DrumBeat: October 26, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 10/26/06 at 9:25 AM EDT]

Oil shock absorber costing Saudi Arabia $1 billion a year

The cost of keeping spare oil output capacity ready to plug any gaps in global supply is costing Saudi Arabia more than $1bn a year. After reducing output in line with an Opec agreement to trim supplies last week, Saudi Arabia’s spare oil capacity will reach around 2.5mn bpd in November.

The world’s largest exporter has pledged to bring that supply on line within 90 days if international supplies are threatened by a large unexpected supply outage.

The operating costs of keeping all that oil ready to go at such short notice is around $1 a barrel a day, analysts said.

It's not just New Orleans: Rising Seas and Stronger Storms Threaten New York City

Indonesian forest fires may fuel global warming: experts

Environmental opponents begin hunger strike in protest of coal-fired plants

U.K.: Miliband's power firms reward hint

Power companies could be paid in the future not for producing energy, but for saving it, Environment Secretary David Miliband has said.

In comments certain to be seen as a preview of the Climate Change Bill expected in the Queen's Speech, Mr Miliband said energy production could no longer continue as if it had no environmental cost.

U.K.: Energy prices will rise, say experts

Problems at Britain's nuclear power stations will put pressure on energy bills and increase the risk of blackouts during any winter cold snap, a leading market analysis group warned yesterday.

Iraqis fight over oil spoils

ARBIL, Iraq - Through a steadily worsening security situation and deepening political divisions, a dispute is erupting between Kurdish leaders and the Baghdad regime over access to oil resources.

The Emerging Russian Giant, Part 2: Washington's nightmare

Ironically, the aggressive Washington foreign policy of the era of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld since 2001 has done more to nurture the one strategic combination in Eurasia most dreaded by Washington political realists such as Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski...

Turkmen leader promises free gas, power

Turkmenistan's eccentric leader announced Wednesday that his energy-rich Central Asian nation would provide citizens with natural gas and power free of charge through 2030.

"This decision would help ensure a carefree life for our people," said President Saparmurat Niyazov. He said parliament had approved the action.

Production in Saskatchewan Oil Sands Years

It will likely be a decade before any oil is recovered from a huge oil sands deposit in Northern Saskatchewan. But a Calgary based exploration company says its excited about the potential.

Canada: More wind power viable

A study released yesterday by Ontario's electricity authorities says wind power could represent nearly 20 per cent of the province's power-generation capacity with little compromise to system reliability.

Professor says days of 'no oil' are nearing

FALL RIVER - What's worse than $3-a-gallon gasoline?

No gasoline.

If New College of California Professor Richard Heinberg is right, we'll be dealing with "no gasoline" as early as 2010 and definitely by 2030.

That's it. No gasoline. Out. No more oil.

The Path Beyond Petroleum: Twelve Theses

1. Oil production in the year 2025 will be half that of the year 2000. If we combine those figures with those of world population, we find a ratio of 5 barrels of oil per person per year in 2000, but only 2 barrels of oil per person per year in 2025.

2. Alternative sources of energy have been a failure because of an extremely insufficient energy return on energy invested (EROEI).

Energy crisis looming for UK data centres

A crisis is looming in the UK's data centres around the most fundamental of requirements: the need for power, according to a study published by BroadGroup consultants.

The average energy bill to run a corporate UK data centre is currently about £5.3m per year, the study said. This figure is set to double to £11m over the next five years.

Japan Hits Big Setbacks in Push for Energy

Just five months after it was unveiled, Japan's ambitious 25-year plan to sharply increase oil and gas development is hitting snags, suggesting Tokyo may find it even harder than expected to stabilize the nation's future energy supply.

Nigeria veering toward instability

BP and Shell are defined by differences

BP and Shell look increasingly defined by their differences, rather than how they could complement each other. Shell, which reports its third-quarter results this morning, is investing ever more in the kind of unconventional energy assets such as oilsands in Canada and elephantine engineering projects such as Sakhalin-2 that BP has been shunning. Lord Browne is making a point of spurning the oilsands opportunity, demonstrating BP’s more cautious view of oil prices. (Independent analysts calculate that extracting crude from oilsands is viable only if the price of oil stays above about $35 a barrel. By steering clear of the oilsands, BP is styling itself as the prudent major.)

Everything's coming up roses for the oil industry. Exxon Mobil beat forecasts, and so did Shell.

Total Sets Deadlines for Solar, Wind to be Viable

French oil company Total believes wind energy must prove it is competitive by 2020 and solar power must do the same by 2050 if they are to avoid being sidelined, it said on Tuesday.

Biofuels could create new kind of corn

Corn raised by future Iowa farmers could look more like the corn produced by their ancestors, with more substantial stalks, biofuels industry experts said Wednesday.

As investment in biomass-based, or cellulosic, ethanol production grows, so will demand for crop residue.

I don't want to make this my pet issue, but the following paragraphs in the last article caught my attention:

He and others predicted that some sectors could be hurt by the growing industry. Corn production may take cropland from soybeans, for instance, making soy products more costly. Higher corn prices, driven up by demand from ethanol plants, could increase costs for many livestock feeders.

"The intersection of agriculture and energy is going to be a disruptive event," said David Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. That "can be good or bad, but it is going to be disruptive."

Biofuels will and are competing for food.  It's obvious, inevitable, and worrisome -- and even when it's mentioned in mainstream articles like this one, the serious implications are glossed-over.

Yup.  That article is from the DesMoines Register. Lot of farmers read that paper.  Anyone who knows anything about agriculture knows that fuel vs. food is very real.  

But I don't expect the average American to get worked up over it, until they're the ones priced out.  As it is, we import luxury foods from countries that cannot feed their own people. If we don't care that our chocolate is grown by child slaves who can never dream of tasting the crop they grow, why should we care if the ethanol in our car is grown by people who should be growing food for themselves rather than fuel for us?

I'm originally from Iowa, and as I recall the DMR typically leans fairly conservative, so I suppose it's progress that they even mention the issue.  For farmers, though, none of this news is bad -- crop prices will increase substantially whether it's grown for food or fuel.

You are correct on the benefits to farmers.

I live in Iowa, have been imployeed by a seed company in the past, currently work for an agricultural related business and attended the Growing the Bioeconomy Conference this year in Ames, Iowa.  Take special note of the talks given by Dr.'s Miranowski, Jolly, Wisner and Euken, all professors in agriculture economics.  They clearly show in their presentations that there will be a squeeze on the supply side of ag products when we build ethanol plants.

Farmers are at their wits end in getting paid a living wage for producing food.  Food is kept cheap in this country at the expense of the people who grow it.  Not every year granted, but over the long haul a few bad years can drive a farmer out of business.  They are backing anything that increases commodity grain and food prices.  

I disagree that people in Iowa do not understand the ramifications of using plants for fuel.  They understand very well and expect a balance to be achieved some time in the future for land being used for food, fuel or structural materials.  Currently it is only food.  When other countries have a good crop, farmers lose money or must get a subsidy (greater subsidy?) from the government.  Iowa farmers would rather have everyone pay them more but have the country spend less on imported oil and subsidies.  Most people in Iowa understand this as well.  Give the farming base more money and they will be better stewards of the land and spend more money locally, that translates into jobs.  With enough income in the state you get new business development making farm equipment, service jobs and maybe even a new industrial base making real physical goods other than farm equipment.

The harsh reality is if Iowa ships more finished goods and less raw food stocks, out of state, the state nets more income.  It is all about transfer of wealth.  Where is the wealth being generated vs where do we want it to be generated?  Right now there is a giant sucking sound of money going to oil companies and/or overseas.  This must end, either by design or after all the wealth is sucked out of the state and country.  And I am sure this means more food must be grown outside of Iowa but isn't that what the shop locally for food movement is all about?

Farmers don't make money growing food because they've been squeezed by the middleman (ADM, Cargill...).  What's to stop those corporations from doing the same to fuel crops?
That's what I'm wondering. Throw fuel producers into the mix and you've got more potential buyers to bid it up, but the overall number of potential buyers will still be low and look like an oligopoly.
the truth?
absolutely positivly NOTHING will stop them short of the government breaking them.
pigs will get wings and fly before that happens.
A disruptive event is when I profit; a disaster is when I starve or pay much higher prices for my food.  So called disruptive technology that threatens our ability to have food at reasonable prices and contributes to world wide deficits in grain production is a bit more threatening than, say, the invention of the microchip.  They talk about "some sectors being hurt" but they don't talk about the most important sector, the ultimate consumer. They have a very narrow and scary view of the world.

