptop with Vista in the UK just before Windows 7 was released and Toshiba provided a free upgrade to Windows 7.

Not only that, UPS kept misdelivering the disk to someone else because they couldn't find my house, so they sent out three copies - I finally received the third.

Win7 has come a long way with diagnostics and wins, as usual, on compatibility and ease of casual use.

Depends on who you talk to I suppose. I much prefer installing Ubuntu than Windows 7, when it works. It's easier (no product keys to enter) and quicker if you don't choose the option to download and install all updates during the install. Even if you don't install the updates during the install, the updates can install in the background while you use the PC and it never insists on a restart to complete updates. Ever time I have to use a Windows PC, I'm reminded why I use Linux. The update process for Windows with it's multiple restarts and "Do not turn off or unplug your computer" messages has become a major annoyance for me.

As for hardware compatibility, how many hardware manufacturers bother to provide Linux drivers? I even had a wireless dongle (Linksys) that, just worked when I plugged it in to my Linux box while I had to install the drivers for Windows. How cool is that?

Alan from the islands

Do they run under Wine?


Not a clue, don't use "whine" unless their is no other option, which I almost always have under Ubuntu.

These programs use serial (rs232) ports, which seems to give Wine fits. Now that I've got things set up, it's a standalone system, though I would like to connect it to our home network. I recently put a 1TB network drive in the fire safe to do our backups (don't really trust the cloud backups being offered). As soon as I put unprotected XP online, it immediately came under attack. Pretty crazy. Best to just keep it off the network rather than worry about keeping antivirus stuff up to date. I can backup my data sets with a thumb drive. Again, trying to avoid complexity, and XP (SP3) has been really stable running these programs for nearly a decade. If it ain't broke...

“All the natural-gas industry needs is a gizmo in the basement of your house to convert your natural gas into electricity."

I thought Fiat had done that in northern Italy long ago. Little ICE powering a generator with the waste heat used for space and water heating. Borrow the grid-tied inverter from PV or small wind and you can make it part of the grid.

small stirlings beat out ICE on domesticity- don't stink, don't vibrate, don't need any oil, etc, etc.

and Lots of proof of very long unattended life:

Alaska watches as Canada considers shipping tar sands oil across Arctic Ocean

Is Alaska nearing the day when large oil tankers will sail by its Arctic shoreline, carrying Canadian tar sands oil to foreign markets? The provincial government of Alberta is toying with the idea, sinking money into a study to find out if an Arctic shipping plan makes more sense than moving its oil through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the Lower 48, or pipelines west or east through Canada.

Shortly after wildcatters struck it big at Prudhoe Bay, Humble Oil, the predecessor to Exxon Corp., tested an Arctic shipping route in 1969. Dubbed the Manhattan project, as the vessel was named the Manhattan, the mission was in part to see whether transporting crude in tanker vessels from Alaska's Arctic oil fields was feasible, rather than building the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline to ship the oil to the ice-free port of Valdez.

The test run proved it wasn't possible to do so year-round, but 44 years later climate change is transforming the Far North, with new shipping lanes opening up and Arctic dreamers betting on a boom.

This is such an amazing climate change feedback loop. If climate change smacks us down, we will have no one to blame but our own greed.

If? See Climate change: When rain, rain won't go away above

Yes, it's truly amazing. We can't get to this FF to burn it. After a while, due to CC from burning FF, we can now get to this FF and burn it to create more CC. Royal idiots! This is why I keep calling out those who say we need to increase our extraction of FF because "the economy" or their pension needs it. I guess, secretly, they are in favor of more CC.

Three stories from the local paper on topics vaguely connected to Peak Oil:

China Harbour eyes mega investment

China Harbour Engineering Company has shelved plans to develop a new trans-shipment port at Fort Augusta and is now eyeing the establishment of a massive industrial park in Jamaica.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said yesterday that the company had radically expanded the scope of its projected investment interest in the island.

Preliminary estimates of what is being described as a mega-investment are between US$1.2 billion and US$1.5 billion. It will consist of trans-shipment facilities, a logistic centre, industrial plants, a cement plant and perhaps a power plant.

I have been opining that this new transshipment port was a bad idea, based on the fact that, it assumes that the world economy will return to robust growth and the expansion of the Panama Canal will bring huge increases in shipping volumes through the region. IMHO construction of any sort of facility based on this premise would be a grand waste of resources. AFAIAC the rest of the story is just hyperbole, aimed at making bad news sound good. I suspect that this so called "mega-investment" will never happen.

Going for GROWTH, development

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday mapped out her administration's path to growth and development, which includes projects to jump-start the economy, provide jobs, and investment opportunities.

The quest continues to maintain the illusion of growth by borrowing to finance "growth" in the absence of growth in world crude oil production.

Thieves jet off with $20m worth of airplane fuel.

The fuel, valued at $20 million, is owned by a consortium, including Jamaica Aircraft Refuelling Services (partnership between PetroJam and British Petroleum), Esso and Total.

The fuel was stored in a fuel farm near the old domestic terminal to the western end of the airport. The farm supplies fuel to all the aircraft that come into the airport. The farm has a number of underground pipes that lead to the tarmac where the planes are refuelled.

The incident occurred between 9 o'clock Monday night and 4 o'clock on Tuesday morning.

Wasn't it predicted that this sort of activity would increase as the effects of Peak Oil wore on?

Alan from the islands

It seems that the Jamaica folks are math-challenged or have been smoking too much ganja, mon. I just had to wonder how somebody could steal $20M worth of jet fuel, roughly 7 M gallons weighing roughly 50 M pounds. Turns out the article says 200,000 liters of jet fuel valued at $20 M,
$100 per liter. Now that's peak oil ... or two orders of magnitude math error.


You have to watch out...unless it specifically says "US$XX" they might be talking about Jamaican dollars which is roughly 100:1 J$:US$. So $100/L = US$1/L.

You are correct. I usually try to put a note about the exchange rate when I post stories about Jamaican dollar amounts but, I got lazy this time. Still quite an amazing heist! How does one move 200,000 L of liquid, unnoticed, from an international airport? That's about five semi-trailer tank loads! It will be interesting to see how the people in charge of airport security explain this.

This follows a somewhat similar robbery a couple weeks ago:


For those who have never flown into Montego Bay, the airport has a hill over looking it. The main road entering the city runs parallel to the airport runway and climbs the side of that hill on the slope facing the airport. The hillside is also dotted with small hotels and villa's. The airport is also less than a mile away from Gloucester Avenue, AKA "The Hip Strip" a busy night time area with lots of hotels, restaurants and bars.

Here's a link to a Google Map satellite image of the site of the fuels tanks from which the fuel was stolen:


This airport is by no means secluded!

Alan from the islands

Long Haul Embraces Natural Gas

ATLANTA – More 18 wheelers will be powered by natural gas in the coming years as the trucking industry accelerates a change from gasoline and diesel to natural gas as fuel, Petrol Plaza News reports. In April, engine manufacturer Cummins started selling new, larger engines that would make cross-country trips with natural gas possible.

United Parcel Service (UPS) recently announced expansion of its fleet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) 18-wheelers to 800 vehicles by the end of next year, up sharply from the current 112. “By us doing this it will help pave the way and others will follow,” said Scott Wicker, UPS chief sustainability officer. “Moving into LNG is a means to get us onto what we see as the bridging fuel of the future and off of oil. It’s the right step for us, for our customers and for our planet.”

Companies working on expanding natural gas networks include Clean Energy Fuels, which has 70 such stations, including many at Pilot Flying J truck stops. Clean Energy will open 30 to 50 more by year’s end. Meanwhile, Shell will build up to 100 natural gas stations at Petro Stopping Centers and TravelCenters of America.

Natural Gas, Not Diesel

With fleets, fixed routes, heavy vehicles, and lots of diesel usage, companies like UPS are in a good position to move to natural gas. Not much build out of NG infrastructure is needed . . . just a few places along the fixed routes. Very wise move of them.

The right tool for the right job. Such vehicles cannot be electrified easily . . . but they can easily switch to cheap natural gas. With light-duty cars, electrification is probably better because you don't need any new infrastructure other than a charger at home.

UPS already uses electric and hydraulic hybrid trucks. They are probably one of the most forward-thinking companies out there when it comes to fuel issues.

I got a mini-tour of a UPS truck a while back - they're made like aircraft. Floors are aluminum diamond-plate, sides are riveted aluminum, top is made of translucent fiberglass. Relatively lightweight construction for a truck like that.

top is made of translucent fiberglass

I'd much prefer any other solution maybe even using Led lighting might work because unless the cargo space is air conditioned you could easily get heat stroke working in the back of one of those things on a hot humid summer day. You quickly understand the greenhouse effect if you spend some time in the back of such a truck

I've done it and it is no joke! I give the translucent fiberglass tops on trucks a huge thumbs down.
Let the CEOs work in there for a day or two...

I don't know what the cost benefit analysis says about air conditioning vs LEDs but I'd like to know.
Maye a combination of 12 volt fans for air flow and LEDs might make sense too.

One last thought maybe something could be made of acrylic that would work similar to this

Google: How to build a SOLAR BOTTLE BULB - Instructables

UPS, are you listening?

...you could easily get heat stroke working in the back of one of those things on a hot humid summer day.

Fred, I know that brown is UPS's color, but white sides (with just the logo being brown) on the truck would be a lot cooler too.

That would certainly help but I'm saying get rid of the translucent top all together. Maybe just go with some LEDs. That translucent top allows incoming solar radiation and doesn't let it out. Some ducts, vents and fans might help there. Anyways, its a really bad design unless you were trying to store heat in the first place.

