DrumBeat: December 14, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 12/14/06 at 12:22 PM EDT]

Looking for Iraq's oil windfall

In early 2003, proponents of the war in the Bush administration said the entire effort might cost as little as $50 to $60 billion. Iraq was though to be capable of producing 3.5 million barrels of oil a day in short order, with that jumping to 6 million barrels a day or more in a few years' time. At current oil prices, that could have meant over $130 billion a year in oil money.

Now the U.S. will pour over $100 billion this year into the country, torn apart by a bloody three-year war, while oil production remains below pre-war levels. The latest EIA estimate said Iraq was pumping 1.9 million barrels per day.

New controls on publishing research worry US government geological unit's scientists

WASHINGTON: The Bush administration is clamping down on scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, who study everything from caribou mating to global warming, subjecting them to controls on research that might go against official policy.

New rules require screening of all facts and interpretations by agency scientists. The rules apply to all scientific papers and other public documents, even minor reports or prepared talks, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

In Russia, A Secretive Force Widens

MOSCOW -- On Nov. 15, the Russian Interior Ministry and Gazprom, the state-controlled energy giant, announced three new senior appointments. Oleg Safonov was named a deputy head of the ministry. Yevgeny Shkolov became head of its economic security department. And Valery Golubev was appointed a deputy chief executive at Gazprom.

All three men had something important in common beyond the timing of their promotions: backgrounds as KGB officers and experience working directly with President Vladimir Putin when he was a KGB operative himself in Germany or later, when he was a rising presence in the local government of St. Petersburg, his home town.

Energy Also Fuels Japan's FTA Drive

Japan is accelerating its drive toward free-trade agreements (FTAs) with trading partners. To be sure, this Japanese move is being largely fueled by an intensifying rivalry with China over leadership in regional economic integration. But it is also being prompted by growing energy security concerns amid increasingly tough global competition for oil, gas and other resources.

US staying the course for Big Oil in Iraq

Once again, it's the oil. The Bush-Cheney system by all accounts went to Iraq to grab those fabulous reserves. The only way for an overall solution to the Iraqi tragedy would be for the Bush administration to give up the oil - with no preconditions, turning the US into an honest broker. Realpolitik practitioners know this is not going to happen.

European Energy Strategy for Ukraine

The new century put the old problem of reliable supply of oil and gas on the radars of the world’s most developed economies.

Russia Sets Deadline for Sakhalin-2 Repairs

Russia has set a deadline of Feb. 1 for Shell's Sakhalin-2 project to repair environmental damage or face the loss of its operating licenses, the Ria-Novosti news agency said citing a Russian federal agency.

IEA warns Russia may stunt region’s oil sector

Nationalism is added to the oil mix: Western producers are pressured to adapt to new terrain

Russia Could Top World Bank '05 List for Gas Waste

PARIS - Russia, the world's top natural gas exporter, was likely the world's biggest producer in 2005 of natural gas flaring -- which wastes energy and contributes to global warming -- the World Bank's global gas flaring reduction partnership (GGFR) said on Wednesday.

Chevron's Brazil Output May Grow to 110,000 Bbl/Day

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, may produce up to 110,000 barrels a day in Brazil by 2015, an amount equal to 4 percent of its current output.

Coming Soon - Escape from Suburbia!

I’m sure there are very few of you out there who haven’t seen The End of Suburbia. Well, its sequel, Escape from Suburbia is on its way, you can now view the trailer over at You Tube and it does look really rather good.

Review - New Peak Oil Film "Crude Impact"

Book review: Richard Heinburg's The Oil Depletion Protocol

So we are addicted to oil, but what are the larger consequences? Maybe our dealings abroad lead you to think war. And why not? A struggle for control of oil resources has been going on since industrialized nations set up the infrastructure to utilize fossil fuels. But as Richard Heinberg digs deeper in The Oil Depletion Protocol, published by New Society Publishers, he points out that oil has become so entrenched in our everyday existence, from the pump to fertilizers to computer chips to ballpoint pens, that the only solution for a sustainable society is to reduce dependence.

