DrumBeat: December 10, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 12/10/06 at 8:59 AM EDT]

Running on Fumes: How bad is the current energy crisis? Really, really bad, says oil expert Charley Maxwell.

I think we'll get through this problem by about 2020 to 2025. My worry is how we get there. We have a time when oil is winding down before anything is able to slide over and solve the problem. A lot of nuclear development is being brought along by the incipient shortage of future oil, and it's putting people into a proliferation mode. The whole world could come under this threat, and it's a terrible one. We could also be in deep trouble as a social system. How do we achieve fairness [in rationing scarce energy supplies] when the gridlock between rich and poor already stops us from having an energy policy in this country? We could see democracy entering its death throes.

Discover magazine's January issue always features "The Top 100 Science Stories of the Year." The January 2007 issue is out now, and the #1 science story of 2006 is about alternative energy: How To Live the Good Life Without Oil.

In September Chevron announced the discovery of a field containing up to 15 billion barrels of oil beneath the Gulf of Mexico, touting it as "a platform for growth for years to come." Read the fine print, though, and you get a different story. To recover the first samples of oil there in 2004, engineers floating 175 miles off the Louisiana coast had to send drill gear into 7,000-foot-deep water and penetrate four miles of rock. The company spent tens of millions of dollars on computer modeling, cutting-edge seismological tools, and exploratory drilling; just renting the drill rig cost Chevron and its partners more than $200,000 a day. The results suggest that oil from the new reservoir, called Jack 2, could cost three to four times as much to extract as oil from traditional locations, including rigs on land.

Peak oil era will be hard on Hawaii

In the next decade or two, a global energy crisis will be thrust upon us; the changes it brings will be felt first in Hawaii, possibly with a more devastating effect here than in the rest of the world. Hawaii must begin preparations now to cushion the effects, say the authors of this cautionary essay. The writers are a University of Hawaii political scientist and a UH-educated civil engineer. In addition, it was signed by 21 others representing a range of scientific disciplines in Hawaii; three chose to sign as private citizens.

Wind farms 'are failing to generate the predicted amount of electricity'

The claimed benefits of wind energy are called into question today by a study that finds few wind farms in England and Wales produce as much electricity as the Government has forecast.

Solar energy's day is dawning

...the initiative is aimed at driving down the cost of solar-generated power to the point that it's comparable to producing power from burning coal and natural gas.

Democrats Plan Oil Royalties Inquiry

House Democratic leaders vowed Friday to pursue a broad overhaul of tax breaks and other subsidies to oil companies in January, saying that their first target would be an investigation of how the government collects billions of dollars in royalties on oil and gas produced on federal property.

Lecture series: Energizing the Rockies: Energy Challenges in Global, National and Regional Perspectives

Raymond Plank, chairman and founder of the Apache Corp. is scheduled to deliver a lecture Jan. 24. Randy Udall, director of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency in Aspen, will talk about renewable energy possibilities Feb. 27. Matthew Simmons will discuss the end of “cheap oil: what should the U.S. and the Rockies do?” on March 5.

Running On Empty Again

What [the peak oil] theory is not taking into consideration is that in every industry in a free market, there is a natural tendency toward significantly increasing efficiency and declining costs with new technology and improved methods. This can be readily seen in the oil industry over the years. New methods of extraction make previously unprofitable reserves profitable, more oil is extracted from fields that were thought to be depleted.

The road ends in post-petro future

And when Hoosier Environmental Council activists tapped on my door a few years back with their petition to stop I-69, I told them I was not opposed to it. New construction is the quintessential "can't-please-everyone" issue. There will always be tree huggers prostrating themselves before bulldozers. If they had their way every time, nothing would ever be built.

Then I heard the phrase "peak oil production" at a presentation by self-confessed tree hugger Scott Russell Sanders at last year's Spirit & Place Festival. And it occurred to me that those words I'd heard many times before had fallen on deaf ears until that moment.

OPEC set to cut output amid carping over quotas

Antarctica works as living global warming laboratory

MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica - For scientists at this ice-encircled outpost, global warming is not a matter of debate. It is a simple fact and crucial research questions center on what its consequences will be.

As World Warms, Africa's Waters Going Dry

The outflow through two hydroelectric dams at Jinja is part of the problem — a tiny part, says the Uganda government, or half the problem, say environmentalists. But much of what is happening to Victoria and other lakes across the heart of Africa is attributable to years of drought and rising temperatures, conditions that starve the lakes of inflowing water and evaporate more of the water they have.

Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars

Gaddafi: Oil behind Darfur crisis

Muammar Gaddafi has accused the West of trying to grab Sudan's oil wealth with its plan to send UN troops to Darfur.

Oil and the New Anti-Capitalist

Imagine it's January 2000 and you are asked to look into a crystal ball and predict the course of the global economy over the next six years. The misty glass gives you some hints: the coming stock-market collapse, followed by suicide airliner attacks on the Twin Towers and two wars, all leading to a quadrupling in the price of oil. Faced with these facts, no one would have foreseen the economy's response: between 2000 and 2006, global per capita GDP rose by 3.2 percent a year, the fastest six-year growth spurt ever.

The Edison of our age? The inventor of the NiMH battery is working on hydrogen power...and has been for fifty years.

Daniel Yergin in Newsweek: Will oil prices lead to a new tech boom?

High oil prices are transforming the world's political landscape—and launching an era of high-tech innovation that could rival the Internet boom.

Students on Campus Work for a Greener Future

Democrats May Give Alternative Energy a New Push

THE fortunes of alternative energy companies have been linked to two factors outside their control: oil prices and politics.
Interesting that Newsweek is running several articles on oil supply and demand, dancing around PO topics, blaming demand, banking on research and technology to save the day (a la Yergin).

Not the angle (spin) I would hope to see in a major News magazine, but still putting the ideas out there in the mass mind that there is a "problem" of some kind.

Is this the beginning of the effort to "ease" people into the inevitable?

I'm kind of surprised at the number of peak oil stories in the news lately.  Not the kind of thing people usually want to hear during the holidays.  Were they all sitting on them, waiting for gas prices to start edging up?

CNN ran "We Were Warned" again this morning...

"Were they all sitting on them, waiting for gas prices to start edging up?"

Uh, no.  "They" weren't "all" doing any one thing of the sort.  The press isn't some gang of nefarious characters that meets in a Star Chamber to decide the fate of mankind.

Having worked in the computer press and seen how memes can wash through such places, I strongly suspect that we're seeing nothing more or less than the mainstream writers, editors, and producers learning about peak oil and then covering it.  These people are generalists, which means they're always at least a little late to the party, compared to people with a special interest in a topic.

The press isn't some gang of nefarious characters that meets in a Star Chamber to decide the fate of mankind.

Did I say they were?  Jeez, it was just a flip comment.  

No one suggested any sort of conspiracy.  Unless you think it's a conspiracy when lots of peak oil stories appear when gas prices are spiking.


Do you have a feel for the ratio of MSM "news" stories reporting the cornocapian view versus the peaknik view?

Nothing scientific here, just your take since it looks like you delve into quite a bit.


Sandor, please allow me my two cents worth. While there has been an increase in peak oil interest in the print media, the term is hardly ever mentioned anymore on CNBC. There were a couple of very short discussions about it a couple of months ago, with a variety of experts and everyone agreed, it is a myth. Since then, total silence concerning the subject.

It appears that CNBC has decided to nix any further discussions on the subject. They probably think that they should not give any more credence to those screwballs that are spreading this dangerous myth. The theory, as Jackson of CERA has warned "causes confusion and can lead to inappropriate actions and turn attention away from the real issues." In other words, they probably agree with CERA, peak oil is not a real issue.

I have seen Yergin on CNBC several times in the last few months but he always talks about price and inventory levels. He never seems to mention peak oil anymore.

Ron Patterson

I think it's getting a little less cornucopian.  You see more stories these days that acknowledge the limits of wind, solar, biofuels, etc.  The fact that some environmental groups are getting behind nuclear sort of helps there.
I think the idea that environmental groups were ever cornucopian is a mischaracterization. As far as I can remember back into the 1970s, environmentalists have called for conservation as the first and best means to achieve a workable  relationship between man's wishes and nature's resources. Heck, I bet one could go back to the "Club of Rome" reports and find a similar vision there.

The idea that solar can cover many times our energy needs is by no means off the table. I think people will be surprised a few years from now how many things can be done with solar energy.

What we can also see, though, is that many people buy into short term solutions like nuclear without an analysis why nuclear has failed and will continue to fail to deliver: the fuel-reprocessing and storage problem remains un-solved. And, I have to say, it does not remain unsolved for technological reasons as much as for political an economic ones... Plutonium is simply part of the equation because 238U+n->239Pu (after two beta decays). Now... most reactor designs do not really produce good weapons grade Pu, but the proliferation problems, at least on the political side, seem to be unsolved. The second issue is that proper breeding and re-procssing cycles would put the Uranium mining industry basically out of business... so we have a lot of economic interests working against a well structured nuclear power infrastructure.

Nuclear, in my opinnion, will sizzle out and end up an expensive power generation asset, just like last time.

Leanan, what do you think of Alan's analysis of the potential for wind?
About a week ago I had the same thought that there seemed to be a lot of PO/energy articles cropping up, but it's hard to say whether it's because there are more of them, or that I'm just "seeing" more and they were there all along.  It would make sense for the numbers to be increasing as more people are introduced to the concept and do some research.  Whether it's reality or our perception of it making us believe there are more stories out there is hard to say.
Right Lou, and as the plateau slides along more and more people will jump aboard. The only question left is when will it reach a critical mass and the term peak oil is on everyone's lips?

Ron Patterson

     That question maybe answered a lot sooner than we think because the media is taking a big interest in it. Colin Campbell told me yesterday that he is now hit with a flood of emails and requests to speak at conferences etc. He said TV crews are beating a trail to his doorstep in Ballydehob. A good friend of his wrote the nemesis report in Newsletter 46 see: http://www.peakoil.ie/downloads/newsletters/newsletter46_200410.pdf   He is from the oil industry and says Saudi peaked in 2004 having only ever produced 19 fields from the 80 they have and only 8 of those were stars. His forecast back then appears to be what is coming to pass.
      Greg Croft says that Ghawar had produced 51 billion barrels at the end of 2000 so that would mean obout 60 billion has now gone http://www.gregcroft.com/ghawar.ivnu which would mean probably 60% depletion. Shaybah was discovered in 1968 had immense technical difficulties and still has (see pages 205-210 from Twilight in the Desert)so it is an existing field that has had to be produced to handle big declines elsewhere.
      On the subject of what the Aramco people say why would you believe any of them when they continue to foster the impression their reserves are unchanged at 262 billion barrels? I believe that you and Jeffrey are correct and Robert is not
     Forgot to add that as you posted some months ago the northern end of Ghawar now has had it's water injection increased from 7 million to 9.5 million barrels per day since June 2005. Definitely not the sign of an oil field that has no problems
Have you ever heard of pooled reporting?

One major story breaks and all of a sudden everyone covers similar or the exact same story.

It's not that they are plotting to release the stories simultaneously, they are just trying to get the next big story out before the next guy.

Chas Maxwell's thumbnail bio:


Educated at Princeton as an undergraduate and Oxford as a graduate, Charles T. Maxwell entered the oil industry in 1957 and worked for a major international oil company for 12 years in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. His background has been in four traditional sectors of the industry--producing, refining, transportation, and marketing. In 1968, Mr. Maxwell joined a well-known Wall Street firm as an oil analyst. In polls taken by Institutional Investor magazine, Mr. Maxwell has been ranked by the US financial institutions as the No. 1 oil analyst for the years 1972, 1974, 1977 and 1981-1986. In addition, for the last 17 years he has been an active member of an Oxford-based organization comprised of OPEC and other industry executives from 30 countries who meet twice a year to discuss trends within the energy industry


He's been doing the business since the year I was born


Why now?
Why all these stories in the MSN now?
Why , when oil has pegged back from record highs to a 'liveable' $60 +/- / bbl?

Why now?

Why now?
Why all these stories in the MSN now?
Why , when oil has pegged back from record highs to a 'liveable' $60 +/- / bbl?

Why now?

I find that odd, too.  I've been a news editor at PO.com for longer than I've been doing it here, and even before then, I was following peak oil news and submitting it to PO.com as an ordinary user.  PO.com limits you to 10 stories a day, so you end up being pretty aware of the number of energy stories out there.  Some days, you don't get anywhere near 10, some days, you have many, many more than that, and have to make some tough choices.  And it's pretty closely tied to energy prices.  When new records are being set, there's lots of stories.  When prices are flat or dropping, there aren't many.  

But we're getting a lot of stories now, when prices are nowhere near record highs.  Curious.  

I think it's "preparation" for 2007-8.  But, you know, I'm a little conspiratorial.
I have noticed that the articles predicting a return to $25 oil have vanished in the last 3-4 months. These were very common a year ago.
Interesting in that early on in 2006, Maxwell was not quite so pessimistic about PO, stating that OPEC would have to cut production to keep the price above $50.  Plus he saw tons of extra OPEC capacity.

I guess reality has a way of changing opinions.  Just this week, Michael Lynch stated falling world inventories would push up prices, after earlier stating he saw crude prices heading down to $40 next year.

"3/10/06 CNBC General Programming (Pg. Unavail. Online)

March 10, 2006




Why now?
Notice the gradual change in stories out of KSA?  

A few years ago, the "Ceiling" price was $28.

They promised, and failed, to put more oil on the market after the hurricanes, causing the US and the IEA to do a coordinated release of emergency reserves.

Then they were cutting back because they couldn't find buyers for all of their oil "Even their light/sweet oil."  (While the Saudi stock market started crashing, primarily because of heavy insider selling, i.e., by the members of the Royal Family.)

Then, they were cutting back to pull down inventories.

Now, $60 is "acceptable," and if oil prices increase, the price rises should be "reasonable."  


Saudi Arabia sees $60 oil as acceptable, says envoy
Posted: Friday, December 08, 2006

Princeton (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia sees $60 a barrel as an acceptable level for benchmark crude oil prices, and is opposed to any dramatic fluctuation in the price, the kingdom's ambassador to the US said.

Prince Turki Al Faisal said Saudi policy had always emphasized the need for gradual price movements for the sake of producers and consumers.

'Our continuous policy is that price corrections should be incremental and they should be equitable for both producers and consumers,' he told an audience after a talk on education at Princeton University.

'We don't want to see exorbitant hikes or exorbitant drops.'    

He cited Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi as stating that the kingdom is satisfied with oil around the current level of $60 a barrel.

'Our oil minister has publicly said we will accept $60,' the ambassador said, ahead of an Opec meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, at which the producer group may adjust production levels.

He stressed that Saudi Arabia doesn't want to disrupt consumer economies.

'Saudi Arabia has taken the position that if there are to be price rises in the oil market, they should be reasonable and they should be affordable to consumers,' he said.

For anyone so inclined, this is a link to a video download of a Peak Oil debate on PBS (that I have previously posted).  Several times over the past few months, I noted that I thought it was curious that Christopher Ross, who was reportedly recommended by Saudi Aramco, said several times that Middle Eastern oil producers would be "voluntarily" cutting back on production.  This was taped in August, 2006.

PBS Debate on Peak Oil:  
The McCuistion Program:  Peak Oil--Are We There Yet?


September 17th, 2006
While many experts say we have not reached peak oil, (the point at which we have produced as much in a given year as we can and from which we can only decline.), differing opinions, the price of oil today, the instability in oil producing regions and the need for substitutes all argue for a better understanding by each of us.