Underground natural gas storage is close in Florida

The Florida Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that could lead to underground natural-gas storage in Florida.

Storage projects could be located in areas of southwest Florida and northwest Florida that have produced oil in the past.

Isn't this the state that has a new sink hole open up in its karst limestone topography every day or two? I'm no expert, but it doesn't seem like the most stable place to put a whole big bunch of explosive gas.

China automaker to open electric bus plant in CA

A Chinese company whose mantra is Build Your Dreams plans to build all-electric buses in California's Mojave Desert.

Officials of BYD Automotive scheduled a news conference Wednesday in Lancaster to announce plans to open what they say will be the first Chinese-owned vehicle manufacturing plant in the United States.

BYD says the plant in the high-desert city will initially turn out 10 electric-powered buses for the city of Long Beach. The buses, with a range of 150 miles between charges, are expected to be up and running by next year.


In March, an extended blackout disabled power to a vital cooling system for days. The cause: a rat that had apparently been chewing on cables in a switchboard. .... I’m not sure things could be much worse if Wile E. Coyote were TEPCO’s CEO.

And in "No, you can't have it" because I preserve food with it and make a tasty rich broth with it so sod off.

This time the zany Leftist wants pressure cookers banned in light of the Boston Terrorist Attack. The sad thing is she finds dozens of college students ready to outlaw them as well.

I wonder if she was also ciculating a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide.

That stuff is nasty. Just this morning it removed a number of particles off my skin!

if you actually go to her page it's kind of onion style, for instance


No idea.

But here on TOD we've all seen plenty of stuff we consider a put on but others seem to seriously believe. Like this drumbeats KSA oil production increase statements.

It should be a controlled substance. You can die from injesting too much of it. Also if you are submerged under it, you can't breathe without special apparatus. Many thousands have died from the later process!

It should be a controlled substance.

Should?! You don't have a meter at your place?

I have no meter - pump it from my own well, and I use it with abandon. Which is a good thing, because it's been sunny and dry here in NH, and I've been needing to water my garden more than is normal at this time of year...

Meter, it keeps falling from the sky from time to time for some strange reason,

Do they have a meter for that yet?

(Seriously I hope not)


Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I'm about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials, that rain belongs to someone else.

As bizarre as it sounds, laws restricting property owners from "diverting" water that falls on their own homes and land have been on the books for quite some time in many Western states. Only recently, as droughts and renewed interest in water conservation methods have become more common, have individuals and business owners started butting heads with law enforcement over the practice of collecting rainwater for personal use.

Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved FEE!

But that's to be expected more and more as we start hitting those physical limits. Those that are able to control and monopolize our limited natural resources have a simple rule, pay the fee or do without!
Unfortunately you can't do without water.

But as we all know whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.

If I were law enforcement and had the choice between going after the folks who make moonshine or the folks who are collecting rainwater off their private rooftops for their personal use... I think I'd just throw in the towel and retire >;-)

"Those that are able to control and monopolize our limited natural resources have a simple rule, pay the fee or do without!
Unfortunately you can't do without water."


The state House gave final approval Wednesday to legislation ending the city’s control of its water system, and Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature is the last step needed for the measure to become law.

The city is expected to file a lawsuit opposing the transfer if it is signed by the governor.

The House voted 76-40 to concur with changes the state Senate made to the bill, sponsored by Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe.

The bill would give the water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District and add a sewage system serving northern Henderson County to form what would become the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage District.

And if you can't weasel it away then spend lots of money getting your party elected so that you can legislate it out of the hands of a local, elected council and put it in the hands of a non-elected board - and then give more representation on that board to outside districts. While you're at it, make sure you write in provisions that look like you're stopping it from being privatized - but actually don't!

But those states allow people to develop their properties which usually increases water runoff. Concrete and houses reduce or prevent the rain from soaking into the ground beneath them increasing runoff. Are they claiming that after a house is built, it can never be demolished into a vacant lot because it would reduce rainwater runoff? Are they claiming that a property owner can not plant a tree because it retains more water than without it?

Rainwater catchment greatly reduces the loss to evaporation that occurs as rainwater makes it way into aquifers, streams, rivers and lakes.

If one has a septic system, a large percentage of the water ends up underground where it soaks in instead of evaporating. Rainwater catchment combined with a septic system increases the water entering an aquifer. Watering a lawn may increase seepage into an aquifer.

Small storms do not cause any runoff or seeping into aquifers from a property, but do provide enough water to be collected. Big storms and large amounts of melting snow cause runoff. Unless the cistern is huge, there will be times when it is full requiring the extra water to be dumped allowing it to runoff.

Developed property with rainwater catchment most likely increases water runoff and absorption compared to the natural state of the land. Because rainwater catchment only decreases the amount of water the property owner purchases from the water district, banning it establishes a monopoly for the water district which is an antitrust violation. I am surprised such laws have not already been overturned.

Don't be surprised. You're talking sense, but there's a buck to be made, so sense doesn't doesn't figure into it.

I can't decide if I'm too cynical, or not cynical enough.

But truly your argument is very persuasive. If I lived in one of the afflicted states I think I would pick up this torch on purely hydrologic principles. (Now the cynic in me is suggesting big money would crush me - sigh).

"many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties"

At least in Washington State; False.


"On October 12, 2009, Ecology issued an Interpretive Policy Statement clarifying that a water right is not required for rooftop rainwater harvesting."

Now if you collect a lot of rain and move it across watersheds you might get into legal issues. To wit:

"According to the new rainwater interpretive policy, an “on-site” rooftop/guzzler system means the storage and use of the rainwater occurs on the same parcel as the roof from which the water was captured."

But generally, no problem.

With slight impurities it is an electrical conductor causing electrocutions. When it falls from the sky, it is sometimes associated with lightening which is a well known killer. Ban, ban dihydrogen monoxide. /sarcasm

By what I understand, that industrial solvent is one of the worst greenhouse gases.

So what happened on March 29th ?

Either a spike from Fukushima or the US Navy pulled into port.

Sellafield UK affecting Los Angeles, California? C'mon now.

Reporting last decade had DU from Iraq showing up in England, so yea, it is possible.

You mean it didn't go "away"?

Given that DU (depleted uranium, not ducks unlimited) is pure U-238, and that has a 4.5 billion year half-life, half of it has gone away since the formation of the earth.

The main problem with DU is that is a toxic heavy metal. The low radioactivity is much less of an issue. The odds of a given atom decaying in your lifetime is 70 times 0.692 over 4.5 billion, or 1.08 times 10^-8.

Assuming I did the math right, it's been awhile.

Global Networks Must Be Redesigned, Professor Says

Have we unintentionally created a global time bomb? If so, what kinds of global catastrophic scenarios might humans face in complex societies? A collapse of the world economy or of our information and communication systems? Global pandemics? Unsustainable growth or environmental change? A global food or energy crisis? A cultural clash or global-scale conflict? Or will we face a combination of these contagious phenomena – a scenario that the World Economic Forum calls the "perfect storm"?

"Take the financial system," says Helbing. "The financial crisis hit regulators by surprise." But back in 2003, the legendary investor Warren Buffet warned of mega-catastrophic risks created by large-scale investments into financial derivatives. It took 5 years until the "investment time bomb" exploded, causing losses of trillions of dollars to our economy. "The financial architecture is not properly designed," concludes Helbing. "The system lacks breaking points, as we have them in our electrical system." This allows local problems to spread globally, thereby reaching catastrophic dimensions.

Disasters should not be considered "bad luck". They are a result of inappropriate interactions and institutional settings, caused by humans. Even worse, they are often the consequence of a flawed understanding of counter-intuitive system behaviors.

... Helbing's Nature paper on "Globally Networked Risks" also calls attention to strategies that make systems more resilient, i.e. able to recover from shocks. For example, setting up backup systems (e.g. a parallel financial system), limiting the system size and connectivity, building in breaking points to stop cascade effects, or reducing complexity may be used to improve resilience. In the case of financial systems, there is still much work to be done to fully incorporate these principles.

Cheating Favors Extinction

A new study has found that a yeast colony dominated by non-producers ('cheaters') is more likely to face extinction than one consisting entirely of producers ('co-operators').

The researchers found that while a cooperative yeast colony that survives by breaking down sucrose into a communal supply of simple sugars can support a surprisingly high ratio of freeloaders—upwards of 90 per cent—a sudden shock to its environment is highly likely to result in catastrophe.

...a yeast colony dominated by non-producers ('cheaters') is more likely to face extinction than one consisting entirely of producers...

But surely we're smarter than yeast, right? Right?

City Dwellers Juggle With Their Means of Transportation

In the 1990s mobility mainly revolved around the use of cars in French-speaking Switzerland. Today, the active groups' choice depends on their context or purpose. The majority opts for a public transport subscription (PT) and a two-wheeler (motorized or not). However, the disparities among the studied cities are significant: 81% of respondents had PT subscriptions in Berne. In the case of Lausanne they were 55% and in Geneva and Yverdon-les-Bains they were 48%.

Car use has been relegated in favor of public transport. In 1994, a third of the people surveyed in Geneva and Lausanne were frequent PT users (more than twice a week) whereas they are almost half at present. "If the people surveyed in Geneva use PT to go to work almost as frequently as the ones in Berne, at an individual level, the chosen mode of transport is in some cases more of a constraint -more or less accepted- than an actual choice," explained Sébastien Munafò.

Researchers analyzed a number of factors to explain these behavioral changes: the traffic increase, the restrictions in parking choices, the improvement of public transport, federal incentives and all efforts carried out in favor of pedestrians and cyclists... "The population of the studied cities appears very willing to using other means of transportation than cars. This is an advantage for carrying out policies aimed at developing eco-mobility," summarized Vincent Kaufmann.