Our agricultural, industrial system needs a disruptive event, but it is not the intersection between agriculture and energy. We already have said intersection with respect to all the massive inputs of energy to keep said system going. Energy saved is energy earned. I think it would be much more productive and good for the land if we rediscovered ways to use less energy in our agriculture rather than turn our agriculture into energy.

I disagree with your premise.

Historically (more than 150 years ago) almost everything of value came off of land.  As recently as the early 1900's many products were made from plants.  Pigments, paints, fibers, insulators, structural material, and on and on.  Furniture, dwellings, fabric are all made from plants even today.  Farmers grow more than just food and always have.  The problem is that oil has forced farmers to grow almost exclusively food because oil products substitute for everything they used to grow.  And I haven't even started on the animal products that are used for non food uses.  Oil makes many of these pure waste products, rather than the added value products of my Grandfathers day.

NC,,,it was termed Food and Fiber. Older books by the USDA spoke of it that way. Food and Fiber.

I remember well the sheep we used to shear on the farm. The geese for feathers. Hemp needs to make a comeback.

I think if this country survives the meltdown then it has to come back else we won't have anymore plastic clothes.

I always did prefer cotton and wool. Let the wimmen go back to the ironing board and forget 'permament press'. Obligatory smiley and several LOL's so I don't get lambasted. Only kidding wimmen, only kidding!

there were less people back then too.. billions less.
reduce the population enough and we can once again do the same but of course the required die-off is not what you want if you want to go back to that.
Food has always competed with other things. In a market economy, everything competes with everything. Most directly, food competes with housing for land; with cities for water; with everyone for energy, chemicals, all the commodities needed to grow, harvest, prepare and ship food. There's nothing new about the existence of competition and tradeoffs between food and other products in the world.
I'll grant you that food competes with a whole host of things, but doesn't that pale in comparison with a use like ethanol which could swallow up our whole corn supply?  It has already been stated elsewhere that even using 19% of our supply it hasn't even been able to fulfill the increse in demand for our fuel. Therefore, the argument  that is has always competed sounnds to me like a non sequitur.
The entire USA industrial agro-oil industry is a mechanism to transfer hydrocarbons into carbohydrates while obesifying the USA population, impoverishing the taxpayers, and shafting photon to carb producers elsewhere.

In other words, it must be more profitable than selling the crude directly to refiners,

You can eliminate the feedlot cattle/cheezo subsidies now, or be forced to later.

CNN calls democraticly elected Hugo Chavez "dictator"
Sounds like a certain predicament for electing him again. Go CNN, go!
More Oil Coming Online

While tuned to CNBC this morning, one of the commentators, while talking about the surge in oil prices yesterday, commented; "And there is more oil coming on line. Royal Dutch Shell just announced that they would develop areas in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. They will bring as much as 130,000 barrels per day online by 2010."

I went to the computer to find out what I could about this great event.

The fields -- called Great White, Tobago and Silvertip -- will be developed via a Perdido Regional Development host, located in the Alaminos Canyon, around 200 miles south of Freeport.

First production from Perdido is expected around the turn of the decade, with the facility capable of handling 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

So there you have it, 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent by around the turn of the decade. Well, I believe 2010 would be extremely optimistic as no test wells have even been drilled yet. Then multiple wells would have to be drilled and a platform would have to be built and so on.  Hell, the first reports from the developers of Jack 2 put the startup date at 2013. That was before the talking heads on CNBC and Bloomberg put the likely startup date much sooner.

But the important point is the 130,000 BOE. Perhaps a little over half of that will be crude. And by 2010 or 2012 or whenever that comes on line, it will not amount to a hill of beans. The ultra deepwater GOM may be profitable for the companies, owing to the very high price of oil by that date, but it will do little to impede the decline in world oil production.

The ultra deepwater GOM is hyped by the talking heads on the financial news networks, and by the peak oil  naysayers as proof that there will be no problem with world oil production in the coming decades. They are totally out of touch with reality.

Ron Patterson

Predicting when a resource from the GOM will come online seems indeed BS. All you need is 1 or 2 Cat. 5 hurricanes to mess up.
Hell it doesn't even take that much. Even a Cat. 2 or 3 can raise hell. 20+ foot waves, 5-10 ft. storm surge, 100 mph winds....
Tied in with that global warming thing:

Insurance rates pummel Florida homeowners

MELBOURNE, Fla. -- After six major hurricanes in 2004-05, rates for homeowners insurance in Florida have skyrocketed.

Homeowners, especially those in coastal counties, from Miami to Pensacola want fast relief from soaring bills, and many of them say insurance is the top issue in the Nov. 7 elections.

I wonder how long it will be before those who aren't living in harm's way start getting angry at repeatedly bailing out those who do?

High insurance bills is just another way of telling you to move. I pay higher insurance for the priviledge of living up here in  the mountains of Colorado. Should I ask for a bailout, too?
ins co.s here in the midwest of a are busy raising rates as well   i assumed it was to cover losses in the gulf coast  although they wont admit it   and back in 2002 the reason was stock mkt losses    and now that the dow has reached an all time high (not adjusted for inflation of course) they are not lowering the premiums    a favorite trick here is to inflate the coverage (and thereby inflate the premium)    they will pay off based on the replacement cost if  the home burns to the ground and every nail is melted and the probability of that is about nil   of course they have the feel good factor working  because many homeowners like to hear that their hovel is worth $120 per square foot    i have asked several agents why i couldnt replace the house with  one down the street  dozens of which are on the market  i have decided to go with a high deductable     filing a claim with an insurance co is sort of like bringing a lawsuit   nobody can win a $ 10,000 lawsuit  if you do file a claim it will hang around to haunt you for about 5 yrs
I own a home on Oregon's central coast, close to a bay.  We were recently told by our insurance carrier that new risk-area-maps and formulas being adopted by the Federal flood insurance program would likely result in a tripling of our flood insurance despite the fact that there is no history of flooding in the area.  We bought the insurance in the unlikely event of a tsunami resulting from a Pacific coast earthquake.

I was wondering whether the big rate increase was due to actuaries factoring in rising sea levels from global warming and other climatic anomalies or if we were going to be subsidizing higher risk properties elsewhere.  This article points to the latter variable as the most plausible explanation.

Hi Southpaw,

I'm in Yachats on the west side of 101 at the very edge of the tsunami inundation zone. From '05-'06, our premium went up 5.9%; but I'm unable to say exactly where the rise occurred (we have Farmer's). Our auto insurance is through the same company, but it rose only 3.5%; so, something other than inflation accounted for the difference. When we receive our next premium bill, I'll definately scrutinize it. Thanks for the tip-off to something I usually don't look at (I'm not in charge of paying those particular bills).

Hi Karl,

I understand that we might be able to avoid a steep rate increase if we get a surveyor to come out and provide us with an elevation certificate showing that we are in a lower risk zone.  Just FYI, the flood insurance rates are determined exclusively by the feds, not the particular insurance company who just acts as a go-between.  However, I think some insurance companies may be more willing to give the customer the benefit of the doubt than others.  We currently carry the flood insurance through USAA but when we got the run around trying to get information about the possible rate increase we called State Farm, our carrier for our auto and home insurance.  State Farm quoted the same low rate we have been paying and they said they didn't need an elevation certificate.

By the way, I was hoping to start up a Lincoln County and central OR coast peak oil community group but then got tied up with some professional and family obligations that made it impossible to proceed.  Are you aware of any such groups starting to form up in the area?

There's quite a lot of emphasis on sustainability, which would include energy use of course. Email me at the addy in my profile.


blah blah blah..
Climate variablity ratchets down the slide in coastal property values
Coastal property values erode with the rest, but at a much lower rate. Some highly desirable properties in highly desirable locations don't lose value at all. But extreme climatic events caused by shift in climate event intensity and locality with increasing sea temperatures can change everything. Storms of unusual intensity driven by warmer oceans, in turn caused by unprecedented increases in the 'greenhouse effect' gas carbon dioxide (from coal, oil, and gas 'unlocked' from its geological tomb) can abruptly turn an entire generations mindset from coveting coastal land to despising it. At the point of greatest fear, property prices for coastal land collapse. The cost of repairing coastal infrastructure destroyed in tidal surges and hurricanes is far greater than in the peak of cheap oil. The burden falls on local counties and ratepayers, saddling them with debt stretching far out into the future. Worse, the insurance companies start to draw red lines around low-lying coastal areas. They will not write insurance for any home or business within these zones. Values for uninsurable properties fall further.

Example: In the 1920's buying and selling Florida real estate became known as a road to instant riches. In the height of the bubble, real estate prices quadrupled in less than a year. When the bubble burst, property speculators were forced to sell to try to avoid bankruptcy. Most failed. The lack of buyers was made very much worse when an unusually strong hurricane hit Southern Florida in septemebr 1926. Wind-driven tidal surge turned large areas of low land into swamps, and a huge storm wave slammed into several coastal towns. In all 13,000 homes were destroyed and 415 people died."