Edward W. Blessing, Managing Director, Blessing Petroleum Group, LLC,

 Scott Nauman, Manager of Economy and Energy, Corporate Planning Dept., ExxonMobil Corporation,

 Christopher Ross, Vice President, CRA International,

 Michael Lynch, President, Strategic Energy and Economic Research

Jeffrey J. Brown, Independent Petroleum Geologist

Some background information on the debate:

By Jeffrey J. Brown

This 30 minute segment was taped in August, 2006.  It has been shown locally on the PBS station in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and it is supposed to be shown at some point in other markets around the country.  

I was a late "add" to the debate, when the producers decided that they needed a stronger "Yes, we have peaked" proponent.  As you can tell from Dennis McCuistion's final comments, I think that they got more than they bargained for.

For background information on the Hubbert Linearization technique that I described in the debate, you can read more about it in this article:  "Texas & Lower 48 Oil Production As a Model for Saudi Arabia and the World"  http://www.energybulletin.net/16459.html

By the way, Christopher Ross, who I understand was recommend by Saudi Aramco, said that Middle Eastern oil producers would be cutting back their production voluntarily in order to prolong the life of their fields.  In my opinion, this is code language for "Our oil production is falling no matter how fast we drill."  

Since we had this debate, Saudi and world oil production, at least crude + condensate plus natural gas liquids production, has continued to be below peak 2005 levels, despite oil prices trading in the highest (nominal) price range in history.

Thanks for posting this, Jeffrey.

I just heard Michael Lynch say that there is "7 trillion barrels of conventional oil" to be recovered. Isn't this criminal?

And people wonder why there are doomers.

Excuse me. He said "8 to 10 trillion barrels."
Excuse me. He said "8 to 10 trillion barrels."

I was baffled by this statement, but I believe he meant barrels of oil equivalent, ie including all fossil fuels such as gas, coal. Or he is crazy. Or both.

I'm pretty sure he said "conventional oil." I'll listen again.
Hello B3ndz3la,

Now that Steven Colbert's truthiness is the Word of the Year: we here on TOD should start giving Truth Ratios [Truth/truthiness] to Yergin and Lynch.  IMO, these guys are below 50%.

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

There very well might be, and we might well recover them all...

...over the course of the next 2000 years.  I thought PO was BS until I realized that it's got very little to do with how much oil is in the ground, but how fast you can get it out.  

Jeffrey, you're both younger and plumper than I had imagined you in my mind's eye. Great Job!
  The way I see the Cornucopians as most vulernable is on price and rate of delivery.Surely they're not foolish enough to agrue that horizontal wells offshore in the continental shelf can be drilled and produced cheaply, or that the capital investment of $500k per barrel per day in tar sands plus the expense of disposing of 4 tons of sand for every bbl produced and the huge natural gas requirement compares with the cheapness of our old domestic reserves in fields like East Texas, Seminole, Yates ect. In other words, I'm saying that we need to attack on the basis of price and soft peddle ultimate reserves and also delivery rates. For example, Exxon uses about 5 mmbbl/day in its refineries worldwide. Thats $500 trillion invested in tar sands just to supply Exxon's needs alone! And since the tar sands are expected to provide about 3mmbbl/day in 20 years, what about the delivery rate?
I'm on the wrong side of 50.  Regarding plumper--guilty as charged--I'm getting ready for the lean times ahead.

I thought that it was interesting that no one commented on my repeated statements that KSA and the world were showing falling production.

BTW, Lynch's comment about the UK and the HL technique not working refers to various plots that show an early 30% P/Q intercept.  IMO, this is totally bogus.  There is no large producing region that I am aware of that has shown a sustained 30% P/Q intercept.  This is simply the "noisy" portion of the plot.  

The overall North Sea crude + condensate is a perfect example of the HL method, showing a steady relentless linear progression, just like the Lower 48.

I thought you did well because your message was simple and direct.

The guy from Exxon was creepy, I thought. He seemed too much of an actor. I can detect phoniness like anything.

"Regarding plumper--guilty as charged--I'm getting ready for the lean times ahead."

My first PO "convert" was my mom. Her first reaction, after reading a very primitive version of LATOC three years ago, was "well, I guess there's no point in losing those extra 15 pounds now."

Dude, you got massacred in that debate. I'm not talking about who was right on the actual facts -- I'm talking only about the dynamics of the debate and the message that the lay viewer is left with.

You said that HL shows the world is at the same point now that the lower 48 & North Sea were at their peaks. Everyone else said HL is simplistic, HL has been wrong in many cases, reserves are increasing, and we've only used a small fraction of reserves. Their rebuttals were persuasive and your response was to repeat your original points rather than address their arguments.

It's the same exchange that appeared in the recent CERA press release. To some degree, it's the same dynamic that's playing out between you and Robert Rapier.

It's the same exchange that appeared in the recent CERA press release. To some degree, it's the same dynamic that's playing out between you and Robert Rapier

The ground rules were that we could not interrupt each other ("This is not Crossfire," to quote the host).  We had to make hand signals when we wanted to make a comment.

The ExxonMobil guy claimed that Hubbert was wrong about the world peak.  I responded that Hubbert did not have enough data to make an accurate world pick (whereas he did have enough data for the Lower 48).  I said that Deffeyes is to the world peak as Hubbert was to the Lower 48 peak.  (BTW, Hubbert did guess that the world peak would be no later than 2006.)

I tried (unsuccessfully) to rebut Lynch's claim that that the HL method had been wrong "Dozens of times."  The host wanted to move on to another topic.  As I noted above, Lynch's assertion regarding the UK HL plot is factually wrong.  He was simply referring to the "noisy" portion of the plot.  

Regarding Peak Oil, it basically came down to me versus ExxonMobil and Michael Lynch.  It was a 30 minute segment with five people, two of whom were taking adamant anti-Peak Oil stands, while I was the only one taking a strong "Yes we have peaked" stand.   It only stands to reason that the bulk of the comments were going to be "No we have not peaked."  You will note that none of them responded to my (repeated) points that the world and Saudi were showing lower production.

Robert is certainly not in the CERA/Lynch/ExxonMobil camp, but he is predicting higher oil production ahead for Saudi Arabia and the world (at least until the 2010 to 2015 time frame).

But you know what the difference is between CERA, Lynch, ExxonMobil and Robert?  My predictions are--so far--coming true.

Debate is tough. My debate coach at Lamar HS in Houston was my best high school teacher and one of my best teachers in my entire educational career. Mr. Turner taught me to organise my thoughts and to write.
  Jeffrey, winning a debate on points and convincing people are not the same thing. Your predictive models really work very well, but I think it will be another couple of years before we know for sure whether the peak C+C has happened.I hope you are wrong, but suspect you are right. Hell, I'd love Lynch to be right, we could use another 30 years to prepare.
  Lynch and the Exxon guy did very well. They are optimistic, a much easier sale, and both were handsome with reat delivery styles. They "won" in being photogenic, personable, optimistic and radiating authority. But their assertions aren't true
  But, you were on the air.The very fact that the problem is being considered at all shows we have won. Shit, CERA had a much ballyhooed press release with an ad hominem against you, my peakist cult leader friend. The moderator even gave attention to your ELP program.
  And my suggestion above, don't try to argue facts with people who are loose with the facts but instead hit 'em on economics and deliverablity is going to effect more people than a discussion of mathematical models. You are a scientist, and facts and modeling matter to you, but most of the viewers are more concerned about can I get  my gasoline and a cheap price.
  Mostly, don't allow anyone to beat you up. You did a great job against to professional talking heads. I really thank you for your courage, your wisdom and your consistent effort to find the truth and share it with others. You'll get a lot better with practice!
yes wt
you did a better job than I could have done. five against one, that's bruce lee jackie chan stuff
Just getting on stage with the four against one took courage. You did a whole lot better than I would have, that's for darn sure. All I'm saying is I think the average viewer would come away from that program inclined to believe the nonchalant reassurances about plentiful, growing & barely-touched global reserves.
WT: The next time you have an opportunity to debate peak oil, forget about the reserve argument. Peak oil is a function of production not reserves. If you and your friend are in the desert, and low on water, and come across a spring with a 10 gallon pool of water, but a replenishment rate of a gallon a day, it is best to use the 10 gallons for yourselves and your horses, and move on as each hour you remain your position becomes more dire. Argue points they are not prepared to defend. A slap in the face gets every ones attention.
31 billion Brl's/a production is straining our ability keep up with depletion.  Technology, trained manpower and equipment are not currently able to keep up. By the time those three things come on line more of all three will be required. IMO this will become a never-ending race.

These debates are as staged and choreographed as anything this side of professional wrestling. I wouldn't sweat it if I was you.

I went on Coast 2 Coast a while back and they brought on this guy to ask me if I would use my legal background to get the government to relase the black budget alien technologies. I responded with a moment of stunned silence and then the show ended as I tried to get something out.


That's the way debates work.

The person with the cleanest, simplest and nicest argument (soundbite) wins.

WT was right not to go after those other counter arguments because he would have been seen as combative and argumentative. Instead he stayed on topic, and stuck to his main point, HL.

Its not his fault the panel was 4 to 1 against him. And it certainly didn't help that the host was hostile to WT.

I thought he did a great job. The problem is PO is much to complex a subject to get across in 30 second bites. However the CERA counter argument fits that format perfectly.

BTW, I always pictured WT with a grizzly beard, oil stained overall and clutching a pipe wrench. I actually had to rewind the video just to make sure that was really WT when they introduced him :-)

"BTW, I always pictured WT with a grizzly beard, oil stained overall and clutching a pipe wrench"

I actually have a grizzly beard most of the time. . . but I am trying like hell to stay of field work.  I have memories of one of the last wells I sat.  I remember waking up on a January morning with the condensation from my breathing frozen to the inside of the windows of the truck.

yea, I pictured leaner, harsh facial fetures with a bit of "deliverence" too( just kidding).  Always a shock when your mental picture get a reality check.
I think the deck was stacked against you.  I think you were clear and concise.  
I think that people don't want to hear and think about the end of oil.  I know that I have a hell of a time - <understatement>
And when it becomes obvious they will blame you for not getting thier attention and warning them.
They promised, and failed, to put more oil on the market after the hurricanes, causing the US and the IEA to do a coordinated release of emergency reserves.

What they said was that they would put it out there if it was needed. Given that oil supplies were adequate after the hurricane, it is not clear to me that their contribution was needed. Also, refiners would much rather tap the SPR and pay it back later rather than buy from Saudi during a time that prices were shooting higher.

Now, $60 is "acceptable," and if oil prices increase, the price rises should be "reasonable."

That's always the case. If your house appraised 5 years ago at $100 K, and today it appraises at $200 K, then $190 K might be your "acceptable" price, even though 5 years ago you couldn't imagine getting $190 K.

From the Chicago Tribune story earlier this year:


Is the Saudi bonanza peaking?

"There is no shortage in the supplies, but on the contrary there is a surplus," Prince Saud bin al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in May.

 Still, some have begun to raise doubts about such promises. Analysts note, for example, that Saudi Arabia was unable to ramp up production to meet heightened U.S. oil demand in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. (All the Saudis could offer was heavy crude unsuitable for American refineries.) And the U.S. Department of Energy has scaled back its annual estimates of Saudi Arabia's contribution to the world's long-term oil needs.

 If the Saudis are, in fact, hitting a wall, the geopolitical fallout is truly incalculable. No longer will the world rely on a single nation--Saudi Arabia--to simply crank open the crude taps to stabilize shortages resulting from wars, natural disasters or waning production elsewhere. And the United States would have to reconsider its estimated $137 billion annual investment in protecting the Middle East's oil fields.

 Famously secretive, Saudi Arabian oil officials did not reply to repeated Tribune requests for interviews or permits to visit Saudi oil fields.

 But Sadad al-Husseini, a retired chief of exploration and production for Saudi Aramco, the gigantic state-run oil company, suggested there was indeed reason for concern.

 "Can they reach their goal of 12.5 million barrels a day? I think so. Can they go even higher, to 15 million barrels per day? Maybe," al-Husseini said. "But the real question is, even so, how long can you sustain that?"

From the New York Times (Ocotber, 2005):

Published on 25 Oct 2005 by NY Times. Archived on 27 Oct 2005.
Doubts raised on Saudi vow for more oil

by Jeff Gerth

But there are doubts about the Saudi assertions about how much oil they have. Data about reserves is tightly guarded, and the Saudis dismiss skeptics as uninformed.

 But they do not dismiss Edward O. Price Jr., the former head of exploration for Saudi Aramco and an adviser to the United States government on Persian Gulf oil during both Iraq wars. He questioned future reliance on Saudi capacity in an article in The New York Times last year and wanted to know from his former colleagues how they reached their estimate of more than 150 billion barrels of extra oil. Twenty years ago, a detailed study by geologists from four large American oil companies then in partnership with Aramco found little in the way of undiscovered oil resources, he said.

 Mr. Saleri, who manages Saudi reservoirs, met with Mr. Price in the United States last year. Saudi Aramco officials declined to respond to questions about the meeting. But Mr. Price said in an interview that Mr. Saleri told him that the basis for the higher oil figures was a global study in 2000 by the United States Geological Survey estimating Saudi Arabia's undiscovered resources at 87 billion barrels.

 Mr. Price said he responded that the estimates "by the U.S.G.S. had no credibility and far exceeded the detailed studies by the old Aramco team." The Aramco study, unlike the survey estimate, involved detailed field work.

Let's take a quick look at the first article:

Analysts note, for example, that Saudi Arabia was unable to ramp up production to meet heightened U.S. oil demand in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. (All the Saudis could offer was heavy crude unsuitable for American refineries.)

The first statement is questionable. Unable to, or not called upon to? I have yet to see any valid information that we called upon them to do so. Saudi oil spiked up from the low $50's to over $60 right after the hurricane. Most refiners are going to take their chances with paying back the SPR before they are going to pay those prices for crude at that time.

Furthermore, the second statement above is simply wrong, calling into question whether the reporter actually understands what he is writing about. Unsuitable for American refineries? Lots of refineries handle very heavy crudes.

Can you show where oil companies called upon Saudi to put out more oil after the hurricane? They would be the purchasers of the crude, so there should be some evidence that Saudi was called upon to deliver, and didn't do so. I have seen no evidence that they were called upon.

The author of the Chicago Tribune piece was Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Paul Salopek.

Here is another NYT article:

Published on 24 Feb 2004 by New York Times. Archived on 24 Feb 2004.
Forecast Of Rising Oil Demand Challenges Tired Saudi Fields
by Jeff Gerth

Saudi Arabia's reported proven reserves, more than 250 billion barrels, are one-fourth of the world's total. The most significant is Ghawar. Discovered in 1948, the 300-mile-long sliver near the Persian Gulf is the world's largest oil field and accounts for more than half of the kingdom's production.

 The company told The New York Times that its field production practices, including those at Ghawar, were "at optimum levels" and the risk of steep declines was negligible. But Mr. Price, the former vice president for exploration and production at Saudi Aramco, says that North Ghawar, the most valuable section of the field, was pushed too hard in the past.

"Instead of spreading the production to other fields or areas," Mr. Price said, the Saudis concentrated on North Ghawar. That "accelerated the depletion rate and the time to uncontrolled decline," or the point where the field's production drops dramatically, he said.

 In Saudi Arabia, seawater is injected into the giant fields to help move the oil toward the top of the reservoir. But over time, the volume of water that is lifted along with the oil increases, and the volume of oil declines proportionally. Eventually, it becomes uneconomical to extract the oil. There is also a risk that the field can become unstable and collapse.

Ghawar is still far too productive to abandon. But because of increasing problems with managing the water, one Saudi oil executive said, "Ghawar is becoming very costly to maintain."