"The population of the studied cities appears very willing to using other means of transportation than cars. "

I can tell you from direct knowledge it is not willing, it is constrained.

The city of Geneva has a population growth of around 1% per year. In the 1990s, there was much less traffic jam. Of course, many parking spots were removed and new tram lines created, but this only necessary to accomodate the ever-growing population of this city. So the alternative modes of transport came after the population grew so big that car driving had become impossible. With a stable population, we would still drive cars mostly.

They are constrained, but they are willing. The reality is that the best way to get people to use PT is just let the roads degenerate into total gridlock. Building PT and expanding roads at the same time is a self defeating exercise which is what they did in Denver.

Study shows growing gap between teens' materialism and desire to work hard

..."Compared to previous generations, recent high school graduates are more likely to want lots of money and nice things, but less likely to say they're willing to work hard to earn them," said Twenge, author of the book "Generation Me."

"That type of 'fantasy gap' is consistent with other studies showing a generational increase in narcissism and entitlement," Twenge said.

... The researchers also found that adolescents' materialism was highest when advertising spending made up a greater percentage of the U.S. economy.

"This suggests that advertising may play a crucial role in the development of youth materialism," said Twenge. "It also might explain the gap between materialism and the work ethic, as advertising rarely shows the work necessary to earn the money necessary to pay for the advertised products."

Debtors Prisons, Once a 19th-Century Relic, Again Wreaking Havoc in US

The jailing of people unable to pay fines and court costs is no longer a relic of the 19th century American judicial system. Debtors' prisons are alive and well in one-third of the states in this country.

Nearly 50 years after Johnson's address, which launched the "War on Poverty," "poverty in America has not dissipated," the ACLU's report states that "the number of people living in poverty in Ohio grew by 57.7% from 1999 to 2011, with the largest increase coming from suburban counties."

This year's ACLU report - which takes its name from a phrase in Johnson's speech - points out that many poor "Ohioans ... convicted of a criminal or traffic offense and sentenced to pay a fine an affluent defendant may simply pay ... and go on with his or her life [find the fine] unaffordable [launching] the beginning of a protracted process that may involve contempt charges, mounting fees, arrest warrants, and even jail time. The stark reality is that, in 2013, Ohioans are being repeatedly jailed simply for being too poor to pay fines."

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS]...

Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies

… Because smaller upstream disposal sites are exhausted and because of the increase in mountaintop mining activity, today the volume of a single stream fill can be as much as 250 million cubic yards. As a result, streams are eliminated, stream chemistry is harmed by pollutants in the mining overburden, and downstream aquatic life is impaired. EPA estimates that since 1992 almost 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams were buried by surface coal mining practices. The cumulative effects of such surface coal mining operations include deforestation, which has been linked to harm in aquatic communities; accelerated sediment and nutrient transport; and increased algal production, as well as possible human health impacts.

Critics say that, as a result of valley fills from mountaintop mining, stream water quality and the aquatic and wildlife habitat that streams support are destroyed by tons of rocks and dirt. The mining industry argues that mountaintop mining is essential to conducting surface coal mining in the Appalachian region and that it would not be economically feasible there if operators were barred from using valleys for the disposal of mining overburden.

Critics have used litigation to challenge the practice. In a number of cases, environmental groups have been successful at the federal district court level in challenging permits for mountaintop mining projects, only to be later overturned on appeal.

This report provides background on regulatory requirements, controversies and legal challenges to mountaintop mining, and recent Administration actions. Congressional interest in these issues also is discussed, including legislation in the 111th Congress seeking to restrict the practice of mountaintop mining and other legislation intended to block the Obama Administration’s regulatory actions.

Jamestown cannibalism confirmed by skull from 'Jane'

Jamestown's colonists resorted to cannibalism during the "starving time" winter of 1609-10, archaeologists confirmed Wednesday...

Jamestown was founded in 1607 by English colonists. The starving time was a period two years later in which 80% of the colonists died. Besieged by Powhatan Indians in their wooden fort, the settlers had been joined by new colonists late that summer, among them women and children, whose main supply ship had disappeared in a storm, leaving them without food. Only 60 of 300 people survived the winter.

What desperate measures will starving people turn to? Well now you know. And these people were deeply religious. Imagine what others, with little or no religion might do.

Ron P.

which people have little or no religion?
and anyway how is the religion connected to this question?
why would people with "little or no religion" behave "worse" in this situation?
incidentally what does it mean to have "little religion"?
somehow it seems to be the same as saying that one is a little alive
or a little dead.
and finally how do you define religion?

I suppose religious people might have more inhibitions about desecrating corpses. They believed in physical resurrection back then. But judging from other cases of cannibalism by necessity, religiousness doesn't make a difference.

In this case, most of the cannibalism was of people who died naturally. The most shocking story, IMO, was that of the man who killed his pregnant wife and salted her flesh for later consumption. He was apparently considered insane by his peers. But that did not keep them from finding him guilty of murder. He was executed by burning him alive - not a usual punishment in that time and place.

which people have little or no religion?

The general populace today is far less religious than they were in Jamestown or during that era. I have no religion and I know many who feel the same way.

and anyway how is the religion connected to this question?

Are you kidding? Religion governs many people's behavior. Is eating human beings against your religion, if you have one? If a person were already dead, from starvation, it would not be against my religion to make a meal of that person. How about you?

why would people with "little or no religion" behave "worse" in this situation?

You put "worse" in quotation marks. Yet I never mentioned the word. You insinuated that I said something that I indeed did not say at all. There is a name for this kind of argument. In fact I believe the exact opposite of what you insinuate. Such behavior would not be worse at all. If it kept people alive it would be far better to eat that person than not doing so... and dying.

incidentally what does it mean to have "little religion"?

Jeeze, you are not serious I hope. But I fear you are. You do not know the difference between people with little religion and those with lots of religion, fanatical religion? If you do not already know then nothing I could possibly say would likely enlighten you on this subject.

somehow it seems to be the same as saying that one is a little alive or a little dead.

Total absolute nonsense. A person is either alive or dead... completely. Again, if you don't realize that there are various stages, or degrees, of religiosity then I am powerless to explain anything to you because you do not understand that almost everything, except life and pregnancy, comes in varying degrees.

and finally how do you define religion?

Go to Dictionary.com and type in "religion". I would not dare argue with their definition.


Actually you can make a pretty good case that the 'religious' will behave more 'unethically' in extremis. Those who are not religious have had to develop and understand their own ethics and moral values 'ab initio'. Those who have been bought up on a religious book have learnt to 'follow orders'.

When extreme conditions are met, the religious adherent might continue to follow their book - but often they break ('why has my god forsaken me') and without any restraint or defined internal moral compass, can do very violent/disturbing thing (it also helps that they believe they can ask forgiveness afterwards). Indeed, they can often warp their beliefs to back up the 'evil' they want to do (witness the inquisition).

Give me someone who has had to understand their own ethics and morals bounds over someone who was just doing what they were told - too much "Lord of the Flies" in the breakdown of social norms.

Ron - I fail to understand your comment ''And these people were deeply religious. Imagine what others, with little or no religion might do'', suggesting that being religous is somehow a bulwalk against cannibalism.

After all aren't Christians routinely encouraged to drink the blood of their saviour at those big old shindigs they hold most weekends? Thats seems to me a pretty good framework on which to base a more diverse culinary appreciation of your fellow man.

You know Andy, I think you are right. Drinking the blood and eating the flesh of their savior is a form of cannibalism. I stand corrected, sorry.

Ron P.

I like your sense of humor. Well played.

Imagine what others, with little or no religion might do.

Because religion has a damn thing to do with restraining the actions of others?

What, exactly, are you implying with your comment?

I assume these people were stranded away from civilization, in run of the mill famines there is little or no cannibalism. Cannibalism is a pretty rare occurrence in famines, there is absolutely no data to support your implied argument here. My grandparents lived through the Great Bengal Famine of 1943.

People do die for absolute strangers out of compassion, where they have no chances of spreading their DNA, they can also maintain composure during starvation. We have an entire history of people going for hunger strikes sometimes even to their death.


Extremes do exist but it doesn't meant that the whole population is like that.

Naw, you are wandering way off base here Wise Indian, cannibalism is quite common when people are starving, I mean really starving to death, not just hungry. And no one is talking about murdering people, they are simply talking about eating the already dead. Compassion therefore has nothing to do with it except compassion for the living to go on living.

Did you see the movie "Alive"? It is a true story. Google Movie Alive. From Wiki:

Alive is a 1993 American biographical survival drama film based upon Piers Paul Read's 1974 book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, which details the story of a Uruguayan rugby team who were involved in the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed into the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972...

After great debate, the remaining passengers decide to eat the flesh of their dead companions in order to survive.

And then there is the Donner Party:

Soon after rescuers reached surviving members of the Donner Party on the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada in February 1847, the public was bombarded with grisly details about how the snowbound pioneers had resorted to cannibalism when their food supply ran out. Thanks to letters and journals kept by members of the Donner Party and their rescuers, it has long been accepted that cannibalism occurred at the party’s main camp at Truckee Lake (later renamed Donner Lake) and among a smaller group that tried to escape the mountains to get help.

It is really quite common among the starving when some members of their party are already dead.

Ron P.

Who's up for a Donner kebab then?

It is really quite common among the starving when some members of their party are already dead.

No it's not common. You tell me which has a higher statistical probability. 1) Getting stranded high up in the Andes or Rockies 2) A city/village/region suffering from famine.