The sub-context, of course, is peak oil=>peak gas>peak coal=> peak CO2=>peak wave height=>peak insurance premiums

If peak insurance premiums are solved, peak hydrocarbons are solved...although, what does Jerome a Paris pay for an offshore wind turbine? Or is there a massive tail end feathering system...?

Check this out....!


The word is out about the shortage of divers in the oil and gas industry, and the good money even young recruits can make by going into the dark and cold depths of the sea to do work few are willing and able to do.

Dive companies say average pay has risen about 25 percent since 2005. In their first year out of school, divers can make up to $1,800 a week when on the job. Experienced divers, meanwhile, can earn $1,000 a day and up to $200,000 in annual pay.

"The hurricanes were really a shot in the arm for this industry," said Kevin Erickson, 51, a diver from Madisonville, La., with 29 years of experience. Not only does he earn top wages, but he pays nothing for medical benefits and life insurance.

Those divers can make a killing, but they have incredibly dangerous jobs. If you watched Oil, Sweat, and Rigs earlier this year, they showed what some of those divers do, and a life was nearly lost while they were filming.
I did watch that which is why this article painted a better picture of the industry as a whole.  I must have missed the pay figures, but I do know they only work 6 mos a year too.  Wonder if they keep stats on divers dying in a given year.
A similar situation has arisen for Helicopter pilots.  Many of the current pilots come from the Vietnam era, and many are retiring.  The Oil industry uses a fair number of them, along with other services such as EMS, police, and weather/traffic/news.

Helicopter pilot salaries have gone up a fair amount in the pass several years, and from what I understand, aside from the normal level of danger operating one of those machines, landing on an oil rig can be particularly fun from what I understand.

I've always wanted to fly helicopters, and someday I hope to get a license to.  Perhaps I should consider going beyond just a regular license and go for a commerical one.

Reminds me of a story I heard from a friend while I was in college at the University of Maine.  The college student was an expert diver and dive for sea urchins during summer break.  The divers would get paid per sea urchin, so there is a huge incentive to stay on the bottom as long as possible to gather as many as possible.  A number of times, divers did not allow enough time for decompression on the way up and would get the bends very bad.  A few even died.

However, this college student did make $100K each summer diving for sea urchins.

I could not imagine being a college student, having no responsibilities, and having $100K each summer.  

The son of some friends of ours is one of these divers. He goes off to the Gulf for a few weeks every couple of months. He got certified as an underwater welder and makes a small fortune out there. Definitely dangerous business, our friends are not too happy to have him gone so much and doing that kind of work.
The UK has published its oil production statistics for August here (Excel document)

Production was 11% lower than August last year. With the exception of August this year, the production statisitics for August last year were the lowest production figures since at least 1980.

Those figures herald a looming disaster for the UK economy. Yearly declines in production are accelerating, from 9% between 02 and 03 to 11% between 03 and 04 to 12% from 04 to 05 (in terms of crude oil production). So far this year a mere 46,817,000 tonnes have been produced and so annual production will, barring a miracle, be under 70,000 tonnes presaging another decline of 10% or more.

But its the import/export figures that hide the most danger - for the past 15 years plus until 2005 theUK was an oil exporter - by 2005 it was, still one, by the skin of its teeth - or 2,424,000 tonnes, a massive fall from figures of only 5 years previously.

This year it is so far a NET IMPORTER of 4,807,000 tonnes - the annual total for 2006 is likely to be at least 6,000,000 tonnes - and the figure for 2007 will in all probability exceed 10,000,000 tonnes.
The UK already has a massive and persistent trade gap with total goods imports far exceeding exports - now oil is going to make that position much much worse. Ultimately this must torpedo the pound, which in turn must have serious impacts on interest rates etc.........

The executive council of the EU, the European Commission, is, to a degree, independent from national governments and industries, which allows it to be more demanding than other similar bodies (and make plenty enemies).

It doesn't hesitate to hand out large fines to Microsoft, or to ban GMO seeds. And it follows through on what the countries themselves have pledged in emissions cuts. But these are not simple issues.

It easier to demand performance from member states than from carmakers, which in turn is easier than putting hard limits on international flights.

Brussels wants deeper CO2 cuts from EU countries

The European Commission attacked European Union states over their emissions plans on Monday, demanding cuts in the number of pollution permits proposed for the 2008-2012 period of the bloc's trading scheme.

The EU executive, struggling to make sure the scheme achieves its goal of reducing emissions blamed for global warming, said the plans submitted by EU states were not tough enough and needed corrections to be approved.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the 17 plans received by the Commission so far allowed for a cap on emissions that was 15 percent higher than actual 2005 emissions levels.

The EU's scheme is its key instrument to fight climate change and meet commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

Airlines Could Quit EU Over CO2 Rules

Airlines could relocate out of the European Union if the European Commission decides to include aviation emissions in Europe's carbon emissions trading scheme, the European Regions Airline Association warned Tuesday.

The EU launched an emissions trading scheme in 2005 where governments set limits on the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted by industry, such as electricity, steel and cement.

In the first phase of the scheme (2005-2007), the aviation industry was excluded but the European Commission said Thursday that it plans to release proposals for including aviation in the emissions trading scheme in the next few weeks.

According to the European Commission, emissions from Europe's international flights increased by 73 percent from 1990 to 2003. At that pace, by 2012 they will have risen by 150 percent from 1990 levels.

Top-selling carmakers failing on EU emissions standards

Only a quarter of Europe's 20 top-selling carmakers are on track to meet EU targets for cutting exhaust pollution, a survey revealed today.

The European Commission warned last month that it would impose legislation if car manufacturers failed to voluntarily reduce average CO2 emissions from new cars to 140 grams a kilometre by 2008, and to 120 grams by 2012.

But today's report shows that only five - Fiat, Citroen, Renault, Ford and Peugeot - are currently cutting emissions at a rate which will achieve or exceed EU requirements.

That airlines article is hilarious... yeah sure, Europe is going to include the Euro airlines in carbon emission schemes and exempt foreign airlines!

Yeah sure, BA and Lufthansa are going to relocate to Bahrein! (well actually BA might)

Obviously, it's an all-or-nothing affair, taxing airlines (one way or another). People want to fly to Europe, the airlines will pay the taxes.

The UK opposed this for years, but seems to have come around. Heathrow in particular is a hub, people change planes there who are not travelling to or from Europe. Such traffic would be driven elsewhere by taxes, but that's no big deal.

Lighting up the $1 trillion power market

Silicon Valley has changed the world once. Now, thanks to a wave of investment and innovation in solar power, it's on to the next revolution: A massive disruption of the U.S. electricity market.
Thanks for the link.
Who would have thunk that the money would return to the lowly art of growing single crystal silicon?
Heh heh heh silicon sausages that's what they look like, not uncommon to find 'em at the swapmeets or ham radio flea markets etc., cut off ends of them or ones that failed partway through the grow. Just for their "wierd objet d'art" value.

Although, finely ground pure Si is on the wish list of many pyrotechnicians, for some reason it's on the "can't ship it" list....... it's OK to ship Si in pieces like that, then pound it to bits when you get it.

Now we're talking.  That's the kind of disruption we should get behind.
In regards to the "Twelve Theses" article what are your thoughts on the rate of oil depletion and its associated societal and economic effects?

I used to believe we would have a fast crash in which the house of cards tumbles in a series of catastrophies. Now I'm not so sure. Perhaps my change of heart is simply due to a desire to accomplish a few personal goals that require our society to hang on for a while. Or perhaps it is because my "fear factor" has been tempered a bit since first reading about Peak Oil. A lot of what you read (Kunstler, LATOC, FTW, etc) speaks to things happening in the very near future. My expectations of "something happening any day now" have not been fulfilled. Is this evidence of a slow crash?

What do you think? Will we have a fast crash, a slow crash, or no crash?

I am not so sure the rate of depletion matters as much as some think it does.  I think we could have a fairly slow rate of depletion, but nevertheless have a fast crash (caused by warfare or a currency crisis, say).  

Likewise, I think a steep decline could still result in a slow crash.  

I don't rule anything out, but I don't think we'll be Mad Maxing in my lifetime.  "Catabolic collapse" is the likeliest scenario.

What do you think? Will we have a fast crash, a slow crash, or no crash?

We face a wide range, a convergence, of potential threats, so you would have to define "crash" first. It's hard to see where the system will fail first, but it does seem dreamy to expect all to develop along a best case scenarios. It's certainly not just oil. Climate change and pollution are up there on the danger list as well, as is nuclear and chemical warfare.

