DrumBeat: November 26, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 11/26/06 at 8:32 AM EDT]

Iraq Insurgency Is Profitable

The report, obtained by The New York Times, estimates that groups responsible for many insurgent and terrorist attacks are raising $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says $25 million to $100 million of that comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry, aided by “corrupt and complicit” Iraqi officials.

...To this, it adds what may be its most surprising conclusion: “In fact, if recent revenue and expense estimates are correct, terrorist and insurgent groups in Iraq may have surplus funds with which to support other terrorist organizations outside of Iraq.”

AP analysis: Firms crimping oil supplies

Why would Shell Oil Co. simply close its Bakersfield refinery? Why scrap a profit maker?

The rumor seemed to make no sense. Yet it was true.

Whatever the truth in Bakersfield, an Associated Press analysis suggests that big oil companies have been crimping supplies in subtler ways across the country for years. And tighter supplies tend to drive up prices.

High court to hear global warming case

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court hears arguments this week in a case that could determine whether the Bush administration must change course in how it deals with the threat of global warming.

US "will miss" window to tackle climate change

US senator Jeff Bingaman has warned that the US will not be able to take sufficient action to curb its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the timeframe scientists say is necessary.

Ben Bova: Intrigue over hydrogen as auto fuel? It’s not the science fiction you may think

Nissan plans to sell electric cars in 3 yrs: Nikkei

TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co. plans to develop and start selling subcompact electric cars powered by self-developed lithium-ion batteries in about three years, the Nihon Keizai (Nikkei) business daily reported on Sunday.

Friendly Fire

Most of those advocating the new energy technologies are not suggesting any reduction in overall energy consumption.

Utilities try PR blitz as lawmakers consider keeping electric rate freeze in place

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. — Just when Illinoisans thought they had seen the last of those menacing campaign commercials, along comes the most ominous televised message yet: Support us … or your lights might go out.

Scenes From a New Mall: Urban Shopping In Suburbia

The ersatz urbanity does leave some aghast. "Lifestyle centers are corporate attempts to mitigate the fact that we've turned our nation into a parking lot filled with places that are not worth living in or caring about," says author Jim Kunstler, who decries suburbia in his book, "The Geography of Nowhere."

Admiral Rickover: The future of fossil fuels

A friend of mine in Pennsylvania sent me a care package yesterday (from the era when newspapers still considered Americans literate), and in it he put a copy of an article he stumbled upon in a 1957 issue of The Christian Science Monitor. Amazing stuff below:

Power Companies Order Up Texas Toast

Texas is already the number one CO2 polluter in the United States, which is the number one CO2 polluter in the world. If Texas were a separate country, it would rank as the world's tenth largest greenhouse gas emitter.

Wind power can't match coal potential

Americans need economical, dependable electricity - and plenty of it. For the time being, that means coal.

Accord on coalfield survey signed

KARACHI: China Machinery Import Export Corporation (CMC) on Saturday signed an agreement with Sindh Government to carry out a comprehensive geological survey of Sonda-Jherruk coalfield, renewing hopes for a long-awaited breakthrough in coal-based power generation.

How to Prepare for Peak Oil and Climate Change

Corn supply must grow, some say

Scientists warn higher yields will be vital to balance needs of food, ethanol industries

Choose food or fuel? No, we can produce both

Report: Coal-power ethanol plant emissions 92% higher than with gas

Ethanol boom has its downside

“Most ethanol plants use a lot of water,” [City Councilman Robert] Fiala said, “and our wells have gone down about 14 feet in the last 10 years, I think.”

Raising more corn in the area will take more water and more agricultural chemicals, said the retired Concordia University professor. “I guess I personally think we should put a lot more money into raising our mileage possibilities for cars and trucks.”

Japan: Don't use biofuels to power farm industry

The main purpose of promoting biofuels for vehicles is to help prevent global warming, rather than shoring up the nation's agricultural industry. Unfortunately, this fact seems to have slipped the minds of some government officials.

Indigenous Amazonian people score rare victory against oil company

By taking drastic action, the Achuar people of the Amazon have forced an oil company to finally start cutting back on pollution

Opec to cut output if market unbalanced: Saudi oil minister

World oil database seeks better producer reporting

RIYADH - Nigeria, Russia and Venezuela are among major oil producers that have yet to fully comply with global oil database JODI, set up to increase transparency in energy markets, its coordinator said yesterday.

Odd choice of enemies, allies

In Moscow, Putin warned China and the United States that he was drawing on Russia's new oil and gas wealth to expand and improve its nuclear-war capabilities. He announced that in 2007 alone he would be spending $ 11.2 billion on new weapons, including 17 new nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. He added that between now and 2015 he would be spending $ 188 billion on new weapons.

EU official urges caution on Russia-Algeria gas deal

ORAN, Algeria - The European Union should be "on guard" about Gazprom's cooperation deal with Algeria's Sonatrach because it cannot take security of supply for granted, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said on Sunday.

India, China to form joint venture to acquire oil assets

Energy-hungry India and China, often fierce rivals in the race for global oil and gas supplies, have agreed to form a joint venture company for acquisition of hydrocarbon assets in Africa and Latin America.

Fire-hit Kuwait oil refinery back to full capacity

A Kuwaiti oil refinery shut down by a fire three weeks ago has resumed operations at its full capacity of 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), officials said.

Algeria considers windfall tax on foreign oil firms

A tax on windfall foreign oil company profits could earn Algeria $1 billion in 2007, a move that is both fair and politically necessary in view of high prices, the country told energy multinationals.
The European Commission said then it was closely following the deal after Italy said it could increase dependence on a limited number of gas suppliers and may lead to higher gas prices in Europe.

As i said, they start getting  worried! It's not going to ease.. And Switzerland imports absolutely ALL of its oil/gas..

However, Switzerland can IF it has to, do without oil & gas with some time to prepare.  Finishing TransAlp and the other rail improvements (total 31 billion CHf I read) will make it easier.

In 1945 Switzerland used only 27,000 tonnes of oil.

Today, more homes have been away from tram lines, people are less interested in bicycling and more freight moves by truck (that will change with rail improvements).  Still many in Switzerland could move to electrical transportation.

Do you have data on how homes are heated ?  What % gas, oil, geothermal, simple electrical resistance ?  Is there a move to geothermal heat pumps ?

Is Switzerland likely to build a new nuclear reactor anytime soon ?  And is the Grande dix hydro project likely to be fixed ?

Thanks very much for the earlier information & links :-)

Best Hopes,


You're welcome.

Switzerland, in 1945, was not that rich country that we know. My grand-grand father, were farmer and they did not take one day of holiday in his entire life... So we might not use a lot of fuel, but that's because we were very poor!!

Now, back to statistics. The last official Federal statistics goes back to 2000, so it's not accurate.

But i've this, in french sry, that says:
56% of new family houses are equipped with heat pumps (geothermal if u want), in 2003 it was only 40%.
THe heating oil is only 12%.

For new buildings, 25% (!) come with heating pumps.

I could give u the overall numbers from 2000 but i don't think it reflects the real change that is in progress.

I must notice that there is more and more solar roof installations, as the price of diesel goes up..


addendum from the same link:

The buildings heated with heating oil are around 20%, and so is the share of the heating oil in the family houses, so the NG must be something like 80% overall.

I don't thing that we will build a new nuclear reactor, because the authorities need a popular vote for that, and that is not (yet) won. But let come shortage and ya'll see if they really think about the consequences.

I always say, to my dad too: if u are for nuclear power, put u down on a list, that shows which people will have to do the concrete sarcophagus on the blasted reactor.

The army here is a militia, i don't want the young 20-years-old men to die miserabily, in the old soviet fashion....

And what is exactly with the Grande Dixence? I thought it works perfectly?

The first Grande Dixence Dam was constructed between 1929 and 1935. A second dam that would flood the first was built between 1951 and 1965, and was filled on July 17, 1957. The first dam can still be seen when the water level is particularly low.

From 1993 to 1998 a high-pressure pipeline was built to considerably increase its peak capacity. It transported water 1,800 metres down to an additional power facility. The pipeline was welded using a new type of steel; it is out of service since it burst in December 2000, with the flood wave killing three people. Work on a replacement pipeline has recently started, with use of a more common steel and additional safety measures.



BTW, what Canton are you in ?  I know some engineers in Vaud.

I must congratulate you: i aware of this Burst in 2000 but i don't think it made the headlines worldwide! You're pretty well informed about Switzerland!

I'm from Geneva, just 60 kms near Lausanne, capital of canton Vaud.

OK, i seen that you have just taken the small description of Wikipedia!!

here, they say, operational again in 2010.

And you, where're you from?
"Big Easy" is one of the many nick names for New Orleans.

I live in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans, part of the 20% not flooded in Katrina, although the block accross the street burned completely during the storm.

I you ever decide to visit, please let me know.

Best Wishes,


You mean, if at the time that i earn enough money for that (i'm 25), the airplanes ticket won't be too expensive !!!

I've never been in the US, and i want to do a trip there (to see La Nouvelle Orléans naturally, but especially to visit colorado, the State where Otis Taylor, a blues musician, lives) but i'm really afraid that it will only be possible by ship, like in the early 20th century (remember TItanic?) !!

Apart of that, you got luck with katrina.. I saw recently a documentary about the state prison (don't remember the name now).. and it was not so fun for the prisoners, they led them abandoned for a couple of days if i recall me correctly of the film...
The people of New Orleans were abandoned for four and a half days, living on elevated highways and in the unflooded sections without any food or water from the outside, while the white Republican areas outside New Orleans, with far less flooding, were evacuated.  Only once they were safely out was relief sent to New Orleans.  After 4.5 days.


PS: with Swiss francs it is not so expensive :-)

at the present time, it can be managed, yes, but don't forget the topic of this blog !! ;)
So now is the time to take Icelandair or similar discount to the US, take Southwest from airport of entry to New Orleans (I would suggest BWI) and stay in St. Vincent's Guesthouse (an 1840s orphanage in the Lower Garden District, 5 blocks from me, 1.5 km from the French Quarter) for about $60 (75 CHf)/night.

I would be glad to help make arrangements :-)


Thanks for the tip, i'll keep it in my head when i have holidays..

But there's always this little problem of GW, nothing is simple now..

Looks like at least one news media is starting to talk about the looming pension crisis.

The problem is that velfare in the US, Europe and Japan has gradually been turned into a giant Ponzi scheme where young people are expected to foot the bill for older people. In earlier times the money came from taxes but now increasingly comes from taking on more and more debt, that younger people is somehow expected to repay. Add to this mortgages, student loans, credit card debt, raising children, and I wonder if it wouldn't be better just to let old people die off.

Being in my thirties I can't wait for this gigantic fraud to come to an end.

