DrumBeat: October 13, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 10/13/06 at 9:19 AM EDT]

Oil platform off Angolan waters testifies to Africa's growing importance

"Within a few years, analysts reckon Nigeria (Africa's biggest oil producer) will be playing catch-up with Angola" in deep-water production, Petroleum Economist magazine says in its latest edition.

Angola's oil output is projected to surpass 2 million barrels a day next year and increase by 90 percent from 2005 levels by 2010, according to conservative estimates of the International Monetary Fund. It says that would double Angolan government revenues, even allowing for a price drop. Chevron produces just over 500,000 barrels a day and plans to double production in the next five years.

Statoil, Shell shut in 13% of Norway output for 1-2 weeks

OSLO, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The operators of Norway's Snorre A and Draugen oilfields said on Friday they will halt 280,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day output for a week or two to make safety improvements to lifeboats.

...The shutdowns, ordered by Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority, will equal almost 13 percent of the country's oil production, which amounted to 2.25 million barrels per day in September according to figures released last week.

China's Tarim oil fields may see 50% output increase in 2006

PetroChina Co said gas and oil output from the Tarim Basin fields in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region may jump 50 pct this year as the company intensifies its search for new supplies, state media reported.

Oil prices curtail demand in developed countries

High prices are for the first time in two decades prompting oil demand in developed countries to decrease, the International Energy Agency says.

Attacks on energy rising

Attacks on energy facilities worldwide to hinder the delivery of gas and oil have been rising sharply, the head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency said on Thursday.

"In the past few years we have registered a significant increase in terrorist attacks on energy infrastructure and we must state that there have been qualitative changes," the head of Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Ernst Uhrlau, told a conference on energy security organised by the BND.

Costly oil makes Nova Scotia ports more attractive

MATTHEW SIMMONS is friendly enough but his message isn’t always welcomed, especially by the energy sector.

But from a Nova Scotia point of view, Simmons’s message is a positive because it has the potential of drawing more attention to Nova Scotia as a gateway for goods from Asia to reach North America.

Colombian Indians protest oil drilling

Hundreds of Bari Indians, most clad in loincloths and carrying bows and arrows, came down from the hills in their first march ever Thursday to demand that the state-owned oil company stop drilling on sacred land abutting their reservation.

US motorists gear up to use greener diesel fuel

The drive to convert American motorists to diesel will take a big step forward during the next few days as a more environmentally friendly version of the fuel goes on sale.

The clean-burning ultra-low sulphur diesel emits only 15 parts per million of sulphur, compared with 500 parts for existing diesel.

Study: Climate change inaction will cost trillions

Failing to fight global warming now will cost trillions of dollars by the end of the century even without counting biodiversity loss or unpredictable events like the Gulf Stream shutting down, a study said on Friday.

But acting now will avoid some of the massive damage and cost relatively little, said the study commissioned by Friends of the Earth from the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University in the United States.

Megan Quinn: Proposing Plan C

Downloadable audio: Dick Lawrence and Steve Andrews on ASPO USA Boston Conference

Israel: Desert oil find fuels dream but could prove mirage

Germany, France Urge Russia to Ratify Energy Charter

France and Germany urged Russia to ratify an international energy charter that would provide the European Union with greater security for its energy supplies.

Home wind turbines turn fashionable in Britain

Economic Growth Will Drive Biofuel Industry

“Economic growth is driving these developments,” notes Patricia Woertz, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, a leading supplier of ethanol. “Global real GDP growth is expected to average 3.8% annually through 2030. But it is economic growth in Asia projected to average 5.5% per year that is shaping world scenarios - in particular China, with a 6% GDP followed by India at 5.4%.”

Grain stockpiles at lowest for 25 years

The world’s stockpiles of wheat are at their lowest level in more than a quarter century, according to the US Department of Agriculture, which on Thursday slashed its forecasts for global wheat and corn production.

Byron W. King: Hubbert's Defense Department

WHAT WILL THE WORLD LOOK LIKE on the backside of Hubbert's Peak? What you see depends upon where you stand. If you happen to stand in the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, the view is rather sobering. Well, what I mean to say is that if the view is not rather sobering, then whoever is doing the looking had better get their eyes checked.
Here's an interesting and well-written article, "Beyond corn: Ethanol's next generation", in today's Chicago Tribune that delves into current cellulosic ethanol research.
Afgans have a good cellulose source and the Cunucks try to destroy it... go figure.


Canada Troops Battle 10-ft Afghan Marijuana Plants

..."We tried burning them with white phosphorous -- it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel -- it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

One soldier told him later: "Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I'd say 'That damn marijuana'."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061012/wl_canada_nm/canada_canada_marijuana_col;_ylt=Ajq8M_5I7cingqJnjg tuceJvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM-

Misplaced ignorance in the USA.
Note they are burning the crops due to militant's ability to use it for cover and camouflage, rather than any ideological reason.
True.  It is also interesting to note that they hide in the forest of pot b/c of the heat signature of a pot field is high and they blend in.  Nature is awesome!
NOT cover and concealment, just cover. Concealment is protection against bullets. Like hiding behind some rocks, a good earth berm, etc. Concealment means it just hides you. Cover & Concealment is both - a good deal.

The maryjane is just good to hide in.

OK wait got the words wrong, ... this is an important concept or will be in the US when we do "the Yugoslavia" so learn this good.....

Cover - protects you against bullets
Concealment - hides you

Cover & Concealment - does both.

Here's an interesting and well-written article, "Beyond corn: Ethanol's next generation", in today's Chicago Tribune that delves into current cellulosic ethanol research.

That's a good read. There are lots of things in there to pay special attention to, especially for those who think cellulosic ethanol is just a matter of time. Maybe, maybe not. But one thing it is not is a sure thing:

"It's the holy grail ... if you can make it work," said John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute.

The question is, can you really make it work?

On a sun-baked plateau in Golden, Colo., scientists at the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have been working on that question for three decades. James McMillan, a top biochemical engineer at the lab, said the outlook has never been brighter.

Looming stubbornly in front of researchers is a masterpiece of evolution: the rigid cell walls that give plants their strength and resiliency. Developed over the eons, these walls allow a slender stalk of prairie grass to bend like a ballerina in the wind yet snap back to attention to fend off cold, heat and pestilence. They help explain why a field of corn can grow over a man's head in a matter of a few short months.

The problem is, breaking down those walls is like robbing a bank. While the starch in corn kernels gives up its energy-packed sugars easily, the sugars in plant cell walls are locked into winding structures of complex carbohydrates designed to give plants backbone and protection.

My next essay is going to delve into this issue a bit, and contrast it with biomass gasification - a much better process, in my opinion. I will also point out that lately a number of ethanol advocates have taken to calling their biomass gasification processes "cellulosic ethanol", for reasons that are not completely clear to me.

I'd be very interested in your opinion on this story about two UNL professors studying the use of sweet sorghum as the raw material for future ethanol production.  

 Sweet sorghum's advantages over Nebraska corn are many, he said.
  It doesn't need to be irrigated and goes into dormancy during drought periods.  The ratio of energy produced to energy consumed is much higher than corn, and an acre of sweet sorghum can produce as much as 800 gallons of ethanol.
  Corn's ethanol yield is closer to 250 gallons per acre.

What I like about this is that it is originating academically, not corporate or venture capitalistically.  

I'd be very interested in your opinion on this story about two UNL professors studying the use of sweet sorghum as the raw material for future ethanol production.

There are quite a few things with better yields than corn, but most have some other handling or capital issues. Don't know much about sorghum, but I don know that is the case with wheat.

"Cellulosic ethanol" is the new buzzword.  "Biomass gasification" sounds vaguely like breaking wind.
I have been a fan of Dr. Tom Reed and his research into gasification. I think it could be a significant silver BB.
Gassification is even more interesting as it can be low tech, kills pathogins/insect larve, and the resulting biochar can make the soil into Terra Preta.  

(400 PSI containers is a tad engineering overkill when all yas need is a metal container.)

US to Hold Naval Exercises in the Gulf

... A senior US official insisted the exercise is not aimed specifically at Iran...

The exercise, set for October 31, is the 25th to be organised under the US-led 66-member Proliferation Security Initiative and the first to be based in the Gulf near Bahrain, across from Iran, the officials said...

"It's an effort to bring a lot of Gulf states together to demonstrate resolve and readiness to act against proliferation," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Proliferation Security Initiative, established in 2003 under President George W. Bush, is a voluntary association of countries that agree to share intelligence information and work against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including through military exercises that practise interdiction techniques and coordination...


Well lets hope Bush holds back until the UK Gov listens to its New CGS:


And here is what the  British Army thinks:


...and here is the original Daily Mail scoop.

Worth a read (unless your name is Blair or Bush)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=410163&in_page_id=17 70&ico=Homepage&icl=TabModule&icc=NEWS&ct=5

This puppy will run :)

He already "softened" his stance.

And all was quiet again.

He later told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that when he talked about pulling out of Iraq "sometime soon", he meant "then when the mission is substantially done we should leave".

"We don't want to be there another two, three, four, five years. We've got to think about this in terms of a reasonable length of time."

He said the view that the presence of UK troops "exacerbates" the problems was "not right across the country", but in parts of it.

And he later said in a statement: "I'm a soldier - we don't do surrender, we don't pull down white flags. We will remain in southern Iraq until the job is done - we're going to see this through."

'Still needed'

Downing Street queried the way the chief of the General Staff's original statements, in the Daily Mail, were presented.

A spokesman said Sir Richard was "actually saying what government policy is.

"We don't want to be there any longer than we have to, but ultimately that is a decision for the Iraqi government."

Roel, I think this puppy will run. It is unprecedented (AFAIK) that the CGS would give such a public airing. Strange that it wasnt the Times or Telegraph, but the Mail has a larger readership. Blair has no choice but to allign with and try to contain the CGS. Blair is a lame duck and dare not fire the man. Where the CGS goes, others will feel confident to follow. There will be more.

Was this a warning to the next UK Prime-Minister?

Bad week for BushCo though, 600K + Iraqi dead (maybe)and the CGS of his major partner in the 'coalition of the willing' wanting to get out.

I assume Faux will cover this fairly and in depth?

Bad week for Bush?

How about a particularly bad few years for 600K+ Iraqis?  

That, regrettably is a given. Every week is a bad week for Iraqis.

Apparently the death toll is only half the story. About 40 thousand Iraqis are heading out per month. The kind of Iraqis you need: Engineers, Doctors,Teachers, and yes... Dare I say Lawyers. - The kind of people it takes to build a shattered nation.

BTW: From today's papers, looks like the CGS of UKMil is safe: Nobody dare sack him, least of all B'Liar.

(Will you do us a big favour? When this fart of a man finally fucks off, can you put him on the rubber chicken lecture circuit in the US? Lectures entitled: ''I did it my way, if George said it was ok'' should go down well),  -and he can pick up his pretty medal from congress as well

British Generals and Admirals have had issues with knaves, rats and politicos before but what happend on Friday is unprecedented. A lot of politicos, past and present have objected to the CGS's input. I wonder why?

Home before Christmas? Maybe Christmas 2007. Hope so. This whole Iraqi thing is without doubt the most disgusting atrocity on a nation ever committed by the US and UK in 200 years. And all done in our name by scum not fit to run a whelk stall let alone nations of quality of thought and deed.

The term Pandora's Box springs to mind, but I suppose the semi-literate NeoNaziCons would not have a clue. And anyway, Pandora isnt in the Bible so it cant be true.

About the time we thought Rabbit Skin Loin Cloths were fashionable, the peoples of Mesopotamia were baking the brilliant blue tiles of the Ishtar Gate, building in stone, evolving writing, mathematics and astronomy.

But hey! an Abrahms tank shell trumps all right?

End of Rant.

Waddya mean bad week for Bush?

The Dow set another record today...and crude is under $60.  And he's tough on terrorism you know...that is all I need to be happy in this world.

Funny how the bankers are standing by the rebuild Lebanon after Isreal just got done blowing it all up.  Wonderful GDP boost!