 The average decline rate in Saudi Aramco's mature fields -- Ghawar and a few others -- "is in the range of 8 percent per year," without additional remediation, according to the company's statement. This means several hundred thousand barrels of daily oil production would have to be added every year just to make up for the diminished output.

 Every oil field is unique, and experts cannot predict how long each might last. For its part, Saudi Aramco is counting on Ghawar for years to come.

 The company projects that Ghawar will continue to produce more than half its oil. One internal company estimate from 2002 puts Ghawar's production at 5.25 million barrels a day in 2011, more than half the total expected crude oil capacity of 10.15 million, according to United States government officials and oil executives.

"The big risk in Saudi Arabia is that Ghawar's rate of decline increases to an alarming point," said Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari, a senior official with the National Iranian Oil Company. "That will set bells ringing all over the oil world because Ghawar underpins Saudi output and Saudi undergirds worldwide production."

The author of the Chicago Tribune piece was Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Paul Salopek.

Doesn't matter. If you make a questionable statement - and that heavy crude statement was just wrong - then your other statements on the same subject are certainly subject to question. Just because he won a Pulitzer Prize doesn't mean he is an expert on the oil markets.

I will ask again: Do you have any credible evidence that the Saudis were called upon to produce more oil, and failed to do so?

"I will ask again: Do you have any credible evidence that the Saudis were called upon to produce more oil, and failed to do so?"

There are several new stories regarding the problem of Saudi crude after the hurricanes.  The only crude that they had to offer was heavy/sour.  At a minimum, this suggests that the Saudis had no excess light/sweet capacity, in the Fourth Quarter of 2005.   Of course, in the First Quarter of 2006, they announced that they were "voluntarily" cutting back production.

In any case, if all they had was heavy/sour, and you need light/sweet, what's the point in asking for light/sweet?


It's readily apparent that at a minimum, what the hurricanes demonstrated is that the Saudis had excess no light, sweet capacity in the fourth quarter.  Right before a regions starts dropping, you hit a plateau or you peak. . .


Published on 28 Sep 2004 by MSNBC. Archived on 28 Sep 2004.
Saudi extra barrels wrong kind of crude

by Reuters

LONDON - The world's oil refiners are unimpressed by Saudi Arabia's boost to production capacity that would only swell supplies of sour, high-sulfur crude while they hanker for sweet oil.

 U.S. oil prices still hovered near $50 on Wednesday, testimony to the indifference to Riyadh's pledge to hoist official production capacity by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 11 million bpd.

 "Most refiners couldn't take more sour if they tried," said one refiner, who asked not to be named.

 "We have a glut of sour crude and a short supply squeeze on low-sulfur crude oil and products, so extra Saudi makes no difference whatsoever," a physical oil trader said.

 Riyadh's new increment, together with capacity expansions in Kuwait and Iran will add some 900,000 bpd of new sour crude capacity by year's end.

 But the kingdom has made clear it will only tap its extra reserves if warranted by customer demand. Saudi Aramco's marketing plan for this month and next calls for production of 9.5 million bpd.

 New Saudi output would come courtesy of intensified drilling in the kingdom's oilfields, primarily new expansion projects at Abu Safah and Qatif, and yield mostly Arab Light --similar in density to North Sea Brent crude.

 But analysts said it is still relatively high in sulfur and more difficult to refine into the low-sulfur products increasingly in demand for transport fuel.

 "The impact on the market will be pretty negligible," said Seth Kleinman, analyst at PFC Energy in Washington. "The world is awash with sour because there is a dearth of desulfurisation capacity."

 The surplus of heavy sour crude, which has lower yields of lighter products, but is rich in heavy products like fuel oil, has sent sour grades diving to record low differentials against light sweet marker grades that have hit record highs.

 Saudi Arabia's latest Official Selling Prices for sales of its Arabian Heavy crude into the United States have been set at $11.30 below U.S. light sweet benchmark West Texas Intermediate, a fall of $3.35 compared with the level for May.

Should read "No excess light, sweet capacity"

Since the Saudis could not provide any additional light, sweet crude oil, the IEA announced a release of emergency reserves:  http://energybulletin.net/8635.html

Hello R-squared,

Your quote:

 "I have seen no evidence that they were called upon."

I would have to concur.

I would imagine the poor in Third World countries long ago realized that OPEC would not be selling them any excess supply at the $1/barrel price they could afford.  But not having a phone to even long-distance beg KSA is a real obstacle too.

This is not personally directed at you, Robert, but is just a general comment at the Worldwide System.

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

But Mr. Price said in an interview that Mr. Saleri told him that the basis for the higher oil figures was a global study in 2000 by the United States Geological Survey estimating Saudi Arabia's undiscovered resources at 87 billion barrels.

I have always suspected this was the case. The Saudis get their figures from the USGS and the USGS and EIA get their figures from Saudi Arabia. There is and never was any real survey done to back up these numbers. They are pulled from thin air, just like Saudi's discovered reserves.

Ron Patterson

And until  Matt Simmons came along, almost no one pointed out that the Sheiks had no robes.  

Odd how they started dumping Saudi stocks at the same time that the Saudis announced the first of (many, IMO) "voluntary" cutbacks.

A little less than three years ago. . .

Published on 19 Jan 2004 by AP. Archived on 19 Jan 2004.
Saudi Oil Minister: $25 crude would be a "miracle"
by AP

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP)--Saudi Arabia would like to see OPEC's reverence price for oil remain constant at $25 a barrel, but the country's oil minister said Wednesday it would "be a miracle" if that happens.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about a third of the world's oil and is led by Saudi Arabia, has said it aims to keep the price of its basket of seven crudes in a range of $22 to $28, equivalent to about $24 to $30 in New York. But futures prices have surged to more than $34 in New York, because of cold weather in the U.S. Northeast and crude oil inventories that have fallen to their lowest in almost three decades.

"We would like to see the price stay straight within the band at $25," Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said. "We would be very happy. That would be a miracle if we can do it, but I don't think we will ever be able to do it."

Naimi told a group of reporters at the World Economic Forum that prices aren't the result of insufficient supply of oil in the market.

Leanan, it would be interesting to get your thoughts about peak oil coverage, perhaps in an article.

After a couple of years with Energy Bulletin and with a background in journalism, here are some of my thoughts.

From the outside it may seem as if the media are a tightly controlled propaganda system. The reality, especially if one includes the web, is far different.  

I think of the media as a complex system which is influenced by the following factors:

  • Randomness
  • Taboos and beliefs common to the culture.
  • Occasional directives from management.
  • Occasional dedicated reporters who have acquired a reputation and can set the agenda. For example, Seymour Hersch (e.g. possible attack on Iran), Paul Salopek (the peak oil series in the Chicago Tribune), Andy Revkin (NY Times environment reporter).
  • Even ordinary reporters have a surprising amount of latitude in the stories they report.
  • Price of oil.
  • High profile spokespersons, such as Al Gore for global warming.
  • High profile events, such as a movie or a war.

There is one more source of influence which is relevant to peak oilers. Especially in this age of the Web, there has never been greater power available to a small group  with an intelligent, well-argued case and which knows how to use the media.

Implications for peak oilers:

  • Learn how the media works.
  • Learn to present information in a readable, persuasive fashion.
  • Avoid the temptation to spend all one's time arguing on discussion boards; move up to the major leagues with high quality articles and essays.
  • Work with people with similar points of view (e.g. The Oil Drum) to build effective organizations.

Energy Bulletin co-editor

Hello Bart,

Interesting points, but isn't the MSM free to Cut & Paste the keyposts written by Dave Cohen, RR, SS, et al?  If so, then the more interesting question is: Why aren't they doing it?  Why does Yergin get the airtime?

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

Bob Shaw: Why does Yergin get the airtime?

It's no secret!  Yergin and CERA are professionals at the game of public relations.  

CERA put out a polished press release. They distributed it to their media contacts, with whom they've developed relationships.  They have an impressive website, with lots of credentials. Yergin has a long-standing reputation, with books and a documentary to his credit.

In contrast, the peak oilers put forth a ragged, if valiant, response. ASPO and Rep. Bartlett quickly put out press releases, and I believe Bartlett was quoted in one or two articles.  (BTW Lisa Wright who handles PR on Bartlett's staff is one of the unsung heroes of peak oil.)  

We've got to face it - we were outgunned.

We peak oilers have truth on our side, but we are outclassed when it comes to PR.

Public relations is a game, and you've got to know the rules to succeed.  For example:

  • The easier you can make it for the media, the more chance you have of getting your opinions in print. Give them well-written articles appropriate for their publication. Respect the constraints and deadlines under which they work.

  • Develop relationships with people in the media, so they come to trust you as a source of information.

  • Phrase your ideas in terms that people can understand, that don't scare people away.  Don't overwhelm people with technical jargon. Don't come across like a nut.
Energy Bulletin
It helps enormously to tell people what they want to hear...
Not to mention - there's far more money to be made on the non Peak Oil side of things.  People want/expect/need GROWTH.  A contraction is a very scary proposition.


Hello Bart,

Thxs for responding.  I am no expert, but I have a hard time imagining morely clearly written text than most of the keyposts on TOD, and these keyTODers don't come close to being nutcases in my book.  Prof. Goose, has Newsweek contacted you in journalistic fairness & balance offering equal rebuttal printspace to Yergin's latest?  Will they even publish a short 'letter to the editor?

Will the TV MSM offer contrasting debate every time Yergin's mug is broadcast by having a split-screen alternate viewpoint coming from some ASPO or TOD principal researcher?  How come the last ASPO in Boston wasn't headlines in the MSM?  I don't think it was a PR failure on our part.  I even mailed a letter to the  manager/publicist/agent of George Clooney asking him to come to help hype the PR coverage.

If it takes money to get MSM attention, so be it. All the Peaknik websites & blogs should agree to mutually set up some kind of PR escrow account funded by donations from all of us to get a slick, professional PR machine operating.

If required:  An office in D.C. with a never-empty shrimp bucket and open cocktail bar to draw the Press in to hear our side of the Peakoil Outreach story.  Convince Pickens, Simmons, and  Campbell to release their newsblurbs from this ASPO-TOD office--make it the go-to place for Peakoil news.  Get any other experts and/or authors [like Deffeyes] who disagree with Yergin to have book releases from this office.  Get display racks with free printouts or CDs of the best of the Peakoil webwritings if the press is too lazy to look it up themselves.  Get Dave, RR, SS, WT, Rembrandt, Euan, Jerome, Luis, et al, opportunities for TV face-time vs Yergin & Lynch.  IMO, the Press should be automatically interested in presenting our side to contrast with Yergin.

Get the notable PO + GW personalities to give speeches from this office.  For example, Hirsch could give a speech with Dr. Hansen directed at insurance press publications on how mitigation is required to reduce losses from droughts and hurricanes.  Dr. Duncan and AlanfromBig Easy talking about how RR electrification can help stave off Olduvai Gorge to the national utilities' press publications.  Target-marketing specific press segments besides the general MSM.

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

Love it, Bob S.!  

Once one starts thinking about publicity, all sorts of possibilities open up.

About TOD - One of my favorite sites, but it is more a source of raw material for PO nerds (such as myself) and researchers. Most articles really aren't suited to a large audience.

TOD is a roost for mavens.  

Kurt Cobb wrote a great article today about this very subject: Mavens, mavens everywhere...:

Gladwell puts the main movers in [the way that new ideas, fashions and behavior enter society] into three categories: connectors, mavens and salesmen. Connectors are people with large Rolodexes, but who also have worked or volunteered in many different settings. They often bring people together at parties from various walks of life and are constantly referring people to one another. Not surprisingly, they tend to be extroverts.

Mavens are experts.

...One critical trait for mavens, Gladwell says, is that they have an intense desire to be of service to others. This is what makes them important players in spreading new ideas and fashions. But, the mavens are not persuaders. That job falls to the final category, salesmen.

...What is obvious from this classification system is that the peak oil movement lacks enough connectors and salespeople. Many of those concerned about peak oil come from technical backgrounds: physics, geology, engineering and computer science. Others may not have formal training in these areas, but have proved adept at assimilating technical information and communicating it. In other words, the peak oil movement has an embarrassment of mavens. This is a great plus, but not enough.

In order for peak oil understanding to reach the tipping point, the world's connectors need to bring people from the movement into contact with people outside of it and in walks of life far afield from those I've already mentioned.

TOD also does NOT have one coherent message it is trying to relay to the world.  TOD is mixed bag of ideas, recommendations, analyses.  Those that want to get a message out to others are focused and simplistic.  This goes counter to what we are really doing here at TOD.

How do you sell people on the idea their hopes and dreams are dust? Yes, I know there is the possibility of a better way based on things like permaculture and relocalization but that is not what the average person is interested in. Their dreams are, by and large, dependent on continued exponential increases in energy consumption. Maybe they want to go to a top law school or have their kid go to a top business school or open beauty shop or whatever. Most of the social niches, the material items, etc. that people have their hearts and emotions tied up into are zilch if what we are saying is true.

A lot of people can get excited about making the world work differently.  All this consumerism is based on making people dissatisfied with their lives and then selling them a lie about what will make them happy.  I get excited about making things work more efficiently--some others get excited about making life simpler.  Europe runs on half the per capita energy we do.  Let's go that far and then keep going.  It's a big, wonderful project for idealists, remaking the world.  
Thanks Bart...Westtexas read his comment!
It is why Matt Simmons is so important to me.  He has the PR "game" down and loaded with the facts. I have read all the books but must admit I become a little blurry eyed with the graphs and HL stuff.  If you want to get the message out PR is a must! At the various hospitals I work, when I mention Peak Oil I would say maybe 1% have even heard of it!  And this from supposedy educated people.  
Jennifer Lopez on a bike for a PO poster. Really. It would work. I'm even willing to act as a consultant on the project.
Yergin could end up getting credit for the "peak oil" story.
Yep...it's called "framing the issue" and he learned it from the best framer in modern times...Rove.
In some ways, George Lakeoff's ideas about "framing" are self limiting. They do not provide a workable metaphor for what is going on. "Framing" sounds good but it does not take you very far in understanding what is really going on.

We are all programmed or brain-washed if you are willing to accept the latter term as being more accurate of the cognitive ocean we swim in rather than the former. We are all "educated".

--Educated to believe the Markets will deliver
--Educated to believe the Governement is on the look out for us and our own good
--Educated to believe people smarter than us are taking care of things
--Educated to believe we will somehow muddle our way through all problems ... all Hollywood movies have happy endings

Good PR organizations or "think tanks" try to figure out ways to leverage that pre-existing "education" to their advantage. It's done with a lot of psycho linguistics. People here at TOD get baffled and beleaguered because they don't see or understand what is going on. This is not a war for "truth" and justice and all that crap. This a war for the mindset of the herd. Move the herd and you will have moved mountains.

Yes, congratulations you have been noticed. And now corporate management is bringing out the big guns (CERA and other thought tanking organizations) to squash the annoying TOD and other PO bugs. They will spend millions to send out the correctifying PR press releases.

If you were a know-nothing journalist, who would you believe? Who would you trust? A "successful" business man or some lunatic ranting bloggers out there on the fringe edges of the net?

Couldn't agree with you more...Kurt Cobb also had some thoughts along these lines.

Mavens, mavens everywhere...


...I guess what we really need are some journalists and corporate sponsers on our side(HAA).

nice graphics too...btw
What we really need are some journalists ... on our side

I suspect that some journalists do read the TOD pages.
But I also suspect that they are unwilling to educate themselves. They want it spoon fed to them just like it was in journalism college.