Of course, the governments in question see boosting birthrates (or increasing immigration) as the solution.  Gotta keep the pyramid growing if you want to keep the pyramid scheme from collapsing...
Soylent Green
The problem is that the whole economy of the West - particularly the US and UK - are now supported by nothing more than debt. Governments, households, corporations, banks, GSE's, all owe a simply astonishing amount of money. In the US alone, total debt amounts to $42+ TRILLION. That's 330% of GDP.

And that is before we take into account unfunded pension liabilities, as you mention. They are not included in the debt numbers.

When this fraud comes to an end...you will not get a pension. Or you will work until you are 75. As simple as that. Because the alternative (i.e. re-distribution of wealth) will require a modern version of storming the Bastille. Today the top 1% of the US population owns 38% of ALL financial assets (bank deposits included). The top 2% owns 55%. Truly "E Pluribus Unum".

In some respects, it is a self-made problem. Up until the 1980s, people paid into pension funds, which could only be used to pay out pensions (with the fund invested in the stock market to keep the buying power up). In short, your working life contributions paid for your pension.

When Robert Maxwell started "borrowing" from the company's pension fund to pay for short term expansion, other companies then realised what a "great" idea that would be, and effectively petitioned the UK government to change the rules on pension funds. Some of these rule relaxations included not having to pay into the fund if it was in surplus (meaning that all contributions from the workforce were not being used for their intended purpose). Of course, the stock market changes mean that a fund need not be in surplus all the time, particularly if the company is not expanding the workforce.

The problem now is that the funds have been so pillaged in the last 10-15 years that now, those making contributions are now paying for those retired, rather than paying for their own retirement.

The (slight) rise in life expectancy in the last 10 years is not the real reason for the shortfalls - it is the actions of both this and the previous government.

The problem now is that the funds have been so pillaged in the last 10-15 years that now, those making contributions are now paying for those retired, rather than paying for their own retirement.

If the government is running a deficit, and the contributions went into bying their bonds. The result would be the same.


The giant Ponzi scheme might actually work, if there were infinite world resources and the size of the "pie" of available resources kept growing year after year. Then investments might grow rapidly enough to support the pension plans. In the case of government pension plans, the larger resouce pie, when divided among both the retired and those yet to retire, might have enough for all.

If, in fact, we are dealing with finite resources, we know that the size of the resource pie will start to shrink at some time, due to peak oil, peak gas, peak water, depleting soil, etc. With a shrinking pie, it is highly unlikely that investments will continue to grow in real terms- although perhaps with rapid inflation they may give the impression of growth. Government pension plans will be faced with dividing up a smaller pie among the retired and those yet to retire.

With a smaller resource pie, I expect that pension plans will run into problems, even when they now appear to be adequately funded. These problems could include investments plagued by bankruptcies, high inflation so the benefits are worth very little, or possibly complete failure of the monetary system.

The Foxes vs Hedgehogs continuation article is up.  I've only skimmed, but I like this as a snippet:

The headline news from Tetlock's book is that human experts, in general, did poorly in predictive accuracy.  They barely outperformed a model based on completely random guessing which is colloquially described as "chimps".  And humans were significantly bested by several formula-based models which made predictions based on extrapolating past results.

Do you suppose Hubbert's Curve qualifieds as a "formula-based model which make predictions bbase on extrapolating past results?"  I think it might.

  Of course Hubbert's curve is a formula based model based on extrapolating past results. And its one of a number of models of the future, like Doomers, or Technocrats. Personally, I rely much more on intuition than logic or reasoning in devining the future. My right brain is non-verbal (as are al of ours) and tends to blend all kind of sources in a prediction. My left brain reasoning already has judged the validity of sources and so often discounts valid data because of my inate human prejudices.
  One of my personal suppositions is that as thinking and emoting humans we all have a task of trying to integrate these processes-call it self awareness. I throw the I Ching and also go to church, part of the disciplines I practice to do just that integration. But don't ask me what my beliefs are-I really don't know. Combining Taoism with High Church Episcopal ritual? It sounds nuts, but it keeps me balanced.
  The collapse of ever-expanding boomer capitalism because of the physical constraints of the system is a definite possibility. But we change possibilities by our actions-look at the nuclear war scenarios of 30 or 40 years ago. They didn't happen because we changed our behaviour. We can change other bad results by changing our behaviour. And thats the real value of these models, they give us a pause about our behaviour. And that's why I'm a cautious optimist-we have free will and insite to guide us.
We are dealing with degrees of strength in inductive logic.

I think Hubbert's method is relatively strong on that scale, because of its relative simplicity and low subjectivity.

On the other hand, I think Doomers and Technocrats are relying on weaker induction.  They both basically rely on their worldview as the model for future worlds.  Such predictions are both complex and subjective.

Do you suppose Hubbert's Curve qualifieds as a "formula-based model which make predictions bbase on extrapolating past results?"  I think it might.

More likely it is closer to an "Autoregressive distributed lag model."

This also study suggests that the CERA report, today being reviewed on another thread, is likely to have low predictive powers.

I think it likely that the Oil Drum is a collection of "foxes" and since we hammer each other to death .  .  . excuse me, I meant to say that since we expose each other to such a wide range of opinion and knowledge, that the predictive capacity here is likely to be high.


I've been unable to find a link for this story, but it's running on CNN.  In Kentucky, Domino's Pizza drivers are on strike.  They want the right to unionize.  In particular, they want fair compensation for the cost of the gas they use.
You honestly expect CNN to report on unionization efforts in a service industry? The days of CNN being Ted Turner's way to improve the world while losing money are long, long gone.

The CNN story I liked the best concerned Virginia, which had finally got around to changing its various blue laws - Sunday closing rules - a couple of years ago, and since the rules were so riddled with exemptions and special clauses over the years, the Virginia lawmakers actually ended up putting back into force a law that guaranteed workers one day a week free for religious worship, and also (from memory) forbid forcing workers to work 'consecutively' - that is, you couldn't force someone to work a shift from 6pm to midnight, and then have them work midnight to 6am.

After noticing what a disaster this would be for the employers in Virginia (care to imagine which?), which only came to light after the end of the legislative period, the legislature called back for a special session to fix these 'problems' - and the CNN article was happy to point out how responsive the legislature was to the needs of employers. Yes, even in the homne of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, some things are more important than one day a week where an employer can not fire someone due to their exercise of religious beliefs/devotion.

And this from a liberal media source.

I won't be surprised if the article about the drivers pops up briefly, or if the potential action has some interesting news angle, it won't get more attention. The game is about news management, not news censorship, after all - and who do you think pays CNN's bills? CNN's customers are not its viewers, after all.

CNN is reporting on it.  But no one else appears to be.

But CNN is most definitely not a liberal news source.  Why should they be?  They're a business.  And their reporters, anchormen, etc., are extremely highly paid, and have every reason to side with conservatives, at least on fiscal issues.

Well, a long time ago, CNN was a liberal news source, back when Ted Turner owned it. Of course, in those heady days of the late 1980s, they were also non-unionized, used as many 'interns' as they could get away and still broadcast, and loved to offer minimum wage in exchange for the prestige of being associated with them. In DC, CNN was considered the absolute bottom on the job ladder - even a local cable channel offered better working conditions and a brighter future.

Nonetheless, Ted Turner's personal vision was important (remember that whole Goodwill Games - if that was the name?), and yes, he used to decide what and how his news channel would present information. But all things considered, Ted Turner was always a bit too much of a loose cannon for the corporate money that followed his pioneering trail, and these days, you don't hear too much about America's largest private land owner - at least, I recall he was at some point in the last decade.

Actually, the terms liberal and conservative don't really mean much anymore, apart from being labels kicked out in debates to distract - or as a bludgeon for those who now feel that identifying anyone identifying with such policy agendas as Nixon's EPA or Eisenhower's progressive income tax shows just how un-American liberals are.

I checked the Service Employees International website, the Teamsters and the Industrial Workers of the World Websites, all to no avail. Boycott Domino's! Their pizza sucks anyway.
You checked the Wobblies - wow, I am impressed.

As a note - one of the absolute best anti-Web censorship pieces I have ever read was from the IWW - http://www.mit.edu/activities/safe/labeling/cyberpatrol/cyberpatrol-iww

'Talk about intellectual dishonesty! Violence and profanity!? Why are they ashamed to admit that they don't want working people to learn about the revolutionary program of the IWW? Why can't they just admit that they're afraid of the economic and political ideas that are communicated in the pages of the Industrial Worker? Instead of labeling us as "Communist subversives", which of course is what they think we are, these cowards have tried to brand us with "Violence and profanity", as if the IW is like some tasteless TV show. The boss class has always tried to stifle the voice of the IWW because we scare the hell out of them, no matter how small we are.  (Look at that, violence and profanity in the last sentence, oh my god!)....'

It gets better from there.

And the ending personally sums up my own feelings about censors -

'Here's some unsolicited personal advice:

For your own good, while you still have a shred of self-respect, why not try to find a less shameful line of work?  No freedom loving individual likes a censor, and I'm sure you are already circumspect about revealing your unfortunate occupation to people you meet.  You'll feel a lot better about yourself if you find an honorable trade, and people will respect you more too.'

I've been seriously considering joining the Wobblies, which probably sounds nuts for an independent consultant in the oil and gas exploration business. I have more than enough money-although I'm not volunteering to cut prices. It just seems we have gotten so out of kilter in our society. I really do believe that the working class has been robbed of its power, that our middle class dream for the world is being stolen to turn us all into debt peons. I've done some terrible jobs in my life-cleaned toilets in a halfway house sick room, cooked in a kitchen for the homeless, as a kid i even worked sometimes in labor pools. The main thing I learned is that doing good work has dignity. I am not humiliated by any honest work, no matter how abusive the boss or terrible the job. The sorry bosses humiliate themselves,not the worker.
.  And I learned the importance of solidarity during Viet Nam protests. Anarcho-Syndicalists stand with all working people striking for justice. The Industrial Workers of the Word were the first union to admit blacks, Indians, the Foreign Born, women. They are right with their hearts and vote with their feet. Shit, now I've talked myself into it. There's another advantage for any young person facing conscription-as a subversive you won't be moral enough to kill innocent civilians in resource wars, they won't draft you! Revolution Now ! The working class and the owning class have nothing in common! An end to the wage system!  
"In Kentucky, Domino's Pizza drivers are on strike.  They want the right to unionize.  In particular, they want fair compensation for the cost of the gas they use."

What'll really toast your noodle is seeing pizza delivery people driving around in SUV's and mustangs and other low mpg vehicles.

I've always wondered if the economics worked out on pizza delivery people, though.  Most of them only consider the upfront cost of the gas they use, but most of them drive their own vehicles and the wear and tear and depreciation on those vehicles is probably a greater cost than that of the gas.  So when I see some young pizza delivery person in a nice car (probably bought by their parents), I always wonder if they're just eating into the value of the car and not actually making a true (sustainable) net profit.