After seeing this same mis-spelling dozens of times on TOD, I have to finally nitpick: It's spelled "Israel".
touchee.  hehe
I thought the Plan C post article was interesting, and optimistic.

Nice to see that it hit the theme I've shared, of happiness and not GDP, or ever-higher energy consumption.

Glad to see and read that you are on the happiness bandwagon!  What a novel concept :)  

These community solutions people I think have the right ideas.  They need to team up with the people working on the physical design of settlements and infrastructure.  If everyone with a lawn grows vegetables, where would they sell them?  This relates to the thread a few days ago about establishing public squares and markets and a walkable downtown.  

They won't sell the veggies, they'll eat them.  If you think you can grow more veggies than you'd eat, in your spare time on a suburban plot, then you havn't tried it.
I have a garden, i know how hard it is and what my yields are.  But, I generally grow more of one thing than I want and nothing of other stuff that I would like.  Sometimes just next door, I'll bring some tomatoes over.  Later, they might bring me some of their brussel sprouts.  For it to really work well, it would be helpful to have more people involved, with even other types of stuff.  This could be conviently done in our more centrally located market.  It's called trading, or if money is used as an intermediate exchange medium, you could call it commerce.  
No one wants my Okra until I distill it...
I've never trusted Okra from reputation and, after seeing a guy eat it, ewwwww the slime! But, the sell it in the Asian markets so someone has come up with a delicious way to cook it (Asians have worked out how to cook anything and make it delicious) so, I may have to look into this odd little vegetable...

I am moving about a mile from here, and will have some ability to garden in pots, and I think do some "guerilla gardening" nearby - if only not easily identifiable stuff like sweet pototoes, okra, nettles, etc.

There is already a delicious way to cook okra, you deep fry it in cornbread batter. It is then absolutely delicious.
This man speaks the truth.

You can also stew it with tomatoes and onions, or make gumbo.  All are wonderful.  Also, since okra is viable up to 105F, everyone should get comfortable with it now.  If the temperatures keep rising, it'll be a feature in many gardens in the years to come.

I prefer okra stewed, or better yet in gumbo :-))

Harvest them every couple of days.  When the pods get too big
(say more than 2.5 inches long) they get "woody".  Quite productive

Good Eating,


Odo: I am sure that you have noticed that the basis for all advertising (which is endemic in the American culture) is that you cannot be happy without whatever crap du jour they are pushing.
it is an obvious catch-22 that no one wants to advertise nothing ;-)
Well, advertising started out saying in objective terms why your product was better than the competitors, usually for products that people actually 'needed'.  Now, mostly they appeal to more fundamental or baser desires such as survival, acceptance, domination and often for products that are very optional.  

I particularly like the Hummer ads like the one where the timid lady is at the playground and a rude kid cuts in front of hers at the slide and she say to the rude kids mother 'johnny was next' and the even ruder rude kids mother says 'not any more'.  At that moment the timid mother sees a Hummer addvertisement on the side of a bus and the scene cuts to a dealer's showroom with the salesman handing over to the timid lady the keys to a Hummer.  Next you see her behind the wheel of that monster with a big, slightly wicked smile on her face (probably looking for the rude kids mother to roll over).  

i funny moment for me was when i saw a magazine called 'real simple' at the library.  i guess it shouldn't have been a shock to see that they tell you what you need to buy, to live simply.

but naturally a 'real-real simple' would not inspire advertisers.

Yeah I've seen "real simple" too, it's a thick glossy mag that's almost everywhere in the Bay Area and the ppl here step out of their Hummers to buy it without an inkling of the irony.

There was a Simple Living I think, or something like that - all these mags are glossies, full of adverts for crap.

If you want to get the real essence of non-consumerist living, you have to hang with the last of the Depression kids at the local VFW or Senior Center.

The catch-22 is a lot deeper: that is why the economy will crash for lack of cheap energy.  One person's "crap" is nother person's livelihood.  In the USA, about a half-million people work in the postal service, and the vast majority of mail these days is "junk" (unsolicited advertisements).  That's just the people who deliver it.  Now count the people who design the mailings (and TV ads and newspaper ads and internet ads...), those who print them, etc etc.  Then could those who make or sell or ship the crap, etc etc etc.  Like WT says, most Americans live on the discretionary income of other Americans.  All enabled by cheap energy (which enables cheap food).
that is the arc of doomer thought.  we are all terrible creatures, destined to death and collapse, and would have met our deserved ends long ago ... were it not for the historical accident of cheap energy.

darn that cheap energy!

I don't think that's quite accurate.  Cheap energy enabled the ecological overshoot that doomers claim so when that is gone comes the collapse.  I don't know where I am on the doomer scale, it varies daily, but I do think that anyone who pins this silliness only on our species is a speciest (like a racist).  

Ants do the exact same thing.  Drop a 5lb bag of sugar near an ant colony and before long, the colony has grown and expanded due to the good life brought on by this cheap energy source.  After the suger is gone they start eating each other or attacking other ant colonies to take their stash.  

It's just the way the world works.  


i was apiring to be irracible!

if i must be reasonable, i'd say that we can't just speak in grand arcs and generalizations.  when is energy "cheap" and when does that "end?"  the devil is in the details.

to say it must end someday, and that the people alive then will be unprepared, is a bit of a reach.  an optimist could answer otherwise, with as little grounding in fundimentals.

Energy is "cheap" if the EROI is high, say 10 or more.  The evidence is that what we'll have left in 10 or 20 years will be much worse.  E.g., even if the ethanol promoters are right, and it has a net energy gain, the EROI of 1.3 or so is pitiful, and will not maintain the "party".
the hirsch report, etc., point to a pretty significant oil production 10 or 20 years from now.

down, but not out.

"that is the arc of doomer thought."

I think it would be more correct to say "that is the cornucopian oversimplification of the arc of doomer thought."

In other words, please don't try to use a single brush stroke to characterize all of us who either don't believe our society/economy/lives will continue on the same path as we are currently on.

actually, i'll be just as critical of a cornucopian, if you can get one to show up here.

in the meantime, tod seems to draw another sort ...

BTW, vtpeaknik has responded twice in two days with a flat certainty of economic crash.  I believe he means a near term economic crash.

Do you share that, or do you think I might be speaking to a more extreme player in his case?

I'm not sure what vt believes, nor do I really know the full scope of his accussed doomerism (did I just coin a new word?).

Personally, I think there's a pretty good chance that we'll see a retraction starting in the next few months. Will this be THE crash? I doubt it since I don't believe in a single crash. By best guess at this point would be a series of recessions/depressions played out over decades, each one ending with a "recovery" to a lower economic standard of living.

But, that's not really my point. There are all sorts of different ideas about our future that get called "doomer" here. Some appear to me to be pure nonsense, others seem insightful. They may appear differently to ithers. Still, to paint them all as the same in some sense, especially in reference to the thought processes behind them, does a disservice to our efforts to have meaningful discussions here.

So, if you want to make fun of some conspiracy theory post that claims a coming inevitable global financial collapse - that's fine. But please don't lump me in with that, because I'm coming from a different place.

Just as you reacted negatively to my suggestion that you were a cornucopian (something I was counting on when I wrote it), others will react to your labelling them in the same way. So please be aware that, even among those who wear the label proudly (of which I am not one), there are many flavors of doomerism (there's that word again).

is the problem that you self-identify with an extreme, without sharing that extreme's values?
I simply am a long time student of politics and society. The only problem in this area that I have is with people who generalize too much. I suppose you think your response was clever, but what I read in it is a form of closed-mindedness. You seem to think that all forms of collapse thinking are the same. This is kind of like saying that all <fill in the blank> people are the same (and you know how they are, wink, wink).

So when you're done thinking that you have the correct answer and wish to actually discuss what makes some of us think that  a collapse is coming (and what that collapse might look like), I'll be here, and so will some others. You might find we can actually have a pretty good discussion.

Here's an idea. Ask a couple doomers exactly what is collapsing - and make them be specific. I've said this before here, what I believe we are seeing is the collapse of western civilization. If you'd like, I can go into more detail.

acutally, my thought was "what can I say to this guy?"

He says our society will crash, and goes on to explaint that it's the junk mail and etc:

The catch-22 is a lot deeper: that is why the economy will crash for lack of cheap energy.  One person's "crap" is nother person's livelihood.  In the USA, about a half-million people work in the postal service, and the vast majority of mail these days is "junk" (unsolicited advertisements).  That's just the people who deliver it.  Now count the people who design the mailings (and TV ads and newspaper ads and internet ads...), those who print them, etc etc.  Then could those who make or sell or ship the crap, etc etc etc.  Like WT says, most Americans live on the discretionary income of other Americans.  All enabled by cheap energy (which enables cheap food).

I think you hung your response to me off the wrong thread, buddy.

I think my response was appropriate to the "doomer arc" in the above.

Sorry of this is late - I've been out all day contributing to the coming collapse ;-). You can ignore it if you like.

But I will admit, that you can be a rather frustrating fellow. You can appear to be quite bright in one post and almost intentionally dense in the next.

I was specifically asking you to be a litte more open minded about the wide variety of collapse theories. Certainly I agree with you that a collapse theory based on junk mail is not worth much. But you keep wanting to take the step of condemning all collapse theories because some are "out there."

I think my brain does work better on some days than others .. that too contributes to my self-doubt
BTW, I have asked a few nuts and bolts questions, things that I need to support "collapse" from my pedantic position.

The cornerstone question IMO is "where is your oil depletion rate?"

If this is a "peak oil" thing, and not a general philosophy (or a value-group gathered around a philosophy), you'll be able to tell me when the shorfall hits, and why the remaining energy sources are not sufficient to support a technological society.

Here's an idea. Ask a couple doomers exactly what is collapsing - and make them be specific.

He has, but I don't think he really understood the answers.  Either he wasn't really trying, or it's so outside his frame of reference he just couldn't wrap his brain around it.

I picked up "The Happiness Hypothesis" (referenced indirectly, earlier) from the local library.  I've only gone few pages, but these lines registered:

[...] The second idea is Shakespeare's, about how "thinking makes it so."  (Or, as Buddha said, "Our life is the creation of our mind."  But we can improve on this ancient idea today by explaining why most people's minds have a bias toward seeing threats and engaging in useless worry.  We can do something to change this bias by using three techniques that increase happiness, one ancient and two very new.

I guess that all comes out in the was as ... is it just me?

Or have the relatively few "doomers" in our society really found the threat and worry that the rest of us cannot see?

Pick up "The Road" at the library or the local bookstore. It will take you six hours to read. Maybe less maybe more. It raises important questions.

If don't you believe me. Look it up on Amazon. After reading the book within 36 hours of hearing of it, the reviews on Amazon were the only fix I could get. This book is not for kids and it is definitely not a Christmas present for anybody but your closest friends and family.

The Road has 22 holds on it at the local library.  Popular.

FWIW, I'll quote the earlier reference, from the Happiness and Public Policy blog:

I've just received Jonathan Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis and so far it is the best "how to be happy" book I've come across. Good combination of classical wisdom, current research, and good sense. For those who don't know of him, Haidt is a first-rate social psychologist at UVA who works on moral emotion and cognition.

We are all near-monkeys, with only imperfect machinery for rational thought.  None of us gets off the hook here.

That's why I love you, Odo. You gotta sense of humour and you're smart, too. "The Road" isn't a happy-feel-good book. I wonder why everybody's rushing out to buy it. It sells a lie in a most unpalatable form. Sheeple? The Hoi Polloi? Mind you, I wuz one of the first to read it.

And I always get off the hook.

Oh, wait. Those hooks that Hitler hung those guys on that tried to assassinate him. How big were they? This raises interesting questions.

What do Hugo Chavez' torture prisons look like? Does the ICRC get access to them, too?

Saw III comes out on Halloween.

Like I said...I don't think you have any understanding of so-called "doomers."  Who they are, why they think the way they do, etc.

Doomers, IME, are not necessarily less happy or more anxious than others.  If anything, it's "cornucopians" and "moderates" who are unhappy and anxious.  On some level, they are worried, or they wouldn't come here.  There's a certain peace that comes with accepting the worst.  And if it doesn't come to pass, it's a happy surprise.