While looking at pure oil reserves, we may see the effects of anticipatory action take us by surprise. If large scale war breaks out, you may see enormous energy shortages, even though the bare numbers hardly change.

Similarly, if a Katrina or Asian tsunami were to hit "control centers" like New York or London, something drastic would likely be the result.

If there's another dry year in the Amazon, massive die-off of trees can be expected. The effects could be fast- and hardhitting.

Australia this year will lose 2/3 of its crops due to drought. If that is repeated next year, hunger will spread wide over the globe.

If Canada or the US experience one such year, God only knows what awaits North America. Grain stocks worldwide are already at all-time lows.

A large-scale local eruption of any of these factors can have large-scale ripple effects through a globalized economic system. Food and water are highly vulnerable, when viewed along with the fact that we're fast going from 6.5 to 9 billion people.

How will Asia and Africa react to their populations dying off massively? Lay down and die?

All in all, a slow crash seems viable only if one or more factors are conveniently ignored. There is too much interconnection between people, ecosystems, and economic sectors. The list of things to consider is endless. PPerhaps it's more important to recognize the risk that something will give, than to predict which one it will be.

And man is not a nice animal. Maybe that's the decisive one.

Piling up a lot of ifs here but yes, the odds that one of many hypotheticals hit are higher than that any particular hypothetical hits.
Just out of your examples - should Amazonian drought continue the effect would be felt quite soon in American South and southern Midwest. Then crop failure. And London is quite vulnerable to flood without special circumstances intervening. The Thames Barrier is being deployed far more frequently than the designers projected and rising seas combined with the eastward subsidence of the English land mass - well, the successor to the Barrier cannot arrive a moment too soon.
I always liked Stuart's description of the slow squeeze.  

In these early stages of "awareness" that there might be a problem (hard to judge while it's happening), all parties involved around the world are clinging to the status quo.  No one in power wants to disturb the apple cart.  The result is "not much overt effect" on the common Joe/Jane except some increase in energy prices, but nothing that is changing our lifestyle, at least in the States.  There are many subtle changes where companies experience contraction, become more "efficient", or shake things up through "business transformations".  Prices of goods sold do not increase, but companies struggle to cut costs to maintain their margins.

When/if we reach the second stage, where decline rates increase more than a minimal amount, there will be secondary effects apparent to the common Joe/Jane.  Companies have cut costs all they can and will be faced with two unpalatable options;  raising prices or laying more employees off.  In this scenario, not only are common folk forced to pay more for common goods, but they may find the jobs necessary to pay for those goods difficult to find.

It is at this point, I would expect more chaos to be prevalent in societies throughout the globe.  There is a lot of fluff for companies to cut before they will be faced with the secondary phase options.  This process, however, has been going on for over a year now and it more and more difficult for companies to find the "fluff".

I just reread what I posted...Stuart suggested there would be a slow squeeze going over Peak and not a quick collapse.

The rest of the post are my thoughts, not Stuart's.

Then again, maybe it will be bird flu...

Stay home in flu pandemic? Sure, but ...

The "quarantine at home" idea is not going to work in reality.  Too many Americans live alone, with no one to care for them if they get sick.  Even more cannot afford to lose their paychecks for a week.  

Then there's what should have been the obvious flaw in the plan:

"If you want to guarantee that society will collapse in terms of the economy, tell everybody to stay home," Osterholm said. "Somebody's got to move the food, take away the garbage, provide health care, law enforcement, to assure that communications continues. ... We will very much put at risk things like electricity, food."
the earth's magnetic field will reverse any day now and time will flow in  reverse      
How wonderful. That'll be the proof for abiotic oil.
What do you think? Will we have a fast crash, a slow crash, or no crash?

The 'speed' of the crash depends on how the citizens of the world react to their changing fortunes.

If the ones who feel force is the answer AND have 'good arguments', the orgy of violence to people and property will result in lots of nasty, brutish and short lives.

'don't push me cuz I'm close to the edge' - is that a reality (how close to the edge people are) or is it just a simple turn of the phrase?

Many people are a paychek or 2 away from loosing their homes, cars, marriage....what will be their reaction?  That 'things happen' or 'I was doing all the right things and this happened.  I was LIED to'?

Sorry for the lack of formatting, but check out this link (subscription may be required):


Encana is pulling some of its rigs from the Barnett Shale because the daily rig cost has passed 20k. They seem to be pulling rigs from other plays, as well.

So, even with high NG prices, a major is reducing its drilling because of the costs. Doesn't this scenario just accelerate the decline in North American NG production, and make it more likely that even higher NG prices are on the way? I.e. isn't this just a form of "shut in" of Encana's leases in the hopes of even higher prices?

Well let's destroy what's left and make sure the oil companies  continue their record profits all the way down.

Up to 1.5 million tons of oil, 50 times the pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster, has been spilt in the ecologically precious Niger Delta over the past 50 years, it was revealed yesterday.

The report, compiled by WWF UK, the World Conservation Union and representatives from the federal ministry of Abuja and the Nigeria Conservation Foundation, concluded that the delta was now one of the five most polluted spots on the planet. Far from benefiting local people, rural communities have borne the brunt of the environmental and social costs of development, experts said.

In Oloibori, the first oil village where drilling began in 1958, youth unemployment is now running at 50 per cent.

The cost of the leaking crude, much of it from outdated equipment and pipes, is estimated to be costing Nigeria $10m (£5.3m) a day.

Shell is one of the biggest players in the region and one of the most heavily criticised. Its role came under the international spotlight following the execution of the playwright turned minority rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995 by the then military dictatorship. Last year the company, which boasted profits of $22.94bn (£13.12bn), extracted 900,000 barrels of crude oil a day from its activities in the Niger Delta.

In yesterday's Drumbeat Leanan noted the following article:

Want to spend less at the pump? Lose some weight

I was disappointed to find that they advised people to lose weight, and remove unneeded items from the car, to save fuel -- but never mentioned the radical concept of choosing a lighter car!  While people gained a few pounds, cars gained many hundreds of pounds!  The weight of the car is the most important determinant of its fuel consumption.

I've heard numbers thrown around about 20 lbs heavier per capita now than in the 70's.  Does that also take into account the heavier cars?  If you combined the extra heft of a person with that of the vehicle and I would agree that the vehicle weight reduction can have a more substantial impact on total mileage saved.  Wow isn't that just radical?
Being just a small guy... I always had similar thoughts whilst checking in for flights... and occasionally having to pay excess baggage.

Meanwhile often checking in next to me was someone twice my weight...

My solution: they should weigh the person AND their baggage together!!

The effect on commercial flight is also mentioned in the news article. "The same effect has been seen in airplanes. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that heavy fliers have contributed to higher fuel costs for airlines."
Have you been on a European (lowcost, RyanAir or it's ilk) airline? They all but do.
What you mention is coming one day. At least over there, here it would be discrimination
Better yet, ship them together.  
they put a tiny spare tire in the trunk to cut down on wt   and put a 300 hp v-8 capable of 150 mph under the hood
Havn't seen this news on drumbeat so I thought i'd post the link.......~40% efficient solar panels, thats roughly 400W/m^2.


See this from yesterday's Drumbeat -

And this from wikinews:

Solar concentrators based on spectrolab cells are one of the two major promising techs in PV to bring us under $1/watt.

Another Aussie company making great claims for concentrator technology:


Five hundred to one is a lot of concentration of the light. Usually that sort of thing requires squeaky cleanliness of the reflecting/refracting surfaces. I wonder whether these things will prove infeasibly labor-intensive once they're out there in the real world with dust, rain, etc.
I am curious, with all the "spare capicity"(opec) and the current cheap gas prices why aren't we filling our SPR? It seem's the democrats should be bringing this up.
I think the demos are equally terrified of saying anything that could be construed or misrepresented as being supportive of anything that could raise oil/gas prices.
If there currently is a surplus of oil driving a drop in price at the pumps, why would a Republican president and congress want to drive gasoline prices higher by purchasing the surplus to fill the SPR 2 weeks before a key election?

They've (the Republicans) been handed a gift from the gods in the form of temporary lower energy prices, why screw it up?

Bush legalizes fence on Mexican border

President Bush today signed legislation authorizing 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican border to keep people from entering the United States illegally and urged Congress to find a middle ground between blanket amnesty and mass deportation for the millions who are already in the United States without authorization.

"We must reduce pressure on our border by creating a temporary worker plan," Bush said at a signing ceremony attended by Republican congressional leaders and the heads of some government immigration agencies. "Willing workers ought to be matched with willing employers to do jobs Americans are not doing."