I delivered pizzas all through college (early to mid 90's) and for a few years after. I always drove old beat up 1970's volvos that I bought for a few hundred dollars. In that context I made out quite well. But people today with SUV's and hight cost fuel, I don't know that they would do very good.
There's a vid on YouTube with a guy making newspaper deliveries using a Prius - it looks like a very large route, in red-state areas in the US, newspaper deliveries are often a desirable career. The guy's probably saving enough on fuel to come out OK, even though the car itself is kind of expensive.

He could also have bought the Prius to commute to some job, lost the job, and picked up the delivery job, which none of his SUV-driving neighbors would be able to do.

Most working-class Americans (that's 75% of us) have enough trouble coming up with enough money in one lump to make the rent, much less buy a car, so they get into the payment system. If anything changes, job, etc., they're stuck. There's such things as a voluntary repo but it's a horrible deal, since the car is sold at auction for about 1/4 what it's worth and the person gets billed for the remainder of the loan - by a collection agency. There are enough involuntary repos as it is.

This is why you see people in SUVs and so on delivering pizzas. It's desperation. The "pro" deliverers use a company truck or a gas-sipper car.

That...would actually go a ways to explaining what I saw the other day...

A LEXUS with a pizza delivery sign.  No feces.  Gave me a double take.  Unless delivering pizzas is what he does in between dealing meth or something.  But around here (WNC) I've seen kids with near-new mustangs, riced out Hondas and Toyotas, a rather significant number of not terribly new yet not terribly old SUV's, one Insight, and the usual fleet of old smaller cars.

I can't remember ever seeing that, to tell you the truth.  All the pizza guys I've seen drive small cars.
At a used car lot around here, a Prius sat for a couple of months this last summer, even a price below $10K did not move it for some reason.  Shortly after it disappeared from there, I saw what looked like it driving around with a pizza delivery sign on top.  Seen it several times since.  Isn't pizza delivery by Prius more energy efficient than customers driving individually to the pizza bakery?  Of course, it's even more efficient to make your own.  Recently found that you can make your own crusty bread (now or post-peak) with no bread machine and no kneading
There are areas of the US so economically depressed, that no one's ever seen $10k all together in one place. Or even a few thousand, I know, I've lived in such places, and my understanding is that VT is one of those places. Also, I'm not sure how well hybrids do in really cold weather, which is something like 8 months of the year there. I'm willing to bet it was a first-generation Prius, and if first year of production, people could be worried about the "bugs" in first year models of anything.
I walk 5 blocks to Slice Pizza.  Others are closer, but they have the BEST :-)

I do not think we even have a Domino's for me to boycott :-)

Oh Well,

Best Hopes for Good Food in New Orleans,


Modest prediction?

Overcoming Bias has another good one:

[...] Sometimes human minds do seem to function roughly as error-reduction machines.   Overall, however, our minds seem to have been built to create beliefs which also achieve other functions, such as having other people like or respect us.   And the mental and social tendencies we have that pursue these other functions, such as wishful thinking and overconfidence, often come at the cost of belief error.   We are built to not see these distortions in ourselves, though we often see them in others.

Most give lip service to reducing belief error, but we believe that we want more than most to adjust our mental and social machinery to reduce our error, even if this means we achieve other belief functions less.   Given such a willingness, it makes sense for us to expect that we can in fact reduce our error, and that we can help each other by gathering together.

For example, we seem to have been built with a tendency toward overconfidence in our abilities, because by thinking better of ourselves we induce others to think better of us.   We can correct for this bias relatively cheaply, individually by remembering to be more modest, and socially by creating norms that encourage modesty, if we are willing to pay the price that others won't think as well of us.  For us, this is a cheaper way to reduce error than studying our abilities in more detail.

"However, oil reserves are expected to last for decades around Bakersfield and elsewhere, according to industry and government estimates. Fresh national reserves are found each year. To make up for older wells, oil companies regularly drill new ones -- about 9,800 last year. Underground discoveries and technological strides have kept domestic reserves at the same level as in 1999."

That Yahoo article on Bakersfield is written so as to make people thing there is no problem, new wells make up for production; don't they? Well judging by the graph here Jeff Donn is being a bit selective in his stats. Better to say reserves have decreased over 45% since 1970, and most of what's left is in parts of the country where Bakersfield isn't.

I wonder who was behind that 'analysis'?

Hello Garyp,

I thought much the same when I read the article too.  No mention of Peakoil, GW, and the Law of Diminishing Returns.  "Consumer Activism" is a code word for: the delusional pursuit by the exercise of political power to continue the Iron Triangle.  Everytime I see a SUV soccer mom with a carload of kids, and they are everywhere in my Asphalt Wonderland--I imagine it speeding off the cliff into Olduvai Gorge.  This happy and gay holiday shopping season does the MSM promote the fact that thousands in Russia, including many in Moscow, are now without fuel and electricity?

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

I wonder who was behind that 'analysis'?

It says the analysis by Associated Press ... rile the sleepy herd with conspiracies and scape goats.  It's a nice simple answer, it's easier than real analysis and actual thinking, and it sells papers to angry people in the area.

From this article, some interesting tidbits worth highlighting:

How to Prepare for Peak Oil and Climate Change


To effectively redesign our global growth oriented society we need to move from linear thinking to a more holistic, systemic and integrated way of dealing with complexity.

This concept, while noble, does not jive with capitalism.  I think it is true, but you will have get buy in from the entire planet to make it work.

The emergence of a planetary society is possible. Crisis can be the feedback motivating change in us personally and collectively.  We are not changing quickly enough now, but as the feedback from climate change and energy decent start to become much larger in people's lives there will be a big opportunity to facilitate positive change.  Retain your commitment to planetary emergence and facilitate the process for others.

Ah yes, here's the case for global cooperation.  Planetary society sounds rather SciFi and idealistic.  I also believe there will be a window of opportunity to get this to work before people revert to less cordial ways of dealing with Peak Oil and Climate Change.

Overall, it's refreshing to read a piece that gives a positive spin on these topics.

Sorry, but I've pretty much had it with warm-fuzzy, nebuolous ramblings such as his.

Here's another quote from the article:

The global economy may not be able to provide the goods and services it once did, but local economies and neighborhoods are capable of filling the gaps.
 Emphasis added.

So, local economies are going to fill "gaps"?  Here's one gap - clothing, since most of it is imported.  Let's see, the locals are going to produce crops that they will then weave into cloth and someone will take this cloth and make clothing.  Really?  I hate to sound cynical but that is unlikely to happen.  Well, the US could start to reopen the closed mills but, unfortunately, the equipment is long gone overseas and few people would know how to run a mill anyway.  Further, in a shrinking economy, who is going to finance such a mill in the first place?

The same arguement can be made for any number of other gaps.  The reality is that locals will have a hard time just supplementing their food supplies without trying to fill any additional gaps.

Todd, I agree with you 100 percent. These folks who predict "no problem with coping in the future" remind me of CERA "predicting no problem with oil supplies". They simply haven't though through the entire consequences of a dramatically declining energy supply. And you are correct, the global economy will make all the worse.

We have lost all the trades and talents that once allowed us to live close to the land. And even if we had not lost it, there are way too many people on earth to survive that way now.

Ron Patterson

Warm and fuzzy like this? Sounds good, anyway.

"We must resist the temptation to support aggression and wars to secure diminishing energy and environmental resources. Be diligent in ensuring military activity is just and in the interests of global peacekeeping."

One critical technology is eyeglass frames.  AFAIK, Artcraft is the last US maker.

May I suggest looking for them at the optical shop (and walk out if they do not carry them, and saying why).

This is a truly critical technology that we can ill afford to lose completely.

Best Hopes,



As you know I'm one of the doomers/realists here.  I've spent a lot of time and money doing what I can do to survive what may be coming*.  In order to do this, I've actually had to think about this sort of stuff; the interrealtionships, what I can and cannot produce, what might wear out first and whether I can work around it if it cannot be replaced.

The people who posit the sort of drivel in the article do a disservice because many PO aware people will believe him.

Todd; a Realist

*I thought I'd add this:  My survival timeframe is 20 years.  Now aside from the fact that I'm with in days of being 68 and I'm unlikely to be around in 20 years, it becomes extrodinairly difficult to stockpile stuff beyond this.  One mind game I've suggested on others forums is to consider what you would put into an 8x8x40' container if you knew the S would HTF and you had unlimited money.  It's a good way to learn about priorities and necessities.

Have you considered writing a short book chronicling all you've been through and what you've learned trying to prepare for what may be coming?
Further, in a shrinking economy, who is going to finance such a mill in the first place?

Hi Todd,

Of course many would argue that we will just adapt after peak (never mind the ensuing oil shocks, economic contraction and geopolitical tension) because "oil isn't running out ya know, we'll still be pumping 20 BB p/a in 20 years blah blah blah blah blah, so plenty of go juice left to effect a transition silly".



Black Friday disappointing for Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. predicted surprisingly weak November sales on Saturday, but a survey of thousands of retail locations pointed to a relatively healthy start to the holiday shopping season.

Wal-Mart estimated that November sales fell 0.1 percent at its U.S. stores open at least a year - the forecast includes sales on Black Friday. At the same time, a survey by ShopperTrak estimated a 6 percent overall sales increase for the day, to $8.9 billion.

Wal-Mart's results would mark the company's first monthly same-store sales decline since April 1996. The retailer had expected same-store sales to be flat compared with the same period last year.

Wal-Mart's customers are lower-income than average, so they feel it first if the economy's going bad.

Hello Leanan,

WallyWorld could juice their sales by offering a XMAS stocking filled with lumps of coal and an attached Peakoil CD or Book.  They need to take advantage of this unique, high profit marketing opportunity now before costs rise--because later: it will only be offered at exclusive outlets such as Tiffanys and other high-end jewellers.

Sarcasm or future truth?

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

...and Walmart help create "lower income" jobs by sending manufacturing jobs overseas (Huffy Bicycle a reported example).  I knew it would come home to bite them.  They have extracted the temporary dollar cushion...  
And don't forget the "lower income" jobs they offer.  Their new plan to increased profitability includes making as many employees as possible part-timers, and making the jobs so physically onerous that anyone who is not young and healthy will be forced to quit.
I don't know if the numbers are large enough to be significant, but lately almost everyone, relatives and friends I talk to, has been saying that they refuse to shop at Wal-Mart anymore, even if it costs them more.  They are tired of the corporate pushiness, coziness with the Chinese, shipping jobs overseas, mistreatment of employees (everyone knows someone who works there), and low wages and health care.
Or, from a more practical view point, their products are cheap garbage that tends to self destruct after one use, they have rude employees that can't answer a question, their stores are dirty and they will not open enough cash registers.  

Every once in a while, I forget how bad their products and service are, and absentmindedly go in to buy something.  I usually leave swearing that I will never go back.