I think you missed the key there.  I'm interested in the happiness thing because it relates to the "treadmill" of modern consumer society.  That in turn relates to the "growth" discussions we've had in the past (the extent to which growth should be properly measured as GDP, etc.).  Most of us here have tied those consumer/treadmill/happiness ideas to oil at one point or another.

But the "hook" above is not really the happiness itself, but where it fits in broader ideas of human rationality.  IIRC, some of us here have read Antonion Damasio's "Descare's Error" and recommended it here.  The "happiness" book is in that line (and carries a jacket recommendation from Damasio).  It is another well-recommended book about how our brains

And I quoted it in response to the bit where you of me "he couldn't wrap his brain around it."

That's right, and that's why I quoted the bits about "Our life is the creation of our mind" and " most people's minds have a bias toward seeing threats and engaging in useless worry."

Why couldn't I "wrap my brain" ... that's the big question.

I think my core position of uncertainty and moderation is based on a self-knowledge of my imperfect ability to foretell the future by "rational" means.

We suffer from an asymmetrical discussion in that sense.  People more convinced than me are asking me (a) to believe in their conviction, and (b) to believe in their conclusion.  All this of course while equally convinced people suggest quite different conclusions.

From this side of the scanner...it's not at all asymmetrical.  

FWIW, I'm not asking you to believe anything.  I'm interested in what other people believe, but I don't really care about changing it.  Any more than I'd try to change someone's religion.  (I always hated missionaries.)

This might be a rich vein to mine ... if we have the fortitude.

Explain "collapse" to the general population, and X percent will come back believing it.  To make a risky monkey prediction, I'd say that for large values of X that tells us something about society ... but for small values of X, it might tell us more about the distribution of human psychology and outlook.

I close, as I really should more often, with the excellent and ancient USENET acronym: YMMV.

Sinerum scopuli.
Sirenum duh.
hubba hubba
The sirens of wah?
Exactly. We need to get a bigger photo, though. Preferably with the breasts not in shadow.
Your wishes are granted here (parental control /on)
Step back and give yourself a reason to think for a second. Step Back. Parental discretion is advised. Thank you. I needed that. Step Back. Just for a second.
I'm talking about the one in the middle. The one on the left looks like she's riding a bull. And the one on the sand looks like Poseidon already bit off her left leg.
LOL, should be "how our brains [work]."

... further evidence of imperfection ;-)

There's a certain peace that comes with accepting the worst.

Not for all, the "chief doomer" Jay Hanson himself takes it pretty seriously. I was NOT DOOMER ENOUGH for him!    
May be odograph could take on Jay but I suspect he won't because Jay is a "good doomer" (same tribe...)

On the Buddha - I'd caution against depending too much on superficial interpretations of "what the Buddha said."

While the line you quote is not totally out of line with the understanding of mind that has come out of Buddhist philosophy, you must be very careful not to think that it is some sort of solipsism. Now I do not know the book to which you are referring, but the lines about making it better suggest a very dark twist or a deep misunderstanding of the idea behind Buddhism.

To be specific, the Buddha starts with four basic tenants (often referred to at the four noble truths).
First, all life is Dukkha. Unfortunately this is often translated as suffering. But that is not a good translation.
Second, the origin of Dukkha is desire. Dukkha is sometime alternatively translated as longing or desire. Clearly not a good translation as it would make this statement a tautology. However if you put these two definintions together, you are beginning to get there. The Buddha is referring here to the tendency of the mind to be always moving toward, thinking about things other than what are in the moment. This creates yet further thoughts about what is not in the moment and what we are thinking and on and on. So in a sense, Dukkha can also be translated as dissatisfaction. But what is important to know is that this is what mind does. (We could go into why the Buddha starts here, but that is another discussion)
Third, it is possible for Dukkha to be ended.
Fourth, the way to end Dukkha is to follow the example of the Buddha. I've shortened this last "truth" as it is usally stated as a description of the Buddha's path - an eightfold description not necessary here. In short, though, the Buddha's path is really a matter of taming or disciplining the mind so as to keep it in the moment. Clearly, this is a vision of hope, not the nihilsm often attributed by westerners with only a superficial understanding of Buddhism.

i'm only on page 13 ...
meant to type "comes out in the wash"
Don't worry, we'll be just fine.  The new economy will be based on all of us selling each other insurance.  
Isn't it interesting that we have a "no call list" but not a "no junk list"?  It would be interesting to see the energy savings that would occur if a "no junk list" were implemented.  You can of course call each company that sends you junk but it is hard to keep up.
I've been fairly successful in getting off of mailing lists.  But the most bulky junk mailings are the ones addressed to "current resident" or "car rt sort", i.e., the ones broadcast to everybody in the area.  You can refuse first class mail (the postal service will dispose of it, not that that helps anything), but you cannot refuse those bulk mailings.  I consider the sending of it as littering.   Why is it illegal to throw it on my lawn but it is legal to put it into my mailbox?  If I was "czar" I would decree that everybody should have the right to label their mailbox as refusing mail that does not have on it the name of an actual person living there.
That's the middle ground.  That way people can still get their credit card offers.
You're probably stuck with alot of the junk, but the credit card offers are kind enough to include a free reply envelope.  What I've been doing with mine is to tear off the parts with my name on them, and anything with a barcode, and then tear the rest of it into small pieces, including the outer envelope, and stuff the shreds into the reply envelope and send it back.  
Try this:


I know people who have goodluck by getting off the DMA's list.


I'm thinking of giving a PO talk to a group I belong to. Does anyone have any tips on giving such a talk? Thanks.
Hi optimist,

I don't think Dr. Campbell will object if you borrow from this 1999 lecture http://www.geologie.tu-clausthal.de/Campbell/lecture.html

Sorry, no longer available I see now.
Be sure to instruct them to buy dozens of his books too...we wouldnt want Mr Campbell to be unable to gas guzzler now wouldnt we!
Hothgor, if you don't have anything useful to add, please don't add anything at all. Don't waste my time or yours.
Hothgor is hardly the greatest time waster here, he's just one who you seem to disagree with.

I agree with Robert Rapier's suggestion to focus on the facts and less on the point scoring, but mixed in it all Hothgor does seem to have made a large number of substantive posts.

If your issue was really wasting time, there are other posters who would be much better targets.

Do you really just want to hear a bunch of people agreeing and praising each other for how smart they are?

I've given such a talk once, and am about to do it twice more.    My main advice is decide on a single message.  The temptation to throw out too much information is very strong.  Resist it, and illuminate your message with fairly broad strokes.  Don't be afraid of making assertions, you don't need to support or footnote everything in a talk like this.  Throw in as much humour as you can - this can be a heavy, even frightening topic, and you need to leaven the loaf a bit.

You can see my slides here, and you can download the Powerpoint version here.

The main theme I decided on was, "Peak Oil is a liquid transportation fuel problem", with one submessage, "Peak Oil is a flow rate problem" and one conclusion, "There is no technical solution."  I presented it to a fairly sophisticated audience (the local Club of Rome chapter), but by stripping out a bit of the detail and being careful with the verbal embellishment I'm hoping to make it suitable for a more general audience as well.  Feel free to use any of it you want.

Kuwait still tight mouthed concerning true oil reserves but nevertheless they are giving lip service to a boost in oil production.

KUWAIT: The Chairman of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), Farouk Al-Zanki announced that in case the Northern Oil Fields project was not approved by the parliament, KOC had many other alternatives in raising its production in accordance to the strategy set for until 2010 with an aim to boost Kuwait's daily production to 4 million barrels, reported Al-Qabas. "Any delay in going ahead with this project would surely affect our strategy and we will not stand by doing nothing", warned Zanki remarking that he was optimistic about the final decision of the parliament in this regard. Responding to a question concerning declaring Kuwait's actual oil reserves, he said such a question should be directed to the Ministry of Energy.
  I think they passed a law that only a set percentage of proven reserves can be extracted per year. Since the government really doesn't want to pump less and collect less tax dollars, they go thru the fiction of waiting forever for updated accurate oil reserve numbers.
Somebody else confused by the drop in oil prices


Does anyone note the complete and utter disconnect as to how China can be importing 24% more crude - year over year - in the face of declining output from the world's super giant oil fields [Cantarell - Mexico, Burgan - Kuwait, Ghawar - Saudi Arabia, Prudhoe Bay - Alaska, North Sea etc.]? Never mind the fact that the U.S. Gulf Coast never did recover from lost production of both nat. gas and crude in the wake of Katrina - much of which has NEVER been replaced.

Uhm - maybe CERA is right after all - lots of new sources coming on line to replace lost sources?
This sort of statement is worthless by itself. Unless you got evidence to back up your claims you're noting more than a troll.

Where is the names of these new sources, what countries are they located in, and what is their the daily output.

Wow Hurin - calm down - OK.
I don't have sources - that is why I ended my sentence with a question mark ???
Hoping maybe someone else might know where all this oil is coming from to overflow our SPR and still have enough left for the Chinese to add millions per week to their SPR as well. All this oil is also causing the price to depress per the original post.
He's not calm due to a rep you seem to have developed.
I think you are confused about a few things, First, the SPR is not overflowing. Despite high oil inventories and overall adequate oil supplies, the administration has chosen not to refill the SPR back to pre-hurricane days - I think a pretty obvious and sad political move to try to hold old prices down. The SPR is down from last year and way below the 1 billion barrels they had earlier said they would fill it to.

I think you really mean oil inventories are "overflowing." While the inventories are indeed high, this is not a function of current oversupply in the world. In fact, the inventories are in the average range in terms of days going forward of oil, and would be in the high average range in absolute terms if the SPR was being refilled. Moreover, if you look at the chart over the last 10-11 mos, you find inventory levels simply parallel the average seasonal patterns since going very high last Dec/Jan due to the warmest winter on record which produced a dramatic inventory build. Since that time, supply has been normal, without further significant inventory growth relative to the average, meaning we are not awash in excess oil supply any more than in previous years.

The elephant in the room (actually elephants) is the commencement of decline in the big 4 fields Ghawar, Burgan, Cantarell an Daqing. As decline proceeds then offsetting will become increasingly difficult. Combine this with the decline on the North Slope, North Sea and others then:

Ultimately, to keep pace, the oil industry would have to deliver another KSA.

Now, where would you find one of those on this heavily explored planet?

Beware of CERA. Who says they are paid to tell the truth?

Dropping to 58 US is nothing of material significance.
You can expect a wide fluctuation in price. Traders are not rational. They base the futures market on perceptions, hopes and fears. A little good news creates irrational exuberance, a little bad plunges them into the slough of despond.

I personally think we are at or near peak, but it is still early days and we will all know soon enough.

Relax, enjoy the slightly cheaper gas while you can, but dont assume for one minute it will not go back up and act accordingly. It changes nothing for me. With a bit of luck, the price will hover on this 50-70 USD range for 3-4 years, then hopefully, I will be in a better position for the next phase of 100-150 USD / bbl. The phase after that may well be diabolically horrific.
IOW: make use of your time to get ready for the real spike.

We have a program on the Telly called 'Spooks'. Its about MI5. You probably wont see it in the US as it is deeply unflattering of America. On Monday nights 'spooks' we, (courtesy of Aunty Beeb) had our 'Three Days of the Condor' moment:

Head of MI5: 'So what do we do when Oil is 500 dollars a barrel and the people are burning cars in the streets in protest?'

I think we will have a clear idea of where we are by the start of the next Olympic Games.