Suburbia: Running on Empty?

Robert Bruegmann argues in his new book that urban sprawl will continue because people like it, but reviewer James Howard Kunstler counters that the petro-dependent suburban era is just about finished.

The Right to Pursue Powerdown: Seeking alternative lifestyles post-peak

Days are numbered for 'cheap oil fiesta'

Cheap oil is the underpinning of everything from suburban sprawl built on car culture to just-in-time trucking to factory farming that relies on petroleum-based fertilizers, author James Howard Kunstler says.

An Interview with James Howard Kunstler

I believe we will see an emphatic reversal of the 200-year-long demographic trend of people moving from the rural places and small towns to the mega-cities. I'm convinced that our big cities will contract substantially, even as they densify around their centers and waterfronts -- and I also believe that maritime transport is in for a big revival in the post-cheap-energy era. I think agriculture will come much closer back to the center of our economic life. I think our smaller towns and smaller cities will do better than the big ones. The process is liable to be rather disorderly and tumultuous.

Newly rich Asians to treble greenhouse gas emissions in 25 years

More Steorn: Tech firm pushes 'free energy' claims

A controversial technology company this week reiterated a series of audacious claims that have outraged scientists around the world.

The Dublin-based engineering company Steorn claims it has created a perpetual motion machine that uses a series of weights and magnets to generate "free energy". The system is claimed to break the laws of physics by producing more power than it consumes, and could potentially lead to the development of everlasting batteries.

Solar-Powered Hydrogen Generation: Rust-based solar panels could make hydrogen cheap and efficient.

This cartoon won an award:

Executives Urge Action to Cut Dependence on Foreign Oil

WASHINGTON — More than a dozen prominent business executives and retired military officers, including the chairman of FedEx and a former commandant of the Marine Corps, are lobbying Congress and the White House to undertake a comprehensive campaign to reduce reliance on imported oil.

OPEC to cut oil output by 500,000 bpd from Feb 1

ABUJA (Reuters) - OPEC has agreed an oil output cut of 500,000 barrels per day, or two percent, delayed until February1 when the northern winter is ending, Qatar's oil minister said on Thursday, sending oil prices more than a dollar higher.

By postponing a further reduction until peak demand has passed, OPEC is responding to importer nations' concern that a cut now will drive prices higher and hurt their economies.

Options Trader: Wednesday Morning Ideas

What? Oh it takes 6 weeks for the tankers to get here? OK -- in just 16 weeks then! Then you will all be DOOMED -- $100 oil is just... What? The U.S. only absorbs 25% of that production cut? OK, OK -- in just 46 weeks then! DOOM! Peak oil! Mu ha ha!

I really don't know who's sillier, the people who buy based on this logic or the analysts who support them...

Bewilderment as Russia's winter shrivels in face of global warming

Gennady Yeliseyev, deputy director of the state's weather service, the Gidrometeocentre, said that since November 20 Russia has experienced the warmest temperatures since records began in the 1870s.

"Average temperatures for the first 10 days of December are minus five degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) and the current abnormalities range as high as plus 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit)," he said. "This is the weather we'd normally have in late October."

Tom Whipple - The Peak Oil Crisis: EIA - The greatest failure of them all?

Another world is possible ... but how?

I believe it is far more likely that some form of global crisis – whether an abrupt manifestation of climate change, economic disruption around peak oil and declining availability of fossil fuels, expanding armed conflict, or increased social unrest due to growing global inequalities – will be necessary before we identify ourselves as global citizens and act as if humanity and the Earth’s collective fate requires a great transition.

San Jose will have innovative solar plant: 'Thin-film' cells don't use silicon

FYI, I am going to be traveling over the next 5 days and probably unable to post. I plan on producing 2 essays from my travels. One will be to interview my friend, earth ship owner, and solar energy advocate Jerry Unruh, who was my first major Peak Oil influence and is an advocate on environmental issues. The other will be to review Mick Winter's Peak Oil Prep, which I plan to read during the trip (between mountain climbing and visiting with Jerry).
I visited the website of the author of the book that Robert refers to. www.beyondpeak.com

The site and author appear to be very doomish and warn visitors that their lack of preparedness is a danger.