It is good to see there are many rational people who refuse to patronize Wal-Mart for all the right reasons.  

This is the most shameless corporate predator in existence.  They do not accept "NO" for an answer.  James Kunstler's diatribes toward them are dead on correct.  They didn't start the decimation of Main Street America, but they certainly helped kill off what was left.  How many 'superstores' will be enough for them?  Their greed is perverse and disgusting.  You're right, Jim:  save a few dimes on cheap underwear at Sprawl-Mart, and toss three local merchants out of business.  Is that what we wanted for our communities?  And I haven't even touched upon the various other baneful effects of this predator as elaborated by others in this thread, above.

Years ago, I actually walked into one of their stores.  It was the only time, ever, and I always regretted it (didn't buy anything).  I felt so dirty afterwards, I swore it would NEVER happen again.  And it hasn't.

In Moscow, Putin warned China and the United States that he was drawing on Russia's new oil and gas wealth to expand and improve its nuclear-war capabilities. He announced that in 2007 alone he would be spending $ 11.2 billion on new weapons, including 17 new nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. He added that between now and 2015 he would be spending $ 188 billion on new weapons.

This is got to be a very bad development.
Here we go again.

Where's the star wars program again?

"Where's the star wars program again?"

Ah yes, the solution to "too many weapons" and large "defence" expenditures is always more weapons and greater expenditures.

The question the human population of this planet should be asking is "Where's the nuclear disarmament?"

(I was going to not make that question specific to nuclear weapons but I thought we might as well take this one step at a time.  Vast "conventional" military arsenals are a large threat as well but not quite a cataclysmic threat.)

Russian demographics and reduced, post communist / FSU borders and population probably means upgrading nukes is it its own best interests. It is unlikely they would ever be able to compete in shear numbers with the PRC Standing army.
Russia intends to remain at the top table as a resource rich, nuclear tipped, superpower. Cheney's stupid speeches, NATO enlargement of Russia's border states will not help matters either.

Recipe for a Russian renaissance:

  1. Secure control over your own resources
  2. Secure an ability to punch above your weight by:
A) Shortcut by upgrading nuclear firepower and:
B) Rebuild, professionalise and modernise conventional forces over the longer term
  1. Rebuild national pride after the soviet collapse
  2. Ensure global capitalists are controlled, kept on a short leash and used to modernise Russian Industry and Infrastructure and dispensed with (''They will even sell us the rope by which we will hang them'' - Lenin ).
  3. Pay lip-service to Western Democratic notions (wont need those in the years to come anyway...)

I always thought that Russia might come out on top in an energy constrained world - if she plays her cards right. Certainly, they have Europe over the energy barrel (no pun intended).

Did anybody really believe the nonsense in 'The End of History' by Francis Fukyama?

Recipe for a Russian renaissance:

Secure control over your own resources

Secure an ability to punch above your weight by:

A) Shortcut by upgrading nuclear firepower and:
B) Rebuild, professionalise and modernise conventional forces over the longer term

Rebuild national pride after the soviet collapse

Ensure global capitalists are controlled, kept on a short leash and used to modernise Russian Industry and Infrastructure and dispensed with (''They will even sell us the rope by which we will hang them'' - Lenin ).

Pay lip-service to Western Democratic notions (wont need those in the years to come anyway...)

Using modified search-and-replace....

Recipe for an American renaissance:

Secure control over significant world resources

Secure an ability to punch at any weight by:

A) Shortcut aggression by building Star Wars defense shield
B) Rebuild military on a 'leaner-and-meaner' Rumsfeld/Andrew Marshall model which makes it more useless against the 'asymmetrical' warfare that we have labeled 'terrorism.'

Rebuild American pride after disheartening debacle of Clinton administration

Ensure global capitalists are controlled, kept on a short leash and used to modernise  Industry and Infrastructure in third world countries that feed the insatiable American appetite. (''They will even sell us the rope by which we will hang them'' - Lenin. But this rope is now manufactured in China).

Pay lip-service to Western Democratic notions (wont need those in the years to come anyway...)

But have you got the cold, hard cash?
Of course this could have a much simpler cause.  

They systems are old rusting junk that never worked that well to begin with, and needs to be replaced.  Nuclear weapons are just like any other machine they get old and wear out.

True enough, but now they have the money to do it.

And, if things carry on the way they are at present, they will have a continuing supply of money.

If you have liquidity, you have choice.

If you have debt, you have no choice.

The Russians have increasing liquidity and the US has increasing debt. And looking at the Dollar, short of a miracle, you are looking at two Washingtons to a Queen.

An aside: In  1938, Hitler did not want a European War until circa 1943. His economists and bankers pointed out that on current spending , Germany would be bust by 1940-1941. The ultimate driver for Adolf's European tour was loot,other peoples gold, slave workers and food.

Desparate people commit to desparate action.

Its not just a new arms race. It is a number of races on parallel tracks: Currency race, Oil and Gas race, Water race and food race.

Like the game 'Monopoly', hold the Utilites, hold Mayfair and Park Lane and then watch the money roll in, sit back, and watch while your neighbor pays through the nose and goes bust. ( Tip: If you play Monopoly this Chrismas, ALWAYS race to the utilities :-)). The Russians are buying up the Utilities and Park Lane...

And the US is running out of both time and maneoverable space.

And it is never wise to back a tiger into a corner.

I think you do an excellent job of looking at the global political picture - I assume you are not american.  We americans get so self absorbed and pay little if any attention to the "big picture".  Russia looks to be playing her cards correctly.  Bush on the other hand has squandered so much precious time, resources, and political capital I seriously wonder what awaits us.
Thanks!  But I am an American.  

If I'm not a typical American, I guess I owe it to my dad.  He is an agronomist who specializes in international agriculture, and thanks to him, I spent parts of my childhood overseas.  He always tried very hard to keep me from growing up to be an "Ugly American."  :)

IMO, Leanan is a true patriot, and IMO, one of the heroines of Peakoildom.  
She certainly donates an unbelievable amount of time and expertise to facilitate the important discussions that go on here.
Plus, she watches sports, loves Star Trek, and can discuss virtually any topic intelligently...if I weren't married...I tell ya...sounds perfect to me.  Of course, I'm sure you have some flaws somewhere.

Just a little ribbing Leanan...you're the best.

Hawaii is part of America?

(just kidding ;)

Leanan is indeed American, but she's so smart you'd never suspect it. No she does not live in Hawaii, she did, but escaped that death-ship. That's what anyone with any intelligence wants to do, if they find themselves there.

Hawaii is Easter Island writ large - more car dependent than most places on the Mainland, if you can believe that, an abject worship of concrete, high-rises everywhere, and out in the countryside and outer islands, the same SUV-fueled suburbia and exurbia as on the mainland, with some farming and growing of specialty crops, but not enough to support the population, which is mainly kept afloat by tourism, drug trade, and trust funds. And welfare. All of which will disappear soon, and as Leanan and anyone who's spent any time there has said, Hawaii will be one of the uglier places to be post-peak.

I was kind of wondering about this with respect to the big flap a while ago about state-run gasoline price controls in Hawaii. I've never been there, but as I understand it, nearly all of the population lives on Oahu, which is a fairly small island, a city-state hemmed in by reserved land, really. I.e. it's not exactly Montana, so where, exactly, can you drive to that makes gasoline apparently a bigger political issue there than in any other state, except perhaps for California, where it is actually possible to drive a long way?
I don't think it's the distance, really.  And Hawai`i actually does have a pretty good public transportation system on O'ahu.

Hawai`i just felt they were being ripped off...that the oil companies were jacking up the price because they had a captive audience.  And that their market was so small that there was no real competition, so the free market couldn't work.  (The price controls linked the price in Hawai`i to the price in LA and NY, plus allowances for transportation and other costs.)

If anything, I'd say it's an outgrowth of a certain left-leaning tendency Hawai`i still has, despite the recent rise of Republicans there.  The battle for statehood in Hawai`i was about labor and about race.  Labor, because the plantation owners didn't want to have to abide by U.S. labor rules, and race, because Hawai`i is a state with no racial majority, and at a time when segregation was a huge issue, the last thing southern states wanted was two senators from a state full of "mongrels" (as the NY Times so charmingly put it).  Because of these labor and race issues, Hawai`i has traditionally been a Democratic state.

Yeah, I know she's somewhere in mainland America now (Alabama, Arkansas or something like that).  It was a joke.  There are seriously people in the US that think Hawaii is foreign territory and not part of the United States.  Even though I know it I'm always amazed at how many territories the US has (Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Midway Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Atoll, Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, Kingman Reef, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll).  I actually have a friend going to grad school (geology) out in Hawaii and he's relayed the stories of trying to bike from his house to school in the insane traffic which flows one way in the morning and the other in the afternoon.  He finally bought a beat up junker car because he'd nearly been hit too many times.  It definitely sounds like SUV/Suburbia America on steroids trapped inside a tiny bottle.  Paved paradise and put up a parking lot.  Really makes you wonder why.

btw, I think "smart" isn't quite as fitting as "intelligent" in regards to Leanan, though both could be said about her without being incorrect.

For whatever it is worth, Honolulu is serious today about building an Urban Rail line.  They got federal funding in the 1980s but could not find local funding.  From memory, Atlanta got the money instead.

Best Hopes for changes in Oahu.  They have the potential to become something very different !


There are seriously people in the U.S. who think New Mexico is a foreign country.  
We have found that they have the same opinion of New Orleans.


Whats wrong with Americans actually being correct once in a while :)
I did not abandon my country, my country abandoned me.

Everytime I see a Blackwater mercenary, I am reminded that I am not an American.

I have no intention of being like the "Colored Servicemen" who fought, were wounded and died in segregated units, with their families living with discrimination back home.

I do what I do to minimize the impact of post-Peak Oil on these United States for the global good that it will do, and because it will benefit New Orleans.  I have bitterly learned that I owe no loyality to those that disavow me after inflicting an epic destruction and a 1,000 deaths of friends and neighbors upon me.  

For our suffering was caused not by Hurricane Katrina but the criminal malfeasance of the US Army.  Since 1928 the levees have been their explicit responsibility, since 1985 they knew that THEIR deaign would fail long before the design limits yet kept this fact secret.

I have seen the bias and bigotry in the relief process. I now know I am not am American.  Were not the fate of New Orleans tied to to that of these United States, I would care little for what happens to you, my "fellow" Americans.

I am grateful for the volunteers that have come down to help out, so my national efforts can be considered a payback to them.

If circumstances do not allow me to stay in New Orleans, I will try mightily to settle outside these United States.  And cease any efforts to help that country that divorced me.

Best Hopes for New Orleans,


While looking for links to stories on the failed 1956 and 1967 Arab Oil Embargoes, I was struck by the similarities between the US position in the Middle East now versus the position of the UK and France in the Middle East in 1956.  