You take the most extreme examples and generalize from it according to your own POV, how many people died of starvation in the Irish potato famine and how many were cannibalized ? How many were cannibalized in the Great Bengal famine ? How many in the Chinese Cultural Revolution ? When compared to the total number of deaths due to starvation they are negligible. I see hunger as well as starvation all around me, ever heard of Kalahandi ? years ago it was famous for starvation deaths, guess what, no one ate their family members. Actually you don't have to go back so much, take a look at the starvation death in Africa, cannibalism is just not that common as you assume, people are more likely to be buried/burnt or eaten by vultures than they are to be eaten by another human. Cannibalism may have been a natural choice for the Plane crash survivors or Donner Party but in a society it's abhorred upon. It takes great courage to eat another human being(even a dead one) because it strikes at the very roots of who we are.

You need to meet some real starved people, you can't experience it through books and movies. People can be nice to each other even with half bellies and that's my own personal experience. In fact people with half bellies are often nicer than the rich obese ones. Savagery often arises from living on the fringes of society and away from it not so much due to lack of resources. The Donner party was stranded in the middle of nowhere cut off from civilization.

I think you are a strong believer of the idea that resource constraints bring out the worst in people and they do IMO but not the way you think, they can also bring out the best in people sometimes, the world is complex and so are humans. If society collapsed every time there was a critical food shortage it wouldn't survive thousands of years. What most likely happens is that in the face of shortages is that we go back to our tribal roots and remain loyal to those roots, even in the face of death.

Of course I am taking the most extreme examples because I am only talking about the most extreme examples. Those examples are when the people have only two choices. 1. Eat their already dead or 2. die themselves. You are talking about famine, times when people have very little to eat. I am talking about total starvation, times when people have absolutely nothing to eat.

I have never claimed that cannibalism was common during ordinary famine. Yes, it happens in the most extreme life or death situations and then only if there are members of the party already dead.

Cannibalism is also quite common in the Bible. Deuteronomy 28:53-57, Leviticus 26:29, Jeremiah 19: 9, Lamentation 4:10, Ezekiel 5:10 and 2 Kings 6:26-29. I have met very few Christians who know this.

Ron P.

Well then what relevance does it have to collapse ? I am assuming you posted it with that context in mind.

You, Wise Indian, are talking about famines where a few people die of slow malnutrition. During the collapse there will be millions upon millions of people dying of starvation.

If collapse only meant famine, with few deaths, then there would likely be little cannibalism, if any. But I believe it will be a relatively fast crash, lasting no more than 50 years, if that. And I assume the earth's population will be reduced to 1 billion or perhaps less. So let's do the math.

We are now talking about deaths over births in 50 years. Six billion divided by 50 years would be 120,000,000 deaths over births every year, or 328,767 deaths over births every day. Of course it would not be liner like that but there would be far more deaths at first and it would come in jumps, or peaks and valleys.

Like in the Siege of Leningrad, cannibalism will likely be quite common. (Thanks to Tonu for pointing this out.) Search: New Facts Point Up Horror of Nazi Siege of Leningrad Bold mine.

Paintings, drawings and diaries, some released only this month, show that cannibalism was so much a fact of everyday life that parents feared their children would be eaten if allowed out after dark. New documents show that the city police created an entire division to fight cannibals, and some 260 Leningraders were convicted of and jailed for the crime.

A fact of everyday life no less!

Ron P.

You, Wise Indian, are talking about famines where a few people die of slow malnutrition. During the collapse there will be millions upon millions of people dying of starvation

The examples given by Wise Indian actually involved millions of people dying. An estimated million people died during the Irish famine, out of a total population of just 8 million. In the Bengali famine of 1943, several million people died.

And just how do you know it did not happen during the Bengali famine, or in Ireland for that matter. No one would advertise the fact, in fact they would do everything possible to suppress it. And even if they were found out, then the government would do everything in their power to suppress all evidence of cannibalism.

Those who did it don't want it known and their governments do not want it known.

For decades, details of the blockade have been little known in the West. Stalin suppressed the facts of the siege and twisted its history. Until Glasnost, the most serious challenge to his version was put forth by New York Times correspondent Harrison Salisbury, who spent 25 years researching and writing "The 900 Days," a book historians consider the best account in any language.

And this passage was particularly interesting:

"Not only are they of great interest to history, they are interesting to science in general," said Dr. Robert Sprinkle of Duke University, part of an interdisciplinary Russian-American team studying the finds, which contain an unprecedented wealth of scientific information on hunger and hunger-related diseases. "There have been many famines, but they haven't occurred in cities where order has been maintained and careful records kept," Dr. Sprinkle said.

That last sentence suggest that these scientist believe that cannibalism may be far more prevalent than most people believe. It was so common during the siege of Leningrad but we found out about it only because records were kept, and even then we only found out because the Russian Government finally released the records. Had that not have happened people, like yourself, would have stated something to the effect: "A million people died during the siege of Leningrad yet there was no cannibalism." That is exactly what you are stating about other famines right now yet you really don't know.

Ron P.

Yeah, Ron, it's not something most folks would draw pictures of, or brag about.

"Hey, Bill, I had your Uncle Bob for dinner last night. A bit stringy, but he beat the roadkill we shared Friday. Saved ya some..."

I'm betting it's been more common than most folks like to imagine. Anyway, if things go downhill and one of you come across fresh Ghung, you're welcome to me. In fact, I would be honored.

Eh, it goes both ways. People may not brag about cannibalism they commit, but they do like to accuse others of it. Justified or not.

Hawaii is the classic example. The Europeans saw traditional Hawaiian funeral practices (which involved removing the flesh from the bones) and assumed they were butchering humans. Hawaiians saw Europeans eating watermelon, and assumed it was raw human flesh. They both used this "information" to dehumanize the other.

Got that correct, Leanan. The Romans in the fourth century accused the Attacoti in Scotland of being cannibals. Maybe true or not, but the claim stuck for centuries. Equally Christie Cleek and Sawney Bean possibly practised cannibalism in the 17th century but both *might* have been the recipients of scurrilous rumour caused by the rift between the Lowland and Highland Scots. Winners tend to write the history and it is always an effort to correct. A few days ago Wiseindian mentioned the prevailing, and subsequently proven incorrect, 'thought' about Sentinelese tribesmen eating those two errant fishermen. Cannibalism is a very convenient way to demonize the 'other' since we so abhor the practice. Bottom line is that IMO cannibalism is far more prevalent than we prefer to admit. Situational rather than moral I suspect .... and we are situational animals with a mild patina of applied 'good taste'.

"When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich." ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Thus far no one had weighed in on eating bugs so I'll do that now.

Start with a paper wasp nest you don't want and fry the larvae in butter.

Heh, every once in a while I've been know to put in a few plugs for the bugs! To me it's a no brainer just compare all inputs needed to produce 1lb of protein from cattle vs locusts. Not to mention what is spent on controlling locusts with pesticides.

Had that not have happened people, like yourself, would have stated something to the effect: "A million people died during the siege of Leningrad yet there was no cannibalism." That is exactly what you are stating about other famines right now yet you really don't know.

I said no such thing. All I said was that you were wrong to be claiming that Wise Indian was referring to famines where just 'a few people die of slow malnutrition'. And you were, since millions died in those famines.

In fact, I think there were very probably some cases of cannibalism during the Irish famine, but as others have said, they appear to have been rare. About a million died, and there were only one or two documented cases, although I would think that more actually occurred.

No one would advertise the fact, in fact they would do everything possible to suppress it. And even if they were found out, then the government would do everything in their power to suppress all evidence of cannibalism.

Your claim that the government would just cover it up is just a conspiracy theory you are making up. You have no evidence this happened during these famines. Your conspiracy is unlikely to be true given that in both cases 'the government' was the British government.

As an Irishman, I'm well aware of the British government's attitude to the Irish during their famine. Despite the British being largely responsible for having created the conditions which led to the famine, by stealing most of the land from the Irish and forcing the Irish to survive on very unproductive land meaning that they had to turn to the highly productive potato as their means of survival, the British government of the time sought to blame the moral character of the Irish people for the famine. Charles Trevelyan, the British administrator who was in charge of the British government's response to the famine said:
'The judgment of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated. …The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people'.

This kind of anti-Irish rhetoric was also published by The Times, the establishment's newspaper.

With racist anti-Irish attitudes common in the British establishment of the time and for centuries previously (early English colonisers even referred to the Irish as 'canyballs'), the idea that the British government would have gone out of their way to cover up evidence of Irish cannibalism is not very likely to be correct.

Your claim that the government would just cover it up is just a conspiracy theory you are making up.

Nonsense: Again, Search: New Facts Point Up Horror of Nazi Siege of Leningrad But let me post the quote once again. Please read it this time.

For decades, details of the blockade have been little known in the West. Stalin suppressed the facts of the siege and twisted its history. Until Glasnost, the most serious challenge to his version was put forth by New York Times correspondent Harrison Salisbury, who spent 25 years researching and writing "The 900 Days," a book historians consider the best account in any language.

The Stalinist government just covered it up! Okay...

My comments saying there was no cannibalism in Leningrad until there was proof was directed more to Wise Indian than you. But you seemed to be agreeing with him so I posted it to both you.

I am not going to reply to your rant against the British government. I don't have a dog in that fight.

Ron P.

As I said very clearly in my previous post, you have no evidence whatsoever that there was a government cover up of cannibalism during these two famines. The siege of Leningrad was not the Irish or Bengali famine. Stalin was not the British government. Yet you state as a fact that the British governments would have covered up evidence of cannibalism during the famines. That is you just making up a conspiracy theory.

"...you have no evidence whatsoever that there was a government cover up of..."