Cost estimates range from $2 billion to $9 billion. This year's annual spending bill for the Homeland Security Department included only $1.2 billion, and so Congress will have to vote more funds in future years if the full 700 miles are to be completed.

The signed bill also provides for an additional 1,500 border patrol agents and 6,700 beds for illegal immigrants at border detention centers. And it authorizes improved equipment to detect the movement of people and vehicles across the border.

Think there's a connection between these two newsitems?

With Beheadings and Attacks, Drug Gangs Terrorize Mexico

An underworld war between drug gangs is raging in Mexico, medieval in its barbarity, its foot soldiers operating with little fear of interference from the police, its scope and brutality unprecedented, even in a country accustomed to high levels of drug violence.

In recent months the violence has included a total of two dozen beheadings, a raid on a local police station by men with grenades and a bazooka, and daytime kidnappings of top law enforcement officials. At least 123 law enforcement officials, among them 2 judges and 3 prosecutors, have been gunned down or tortured to death. Five police officers were among those beheaded.

What a waste.  I think immigration must be halted, but this is a waste of money and done purely for political reasons so Repubs can tell the folks back home that they're doing something about immigration.  Notice that the programs to make sure businesses do not hire illegal immigrants was left out of the bill.  All smoke and mirrors.  Expensive ones at that.
Halting immigration is a delusional dream. People flow like air pressure. You'd have to build up Mexico in order to stop it. The opposite is happening. So the number of immigrants will increase, wall or no wall.

There is always a weak point in a system. They'll come by boat if necessary. A fence along the coastline?

The new "hotspot to Europe" is from Senegal to the Canary Islands, which are Spanish territory. A long trip over the Atlantic Ocean, made in overcrowded dinghies.

The more desperate people become, the bigger the risks they will take. As more will try, more will die. But they will keep coming in increasing numbers.

AP reports today on a poll that says Spain is more worried about immigration than any other issue. Five times as many people were intercepted on the Canary Islands route, 27.000, and many more have made it.

An estimated four million immigrants live in Spain, with debate about illegal migrants intensifying after a record 27,000 people -more than five times the number for all of 2005- were intercepted this year trying to reach the Canary Islands.

The vast majority sailed from west Africa in crowded open boats, many perishing en route.
Others have attempted to reach Spain's Andalusian coast by crossing the Mediterranean from north Africa, with most apprehended at sea.

No, you don't have to build up Mexico, just "tear down" the US - a Depression will do it.
Cynus is absolutely correct, the fence is strictly a smoke and mirrors routine.  While the RNC does the bidding of corporations looking to exploit immigrant laborers, Bush tries to posture for secure borders (despite the "wars" drugs and terror) in order to appease the American electorate who are increasingly concerned about a massive influx of illegals who strain schools, hospitals, jails, social services for the poor, and depress wages of the working poor and working class.

I follow this issue closely and am aware that the Republican leadership's support of an open border has led to a schism within the party as true conservatives, populists, nationalists/pro-sovereigns, and even evangelicals worried about "one-world-government" prepare to bolt from the party.

This rebellion may have several benefits for those of us who hope to see a reorganization of American society: (1) grass-roots level of political participation is strengthening; (2) a viable 3rd party has a better chance of emerging; (3) there is a greater awareness of the environmental consequences to population growth.

As someone who is concerned about the compassionate treatment of illegal immigrants yet doesn't want to see the U.S. descend into a chaotic and violent third-world cess pool, I find the amnesty issue to be an inextricable conundrum.

The proposal by some to "build up" Mexico is admirable but it may be unrealistic given the level of corruption in that society and does not factor in what I consider to be the most pressing issue, which is Mexico's high fecundity.  Mexico's population was 20 million in 1940 and now stands at 110 million, and does not include tens of millions in the U.S. and their descendants.  

Mexico's high birth rate reflects not only their poverty, but also their religious dictates, culture, and quite possibly a behavioral genetic trait.  This brings up a larger question as the we face overshoot: how do we coerce others to limit their reproduction without resorting to draconian measures?  And, if other sovereign peoples opt for the "r" strategy then when they exceed their carrying capacity and try to flee to regions with stable populations are those regions obliged to welcome the newcomers?  It may all come down to practical matters of survival and utopian economic models be damned.

This brings up a larger question as the we face overshoot: how do we coerce others to limit their reproduction without resorting to draconian measures?

the answer is you can't. even trying to do so will empower some to do the exact opposite.

as to improving mexico to stop them from comming here. a great first step is to get rid of nafta.

bush is a don quiote    jousting after wmds
If this kind of thing starts spilling over the border we may have to call General Pershing back from the dead to chase Pancho Villa back over the border.

Trunk or Treating

What to do when houses are spread out, no one knows their neighbors, and the highway is unlit, without sidewalks, and jammed with speeding SUVs.  

Some parents drive their kids trick-or-treating.  Or they take them "trunk or treating."  Cars park in a parking lot, and kids go from car to car.   With a cop present, to watch out for perverts.

Ah so sad.  If anyone's in Boston for the ASPO conference and you are going to be around for a couple of days, walk around Beacon Hill on Halloween.  There you'll get the best most authentic Halloween experience anywhere.  Without the kitch of Salem.
I have very fond childhood memories of Halloween.  Probably my prime trick-or-treating years were spent in Raleigh, North Carolina.  We rambled all over the place.  At age five or six, we went out with only the older neighbor kids (who were maybe as old as 12) as chaperones.  We weren't allowed to eat any candy until we got home and had it inspected by the parental units, but other than that, we were free for the night.

Now, letting your kids do that would probably be considered child abuse.  :-P

Well, going back about 60 years:  I lived in a rural area where ther weren't many kids.  Practically no one had a costume.  Mostly we burned a piece of cork and rubbed the soot on our faces.  Also, we never said trick or treat but rather "Please help the poor."  We all thought saing trick or treat spoiled the idea of Haloween.
You had cork? You were like those rich kids who lived at the next farm down from us. :-)
You were lucky!
When I was young we used to get up at 3.00am 2 hours before we went to bed, go out & lick the road clean with tongues then go home and get beaten to within an inch of our lives.
You were Lucky............
thanks Pythons

We used to dream of getting beaten to within an inch of our lives...!

Actually, we rode our bikes to a local bar and got whiskey bottle corks.
Actually trunk or treating is more fun than most would think.  My church has done this every year for the pass 4 or 5 years at least.  My wife, daughter and I love it.

Its a really fun social event where not only are cars lined up to give out candy, but there are competitions for dressing up the cars with various Halloween decorations.

We also usually rent a moonwalk for the kids, have tubs for bobbing apples, facepainting(for those in need of a quick costume), and various other Fair like events and contests.  Think we had a cake walk one year, and the church pitches in for hot dogs that we give out to any who come.  We usually get the local fire department to come by with their engine, and yes we usually have a few cops on the premise, but for being on duty they seem to enjoy the festivities(or at least the hot dogs) as well.

Its been a great outreach tool, is seen as a service to the community and is a great way to show the community what we are all about, and it also helps to promote other community activities the church fosters including a recreational basketball league, and a highschool Wednesday night bible study/teen activity night, etc etc.

If anything I'd say the trunk or treat Holloween party is more about community than door to door trick or treating.

That sounds great, T!
  I'm a big Halloween fan, and wish our town was better suited for the Door-to-door, but at least there's a local "Halloween Parade" on Portland's (Maine) West End, so we romp through some 10-15 blocks while the homebodies watch from their steps..  jugglers and firedancers or some such usually give us a little show at the end of it.. but we need a party, too!  I want a bonfire, cider and fresh donuts!


It's not that it's not fun.  It's that it's so car-oriented.  Proof positive that our neighborhoods are designed for cars, not people.  

And it's so structured.  I really enjoyed roaming all over the place by myself, or with only other kids for company.  

Though I guess that's par for the course today.  It's a different world.  I had to finish my homework before I could go out to play, and I had to be back by 5pm to help with dinner, but other than that, I was free to go where I wanted.  (Though Mom would have probably had a heart attack if she knew just how far I roamed, and all the things I got up to. ;-)

True it is car oriented but only because our society as a whole is.

But Trunk or treat I think has less to do with neighborhoods being built around a car centric model, and more to do with the social aspect our society faces.  Maybe its higher population densities, violence on TV, or what ever other ill you want to blame, but parents are afraid to let their kids wander the streets now a days.  Sad to be sure, but prudent given the rise in statistics.

Trunk or Treat is a direct reaction to the increase in child related crimes in recent decades and the uncertainty parents have nowadays(whether its rational or not is immaterial, as that IS the perception).  

