Midweek Open Thread...

Simply because it's thread-a-licious...
Here's a question for you all:  What do you think of Matt Simmons?  What makes him tick?  Is he being fully truthful in everything he says?
I think he is being truthful about what he really believes to be true about our situation.  

He is also being a little over the top to wake people up because I think he knows after all these years what our attitudes are regarding energy, ie. we take it for granted.  

He is a scholarly type, from Harvard, and I think regardless of the money he may have made, is really concerned about our future.  

Otherwise, I can not imagine why someone would take such risk, with little to really gain, because he just steped down from CEO so he can speak more.

He is not running for office. Not asking for a job from the Bush crowd, and he really is not helping big oil much with his message.  He is an investment banker, and my take is because new reserve projects have been decreasing, his business is done in the long run.  Instead of just cashing in and retiring, he has decided to speak out, educate us, research, stick his neck out, be interviewed, and so far it has got a lot of attention.  That is a huge risk, and I suspect he would not take it unless he really, really saw something that made him very concerned.    

I think Simmons' big motivator is a search for the truth. Twilight in the Desert reads like a geeky detective story. It took a lot of work to find the raw material for the book, and a lot more to piece it together.

I think it's the same for many of us on TOD: the pieces of the oil puzzle simply don't fit together, and there is a need to make sense of it all. We're working to reduce cognitive dissonance every day. Some days are better than others.

It took a lot of work to find the raw material for the book, and a lot more to piece it together.

A crucial part of the picture people are missing (IMHO) is that it does take a bold man, one who is willing to step away from the herd, and to step away from the "me and my private-profits" mentality.

Simmons is such a man.
Hubbert was such a man.

Think about it.
It is 1956.
For the last 100 years (since Drake in 1959) everybody in the oil business has been making money hand over foot by sticking to the basic script:

 (1)Worry only about yourself,
(2)Find a geologically promising site;
(4) Drill,
(5) Hit a big pot of luck underground and start pumping; and
(6) Repeat steps 1-6.

This is Adam Smith capitalism at its best.
What kind of maroon would step outside this box and start collecting data?
My gosh man, there are thousands of drill sites and everybody is happy in shit, making money. Why start messing things up, upsetting the apple cart, and asking questions? Have you no sense of decency? Have you no shame?

Such was the man named Hubbert.
Such is the man named Matt Simmons.

God bless him.

For the usual reasons quoted by everyone else, I generally consider Simmons to be one of the more trustworthy experts.

I would, however, like to see him stop with the headline-grabbing predictions.  In this article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9753233/) he talks about the possibility of $40 natural gas and $190 oil this winter.

Someone needs to sit Matt down and explain to him that it helps no one for him to make these kinds of lottery ticket predictions.  If he happens to be right, he looks like a genius, but otherwise he looks like just another clueless chicken little.

If he's convinced Bad Things are coming, then he should say so, but without hanging a number on the prediction.

... but otherwise he looks like just another clueless chicken little.

Wait a minute.
This sounds like a huge double standard.
How come you are not out here taking Steve Forbes (Captain Capitalism) on for guranteeing a year ago in his front page editorial of Forbes Magazine that oil would be down below $35 by now and arguing all who are crying "beware" are chicken littles who do not understand the fundamentals of commodities ... that their prices always goes down?

Oil: $35 or $105? Part 1
The other day I posted a link to an article that was sent to me in which the financial publisher and previous presidential candidate Steve Forbes called the energy markets a bubble and said that oil would be going to $35 a barrel inside of a year. That figure is in sharp contrast to the Goldman Sachs $105 super spike scenario.

Who's right? ...
In the Forbes case, it's very likely that the call was politically motivated. If prices fall he's a hero. If prices don't fall, well then at least he tried to help the people. I don't have such a problem with that because if he were able to influence prices to the downside that would be good for the majority of people except likely Goldman Sachs and numerous hedge funds and their investors.

Overzealous opportunists and office seekers aside what then is the truth of oil prices?


See also:

P.S. ... and yes, oil is "down" to $60 today, but get real, 60=/=35 !!!!

In Summary:

How come Steve Forbes gets the Smirking Happy Chimp award for being the messenger of Happy Days Acoming?

And Matt Simmons gets the boot for being a realistic pessimist?

Is it because of our irrational human nature?