Getting rid of the evidence is the point of a cover-up, is it not?

And historians investigate these things and sometimes find the evidence. Lack of evidence is not in itself evidence of a cover-up, since cover-ups often leave some evidence which is found by those who look hard enough.

I'm not saying that cover-ups don't happen or that all conspiracy theories are wrong (Ron likes to disparage conspiracy theories much more than I do, whereas I believe some are right some are wrong). I'm saying that in this case this is a conspiracy theory which Ron has made up, he has no evidence at all that it's right, and given the British government's attitude to the Irish at the time, I very much doubt that they would have been covering up evidence which would have shown the Irish in a poor light.

The British government were ruling Ireland, but were not Irish. They had no obvious motive that I can think of for covering up evidence of Irish cannibalism, in fact as I've already mentioned, there is some evidence of Irish cannibalism.

My family's been through multiple disasters (Bengal Famine and Indo Pak Partition being the chief ones), I try to take life one day at a time. No more arguments from my side.

I knew about it.

Not to get deeply into this but how would you explain the cannibalism during the 'Siege of Leningrad' in the winter of 1941-42?

I can't. All I know is that it's not a very common practice in such situations.

Since most don't evades Darwinian's point that some do for cause. History is rife with examples proving him correct.

History is rife with examples proving him correct

Well I never said that cannibalism does not exist, I said that it's not common. I think History is firmly on my side.

You are correct. It's not common.

But it does happen. I wonder if anyone's studied the circumstances under which such "emergency cannibalism" occurs.

Isolation seems to be a factor. Though perhaps that's just because isolated people tend to be the ones who were well-fed, then suddenly cut off.

Which may in turn be related to how well-fed everyone is. In areas with chronic, widespread famine, it may not be worth it to eat those who have starved to death. The bodies would be so low in fat you'd run the risk of "rabbit starvation."

It's remarkable to me how powerful the instinct for self-preservation can be. In my current well-fed state, I like to think that I'd be looking for the least painful but most expeditious way of shuffling off this mortal coil long before getting to the point of considering cannibalism.

But who knows what one would do when actually faced with the situation?

To me, it's the rarity of cannibalism that is more surprising. From a strictly rational view, eating other humans makes a lot of sense. They're make up of the nutrients you need, in the proportions you need them.

But there seems to be a fairly universal aversion to it. Even in cultures where it's glorified (whether to honor the dead or humiliate them), people don't seem to like doing it.

Maybe disease is an issue, as with kuru.

Jesus seemed to be OK with it, at least symbolically:

‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’” (Luke 22:15) “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’ ” (Luke 22:19-20)

Eat my body, drink my blood? Isn't communion symbolic cannibalism? Google it; lots of discussion there. Soylent Christ?

But of course the symbolism isn't there to point towards actual cannibalism, it uses a blatantly cannibalistic image to portray the way we need to nourish our spirits on the central body of spirituality.. In fact, I think the Bible uses that strong contrast of how averse we are to cannibalism in order to highlight the difference between a material truth and a spiritual one. As Karen Armstrong describes this use of language, it is the difference between Mythos and Logos.

As far as Leanan's wondering why it isn't more common.. I would think it's likely to be uncommon in any gregarious, social animal.. but surely human culture has us subvert any number of the primal behaviors so that we can all (generally) fit into the structure of our societies.. finding our best advantages in that kind of union. Those cases where people do resort to it in normal times is generally agreed to constitute a form of sociopathy.

Those cases where people do resort to it in normal times is generally agreed to constitute a form of sociopathy.

Of all the posts on this thread, you are the first, the very first, who mentions people engaging in cannibalism during normal times. Of course people who eat other people during normal times are psychopaths, or sociopaths if you think it is a socially learned behavior. Only a totally crazy person would eat another person when he/she could just drive to KFC and have chicken. But I don't think this has anything to do with the subject being discussed.

To quote you: As far as Leanan's wondering why it isn't more common... I really don't think she was referring to normal behavior of any gregarious social animal. She was, I think, wondering why it was not more common among desperately starving people. And I would reply that I think it is far more common, under such extreme conditions, than is generally believed. The one place where records were kept during such times, those records were kept secret by Stalin. But those records were later released and it was found that it was indeed very common.

And if we had other such records during very severe famines, where many were actually starving to death, I think we would find it was far more common than most would believe. But we don't have those records so we can only speculate.

Ron P.

Well fine, Ron.. and yet, you are one of those among us who is more likely to make the darker conjectures about what people are 'most likely' do in desperate and dire circumstances.. and while sure enough, sometimes it's the 'Donner Party and the Uruguayan Rugby team'... (interesting that both were in freezing environments, which enabled the bodies of their comrades, the only possible nourishment around, to be kept unspoiled, as the Uruguayan survivors attested they tried any and all other options in this high-calorie requiring climate before resorting to it..) It's also quite possible that it's really actually not that common, and that people may well have often preferred to die themselves than to feel both the guilt of having survived In ADDITION TO anticipating the burden of stealing the very meat from the bones of those sorry companions who didn't. People choose their own deaths quite often, for a wide number of reasons, we've seen.. and frequently it is for the sake of others around them.

As there seems to be no way to know for sure, it seems it comes down to personal Philosophies.

As there seems to be no way to know for sure, it seems it comes down to personal Philosophies.

Philosophies? It has nothing to do with anyone's philosophy. History is not about philosophy. It is, in this case anyway, about the behavior of desperate people during very desperate times. It comes down to history, where there is either evidence or records, and history is rife with both. It was extremely common in Leningrad where records were kept. And it happened in Jamestown where we have evidence. And there is overwhelming evidence elsewhere:

Search: Reviewing the Evidence for Cannibalism within the Prehistoric Archaeological Record

Yet, despite the many negative responses and oppositions to the idea of cannibalism in prehistory, the current view of prehistoric cannibalism, when faced with the overwhelming biological, anthropological and archaeological evidence, would be that cannibalism was a common practice amongst our ancestors. Having escaped the antiquarian view that cannibalism was a barbarous act of primitive societies, modern interpretations only extend to identifying the type of cannibalism practiced, without venturing possible hypotheses as to why the act of cannibalism occurred. The fact that cutmarks on hominin bones have been observed on different continents and come from a range of different periods prompted an observation by Stringer that, “the fossil record is only a tiny sample of people who lived in the past. If we are picking up butchery in this very sparse sample of humans and human behaviour in the past, then it cannot have been a very rare event”....


It has been shown from archaeological and genetic evidence that nutritional or dietary cannibalism has been a part of Homo’s heritage and way of life from the earliest times.

Ron P.

I suspect that this century, during which earth's human population will probably reach 10 billion and subsequently decline to perhaps <1 billion due to reduced carrying capacity, net energy, water, and stability of climate; that cannibalism will become more familiar. Not everywhere, but perhaps in many situations.

A large percentage of Japan's troops invading Nanking were fed systematically on human flesh, with no stigma attached to it. We do what those around us do.

I doubt if anyone's studied it, accounts would be hard to come by, most accounts would be stories and tales.

I believe that Isolation is a major factor, all these examples like Donner Party, Andes Mountain Plane Crash, Stalingrad are survival scenarios, they are not something one encounters even during times of distress, these are exceptional circumstances. Places where civilization breaks down and normal behavior is no longer the rule.

Wise Indian, I think you are finally understanding what and why it happened. Of course these are survival scenarios! That is the very point I have been trying to drive home. It only happens when it is a matter of living or dying. And when it does happen, it is often not even condemned.

I remember a case a few years ago, I believe it was in Alaska, where there were three people on board a small plane that went down. One person, a young woman, was killed on impact. The other two survived but a young boy died several days later, or it could have been weeks, I don't remember. The pilot, who survived, told of their ordeal. He said he was talking to the boy when the boy said to him: "Shut up, i'm going to die now." And he died. The pilot then survived by eating the frozen flesh of the young woman. He told the story and no one condemned him for doing it. They knew that if he had not done that he would have died. But he had deep regrets for his actions.

Ron P.

NYC RFP Vacant Lot Activation Consultant

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Report on a trial of new technology to extract shale kerogen in above ground plant
The pilot plant is not far from the new LNG export hub being built in Gladstone Queensland and a coal port being expanded. Australia is fast running out of petroleum-like liquid fuels hence the interest in shale oil. We need 1 mbpd but this plant will help out with 0.000040 mbpd at unknown cost.

This region creates serious internal conflict over carbon objectives. In theory the carbon tax was supposed to see coal fired electricity replaced with gas and less petroleum used in transport. Instead we are exporting more coal (doing our bit for climate change), exporting gas a good substitute for liquid transport fuels and at the same time pricing local piped gas too high to replace coal. No doubt it all makes perfect sense to the government.

Regarding the top linked story on Bakken and Three Forks.

It appears as if the USGS is saying that the new total is essentially double the oil than they previously thought.

The new prediction is "7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered—but technically recoverable—oil". That means that the previous prediction was about 7.4 billion barrels (if it is now doubled).

Now compare this number to what DC modeled here: http://oilpeakclimate.blogspot.com/2013/04/bakken-model-suggests-7-billi...

Kudos to DC, as he took the numbers from current production and then extrapolated and essentially nailed the 7 billion barrel number.

Great job.

The new numbers now include the Three Forks formation, which the USGS calls "undiscovered". They have not discovered it yet, but claim that it is recoverable.

This is the fact sheet:

"The geologic model for the assessment of the Bakken Formation and underlying Three Forks Formation is that oil generated in the upper and lower Bakken shale members migrated locally into low-permeability and variable-porosity reservoirs of the middle Bakken member, the Pronghorn Member of the Bakken Formation, and dolomitized units of the Three Forks Formation. Locally, oil was also retained in the low-porosity matrix and fractures of the upper and lower Bakken shale members. A hydrogen index (HI) value of 450 was used to define the boundary of thermally mature source rock in the upper Bakken shale member as indicated by recent USGS research."