IMO the most important thing to grasp when you "stepback" and see the big picture is:

1. The HISTORY of oil exploration, discovery and extraction. We humans started on dry land (Titusville (sp?) Penn. Edwin Drake 1859) grabbing at the lowest hanging fruit. Ever since then we have been migrating like a mindless herd towards the edge of the cliff. The continental shelf in the offshore ventures is that cliff. The hurricane alleys in that offshore trek is the cliff. To call it an "above ground factor" is utter insanity. The kind of insanity that comes from pompous pundits of the corporate press release world. Our windmills are tilting in the face of above ground climate change and we continue to charge full force with our broom handles fashioned into jousting spears. Oh Magoo, you've done it again! (A joke for us old farts who remember the cartoon: Mr. Magoo --a daffy blind geezer who doesn't see where he is going.)

Thunderhorse tilting in Gulf of Mexico

Step back,
  I am currently 400 meters from that rig...it is fine.  The rig tilted as you see in the photo because the ballast control operator was not correcting the constant ontake of water through a faulty valve not because of Katrina.  
 You have repeatedly used this photo and implied it is some sort of evidence that we should not be exploring deep fields. This rig is currently not producing and WAY behind schedule for various reasons.  I still don't understand your point in the above post as well as your others.
I still don't understand your point in the above post as well as your others.

OK. I'll stop using ThunderHorse as a poster child (although it is a cool name for a platform).

My point is that we keep marching towards extraction mechanisms of increased complexity and increased fallibility.

On the CNN video, We Were Warned, one offshore guy exclaims, Who would of thought we would be drilling 3 miles down way out here? He is enthralled by the technology of it all. I have the opposite reaction. I am frightened by the complexity and precariousness of the whole thing. We are slowly painting ourselves into an overly-complex, highly-unreliable corner.


NASA pushes the envelope to accomplish things in hostile remote environments.  Offshore does also.  The rewards of this echo technology into other fields.  

Any corner we are in is a political not a technological one.  Further exploration makes us more capable of handling what tommorrow presents.

Any corner we are in is a political not a technological one.

Neither, the corner we are in is ECONOMICAL, "pushing the envelope to accomplish things in hostile remote environments" means LOWER MARGINAL RETURNS.
Lower EROEI!
Who doesn't understand EROEI at TOD?

EROEI would be a technological/physical concept not a ECONOMIC. Note the Economical defintion below ass clown.  

There is now connection between EROEI and NASA, they don't produce energy, they explore and put hardware in space.

EROEI is about energy not dollars.

PRONUNCIATION:   k-nm-kl, k-
ADJECTIVE: 1. Prudent and thrifty in management; not wasteful or extravagant. See synonyms at sparing. 2. Intended to save money, as by efficient operation or elimination of unnecessary features; economic: an economical heating system; an economical approach to control of corporate growth.  

Obviously you don'y understand some simple concepts and definitions. Are you going to stalk me?

Are you going to stalk me?

Of course...

Any corner we are in is a political not a technological one.

Now I think I better understand where you are coming from --more as a medical technician who says "gee whiz" every time "they", the engineers, devise something new in the medical device field, than as a person who himself designs and tests these things. (Nothing personal intended, honest, -- we each have the shortcomings of our area of "specialization")

What NASA does is not "scalable".
They build one of a kind items for a billion dollars apiece.
I forget how many "shuttle" vans into space "we" have. What is it 3 or 4? But there will never be more.

When we are talking about the future energy needs of 6.5 Billion (and growing) people we cannot bet all our eggs on NASA-style "technology". It is way too expensive, way too unreliable and it does not scale.

Just because this summer the dust storms over Africa killed the budding hurricanes which were heading for GoMex does not mean that next summer we will be so lucky, or the summer after that. When Ghawar is gone and all we have is that flimsy platform on stilts sticking out there so vulnerable in hurricane alley, we won't be so cocky with our happy feet tunes. We won't be so sure that "Technology will provide".

This is neither a "technical" corner nor a "political" corner. It is a "scalability" corner. How fast can we reliably replicate a safe substitute technology to take over for oil? I for one do not see any clear and easy answer.

Valid statements about scalability, however that is not my point. I am saying deepwater exploration and NASA drive technological advance, not that nasa or deepwater will save us from peak oil.  Solar cells have had huge improvements from nasa funding right? If we had the political will to have spent our Iraq money on solar panelled roofs would we be in a slightly better energy situation?  

I am saying that exploration and experimentation provides solutions.

And what I'm saying is that we often get so enamored with the the gee whizness of technological advances, so blinded by its glitter (myself included, I like learning all about the latest gee whiz stuff) that we fail to "step back" and realize we are painting ourselves into a corner.

Let's suppose ThunderHorse works out, that we do succeed in siphoning up all that offshore oil --and no big bad hurricane comes along to knock the Horse off its stilts. But then after that, what's next? Deep deep offshore technology? Super duper deep offshore -- all the way to the continental shelf? According to Bubba (belly of the Beast) there cannot be oil beyond the continental shelf because the necessary geological formations are not there. Not being an expert, I'll take his word for it. So the continental shelf represents "the cliff". And ThunderHorse technology represents the means for driving towards the cliff.

And why not a bridge to the renewable energy,nuke,clean coal on the other side of the chasm?  You are assuming a negative outcome.  With current technology and the right political backing we don't (america) have an energy crisis.  Our problem is the will to invest in renewables.
With current technology and the right political backing we don't (america) have an energy crisis.

I agree with you on that one.
There is no shortage of "energy".
That fusion furnace up in the sky (aka the Sun) keeps roaring along every day.

However, our politicians are pre-programmed (wired) to worship the Invisible Appendage and to believe that if they pay homage to it, it will automatically come through and do the "intelligently designed" right thing for us. (The Markets will provide.)

And what does it do instead?
It keeps painting us deeper into that corner.
It keeps driving us further towards the edge.

Oh Magoo, you've done it again old boy!

so true you are, you can have all the facts in the world but a well organized public relations campaigns wins every time! Unless the facts are disseminated to everyone through the use of educating the masses, i.e. Main Stream Media, then you pretty much have nothing more than a grassroots campaign. And the only way to educate the masses seems to be Main stream media.

I hear from co-workers regarding oil prices thats its a govt conspiracy to the statement that Texas, especially West Texas still has more oil than anyone else,it's just capped off! We are just not uncapping it!

You are neglecting two factors;

The advertising community and;
the corruption of 'objectivity'

The former creates a bias for optomism, technology, liberal economics. The latter is couched as a search for truth when it is really a tool to attract all available demographics and political types in the viewing (reading area.) 'Objectivity' boosts circulation which boosts advertising. It reduces ideas to mediocrity. Oh and yes. I do truely believe there is not 'objectivity' in human affairs.

These forces are around the newsroom and sales offices--everywhere. By nature, a news organization is on the outside looking in and is always in search of access. Reporters instinctively know this.

High profile events, such as a movie or a war.

As a "side" comment I find this giving an interesting perspective on the current state of "civilization".

Newsweek is just scratching the hand that feeds it. They are running large ads for Yergin's upcoming Houston conference.
In his own way...Yergin is breaking the news gently to the public...he is telling everyone that will read him...there is a problem that requires your attention...but if we put old fashion hard work and elbow grease into it...we will all be OK.

Now...some of us see this as mass disinformation, but really, isn't it more sane to ease people into the concept than come out and say..."Holy Sh*t...Ghawar is crashing...everyone go horde some crude...now".

I'm thinking that Yergin doesn't really believe all his hype..but he feels the truth could have worse implications on the masses right now.

Unfortunately, this type of rhetoric does not put the sense of urgency we need to make big changes quickly.

"In his own way...Yergin is breaking the news gently to the public"

I think in his own way, dannyboy "jerkin" yergin is breaking wind in the publics face again.

  The proper Monty Python insult is "I fart in your general direction", and Yergin is doing it on a closed elevator.
I'm thinking that Yergin doesn't really believe all his hype..but he feels the truth could have worse implications on the masses right now.

I disagree, I think Yergin and the rest of the folks at CERA actually believe that peak oil will not happen befoe 2030, and then many decades of a "long plateau" after that.

They believe every word of those vast Middle East reserves and Saudi officials believe them as well. They actually believe: The global resource base of conventional and unconventional oils, including historical production of 1.08 trillion barrels and yet-to-be-produced resources, is 4.82 trillion barrels and likely to grow."

Cornucopians, as a group, are not liars, they are instead true believers!

It is the true believer's ability to "shut his eyes and stop his ears" to the facts that do not deserve to be either seen or heard which is the source of his unequaled fortitude and constancy. He cannot be frightened by danger nor disheartened by obstacle nor baffled by contradictions because he denies their existence.
     Eric Hoffer: The True Believer.

Ron Patterson

MSNBC wants to do the right thing...they have had some illuminating articles that get closer to what we say at TOD than other MSMs...they have Olbermann for christ's sake...but they have to also survive without being labelled "progressive, alternative".  So they decide to run things that are Peak Oil-related, but go with the most "feel good" analyst out there.

It's a baby step....

The wind evaluation appears to be part of the anti-wind movement in the UK.  The stated goal of the non-profit foundation is to evaluate "aims to evaluate wind and other forms of renewable energy on an equal basis".  What other renewables can UK depend upon for even 1% of their power ?

Scottish wind had good productivity but was bad because it was too far from major load centers (I assume that the Scots live w/o electricity) and "the most effective place to site the turbines is at sea near major cities" (where WTs cannot offend the sensibilities of rural vistas).

English WTs with 23.9 to 25.9% load factors are apparently just not acceptable.  So burn coal instead ?


Biofuels. Imported from Brazil and such places.
Unfortunately, that study doesn't reveal tower heights and blade lengths of the "underperforming" wind turbines. So it is impossible to draw any conclusions as to the strength of the UK wind resource. Sadly, these antiwind crank groups can count on reporters not knowing what to ask when they release these dubious reports, so as far as the windpower assassins are concerned--mission accomplished!

By the way, the most efficient coal-generation station in the UK wastes two BTu's for every one that's converted into electricity. A combined cycle natural gas-fired plant is about 50-55% efficient. So, was the 20-year UK policy of building gas-fired generating capacity to the exclusion of other electricity sources a good idea?


Well, North Sea  oil and gas production is just about to ramp up to meet the projections, so why bother with all this renewable silliness?

Besides, renewables also imply conservation and changing life styles, which could have a real impact on the life styles of certain executives.

The British are in a truly strange situation - they still seem bewildered by where all the oil and gas which was planned for went (and I do believe this includes what they expected as their cut from being so willing in Iraq), since the projections were written down as cold hard numbers by experts, which means what comes out of the pipeline should agree with those numbers - and for some strange reason, the pipeline numbers are just not matching the projections (we have several people here eminently qualified to represent the viewpoint that the problem is not in the projections, but in the observed facts). The British are also still wrapping their minds around the fact that after decades of standing outside of the EU mainstream, the EU will have no problem letting them stay outside in the cold while the core members take care of themselves first.

But the British will likely muddle through, though, without actually collapsing.

But the British will likely muddle through, though, without actually collapsing.

We are certainly in a muddle, but I have less confidence we will get through. The UK sits between the USA and mainland EU, and we end up with the worst of both worlds. We try to follow free market principles, but end up paying a lot for a poor service. Instead of applying public money to where it should go, like building good public transport infrastructure, instead we subsidise the construction industry with misguided road building. North Sea oil profits have been pretty much wasted.

I think the UK will make an instructive test case as the first large Western country to experience the full force of PO. As our oil revenue crashes, gas and NG prices climb, we are hit from all sides. The government believes in leaving things to the market, so we have a disaster waiting to happen.

I think the UK will make an instructive test case as the first large Western country to experience the full force of PO. As our oil revenue crashes, gas and NG prices climb, we are hit from all sides. The government believes in leaving things to the market, so we have a disaster waiting to happen.

I agree ... but on a personal or small business level it might lead to some innovative economic opportunities initially in the UK ... which can then be exported in some way to other countries as they start sliding too.

It's an ill wind ...

You make some good points, and it will be interesting to see what happens.

It will also be interesting to see whether an all seeing state is a good way to survive the challenges of peak oil - Germany tends to be very, very leery of the sort of public observation the British government seems to be forcing on an unwilling populace. A major source of information is The Register at theregister.co.uk, as another one of my strange hobbies is watching how various societies have been turned into data base nations.

It has been fascinating to watch how Britain has been approaching the next decade or two and the clear challenges of declining oil production - invading an oil rich country, even with the majority of Britain's population opposed to the action, creating a massive surveillance state, and with a number of its citizens going ever more deeply into debt to get on the first step of the housing ladder - nothing like debt peonage to help keep a society stable, and the rich in a position to get richer.

It has been fascinating to watch how Britain has been approaching the next decade or two and the clear challenges of declining oil production - invading an oil rich country, even with the majority of Britain's population opposed to the action, creating a massive surveillance state, and with a number of its citizens going ever more deeply into debt to get on the first step of the housing ladder - nothing like debt peonage to help keep a society stable, and the rich in a position to get richer.

While it's true all of those things have been happening, these events are not a response to PO. I don't buy into your conspiracy theory interpretation.

The problem is not that we being molded into some sort of draconian Police state in readiness for PO(we invented 1984, no need to tell me about that), the problem is our infrastructure is built for, and funded from, oil and gas, and the general awareness of PO is virtually zero. Additionally our quasi-Green pretences/NIMBYism and other lobby groups paralyse effective decision making. We are focused on GW and  terrorism.

The surveillance state thing is overhyped, in most cases the state is less intrusive than other parts of the EU. eg. France has a mandatory ID card, Germany requires people to register with the local authority, neither of which we have here.

Well, if you want a good conspiracy theory, here is one from the very early 1980s, from an Irish professor - the reason the British remained in Northern Ireland was to make certain that they would have enough trained military forces to deal with urban unrest in the rest of Great Britain. Brixton happened a few months after his comments, but that is just a co-incidence.

Energy/oil is a theme which has been discussed in the context of the Cold War since the 1970s - for example, Thatcher and Reagan's opposition to Soviet gas being sold to Western Europe was based on the fear that such control of energy supplies would lead to undue Soviet influence.

Strikingly, when a major Western capital is subjected to the first public targeted radioactive attack in history, the reaction seems to be a slightly bored yawn, confirming Thatcher's fears as completely justified - a few planes grounded here or there, a few Russian 'football fans' being sought for questioning, and really, not much more - no profiling of people named Ivan or Boris, and no one being gunned down in the Tube because they just happened to come from South America.

However, I went through Heathrow after that major, major plot last August - amazing the security precautions, the police presence, the need for ever more vigilance. And now, just like non-citizens visiting the U.S., people going through Heathrow will be fingerprinted. Of course, this is all terrorism related, and it has nothing to do with oil. Where did the elder bin Laden make his riches again? Just another of those silly co-incidences, I guess.

All Western democracies have been preparing for peak oil, even if the process has not generally involved the citizenry, and one of the more striking things, I hazard to guess, is that a majority of posters here think democracy is one of the first luxuries we will lose.

Conspiracy theories are far too easy to dismiss - as is peak oil, according to most of the American press, at least. After all, the reason Western forces are in Iraq is for WMD, or to liberate the oppressed, or to fight terrorists there instead of here, or to allow democracy to spread throughout the Middle East, or anything but the simple truth.

And to add a simple point - I wasn't really talking so much about the card, as the database system which can be wired into the cameras - oh wait, that was already done in some major European capital, and it was connected to some sort of congestion fee - the extension of the system, to cover that country's entire road network, was supposed to deal with the problem of uninsured and non-vehicle tax paying drivers, as I recall - a camera every kilometer or two on every motorway, to make sure that the driver could also be identified, not merely the vehicle. And strangely, though now behind schedule, there should have been a database of every British face available to match with the camera pictures.

Nah, just wild speculation - or fat profits for the contractors who implemented the City's system. How is the congestion, by the way? Much improved? And the handling of the fees - going to the right people? How efficient if true - but an EZ Pass system would really be less cumbersome.