Note that one of the threats that Eisenhower used was a threat to crash the pound.  He also threatened to withhold Texas oil from the UK and France.  

I wonder if the Thanksgiving Day massacre in Iraq might be the beginning of the end of US involvement in Iraq.  If so, it would be a signal that the dollar is not going to be supported by the US military's de facto control of the oil fields--thus the selling pressure on the dollar.  


The operation to take the canal was highly successful from a military point of view, but a political disaster due to external forces. Along with Suez, the United States was also dealing with the near-simultaneous Soviet-Hungary crisis, and faced the public relations embarrassment of criticizing the Soviet Union's military intervention there while at the same time avoiding criticism of its two principal European allies' actions. Perhaps more significantly, the United States also feared a wider war after the Soviet Union threatened to intervene on the Egyptian side and launch attacks by "all types of weapons of destruction" on London and Paris.

Thus, the Eisenhower administration forced a cease-fire on Britain and France, which it had previously told the Allies it would not do. Part of the pressure that the United States used against Britain was financial, as President Eisenhower threatened to sell the United States reserves of the British pound and thereby precipitate a collapse of the British currency. After Saudi Arabia started an oil embargo against Britain and France, the U.S. refused to fill the gap, until Britain and France agreed to a rapid withdrawal.

With the Neocons' backs against the wall, and with the possibility of a dollar crash on the horizon, the big risk is that the Neocons would make one final military push.  

Bush is well on his way to destroying the Army, and to some extent the Marines.  However, the Air Force and Navy are still relatively intact.  I wonder if we might see some kind of air strikes on Iran, followed by a naval blockade of Iran, which would provide the excuse for concentrating even greater permanent US Naval power in the Persian Gulf.  If US can't control the oil fields on the ground, the US could still control the shipping lanes out of the Gulf.

I wonder what Cheney said to the Saudis?

Cheney supposedly asked the Saudis for help in Iraq.

My guess is that translates as "make sure the royal princes and princesses aren't sending millions of dollars to 'charities' that support the insurgency."

You mean he wasn't talking about Halliburton? - I wonder why Halliburton keeps sending him all those checks then.

To get a bit of the flavor -
'A report by the Congressional Research Service undermines Vice President Dick Cheney's denial of a continuing relationship with Halliburton Co., the energy company he once led, Sen. Frank Lautenberg said Thursday.

The report says a public official's unexercised stock options and deferred salary fall within the definition of "retained ties" to his former company.'


'Cathie Martin, Cheney's spokeswoman, said the question is whether Cheney has any possible conflict of interest with Halliburton, "and the answer to that is, no."'


Unless he wasn't asking the Saudis for more business for them, that is - then Halliburton would likely wonder what all that 'deferred compensation' was good for, and that would be a conflict of interest.

Really, you have to credit the Bush League for really simplifying complicated subjects into easily understood sound bites - the Vice President has no conflict of interest with Halliburton, and you know something, I believe that without any question at all.

Funny how "mortar rounds" burn one US base after another. And we don't figure out a defense. And always report zero casualties.
Or maybe we are getting our ass kicked
>I wonder if we might see some kind of air strikes on Iran, followed by a naval blockade of Iran, which would provide the excuse for concentrating even greater permanent US Naval power in the Persian Gulf.

That is very unlikely to happen. Iran posses enough military hardware to take out much of the oil in the Persian Gulf and has expressed it will do so if provoked. Even if the US was able to contain Iran, it would send oil prices soaring and cause economic issues back home.

>If US can't control the oil fields on the ground, the US could still control the shipping lanes out of the Gulf.

Oil tankers are extremely vulnerable. It would not be too difficult for Iran to launch missle attacks, small boats or use special forces to prevent the flow of oil out of the gulf. Any Blockage against Iran would send oil prices back up. I don't think this is in the cards. The SPR would probably be topped off before any engagement began with Iran.

I have my eye on the week after Xmas.  Retail season is done and the new Congress has not yet convened.
Just curious. Are you 0-2? Or is your losing streak worse than that? First is was before the election, then it was just after. I guess your luck has got to turn around sometime :)

As far as what Westexas says about "one final push" - why not two, or even three?

But I know you're having fun and that's all that counts. Cheers!

We're on the way out in Iraq, unless we are willing to resort to neo-colonial control mechanisms that haven't been used in 150 years or more. And I don't see us doing that but like you, I cannot place a specific date or count on a set number of remaining tries to control the country, especially when Bush is so dogmatic about it. I can say with confidence three (very vague) things about Iraq:

(1) We will get out someday.
(2) The situation is very ugly.
(3) The situation will get even uglier before we exit.

I do note with amusement that one early Pentagon discussion apparently centered around just splitting the country three ways after the invasion into Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish nations. Further, the Pentagon document noted that the Kurds pretty much still loved us and were willing to take the fight to Iran to free Kurds there. So if we had done that, we'd be out already and Iran would be fighting a Kurdish insurgency instead of us fighting a Sunni and Shiite insurgency. Instead we went for idealism (one unified democratic nation) in a region of the world where western style idealism has been dead for thousands of years and the results speak for themselves.

Check this out. You'll love it. I could hardly believe my eyes at this guy's honesty. It was in Yesterday's New Republic. You may have to free register, but it's simple. Their latest issue has about ten essays on what to do about Iraq covering the whole political spectrum. It's great. But this one stands out.

This guy thinks Iraq should be partitioned in two. One part for the Kurds, the other for the Shiites. Guess who gets screwed. It'll never happen by design. Maybe after a civil war.

Crush the Sunnis

The dollar has continued falling in Monday trading in Asia, down to around $1.318/Euro.
And I bet that with the drop in the USD you will see an equal and opposite rise in the price of oil.

If correct, then energy is becoming cheaper for everyone else, and more expensive for the primary importer.And since the factories that relocated to China no longer exist you cannot easily move production back to the US.
The whole problem is that you can't crush the Sunnis - and not for want of trying. They're whipping the US - tens of thousands of badly wounded vets. All this trouble, such that they are highly likely to defeat you singlehandedly, and they are basically the only people that have got around to fighting you yet. Just imagine what will happen when the Shi'ites decide it's time to let rip on US forces...
Did you read the article? I agree with what you say, but I don't think you get it. I think it was one of the funniest things I've seen all month, excepting Borat. The idea wasn't for us to crush the Sunnis. It will be the Shiites that do it.
I didn't read it, but I took the title at face value - seeing as satire and competent policy discussion seems largely absent from the US media.

But in any case it is a mistake to think that the Shia can be manipulated into crushing the Sunni and then taking orders from the US. They seem to want much more than that - hence their apparent patience with the occupation, which will end sooner or later - and immediately, if there is any attack on Iran. In fact, it is a disastrous idea from the US point of view, which is why the US has historically supported the Sunni (via Saddam)in the first place. The US doesn't want a Shi'ite power crescent running Iran-Iraq-Lebanon.

But I will stop here, as I did not actually read the article.

No offense, but this is a good reason why people should read stuff before commenting on it. I suppose it was my fault for actually printing the title of the article, which is eye-grabbing, but highly misleading. One thing I'm sure of, as one who follows this conflict very closely, more closely, in fact, then anyone I know here(and have done so since way before it even started), is that it is not simple. Please read the article, you'll enjoy it, even if you don't agree.
I've heard proponents of the dividing Iraq (into 3 parts) scenario. It sounds good in some ways, but I suspect there would ensue a 3-way war and continuing strife as bad as or worse than what is going on now. And then, how many years would it take for one or more of these new countries to try their hands at developing nuclear weapons?

Nope. It's gonna be increasingly messy and bloody no matter what anyone does. Life under Saddam I'm sure was better for most (except possibly the Kurds).

It is the 50th anniversary of Suez just of late, and there has been an awful lot of navel gazing in the UK.

Suez is regarded as the 'marker bed' for the end of the British Empire. If you are looking for a date when the sun finally set, Suez serves that purpose.

British foreign policy since then has always been governed by a desire 'not to create another suez'.

Leastways until the juvenile Blair got his hands on the levers of power. Iraq was the consequence.

An interesting aside: When asked by the PM if British troops could make it to Cairo, the Head of the Imperial General Staff said: 'Yes, of course. But what do you want us to do when we get there?'.

Shame the same question was not asked about Bagdad.

It is the 50th anniversary of Suez just of late, and there has been an awful lot of navel gazing in the UK.

A lot of 50th anniversaries.  Another one is the 50th anniversary of Hubbert's Lower 48 prediction, and in 1956 Hubbert guessed that world production would have probably peaked by 2006.  

There really are a lot of similarities between the UK in 1956 and the US in 2006, two fading imperial powers whose reach had exceeded their grasp.  

BTW, I read somewhere that Eisenhower later regretted his decision to oppose the UK and France during the Suez Crisis.

Your mention of Eisenhower reminded me of something. This may or may not be a minor point depending on the effects of each of the components involved, the details of which I know little.

Several of us have been discussing proration and other events and their effect on Texas and American production leading up to a peak - relative to possibly similar circumstances in Saudi Arabia.

There seemed to be a consensus that proration ended in 1972. Simmons on pg.44 states that "Proration remained in effect until the end of the 1960's*. As a beneficial unintended consequence, proration also extended the lifespan of many US giant oilfields, which would have depleted far faster had they  not been artificially choked back.
   Proration was the only major US oil policy until 1959..."

In 1959 the MOIP policy Mandatory Oil Import Control Program was imposed by Eisenhower. As Tertzakian points out on page 72, prior to this, by 1958, 40% of US domestic production was shut in to combat cheap imports.

Do we really know what the production profile of the US would look like without these various controls? Would it be much different. My guess is not really. Not in the 1960's, at least. But I'm not an expert. Others may disagree.

I haven't checked 1956, but from the EIA's monthly numbers circa June 1967, I can't see a huge bump in domestic production. When measured against annual global production surges in the 1960's, it seems hardly a blip.

* (my note) - the "end of the 1960's" is vague, but it is also not 1972. There are no notes attached to Chapter 3 in 'Twilight.' There isn't even an entry for chapter 3 in the back of the book.

Texas production increased by about one mbpd starting in 1966, before peaking in 1972.  See my comments down the thread.
So the Iraqi resistance, with at least 100 times fewer combatants and at least 1000 times less money (estimating $300 billion in direct Iraq funding from the US and UK), are fighting a war against US forces and other Iraqis and winning.

And turning a profit.

Maybe we should hire their generals.  

Or better yet, leave.  

I think we are trying to hire their generals.

The Saudis would do anything to stop Iran from awakening the Arab populations as to the crappiness of their kings and pro-US dictators.  Saudi bankrolled Saddam Hussein's war on Iran in the past.  It can't help but view the Sunni insurgency, even the neo-Baathists, as its new first line of defense against Iran.