They classify two new "hypothetical" assessment units, Middle Bakken and Three Forks as conventional and estimate the total undiscovered in these two units to only contain 8 million barrels. That is piddly. The rest of the undiscovered oil is in what they call "continuous" units. I think this is the unconventional, tight oil. We will see how it pans out.

Another unconventional energy news story from the public broadcaster

Note this technolgy uses fracking of granite 4km below ground could be why it has taken them years to get this far. 10 MW is a long way from the gigawatts originally envisaged. Weirdly the overlying shale is being fracked nearby for hydrocarbons. Apparently there's no customers for the electricity and long distance power lines to towns are not yet justified.

Edit: the power plant will generate 1 MW not 10 MW. I believe over $300m of public and private money has been spent to get this far.

The new EIA International Energy Statistics are out with the data for January 2013.

World C+C production was down 627 kb/d, OPEC was down 53 kb/d and non-OPEC was down 574 kb/d. The largest change in non-OPEC was Russia, down 118 kb/d.

The data other than production was updated through December 2012. They only have consumption data for OECD but I found it quite interesting. The chart below is OECD all liquids consumption through 2012. The last data point is December 2012

OECD Consumption photo OECDConsumption-1_zps5ed2dddd.jpg

The drop in consumption is about 10 percent since the peak in 2005 and 2006. I think this shows why the recession of 2008 is a long way from being over.

Ron P.

@ Ron

re: " I think this shows why the recession of 2008 is a long way from being over."

From Bloomberg...(today:)

"The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index fell to 50.7 from the prior period’s 51.3, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Fifty is the dividing line between growth and contraction. The ADP Research Institute said private payrolls rose 119,000 last month, the least since September, while another report showed construction outlays slumped in March.

Factories are pulling back as the need to rebuild inventories wanes, across-the-board federal budget cuts take hold and higher payroll taxes restrain consumer spending. Federal Reserve policy makers said today at the conclusion of their two-day meeting that they will continue to pursue record stimulus in an attempt to bolster the economy and job market."

However....I never read about the high cost of energy adding to the problem. It is always something else, yet, the link is there as they report everyday swings in Brent and WTI. Go figure. They always show WTI as being in the horse cart but never taking a turn as the driver which is some mysterious thing called the economy. Hey, I could buy a new car with the cheapest interest rates and all the gizmos, (even with monopoly money), but if I can't afford to fill it I can't afford to drive it. Seems simple to me.


"However....I never read about the high cost of energy adding to the problem."

You noticed that too? High energy costs mean less money for discretionary spending. Since Krugman and friends pooh-pooh the effect of higher food and energy costs (one should never count them as inflation) they are always surprised when discretionary demand goes down, and price inflation in those categories of goods also goes down, or at least holds steady.

Talk about having blinders on....

An Interview with Steven Kopits
By Steve Andrews – The following is taken from an interview with Steven Kopits, managing director of the New York office of Douglas-Westwood, an international energy analysis firm. The views expressed are atttributable to Mr. Kopits and do not necessarily represent those of Douglas Westwood.

Q: But when costs increase to a certain level, production should fall; yet we haven’t seen that.

Kopits:  In fact, oil production is falling at most the of the oil majors.  It was even down at 2% at Petrobras last year.  But on a global scale, you’re right.  Oil production hasn’t fallen—for three reasons.  First, much of what passes for increased “oil” production is actually natural gas production.  This includes natural gas liquids from “wet” natural gas wells; LNG [liquefied natural gas] from gas wells; and gas-to-liquids diesel made from natural gas.  That’s about half of global oil supply growth in the last six years right there.  Check out any investor presentation from the majors.  LNG features prominently.

Second, we started throwing massive amounts of upstream spend into this business.  Upstream expenditures essentially went from $250 billion around 2005 to about $650 billion this year.  In essence, by really jacking up how much money we were putting into the system, we were able to increase production…a little bit.  To that we can add some changes in above-ground constraints, primarily in Iraq, which is a very important part of supply growth.

Finally, we made some important technological advances with hydrofracking technology.  US tight oil production and Canadian oil sands growth represent just about 100% of net oil supply growth in the last two years.

But leaving these aside, the system hit a wall in 2005—Ken Deffeyes was really spot on with his prediction—and the way we maintained and only slightly grew production after that was essentially by throwing money at it.

This was facilitated by dramatic oil prices jumps, from $25 in 2002 to $112 in 2012.  But since 2011, depending on rapidly rising oil prices is no longer a viable strategy.  The global economy has said, “this is how much we’ll pay and no more.”  At the same time, geology just kept marching along right down the back half of Hubbert’s peak, and costs have continued to rise.  That’s where we are today: price resistance from the consumer and E&P costs that just continue rising.  Despite the very high oil price environment, the upstream financial performance at most of the oil majors, including Exxon and Petrobras, has deteriorated.  True, Petrobras’ performance is distorted by government interference, but Exxon is arguably the most disciplined investor in the world.  But both of them face deteriorating upstream performance for oil.

I'm just an amateur supply side analyst, and where Steven really excels is his demand side analysis.  As Steven has noted, the problem that we are seeing is a narrowing gap between marginal consumers' price ceiling and  oil companies' marginal price floor.  

I think that the real question is what happens to demand in the oil exporting and developing countries, since the developed net oil importing countries, so far, have been in the position of taking what is left over, after the oil exporting and developing countries' demand is satisfied. 

My guess is that the 2002 to 2011 oil exporting and "Chindia" developing countries consumption patterns more or less continue for at least another 10 years or so, out to 2021, but who knows.

In any case, here is what has happened through 2011:


Because of increasing consumption in the oil exporting and developing countries, we see the divergence between global liquids production numbers and net export numbers. Following is a graph showing normalized global production and net export numbers, with the 2005 production/net export rate set equal to 100%:


Note that even if we continue to see a slowdown in China’s rate of increase in consumption, an offsetting factor is that Chinese domestic oil production has basically stagnated in recent years.

US net oil imports increased at 11%/year from 1949 to 1970, when US crude oil production peaked. From 1970 to 1977, US net oil imports increased at 14%/year.

As Steven has noted, the problem that we are seeing is a narrowing gap between marginal consumers' price ceiling and oil companies' marginal price floor.

Since marginal price floor cannot exceed consumers price ceiling, without causing major demand destruction, doesn't this narrowing price gap only have one direction to go - down? After all, the gap could only go up if consumers price floor rises, but that would require a growing economy via cheap oil (which is no longer available).

See my coffin corner comment below.

Also, as I noted, I think that the two key questions are the future rates of change in consumption in oil exporting and/or developing countries.

Also, within each country, there is a wide variation in consumer's carrying capacity, from "Bill the Walmart cashier" to Bill Gates here in the US. Even within developed countries, it may take higher and higher prices to incrementally reduce demand, subject to how the overall economy does, which leads me back to the "Coffin Corner" analogy, where a slight increase in speed could cause structural problems to the aircraft, and a slight reduction in speed will cause the aircraft to stall.

I know why I just focused on supply side analysis.

Thanks, read coffin corner analogy, which may be very apt particularly as a gap that tight will invariably reduce marginal expansion and expoloration due to increased risk, further tightening supply.

.... gas-to-liquids diesel made from natural gas

I didn't know that NGL could be converted into transportation fuel. If we can do that then maybe we should look at Total Liquid Fuel (TLF) production instead of just crude oil production. After all why should I care whether my diesel or gasoline was produced from crude oil or NGL?

Liquid hydrocarbons can by synthesized from anything from methane to water + CO2 (plus coal of course). Here is the Wikipedia entry on Gas To Liquids technology:


Of course, the plants require huge capital costs and they consume significant amounts of energy in the process. So, there is a significant decline in net energy from the methane input to the liquid output, and whatever energy source is used for the water + CO2 conversion process would show a very large decline, in terms of energy input, versus energy output.

Thanks for this link Jeff. I have printed it out and will read the entire interview at my leisure.

I found this graph from the article very interesting.

Bakken Graph

Ron P.

Regarding oil price floors versus oil price ceilings, I'm reminded of an aviation term, the "Coffin Corner."


When an aircraft slows to below its stall speed, it is unable to generate enough lift in order to cancel out the forces that act on the aircraft (such as weight and centripetal force). This will cause the aircraft to drop in altitude. The drop in altitude may cause the pilot to increase the angle of attack (the pilot pulls on the stick), because normally increasing the angle of attack (pulling up) puts the aircraft in a climb. When the wing however exceeds its critical angle of attack, an increase in angle of attack (pulling up) will lead to a loss of lift and a further loss of airspeed (the wing "stalls"). The reason why the wing "stalls" when it exceeds its critical angle of attack is that the airflow over the top of the wing separates.

When the airplane exceeds its critical Mach number (such as during stall prevention or recovery), then drag increases or Mach tuck occurs, which can cause the aircraft to upset, lose control, and lose altitude. In either case, as the airplane falls, it could gain speed and then structural failure could occur, typically due to excessive g forces during the pullout phase of the recovery.