  58 is still historically high. Maybe the abberation was 78, brought there by ligitimate concerns and speculation?
Note the question mark!!!!
I get the idea we've got a lot of traders and investors here, if only in small amounts (although I'm sure some of the amounts you people kick around might astound me). I don't mind telling you, I have gotten my ass kicked in the market lately. About a month ago, anticipating a 'correction', I sold most stock and put most into a oil index fund. You know the rest-DOW is at a new high, Nasdaq ain't doing bad either, and oil, which at the time I thought was kinda low, was not quite at the bottom of it's slide to put in nicely. Just thought I'd vent. Luckily, it's not money I need now, but it still hurts to see it missing. Oh well, at least I'm off work and the weather's nice. Think I'll go dig for oil in the back yard. Or sell single beers to people driving by-I always thought that would be a moneymaker (it's a pretty busy street).
Actually, I was considering buying USO as I feel oil is ready to go up again.  T Boone was predicting $70 by the end of the year.
Be careful - Boone is an investment banker - he may be talking up oil and shorting at the same time. He has admitted in the past being short the market!
Neon, you got whipsawed by a couple of things: bad timing and putting all your eggs in one basket.  If I were going to make huge changes in my asset allocation, I'd do it in small increments, but you know that now, right?  Bottom line, nobody knows what oil, the stock market, interest rates are going to do short term, although SAT has a decent couple of months record here.  Longterm is another story and you may be glad you made the big move today.  
Great post, SeaDragon.  You touched on the biggest mistake that a lot of investors make: being too agressive in putting all of their money in one particular asset.  The irony is, professionals tend to be far more cautious in most cases than amateurs, since they are all too aware that there's such a huge element of chance and luck to all of this.  It's never smart to be overinvested in something, even if it's a, "sure thing."  Most people would be shocked at how cautious professional money managers tend to be, and the lengths that they go to to, "hedge their bets."  The MSM tends to yell at amateurs either, "buy!" or, "sell!"  The reality is, things are rarely that simple.  
Thanks, Thinking short term is what gets me into trouble, I have sure noticed that. The daytrading thing is not for people with a regular job.
Sticking with the topic of losing lots of money, I find what's been happening in equities markets the last few days interesting.  Short sellers are being squeezed.  They're bailing.  What choice do they have?  It seems like every day the market tacks on another 1%.  It reminds me of the old adage that the markets will always behave in such a way that the fewest possible number of participants will end up benefiting.  In other words, if the markets do finally turn and head down, how many people will be left on the short side, reaping the gains?    It's not for the faint of heart (or the overly aggressive), that's for sure.  Remember what happened to Warren Buffet in the 90's.  He announced as early as 1997 that the Nasdaq was ridiculously overvalued.  This is when it was in the 2000's.  He spent the next three years looking like an idiot as it eventually went over 5000.  Imagine what would have happened if he would have acted on his belief and shorted the market in 1997.  He would have lost his entire fortune.  The same is true today.  People may be able to come up with a lot of great reasons why the market will soon turn and fall (I happen to believe this), but you also have to be prepared for it doing the exact opposite.  Like SeaDragon said, nobody knows what will happen with these things in the short term.  And sometimes the most extreme moves are made just before the market reverses course.            
One question or complaint that keeps appearing on TOD is how ignorant or misinformed the the American people are. This is true, but not strictly their fault. Take for example how bad our media is. Today the WSJ writes, "Overall retail sales decreased by a seasonally adjusted 0.4%, the Commerce Department said Friday" and then adds in hope of good cheer, "The combination of falling gas prices and the realization that housing prices are not collapsing will give consumer confidence a lift," said Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland."

Now if you remember, the WSJ and the rest of the media during the run-up in oil prices vigorously denied any correlation between gas prices and a decline in economic activity. Yet, as soon as prices go down, suddenly this will be a lift.

This mis-reasoning was led by no other greater figure than cheer-leader in chief, Alan "The Bubble" Greenspan. Mr. Greenspan made a new bunch of ridiculous remarks yesterday, basically contradicting much of what he said as Chairman. As an aside, in political theory, Mr. Greenspan is the definition of unaccountable power, and if you have unaccountable power, you don't have self-government.

Mr. Greenspan has now been out talking how his last bubble, American real estate, was A)not his fault B)will cause no damage. Mr. Greenspan said yesterday about housing, "the worst may well be over." Yet on the very same day the Los Angeles Times reports:

"Southland home prices in September rose at the slowest pace in nearly a decade and sales continued to fall sharply, according to figures released today," and "The median price paid in September for a home in San Diego County, one of California's most closely watched housing markets, fell 4.4% from a year earlier, the local median's biggest year-over-year drop in 13 years, DataQuick Information Systems said Wednesday."

Finally, Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley says, there are, "visible manifestations of excess liquidity everywhere" and "Central banks have created a monster -- not just liquidity-driven excesses in financial markets, but also major cross-border imbalances in the global economy and mounting political tensions associated with those imbalances."

So, while the ignorance of the American people is numbing, the blame goes right to the corrupted decadent top.

Have a nice day.

You're a robot to not stop and wonder where $hit comes from and how things work.  I've presented logic arguments to people and they chose to bury their heads.  They dont want to know.  It really is like the Matrix or something.  As an adult there is no excuse to ignore the pursuit of knowledge b/c school ended.
I'd say you'd have hard time arguing the American school system these days, especially the higher education system, has much to do with the "pursuit of knowledge" not that an individual can't find much of it useful. But education in this era is mostly about indoctrination and careering.

I don't disagree.  However I am the product of the same school system.  I only left six years ago and my sister is now one year away from being done also.  I know what's there.  It's not an excuse.  I took the same classes as everyone else, but I didnt just sit there and swallow the kool aid.  I asked lots of questions.  When there were BS answers I responded with some researched material to get my point across.  The point is that some things taught are illogical and make no sense.

Warning: I'm might piss you off - The schools are crap b/c of parents IMHO.  Go to a PTA (or whatever you call in your area) meeting and take a look.  These are the meetings where parents show up to give a damn about what's going on at the place they send there kids to for 6-8 hrs a day.  How empty are these meetings?  The ones in my schools were half filled at best.  Parents are too busy to be interested in these meetings. My parents never went to any after I left middle school.  

The only meeting they attended was the one before I graduated.  Go figure.  My parents are not indicitive of all since my parents didnt worry b/c my grades spoke for me.  But in all, parents are not involved as parents in their kids lives.  It's either authoritive or best friends, the middle ground seems lost.  Glad it's Friday.

Yeah, I'm on our PTO board, and my wife's co-president this year.  It's hard to get people interested.  It's not just PTO, however.  I've been involved in various bike, pedestrian, and planning organizations over the years, and they are always struggling to get people involved.  Most people can't even be bothered to send $10 or volunteer for 15 minuts for an organization that directly benefits them.  Too busy watching TV and keeping up with the Joneses.

Last week or so Leanan (I think) pointed out that North Koreans don't have electricity most of the day, but everyone has a TV and they receive power during the nightly TV hours.  They must receive their daily communist propaganda, after all.  In the US, we do the same thing, but it's our daily dose of capitalist advertising propaganda.  We have the power on all the time so you can energize all of your "good consumer" gadgets.

Aren't I glad I don't watch TV then!

I have not watched TV per se' in over 5 years.   Though while I was in the Hospital over New Years I did watch TV and was sickened by it by the 3rd day and spent the rest of my time reading or asleep.  

I have in trecent days watched 3 hour or more long Video's Off of the Web.  Heinberg's Oil show of a few days ago.  Another 911 show and one on the Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip.  All of them were not something I would have seen on American TV not even on Cable.

I used to listen to NPR on the radio, but I got tired of it.  I would read online and then listen to NPR and get a slant so appearant that I would almost gasp at hearing it happen.   I have almost given up on getting a real story from any US news outlet.

The Show on the Israel's Occupation yesterday did put side by side US news to BBC news, and the stark difference was very blaring.  No wonder some people think the USA will slide happily off the cliff and the rest of the World will be clapping at the show.

I've been more and more frustrated with NPR/PBS

Gingrich had a commentary celebrating WalMart the other day, saying how great it was that we could help raise chinese families out of poverty..  And I've been tossing letters to the news hour suggesting that their continued use of David Brooks as a commentator has undermined their veracity as a news source..  DB was saying, some 6mos ago that perhaps Iraq was going so badly because 'these people' really weren't 'ready for Democracy'..  Oh, Lord!

I can't even read David Brooks, much less listen to him.  What a maroon!
No problem, I don't have much arguement with what you'r saying. Parents need to be instrumental in their children's education. But, and this is especially true in a system of self-government, and education system must be judged not on the exceptions but the rule. We have a system, that has many faults, but the worst is we don't teach people how to think. At one point, the American education system was one of the greatest social accomplishments of human history and in many aspects it's still pretty good.

One of the greatest problems in the last several decades is we've quit teaching the importance of being a citizen. So now, when across the top we have a braindead and corrupted elite, we aren't prepared to challenge and throw the lot of them out. The open correcting process, which is the greatest strength of self-government, isn't functioning because the citizenry isn't playing their role.

This gets back to your first comment, "They dont want to know," because they've been taught to know certain things and if you know those certain things, work hard, you'll get ahead. Today, those things to know are failing or being overwhelmed. What I find below everything is a tremendous anger, part of it from feeling dis-empowered as opposed to apatheticand for people with a diminished or no political indenity that's a very dangerous societal condition.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I am the parent of two elementary school aged children, and I have a very different story to tell.  I am often commenting on how astounded I am at the amount of time and effort the parents put into the school (and their kids' lives).  The school has around 450 kids, and it seems like all the parents know each other since so many parents are so involved.  There must be at least 30-50 parents volunteering every day.  The PTA meetings are full.  The parents organize all kinds of after-school events like International Night, Sock Hop, Movie Night, Turkey Bingo...Sometimes I think it is over the top how much the parents are involved, but on balance it is nice.

I went to a good elementary school when I was a kid (graduated HS in '87), but it is truly night and day when you compare the level of parental involvement.  Maybe we are just lucky, and my kids' elementary school is an aberration...

If, (most likely I won't), I had kids, I'd be there.  I think some gen xrs might be rebelling against their childhood and reliving it through kids.  I got none, so I wouldn't know.  I do believe your's is an abberation though.
Well if you want to see class in America look at the education system, from results, to funding, to how much time families put in with their kids, follows income pretty closely. Poverty means for the most part one parent homes, working class two parents working, and then middle many two parent working families kids in daycare etc. The fact is much our economy is very anti-family, but you wouldn't hear that from most of the pro-family elected officials.
Ok, my family lives in the richest county in the state.  The whitest too while we're at it.  These people aren't interested in kids at the PTA meetings.  Just my .02
well you're an outlier any statistical study on education.
That's how it is here too.  Sometimes makes you wonder if the parents have any life of their own.  My parents weren't like that.  Actually, my brother who is a college prof (chair), has said it has started to reach into the college ranks with parents calling his staff to find out why grades were given etc.  
I see news stories about these hyperinvolved college parents.
You got to push real hard to make sure your kids get the best education in subjects that will be completely useless in 20 years.
Surely, their 'kids' are no longer children by College age and thereby adults?

Aw sorry, I forgot: 'We paid for this and we want THE BEST THAT MONEY CAN BRIBE!''

Even if my rich kid is actually, technically, thick....

I asked lots of questions too. Got me thrown out of high school. I suspect most jurisdictions today a student would be thrown out much quicker easier than I was. Possible terrorist after all.
Perfect SAT score got me into university no problem. Not a few  professors there were unwilling to accept questions
Anyone ever wonder about how weird it is that the most influential voices in decisions about the future belong to octogenarians like Greenspan and Kissinger, who are highly unlikely to be alive even 10 years from now?

Do we really want them to tell us what to do, who have no reason to care one way or the other?

Please do not asume that this in only a problem in the US.

I live in Denmark. People here are completely unaware that output from our part of the North Sea has in fact peaked recently and that output is about to drop at the same rates as Norway and the UK.

At least its not as bad as in the UK. Where people apparently isn't even aware that their country has become an importer of oil.


Homeowners moving away from ARMs

About 88 percent of borrowers who are refinancing increase their debt balance by more than 5 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Ms. Cutts said many borrowers who took ARMs were hoping that interest rates would remain low for many years.

"It's hard for me to believe that the average ARM borrower didn't know what he was getting into," she said.

This link posted by Leanan this morning is very revealing.

For the first seven months of 2006, Norway's average production has been 2.538 million barrels per day. This report says that September production averaged 2.25 mb/d. That is .288 mb/d below their average for the first seven months of the year. And that is before the .28 mb/d cut for two weeks this month.

Looks like Norway, and the rest of the North Sea is in a steeper decline than most of us had guessed.