Just in time for James Baker, official henchman of the George H. W. Bush/Saudi/Carlyle Group, to arrive to revamp our Iraq policy.

Baker is going to try to get Junior to switch sides in Iraq.  We will withdraw in a fashion that favors the Sunni insurgents, who in turn will get big new gifts from Saudi.  We will abandon Anbar province first, then flee Baghdad to what appears to be a rapidly evolving Sunni noose.  The true Iranian puppet in Iraq, SCIRI, will flee and set up shop downriver, while Moqtada al-Sadr's 2 million supporters in the Baghdad slums will be sacrificed.

Then the Saudi proxies and the Iranian proxies will have the 2nd Iran-Iraq War while we shrug our shoulders and blame "those crazy Moslems".  We might even figure to come out ahead on this tragedy, as Saudi and Iran will have to pump more oil to raise more cash as the war spreads.  But we will make damn sure that Saudi doesn't lose.

From purely the point of view of prevailing by means of force, perhaps the 'resistance' simply has the advantage of having no political limits whatsoever placed on its brutality. They never need to worry for even a moment about becoming embroiled in Abu Ghraib scandals and the like. Thus, they may proceed on what Eric Hoffer called, in the context of active mass movements, "the sound theory that all men are cowards". They can kill whoever they want by whatever means they want, no matter how horrifying, while enjoying utter impunity in the court of "world opinion". Ultimately, they can then dominate by pure unrestricted force.
So if we were just more brutal we might win? You have no idea whatsoever how brutal we are and have been nor are you likely to know, even after the fact, that the USA has suffered a straight military defeat.
The more you cheer for brutality, brutality by your side, the lmore you become a small pathetic contemptible little substitute for a man.
Go to Hell. They want your kind there.
Just pointing out the double standard. That's all.
And if one is going to fight according to Queensberry rules while there are no rules whatsoever for one's opponent, then it should be obvious that fighting is going to be very, very risky and expensive indeed. That eliminates any just cause for the original complaint about the thousand-to-one expense ratio, or whatever it really is, as it has little to do with the competence of either side's generals. It certainly does raise a question of whether one should fight at all, if the ratio is guaranteed to be so huge that it is in practice impossible to "win".
The double standard? Tell me a funny joke. I'll wait.
An army that has an air force, that uses cluster bombs, that uses white phosphorus, that throws tanks at civilians, that snickers and sniggers while it openly tortures it's prisoners on the television screens of the world is only pathetic when it complains about a double standard. Same for its apologists.

Under international law, by treaties which the US has signed and which are therefor wholly incorporated into our law, citizens of an occupied country may resist. They are not bound by the Geneva restraints we so blthely laugh at. No one is obliged to "fight fair" when fighting a massively superior force.

As previously stated: Go to Hell.

 I think the neocons should take note of this fact. It really demonstrates the advantages of private sector activity vs  a moribund and inefficient public sector.

Privatize the US armed forces, and demand they turn a profit.
Honestly I can't tell if your post was meant as satire, if it was sarcastic, if it was ironic.
Or if you're just an idiot.
my thought exactly
Blackwater Corp. comes to mind
Blackwater has some terrific folks on staff who could do a real bang-up job if only we hired one to be Commander-in-Chief. <sarcasm alert>
 I'm probably all four. I'd also claim to be an old hippy but I cannot really remember what went on in the '60s.


I tried. I really tried. Everything I could think of. Couldn't destroy the memory banks.
Some of us are just lucky. The lucky one is you- or me?
We are the lucky ones; the ones who did it and remember it. And still remember yesterday, too. And who still do it.
We just use a whole lot more of our neurons than most folks. I know I still have some unused ones in there, somewhere. Just have to find them.


Peak oil is already solved, the solutions are being rolled out even now.

People are developing flexible working environments; when the oil supply starts to drop, they will increasingly telocommute.
Telocommuting is Growing
In the year 2000, 4.2 million (19%) of Americans did some or all of their work at home. This is an increase of 800,000 (23%) from 1990 to 2000 This is twice the growth rate of the overall workforce
People are forsaking the car and shopping online. As the oil supply depletes, people will do more of their shopping online.
Online Shopping is Growing
According to Forrester Research, forecasts predict 2006 online holiday sales will reach $27 billion in the United States, a 23% increase over last year. PriceGrabber.com estimates the total volume of sales leads generated to merchants on Black Friday alone is more than $248 million.
As the cost of gas increases, companies are choosing to ship by rail rather than trucks. This efficient method will become more prominent as the oil companies fail to deliver.
Rail intermodal and carload volumes up again in October
In continuing what has been a very strong year for the railroad industry, United States railroads originated 1,355,091 carloads of freight in October, which was up 1.8 percent or- 24,116 carloads-from October 2005. Intermodal volume-at 1,006,812 units-was up 1.9 percent-or 18,913 trailers and containers-compared to October 2005.
Cheap and abundant oil has always blocked the development of alternatives but as oil becomes scarce, alternatives will prevail. The alternatives for transportation fuel will take the form of reduced consumption matched with different fuels such as ethanol.
MIT Researchers Develop Half-Sized Gasoline Engine
MIT researchers are developing a half-sized gasoline engine that performs like its full-sized cousin but offers fuel efficiency approaching that of today's hybrid engine system--at a far lower cost. The key? Carefully controlled injection of ethanol, an increasingly common biofuel, directly into the engine's cylinders when there's a hill to be climbed or a car to be passed.
These small engines could be on the market within five years, and consumers should find them appealing: By spending about an extra $1,000 and adding a couple of gallons of ethanol every few months, they will have an engine that can go as much as 30 percent farther on a gallon of fuel than an ordinary engine. Moreover, the little engine provides high performance without the use of high-octane gasoline.
These are just some of the many small changes that will mitigate peak oil. Producers and consumers react to price signals and change their behavior accordingly; the free market works. Peak oil will initiate changes in economic activity but it is not a catastrophe.
BTW, thanks for the Pacific Ethanol recommendation.
Yeah what a great company.

Pacific Ethanol pumps black ink

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the company says it had net sales of $61.1 million, an increase of $34.7 million, or 131 percent, compared to $26.4 million for the third quarter of 2005.
And a great looking stock chart this year, following your repeated buy recommendations.
I am sorry if you didn't sell when it was nearer its peak. My advice (if you still want it) is to hold it. The company had a revenue growth of 131% year over year and that was just selling other people's ethanol. In October they opened their first ethanol plant so they will be a fully integrated ethanol producer and marketer in the lucrative California market. Bill Gates owns 25% of the company, and he is going to want to see a return on investment in his stock. If the people on the Oil Drum are to be believed oil is only going to get scarcer and this will increase the price of gas. Ethanol prices follow the gas prices. I still think it is a good company and a great stock. Full disclosure-I don't own PEIX or any other ethanol stocks currently.

You really need to be a bit more suave in what you do or you're going to lose your job.

Once they have "mirror neurons" for sale you should look into getting yourself some implanted in your brain.

Mr. AlphaMaleProphetofDoom,
I read your post three times, and I still don't understand it. What are you talking about?
The "Little engine that Can" sounds great.

Maybe on the market in 5 years?  Give me a break!

If reality continues to trickle down through the grid of denial put forth by the so-called "Free Market" superstition, then we will be prepared to respond to PO and GW just about a century after we are extinct.

Well, at least I've made clear that I do not accept the free marketeer assumptions, but I myself am a micro-eco-entrepreneur. I work for a living in a Fascist "free market" that seems to me to oppose free thinking, entrepreneurship, and reality-based planning.  The "free market" plans are all oriented to feed more dollars to fewer people as far as I can tell.

I'm not likely to persuade anyone to think like me -- especially if you have convictions that are as strongly held as mine are.  But I do think that the mantra "the free market is working" is stretching things pretty far.

Global emissions of co2 increased 3% over last year. Your free market at work. Yes, the free market is working, Virginia, to destroy the planet. And how is George Bush's voluntary fight against global warming going?
"The little engine that can" was developed about 50 years ago, it's called the engine in a Honda step-through 90, and since most times the cargo per vehicle in the US is one fatass American, just make more Honda 90s and put a cup holder on the handlebars somewhere, and there you are. Those things even had decent fenders.

Somehow I can't see Peak Oil being solved by all of us withdrawing to our extra bedrooms or dens and tapping away on computers. More of us are doing that all the time and peak oil and our trade imbalance are getting worse. That model only seems to work because right now tapping on computers to each other produces pieces of paper worth dollars that the world still thinks are worth a damn. That won't last, and Americans will eventually have to make things, like shoes, and clothes, and crops, and bicycles, and all sorts of things, or die. Yeah, ok, I hope the gov't is producing lots of suicide doses of some nice drug like heroin for 99% of us to check out with. Given the choice between do actual work or die, most Americans will...... die.

My post listed ways in which people are making choices that reduce their use of energy which, in the cases I listed, also reduce their ecological footprint. So how are your comments relevant to what I wrote?
I would just like to add to this list that another major auto maker is making the switch to Electric Vehicles.  If only we can get the big 3 US automakers on this path...
<sarcasm>Yes if only people would shift to electric vehicles, that way we would get to burn much more coal, and we could have blackouts every day instead of once every few years.
And just think about what a massive increase in the number of electric vehicles would do to the price of copper. It would become so valuable people would start to wear copper jevelry, wouldn't that be great</sarcasm>
People will most likely start to switch to electric vehicles. It has nothing to do with what the car manufacturers do or not. As liquid-petroleum transportation fuels become increasingly scarce and expensive the current substitute is electricity which which can be attained by altering the fuel mix more towards NG, coal, nuclear, hydro, and wind. Unless you think there is plenty of oil.

As far as car manufacturers go, the successful ones will be those managed by people capable of anticipating the changes and reacting accordingly, the others won't do as well. US manufacturers don't have a stellar record in this department. And they continue to resist change.

That has got to be the most pathetic looking strawman I've ever seen.
I'm not sure what you mean. Maybe I should stop talking to you. I don't want to inspire anymore brilliant sentences.
Hurin, you have a good point.

If people are stealing copper cable from live electric substations, then that tells me that copper is becoming quite valuable. I'll have to research how many pounds a copper it takes for the electric motor windings in a typical hybrid.

And to think about burning all that coal. I understand the carbon dioxide issue, but what about all of the other pollutants? The tuna I catch in NC are already tainted with Mercury, and the Chesapeake Bay region, where I live, is starting to post Mercury warnings. All of this from coal power generation, and this is our energy of the future?

I highly doubt that copper theft will become a major problem, seeing how most electric companies are now on the fast track 'planned' to installing Aluminum Conductor Composite Core cables.  Not only do they use much more common materials, they are stronger, cheaper, and capable of transferring 2x as much power on the same line.

And if necessary, I can go into details again about how converting the US daily average gasoline usage into an all electric source is a non issue as far as capacity is concerned:  Hint: Its only 30 GWh extra at off peak times!