Is that the whole basis of our "rational" thunking?

The one problem that I see with Simmons is that he consistently underestimates the role that efficiency and conservation can play. This last year he has come to recognize the train/truck potential, but he downplays the potential for more efficient cars, citing the length of time needed to replace the fleet. While his numbers are right they overlook the Pareto principle. On NG he has not really thought through the potential for either efficiency or demand destruction. Having said that a NG spike to $40.00 is not so outlandish. In Feb. 2003 NG went to $18.00/MBtu interday, and to $28.00 briefly intraday. The NY gate has gone above $30.00 more than once in recent years, even if that is only a local effect.
Simmons himself has said that he has advised Bush and Cheney, but noted that he is not close to either one. He strikes me as an honest man, seriously concerned for the country, and hoping that he can contribute to averting, or at least ameliorating, a major economic crisis. More power to him.  Murray
Ah, you have hit upon the crux of my reservations about Simmons:  What knowledge does he have of possibly sinister goings on behind closed doors at the Cheney Energy Task Force and related meetings of top policy makers that he is not publicly revealing?  I admire Simmons too; but to be truly heroic, I would urge him to turn fully against his socio-economic class interests and tell all.  My argument for why he should do this is that his great caring and concern for the world as a whole (which I also believe is genuine - like everyone else who has been posting about this) directly contradicts his continued partial allegiance to his own socio-economic class.
Let's not attack Matt for his motivations. He is sticking his neck out personally and professionally. He does not have to do it as he looks to be a man of considerable means. He could easily retire and invest his fortune and watch the world pull itself apart.

He is one who understands the implications from a business point of view. The problem of peak oil is just not geologic, it is also an economic, social and political problem.

Peak Oilers come in all shapes, flavours and occupations.
We do not have to have the same voting records or affliations.  What motivates us all is the problem at hand. We need to spend less time amongst ourselves questioning each others motives and more time debating what actions we can take to solve this enormous facing the whole world. There is no silver bullet.

It will need both high tech and low tech solutions. What wee need more is to understand is when and what to use at the right time.


the thing about simmons that surprises me is that he's the ultimate insider , with lots to lose in terms of credibility,and yet he keeps pounding away. the aspo crowd, in juxtaposition, are all retired for the most part. whistleblowers seem rarely to come from his station in life.
I mean he is a member of the CFR... but I'm willing to believe that its not a grand conspiracy (even if that would be more fun).

I think one big reason simmons is speaking out is because he has kids and realizes that the rapture is not upon us (or if it is, that's really bad).

Simmons adds a lot of weight, experience, scholarly approach and credibility to the Peak Oil debate. He mixes extensive research, astute "big picture" observations with a lot of open questions and directional comments.  He has raised hugely important issues.

The use of the word "may" is key his forward-looking comments -  which sometimes end up distorted in the press and appear to be "over the top".

I believe that he senses a "large" role for himself in the evolving energy crisis, much larger than selling his book. I for one am very glad that he is willing to fill that role.  He may yet come to be a person of some historic significance.  I wish him well.

I have for some time wondered what was Simmons' role in the Iraq war. He has said that he told the US government about the imminent Peak Oil. But we don't know what it was exactly. It might very well have been a warning of the possibility of a sudden Saudi depletion. The intermediary peak oil price rise in 2000 may have convinced Bush, Cheney and others that the situation was alarming.

After 2001 the US government started two wars to reach new potential oil areas - Central Asia through Afghanistan and Iraq (Western Deserts). Especially the timetable of the Iraq war was clearly forced. The goverment obviously believed Simmons and feared  that oil prices would start rising considerably and if the price level would reach a very high level already before the war the inevitable additional war effect would cause a severe oil shock. There was no way to know for sure in advance what kind of disturbances the Middle East oil production would suffer during the war.

The oil prices increased about 30% in the beginning of the war - if this would happen now we would have $80 oil. We should remember also that Cheney could get direct information about Saudi production via Halliburton experts in the field. He had probably at least partially the same facts Simmons has used.

But Simmons and the government missed. The 2000 peak was only temporary and the Russians saved the day. There was no significant new oil in Central Asia and quite likely nothing important in the Iraqi deserts. The papers of the Iraqi oil ministry are now in the hands of the Americans. Oil price is high but there are still a lot of supply. Getting more Iraqi oil back online seems not to be very interesting. Nobody is making noise about the fact that the Iraqi situation takes out at least 1 mbpd of supply in stead of adding 1 - 1.5 mpd or even more as advertised.