At least in Germany, with its not too recent and quite recent historical experience, such measures are not dismissed as 'conspiracy theories' - they are considered to be the mark of a functional police state, either communist or fascist - these days, the distinction seems less important somehow.

Conspiracy theories are far too easy to dismiss

Lack of evidence is always a problem for any theory.

People do like a good yarn though.

I notice, though, that you didn't respond to the fact that there is a system involving cameras, databases, and billing which has been functioning in London since roughly February, 2003. Or the fact that a biometric database involving facial pictures is still going to be implemented in the next several months, after several years of delay, with fines being levied against those who don't participate.

Facts are also easy to dismiss - I didn't even bother to discuss how mobile phones are used and monitored - you may remember a British terror alert a couple of years ago because of a text message which was 'intercepted?'

Or the fact that now that the same deadly radioactive materials have also been discovered in multiple locations in northern Germany, we still are not shutting down all the airports and detaining people named Boris or Ivan as a preventive measure to stop such deadly terrorists from further endangering innocent people, or exploding a dirty bomb after their successful practice runs. Strange - when people start dying after the first public use of radioactivity as a deadly weapon, after years of careful preparation, the Western democracies just sit back, and yawn essentially.

To me, interpreting facts is part of the fun of peak oil - after all, accornding to the well respected and well trusted oil company Shell, 4 years ago they had roughly 20% more oil available than today. Imagine - where did all that oil go to? Or maybe, just maybe, Shell wasn't telling the truth? No, that would be a conspiracy theory, having nothing to do with facts. Instead, that 20% loss in reserves never happened, no chairman lost their job, and absolutely everything is still peachy keen.

To me, interpreting facts is part of the fun of peak oil - after all, accornding to the well respected and well trusted oil company Shell, 4 years ago they had roughly 20% more oil available than today. Imagine - where did all that oil go to? Or maybe, just maybe, Shell wasn't telling the truth? No, that would be a conspiracy theory, having nothing to do with facts. Instead, that 20% loss in reserves never happened, no chairman lost their job, and absolutely everything is still peachy keen.

No, that was an actual conspiracy, never a conspiracy theory. How do we know it was a conspiracy, and not just a theory? Evidence emerged to show that people had lied. Do you see how it works yet?

As for not responding...conspiracy theorists are like Creationists. They have a theory, and facts are bent (or "interpreted" as you put it) to fit in. It's pointless arguing the details, if the facts don't fit they are "interpreted" until they do.

As an example of how the theory is fixed but the facts are "intepreted", I take an example from 9/11 conspiracy theory. Initially, skeptics said "Because there was no melted steel, explosives must have been used!". When it was discovered that in fact there was quite a lot of melted steel discovered in the wreckage, the skeptics changed to "Because melted steel was found, explosives must have been used!"

The actual facts are pretty unimportant to the conspiracy theorist. It's all about "interpreting the facts" - to fit in with the conspiracy theory. However, I understand for you guys it is all "part of the fun".

Well, I begin to see - if someone has a suspicion that something just may not be as presented (say, the need for biometric identification to prevent terrorism, though a number of the last successful terrorists to hit the Big Apple were legally documented with nice pictures in their driver's licenses), and uses facts to support that suspiction, it is just a conspiracy theory. Which is true, as far as it goes - theories need to be proven, after all.

However, after something is proven, then it is no longer a theory, it is a real, true conspiracy.

Now, pray tell, how do you find the conspiracies without first having a suspicion based on facts? And of course, not listening to the conspirators' version of events, if indeed they are conspirators, or to those who directly benefit from a conspiracy - for example, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,,1959446,00.html

'.... Details from the accounts would help to establish whether money was channelled to members of the Saudi ruling clan, and the amounts involved. The development comes amid threats from the company and its chief executive, Mike Turner, that the SFO's ongoing inquiry threatens to damage the UK economy. He has claimed that the Saudi royal family may take a £6bn contract from BAE and give it to the French instead.

The company wants the SFO to abandon the investigation before the Saudis pull out of the deal for a new fleet of 72 Eurofighter Typhoons.'

Notice the salient point from Mr. Turner - the investigation should be dropped before a 'conspiracy theory' becomes a conspiracy, according to your standards, if not mine.

Such a puzzle - would this case remain a 'conspiracy theory' if the investigation is stopped, or would it be good enough to call a 'conspiracy?

Just like creationists, I guess people think that conspiracies simply appear in 7 days, without any need to investigate the facts further. And if the evidence isn't seen with your own eyes, then it isn't real - secret Swiss bank accounts are classic conspiracy theory stuff, after all.

The wind evaluation appears to be part of the anti-wind movement in the UK.  The stated goal of the non-profit foundation is to evaluate "aims to evaluate wind and other forms of renewable energy on an equal basis".

The Renewable Energy Foundation is one of those dishonest organisations who set themselves up as being pro-something, but in fact are a front for "anti" lobbyists. In this case, the REF oppose any form of onshore wind turbines. They don't really care where the energy comes from, as long as wind turbines don't spoil the view from their expensive country estates.

So appearances are supported by reality in this case.

I had only to look at the methodology and wording to see the bias.

Best Hopes for Honest Analysis,



UK energy planning is currently in a godawful mess.

The Scots are basically anti nuke and pro renewables.

Scotland is blessed with wind and some hydro potential.

A small nation like Scotland with ca 5 million souls, could get by with a decent mixture of wind , tide (this could be very useful considering the marine environment and currents and island achipelago of west and north Scotland). Add a couple or so of nukes for base-load and Scotland could be sitting pretty.

Also, the great bulk of the Scottish population is concentrated in the Central Belt. An axis between Edinburgh and Glasgow. This belt could easily be serviced by electric light rail and other similar projects.
The rest of Scotland may require some different thinking. Aberdeen, Dundee , Inverness would require good trunk-rail.

But with energy, anything is feasible. Without Energy, nothing is possible.

There is talk of large arrays of Wind Turbine farms to be situated just offshore around the coasts. The Wind is right, the sea-bed gelogy is right.

A wind farm went up near Huntly (mid way between Aberdeen and Elgin) About a dozen or so turbines. On a good day it powers Moray Shire. There IS room for more...

All of these things come down to political will, a sense of urgency and funds.

That is where our political masters fail: Sense of urgency.

Big debate at present: Should Scotland seek independence from The UK? (Read: England)?

My opinion (as an Englishman and economic migrant of 25 years)?

Go for it. Look to your own, wind, tidal and nuke.

But look to your own.


While you still have the gold to do something about it.

The NATS still ply the 'its Scotland's Oil' card. Sure enough, it probably is, was. But what the NATS and others dont mention is the Hubbert curve for the UKCS on the DTI Website.

In fact, nobody mentions the curve: It should be on every classroom Wall in Scotland.

With luck, the oil will be repaced with water exports down south in the years to come. I am not talking about the 'water of life' either. By 2020 the English wont be able to afford that other water anyway.

But soon, Scotlands biggest export could be fresh water.

However, if it doesnt get the Energy mix right, Scotland's biggest export will be people.

Blair canceled the Leeds (and another English city I forgot) Light Rail just before construction started.  The Scots continued with their Urban Rail projects.  Not a "solution" but a step in the right direction.

Scotland seems less opposed to wind than the English, another good point (although not German or Danes, despite better resources).

UK energy planning ?  Does such an animal exist ?

Likewise for US energy planning :-(

Best Hopes for Rational Planning,


Spanish Town of 53,000 gets Low Cost Tram

On 11 October 2006 the small Spanish town of Vélez-Málaga (about 20 km/12 miles east of the city of Málaga) opened its new electric rail tramway )streetcar-like line) connecting the community with the beach resort of Torre del Mar. Only 4.6 km (2.9 miles) in length, the tramway cost €18 million (about US$23 million) - calculating to a unit cost of just $8 million per mile ($5 million/km).

According to a report in Tramways & Urban Transit (December 2006), service is provided by three CAF-built tramcars, off the production line of a batch being fabricated for the new light rail tramway under construction in Seville (Sevilla).

An earlier T&UT report (January 2006) related that the CAF trams measure 31 meters (102 feet) long by 2.6 meters (8.6 feet) wide. More than 15,000 passenger-trips were carried over the first two days of operation (but service was free until 16 October).

The December T&UT report indicates that a further extension at the northern end of the line is already under construction. All in all, the tramway is not only another sign of the applicability of light rail transit (LRT) technology even for extremely small communities, but also of the powerful and growing momentum of the LRT revolution that continues to roll across Spain and the Iberian peninsula.
This may be the wave of the future.  At these prices, Urban Rail can fit many towns and cities.


Just curiosity in comparing costs, but what would an equal length of (say two lane) road cost to build?  As well, how would an average light rail project cost in terms of capacity per mile-cost as compared to a highway.
The variables are many.  I am working on a budgetary cost estimate for the Desire and Elysian Fields Streetcar Lines in New Orleans.  I will share those with TOD when finished.

Capacity per lane/ per hour for streetlight controlled lane is about 1,000 vehicles/hour (all sorts of variables that + or - capacity by 15% or so).  1.1 people/car in urban US (some say 1.15), so 1,100 or so people/hour in the peak direction.

So even a small streetcar system is closer in capacity to a 4 to 8 lane street/highway than a 2 lane street.

And when demand increases, capacity can be added cheaply.  The fairly new Hiawatha Line in Minneapolis is at capacity.  Increasing capacity by 33% will cost 7% of the total line (cost of new vehicles).  Unfortunately, federal funding will not allow excess capacity (longer station platforms) when first built, thus limiting future expansion.  St. Louis is running into that problem (too short platforms) and Washington DC has a looming problem.

Hopes this helps,


I have seen standard costs for streets, but it has been a while.  Only current number that I have is $850/linear foot for reconstructing (with utilities) a 26' wide street.  Zero ROW costs.

Alan, I don't know how much you've been following progress in Sacramento, but the Amtrak-light rail connection just opened here and lots of rail-oriented work is being done and proposed. See the following article if you're interested:


I was aware of a new extension opening in Sacramento, but did notm know about moving the entire train station !

Wow !

Do you think this transit hub will work well in Sacramento ?

Other cities (Miami has the most impressive) are also working on transit hubs.

Best Hopes,


I certainly hope it will work! I am NE of Sacto about 35 miles away in Auburn. Amtrack stops here, and if schedules could work out, I would certainly consider using Amtrak to the city for various functions. We already take Amtrak to Richmond then BART to San Francisco periodically and it's great. Public awareness remains low, but this could change with upcoming PO events. As the article states, the hub is for the 21st century, not the 20th. Sacto people could take light rain to Amtrack to San Francisco pretty nicely this way as well.

The big concern for commuters on light rail is security. I know someone who was mugged going to his car after working late, and vows never to take it again. Partly this is a function of inadequate ridership. In this case, he was completely alone in the rail car and parking lot (not that late in the day).  These stories inhibit a lot of people. If the line was busy there wouldn't be a problem. I hope this changes in the future.

I lived in the Twin Cities when light rail was being proposed and starting to be built. There was tremendous skepticism and doubt about it voiced at the time. Great to see how successful it has been.

Weekday ridership in Minneapolis is at capacity (ridership drops in the colder months because each rider takes up more space).  Only growth is on weekends.

They desperately need more vehicles.

Planning is well along for the Central Corridor between St. Paul - Minneapolis.

Best Hopes,


I have taken 3 day mini-course at Portland State University on streetcar construction.  Portland has developed a technique to build streetcar tracks "in street" for $300/track foot.  Not suitable for heavier light rail use (I think it could be adapted).

Compare that to $850/linear foot for 26' wide street.

Two tracks = $600/foot.  Does one add vehicles ?  (Are cars & SUVs free ?)

Ballasted rail on ties is about $120/track foot plus electrification at about $2.5 million/mile for double track.

Private "clear" ROW for rail is likely cheaper than a 2 lane street/highway with shoulder.  "In street" streetcar is about =.  Light Rail is more expensive (but cheaper than = volume on a limited sccess highway).

Best Hopes for Urban Rail.


I should note that our local rag mentioned in passing the other day that highway construction costs have gone up 33% in one year, primarily (according to the story) due to competition for steel, concrete, etc. worldwide. Yikes!
When I lived in Japan I made some simple calculations about traffic through Shinagawa station (south Tokyo) in the morning rush hour. I figured it would take about 100 lanes of freeway in one direction to carry the people brought in on three train lines.

On the other hand, riding in an air conditioned car, sipping a latte and listening to a nice stereo is a far sight more comfortable than being crammed into a commuter train in Japan.

Before going to Japan when I heard that I would be riding trains there I had visions of something like the Orient Express. I'd sit at a table with cloth linens drinking coffee from china cups while reading the International Herald Tribune. What a laugh.

yergins story is rated at 1.5 stars out of 5  about 1.499999 above what it deserves  a waste of pulp
Picture Accompanying Yergin Nonsense --

Vast Riches: The full size of existing
oilfields, like this one in Mexico, is unknown


Yep, Photo should have been captioned, "Twilight over Campeche Bay, Mexico.  Declining Riches: PEMEX officially admits World #2 Cantarell Oilfield's 14% depletion rate is well-known.
"Winston Churchill changed his mind almost over night."

The opening line of "The Prize" which I have started to read and at 788 pages + it will take me a very long time to finnish.

"Yergin ... was previously a lecturer at the Harvard Business School and the John F. Kennedy school of Government at Harvard University.  He received a B.A from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, where he was a Marshall Scholar."

Had he been a geologist, geophysicist or reservoir engineer I might have been impressed.

Thanks for putting the Ovshinsky link in the drumbeat this time -- "An Edison for Our Time" -- it came up a day or two ago downthread I believe.

I've been a fan of the Ovshinskys for quite a while. Their company is publicly traded under the symbol ENER.
(I do not currently own any but am keeping an eye on it.)

Edison was a bit of a schmuck if you read up on him...I prefer Tesla.

Another from Newsweek: Average Joes Are Now Going Green

Five years ago Bill Ford said selling a green agenda was an uphill fight. Now, says the Ford Motor chairman, it's catching on inside his company and worldwide.
You mean a company which by most measures is bankrupt has just recently discovered that green is good because it is catching on - and some people wonder why a car company that pays attention to quality, efficiency, and quality won't succeed.

Wait, was I talking about the Japanese in 1979 again?

No, wait, this isn't quite 1979 -
'You've backed off your pledge to build 250,000 hybrids by 2010, and are putting greater emphasis on ethanol-fueled cars. What's your latest view on hybrids?

It's interesting. The one thing I feel about hybrids is that one size doesn't fit all. It's a very good technology, but what we didn't anticipate, frankly, was the emergence of biofuels [like ethanol], which in some applications make more sense. The one frustration I really had on this whole hybrid announcement--the thing that got lost--is that the new plan is actually better for the environment, for fuel economy, for CO2 than our hybrid-only plan.'

But it gets even better than simply turning their back on doing anything more forward looking than changing a few minor fittings/hoses to handle the fuel that was touted the last time round Detroit lost out in a changing market.

'A green approach?

Yeah. And it's not just a U.S. elite-based kind of thing now. In fact, you can't get less elitist than ethanol, because it gets right to the heart of the American farmer. It's touching the average American now.'

Green is a U.S. elite-based kind of thing? Whoever said Orwell couldn't inspire ad copy for a car company was wrong.

See, technology will not save us - the heartland of America will (oops - wrong car company).

This is truly, certifiably, delusional. Except I don't think most Newsweek readers will view it that way.