On a different subject, this month's IEA Oil Market Report has world oil production down 180 kb/d to 85.4 mb/d. However last months report had world
production down 400 kb/d to 85.8 mb/d. This means that last months data was revised downward to 85.58 mb/d or a drop of 520 kb/d from the July figures. Or another way of looking at it, the IEA's revised estimate for July is 86.2 mb/d. Now they are estimating September production to be 85.4 mb/d, a drop of 800 kb/d in just two months.

Ron Patterson

I thought we capped out at 84.8 million bpd last december ~_~
Crude oil did peak, so far, in December of 05 at 74,051,000 barrels per day. But when you add ethanol, biodiesel, Orimulsion and bottled gas, then the high so far was July of 06.

But peak oil is all about peak crude oil, not ethanl, biodiesel, bottled gas or Orimulsion.

Ron Patterson

Yeah, you know what if we take all the crude today and mix it in 30% water we will be over 100 mbd in all liquids in no time.
While July 06 is up, we don't know how much it will be revised before the final estimate is reached. It is the first estimate for the month, so very "green". After revision, it could be quite different.
BTW Hothgor...I'm still trying to make sense of why oil prices are going up now?  Currently at 59.10.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  Is it just a random thing even though the US is awash in crude and refined.

You seem to know a lot about this (are you an insider?)

Just curious.


The upward spike began with the news from Norway.

Probably being fed now by the weather report from Buffalo.  You wouldn't think the fact that winter is coming would be news, but traders are funny that way.

Leanan...thanks for you input, but you know, Hothgor is sooo smart about all this.  I was hoping he would impart some knowledge to us.
I like your style.
Hello Ron

I closely monitor NPD data on oil production and NPD figures gives an average of 2 353 kb/d for the first 8 months of 2006 versus 2 578 kb/d for the same period of 2005. This is regular oil.

Also look at this post on http://energikrise.blogspot.com/ with diagrams (based on monthly NPD data) illustrating the decline in oil production from NCS.


NGM2, Yes, for some reason the EIA's data is always higher higher than the figures published by Norway herself. That is strange. Mexico publishes figures for their production which the EIA takes without changing one barrel, but they seem, for some reason to add barrels to Norway's figures.

At any rate I was just using the EIA figures for Norway found here.

Jan 06 2,657
Feb 06 2,620
Mar 06 2,610
Apr 06 2,407
May 06 2,535
Jun 06 2,365
Jul 06 2,571

Avg 06 2,538

That is the average for the first 7 months. The EIA has not published the August Data yet.

Ron Patterson

Hello again Ron,

What EIA does is that they total regular oil and condensate.

EIAs total numbers are identical to NPDs.
(I have checked and is prepared to give you more details if wanted)



Below follows a more detailed breakdown

NPD monthly figures (in thousand bbls a day) as published on their website

          Regular Oil     Condensate
Jan 06........ 2 492.........164
Feb 06.........2 441.........184
Mar 06........2 437.........171
Apr 06.........2 224.........185
May 06.......2 357.........177
Jun 06.........2 244.........123
Jul 06..........2 380.........190
Aug 06.........2 251..........179

The totals are identical to EIA numbers (there could be minor differences due to data revisions and/or rounding differences).

Average for 8 first months of 2006 2 353' bbls/d regular oil and 172' bbls/d condensate.

Preliminary figures for Sep 06: 2 253' bbls/d regular oil.

Hope this helps clarify.

Have a nice weekend.


Well according to these figures Norway produced on average 2.698m barrels/day in 2005, which has now declined to 2.538b/d in the first 7 months of this year. Thats a fall of 6%. Given the shutdown mentioned I dont see how they will make up that lost production in the last 5 months of the year. In addition in 2005 less oil was produced in the second half of the year cp to the first, so it doesnt look like seasonality will answer the shortfall either. So year on year Norwegan oil production looks to be around 6% lower in 2006 cp to 2005 - maybe more in fact.
Norway peaked and starting to decline? Or just a very bad year for Norwegan oil production?
Norwegian crude (regular) oil production peaked in 2001 at 3,12 Mb/d.

Crude oil production in 2006 could be down 9 -10 % relative to 2005 (by august actuall 8 %).

My predicton is that Norwegian crude oil production for all 2006 will come in at 2,35 Mb/d as 2,55 Mb/d in 2005.

In addition there will be 180 - 200 kb/d condensates.

MGM2, thanks for the data. With this data I can estimate approximately what percentage of crude + condensate is actually condensate.

I am wondering why the EIA does not treat Mexican numbers in the same way. Perhaps it is because Mexico has already added the condensate numbers to what they publish. But the numbers the EIA publishes as "Crude + Condensate" is the exact same numbers found here under the the heading Total Crude. Or perhaps it is because Mexico doesn't produce any condensate. I think that is highly unlikely however.

Ron Patterson

In fact my last comment was very much tongue in cheek. If you look at TOTAL North Sea production, you see the peak was 1999 with 5.948m/b/d. Here is the decline since then:

  1. 5824  -2%
  2. 5827   0%
  3. 5797  -1%
  4. 5525  -5%
  5. 5210  -6%
  6. 4740  -9%

For a decline of 20% in 7 calendar years.

This year looks as bad - average so far is 4.463, but we know this is going to be lower, because of the stoppages announced yesterday, and because in recent times the second half production hs been lower than the first. I would guestimate 4.300 for 2006 in total

That would be another 9% year on year decline for the whole province and would bring the  decline to 28% in a mere 8 calendar years.

arggh, it gets worse the more you delve;  given 4.300m/b/d is the 2006 outcome, then at a continued 9% year on year decline by 2010 the North Sea is at 2.948m/b/d.

Thats 1.3m/b/d to make up from elsewhere.

Even allowing for a conservative (based on what has happened thusfar) 6% decline by 2010 the N.Sea is down to 3.352m/b/d - a mere 1m/b/d to make up from elsewhere.


my bet would be that the North Sea (Denmark, Norway and UK) would total close to 3,0 Mb/d (crude oil and condensate) by 2010.


Note the accelerating year over year relative decline rates.

Yep, its dismal is it not. 3m/b/d looks a good estimate for 2010.
Yes, the cost of climate change as far into the future as 2100 can only be caught in arbitrary numbers. It's clear that 94 years from now, the world will be a radically changed, if not unrecognizable place.

Somehow you get the feeling that, though it's obvious that acting now rather than later would be much cheaper, there is a sense of comfort in talking about a date that is so far into the future that none of us will likely be alive when it arrives (immortality is the last thing you would wish for, given the circumstances).

It makes you suspicious of the reasons these reports are written and presented the way they are. It makes the whole issue so abstract that people will just shrug and get in their cars. And maybe that's the whole purpose.

Besides, think about the effects that inflation might have on these numbers!! It might cost more in absolute numbers, but isn't that relative to unknown factors?

Why do anything inconvenient when you won't be there to see the results anyway? You think yeast care for their offspring when gobbling up the sugars?

Climate change calculated in trillions

"In one sense the numbers are arbitrary. What we are really talking about is whether your grandchildren will inherit a degraded world and will they ever know what a polar bear was like. We are on the brink of a catastrophe not recoverable on any human timeframe. How many trillions is that worth?"

Using the World Integrated Assessment General Equilibrium Model, to give it its full name, they calculate the annual economic damage caused by a 4C rise in temperatures above their pre-industrial level to reach $20 trillion. But if the temperature increase were kept to 2C, that cost could be reduced by some $12 trillion. The amount that would need to be spent on climate protection measures to achieve that reduction would be $3 trillion a year.

Combating global warming is not only affordable but could create a climate change market worth £30bn to British businesses over the next decade, says a report funded by the oil giant Shell.

The cost of tackling climate change in the UK by 2010 would be equivalent to just 0.3 per cent of GDP, according to the Shell Springboard report.

Globally, concerted action to stop the rise in greenhouse gas emissions could create a worldwide market worth $1 trillion in the first five years alone.

The cost of tackling climate change in the UK by 2010 would be equivalent to just 0.3 per cent of GDP, according to the Shell Springboard report.
Figures like this are indicative of the same ignorant optimism which holds that, because energy costs measured against GNP are lower now than they used to be in some countries, economies are less vulnerable to oil price swings and energy shortages. In reality, the global economy is based on cheap energy, and if the cost (in energy terms) of getting that energy increases--either by running out of the cheap stuff or by deciding not to use it in order to spare the climate--the economy cannot persist in its current form.
Sshhhhh, don't thell them that, it's a rather inconvenient truth.
After reading Hothgor and Don in Maine on yesterdays thread, I decided to look at folks from a new perspective. Everyone speaks about the left and right or the far right or the far left. Well here at TOD I believe we need to define ourselves as the uppers  or downers, or the far up or the far down. On a scale of  + or - 10, I would place myself at about a minus 2 or 3 relative to all the other commenter's.  I believe it will be a long slow ordeal.The economy or radical Islam will be the source of initial collapse long before the oil or global-warming stars the decline. Also world food production is peeping over the horizon, however it will no doubt be do more to population increase than global warming initially.
One of the reasons that food production is peaking is global warming/climate change causing droughts and floods.  Now.  Not 100 years from now.  Estimates are that close to 200,000 people a year are dying from the effects of climate change.  Now.  Not 100 years from now.
200000/6500000000=00.00307%  This is why no one cares.
Remember that peak oil knows no politics.. It will effect all of us regardless of our political leanings..

I believe that is why we have great discussions here without the partisan bickering that takes place on other websites..

I think this is mostly data driven.  If the data says that last quarter they pumped 100K more bpd than 4th qrt than it's not now.  An improvement of 100K in almost an entire year doesnt say much, since we now how Katrina damages mostly back online and depletion is constantly happening to 2/3 of the fields.

It's a rear view sport, so buckle up and hang on.

Thank you :)

Cheaper gas tugs on retail sales

Spending at the nation's retailers fell in September, according to a government report, but a big part of that drop was a result of reduced spending at the gas pump.

The Census Bureau reported that retail sales fell 0.4 percent in September, following a revised 0.1 percent rise in August. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a 0.2 percent rise in sales.

But gasoline station sales fell 9.3 percent in the month compared to August, as gasoline prices fell sharply. Excluding what was spent at gasoline stations, retail sales rose 0.6 percent in the month.


Cheap gas hurts the economy. Well, unless we get people to start driving more. Or buy SUV's that use more gas. Or buy homes that require longer commutes. Or, preferably, all of the above. Time for true patriots to stand up!

See, gas prices increasing were a direct boost to the GDP, and now that they are falling, they are cutting into America's world beating productivity. Anyone see a logical flaw or two here?
How about most U.S. "consumers" use credit cards.  So the high August gas bills didn't come due until September?  Delayed impact of high energy costs.  Now taking 30-45 days to work through the system, whereas 30 years ago you would have seen it within a week.

And maybe people really weren't paying attention to what the true monthly cost was until they got the bill.  Then they see  (because it is 1/12 of a year) what a huge increase they will be paying at $3.00/gallon rather than $2.25.  Maybe they all of a sudden realized what a big ding there spending power took?

Or maybe GDP is still really energy spending.

Anyone have any thoughts about the new ultra low sulphur diesel regulations coming into effect. Specifically Cliffdweller has a question on whether this applies to stationary diesel generators.
Off road diesel users are exempt for several more years.  2010 from vague memory.


good morning, all.
A day or two ago, I happened to turn up my copy of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S 1979 Special Report on ENERGY, titled, "The Unbalanced World".  It was done by a large group headed by Science Editor Kenneth F. Weaver.  Especially pertinent for the trends shown were two graphs concerning United States domestic energy use for the years 1960 and 1979.  It occurs to me to ask if any TODers have access to comparable information relating to recent years.

The term used for energy quantity was "quads."  A quad is defined as one quadrillion BTUs.  That's 1 followed by 15 zeroes.  The graphis shows proportionate colored stripes for someatic and imported oil, natural gas, coal and other, none separately quantified.  The total energy used in 1960 was 44 quads for a population of 181 million, of which 23 quads were noted as "lost."  For 1979, the total was 79 quads for the population of 221 million, of which 45 quads were lost.  This calculates to a per capita use in 1960 of 2.43 billion BTU with 43% lost; in 1979, the per capita use was 3.57 billion BTU with 57% lost.