As an airplane approaches its coffin corner, the margin between stall speed and critical Mach number becomes smaller and smaller. Small changes could put one wing or the other above or below the limits. For instance, a turn causes the inner wing to have a lower airspeed, and the outer wing, a higher airspeed. The aircraft could exceed both limits at once. Or, turbulence could cause the airspeed to change suddenly, to beyond the limits. Some aircraft, such as the Lockheed U-2, routinely operate in the "coffin corner". In the case of the U-2, the aircraft is required to be flown on autopilot at such conditions.[3] The U-2's speed margin, at high altitude, between 1-G stall and Mach buffet can be as small as 5 knots.[4]

I'm curious about the inclusion of LNG in the list above. What gas wells are producing LNG? And where is it being lumped in as "oil"?

They are confused. They are actually talking about NGLs (natural gas liquids, e.g. propane and butane) rather than LNG (liquefied natural gas). Propane is often used as a transportation fuel in countries where it is more abundant and cheaper than gasoline, but that is generally not the case in the US. A little bit of butane is put into gasoline to improve vaporization in the winter, not so much in summer gasoline when it causes vapor lock in the fuel systems.

I sort of figured, but it was wrong in a couple spots so...

Here I was figuring LNG might just come right out of the ground and my company is actually wasting a whole lot of time, money, and energy to liquefy it!

Wow, this is very interesting. I kinda assumed that the oil producers would continue raking in big profits because despite the increased production costs, there are much higher oil prices to pay for those increased production costs. And that is probably largely true for the foreign oil exporters that continue to mainly pump conventional oil.

But for the IOCs in the OECD, they have much higher production costs (for ultra deepwater, arctic drilling, tar sands, and hydrofracturing) AND markets that are reducing oil usage because they just can't afford higher prices. Thus, if the OECD markets can't handle higher oil prices in the coming years, the IOCS may continue to get squeezed unless they have some nice cheap conventional oil finds (most likely in foreign countries).

So the old reserves/production ratio that companies cite can be very misleading . . . what is going to really matter is the quality of those reserves. Are they cheap conventional oil? Tar sands? Shale plays? etc. (And the reserve figure is already very misleading due to the BOE wherein they sneak their barely-profitable gas in there as reserves.)

"...there are much higher oil prices to pay for those increased production costs."

It matters where the oil is going. There are two primary sides - business and "consumer."

Businesses are obviously also consumers, but they differ in that their income is made by or while consuming the oil. If you're refining it into motor oil, or turning it into epoxies, special plastics, etc - you can pay more because the end product is worth more and gets sold to make you money. This breaks only when the end product is too expensive for anyone to buy - but the assumption here is that the product is going to be worth a high price due to durability or ability.

"Consumers" here means that they do not make any income off of oil usage. They should hit limits before businesses do because every action under these circumstances is, to some degree, a choice and one that hits the wallet. Primary uses here are obviously transportation, some home heating, as well as recreation, and home maintenance (lawn tractors/mowers, etc).

Someone making $100/working day (~$15/hour pre-taxes) with gas at $3.75/gal will be able to purchase ~27gal on those days, this makes their maximum travel range to work before they hit $0 net income:
27gal*10mi/gal = 270 miles
27gal*20mi/gal = 540 miles
27gal*30mi/gal = 810 miles
27gal*40mi/gal = 1,080 miles

Since the car requires insurance, tires, oil, depreciation/loan, and other maintenance and the person needs to be able to eat and pay rent/mortgage lets set aside $500/mo for rent, $400/mo for food/clothes/sundry item, $100/mo "health insurance," and $100/mo vehicle expenses. This leaves about $45/working day and brings net $0 income travel range to:

12gal*10mi/gal = 120 miles (Budget: 31,200 mi/yr)
12gal*20mi/gal = 240 miles (Budget: 62,400 mi/yr)
12gal*30mi/gal = 360 miles (Budget: 93,600 mi/yr)
12gal*40mi/gal = 480 miles (Budget: 124,800 mi/yr)

For someone making approximately half that, $50/day (equating to something close to minimum wage), their travel range is: 0 miles. With the assumptions above they're already in the hole $100/mo...they'd have to get rid of the vehicle entirely just to break even.

Working backwards, for someone making $100/working day and with the above expenses where do gas prices have to be for the average driver of 12,000 mi/year in a 23 mpg car before their income is negated?
$45/day post expenses, need (12,000/52/5/23) = 2 gal/working day

Approximately 25% of Americans make $10/hour or less, so lets look at the top of that range:
For someone making around $10/hour this equates to about $70/day after taxes, after the expenses mentioned above this leaves about $15/day post expenses. For 12,000mi/year = 2 gal/working day. This brings the net $0 income gallon of gasoline to $7.50/gal.

So, with the assumption of average mileage of 12,000mi/year and an average fuel economy of 23mpg, approximately 25% of Americans would have zero net income for discretionary spending if gasoline reached $7.50/gal. Since at minimum wage they already have 0 miles available and zero discretionary income, this means that every bit would already be biting heavily into those in that range and eating away at core non-discretionary expenses (housing, food, etc).

A LOT of assumptions there, but likely a good big-picture indicator...if you want 1/4 of the US to have zero discretionary income then $7.50/gal should do it. The ones that get fuel economy twice that of average (46mpg) would make it to twice that number ($15/gal) before reaching that point. A lot of pickup trucks and larger SUVs get around 15 mpg which means they'd hit that point much sooner - so one could also have an income above $10/hour but a truck that gets much lower than 23 and be pulled into the same trap. Because of the available services to the poor (SNAP, heating assistance, food banks, etc) it may even be more likely that those with slightly higher incomes could be more prone to getting caught by this.

'Steve from Virginia' has written about this recently. He has a blog that can be Googled.

The decreasing space between maximum price consumers can pay, and minimum cost to produce new oil.

What happens when these trends cross?

Is Steve from Virginia the Steve interviewed above??


Economic-Undertow.com/author/steveludlum/. Steve pays TOD a visit now and then.

An optimistic person would say that we are just being more efficient. And that is true to some degree. The fleet MPG has gone up and some people have moved to public transportation. However, most of that is due to reduced economic activity. :-/

Actually, according the EIA, existing US fleet fuel efficiency has decreased the past few years, not increased. Average fuel economy for light duty, short wheelbased vehicles peaked in 2008 at 23.7 mpg. It has dropped every year since, and in 2011 it was 23.1. Light duty long wheelbased vehicles had peak fuel efficiency in 2006, with 17.8 mpg. The average for this class of vehicle was down to 17.1 in 2011. VMT, however, absolute and per capita, has indeed declined.

"...existing US fleet fuel efficiency has decreased the past few years, not increased."

And yet...I thought I'd be able to get one dated from this very day, but you'll have to settle for one mere days old:

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, one of the committee’s two co-chairs, said the suggestions look reasonable but acknowledged the state must find more stable ways to fund road building as more people turn to fuel-efficient vehicles and the gas tax dries up.

Every flippin' time without fail. People see that Prii exist and go "There's the source of our problems!" Never realizing that they're being offset by people driving huge SUVs, trucks, and cross-overs masquerading as cars.

So we should increase gasoline tax to pay for it right? Why do such a silly thing when you can just raid from the general fund and run up debt!

A bipartisan commission Walker and the Legislature appointed in 2011 to examine the state’s transportation funding needs recommended raising the gas tax by 5 cents per gallon, increasing driver’s license fees and creating a registration fee based on miles driven.

Republican leaders have said they won’t increase the gas tax and have ignored the rest of the recommendations. Walker’s budget instead shores up the fund by transferring $55 million from the state’s general and petroleum inspection fund and authorizes $994 million in new borrowing for transportation projects.

I think you may be looking at old data. Do you have a cite?

EPA finds 2012 fuel economy was highest ever, 23.8 mpg

New sales are great too:
With 23.7 mpg, March sets third-straight month of record-high fleetwide fuel economy

A lot of new options for very fuel efficient cars have become available in the past year (Tesla Model S, Honda PHEV, Ford C-Max, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid Energi, etc.) So many new high-mileage and plug-in cars hitting the market that the Chevy Volt's sales have been dropping. It is pressured on all sides with fancy high-end pure EVs like the Tesla Model S, inexpensive pure EVs like the Leaf S, and lots of new PHEVs (Honda PHEV, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Hybrid Energi, Plug-In Prius, etc.) . . . a segment that Volt had all to its own until recently (ignoring the $100K Fisker Karma).

You can find it here, the latest April 2013 edition of the Monthly Energy Review:


It is table 1.8 on page 17. As I stated above, the data goes through 2011.

In 2007 they reclassified how they tracked SUV/Vans, putting the shorter wheelbase ones with the cars. This caused the longwheel base mpg number to drop for 2007, but it went back up in 2008 and continued the same in 2009. It then dropped in 2010 and again in 2011.

One would have thought combining shortwheel base SUVs/vans with cars would have dropped the mileage for that category too in 2007, but the mileage for that category actually improved both in 2007 and 2008. It was the next three years that it dropped.

I know that although I see quite a few micro cars in San Francisco, I also see an astonishing number of new huge SUVs and pick up trucks, even though they are remarkably difficult to both park and drive in a dense city. (Nine times out of ten the pick up is carrying nothing in the back.) I've noticed that the financing is often much better for these kinds of vehicles than fuel-efficient ones, and, of course, there are tax benefits to purchasing vehicles over 6000lbs through Section 179 deductions that do not apply to vehicles under 6000lbs.

One thing that's happening is that the average age of cars in the US keeps getting older. It's now up to 11.2 years--an all-time record. Maybe people are keeping their low mileage cars.

there are tax benefits to purchasing vehicles over 6000lbs through Section 179 deductions that do not apply to vehicles under 6000lbs.

This is a tax break Hummer buyers benefitted from. I saw Bush jr. talk about it once, then did his version of Bruce Willis' grin and chuckled gaining laughter from a hand picked crowd. I don't get that kind of humor but some do evidently.