Now the US has two prolonged and expensive - and futile wars in its hands. Simmons has of course no personal responsibility for this - he didn't make the decisions.


Thanks to everyone for your comments on Matthew Simmons.  I really don't know what to think of him.  On the one hand, I share the admiration many of you have expressed both about his intellectual expertise as a Peak Oil theorist, and the fact that he really does seem to care deeply about the future of the planet - unlike many, many others from the upper-class background he hails from.  But I have to confess that his personal, professional, and political ties to Bush, Cheney's energy task force of 2001, the Council on Foreign Relations, etc., bother me quite a lot.  It almost seems like he would have to fully renounce and repudiate these kinds of ties to the Power Elite if he were to derive the full logical consequences of his care and concern for the planet, and for the future of humanity.  In a closely related vein, it seems like he would have to fully renounce and repudiate these kinds of ties in order to be fully truthful about how Peak Oil is being dealt with politically and militarily.  Any thoughts on how to reconcile those two aspects of who Matthew Simmons is?
I have to confess that his personal, professional, and political ties to Bush, Cheney's energy task force of 2001, the Council on Foreign Relations, etc., bother me quite a lot

I have thought about this quite a lot.

The fact that he is the polar opposite of the likes of Heinberg and Ruppert, yet saying the same things as they, really makes me sit up and listen.

I think it's possible that Simmons is naive. Someone used the word "geek" above. That may clinch it. I don't see this as an insult (because I'm one, too).

The "personal friend of Bush" stuff nauseates me. But I genuinely LIKE Simmons, I intuitively trust him--BECAUSE he verifies what many, many other peak oil subscribers say from the opposite end of the political claptrap scale.

Recently, I had an opportunity to show someone (someone very smart) a screen shot of the Hubert curve projections:

"I've seen these many times before," he said, "there is nothing new here, except they keep shifting the timing of the peak to the right every couple of years."

Suddenly, I had a flashback.
I had seen these curves before also.
They did nothing for me.
It was just a bunch of graphs claiming they can "see the future".
There are millions of BS graphs like this all around.

So what made me a Peak Oil convert?
It was Matt Simmons.
It was Matt Simmons on CSPAN.
He was talking about horizontal drilling techniques.
It sounded, real, plausible and technically coherent.

And of course, because I had been an engineer, I was interested in paying attention for a moment so I can learn about MODERN MARVELS ... how we humans get our oil now a days.

Then Matt starting talking about 3rd generation extraction techniques and how these were running out of steam IN SAUDIA ARABIA of all places!!!

That is what caught my attention.
That is what triggered me into actually doing some research.

I ran into plenty of gloom-doom-and-whacko Internet sites. But some of the sites had substance to them. Some of the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place.

It started with Matt Simmons.
He knew how to connect.

He is an International Hero.

The Oil Drum in fall
is replete with many words:
we like step back's poems.
I'm with you socially and politically, but let's give Matt a break. We don't need to integrate his personality, gain his confession, renunciation, or repudiation.

Simmons is, publicly, a single-issue guy, sounding the alarm bell on supply. He has certain political leanings (which he does not trumpet) that put him more in step with the majority of America. And his connections make him more credible, powerful and useful. But he is not a policy maker, and we can't hold him to account for that.

We shouldn't have a peak oil litmus test. We need everyone to know and understand, and to develop and debate solutions. Roscoe Bartlett describes himself as one of the most conservative members of Congress (eek!). But he's right on peak oil, and he's the only one talking, and I hope he lives and legislates until he's 100.

At this stage, I will be an issue-specific ally of anyone who is accurately talking about supply and demand issues. Until we get it through the collective skull that there is a big problem looming, we can't debate solutions. Awareness comes first. Politics comes later.