The "lost" energy is attributes to heat from engine combustion and from transmission lines, and that from conversion losses in steam generation.  I would add loss from buildings, as particularly illustrated by the ubuquitous "heat domes" over cities, and the spectacle of light on the earth as seen from space at night, even 25 years ago.  Exhaust from air conditioning would have become more significant by 1979.

The growing magnitude of the lost fraction -- over half the energy used in 1979 -- if translated to 2006, is frightening.  Granted, much of such loss is inevitable, but one would think that there is room for both the technology sector and us peasants to try to improve those percentages.  Think EROEI on the use side, and that half of every barrel of oil or lump of coal becomes unwanted heat.

There has been some progress toward that goal in the form of extra insulation, thermal windows, smaller and higher-mileage cars, etc.  Just living smaller and slower along with trading with local producers where possiblewould seem useful.

-- Mort

That "loss" is a tricky thing to define.  E.g., every single BTU you use for home heating is "lost" to the great outdoors sooner or later.  If you add insulation, you use less heating fuel, but you still "lose" 100% of it.  But you also keep warm.  Insulation is not a bad idea, rather, this "% lost" measure is not useful.  Similarly, 80% of the energy in automobile fuel is "lost" in the sense that it is not converted to motion energy, but then the motion energy is later converted to heat too.  And more importantly, if a 3000-pound car carries a 150-pound person, isn't that 95% lost (moving unnecessary extra weight)?  And if the trip is totally unnecessary, is it 100% lost?
I'd also add that heat can be useful (winter is coming!), and the main piece of "lost" energy in the non-transport sector is heat from electrical power stations (and other industrial facilities) that is not avoidable due to the laws of thermodynamics but could be captured and used for heating buildings.  This is commonly done in Europe but is rather rare in the USA.  The tendency to build huge power stations far away from the cities is a problem.  When new power stations are proposed, we should push for smaller ones close to town, connected to "district heating", or at least with the potential for doing that in the future.  Another approach (which is done to some extent in the UK) is "domestic combined heat and power", i.e., a device that heats one house while also generating electricity (and sending it onto the grid).  Of course, these ideas only help in the winter.  With the highest demand for electricity being in the summer, for air conditioning, we still have a problem.
Hi VTP -

All too true, as you say.  Entropy exacts its due.  But in the sense of the graphs noted above, the gas I burned to heat my house was effectively used and would not be assigned to the "lost" category.  The same would also apply to secondary use of some part of manifold heat by diverting it to the interior of my car.  The best way to deal with the "lost" fraction is to adjust to using less energy in the first place, but conserving the product -- heat -- helps.


Don't know if there's anyone in the area but...


During UNC-Asheville's Greenfest next week, you'll have the chance to see a movie that will change the way you think about coal.

Three students at Warren Wilson College have made a powerful documentary on mountaintop removal. Not only is this method of extracting coal devastating to the environment, it destroys people's very way of life. "A Mountain Removed" gives a voice to some of the West Virginians affected by a mining operation.


The liquid waste, or slurry, is dammed up in impoundments, forming toxic lakes of carcinogenic chemicals and heavy metals like arsenic and mercury. Just a few years ago, an impoundment broke near Inez, Ky., turning 75 miles of rivers and streams black. According to the film, this released 20 times the amount of oil lost by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The documentary offers an impressive amount of information, considering that it clocks in at less than 30 minutes. Its power lies in the personal stories told by residents of a small mountain community in West Virginia. The filmmakers wisely keep narration to a minimum, letting the people explain in their own words.


A free screening of "A Mountain Removed" will be shown on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. in room 125 of Rhodes hall on the UNC-Asheville campus. A panel discussion will follow.

This is an interesting article about the return of "home industries".  It can't hurt to take up a hobby at home that could be handy in the future.  

Economics: The Sound of Aunt Edna's Knitting
by John Michael Greer


If you don't have access to garden space, consider taking up a useful handicraft or two. Aunt Edna's habit of knitting cardigans for all and sundry may have seemed quaint in the heyday of the industrial economy, but when central heating prices itself out of existence and transport costs put paid to clothing imports from Third World sweatshops, warm clothing you can make with your own hands has obvious value, and may also be a useful item of barter. The same is true of many other skills, from soapmaking and herbal medicine to the handyman skills that allow plumbing, furniture, and appliances to be repaired at home.

Seems like a good place to drop in a couple of things to do when the lights go out:

  1. I've dabbled in glass art for a few decades, and lately, partially in response to PO, I've started making mosaics.  A fascinating, age-old art form.  The nice thing is that once you have the required materials there are no energy inputs involved, all hand-work from start to finish.  The Romans were real good at it!

  2. I'm also a lifelong amateur astronomer.  So when the lights go out and there isn't anything to do because it's dark, I'll be outside with my telescope.  Which is a "Dobsonian" type, mine is a 12" (12" diameter mirror).  Once again, something to do with "no batteries required".  And the skies will be nice and dark everywhere!!

Now how's that for a dose of "doomer optimism"...
Astronomy, that's good, a great hobby for when the light go out.  

Although, a doomer's luck might mean you discover some meteor hurtling toward us..  

well nasa is currently tracking one that might(very good chance but still leaves some room for error) hit us around 2030 or so.
Sorry, but clothing from third world will be cheaper than clothes you make at home.  Unless you farm and make your own material, then maybe it will be cheaper.

Oil prices need to be so high that people stop driving to work before they will make it more economical to sew your own shirt or sweater.

I think having a shirt or sweater is least of your worries at that stage.

It sure seems that way, doesn't it?   Although my mother used to make almost all my sister's clothes when we were growing up (in the 60's).  My mother had been a seamstress in the 40's.   She never made us boys clothes though.  I guess little girls sundresses and blouses are easier than pants etc?  She didn't make her own material though, she would go to the shop where you buy material off those bolts.  Making your own material is kinda crazy.  My Aunt would always send us sweaters, hats, mittens she made.  I hated them.
The inventor Nikola Tesla however described in his autobio how his mother grew flax, "seperated the fibers" herself, wove the cloth, and clothed the family. Tesla was the son of the town's religious head, by no means the poorest family in the ville, yet they apparently grew and raised all of their own food, and Mom made the clothes starting with the flax plants.

That was life 150 years ago.

Yep we had ee-lectricity 150 years ago, but it was "signal" not "power" it was the telegraph, in time the phone and the radio.

Power and signal are important distinctions; we're going eventually lose power, if we're lucky we may get to keep signal.

My mom sewed all our clothing, too.  Including my dad's (though we did buy things like jeans, which are hard to sew).  

And it was because we didn't have any money.  (Dad was in grad school at the time.)  She used a sewing machine that had been a wedding gift.  I doubt we'd have been able to buy one.  

My mom sewed for me through college.  I bought most of my clothing by then, but she still sewed me special items like prom dresses, etc.  She's retired from her job as a public school teacher now, and has a business sewing crafty-type stuff.  Makes pretty good money at it.  

Here's a great article by Jerome a Pris:  "Even coal (clean or not) will not save the US way of life"
Funny thing how different estimates of coal reserves are. Wonder why that is? It could be quality, but then again, Jerome says nothing about that.

The by far biggest reserves are in Romania, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2005. That country must be made of coal.

First Jerome's graph (Uppsala)
NOTE: I'm guessing these are million tons.

Then BP's numbers, taken from Nationmaster.com.
NOTE: These are million tons. Russia is # 23, with only 530 million tons

WTF?  We dont even know truly how much coal there is?
Not done yet: from the World Coal Institute:

Yes we do. the second gragh is per capita.
No, it's not. Per papita is here.

Wouldn't make much sense numberwise anyway. would it?

So why does the second chart say per capita?
That's a clickable link.

Quads for first graph: possible,

I think Nationmaster is totally screwed on one chart for 2002 they show reserves at 6 million tons and on another chart for 2004 they have production at 1 million tons a year. that means in 2 years we will be out of coal.
check their pages before blasting comments like this, this is the 2nd one

they state their sources

they state their sources

True, but they apparently don't read them.  Check out the BP Table of Proved Coal Reserves -- their purported source -- for yourself.  In particular:

Romania:  494 million tons
USA:  246,643 million tons

The Nationmaster chart is simply nonsense.

I suspect these are automated SQL reads and the translation is  getting screwed up somehow. A number of their charts seem to have these little oddities.

The websites a good idea, though. Hope they can get these quirks worked out.

Perhaps you could go here
The xl down load is about 1.2 megs.
I think the first chart is in quads.
Back to some technical questions.

Westtexas, the user, often talks about how West Texas, the oil
field, produces 1 million barrel a day with a oil cut of about
1%. My questions are:

  1. Is it common to 'work' a field to such a low ratio of oil?
  3. For how long will they continue?
  5. Where do they get the water?


A remarkable "fantasy" in New Scientist about what would happen to the earth if humans were to leave today. The same fantasy, albeit slower, can be "applied" to a planet with dwindling energy resources: how does nature heal itself?

Imagine Earth without people

If tomorrow dawns without humans, even from orbit the change will be evident almost immediately, as the blaze of artificial light that brightens the night begins to wink out. Indeed, there are few better ways to grasp just how utterly we dominate the surface of the Earth than to look at the distribution of artificial illumination (see Graphic). By some estimates, 85 per cent of the night sky above the European Union is light-polluted; in the US it is 62 per cent and in Japan 98.5 per cent. In some countries, including Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, there is no longer any night sky untainted by light pollution.

"Pretty quickly - 24, maybe 48 hours - you'd start to see blackouts because of the lack of fuel added to power stations," says Gordon Masterton, president of the UK's Institution of Civil Engineers in London. Renewable sources such as wind turbines and solar will keep a few automatic lights burning, but lack of maintenance of the distribution grid will scuttle these in weeks or months. The loss of electricity will also quickly silence water pumps, sewage treatment plants and all the other machinery of modern society.

The same lack of maintenance will spell an early demise for buildings, roads, bridges and other structures. Though modern buildings are typically engineered to last 60 years, bridges 120 years and dams 250, these lifespans assume someone will keep them clean, fix minor leaks and correct problems with foundations. Without people to do these seemingly minor chores, things go downhill quickly.


Meanwhile, the tall, graceful corals and other bottom-dwelling organisms on deep-water reefs will gradually begin to regrow, restoring complex three-dimensional structure to ocean-floor habitats that are now largely flattened, featureless wastelands.

Long before any of this, however - in fact, the instant humans vanish from the Earth - pollutants will cease spewing from automobile tailpipes and the smokestacks and waste outlets of our factories. What happens next will depend on the chemistry of each particular pollutant. A few, such as oxides of nitrogen and sulphur and ozone (the ground-level pollutant, not the protective layer high in the stratosphere), will wash out of the atmosphere in a matter of a few weeks. Others, such as chlorofluorocarbons, dioxins and the pesticide DDT, take longer to break down. Some will last a few decades.

The excess nitrates and phosphates that can turn lakes and rivers into algae-choked soups will also clear away within a few decades, at least for surface waters. A little excess nitrate may persist for much longer within groundwater, where it is less subject to microbial conversion into atmospheric nitrogen. "Groundwater is the long-term memory in the system," says Kenneth Potter, a hydrologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Carbon dioxide, the biggest worry in today's world because of its leading role in global warming, will have a more complex fate. Most of the CO2 emitted from burning fossil fuels is eventually absorbed into the ocean. This happens relatively quickly for surface waters - just a few decades - but the ocean depths will take about a thousand years to soak up their full share.

Even when that equilibrium has been reached, though, about 15 per cent of the CO2 from burning fossil fuels will remain in the atmosphere, leaving its concentration at about 300 parts per million compared with pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm.

"There will be CO2 left in the atmosphere, continuing to influence the climate, more than 1000 years after humans stop emitting it," says Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, Colorado. Eventually calcium ions released from sea-bottom sediments will allow the sea to mop up the remaining excess over the next 20, 000 years or so.