Yergin probably gets invited to Christmas parties with better food than we do too, and I bet he makes more money than any of us unless Rainwater or Pickens are lurking. Do you think he believes his own horse manure?
Actually, do I believe that families in positions of power lose touch with all reality? I sure do. What is fascinating is how many people seem to believe that what such people say is true, as compared to ridiculing them as they richly deserve.

As for eating well - probably, but then, I ate pretty well in DC myself - and I wasn't paying for it at a number of functions either.

How many TOD readers plan to see Apocalypto? I do, but I won't be bringing the wife.

Having read the Wright and Diamond books, a certain amount of Mayan savagery sounds perfectly appropriate, but reviews indicate that Gibson attributes the Mayan collapse to poor social values.  

Not me.  I'm not much into movies any more.  The news is so much exciting.
I saw it last night. I am going to create a comment on my thoughts.
   Isn't it amazing how a drunk anti-semite can cricise other cultures and get press? I may be Episcopalian, but I'm sure he'll think that I'm a victim of prpoganda by the Eldersof Zion because I'm planning to save my money and not see this movie, just as I dodged seeing his warping of the crucifction. Its called voting with my pocketbook.
I think you should take your wife. The wife of Jaguar Paw has almost as much to do with the plot and movie as he does.

Why does he run so hard? To save his wife and children.

Blood and gore? Part of our civilization.

Watch the first part when the villagers are very happy and pulling jokes on each other. They seem to have a fullfilling lifestyle. They live in the forest and it is their home and sustains them. They relate to it very well.

The problem is that the bad guys need victims and slaves. Nirvana is about to go chaotic.  


Sure Leanan,hide you eyes. Fiction is just fiction but sometimes NEWS is mostly worse fiction. Do you believe all NEWS? Think ....Operation Mockingbird.

I'm sure you'll want to skip "The Good Shepherd" as well.

Blood and gore? Part of our civilization.

Yes it is, and religious propaganda is also part of our civilization. But that does not mean I am obliged to watch Gibson's propaganda any more than I am obliged to listen to the Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on my door from time to time.

Sure Leanan,hide you eyes. Fiction is just fiction but sometimes NEWS is mostly worse fiction. Do you believe all NEWS? Think ....Operation Mockingbird.

You dare chide Leanan for not watching religious propaganda? And because one does not choose to watch this crap, you conclude that they believe all NEWS? Good God man, how on earth do you make that connection?

I'm sure you'll want to skip "The Good Shepherd" as well.

Probably, and for damn sure I will skip it. You would have us watch all this crap I think. And yes, the Jehovah's Witnesses would just love for me to listen to their crap as well.

Ron Patterson

I don't know if it's religious propaganda, and I don't really care.  I am not just not into movies.  I don't watch much TV, either, other than news and sports.  Just not interested.  I'm bemused that my entertainment choices should be so controversial, at least in a peak oil forum.  

I'd rather spend my entertainment dollars on books, computer games or a subscription to MLB.com.  Others may make different choices; it's their right, and I would never chide them for it.

The entertainment industry is a monumental waste of time.

Oh wait, I forgot. This is a nation (US) of waste.

The entertainment industry is like the junk food industry.  They make money by appealing to our Stone Age brains.  

But they did well during the Great Depression, and I imagine they'll continue to do well for quite awhile. Even in developing countries...poor laborers sell their blood and use grocery money to buy movie tickets instead of food for their kids.

Let us hope so.

Hollywood et al are one of the last major US export industries.  Bigger than Boeing and not that much smaller than agriculture in exports. (Memory of old data I still believe to be relevant).

Best Hopes for Hollywood,


I am reminded that "No one ever lost money by underestimating the good taste of the American public".

Don't forget that the whole world listens to music that originated in NOLA. American music is an aspect of our culture that is still valued and wanted almost everywhere.
Rhthym saved the world.
Monday nights at "Donna's" is my weekly fix.  Hole in wall bar on Rampart, 6 to 10 musicians from audience get on stage and do part of a set during the night.  Very good chicken and "OK" red beans & rice at midnight :-)

Very real, very good !


I have seen how the Japanese, Germans & French et al seem to care more about the survival of New Orleans than do my fellow Americans.  Perhaps they value our cultural contribution whilst Americans remain blind to anything of cultural value.

Best Hopes for Naw'lins,



Funny you should say that! I've never been to America, but New Orleans has always been THE city I want to visit if I ever cross the Atlantic. And having drooled over your descriptions of the cajun and creole cuisines here at TOD, I have become quite certain it is the best place in America... :)

I'm sure many of my fellow Finns feel the same, although the more country-minded may prefer Nashville, and blues fans seem to go on about Chicago, of all places.

I wish you all the best in your efforts to reconstruct your amazing city!

Nashville? Chicaog? I doubt you will see much of the Real America in those two cities. Nashville is as phony as they come. Nothing hurts my ear more than some whining tinseled singer like Dolly Praton(parton).

Chicago? Spent lots of time there. Its a place I refused to go back to.

Now New Orleans? Yes I would hope its restored just for the culture. Many 'Mericans' think its the best thing that could have happened since they regard it as nothing but a sinhole of filth.

I would just bypass those and go for the music and food and whatever else. I visited it long ago and would like to go back for Mardi Gras.

I would suggest San Francisco. Perhaps Salt Lake City as well.

If your not careful all you will see it made up tourist shat. Get off the main tourist traps. Go drive thru Navajo Nation. Utah is nice. Many good places still exist but its getting harder.

IMO as always. Others can disagree.  

Let me know when you are coming :-)

Best Hopes for foreign tourists, they behave better !



I subscribe to MLB.com too! I call it my government subsizdized soma stream. It's great. For $80 I get all the Soma I want. =)

I wish the history and discovery channels offered a similar service. The way MLB does it I get to brag that I don't own a television, such entertainment is beneath me. But then I go watch the games on my computer. Pretty cool.

Did I tell you about my favorite blog, the one by the major league baseball groupies? Damn they've had some scandlous-ass stuff on there lately, although no pictures in a while:


if I was an MLBer it would have me crapping my pants.

LOL!  Yes, you posted that link before, and I did go check it out.  (Hey, it's not like there's any baseball to watch at this time of year.)

Jason Giambi apparently gets up to some kinky stuff.  With women other than his wife.

And I'm so disillusioned, to find out that Mike Mussina is such a jerk...  


I listed two movies and neither was related to 'religious
propaganda. Had nothing to do with it.

I don't put up with Jehovah Witnesses either. Nor 7 Day Adventists. I will listen to someone 'adhoc' who debates religious topics as I am wont to do myself with friends and colleagues or peers(meaning neighbors ,etc) as well as sometimes post my views about spirituality on the net in forums when the subject is raised or its appropiate. I don't otherwise foist my views on anyone. I say what I observe or have observed.  

You got some kind of sawbrier up you ass about Jehovah Wittnesses I take it.

Your seriuosly losing your crediabilty with me , not that it matters , but your off the topic rants spewed about something I didn't even mention are inane to say the least.

I also did not care for Mel Gibson's attack on the Jews but he has his own views as so do I. Yet the movie is good. Thats all I was saying and it relates to our current society IMO.

You might care to infer that the connnection is between the Mayan high priests and Religion of today but thats one hell of a streatch my man. One hell of a stretch. The movie is not about religion. Its about culture clash.

BTW you are NOT OBLIGED to do shit. I didn't suggest it either. Go take a valium or pill of choice or sit in a tub of ice. You need to badly.

Talk about prejudice? Man you are one hogged out dood.

That Yergin piece in Newsweek is just the type of optimistic, reassuring, can-do cheerleading that the public just loves.

If one had read no other article on energy over the last several years, and if one took everything Yergin said as gospel, then one would come away with the feeling that as far as energy goes these are exciting dynamic times that will result in undreamed of advances, and that eventually we'll innovate and invest our way out of our energy problem. The Silcon Valley miracle all over again.

One thing that irritates me to no end about the mainstream media is the way they tend to rely on a small handful of self-annointed gurus whenever they want to do a piece on a certain subject. Need something on foreign policy? Wheel out Henry Kissinger. Need something on energy? No one else but Yergin will do.

Yergin is perfect for this role,  as he's an excellent writer, effective speaker, is telegenic, and knows how to give very good interviews. As far as the media are concerned, the content of what he actually says is of secondary importance.

The lunatic is on the grass.

The lunatic is on the grass

Remembering games, and daisy chains and laughs.

CONfidence men keep the boob-tuber's on the path.

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death as well...
T%he Silicon Vally miracle solved no known real problem.  Sure we all have PCs on our desks, and have almost instant infinite acceass to computing power and data.  But really, what was a real problem posed in the 60's, 70's, and 80's that the answer 'a more powerful personal computer' was the answer?
Well, you make a very good point.

American industry does not only solve existing problems, but rather purports to solve problems that you don't even know that you have, but which they know that you have and are quite eager to show you that you have this problem, which only their product/service can solve.

It's called demand creation. It's all part of modern marketing.

And it's a phenomenon that we need to take a very close look at, as we can no longer be wanking around with superfluous needs and superfluous fulfillment of such needs. This ain't the 1950s anymore.

Word processing and spread sheat calculations.
Good point. I suggest you turn your machine off now and try to live for one month without any computers. That includes the ones in your tv, cell phone, car and every other applience you might be using. Oh, and then, please cut out any form of communications other than mail because all telephony these days goes through computers. And please stop buying any consumer goods, they were all designed using computer aided design systems.


EXACTLY, all of this!
But now, what is the renewal rate of all those gimmicks?
And HOW will these be supplied when TSHTF?

When peak oil hits, whether it is an undulating plateau or a more rapid fall-off, humans will experiment to reduce energy needs and maintain economic activity to maintain lifestyles.  

One energy reduction strategy is to work from home.  The average worker who drives to work, works in a climate controlled space, maintains a second climate controlled space (home), and drives home, uses some average amount of energy.  Some of those workers whose jobs are information-based work could work from home.  

Knowing that not everyone can do this, what is the average annual energy savings of a worker who works from home over the web as compared to someone who goes to work and does the same work?


Working from home? How many just develop 'other' jobs. Contribute nothing. Spend time doing other things? Aren't part of any team effort? Are easier to fire and terminate since there is zero personal contact?

I used to support "Work at home Terminal" systems. Basically a dialup into our business network. I monitored the usage. IMO it was mostly a waste.

You don't learn from being a single entity out in the wastelands. You don't develop. You become easily expendable.
You learn how to 'cover your tracks'.

IMO worse than JIT.

If you are good at your job? You need to be helping others develop as well. Its called 'mentoring'. Now the goal is to be mum and not let others 'break your ricebowl'.

The only way to grow a good company is to let the workers do it for you. Screw management and their nonsense. Give the rank and file the tools and a mission and get the hell out of their way.

Telecommuting doesn't have the right attributes to grow expertise. You end up hiring 'talent' and 'specialized' contractors, who really could care less about you vision or mission. They just want the bucks.

Been there , seen it. It is part and parcel of why we are where we are. Rhymes with 'outsourcing' and 'offshoring'.

Not as much savings as a worker who lives in an energy efficient home (say minimum German specs to get a building permit), takes Urban Rail to work in an energy efficient office, walks (or takes Urban Rail) to groceries, barber/beauty shop, shopping, etc.

Changing the Urban Form is the most crucial step on transitioning over to a sustainable, lower energy future IMHO.

Working from a Suburban home (and driving to get groceries, et al) is just a band-aid that a small % of workers can possiblt do.

Best Hopes,


[blockquote] humans will experiment to reduce energy needs and maintain economic activity to maintain lifestyles.  [/blockquote]

Have you heard of "the war in Iraq"?


I generally refer to this ideas as the notion that we can email our way out of catastrophe.

Most of the people who telecommute are white collar workers who work in the managment or distribution of nonessential goods and services. If you have a job to which you can potentially telecommute, you have a job that is not likely to last very long once we get to the point where telecommuting would make economic sense.

Not to mention if you can telecommute, your company is probably better off offshoring the job to somebody in India for 20% of your salary.

I apologize if this has already been posted, but William Clark has just published a HUGE PDF that is causing my hair to fall out as I read it.

The structural imbalances in the global economy, which are being exacerbated by the weak US
dollar, mounting US trade deficits, and the emerging liquid fuel energy crisis that will inexorably follow
the peak in global oil production, are not exceptions to the universal law that multiple independent
factors can and will interact to produce new and unpredictable crises.
I'd like it better if it said "the universal law that multiple independent factors can and will interact to produce new and unpredictable outcomes.
Yeah! Watch for the "outcomes" getting up your own arse...

B3, aren't you an English teacher?

If so, could you please translate.

"Watch out, here it comes." ;)
Bendzela? I never learn this form of spelling so I tried to xlate it.

Anyway the pdf looks interesting and I intend to read it completely.

Thank you for the link to it.

Much better than 'News' or MSM chatter by blowdried twits with phony smiles.

Note: I jerked the coax out of the DirecTV sat receiver long ago. I never listen to 'NEWS'( I term it SPEWS) on the radio either. Its either on the internet or by word of mouth.

Frankly I grew rather tired of that 'third person' sitting in my living room spewing its trash and trivia into my audible range.

I do have a TV but its purpose is only to play DVD movies.

Sorry for the rant.

Again appreciate the link.


"Note: I jerked the coax out of the DirecTV sat receiver long ago. I never listen to 'NEWS'( I term it SPEWS) on the radio either. Its either on the internet or by word of mouth."

Funny, I had the same reaction long time ago.

I'm now "out of the loop." Decidedly. (The official loop, that is).

"unpredictable crises.

In other words - Chaos.

Just what the 12th Imam ordered...

I'm still stuck on the irony that "crises" is a prediction, and "unpredictable crises" is an unpredictable prediction.

Maybe it would take an Imam to sort that out.

(The author should decide on "predictable crises" or "unpredictable outcomes")

"Maybe it would take an Imam to sort that out"

I think that might be the general idea among the leadership of IRan - "Kill 'em all and let The 12th Imam sort 'em out."

He is The One who will restore order when man falls into chaos.

No really.

Have you read America Alone? You would love it.
I think we are already familiar here with the Evil Empire part.

But here at TOD we seem culturally ignorant of most other countries and focus on the Western POV - we even had a guest post here on the subject of the Declining Empire a few weeks ago.  

Here at TOD most seem to either be completely unaware of, or choose for some reason to want to ignore, the ambitions of other countries in the world.  

I wonder why that is ????  Seems like bigotry and ignorance is alive and well - maybe even a preference - in the Ivory Towers.

Sorry dipchip - I have not read Styne's book and based on a superficial glance at some reviews I had the mistaken impression he was just writing about the "Evil West."

I will have to read it and see what he has to say about the Radicals of Islam and how the politically correct in the west are intellectual bigots and cowards.

I'm still stuck on the irony that "crises" is a prediction, and "unpredictable crises" is an unpredictable prediction.

Maybe it would take an Imam to sort that out.

I often have this same problem with authors who are claimed to be brilliant or insightful. Sure they can shovel lots of words into a big pile, but when you unpick what they are actually saying it turns out to be nonsense.

What is it with the 12th Imam?

Many time I have seen you post this. And no, I am not being sarcastic.

Just what do you know about this guy that sets you off like this?

Seriously: Iran is made up with several sects , tribes and ethnic types. The 12th Imam is not a universal figure in Iran.

The bulk of the Iranian population is currently teenagers and young adults. Most of them want to do the stuff that this demographic wants to do. Mostly live, have a good time, and make a life.

They arnt all mad old gits who are praying for the end of the world.(your government and clerics seem to hold this record currently)

In fact Iranians tend to be on the bright side of the bell-curve, and have a strong zest for life.

I dont suppose a Persian made out with your girlfriend?

the 12th imam is to Muslims if i understand it correctly. very similar to the second coming of Christ aka the beginning of the Apocalypse.
What is it with the 12th Imam?...Just what do you know about this guy that sets you off like this?