There are different ways of averaqging fleet milage. The correct one would be to calculate total consumption and divide by total miles driven. But they may allow an ordinary average. Even worse in computing manufacturers fleet milage, thet are allowed to count certain high milage cars twice!

Auto Sales Hauled Higher by Pickup Trucks

GM’s pickup sales rose 23 percent. Sales of the Ford F-Series rose 24 percent, and Chrysler’s Ram Trucks jumped 49 percent.

Gasoline must be too cheap in the United States. Maybe an ideal time to raise the US Federal Gas Tax.

Well . . . in their defense, these newer pick-up trucks have MUCH higher MPG ratings than the old pick-ups they are replacing. That said, still too many people that don't need them buy them because they are urban cowboys.

And, yes, raising the Federal Gas Tax would be very very wise. But, it is also viewed as political suicide and would never be approved by the current House of Representatives nor have enough votes to avoid a Senate filibuster. BAU is what our Legislature prides itself with right now. They even just released a commercial bragging about it.

Nothing stopping state legislators from upping state gas taxes. The Feds already collect enough to maintain the interstate system.

Nothing to stop them from dropping state gas taxes too. In one of the most-amazingly stupid proposals ever, Virginia's Governor Ultrasound thought it would be a good idea to eliminate the gas tax and while increasing the sales tax . . . and adding a penalty tax for hybrids.

Yes, make the guy riding the bus who buys an apple pay more tax so the guy driving his polluting gas guzzler can pay less for gas. Makes perfect sense.

Yes, make the guy riding the bus who buys an apple pay more tax so the guy driving his polluting gas guzzler can pay less for gas. Makes perfect sense

There's a comment from a transportation engineer who makes the point that the plan is really nuts because among other things

the damage caused by a vehicle to the road is exponentially related to the weight of the vehicle. In fact weight of vehicle to point source damage is related by


So a 4500 lb SUV vs a 1500lb prius

The damage to the road from the SUV is actually 81 times the equivalent damage from the prius per mile. This gets even more interesting when dealing with hummers and F350s and expeditions with full payloads.

Virginia is for "the mathematically illitertate"!

They still have pretty good apples >;-)

Fred - While your point holds, your data is wrong. The Prius weighs 3,000 lbs, twice what you use. I owned a 1,500 lb. car once - MG Midget. When it got stuck in the snow, I could lift the back end and move it to free it up. Not doing that with our Prius. Esp. now, as we recently added about 300 lb. of PIS 10kWh conversion kit to it. So now I'm doing 10% more damage to the roads, whilst really whistling past the gas stations - yes, here in VA, with the crazy governor.

A lot of the trucks go to those producing gas and oil. Thousands and thousands in the oil region. I've bought 4 this year. F150 quad cabs for the sales guys (mostly for hauling customers to lunch and golf, but sometimes out to the leases) and F250s for the field guys. Nobody has anything but a truck. None.

Even for rentals we try to get trucks or big SUVs. You'll get laughed at if you show up in a car. Kinda bad for the image.

I still drive my Honda to work. At least I can take one of the spare Tahoes if I have visitors to take to lunch.

A $40K truck is only 400bbls of oil One day from one well...

"You'll get laughed at if you show up in a car. Kinda bad for the image."

Kinda says it all. ..and that's not to snark on your points at all Paleo.. I'm sure that's all completely accurate. Just ends up being a club dress-code with a big footprint, that's all.

Should also point out that twice this week I had a guy look me in the eye and say "I probably shouldn't say this, but really money is no object. We've just got to get the work done."

Still, the Eagleford region doesn't feel quite as crazy as last year. Infrastructure is catching up. Man-camps are still prevalent, but now they are planned communities versus mushroom camps of RVs. Did see a duplex man-cabin. 2 homes in a 10'x30' or so footprint. Most look more like 1 person in a 10'x20' space.

I should also point out those trucks get driven at 75+mph for hours per day. A 2-lane undivided highway with shoulders will have a speed limit of 75mph. You pass the semis if they only go 70. Time is money, doncha know.

Sure enough. And honestly, I'm a tool guy.. I do see a good truck as having a sturdy tool 'at the ready'.. while the truck I'd buy would probably look like I was wearing a Tutu to those guys..

I think the wells are producing oil, not the trucks. And from what you mentioned, there was never anything in the bed of the truck. But I understand . . . that's the thing in oil country.

Slashdot is discussing the Atlantic's what if we don't run out of oil article. Search for "ask-slashdot-what-if-we-dont-run-out-of-oil" to get the link.

Some of the comments are interesting. Such as:

The major oil companies are promoting "No peak oil" stories to influence google results. They need to do this to keep asset prices up, soothe investors and keep the financing on which they depend flowing.

We will never "run out of oil" because eventually we won't be able to afford to extract it, but this will happen while there's still oil in the ground.

The Brent premium over WTI closed today at $8.86. That is the lowest it has been in I can't remember when. WTI closed at $93.99 and Brent at $102.85.

Ron P.

Crude oil inventory reached an 82 year high as reported by the EIA Wednesday. The highest I've seen since oil has gone up from $20. In the past few years, oil has been priced on a combination of several factors including rising or falling inventories, usage rising or falling, currency movements, and other movements.
Looking for a logical explanation for huge inventory builds and rising crude oil prices. Thanks

Crude Falls as U.S. Supplies Climb to 82-Year High

West Texas Intermediate crude tumbled as U.S. oil inventories reached an 82-year high amid signs of economic slowdown in the U.S. and China.

Futures fell the most in two weeks after the Energy Information Administration said stockpiles jumped to 395.3 million barrels in the week ended April 26, the most in weekly data started in 1982. According to monthly data, they were last at this level in 1931.

Demand is down, there was a big jump in imports, refinery utilization is moderate.

They're worried about "overwhelming supplies" of oil.

If there were "overwhelming" US supplies, WTI would be dropping relative to Brent, but the spread is tightening. So, either there isn't THAT much extra, or the world economy is hitting Brent higher than a glut is hurting WTI, or there is an expectation that even if there is extra US oil, it's only temporary and before long it'll drain to the coasts.

Of course it could be all of those, and it probably is. Europe is still faltering, and China has slowed. Though supplies are high, we're still importing 50% at a higher price. Why not expect imports to drop before WTI? Depending on how old pipelines behave(like the busted one in Arkansas -- is that back on line yet?) and new ones come online (800K bpd Gulf Coast pipeline is still due this fall).

US Oil and Gas have forever been cyclic, and a pull-back can happen. Won't go far or for long, though, given the quick declines and high marginal costs.

I think the jobs numbers caused a big jump in WTI today but these inventory numbers may cause a big drop on Monday.

I thought the jobs report (comes out 5/3) was supposed to be [junk] this month? The prediction I saw was low 100,000-ish...of course these predictions have been terrible lately so. meh. Wait for the official numbers.

Paleo:"...or there is an expectation that even if there is extra US oil, it's only temporary and before long it'll drain to the coasts."

Didn't that Dilbit pipeline rupture shut down the flow from Cushing to the coast for a while?

West Texas Intermediate crude tumbled as U.S. oil inventories reached an 82-year high amid signs of economic slowdown in the U.S. and China.

I find the economic mixed messages fascinating! The stock market is at an all time high, and on
CNBC today four analysts on at the same time all agreed with each other the market has momentum and room to move even higher on better than projected earnings. Real estate is doing great in some parts of the country and overall prices are rising as inventory drops. At the same time the blockquoted news above and estimates I've read of US GDP dropping to 1% in the 2nd qtr., from 2.5% in the 1st qtr., suggest a much different picture.

It begs the question as to why the sudden surge in the US economy and what will cause it to slowdown?

I've really given up on trying to predict which way things will go. With the economy and oil supplies.

Last year, some predicted there would be gasoline and maybe heating oil shortages in the northeast this winter. Aside from the Sandy disruption, there weren't. Prices weren't even that bad. We may not have "overwhelming supplies," but gas prices are dropping, at a time when they usually rise.

Maybe those who think climate change will be more catastrophic, and sooner, than peak oil are right.

"It begs the question as to why the sudden surge in the US economy..."

$84 trillion vitamin shot from the Fed each month.

"...and what will cause it to slowdown?"

When the Fed stops the vitamin shots. I posted a link earlier this week where Nouriel Roubini describes the whole process; says we'll be in a depression when the Fed is forced to stop monetary injections... a $trillion a year, mostly buying bad real estate paper, other bad debt, and going into stocks. Roubini says we have about 2 years; others concur.

Proverbs 27:12 - "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished."

As annual Brent crude oil prices more than quadrupled from 2002 to 2011, Chinese liquids consumption increased by 85%, India’s consumption increased by 46%, the (2005) Top 33 Exporters’ consumption increased by 29%, and US consumption fell by 5% (after hitting a peak in 2005).

What the preceding chart illustrates is that post-2005, the US and most other net oil importing developed countries have been forced to reduce their liquids consumption, as global oil prices have been driven higher, as the developing countries—led by China—have, so far at least, consumed an increasing share of a declining post-2005 volume of Global Net Exports of oil.


US crude oil inventories are high, primarily, as noted above, due to weak demand in my opinion, as a result of a bidding war for constrained global net oil exports (which so far the net oil importing developed countries are losing), but on a Days of Supply basis, the US had 32 days of crude oil supplies on hand in late April, 1983, versus 27 Days of Supply in late April, 2013.

Using a Minimum Operating Level (MOL) of about 270 mb, the US had about 8.5 Days of Supply on hand in excess of MOL in late April, 2013.

In case anyone is interested Solar Impulse is now waiting for clearance for take off on the first transcontinental flight across the US powered by solar alone! Bon Voyage