The fact that it is car centric is I think just a fallout of the lives we lead currently.  I could just as easily see a similar activity arising from a non-car centric activity, where instead of people driving their cars over and setting up decorated trunks, they instead set up stands, or decorated bikes, or whatever.  The concept of a festival/party to celebrate holidays predates cars by a long shot, in fact I believe early Halloween celebrations were more akin to a town fall festival, than the door to door trick or treating that embodies the 20th century version of the holiday.

Car centric is when a society makes major news out of every molested child (although that's a bad event of course), but pretty much ignores the 100+ deaths (and thousands of injuries) happening daily in car accidents.  It is when a society prohibits kids, even tweens, from roaming the neighborhood, but hands them the keys to the car at age 16.  The biggest cause of deaths of kids is auto accidents.  And it is no accident.
I feel like all the cool kids are at the conference in Boston and I have to wait at home for them to come back before I get to see what cool stuff they got to hear.
"Corn raised by future Iowa farmers could look more like the corn produced by their ancestors, with more substantial stalks, biofuels industry experts said Wednesday."

I raised 4 varieties of corn on farm in the area of gardening.
My main garden is about 50' x 200'. Large enough to raise a lot of what I can(pressure and waterbath) and freeze. As well as potatoes and lots of other vegetables and fruits.

For corn I raised Golden Queen and Silver Queen(both hybrid sweet corn) and also 2 long rows of Truckers Favorite(open pollen heirloom) and 2 long rows of White Hickory(open pollen heirloom). These last two are what the above quote might be referring to. The stalks were as I remember in my youth. Very thick and quite strong. They grew from 10' to 12' tall and each produced 2 very large ears with quite large kernels.

The farmers who grow 'serious' corn in the hundreds and thousands of acres grow very specialized corn varieties. From RoundUp Ready to who knows what. The varities all have distinguishing numbers and some are for late planting(rains might have delayed planting), some are for various soil types..such as bottom land vs creek bottom vs hill ground.

So their are a lot of variables and the seed population is also of great concern as is the row spacing and so forth.

Now its no doubt that to maximize ethanol that surely varieties are already in the works for those destined to be sold for ethanol. I am certain that this means that much will be set aside for either one market or the other and yes as the man sez...there will be disruption. Not to bother the farmer but the consumers and importers. The farmer just wants his profit and will do what it takes.

Right now for instance rain and weather have caused great delays in the harvest. They are counting their pennies per bushel. Whoever puts the bids in for a certain type or variety and makes the price look good is going to get the corn and what they wish...depending. No of the depends will be reflected in 'what other countries want or need'. They will have to step up to the plate and purchase futures on commodities and thats the way it is.

Like I said before. Its hard to find an alturistic farmer. Farmers have known some very hard times. The farm I am sitting on right now I obtained at auction from a father and son who bankrupted out and were forced to sell. They lost so much that the father has not been seen publicly for years now. He even refused to come to the bank for closing after I got the farm. I know the man and have not seen his face in 15 years or longer. His son is rather uncommunicative also.

These can happen and it doesn't go down easy so as I said..its all about making expenses and some profit. Usually ,I will also point out, the farmers wife has to have a job off the farm to help make ends meet. Usually the young sons leave the farms as well. Its rare for one to want to stay and farm. Its a hard hard life and lots of work down in the dirt.

The demand will drive the market and its just a matter of putting different seed in the planter.

BTW I tried to eat some of the young corn. Real hard to do after you have had Golden and Silver Queen. I am using mine to make hominy and corn meal and I expect it will be far tastier than field corn in that respect. However even field corn ground up is better than store brought. I grind my own.

airdale--also a farmer but a lazy one

I once heard that "heirloom" corn must be boiled for 30 minutes or more to be edible, as compared to a few minutes for today's hybrid varieties.

Though in Peru, I used to eat choclo (corn) raw.  Dunno what kind it was, but I doubt it was hybrid.

The sweet corn does not take long. You have to do a taste test as it cooks if your not sure. Seems like 7 minutes at a hard boil is fine for me.

The older varieties. I am not sure you can boil it enough once it gets just a bit past the milk stage. Its not a very big window.

In Raleigh my neighbors used to do the candles in a paper sack thing and line their driveways. It was very friendly like that where I lived in North Wake county(Stonehenge). My son is looking in Stonehenge to buy again. I will be then wintering over back in Raleigh. Down to the coast to Sanitary or Capt Jacks(if they are still there).

I loved Raleigh and N. Carolina but my employer pretty much closed shop there and then came a housing bust. I had to take the relocation firm offer. I find that actually prices have not risen that much over when I left(1985).


did it give you the shits ?
North Carolina?

Far canal!

Yeah well, most corn now comes from the mid west as you know and well, it has to be isolated for about 5 kms around - thereis a state law - and Roundup is the best thing I ever saw, so dwarf bantam was best, but you have to cook it for 1 minye max - not 7 - its all about sugar and starch and convesion - ask RR - and did I tell you about - but I know what you mean. Ask a French farmer about surviving on the afrm. There is no glamour. Or a UK farmer with a barn full of the later John Deere at subsidised prices - oh, wait, how many acres do I need to fed a hore that works? They eat oats, not maize, don't they?

woo woo. Must learn to proof read.
Interesting to see how the housing numbers were spun today.  At first, it was good news: surprise jump in new home sales!  The real estate bust is over!

Now, it's being spun as bad news:

New home price plunge biggest since '70

Prices post nearly a 10% decline from a year earlier and more than 15% from peak; lower prices lift September sales 5.3%.
I couldn't tell from the articles I read whether the jump in sales was over last month, or over last year?  I got the impression it was over last month.
I think it's over last month.

Here's another article:

Sellers sing the blues as price drop sets record

"It was surprising just how quickly the market seemed to turn," says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Economy.com. "It was like, boom, boom, bust. It was like, 'What happened?' The psychology in the marketplace unraveled very rapidly."

They're blaming builders:

Builders, with no emotional attachment to their homes, have become one of the biggest financial threats to individual sellers. New-home sales are down 16% this year. Building permits for single-family homes are off by 20%. Faced with a huge number of cancellations, builders began trying to lure buyers with eye-catching deals, such as free vacations, media rooms and landscaping.

That's what's hurting Bryan Rauch. In January, he bought a home in Anthem, Ariz., where Pulte Homes is offering a slew of incentives, including advice from re-sale experts to help buyers fix up and sell their current homes.

"The plan was to renovate it and flip it," says Rauch, 37, a nurse-turned-real estate-investor.

He put the home back on the market in February, at $284,000, then lowered the price repeatedly until he hit $270,000. Still no buyers. After six months, he rented it out at a $500-a-month loss.

"The problem is the builder is giving away homes," Rauch says.

Hilarious that the "nurse-turned-real estate-investor" who hoped to flip her home is blaming the builders.  It seems like people are absolutely incapable of taking responsibility for their bad decisions.
Since the first name is Bryan, I think it's a him, not a her.

On the bright side, they're so desperate for nurses these days he should have no trouble getting back into the field.  And it's probably fairly a peak oil-proof profession.

"The problem is the builder is giving away homes," Rauch says

No, the problem is the "nurse-turned-real estate-investor" was not an investor at all, but rather was an ignorant gambler who probably watched too many stupid TV shows.

He was a fool who was last in line and is now left holding the bag.  Good for him.

Aug. 06 to Sept. 06 figures
5.3% unit increase from Aug. 06 to Sept. 06
2% unit inventory reduction from Aug. 06 to Sept. 06

Sept. 05 to Sept. 06 figures
9.7% median sales price decrease from Sept. 05 to Sept. 06
14.1% unit decrease from Sept. 05 to Sept. 06

Home Prices Drop Sharply in September

The median sale price of a new home in September 2006 was $217,000, 9.7 percent lower than in September 2005, the report said -- the steepest year-to-year drop in more than three decades ... the statistics depict a housing market that has slumped considerably from the lofty levels of a year ago. Though better than the month before, the sales volume figure for September was still 14.1 percent lower than in September 2005.

Economists and housing experts said it is too soon to say just how severe the downturn in housing will prove to be. "Everybody here is just guessing," said Dottie Herman, chief executive of Prudential Douglas Elliman, a real estate company in New York. "And it depends on whose guess you want to listen to."

I knew it had to be month to month.  No one seems to be pointing out that year on year sales are down 10%.
Well new house prices tumble 10% and existing houses fall 2.5% over the year - both record negative figures.
Dont care how you spin it but that is potentially disasterous for the housing industry.......

Will the housing market derail the US economy next year? Odds are strengthening that it will........