Lol at the second question.  Read the piece by Lewis or ask magic google ...

I love The bulk of the Iranian population - it's their rulers that scare the bejezuz out of me.  

Nice...I downloaded it and will read later.  Where did you find this?
PO.com. Clark is a poster there.
Every time someome writes something like that, the letters "I.D.I.O.T" start flashing in neon in front of my inner eye. The man understands and contributes nothing. The only universal laws are those in physics. Everyone who speaks about universal laws outside of hard sciences is simply too lazy to do a real analysis.  
the letters "I.D.I.O.T" start flashing in neon in front of my inner eye.

If I were you I would consult or stop smoking something which strength cannot be beared.

   "We could also be in deep trouble as a social system. How do we achieve fairness [in rationing scarce energy supplies] when the gridlock between rich and poor already stops us from having an energy policy in this country? We could see democracy entering its death throes."  

Fortunately, there is a convergence between fairness and decreased energy supplies, whether engineered to combat global warming or not.  The free market approach, of course, is to let the well off skim the supplies off the top while the less well off take the hindmost.  This might be somewhat palatable if oil supply followed the classic pattern of supply and demand. Oil supplies tight?  Not to worry, let the free market work its magic and provide increased supply.  

In an energy constrained world which cannot be fixed by supply and demand, rationing is the fair way to go. Besides it will be more effective and efficient than simply draining people's bank accounts or credit cards waiting for demand destruction to kick in.  Unless we don't mind a few winners and a lot of losers, we should institute rationing to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and to take a less abrupt path to what will be a supply constrained world.


I saw it last night. There were not too many viewer which suprised me. Those that were there were all older folks. Not too many of the younger generation. They were over seeing
"Unaccompanied minors" in the same cinema.

What is the theme and possible message of Apocalypto? Reviewers in my opinion got it all wrong. They didn't see anything beyond what they termed 'extreme violence'. The violence was not that bad. I have see bloodier westerns.

The reviewers were mostly negative and they appeared to miss the real issue and theme of the movie. The movie IMO was extremely well done. The actors were superb. The young native American who was Jaguar Paw played his part extremely well.

So what was the message, if there was one, and I think Gibson had a message. To me it showed very many parallels with our culture and society. The reviewers didn't see this because they are not sensitized to apocalyptic issues, read PO here and GW and all the rest. Therefore they reality of the film was totally lost on them.

What was it? A clash of cultures on one hand. Survivability on the other and manipulation of others for your own purposes(read politicians/government/corporations for OWN PURPOSES)..Enslaving people or more precise sacrificing them to the 'GODS' for you own gain. 'Disposing' of them....the guy at the alter with the knife said "Dispose of them". Meaning just take them out back and kill them for Kulkukan had been satisfied with the bloodletting and they could be terminated without ritual.

At the ending the young mayan Jaguar Paw with his wife, young child and newly born baby makes his decision while they watch the conquistadors landing on the beach. I won't tell what he said but its very relevant to what we talk about here.

I recommend the movie highly. I am a avid moviegoer. There is a message in the movie and if you do not understand that then the movie might be to you exactly what the reviewers say it is. Meaningless. Just like our current societies view on the problems coming downt the track at high speed.

Many are now being sacrificed these days for outre or unreal purposes. Third world inhabitants, illegal immigrants and so on. They are perhaps in the same state as Jaguar Paw. We stand at the bottom of the huge alter. The high priests are very high above on that alter where the captives are being sacrificed ostensibly to satisify the Gods. We cheer as the bodies and heads roll down the steps.

One last item. This society of the Mayans and the city there appears to have a high degree of industry. There are many workers/slaves everywhere busy supplying the high caste ones who are at the top of the temple. Look at them. Observe what they do. How they are treated. Look outside the box. You will see the many parallels that I observed.

Conclusion? None. We all know whats happening. This movie will not make much money. Its too close to the truth.


I haven't seen this movie.  I'm not drawn to it, because it falls clearly under one of two categories: racial propaganda, or fiction created from other peopele's experience solely to make money.  
I say this because, the Mayan civilization disappeared centuries before the arrival of the conquistadores.  So the basics are false.  It's true that the Aztecs were in existence at that time, but the ignorance or deliberate obfuscation of the two cultures is disturbing; it smacks of racial prejudice.  
A second objection is that Gibson singles out the native peoples of Mexico for opprobrium, while simultaneously, the Spanish were slaughtering Jews for their god, Henry VIII was about to slaughter papists in order to consolidate his political power, and the German reformation was about to plunge that country into religious war.  If Gibson wanted to show some useful lessons about religion and power, he has lots of European situations to use, but he chose a totally nonsensical story about Mexican natives -- greed and racial pejudice.
ImSceptical sez:
"fiction created from other peopele's experience solely to make money. "

You might want to notify all the book authors that they shouldn't be writing in order to make money, that they might instead do it for free!!!

And then tell the film makers to shutdown as well or else stick to historical facts only, who ever decides that since most history books are replete with errors and omissions and re-writen simply for Political Correctedness(which BTW is racial as well...see it cuts both ways don't it..the racial aspect).

It might be ok to be sceptical but daunting to blame a writer of fiction who might have a good story to tell.

Shhhheeeesssshhhh! Where do you get those halos? Can you get me one?

BTW where was the racial propaganda , since you didn't see the movie , how did you judge that part,,a part that I must have missed. You see it was Mayans killing Mayans. Not any other races involved ..unless you count the interlopers on the galleons and that was at the ending. They hadn't yet enslaved the natives in this flick.

Again the halo trick. Can you teach me that?  

ImSceptical also sez this:

"I say this because, the Mayan civilization disappeared centuries before the arrival of the conquistadores.  So the basics are false.  It's true that the Aztecs were in existence at that time, but the ignorance or deliberate obfuscation of the two cultures is disturbing; it smacks of racial prejudice."

I did a simple wiki for this and found:
"Shortly after their first expeditions to the region, the Spanish initiated a number of attempts to subjugate the Maya and establish a colonial presence in the Maya territories of the Yucatán Peninsula and the Guatemalan highlands. This campaign, sometimes termed "The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán", would prove to be a lengthy and fraught exercise for the conquistadores from the outset, and it would take some 170 years before the Spanish established substantive control over all Maya lands."

Here is the link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization

Also the Mayans still exist , is my understanding. Thousands of them I understand. I will the wiki/google of that up to you since you made the statement about them disappearing. Granted they no longer have the big cities of the past. Perhaps disease and climate had something to do with it. Perhaps the spanish as well?


Probably the biggest turn off to this movie (I haven't seen it) is that it involves human sacrifice.

And of course, <sarcasm on> we of the Western world do not
ask our young folk to "make the ultimate sacrifice".

I think PO and GW are real, but operating on timescales that make them difficult to sell.  We don't expect the world to change completely by next Thursday, but we think it will change in the coming decades.

What role should fear play in motivation?

At the supermarket last week I picked up a copy of Time magazine for its cover story: Why We Worry About the Wrong Things, The Psychology of Risk, by Jeffrey Kluger. It's an engaging but typically superficial article describing how people pay attention to certain potential risks while ignoring many more serious threats to their longevity and well-being. Describing our worries over hypothetical risks such as bird flu, mad cow, Muslim Imams, and contaminated lettuce, Kluger comments, "At the same time, 20% of all adults still smoke; nearly 20% of drivers and more than 30% of backseat passengers don't use seat belts; two-thirds of us are overweight or obese." These are far more real risks that we have real control over, compared to the many threats that get public attention.


I don't know.  People who don't buy PO or GW problems should probably worry a little more ... and anybody who thinks about PO while smokin', drinkin', and driving without seatbelts ... should probably worry about a little less.

CNN was replaying their "We We Warned" piece on Peak Oil for like the Nth time this weekend. I'm wondering if anybodybody out there is seeing converts being made out this CNN piece?
Here is a chart of Jet Fuel use over the past 30 years or so. Interesting that there hasn't been much demand destruction yet. The data only goes up to 2005. YTD 2006 is available from the FAA but they didn't say how many months were included.
I'm sorry.  I tried to follow the instructions on inserting images into comments, but wasn't able to.  Can anyone help?

img src="http://www.flickr.com/photos/67552878@N00/318662459/">

How do I include an image in my comment?

    * First, you must upload your image to a web-accessible server. Several image hosting services, such as Photobucket and Flickr provide space for free.
    * Then include the appropriate HTML code in your comment. For example: .

in this case, the url you provided is to a page, and not a picture:


if I right click on that graph, and say "copy image location" I get:


and I can put the part there without the ?v=0 into an img tag:

Why would there be any demand destruction? The cost of jet fuel is only 10-25% of an airlines operating cost. At the same time household income since 1977 probably doubled. So why would flying be more expensive today than it was in 1977?
Why would there be any problems at all?

Close to 25% today, with cheap ~$60 oil.  Run that nup and the %s change.  Used to be about 10% of costs.  So increase costs by 15% and a high price elasticity of demand market would show demand dstruction.  But air travel, like most oil uses, has low price elasticity of demand apparently.


There is a move towards greater fuel efficiency as older planes are retired, more fuel efficient new ones are brought in and operating procedures revised to save fuel.  But not enough to balance growth in demand for travel.

Like the US as a whole, recession (depression ?) is the most effective means of conservation.

And that is the solution that will likely be forced upon us.


I just read an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch that says Boeing received orders for 1006 new commercial aircraft this year.  The trend in jet fuel consumption will probably continue up even with higher prices.
Although new jet planes will get much better fuel economy (787 dreamliner is supposed to get 70+ seat miles per gallon on a long flight) many of the older planes do not hit the scrap heap, but are shifted to third world airlines and charter service.  So the world's jet plane fleet continues to grow and annual passenger air miles continue to increase
Actually, aviation scrappage rates are increasing. I just saw an observation that only 1/3rd of the MD-80s (most less than 20 years old) are still flying.  Fuel economy was the given reason.

Also, Airbus is losing massive market share to Boeing.  Long time AB loyal Lufthansa just ordered twenty 747-8I, (larger more fuel efficient 747 under development).  The 787 (20% better fuel economy than the 767) is selling at incredible rates.  So some of the impressive Boeing order total is at the expense of Airbus. (And would you like to have most of your expenses in Euros or US $ ?)

Absent a recession though, I expect av fuel use to increase slowly.  Better efficiency being more than offset by more flying.

Which is why I expect a recession.


Actually... buying a more fuel efficient car is the most effective form of conservation. And interestingly enough... the purchase of a new car is an economically very positive process since it adds to total GDP and reduces trade deficits.

The whole idea of a recession based on higher energy prices is based on a flawed analysis of the cost drivers of modern production. Energy is not one of them but labor is. By wasting less money on oil imports and investing it in energy efficient products like smaller cars, hundreds of thousands of new jobs can be created.

I understand that this is not nearly as dramatic as economic gloom and doom, but much closer to reality.


IMHO, the rate of energy conservation via buying more fuel efficient cars & aircraft is not goibg to equal growth in travel demand in a booming economy, much less enough to keep up with oil declines post-Peak Export (even pre-Peak Oil).

Ergo, more effective oil conservation measures i.e. recession.

Oil has almost zero price elasticity of supply post Peak.

Best Hopes for structural changes in oil demand,


U.S. Army Gets It!

"This post is a slightly annotated summary of a poster presentation (Army Energy Strategy for the End of Cheap Oil) at the 25th Army Science Conference, Orlando, Florida, November 27-30, 2006, by three scholars of the US Military Academy at West Point.

The authors are Colonel Kip P. Nygren, head of Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering, Lit. Colonel Darrell D. Massie, assoc. professor in the same department, and Paul J. Kern, a retired four star general. Note that Kern was commanding general of US Army Material Command.

As far as I know, this is the first article (written by the US military officers) that has "end of cheap oil" in the title. I write heavily on oil and military here but that article deserves a special treatment. I will tell you why at the end."

snip ....


Original Paper Here:


Iranian oil analyst predicts that the iran oil production will fall by half to two million barrels per day within the next ten years. According to the article, present production stands in reality at 3.8 million instead of the officially given 4 million. This works out as an anual decline rate in excess of 7%.
The source is the german language buisness daily "Handelsblatt" friday´s edition, the article is behind a pay wall.
I wonder who this Iranian oil analyst was? I would not be surprised to see similar declines in Saudi oil and perhaps Kuwaiti oil as well.

Ron Patterson

Dear Ron,
 It is a statement from the chairman of the iranian energy committee Kamal Daneshyar (iranian production halving in ten years). The analyst (de facto production 3,8 but not 4,0 mio) wants to remain unnamed.
"Cow emissions more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars"

This article based on a UN study relates a lot of misinformation.  First, the methane emitted from cows farting and the dung piles decaying is at ground levels and probably  largely oxidized by sunlight.  Decaying plant matter (hundreds of billions of tons) more likely produce a lot more methane than 1.5 billion cows.  Lastly, if this is really such a problem, why hasn't the science community noted that world atmospheric methane levels have dramitically increased in the last hundred years.  
On another claim, that "ammmonia release from the feed lot waste is the largest contributor to acid rain" is just plain crap.  The world's coal fired power plants and fossil fuel burning transportation  (especially outside the US and EU) dump many thousands of tons of SO2 into the atmosphere every year.  This is known by the scientific community to be by far the largest source of acid rain.  
This article in the Independent should have stated some statistics and used them to refute what is generally known about Greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of backing up its claims of cattle causing atmospheric pollution The Independent prints another heap of propaganda by MSM to divert attention from the real source of the earth's environmental problems: man's commerce related activities.

I think the # of cattle has increased substantially in the last century in the US. Fewer sheep & goats, and more cattle who spend their last months on corn feedlots.

The "corn finishing" step has changed the global bovine methane balance, IMVHO.  No data, just observations on changes since the 1930s.


It is a diversion, but people should remember that cows are also a commercial activity.  Whose cows are producing the most methane - the skinny ones being milked in India to keep people alive, or the fat ones being fed unnatural diets in Kansas to keep people MacFat?  The article is like Reagan's remarks about trees creating more pollution than factories, an excuse to keep the American lifestyle unhindered as it does more and more damage.  If gas were $10 a gallon, we'd go back to eating at home, and our red meat consumption would probably decline because we'd have fewer hamburgers.  So you'd reduce CO2, methane, and heart disease at the same time.
There are two points that I find offensive in this type of article: first, how much does human flatulence contribute? and two, the point seems to be that we should kill all animal life to reduce atmosperhic affects from it's existence instead of reducing our won effect.  

Are humans better than pond scum?

I believe the rumen in cattle is particularly effective in the production of methane.  The article also raised the important issues of deforestation and desertification from expanding cattle populations.

I saw this on OPEC's website this morning, in case there's anyone out there who is young, educated and looking for a feather in their resume cap:

Intern for Oil Supply Project

Project: During the past few years, PMAD in conjunction with other departments in OPEC, has enhanced the supply of databases covering both OPEC and Non-OPEC Member Countries. As part of the future work, it is now required to consolidate and capture new relevant information that is available through our subscriptions, library, etc. in order to organise, improve and preserve the knowledge gained in the last few years.

This project is about pooling all the information currently available and developing a Supply Country Profiles Database that will regularly be accessed by the OPEC Secretariat and its Member Countries. The database will cover approximately 50 countries and include recent technical information, E&P parameters, display a brief summary of the production geology of each country and update all the data sources that are relevant to monitor each country. The candidate will work closely with the Senior Oil Supply Analyst of OPEC.

Time, Duration & Place: The estimated time for this project is 3 months. The project will commence in February or March 2007 and will be carried out during the working hours of a standard work week (Mo-Fr., 37.5 hrs/week) at the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna, Austria.