Thanks for your comment, Rick.  I am not certain that you are correct that politics must come later rather than now, but I will not press the matter further at this time.  Instead, I would like to add one small item to the Simmons accolades that this thread has produced.  At the last ASPO meeting, during one of the panel discussions, Simmons referred to Colin Campbell as "my friend Colin Campbell."  I found this quite touching, especially since I do not think the two see eye to eye when it comes to the politics of Peak Oil.
Dunno if this has been noticed, but Chris Skrebowski just published an updated Megaprojects (PDF file, 152KB) report in Petroleum Review. The conclusion: plenty of new additions to capacity in 2006-07, but not enough to ease the prices:
This latest update - based on public sources of information - identifies a total of 16.65mn b/d of new capacity due onstream by 2010. This, in turn, is made up of 6.34mn b/d of incremental Opec capacity and 10.31mn b/d of non-Opec capacity additions (see p2 for basis of tabulation). This is directly comparable with the 16.5mn b/d identified by the consultant CERA in its recent report. However, CERA's happy conclusion that potentially price depressing excess supply was about to emerge does not appear to take project slippage and depletion fully into account and, therefore, appears highly optimistic.(...)

The world has now reached the point where the volumes lost to depletion are much larger than the levels of likely new demand. This means total increments requred (new demand plus depletion) are running at around 7%/y, while the largest supply increments in 2006 and 2007 are contributing 3.6% and 3.5%.

It would seem most unlikely that small projects and infill drilling could account for the remaining required 3.5%. The inescapable conclusion is that oil prices will have to remain high enough to destroy demand, bringing supply and demand back into balance.

See also the latest item on the ODAC website:
World's Largest Oil Companies Struggling to Hold Production Levels

"Quite remarkably, in the first half of 2005 the top five, the top ten and the top 22 publicly quoted oil companies all produced less crude and NGLs [Natural Gas Liquids] than they did in 2004," according to a report published in the October issue of Petroleum Review.  Compared with 2003, ten companies produced less in the first half of this year.  Nine companies produced less than in 2002.  "Clearly, it is no exaggeration to say that the world's largest oil companies are now really struggling to hold production levels," the report says.  Meanwhile, a recent study by energy consultants Wood Mackenzie shows that only a quarter of the 28 leading oil companies active in international exploration have fully replaced their production through new field discoveries.  The group of companies studied represents more than 30 percent of total world oil supply.  "Not only is exploration more expensive now, but it has become more difficult to achieve success, as the more accessible fields have been discovered," the study author Andrew Latham said, noting that the industry has not discovered any new "world-class" fields since 2000.

This is very important news indeed! it seems that CERA has completely downplayed the importance of depletion!
Great news! Kiwi inventor has a simple process that converts water so it will run a standard internal combustion engine. Pour it through a special box, put it in the engine, and you've got energy. http://www.biosmeanslife.com/  We can all go home now, as peak oil is solved.
How nice, they have a "quotes" page, but no info about "what" it supposedly is.  And yet how many people are going to believe this, despite "a car that runs on water" conspiracys going back to the 60's or 70's?
Hey coffee,

You would not believe the number of people that actually believe there are cars that run on water. Hell, even Mancow tells his listeners the same.. I talk about peak oil to many different people and may times I get the response that "they have cars that run on water" so why should I worry..

SO there are many people that believe cars can be made to run on water...

I've heard the same from elderly family members. Somewhere around World War II or shortly after, a rumor started circulating around that this inventor had found a magic pill you put in water to convert the water into automobile fuel. The rumor continued that Detroit was very upset and somehow got the government to shut this guy down. It's all part of the conspiracy theory about the "They" who have a secret way to energize the world but are holding back because "they" make more money with oil.
How sad that so many people buy into this kind of wishful thinking. I guess the magic fuel pills are buried in a bunker in Area 51 right next to the bodies of the crashed aliens, huh?
Al Capp ran something like that in Lil Abner.  It was a car that ran on smog, but the oil companies shut it down.

Google tells me that Capp inspired these guys:

Cool Car, yes it is.
Thank you for the link.
This is far from a comical idea if combined with the right auxiliary technologies --Thank you.
Question for everyone? Can NG be produced instead NGL by companies considering the very high price of NG compared to NGL? IS it easy to do so? If So it could add to woes in oil over here.
NG is mostly methane (CH4) and some ethane (C2H6). NGL is stuff like propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10). Methane and ethane are gases at normal temperatures and pressures. Propane and butane are gases at room temperature and pressure, but liquify in pipelines in the summer and form hydrate ices in pipelines in the winter and block them.
You can add a little propane and butane to pipelines in the south in the summer but you better make sure that your gas is "dry" in the winter or you will have pipelines clogging.
The Oil Drum is still not really available via google's index.  Are the google bots sweeping the entire site?  If not then can you compare the robots.txt file to that of other scoop sites.  Your's wasn't exactly identical to any of the others when I poked around a bit a few weeks ago - so that might be a clue.