CO2, like Herpes, is forever.   In any event, voluntary human extinction is not necessarily a bad idea.  I believe there still is a movement in effect by that very name.  Or was.   I googled them and then tried to connect to their link but apparently they have gone extinct. Sort of like the quakers.  
"...extinct. Sort of like the quakers."

Slip of the keyboard? I would guess that you intended to write the Shakers. The Quakers seem to be doing fine--there is a Quaker Meeting House in my county that sees plenty of activity.  


http://www.vhemt.org/ isn't dead yet.
Great find!
I got a taste of what a natural gas shortage would look like, and what the consequences would be.  I live in a city of about 12,000.  CenterPoint Energy is the the natural gas supplier for the city.  Yesterday people in the city starting having issues with their supply, and to resolve the issue CenterPoint needed to shut off gas to the entire town.  The initial problem was quickly resolved, but the recovery process is not so simple.

They first need to go to the 5500 homes and businesses and shut off service at the gas meters.  Then they can start re-pressurizing the main system.  Finally, they go door to door, and turn the individual service back on and verify that your appliances re-light properly.  This is to avoid blowing up a house with an old water heater.  Here is a link -

CenterPoint brought in 200 service people for this project (I counted 120 vans at one of the city facilities on my way home last night).  Personally it was not a major issue.  Temps were around 30 last night.  I have no furnace or hot water.  One small space heater kept the living room at 66 all night where the kids slept and my wife just had to snuggle a little more.  I showered at the gym and the kids can go a day without hot water.

But then I think about what would happen if this was on a larger scale - say Minneapolis in January.  It took 200 technicians a day and a half to service 5500 customers.  The 200 was said to be 'every available technician'.  How long would it take them to restore service to a much larger region, when weather conditions were worse?  How much energy is required for this project, and what if this becomes an issue where supply lines run short in areas on a more frequent basis?  How long does it take your pipes to freeze if you have no heat and it is 20 below out?

Like I said, not a big deal for me, but I could see this being a huge issue in the future if the quality/quantity of the natural gas supply can no longer prove to be adequate.

My recommendation: Put in a fireplace. It's going to be needed.
Now do this for an entire city, like, say, New Orleans. With multiple breaks, many damaged homes (80% flooded, a third of those left with roof damage), without housing for the repair guys, enough supplies, etc.

I went through last winter without NG.  COLD water showers and 1,500 watt floor heater (added electric blanket when I could get one and towards end, a heat pump window unit).

Best Hopes,


  From a few posts that I made late last night a thought came up,  and today's news items puts some of it to rest while others of parts of it are thus.

  Please note, I don't know any of the answers. But If you do, please enlighten us.

  How much Sunlight on the average flows to the earth?  How much of that sunlight can we harvest?

  Granted that most Plants harvest it rather well.  But will we get better use of it by harvesting those plants and turning them into power generated for some use or by building solar collection devices to turn that sunlight into usable energy?  

  What is the maximum acrage that can be planted in the USA or World?  How many laborers would it take if all of it were done by hand and not by diesel powered tractors?

  We can plan to grow our own gardens with our own work and totally relocalize some of our cities.  But how do we handle the big cities in places like Las Vegas and New York, or Hong Kong,  where the number of people in them far out strip the area's ability to provide them food?

  As some people have mentioned they don't believe that we will go through so bad of a time as others on TOD have said they think we will go through.  No one really knows the future, we have ideas from our readings and our own thoughts.  Few of us want the world to crumble and burn around our feet.  

  Then I look out my window and see Autumn leaves falling and hear the heater kick in and realize I have driven ZERO miles in my van this month.  Two years ago I would have driven 455 plus miles by this time of Oct. I have 3,150 miles left to drive this year, on my balance sheet.  I drove a lot in the spring and early summer and did a bad job of keeping my milage down.  Just going back and forth to work was putting 7,800 miles on the road.  
I have made a few improvments on my energy usage, What have some of you done?  ( I do realize that some of you live off your land unlike most of us and you are doing 10 times better than most of us, its just a thinking question not one meant to raise hackles. )

For starters:

The total energy content of bright noon sunlight striking a surface perpendicular to the rays is the equivalent of roughly 1 kilowatt per square yard or square meter.  

The conversion efficiency of common commercial photovoltaic panels is about 10 %, meaning you can produce about 100 watts of electricity from this square meter of surface at the brightest part of the day.  The more expensive, exotic technology panels may approach 15%-20% efficiency.

Not certain what the equivalent net sunlight capture efficiency of the most efficient plants (oil-bearing algae for bio-diesel??) would be.    

Plants and animals are pretty inefficient at energy conversion, at least as humans judge such things.  

How efficient is photosynthesis compared to the amount of light energy delivered to the earth?

This is a very interesting question. If we consider only a single leaf and the light that hits it, only about 5% of the incident light energy shows up as the products of photosynthesis. Most of the energy that hits the leaf is either not absorbed by the plant or is lost as heat.

It is a more complex problem to figure out this efficiency on a global scale. The calculation involves a lot of big numbers which are best expressed in what is called scientific notation (300 = 3 x 10^2).

First let's consider the total input of solar energy to the earth because this number has been measured by scientists with reasonable accuracy. On average, the earth receives about 1 x 10^24 calories of heat energy from the sun per year (that's a 1 with 24 zeros after it). The calorie unit we are using here is a measure of energy content and is 1/1000th of the dietary calories we are more accustomed to.

For global photosynthesis, it is really not possible to directly measure the total amount of sunlight used, but we can calculate it indirectly from estimates of the total amount of photosynthesis. The current estimate of the earth's annual photosynthesis (by terrestrial plants and algae in the ocean) is about 200 billion tons of carbon per year. This is carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide that is converted into carbon in sugars by photosynthesis. The total energy stored (worldwide) in the sugar produced by photosynthesis is about 2 x 10^21 calories per year.

Now all that remains is to take the ratio of energy stored in sugars by photosynthesis to total energy input from the sun. This value comes out to be about 0.2%. The reason that this is smaller than the 5% energy efficiency in a single leaf is that leaves (or other photosynthetic organisms) actually cover only a small fraction (less than 10%) of the earth's surface.

FWIW, this estimate is about the same as all the others I've seen.  Plants are only 3%-5% efficient at converting sunlight to energy.

This measure of "efficiency" is misleading.  A forest (sustainably managed) does not need to be manufactured with huge energy inputs as PV panels do, it regenerates itself with no maintanance.  With modest energy inputs for the harvesting, you get a biofuel (firewood) with a high EROI.  The fact that it only captures a small fraction of the total sunlight that hit the area is irrelevant, as long as you have a large enough area of forest.

If higher-efficiency methods of photosynthesis were truly advantageous (in the evolutionary sense), then plants would probably have evolved to do that by now.  As it stands, there are plants that use somewhat different methods (C4 vs C3 for example), and some plants "grow like weeds" while others emphasize woody growth more, etc, but they're all successfully competing within their niche.

Obviously, or no one would ever bother farming.  ;-)

But there's a widespread belief that nature is more efficient than humans can ever be.  Perhaps in a big-picture way, but as engineers measure things, nature is quite inefficient.  As Stephen Jay Gould liked to point out, evolution doesn't necessary produce "good" designs - just "good enough."

Wow...Stephen Jay Gould...that's a blast from the past...always loved his "Puncuated Equilibrium" theory of evolution.  Always believed it applied to economies and cultures as well.
For everything in nature there are good reasons. Evolution sees to that.

Gould's "good enough", and engineers' "not very efficient" ignore the trade offs that take place everywhere. Like you can't win both the Olympic marathon and the 100 meter. You're not 15 feet tall because your skeleton couldnt take it. If a species takes too much of something out of the system, it will leave too little for other species, that may well be essentail for its surviival. Nudge wink.

You can even turn it around: a plant doesn't need to be more than 5-10% efficient in photosynthesis to survive and thrive. It simply doesn't need it, and can use the rest of its energy and abilities for other purposes. Perhaps that is the very summit of efficiency.

Actually, it's more than 'good enough'. We look at the short term -human lives, or at most a century. Mother Nature plans on the scale of eons. Plants require much less to survive than the environment provides because:
a)it lets more members of the species survive
b)it lets more species survive, period (life exists only in cooperation with other life forms)
c)because the species requries less than the environment provides, it can tolerate more stress, and is more likely to survive changes in climate, natural disasters, etc.

It is really a very, very efficient system.

The notion that mother nature plans is either anthropomorphic or a form of teleology with a claim to universal knowledge beyond knowledge and residing in belief.
Quit nitpicking  :-p

If we were to take it to extreme we could say there is no such thing as Mother Nature.  There is simply a collection of species and systems that interact to form the biosphere that is Earth.

The term Mother Nature and the personification thereof is a linguistic construct to permit conversation on such topics to occur with a certain degree of casualness and ease.

If we had to break down every thought into exact terms, communication would get tedious pretty quick.

Also consider that Mother Nature(or other icons) acting is for some cultures/religions an issue of belief.  Gaia, God, Allah, or whoever do actively plan and manage creation according to some beliefs.

I was not nitpicking. I was objecting to a very specific and common notion that their is some purpose behind what we  observe in nature, evolution, the universe, etc. In addition, this was being presented surrounded by psuedo scientific language. The result was to give the impression that the author knows what the purpose of nature is, what its telos is (and of course anyone else can see this is truth as well was implied).

As any scientist will tell you, science does not speak to purpose.

I was not objecting to the term "mother nature" - like you I find it a useful linguistic tool. And please give me the credit of not assumming I would attempt to engage in an argument in semantics. If I object to language it is because I believe it is loaded with uncritical assumptions that need to be made apparent.

In fact, your last paragraph demonstrates that you actually agree with me - that attributing planning to "mother nature" or whatever diety, is a matter of belief.

I'm not saying their is no plan. I'm saying science can not reveal it and an pretension to understand it is either misguided or sheer arrogance.


Leanan: I agree, but I don't think Nature designs anything, it just makes so many errors in its reproductive process that ocasionally one survives because it is compatible with its environment. Look at me I survived so far!
but I don't think Nature designs anything,

I know that some folk here think this is a nit-pick point.

Actually it is a very fundamental concept,

..one that I see many intelligent people getting wrong over and over again.

Mother Nature does not do anything on purpose. It's almost all random output. Thanks to the Law of Large Numbers and luck, some of that random output survives and perpetuates ... for the mean time ... because current conditions luckily allow it to do so.

The human brain was not "intelligently designed" to do X, Y or Z. It is a random freak of nature. Due mostly to luck, the lizard brain that has a sheeple brain layered over it and then this overly-confident neo-cortical layer piled on top of that, has managed to survive ... thus far. It has managed to suck oil out of the ground and thrive ... thus far. There is no guarantee that this freak experiment will continue to run. It may self-destruct by use of nukes, or oil depletion or by changing climactic conditions on Earth. Mother Nature doesn't know and doesn't care. She has no propensity for vengence. Things just are ... for the moment. If the lab experiment blows up, so what? It's one insignificant tiny pimple area in a massive universe (or multiverse). Nature doesn't care. Nature doesn't design.

So tell me somthing I can disagree with.
Every time the "reset" button is hit via a massive extinction event, quite different results come into life.

The new world is, of course, affected by the few surviving species, so the starting points are not uniform.  Even so, the results vary significantly.

I hope we are not about to hit the reset button again !


yea almost to the point of wanting to hit it if you were there 'just to see what happens'
guess thats why sim-life games were popular though also why they did not take off very well because they lacked the whole picture.
This is a NEAT low tech idea to explore on solar energy.



"it's a solar concentrator.  I got two dishes from neighors who couldn't handle looking at them anymore - they are relics....two 10 foot dishes.  One is full aluminium and the other is black mesh.  The one you see in the pix is the full aluminium..i started to take off the paint and sand it but it was going to take dog's year...so i bought some mylar online and glued it on with super 77 glue made by 3M  It was not as easy as i thought...especially on a windy day...don't look at the many wrinkles!

It works unbelievably!! it just works too good...it burns wood in under 4 seconds and is melting aluminium - it's like lead dripping. "

Run some water thru an iron pipe and heat up a storage tank for radiant heating.