Utilities use aluminum and have used it almost exclusively for a half century (or longer).  Steel & aluminum for HV.  Iceland uses the highest % steel in the world, half steel, half aluminum in their HV wires.

It is an innovation to use non-conductive plastics instead of steel (Hint: conductive is better).  Probably useful if it allows for longer spans with lighter towers.  An engineering tradeoff IMO.


I don't expect new coal power plants to be a problem as I am virtually certain that political requirements will dictate that they all use carbon sequestering technology and enhanced particulate scrubbers.
You need to talk to Texas utilities.  They have asked for permits for a 17 standard coal plants (and one petroleum coke plant).  All to be built in the next 4 years per applications.


Carbon emissions from the plants = to 19 million vehicles per story.

As usual, your "virtually certain" shows a lack of knowledge and judgment.


You seem to be confusing 'asked for 17 permits' with 'has gotten regulation approval for 17 permits'.  Until its announced that all new coal plants in Texas wont address carbon sequestering, this argument is a mute point.
Other reports note that ZERO proposed Texas coal fired plants have announced plans for sequestering.  Since a carbon dioxide pipeline is required for sequesteration (from the power plant to the injection wells) and none have applied for a pipeline permit and Texas Utilities (owner of over half of these permits from memory) has publically stated that they will not sequester carbon, I am VIRTUALLY CERTAIN that they will not sequester carbon.

I am also VIRTUALLY CERTAIN that it is NOT a moot point and your VIRTUALLY CERTAIN opinion is certainly wrong.

Hothgor, your fantasy of what the future holds and objective reality are disconnected.  Things will not turn out as you project.  Wishing does not make it so.



Alan, you are missing the point.  None of these new coal plants have been approved, and none of them are likely to meet regulator approval until they address the carbon sequestering issue.

Why are you arguing about this when I keep telling you that?  It's almost as if you want these plants to pollute.  I am virtually certain that you are now engaging in ILL Doomer mentality.

You live in Great Estate of Texas.  What are the chances that Perry & Bush will act to stop this ?  What regs require sequestration ?

I heard that Perry even wrote an article for the Dallas Morning News supporting this move to coal.

BTW, Louisiana approved a petroleum coke (can also run on coal) fired power plant for CLECO a few months ago.  CLECO is a co-op that currently runs 100% on NG.  This plant will supply half of their power when finished.

And I am doing several things on different levels to prepare society.  What are you doing (other than using up bandwidth on TOD pushing "low quality" posts and unsupported positions ?)

I once offered you collaboration on a worthwhile project, but you chose not to accept that.  Instead you spend your time & efforts on work that, quite frankly, no one values AND WILL MAKE ZERO DIFFERENCE.

The unfortunate truth is that new coal plants will be built in Texas w/o sequestration.


If you would truly like to collaborate on an issue, please feel free to pop me an email at Brandon_Stringer@sbcglobal.net

I'd love to hear what you have up your sleeves.

So does that mean WT can start calling you Brandon? I wanna collaborate. I have a bunch of work I need done. I just don't have enough time myself. Part of the excercise that is necessary is that I check my figures against ones that are arrived at in the same manner, but by a second party. Some simple math. But tedious because you have to think about every step you take. I'll tell you what to do. Send you stuff in excel and access. You do it. And then you can say we collaborated. Sound good? I'm serious.
I think most people are content to call me troll and dis-informer :P

But drop me an email if you want.

Fuck them. Most people don't know how many gallons are in a barrel. And they are content that way, too.
If the shoe fits, wear it.
I love online shopping myself.  I refuse to go anywhere near a mall between Thanksgiving and Epiphany, so if I buy anything other than groceries at this time of year, it's on the Internet.

But I seriously question whether online shopping conserves energy, and whether it will be sustainable in the post-carbon age.  

If you are buying something downloadable, like a song, movie, or software, then it probably does save energy.  But physical goods must be packed and shipped.  They are usually wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam, boxed in cardboard, then delivered in a big ol' truck that likely uses more energy than your car, and certainly causes more wear and tear on the roads.  (Indeed, the latter is becoming a serious problem for public works departments.  EBay means truck traffic going door-to-door, instead of from warehouse to shopping mall, and it's causing traffic and wear problems that weren't anticipated when the road system was built.)  

And the Internet itself takes more energy than most people seem to realize.  The large server farms that power sites like Amazon and eBay often have their own (gas-fired) power plants, and use the energy of a small city.  

I posted this article a few days ago:

The UK is heading towards energy shortages because of companies' burgeoning use of IT, according to new research yesterday that called on companies to install lower-power technology to save money and the planet.

An average UK data-centre uses more power in a year than the city of Leicester, according to the Power and Cooling Survey 2006 from analyst firm BroadGroup. Such demand will severely test the operational viability of UK data centres by 2010.

I suspect the future of retail is going to look more like the past.  Shopping districts that centralize delivery, perhaps with public transportation for shoppers to get there.  And the kind of delivery system that rural people have even now.  The package is delivered to the Sears office in town, or to the post office, and you go down and get it when you happen to be in town.  Or your neighbor will fetch it for you, if they're making a trip into town before you are.

As an old chemist I find "post carbon" amusing.  I am 18% carbon myself, and would have a hard time doing without it.
yeah the idea that "we're going to email our way out of catastrophe!" is a bit silly once it's examined.
It ain't over.  While your list pulls some positive facts, broader measures are harder to call.  We are, for instance, off our all-time high for U.S. per capita BTU consumption - all  fuels, but we have not retreated that far.

I'd guess you're right that higher prices will push consumption lower(*).  That's what happened in the late 70's.  But we are kind in the dark about how soon and how fast change will come upon us.

* - not sure if China ranks as "free market" these days, but they seem to be facing very similar choices, as they price energy to maintain growth.

Your first "quote" is doctored, Keithster100. The 19% figure appears nowhere in the quoted Census article. Further, 4.2 million Americans is roughly 1.4% of the population, not 19%.

Should I check every other one of your "quotes" in the same way or have they all been similarly doctored to support your viewpoint?

In fact, let's do that.

Your second quote states that people are shopping online. With the population spread out inefficiently in suburbs, you do realize that a product must be delivered if purchased online? And that delivery will use vehicles that are fossil fuel consumers, and very inefficient ones at that. But then, in your own referenced article, we find this gem about online shopping:

"Part of the overall pessimism toward online shopping includes skepticism of the product fulfillment process. Fifteen percent of consumers said they received orders late last year. Returns are also a sore spot with half of consumers finding the process of returning items to be a hassle and 27 percent say they prefer not to buy online altogether because of the prospect of dealing with returns. Consumers also rated their trust in major shipping providers such as FedEx and UPS."

Clearly the entire online ordering, delivery, and customer service situation must improve by leaps and bounds before it is going to replace the local mall. You deliberately selectively quoted and ignored many other outstanding issues.

In the rail shipping article we find this gem:

"AAR director of editorial services Tom White told Logistics Management that railroad traffic levels have maintained and continued to make monthly increases, although the rate of increases have gone down compared to past years.

Intermodal, said White, has led the railroad industry's growth for the past 25 years. But he noted that there was a bit of a slowdown in intermodal growth in October. This is especially true when compared to the intermodal growth that occurred in September, which was up 5.4 percent from September 2005 at 987,903 units shipped.

"Intermodal continues to lead the way, and we think that will continue to be the case long-term," said White. "And overall traffic levels are remaining strong this year, which is our fourth straight record year.""

You apparently ignore comments by experts like Alan that our rail system is very close to capacity and cannot sustain huge amounts of additional growth without massive levels of investment. Where is that investment? Is the lack of long term investment going to slow adoption of rail? You appear to dismiss such fundamental concerns without a thought.

And your last article, about MIT researchers, gives me a "page not found" error when I click on the link. When I go to the AZoM home page, there are a number of links to MIT related topics but none about super efficient mini gasoline engines. When I use AZoM's search facility, I am unable to find your quoted article. However, being stubborn, I found the original article here. What you don't mention is that these amazing engines only provide a 30% increase in fuel efficiency. In other words, a 30mpg small car might get 39mpg. Plus these engines use fossil fuels and ethanol both, where ethanol has clearly been shown to have serious problems scaling up. This isn't a fix; it's a stopgap.

You use these articles to paint a picture that all is well and with just a few small changes we can continue to live as we do right now. You fail to see the bigger picture entirely.

When you aren't sure about a quote you can just select the whole thing, and (in Firefox at least) right click "Search Google for '...'"

That first quote does show up on the web, but perhaps not quite in the context of telecommuting.  It seems more a "work from home" number.

  • in the year 2000, 4.2 million (19%) of Americans did some or all of their work at home. A good number of these are employees

  • This is an increase of 800,000 (23%) from 1990 to 2000


I didn't check the others.

The McLaughlin Group takes on energy independence, alternative energy, and climate change this week. For what it's worth.

Though I did not hear the words "peak oil" uttered on the show, California's prop 87 and wind farms were mentioned. As was the proposal to replace income tax with a carbon tax.

Texas and US Lower 48 oil production as a model for Saudi Arabia and the world
Jeffrey J. Brown & "Khebab", GraphOilogy

Based on the Hubbert Linearization (HL) method and based on our historical models, we believe that Saudi Arabia and the world are now on the verge of irreversible declines in conventional oil production.
First published May 25, 2006.

This article outlines the mathematical and historical reasons for using Texas as a model for Saudi Arabia (KSA).

One of the (constantly changing) arguments against using Texas as a model for KSA is KSA's relatively stable production prior to the increase in production in 2003.

Texas hit a (RRC dictated) plateau in 1958, with production bouncing around 2.5 mbpd until it started climbing in 1966, before peaking in 1972.  So it was eight years of stable production followed by seven years of generally rising production, followed by the long term decline.

KSA hit a (presumably voluntary) plateau in 1991, with production bouncing around 8 mbpd until it started climbing in 2003.  So, it was 12 years of stable production, followed by three years of increasing production, followed by the 2006 decline--which is mathematically about where Texas also started declining.  

So, Texas was eight years stable, seven years growing, then a decline.  

KSA was 12 years stable, three years growing, then a decline (at about the same stage of depletion at which Texas started declining).  

Because KSA was 12 years stable prior to an increase, while Texas was 8 years stable prior to an increase, we can't use Texas a model for KSA?

We can, as long as for the time being we disregard the differences in well numbers, the history of those well numbers, and several other factors. Not necessarily a problem since those other factors may not in fact be important. (But what if they are?)

You are well aware of the astronomical difference between Texas well numbers and those in Saudi Arabia. Look at the reported production makeup for Daiqing. Same thing. What will be the case when Saudi has 500,000 wells?

Will Saudi Arabia ever have 500,000 wells? You appear to assume results coincident to free market results in the US when KSA is not an open market, at least on the topic of oil.