On the topic of new energy sources, has anyone studied quantum nucleonic reactors at all?

Such reactors appear to be safe, do not involve creation of weapons materials at all (hafnium-178 is used), and the reaction shuts down entirely if gamma rays are removed to initiate the reaction. Because of these features, the Air Force is considering prototyping an aircraft to use a quantum nucleonic reactor engine for flight power.

All told, this looks like a promising energy source for not only aircraft but perhaps for rail as well. A rail system powered off quantum nucleonic reactors would help immensely in allowing people to travel and in shipment of goods instead of by truck.

Here's a reference article from the University of Texas at Dallas that discusses the Essential Fundamentals of Quantum Nucleonics. Note that they are very careful to emphasize that this is not a nuclear reaction.

We installed our pellet stove a few weeks ago, and ran it for the first time last weekend.


The Prescott is rated for 800 to 1800 SF spaces (quite a range!); we have about 950 SF.  We installed the stove between our Dining and Living areas, and vented it right next to the brick furnace chimney.  It was a demo so we didn't have to break it in.  The controls are very simple and it starts and stops easily.  The blower makes a bit more noise than I was expecting, but is nowhere near as loud as the NG furnace intermittently blowing air through the ductwork.

At the lowest pellet feed setting our thermostat showed about 74 degrees on a chilly, windy weekend.  The stove housing gets hot, but not enough to burn your flesh.  I do have to get a battery backup because w/o power, smoke can backup into the house.  

From Friday to Sunday afternoon, we ran it only a few hours at a time because it put out much more heat than we needed.  I was adding insulation to the basement on Saturday, and warm air seems to make its way down there, too.  Sunday night was chilly, so we ran it all through the night and awoke Monday to a very warm house.  We are pleased so far.

congrats - sounds like a quality purchase. thanks for sharing the info
Re:  "Hubbert Linearization" Revisited

I just finished a P/Q versus Q plot of the North Sea.  The results are referenced below in the following essay.

In Chapter Three of Kenneth Deffeyes' recent book, "Beyond Oil," Dr. Deffeyes outlined a simplified version of the technique that M. King Hubbert successfully used to predict the peak of U.S. Lower 48 oil production.

There are two knowns:  annual production (P) and cumulative production to date (Q).  One plots P as a percentage of Q versus Q (P/Q versus Q).  After some initially noisy data, the plot settles down into a steady linear progression.  One can extrapolate the plot down to where P is effectively zero, which gives us total estimated cumulative production (Qt).  

As expected, Lower 48 production peaked at 50% of Qt.  Texas peaked at 54% of Qt.   The North Sea peaked at 52% of Qt.  By the way, North Sea oil production is crashing--now down 20% since its 1999 peak. North Sea oil production is critically important since they produce light, sweet crude oil.

Saudi Arabia is currently at 55% of Qt.  The world is currently at about 50% of Qt.

The Oil Drum Blog had a lengthy discussion of the Hubbert/Deffeyes method, at:

So far, once a country/region has decades of serious production, we have seen no exceptions to the "Hubbert Linearization" discussed above.  Also, we have generally only seen production declines significantly prior to the 50% of Qt mark because of political problems, e.g., the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

So far, what we have never seen is increasing production beyond about 55% of Qt.  This implies that Saudi Arabia--and the world--are right at the cusp of production declines.  Interestingly enough, the Saudis appear to be desperately trying to ramp up their drilling program, and world crude oil + condensate production is basically flat year over year, showing essentially zero increase in oil production.

We tried an aggressive drilling program in Texas after production peaked in 1972.  When oil prices went up by 1,000%, we saw the biggest drilling boom in state history.  As a consequence, the number of producing oil wells in Texas increased by 14% in the 10 years after 1972.  However, oil production fell by 30% over the 10 year period after peak production.   The bottom line was that the smaller fields that were being found could not make up for the declines from the old large fields like the East Texas Field.