Tiny Link

USABC Awards A123 Systems $15 Million Battery Development Contract

Source: USABC
[Dec 08, 2006]

SYNOPSIS: Just as EV World's publisher predicted, A123's battery technology is going to be applied to electric-drive vehicles.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Dec. 8, 2006 - The United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), an organization composed of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, today announced the award of a $15 million lithium iron phosphate battery technology development contract to A123Systems of Watertown, Mass. USABC awarded the contract in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop lithium iron phosphate battery technology for hybrid-electric vehicle applications. The contract is for 36 months with a focus on systems that are high-power, abuse-tolerant and cost effective.

USABC is a consortium of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). Supported by a cooperative agreement with the DOE that provides up to 50 percent of the USABC budget, USABC's mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of fuel cell, hybrid and electric vehicles.

A123Systems' contract involves developing the next-generation lithium iron phosphate battery. The goals for this program are significant increases in power, reduction in cost, high abuse-tolerance and long battery life.


Hello TODers,

Do the Techno-Cornucopians in TODland feel we are making appropriate progress?  Is the Hirsch Report progressing smoothly to ease a non-violent transition here in the US?  Are ecological domains around the globe being forced to true multi-generational sustainability by free-market forces?  There is no shortage of bad news to be found, but I would like the optimists to present more facts to support their case that the planet is being managed properly by TPTB.

I have yet to see Yergin outline a program, and associated costs, for saving the polar bear, the remaining great apes, flamingos, and countless other species from extinction.  Does he have a published response to address Human Overshoot and population reduction?  What is his answer to fairly address Third World demand destruction, or what I prefer to call 'Hell on Earth', and his economic plan to prevent it in the First World?  Does he have the genius to create the methods for the future equal to the past 100,000 year culture of the San people of the Kalahari?  I want to read it!

What is his plan to quickly refill the depleting acquifers and melting glaciers worldwide?  What is his plan to solve pollution and topsoil depletion?  How confident is he that Americans are cheerfully fighting obesity and other health problems by gladly abandoning SUVs and then pedaling to work in nearby permaculture gardens?

I would like Yergin to pick a Third World country and remake into a Paradise using his genius--parachute him and his MSM-vaunted staff into Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Somalia, etc--then he can start waving his 'invisible hands' to transform these areas into new Gardens of Eden.

If that is too much for him, then perhaps he would rather undertake the easier task of the coming required transformation of my Asphalt Wonderland: what is his plan for truely sustainable "Graceful Sonoran Desert Living" [trademarked by Az Chamber of Commerce], without fossil fuels, blazing heat & drought, and empty rivers and acquifers?

The Techno-Cornucopians should be proudly pointing to the massive trillion$$$ shifted from military to relocalized permaculture, RRs + mass-transit.  They should be able to talk of their success in eliminating junk snail-mail nationwide and how many trees and BTUs this has saved.  They should be proudly pointing to how Americans are actively engaged in Peakoil Outreach and how even our schoolchildren are thrilled that their parents are conserving so they can have a better future.

Yergin and Lynch need to make explicitly clear to the public that their predicted coming oversupply of FFs and $35/barrel will make everyone rush out to super eco-tech their housing, and queue up to buy the PHEVs that Ford and GMC are eager to build in their newly empty factories.

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

no response?
Hello Pstarr,

Apparently so.


Superefficient, Cost-Effective Solar Cell Breaks Conversion Records

The specifics: a germanium wafer is spun at high speeds and subjected to various gases that encourage the growth of layers of semiconducting material such as gallium arsenide. "We have somewhere between 20 and 30 layers of semiconductor material," explains David Lillington, president of Spectrolab, Inc., which developed the new cell. The resulting layers in one single solar device respond to different spectra of light. The top layer, for example, captures the energy of blue light while the middle layer absorbs green and the bottom uses red. Such triple-junction solar cells are specially tuned to work with concentrated light, in this case the wattage of 240 suns.

FWIW, there was a long discussion of this a few days ago.  
Thanks, Leanan, for jogging me awake on this one.  I missed it completely while wasting energy  cussing into  my beard about all the useless noise on just exactly when  oil peaks.

Of course I gotta play my little role and make a remark about solar stirlings.  Here it is.

Solar stirlings can make 35% thermal efficiency right now (heat in/electricity out)  (E-1), no question. They last a long time and don't cost too much.  But they have to run at about 750C, which is hot, and require a good  concentrator.  Thin glass seems to be the best surface;  dirt degrades it about 20%.   So- not impossible, and worthy of entry into the great international contest for the huge prize to be awarded to the most practical solar converter.  Said contest is in my humble opinion, the only way to get to the true truth re solar.  Forget the PR.  Let the games begin.

I did contact Spectrolab, Inc. a while ago about their triple junction cells with 38.5% efficiency. They are selling them at approx. $2-3/W at 50-200kW quantities. Now all you have to do is to build your own concentrator...

I don't see any use for these cells (which require 250-400 suns to be economically viable) in the majority of residential solar. And it is residential solar that has the largest collection area closest to the consumer available. That alone comes with significant advantages (no ecological impact, no expensive grid upgrades, no I2R losses etc.).

For now wind energy will make the most substantial contribution to renewables. In five to ten years we will see residential solar and probably some industrial solar catch up. But none of this is onf any importance to PO because conservation alone could save ten times as much energy as all renewables will produce in the next decades.

Oil producers shun the dollar
Oil producing countries have reduced their exposure to the dollar to the lowest level in two years and shifted oil income into euros, yen and sterling, according to new data from the Bank for International Settlements.

The revelation in the latest BIS quarterly review, published on Monday, confirms market speculation about a move out of dollars and could put new pressure on the ailing US currency.

Hello TODers,

Many of you will recall my posting from months ago on Sri Lankans factions fighting over control of a mere water sluicegate.  It appears that they are not very good at negotiating.

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

Being an oil and gas investor, I have a keen interest in forecast oil production and its impact on oil prices and the global economy.

After reading Khebab's story about many different production forecasts, I decided to build my own model using Chris Skrebowski's megaprojects database and some decline rate assumptions.  The decline rates vary from 4% for new fields, 7% for mature fields to 14% (for specific field decline rates eg Cantarell).  The model has 95 new megaprojects/workovers and 120 existing fields.

EIA actual data for crude oil and lease condensate production are used.  These data show a first peak of 74.06mmbopd on May05 as the beginning of the down trend.

Scenario 1 is shown below

This scenario assumes that "Other" oil production is from oil fields not on Chris Skrebowski's database and decline at 4%pa.  The "Other" category would also include small field projects and enhanced oil recovery projects.

World productions shows a steady decline of about 1%pa from May05 to Nov10.  The production on Nov10 is forecast to be 70.6mmbopd.

Scenario 2 is shown below

This scenario assumes an optimistic decline rate for "other" at 1%pa.  The production on Nov10 is forecast to be 73.6mmbopd which represents no change from Aug06.

It is interesting to note that based on the forecast data for both scenarios, Saudi Arabia will never produce over 9mmbopd again.

Any comments would be most appreciated!

Please see if you can post this "anew" as I am afraid many people do not back track and this seemly important post may be missed.  Tim

How do post as "anew"?

I don't know...perhaps contact one of the editors or just post it again early on one of the new threads...Tim
IMO, the Lower 48 is the best model for the world, and Texas is the best model for Saudi Arabia.

The long term decline rate for the Lower 48 has been about 2%, about 4% for Texas.

The wild card is Ghawar.  If it is crashing, the decline rate for Saudi Arabia is going to be pretty steep, at least initially.  From 12/05 to 12/06, it's down about 7%.

  I just wonder how many of the fields come in as forecast, for instance, Woodside Petroleum at Chinguetti in Mauritania were supposed to have 750 million barrels with a start production of 75 thousand per day. It started at 37,000 per day and is now down to 33,000 and reserves slashed to 30 odd million.
   Enfield in West Australian supposed to come on stream at 100,000 barrels per day, instead low thirties, same for Exeter/Mutineer. Santos was supposed to have a 500/700 million find at Jurek in Indonesia, now down to 50 million and may not be commercial. As well  many villages covered in a mud blow out and huge costs to clean up.
   And this is from transparent companies. Lots of disappointments coming up I'm afraid
Hello Down Under - reserves growth on the way up, reserves shrinkage on the way down is how I see it.  A dramatic shift in company psychology from wanting to play down big discoveries for taxation and other reasons in the past to those same companies wanting to overplay discoveries today in order to prop up their sliding valuations.

Did you make any progress on your research into reactive power?

      Yes, I have papers from about six electrical engineers on the subject and will do something. It is a highly complex subject and to write something that is technically correct but in basic form is not easy. Prof Michael Laughton, the retired Professor of Electrical Engineering from London University has written a lot on it as well as a couple of Dutch Professors with Masters in Electrical Engineering in Holland.
      What I write will be based on fact not opinion. I am off to the US in three weeks and then Argentina so don't know if I can do it before then. By the way did you see Matt Simmon's comment that extra fuel stocks in the US were probably caused by the increased number of blends needed and the crossover between summer/winter. Will email you
      I don't think there were any taxation reasons for these. Chinguetti was supposed to be 75,000 per day in a February start up and could only manage 37,000 falling even lower than that and Santos may walk away from the Indonesian disaster
Are you talking about the issues of reactive power and wind turbines ?  If so, I would be interested in the dialogue & papers.


      Yes, but not only reactive power, also phase balancing, voltage regulation, generator excitation. telemetry to control the voltage which in many grids uses time balancing to keep within 1%,limitations on power grids and not just for wind but other intermittent forms of generation. It is much more complex than I thought and I wouldn't make a detailed comment unless the comments were backed up by fact
      One of the big drawbacks to solar and wind is with really bad weather such as hit Seattle recently. Many, many people don't appreciate the power in thunderstorms and the damage they cause. I know those big hurricanes down your way are far and away the worst, but violent storms are more frequent and wide spread, about 50,000 active around the globe on any given day.

Saudi arabia increasing cuts in January ..more than quoata cuts.

Its short, so I'll just repost it here.

   Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest state oil company, will cut crude oil shipments to customers in Asia by 8 percent below contractual volumes in January, refinery officials said.

    Dhahran, Saudi Arabia-based Aramco will mostly cut exports of Arab Heavy grades in January, said Asian refinery officials who received notices about the allocations and asked not to be identified because of confidentiality agreements.

    The cut in January is bigger than the reduction of between 5 percent and 6 percent for December shipments, the officials said.

But why are they cutting heavy crude? Light I'd understand, but heavy? I thought that's where all the expansion is going into. Where all the excess capacity was.

Does that mean production of heavy crude is declining or that they just can't sell the heavy stuff to refineries?

I do not expect KSA production to decline by -2% to -3% PER MONTH !  (delta between -5%/-6% & -8%).  So a real cutback in production (mainly) this time IMHO,


Agreed, but there is the whole storage factor - have they been drawing supplies from storage? Want to rebuild storage? Don't know, but I think this is part of the equation.
Here is a more detailed story.  It appears that OPEC has already decided to cut prodcution more:

UPDATE 3-Saudi deepens Asia oil supply cuts before OPEC meet
Sun Dec 10, 2006 4:49pm ET

TOKYO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has told major Asian refiners that it will deepen supply curbs in January versus this month, industry sources said on Monday, just days before OPEC is expected to agree a second output cut.

State oil firm Saudi Aramco told two Japanese lifters and one refiner in Taiwan that it will supply them with about 8 to 9 percent less crude than under their annual contract next month.

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlebusiness.aspx?type=tnBusinessNews&storyID=nT351673&imag eid=&cap=&from=business

There's one cryptic paragraph in the article:

The Taiwanese refiner said all its grades were cut, while a source with a mainland Chinese refiner said it had been granted a request for 5-10 percent less crude than it contracted to buy.

Is it only the Chinese refiner or are the other refiners asking to be let out of quantities they contracted to buy? Perhaps waning demand or capacity?

cut crude oil shipments to customers in Asia
That's Asia, not U.S. Maybe Papa Bush told his buddies in SA to create an oil crisis so that Jr Bush could stay in Iraq longer than the Dems want him to?
Hello Wstephens,

Wasn't Japan cutoff from fossil fuels leading them to attack at Pearl Harbor?  If this is some kind of modern strategic plan to prevent China, and other Asian countries from trying to fill their SPRs--it is a very dangerous strategy.

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

Asian SPRs don't seem like a big deal to me.

What about this -- if SA has to cut production then they don't want to cheese off Jr Bush or else he might "cut and run" from Iraq, leaving Iran to take over (i.e. Shia, not Sunni)?

Now why would Saudia Arabia be cutting more than their agreed upon quota cut? Could it be that they are having production problems?

And this coming on the heels of news that Iran's oil production will be dropping by about 7% per year for the next ten years. Of course their cuts will not be voluntary, like Saudi's. Snicker, snicker.

It will not be long before the peak is obvious to everyone, even the overly cautious ones on this list.

Ron Patterson

    In case you missed my reply to you look further up the thread to an earlier post
   How truthfull is "Who killed the electric car?"?
i have been wondering about this too.
the whole premise of the movie is that the electric car is better and the car company's have a vested interest in not using it.
when really if you look at the whole picture of the issues about the electric car, it's not so much of a good thing. sure it doesn't need gas to run but but it's also a more complex of a machine relying on more fragile items compared to the internal combustion engine based motor vehicles, not to mention the whole public miss-understanding on electricity, it's a energy carrier not a source of energy.

the most likely reason they canned the project is that it was not profitable for them let alone practical one. as for demanding the cars back well since it was still basically in the prototype phase it probably had some stuff in it they did not want other car company's to get their hands on.

Considering the thousands of parts used in a modern engine and automatic transmission then an electric vehicle is much simpler. What has hurt electric car production is the lack of mass production of components.  I'm talking about tens of millions of each component per year.  This will take an enormous investment in capital equipment to pull off.
What has hurt electric car production is the lack of mass production of components. I'm talking about tens of millions of each component per year. This will take an enormous investment in capital equipment to pull off.

The impact of mass production is greatly underestimated IMO. It is why for example, that we have cheap goods filling the shops, it is much less to do with cheap oil. Mass production also means it is more efficient to make goods in one place and  ship them around the world. Contrary to popular belief, localised production will be smaller scale, and therefore less efficient, than long distance shipping.

The other impact of mass production is that companies tend to specialise in one type of product. GM and Ford want to keep producing ICE cars, because that is how they keep costs down, and profits up. If they make some electric vehicles and less ICE, they just end up making both less efficiently, and  profit margin suffers. Companies like this get locked into a product line, even if it has a poor future. They are more likely to go out of business than make radical changes.

It is also why innovations tend to come from smaller companies that grow, or when large companies move into a new market place. They can concentrate their capital into a new product, without the additional cost of making outdated products.

These cost dynamics will still be there after cheap oil, if anything it will be more important to increase efficiency by means of mass production.

UK Wind Efficiency

The actual efficiencies quoted for wind turbines (meaning the fraction of maximum power that they actually deliver) do not look very surprising relative to some discussions I have read: 25% or a bit less.  Were the UK planning estimates reasonable?  Someone else can perhaps answer.

Why is 25% a problem? The efficiency in case of wind energy is not very important. Price, availability and reliability are. Unlike oil wind is not being wasted by inefficient machines.
OK new technology time, first the guessing game, they have to tolk to some folks at Sandia before they can release more.....


I met the guy today, nice guy, I think he has to get patents, etc. etc. done before he feels he can release how his doohickey works, but if it does work, maybe he'll have something.........

Background search on MDS:
Interesting! And like 99% of Whites in california with college degrees, got his degree somewhere else!

Guy is in with the timebomb2000 crowd.