Things you can do at home if you're handy.

How much Sunlight on the average flows to the earth?  How much of that sunlight can we harvest?

I've been doing some reading on this recently due to an argument in another thread a couple days ago.  Here is what I've found so far.

The first and simplest answer is for the amount of solar energy that has radiated from the Sun and is available in space at the Earth's distance from the Sun, before it gets into the Earth's atmosphere. That amount is 1,353 Watts/sq. meter or 429.7 Btu/sq. ft./hour, which is called the Solar Constant. That value has some slight variations: (1) the actual output of the Sun has very slight variations which seem to be related to the number of sunspots which exist at the time (about 2%); (2) the distance of the Earth from the Sun varies during the year, being closest on January 3 (about 3.3%); and (3) there are some slight periodic variations in the intensity of the short wavelength parts of the solar spectrum, possibly also caused by sunspot variations on the Sun's surface (around 2%).

Now further along, the writer points out the atmospheric effects of sunlight hitting the surface.

Summary so far: If we consider there to be 100% of incoming solar energy in space approaching Earth, about 19% of that energy gets absorbed by all the components of the atmosphere. This results in a maximum of about 81% of the solar constant ever being able to reach the Earth's surface, around 340 Btu/sq. ft./hour or 1,070 Watts/sq. meter. On the clearest possible day, this is about the best solar energy input that is possible. However, on the average, clouds in the Earth's atmosphere reflect another 25% of the incoming sunlight back off to outer space. Since cloud creation tends to occur in mid-latitudes (where most of us choose to live), cloudiness is even greater in such areas, and so the local reflection of solar energy back to space is even greater. Even though the average for the Earth is 25% reflection off the clouds, it is commonly about double that (on an average) for cities like Chicago, where average sky clearness is only described as around 35%. Therefore, for practical application, it makes sense to think of (100% incoming solar minus 19% that gets absorbed by the atmosphere minus 50% that is (average) reflected by cloud cover, leaving only around 30% of the solar energy to actually be potentially usable, on the scale of 130 Btu/sq. ft./hour or 400 Watts/sq. meter.

Source: http://mb-soft.com/public2/energyso.html

Now consider that the writer was saying this is an average for all locations and that obviously certain locations are better or worse depending on climate related factors.  But sticking with the average here we go:

At 130 btu/sq ft/hour, that would mean 390 btus per sq yard, or (0.9144 X 390) would be 356.616 BTUs/square meter/hour.  That is the average amount of solar energy hitting the ground.

Given that solar cells currently get between 10 and 20% efficiency ratings, that would mean we are currently able to recover 35.6616 to 71.3232 btus/sq meter/hour.  I'm going to go on with a middle rating of 15% and continue with 53.4924 btus/sq meter/hour.

Now one gallon of typical unleaded gasoline has 114100 btus in it.
Source: http://www.nafa.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Resource_Center/Alternative_Fuels/Energy_Equivalents/Ener gy_Equivalents.htm

With current technology, in order to get 114100 btu of solar energy in one hour we would need:
(114100/53.4924) X 1 sq meter or roughly 2133 sq meters or 2.1 sq km of solar panelling.

However keep in mind that at the engine, ICE engines using gasoline have only a 32% efficiency rating on average.  (There is apparently a Diesel tanker engine that can 50% efficiency)

In Otto Cycle engines, which use C gasoline (with anhydrous alcohol), it reaches 32% and those which use hydrated alcohol reach 38%

Source: http://ecen.com/content/eee7/motoref.htm

(This 32% value was also mentioned in several articles I came across as well so I figure its a safe number.  Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

This means, ICEs currently are only putting 36512 btus to work per gallon consumed.

Given that Electric engines have between 75% to 95% efficiency ratings, this changes things a bit.  Also keep in mind electric engines lose efficiency if they are not loaded properly either with too little or too much load.
Source (warning PDF): http://texasiof.ces.utexas.edu/texasshowcase/pdfs/presentations/d5/rschiferl.pdf

So this changes the equation a bit.  In order for Solar panels running electric engines to match gasoline running ICE engines we need some more calculations.

ICE - (114100 x .32) = 36512 btus worth of usable energy

by comparison for solar panels to collect an equivilent amount power for an electric engine running at 85% efficiency in 1 hour we would need

(36512 x .85)/53.4924 or roughly 580 sq meters of solar panels.  For those wondering that's roughly a 25m X 23.2m patch of solar panels or for the more visually oriented (if memory serves) is about 1/10th of a regulation soccer field or the size of the roof on a good sized house.

Now this is what I've found so far and I'm still looking into other numbers related to solar.  Anyone feel free to pick apart my math or my sources.

As far as my self-inflicted reading assignment, the big one that I'm looking at next is the efficiency in energy storage.  My gut tells me based on previous discussions this is going to be where solar takes an ouch.

Anyhow, the question I would have for biofuel proponents would be, how many Btus/sq meter/hour do biofuel plants produce?  If anything I that number would tell us a lot about the viability of biofuels considering they will be subject to similar percentage losses as current ICE engines.

There are 9 sq ft in a sq yrd.
Ah thank you.
Need to correct myself, but that should improve the
numbers for solar I believe.

Corrections then:

130 btu/sq ft/hour would translate to 1170 btu/sq

Converted to square meters that's (0.9144 X 1170) or
1069.848 btu/sq meter/hour.

Going with a 15% Solar Panel efficiency that would be
(.15 X 1069.848) or 160.4772 btu/sq meter/hour.

So to get 114100 btus(equivilent to 1 gallon of gas)
we would need (114100/160.4772) or roughly 711 sq
meters/hour of solar panelling.

Efficiency of ICE engines being 32% average (114100 X
.32) or 36512 btus of actual work.

Second error I caught while reworking things...  if I
want an equivilent amount of BTUs put to work I
shouldn't be taking 85% of the "working" btus from the
gasoline example but rather I should be multiplying
the "working" btus from gasoline by 115% to account
for the added needed btus of solar that will be lost
from innefficiency. So :

For 85% efficient electric engines running off solar
(36512 X 1.15)/160.4772 = 261.64 sq meter/hour of
pannelling needed.

Or just a bit larger than a 16 X 16 meter square (16 X

Feel free to correct me again if I missed something.  Math is a bit rusty due to disuse

Reading the remarks of Patricia Woertz, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, I have a few things to get off my chest. Consider these remarks.
While these [demand] trends could be upset by geopolitical turmoil or economic recession, there's no doubt long-term growth in Asia will reverberate elsewhere. "By the middle of this century demand for food will double," says Woertz. "Also by mid-century, energy from traditional sources will be insufficient to meet projected global demand. Traditional refining capacity, in both the U.S. and globally, will also be insufficient to meet motor fuel demand."

To meet projected demand for fuel through 2015, the world would have to add capacity of 9.5 million barrels a day - the equivalent of four new refineries as I as the largest refineries in the world - every year for nine years. However, the United States has not built one new refinery in the last 30 years. That's why alternative fuels are needed. But how big should that market become?

Woertz cautions anyone who may discount the potential expansion opportunities for ethanol or biodiesel based on current technologies. Those will change and get better, she predicts. She compares biofuels to the automotive industry at the start of the 20th century, or the microchip industry in the 1980s.

Is there anyone here at TOD who does not believe that this is a complete fantasy? Is anyone home? Bueller? Bueller?

  • The world will not add production of 9.5 million barrels a day by 2015 -- a new Saudi Arabia or Russia. Isn't going to happen, folks.

  • As Robert notes above, NREL been working on cellulosic ethanol for 30 years without success. And now there's going to be a breakthrough?

  • World food production is dropping now. Yet we will need to double food production to meet demand by 2050. Simultaneously, the world will devote more and more of its croplands to growing biofuels. And then there's the climate. I'm worried right now about what the changing climatic effects on massively scaled monoculture farming will be in 10 years. 2050? How about 2015 instead?

    This is all an inconsistent fantasy. I suppose that's the thing about fantasies -- they can be anything you want them to be.

The human inability to deal realistically with the changing climate and the inevitable consequences of exponential growth appears insurmoutable to me. The misplaced Cornucopian faith in technology is a large part of this headlong flight from reality.

I myself am worried about where the oil is going to come from to guide a transition to implementing whatever substitutes we can and powering down.

The lights are on, but nobody's home

Did you see the New York Times article connecting ADM and Khosla a few days ago?

Made me think of Proposition 87. Never underestimate the political clout of ADM.

While the plan is still being drafted, Ms. Woertz said that it clearly would involve a stronger push by A.D.M. to develop ways to make ethanol from grasses and agricultural waste -- cellulosic ethanol. She hinted that the plan might involve partnerships with venture capitalists like Vinod Khosla, the founding chief executive of Sun Microsystems, who is investing in companies working on cellulosic ethanol and other alternative fuels, and stumping for ethanol all over the country.

In August, Ms. Woertz invited Mr. Khosla to sit in on a meeting in Chicago of A.D.M.'s strategic planning committee, where he briefed the executives on cellulosic ethanol opportunities.

Cargill (not ADM) is the largest private company in this country.  They SET farm policy and provide no balance sheets to audit.  Scary.
Cargill (not ADM) is the largest private company in this country.

True, but ADM is much larger than Cargill. ADM however is a publically held company.

I'll ask these questions of anyone.   Does growing corn for Ethanol make more money than selling your corn for livestock feed?   What are the implications of taking large amounts of corn away from livestock feed for Ethanol?    With corn futures going up and USDA projections of the world corn production leveling off, how can we even think of making Ethanol into transportation fuel?
We need to save the corn to make livestock feed so we can keep eating those yummy steaks. Just save enough corn to make ethanol for the trucks to bring the yummy steaks to the store :-)
I'll ask these questions of anyone.  
* 1/ Does growing corn for Ethanol make more money than selling your corn for livestock feed?  
Yes. Largely because of subsidies. It wasn't easy, but Big Ag has found a way to squeeze even more out of the public coffers.
* 2/ What are the implications of taking large amounts of corn away from livestock feed for Ethanol?
Meat gets more expensive. So does bread.
* 3/ With corn futures going up and USDA projections of the world corn production leveling off, how can we even think of making Ethanol into transportation fuel?
Go back to 1.

It's about money. Your tax money. It's your fault. Stop it.

See? A perfect circular argument. And it gets better:

Australia : 2/3 of wheat harvests will fail this year.

Time to invest in corn.
Cargill/Monsanto, Syngenta/ADM. Can't go wrong.
Get rich on misery. Let 'em eat cake.

Thats for the response.  I guess I'll make corn bread for dinner.
If you can make 2.5 gallons of ethanol from $2 corn and sell it for $6 there is probably more profit, however when the corn is selling for $4 your profits will no doubt vanish unless gas prices go up.
Her comments just show clearly that they are in the business of making money, not feeding people.
Ethanol = more money than food.
We won't need double the food in 2050, because there won't be as many people on earth if things don't change.
The statements that CEO's of public companies make about the distance future are really about the next quarter.  If that makes any sense...
And CEOs make big bucks so they must be right.

illegal border crossings story

Bhakta decided to see if he could get an elephant accompanied by a six-piece mariachi band across the river.

"To my surprise, the band played on, the elephants splashed away, and nobody showed up," Bhakta said of the stunt. "I'm astounded."

He said he was "staggered" by what happened on Tuesday and was planning on sharing the story with his potential constituents.

"If I can get an elephant led by a mariachi band into this country, I think Osama bin Laden could get across with all the weapons of mass destruction he could get into this country," Bhakta said.

The mariachi band was not immediately available for comment.

A question for those of you who trade oil futures: Where is the best place to have an (online?) account? What are the fees involved? What can you trade? (I've seen OL and CL; where are the gasoline and heating oil futures and crack spreads?) What are some of the more obvious dangers to watch out for?

Where do you get good data to make graphs for historical prices?

My knowledge is pretty thin -- pretty much everything I know came from articles here. I understand that not everything is heavily traded, so the more liquid investments have less risk.

Is Black-Sholes a model to start with for options pricing? I was a math major in college, so I should be able to eventually figure this out, but I'm not sure where to start.