If you wish, I can send you PDF files showing P/Q versus Q plots for Texas and the North Sea.   Basically, once you have seen one P/Q versus Q plot, you have seen them all.

Based on the P/Q versus Q plots, at current rates of consumption, North Sea reserves will only last for 10 years, the Lower 48 for 14 years and Saudi Arabia for 23 years.  What this obviously implies is that all three regions are going to show sharp production declines.  Two of these regions are already showing--exactly as predicted--ongoing production declines.  The question is Saudi Arabia, and as Matt Simmons pointed out in his recent book, "Twilight in the Desert," almost all of the Saudi's current production is coming from old oil fields.

What about the widely heralded tar sands?  Since 1999, for every three barrels of new oil production per day from Canadian tar sands, conventional Canadian oil production has fallen by one bpd.  Also, it takes the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil to process tar sands into three barrels of usable oil.   Therefore, the Canadian oil industry has to produce three bpd of oil from tar sands to have one net incremental bpd of oil, on a net energy basis.  Each incremental bpd of new oil production probably represents a total capital investment by the Canadian oil industry of well in excess of $100,000 per new net incremental bpd of oil production.  This gives us an idea of just how hard--and expensive--it is going to be to materially raise oil production.

For example, on a year over year basis, total Canadian oil production has fallen slightly.

FYI--Matt Simmons and James Kunstler will be presenting a seminar on:  "The Unfolding Energy Crisis and its Impact on Development Patterns"  in Dallas on 11/1/05.  

More information and ticket ordering at:  www.smu.edu/esp

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey, thank you for writing a complete comprehendable piece.

I'm a lay reader who is wracked with doubt over peak oil because of my lack of specialty in the subject. Thanks for reminding us that it can be easy to understand.

While looking at a totally different project (water consumption in the Arizona desert) I came across some interesting information. I came across a chart detailing the useage of water across the nation by category in 2000. What startled me was that 48% of water in the whole country was under the heading "Thermoelectric Uses". The first thing that sprung to mind was nuclear reactors and massive steam turbines. This in turn reminded me of an interesting fact. A previous post detailed the additional power required from the electrical grid if all vehicles were converted to electricity. The post mentioned that if the gap in supply is made up by building new reactors, somehting over 800 new reactors would be needed across the United States. I then found that there are just over 100 currently in operation. Here is my point: even if nuclear power uses only 25% of the national water supply, that means that 400 reactors (half the amount needed) would consume ALL the United States water. Granted, alternatives are possible, and it is unlikely that even 10 new reactors will be constructed in the near future, but has anyone yet considered this dimension to the electricity solution?
I believe that some reactors in Europe were on the verge of shutting down this past summer, because of a lack of water.  The problem is that most of the cooling water evaporates.  
No, the problem was that the rivers go to warm and there were a risk of enviromental damage from further heating.

All condensing powerplants need a heatsink for rejecting the heat from condensing the steam leaving the steam turbine before it is pumped back into the boiler. The cheapest heatsink is lots of single pass cooling water, that is used when you have lots of cooling water available. If the river cant recieve the ammount of heat you can pree-cool the water in a cooling tower where evaporation and heat exchange with air cools it down.  Or you can have the cooling tower cooled water recirculated into the condenser only replacing the evaporation.

The water volume used by a nuclear reactor is tiny compared to the water volume used by a hydroelectric dam. I suspect that if you dive into those statistics in detail that you will discover that only a tiny fraction of the water is related to nuclear reactors. Also consider the volume of water converted to steam to drive many oil, natural gas, or coal fired plants. Much of that water is probably included in the total that you cite.

I do not find it credible that 100 reactors use 25% of the US water supply.

Nor do I find it credible.

First of all, one has to realize that there is a big difference between water 'use' and water 'consumption'. Sure, any sort of power plant, be it fossil fuel or nuclear,  with a once-through cooling system will have a very large water throughput. The water is 'used' only in the sense that it is taken out of the river or stream, absorbs waste heat, and is then returned to the same river or stream a few degrees warmer. If a cooling tower is used, then a portion (usually only a few percent) is actually 'consumed' via evaporation. The issue of thermal pollution notwithstanding, there is just about as much water downstream of the power plant as there was upstream.  