I think that is a very important question, Oil CEO. How can Saudi Arabia get to a free market environment where those 500,000 wells could be drilled? The existing royal family has zero incentive to lose control. The royal family already has immense control problems right now. And if the existing royal family is removed, the west cannot hold Saudi Arabia without resorting to such techniques of colonial control that have not been seen since the 19th century and before (wholesale slaughter of subjugated peoples in order to enforce control). If the west cannot hold Saudi Arabia who does that leave? China or the Muslim fanatics?

I don't think Saudi Arabia can get from here to there and still be a reliable source for the US and/or Europe at all. Or are you arguing that the west can and will descend to that level of barbarity in order to get oil? Or are you arguing something else? We cannot safely assume 500,000 wells will be drilled in KSA without a profound political and religious change in that area.

Absolutely. But that's not the point. I'm not making any assumptions and I don't profess to know the future in this regard. But my reading of history shows that things change. Daiqing? Is China a free-market? When money is involved surprising things happen. Saudi has a population that is becoming increasingly young and unemployed and whose standard of living shows all the signs of one that could decline. If I'm making assumptions, then you have to be, too, right?

Again, as I've said before, if Saudi is pumping 10 mbpd a year from now instead of 9, some people are going to have to take a deep look at the assumptions and "evidence" that they've been using. And you know me - I just don't know. Could be either way. But more on this in a few days after I write up some thoughts on Saudi production. Wait, the repair shop just called...my crystal ball is almost ready :)

Hey, I had a question to ask you about your blog. You've had that for awhile, right? Did you just recently switch it from oldBlogger to BloggerBeta? If, so, how?

Blogger Beta was an option to me because I am also a gmail user. When I logged in to my blogger control panel it listed the beta as an option and asked if I wanted to swap, so I did. There are some nice features in the beta.
There is also an astronomical difference in the type of well. One horizontal christmas tree well is equal to many vertical wells. Saudi has each field covered like a blanket with horizontal christmas tree wells, just as Texas is covered with closely spaced vertical wells.

Ron Patterson

And, I forgot to add, the wells in texas have bobbing head pumps that, in many cases pump less than 10 barrels per day. The wells in Saudi do not have pumps, they rely on positive pressure from water injection to pump, in some cases, many thousands of barrels per day for each well.

You cannot compare the number of wells under such conditions. The difference in the number of wells is meaningless. Saudi is draining every drop possible from its wells, just as Texas is doing.

Ron Patterson

Good point. And if this is indeed the case, which I have no doubt it is, then the discussion moves to what exactly is "every drop possible" and the amount of reserves that can be tapped on a yearly basis, moving dynamically(adjusting along the way for price, investment, and unknown future developments) forward.

One issue that has been raised in other discussions regarding Hubbert's Theory in the past, but I feel doesn't get the attention it deserves is the issue of the fundamental difference between Texas(and the US) in the early 70's and Saudi now. In the early 1970's there was somewhere for the oil industry to go to with the advent of the peak. Somewhere big and promising. Somewhere for the investment money and the technology to go. It was OPEC and Saudi Arabia. This clearly effected the situation in Texas. The US couldn't compete on many levels (or was unwilling to) with the cheap, easy oil elsewhere that could act as a substitute.

Today, the situation is different. The world has nowhere else to go. They've been pulling oil out of the ground in the Mid-East for $5. It costs $25 in Canada. Oil sells for $60(maybe more soon). That means OPEC (right now) can invest up to $55 a barrel to pull it out of the ground and still make money. And there is nowhere else to go. I don't think they are worried about losing market share in the long run.

Some people here tend to think that what is happening very recently is out of OPEC's hands. To me, what I see suggests otherwise. That they are making the decisions. For how long, I don't know.

Perhaps OT, Perhaps Not

The pastor of my salt & pepper Baptist church (retired parole officer as well) just gave an interesting sermon.  He called on us to reach out to the Mexicans that have moved in since Katrina (New Orleans was the last US city to do our own manual labor, without the typical Mexican immigrant population).

He noted that none of us can solve all of the problems in New Orleans, but we can affect one other person.  This was poignant given the desperation of so many in the congregation.  90% flooded out, at least two still living in tents inside their homes (one has had a FEMA trailer for two weeks but no keys yet).  Our pastor pointed out that very sick people in the hospital become very ego-centric, very selfish, but one sign of recovery is coming out of that.

We too have been very sick after Katrina but part of the healing and recovery will be to reach out and help others, even in small ways.  He talked about welcoming the stranger and helping the poor even if we are also poor.

Half of the Mexican population is squatting inside flooded homes.  One of the steps suggested by the pastor was to donate the tents we no longer need to live in to the Mexicans down the street.  It is going to get cold this winter and the tent can help inside their squat.

I remember my mother talking about the hobo that broke his leg in their small Kentucky village during the Depression.  He was shifted from family to family every couple of weeks until his leg healed with the church co-ordinating.  He chose to go back home afterwards.

I wonder how many churches, a dozen years post-Peak Oil, will preach to their hungry, unemployed and broke congregation to share what little they have with the refugees from Las Vegas et al in their midst ?

Best Hopes,


RE: ersatz mall urbanity - "The ersatz urbanity does leave some aghast."

"Lifestyle centers are corporate attempts to mitigate the fact that we've turned our nation into a parking lot filled with places that are not worth living in or caring about," says author Jim Kunstler, who decries suburbia in his book, "The Geography of Nowhere."

Kunstler, like a lot of writers on this subject, chooses to miss a crucial point:

The mall, built by General Growth Properties, likes to think of itself as a downtown, though the operators clearly don't want it to be too urban: The "code of conduct" prohibits spitting, swearing, skateboarding and congregating in large groups (unlike downtowns, lifestyle centers are mostly privately owned). Such manufactured civility is part of what convinced Chris Salderman, 32, to purchase a loft condominium at Belmar with his wife. "It gives you the feeling that you're in a city, but without all the chaos," he says. "You can walk around at night and there are things to do, but you don't worry about the drunks on the streets."

Most downtowns are simply somewhat unsafe and somewhat unpleasant - well, OK, in some cases a lot unsafe and a lot unpleasant - especially in the evening when it is dark, and when most people who work have to shop. As long as we choose to allow, for reasons of political correctness, hoodlums, thugs, and lowlifes to dominate so many of our real downtowns and other public spaces, of course no one will want to shop there.

And the constant hysterically exaggerated media and medical-establishment driven drumbeat about "safety" does not help. There are child-molesters under every rock, "toxins" in every morsel of food, "hazards" in every toy, and on and on ad infinitum through every conjured-up fearmongering scenario imaginable to the quivering consumer. The mentality that the whole world should be shut down because of a perceived one-in-a-billion risk will guarantee that even a downtown that is safe enough will never be visited. But this part of the problem, too, is simply a monster of the liberal establishment's own making.

It's not political correctness. It's poverty.  Taxes pay for police, and the poor don't pay enough in taxes to support adequate police.

Those who could afford to flee the city did so.  The ones left were the ones who couldn't afford to leave.

But it is reversible, and it's happening in many once-poor neighborhoods.  "Gentrification."  Usually it's young couples who move in first, because they aren't as concerned about safety as families or old people.  But once they move in and prices start rising, you do get others moving in.  Reurbanization is a trend now, and one that is likely to increase, as older people move back to the cities they once fled.  With the nests empty, they no longer need a big house or a yard.  They want to be near theaters, shops, sports events, and doctors.  And they may no longer be comfortable driving long distances, if at all.

Well, yes, we are getting some of that in my area. Still, it will be interesting to see whether TPTB really prove willing to police it adequately. IMO the theory that the thugs are Robin Hood never really dies.
Hello TODers,

Oaxaca, Mexico starting to go up in flames.

Nothing to see here...please move along...and enjoy the great discount specials available right now at your local mall during this especially Joyous Holiday Shopping Season Extravaganza!

<rant off>

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

This is for AlanfromBigEasy.

I want to share with you my day of leisure yesterday.  It included the following activities:

Train trip, Hamilton NJ to Newark via NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor.  $13.50 for a round trip ticket.

Newark City Subway, Penn Station to new terminus in downtown Bloomfield via Branch Brook Park.  $1.25 for round trip.

Newark Light Rail, a new one mile surface rail extension connecting Newark's two main rail terminals at Penn Station and Broad Street Station.  Began running this past summer.  Includes station stops at several new entertainment venues in Newark.  $1.25 a round trip.

PATH ride, Newark to Hoboken (good heavens, one can no longer 'exchange' at Exchange Place to switch to Hoboken!  Had to do it at Grove St. station).  $1.50 for a one-way ride.

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, Hoboken to northern terminus at Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen.  Includes terrific views of Hudson River and follows the old New York Central railway though a tunnel under the Palisades.  This route commenced operation earlier this year and is only $1.75 for a quick round trip.

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, Hoboken to southern terminus at 22nd Street Bayonne (ridership on this line has risen phenomenally since its inception in 2000 to 26,000 trips daily!  Huge residential and retail developments continuing along right-of-way in Jersey City).  $1.75 for a round trip.  

After a brief visit and meal in Hoboken, returned via PATH to Newark, and back to Hamilton along the NE corridor.

Not bad for a day trip, eh?

I think your share of oil use was two drops of lubricating oil for the day trip !

I was at the Grand Opening of the Hudson-Bergen extension that went through the old NY Central tunnel (long story).  Ridership was not much above 10,000 then (from memory).  So TOD has REALLY taken off !  :-)

Too bad that idiot Warrington (worst boss ever for Amtrak as well) is pushing diesel commuter to the Meadowlands and not extending H-B Light Rail there.

Congrats !

Best Hopes for replicating networks like this across the nation !


Just an alert that US$ is another 0.25% down in overnight asian trade. It should bounce on Eu or US open, watch carefuly, if it doesn't there is likely a swiftish 2%+ lower to go before pausing. Now I'm off to Nod for a bit.
I wonder what would be better:

Buy euro- or Swiss-franc-based CDs, or continue to buy more gold and silver.

I'm thinking both, since I think the dollar has big problems ahead.

Gold, silver; probably energy and utility stocks; but avoiding US$ denominated assets wherever possible. Canadian $ based investments should hold up fairly well over the medium term but will have times of unpleasant lurch down as the recession reality hits the US and globe. Swiss franc assets generally hold value well in troubled times. There is scope for some soft commodities like wheat and corn to double and more in $ price over the next 6 months. Longer term (4+ years) I'm not sure that tangible assets of any kind will hold their value.

Sorry to have taken so long to reply, not been about.

News on FT for anyone that was in the mood for a wee laugh or needed cheered up...


'Caspian region to produce 25% more.'

Let me do a quick tranlation.:

"Production costs are spiralling, the project is pushed back again until 2009. Better feed those anal-ists and he shareholders and those peak oil geeks some BS".