There's an interesting point made over at Econbrowser:
"the apparent July-to-September improvement is largely the result of continuing downward revision of the July sales figure, which had been initially reported to be 91,000, was revised down to 85,000 last month, and is now claimed to have been only 83,000... subsequent revisions to the September figure may cause the July-to-September change eventually declared to have been down rather than up..."
World oil production may have peaked: executive
Matthew Simmons, chairman of Simmons & Co. International, a Houston-based investment banking firm specializing in the energy sector, said U.S. government data showed that the world oil supply has declined through the first half of this year. "If you basically have another six to ten months of that decline lasting, then I think for certain we would look back and say, 'Guess what? We actually reached a sustainable peak in crude oil production in December 2005,"' Simmons said at a meeting of the United States of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas.
Deffeyes ain't wrong yet...
Neither am I. Even though Paris keeps saying I will be.
BTW, it's pretty neat that there's already a Reuters story from the ASPO conference.  
Are there any Reuters stories about Scarlett Johansson's buns? Paris has been all in a huff about this.

Oh shit, yes there are! Duck! Don't look, Step Back - don't, don't

I can't find the full article about her buns, but the kidneys and gallbladder bit was part of that. Smart girl. (Paris doesn't think so) Whack! "Honey, I didn't mean it, I was just saying...." Whack!

don't look, don't look


so you couldn't resist

admit it. you're addicted to Spring Time in Paris and Summers with Scarlett

Yes I admit it. I rarely read anything, but when you say "Don't Look, Oil CEO" - that's probably going to work.

Even though I knew it was a booby trap, you got me. You have a future training intelligence professionals, my friend.

It reminds me of the story I've heard a hundred times under a hundred different pretexts - and still don't know what the actual story is.

Close your eyes. Whatever you do. Don't think of a huge white elephant in the room.

What's the first thing you thought of?

(I kinda like booby traps, though.) The fact that she is Chinese and her name's Chan really turns me on.


Goddamnit, Paris. That thing hurts! You practically broke my arm. I'm serious... Whack!

If you post that one more time, I swear I'm going to stop liking you in a hurry. It's one of his worst, too. The jagged lines are really disturbing.

I just learned ASPO-Boston was Thursday and Friday. Not Friday and Saturday. So I missed Stuart and Simmons. Who the hell does things on Thursday? Or am I the idiot? Whatever.

So what did Stuart say? How about Simmons?

Can anybody verify if location is Wifi enabled? What happened to Cry Wolf? Never emailed me back, dude. How about Dave? Where are the real-time dispatches, guys?

if he posts it one more time i say report him as spam.
Nah. Can't report Stuart as spam. I suspect Hothgar has a master plan. I'm anxiously awaiting. I just think that is one of Stuart's worst works. To be honest, it's a poor rip-off of one I did which was in turn a rip-off of one of his. For some reason he decided to go back to '89, but didn't feel it necessary to do the work to get the monthly numbers. Big mistake.
Until there is a clear cut production peak, we need to stop assuming we have reached the maximum in December of '05.  That graph shows one of the reasons why we shouldn't cry wolf yet again, and further distance ourselves from the rational population that might change their lifestyles.
Yeah, that's what I keep saying. But these knuckleheads are going on 11 months without getting it. Check out Kunstler. He's the worst. I'm sure he has a college education. But 9th grade math? You could hit these people over the head with a brick. They'd wake up going, "Doom, Doom, Doom, Peak December." They're fucking zombies. Books and numbers mean nothing to them. Charts? You can post it as many times as you want. It just gives me a headache. But go on trying to teach them if you've got the energy. I'll catch you on the next pass, brother.
I have no idea if drought conditions are responsible or aggravating the situation, but this fire in CA sounds worrisome:

2 others critically injured; 200 people evacuated; 400 trapped in RV park  

CABAZON, Calif. - A wind-driven wildfire near Palm Springs engulfed a fire engine Thursday, killing three firefighters, and up to 400 people were trapped at an recreational vehicle park when flames blocked the only road out, officials said.


Hello TODers,

Is the island of Santo Domingo [Dominican Republic & Haiti] to soon join the march back to Dr. Richard Duncan's Olduvai Gorge?  This newsarticle speculates that the Dominican energy system is on the brink of a major collapse:
SANTO DOMINGO.- The Dominican energy system on the brink of a major collapse, with blackouts of up to 14 hours, only 16 power plants operating in the entire territory, while 33 others are shut down. Several of these are a large capacity plants such as the units at Monte Rio, Azua province, Itabo I and Cogentrix I and II.

Electricity production is so low that the company Generadora Haina, the one with the highest capacity in the Dominican Republic, barely puts out 164 megawatts, because it has only 2 of its 11 power plants on line.

How will Americans act when blackouts are routine and lengthy?  Gas station pumps are currently electrically powered--I have posted before how we need to go back to human-powered pumping or build gravity flow gas-stations for our future.  Will grocery stores have very aggressive pricing policies to move frozen and refrigerated goods before they spoil?  Will they have on-hand sufficient manual cash registers to facilitate consumer demand?  None of the grocery stores in my area have backup electric generators in case of an emergency--do yours, fellow TODers?

I wonder if McDonald's has future plans for super-energy efficient fast-food franchises: just a charcoal-burning Weber BBQ plopped beside the road, with some very expensive soda pop for sale from icechests, and a few shaded picnic tables under a tarp.  No parking for cars, but plenty of bicycle racks.  A Happy Meal toy will no longer be offered, and napkins will be strictly rationed, otherwise they would all be taken from the metal napkin-dispenser by consumers as a replacement for very scarce toilet paper.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Is the island of Santo Domingo [Dominican Republic & Haiti] to soon join the march back to Dr. Richard Duncan's Olduvai Gorge?  This newsarticle speculates that the Dominican energy system is on the brink of a major collapse:

Bob, I don't mean to nitpick but Santo Domingo is the Capital of the Dominican Republic, not an island. The island is Hispaniola.

Ron Patterson

Hello Darwinian,

Your absolutely correct--my brainfart & apologies to my fellow TODers.  Thxs for setting me straight.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my reading, googling, and posting that I overlook the obvious!

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Much Less Smarter than Yeast!

How will Americans act when blackouts are routine and lengthy?

for the first few days, it will be the new york black out.
after that, it will be open game on what happens.
And exactly why is the power being shut off? Lack of foreign investment? Lack of maintenance? Lack of people to sell electricity too on a commercial basis, leading to no profits for the companies which are then forced to shut down plants? I'm not being a smart ass, I'm actually quite curious.
It must take a really fertile mind to dream up all this doomer stuff.
He may be talking about NE US - the rust belt, where the grid is really old.
Down here in the south it is not an issue. We have some the best run healthy utility companies in the world operating under the name Southern Company. Every article I have read says our grid structure and generating capacity is in great shape.
Maybe it is true what I used to hear growing up in the 60's: "The south shall rise again" ;-)

Shell shuts in 140,000 b/d Nigerian output after attack: official

Shell has been forced to shut in about 140,000 b/d of Bonny Light oil production in Nigeria following attacks on Wednesday on three of its flowstations in the Niger Delta, a company official said Thursday.

"We have shut in about 140,000 b/d after some youths from the Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State attacked the Ekulama 1, Ekulama 2 and Belema flowstations," the official said.

"The youths invaded the facilities, forcing workers to abandon them," he added.

It was kind of funny to hear Total's paternalistic attitude towards alternatives having to prove themselves by 2020.  Doesn't this sound a little backwards?  Far from Wind and Solar being 'Sidelined' in that oil-strained future, won't it be the oil products that will be on the bench, whether wind and solar have risen to oil's previous lustre (and Bluster) or not..

I was piqued by Monbiot's attitude yesterday that 'Small [Self-generation] is Useless', and again today, to hear..

' "But for an energy source to be of interest, it will have to weigh at least 1 billion tonnes oil equivalent per year by 2050," he added. '

'By comparison, fossil fuels currently contribute 8 billion tonnes of oil equivalent a year globally, and nuclear power just below 1 billion. '

I mean it's nice wishing and all, but if Oil and Gas are soon struggling to show up at the plate, will it really be a case of 'We're really very sorry, but you just aren't in our league, dear.  Come back when you're massive..' to the sources that are still available and likely to stay that way?  I have to doubt it.  

It just sounds like old imperialists trying desperately to keep some part of their nice china teaset from crumbling around them.  They're so devoted to thinking big and mighty, I wonder what their awakening will look like?

'I didn't want to be big, and tough anymore.  I wanted to be dainty.  It's Bliss!'
     -Albrecht (?)  - Adventures of Baron Munchhausen

Hello TODers,

Mexico Update

As wells dry up, Mexico could be forced to privatize oil:
Mr. Shields puts it more starkly, saying that allowing international companies back into Mexico is tantamount to letting "the invader back in," he says. "There will be a revolution before there is foreign direct investment."