There are many obstacles to the building of new nuclear power plants, but I think that water availability is pretty far down on the list - except in the arid Southwest, where water availability is a constraint on just about everything anyway.

Furthermore, a hydroelectic dam may have a huge volume of water passing through it, as its mechanical potential energy is converted into electrical energy, but its actual consumption of water is virtually nil.  The volume of water leaving the hydroelectric plant is the same as the volume of water entering it.

Hoover is wildly the largest single point consumer of water in the US. The water evaporates from behind the dam. If Hoover wasn't there and generating the hydroelectricity from the water, we would have had a lot more water available in the Colorado.
Of course, since we have just passed out of the longest and deepest drought we have ever had in the southwest (according to dendrochronology) for 12000 years, we wouldn't have had all that stored water or the hydroelectricity generated by it, either.
Retailers fear high energy bills!! I couldn't believe my ears today as on the radio, a report that retailers will try and get consumers to shop early because they believe once consumers get their winter heating bills, that most pocketbooks will close up!!  How interesting as well as selfish!!
Won't be a Merry Christmas for the economy... if those high heating bills arrive first.
I think his prediction about oil at $190 this winter hurts his credibility. Earlier he predicted $10/G gas. These things could happen but not this fast. Winter is only weeks away; only a revolution in Saudi Arabia or a war in Iran that closes of the Strait of Hormuz can do that to oil
How about EIA saying we have enough NG for a winter 10% colder than normal? How can that be after the damage in GOM? We are importing gasoline from Europe but how about NG?
Would their be a way to track press over the past year to see how it has changed in regard to Peak Oil?  I think it would then be possible to infer projected increases of awareness in the future.

It seems like about 6 months ago any ballanced (between optimist and pessimist) article would put 25 years as the mean as far as predictions on peak oil.

Lately however, it seems as if the press is paying more attention to opinions that have oil peaking anytime between now and 2010.  I believe the USA today article mentioned the possibility of the US Department of Energy prediction of the mid 1930's, but quickly shot it down.  The recent Guardian article puts strong emphasis in the belief of a scientist who believes we will scrape by for the next 3 years and then start sliding.

Not that this will lead to anything, but I've found it very interesting to keep track of.

Have you seen this?


Perfectly depressing.

This is going to be a weirder trip than I ever could have dreamed.

Sometimes a good idea to check back on the author:

From: http://www.energybulletin.net/8740.html

Freak oil theory
Peter Foster, National Post via Canada.com
Yesterday I pulled into a service station and bought $20 worth of gasoline. Since I'm keen to avoid my first $100 fill-up, and since I expect prices to come down (not least as a reflection of my own actions), I bought just enough to get me around for a couple of days. And I'm not planning any frivolous road trips in the near future.
The collective result of such actions is to reduce demand, boost inventories and put downward pressure on prices until post-Katrina Gulf Coast refining facilities can be brought back onstream and gasoline can be shipped into North America from offshore. That's how markets work.

In the wake of Katrina, however, the deranged chorus that suggests markets don't work, and that we may be on the brink of a new energy Dark Age, is being given way too respectful a hearing. ...
(7 September 2005)
Standard rhetorical misrepresentation of the depletionist case by a mainstream opinionist.
Interesting that Sprott AM come in for a serve, as they're fairly recent public advocates of oil depletion concerns - maybe something to do with the release yesterday of their report on Government Intervention in the Stock Market? -LJ

So this defines peak oil??(sarcasm off)

It is that peaking oil means "the end of economics," or, even more ridiculously, "A New Dark Age," requiring draconian political action. Peak oil theory ultimately isn't about geology or economics at all, it's an example of neo-Malthusian ignorance. It's about a call for a great new wave of energy global governance.

I guess nobody has informed this author that peak oil has already occurred in many countries, including the US..

peaking oil means ... an example of neo-Malthusian ignorance.

The author is not interested in being "informed".

He is interested in using the power of words and suggestion to form images of McCarthiastically-crafted Nightmares ... "Neo" Malthusian Ignorance indeed. This is a new dawn of Neo-McCarthiasm.


Have you no shame Mr. Foster?
It is about the "geology", stupid.
It is about the collapse of our economy.
No energy means no movement.
No movement means no trading.

In the oddities department, we have the world's smallest car, at just 4 nanometers across. Yes, it's nanotechnology research.