But more than anything, the reality of dwindling oil production may help to change sentiments. "One of the factors that drives policy change everywhere is the deterioration of the status quo," says Nacif, "and the perception is that the status quo is worsening. It's going to help [Calderón]" move toward opening the industry up to private firms.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

From Rigzone:
Unusually warm weather in Northern Alaska is threatening to curtail crude production at Prudhoe Bay just as BP PLC (BP) brings the nation's biggest oil field back to full speed.

The last few weeks have been some of the warmest on record in Alaska, with temperatures averaging 27 degrees, six degrees warmer than normal. Balmy weather was already blamed earlier this month for the worst power outage to hit the field in a decade, which slashed production for several days.

In the past, polar ice would often reach from the north pole to Alaska's northern coast year-round; as of mid-October, the ice edge was 150 miles offshore. "Twenty years ago it never, ever got that far north," said Rick Thoman, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

The ice always returns in the winter but the receding cap may have already done its damage to oil production. Thoman said that may be part of the reason why temperatures hit 50 degrees on Oct. 10, nearly 30 degrees above normal.

That day, production at Prudhoe Bay fell from 335,000 barrels to 91,000 barrels a day, after the region lost power. Crude output bottomed out 55,000 barrels a day on Oct. 11, and it took nearly a week for BP to bring it back up.

The outage was caused by dust and debris collecting on power lines - a situation that never would have happened if Alaska's north slope hadn't seen record high temperatures a few days before, Thoman said.

"Normally on the north slope you'd have a solid snow cover by now," he said. "A blizzard wouldn't be uncommon this time of year, as opposed to blowing mud."
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I have to say that I really really like the irony of this...burning of fossil fuels warms the planet, and interferes with the smooth extraction of more fossil fuels.  Kinda like the global warming we do in the summer by running our a/c s to keep cool...
Hello TODers,

From Reuters: Russia's Gazprom warns of a new winter fuel crisis.
"The unsatisfactory current level of reserve fuel stocks in (Russia's) regions causes serious concern. There is a threat of a repeat of last winter's events, when many regions turned out to be unprepared for a sharp decline in temperatures," Gazprom said in a statement.

"The situation that has developed requires immediate intervention by state regulatory bodies."
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

yea this winter should prove interesting for the Asian Continent.
thanks again for keeping us informed like this bob
Hello TrueKaiser,

Thxs for responding.  I hope all TODers read this link on Putin's superpower play.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

Just a heads up warning from Stratfor:
IRAN/SAUDI ARABIA: Iran and Saudi Arabia have informed their core customers that November oil supplies will be reduced. Iran will cut supplies by 176,000 barrels per day (bpd), while Saudi Arabia will cut supplies by 380,000 bpd. This cut is consistent with the reduction in output required under new Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries arrangements, making this the first formal output cut since 2004.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hi Thought I'd try an update of the plateau graph. Let's see if this image pasting stuff works first time :)

Monthly Global Oil Production

Average daily oil production, by month, from EIA, together with 7 month moving average. Click to enlarge. Source: EIA International Petroleum Monthly Table 1.4.

IEA data will be added next time.

FIrst I've heard that July surpassed 12/05. Maybe higher output this summer has been part of the reason for lower prices.
where have you been?


Darwinian and Leanan disagreed. Rembrandt's post a coupla days ago should give pause to those thoughts. I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong.

Eric Blair?

Hello TODers,

My biggest concern is relocalization and permaculture; moving from 0.7% to 60-75% of the US labor force growing their foodstuffs nearby.  Until this happens: I remain a fast-crash doomer because impending starvation will create huge levels of violence.  Leanan's toplink More Science Teachers Grasping Reality of Peak Oil is a start, but my email 3 years ago to the National PTA was a better start, but sadly ignored.

Anyhow, I hope national school curriculum rapidly changes: recall my earlier posts on converting playgrounds and ballfields to gardens and chicken coops, etc.  Even our frontyards will have to become gardens as we strive to recoup lost gardening knowledge.  It is far better to have someone steal your front-yard tomato crop [leaving you and your family alone], than for them to kill you to get your back-yard tomatoes.  

Every city should be creating urban areas NOW where the homeless poor and those that rent apartments can start gardens.  Any excess produce could go to food banks to help prevent violence.  The parents and teachers across the US need to rapidly train the children on humanure, water conservation, composting techniques, soil preparation, and all the other essential skills required for localized foodstuffs.  To do no less will condemn our children to killing us off so that they will have a chance to survive on the remaining foodscraps.  The future always belongs to the young--always will.  Our mission should be to give them the best chance possible to squeeze through the Dieoff Bottleneck with a minimum of violence and a maximum of biologic diversity.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Random thoughts from ASPO conference:

Between now and 2012 increased OPEC spare capacity + NGL + Deep water production could drive oil prices down to $30s or 40s - Mike Rodgers

A lot of operators will back off to avoid going into steep decline. Watch Russia - Matt Simmons

3 out of 4 Russian giant gas fields are in decline - Simmons

Out of Rigs, no new oil - Matt Simmons

Cantarel, the single most improtant field for the US could go from 1.7 mbd today to .6 mbd in 2010 - Simmons

KSA rigs up dramatically, production flat
Leading countries no longer increasing production despite big new rig count - Staniford

LNG supply to US declined in 2005. Spain and Japan outbid us. Supplies are not there Tankers are not being built - Arthur Smith

1/3 of new oil found has cost > $25 / bbl - Smith

25% increase in spending between 2001 and 2005, 4% increase in production - Smith

Expansion of Canadian Oilsands limited by natural gas, water and dilutant. - David Hughes

Oil Sands Cap cost 2004 - $78,000 /bbl/day; 2006 - $131,000 / bbl / day - Hughes

Oil Sands mining uses 3/4 mcf / bbl
          insitu uses 1.5 mcf / bbl - Hughes

EROI for Oil Sands = 2 - Hughes

Biofuels without major technical progress will provide insignificant role in meeting future needs - James Bartis

Bright future for biofuels, Competitive @ $30 oil - Lee Lynd

Corn Ethanol EROI = 1.3 per Pimentel; = 20 per Khosla (I know he misquoted Pimentel) - Lynd

Biofuels have life cycle issues for food production, wildlife and recreation - Lybd

Cape Wind Power proposal has EROI of 8 to 12 - Jim Gordon

Hubbert's Curve can't differentiate between demand destruction and supply constraint - Robert Kaufmann

With assumption changes, Hubberts Curve can predict peaks ranging from 2013 and 2036. Peak is uncertain using this method - Kaufmann

Those predicting peak will prefer to be late with alternatives rather than early to maximize profits - Kaufmann

No economic incentive for OPEC to ramp up production capacity for same reasons - Kaufmann

High oil prices support US defecit spending because 45% of petrodollars are recycled back to US - William Clark

Other petrobourses will undermine US world reserve currency - Clark

Iran's uranium contains molybdenum which hinders purification. Only US, Russia and China know how to remove - Clark

Best case, best assumptions, crash course US needs 5 years just to get started for peak oil; 10 years before anything is produced and 20 years before we can produce significant quantities of substitutes for conventional oil. Waiting is deadly. Preparing will require unpopular measures - Roger Bezdek

World car demand is going up up up (from graph). Freight and air demand is growing faster than cars.
There are too many of us using too much stuff - John Heywood

Technology will not solve 300% growth in fuel demand - Heywood

Fuel Cells for Cars - We are stuck on storage - Bill Reinert

Can't recycle Lithium Ion batteries - Reinert

Biodiesel is #1 reason for deforestation of tropical rainforests (palm oil) - Reinert

Rolling volatility for oil and another crisis within 10 years - Reinert

Ogalla aquifer decline serious problem for biofuels in US - Reinert

All parts of Toyota designs have carbon budgets - Reinert

In 1975 80% of Americans never traveled by air - Randy Udall

We are living like gods. How to return to earth? Udall

We consume 140# of plastic and petroleum per person per week in US. We are the oil tribe - Udall

Easy oil is gone. 62% of remaining oil is in Middle East. 75% of remaining oil is in Muslim countries - Micahel Klare

Unstable, corrupt, hostile to US, ruled by violent people - Klare

Expect most oil producing regions to become more violent - Klare

US government's stated special responsibility is to preserve access to supply. Military's role is protect the flow of oil - Klare

Chinese are contesting our right to prject power - Klare

Please correct mistakes. I am going to bed.

Post this to the newest DrumBeat when you wake up.  This thread is old and stale, and I suspect few are reading it any more.
What are you, high? The thread is two days old. Not even. Who are you responding to?

Micro-hydro and I are reading it more.

We are in the Southern hemisphere, and the last post appears first.