That being said I wondered that with the poll some time back showing that better than 1/3 of the voters here were of the doom mentality just how many were taking it very seriously, enough to actually do something.

That being said then I wonder why of all those here I see only a few who have stated on the board that they have made plans to weather the peak oil scenario.  

Todd, myself and a few others who I don't recall.Thats what I count.

This to me is amazing!! Many take it for granted that their will be a very destructive endgame to peak oil yet only a few have made actual preparations to any meaningful degree to survive that endgame? That suburbia will self destruct. That the grid might not make it.

Does this mean they just give lipservice to the situation?
That possibly they have given up already?
That they don't think its possible , no matter what, to survive it?

Again...amazing. And some state outright that they intend to do absolutely nothing.

If what I state is true or partly true then how does anyone see a future for us? If the most informed users in the world are at this site and only a few are willing to make preparation to survive?

I wonder if the subscribers at Dieoff and Latoc are of the same attitude? Very few in number making real preparations?

What WT says about imports/exports, crashing oil fields and trashing most of suburbia? Thats right scary scenarios to contemplate, yet most are planning on doing nothing?  


People may be making preparations without talking about it. Not everyone feels the need to advertise their every move.  
Yep.  I've done a reasonable effort at an urban powerdown over the last two years, but I don't talk about it that much because it's not that extreme.

My position on whether and how to "prepare" is gradually clarifying.  I felt a desperate need a couple of yours ago to figure out what to do, which meant I had to figure out what was going to happen.  It was very frustrating to realize how cloudy the crystal ball still is.  Most of the web sites and books devoted to preparation seem to have staked out a position based on little more than faith.  The contributing considerations for post-peak preparation include things like urban/rural, slow/fast, money/no money, cooperation/roving hordes, etc.  There is a legitimate case for each of these, and few rational reasons that I can see to prefer one over the other.

So the approach I have decided on is a combination of cost reduction, awareness, flexibility, and developing response options for various scenarios that can be progressively implemented as the situation clarifies.  This approach means that I have in a sense triaged my life.  I have decided that the most effort should go into being able to mitigate moderate scenarios.  I can not, at my age, move to a farm and develop within a couple of years the skills needed to survive a major social crash.  I can, however, plan to move to a farm if things get tight in my current urban situation, in time to develop grid-free heat and power and put in enough of a garden to make life easier - assuming the survival of some infrastructure and cooperation.

I will not plan for a major crash because I believe the cost/benefit ratio of doing that is too low, the opportunity cost is too high, and the cost of a false positive (preparing for a major crash that doesn't come) exceeds what I am willing to pay.  Also, I am under no illusions about the probability of my long-term survival in such a situation.

I will keep my finger on the pulse of developments, and mentally and financially prepare myself for the possibility of making fairly large changes in my life if they become necessary.  The kind of decline I am interested in preparing for will give at least six months warning, and will be gentle enough to allow me to reorganize during the first six months it's happening.  Anything worse than that is too problematic for rational preparation.

That's about where I stand.  There are some things that are obviously good things to do, like reduce expenditures/debt, buy PCF bulbs, live close to where you work, get a bike, etc.  But for the rest...I'm mostly just trying to keep my options open.  

I do find that peak oil has sort of infused my life in fairly subtle ways.  I've written about how I decided I did need a car, though I seriously weighed just getting an electric bike.  But I chose a small, reliable car, that I expect to drive until I retire or until the end of the age of oil, whichever comes first.  

I used to be a real technophile; if not for peak oil considerations, I'd probably be thinking about buying a plasma TV or some such thing.  Now, it's not even on my radar.

I've had the same reaction to the techno stuff, with one exception.  I'm a major addict of tube-driven uber-high-end stereo.  While that has hampered my financial ability to prepare in other areas, when I sit down and listen to some majestic-sounding Bach, Beethoven or Taj Mahal it does much to soothe away the cares built up by reading this board :-)
"some majestic-sounding Bach, Beethoven or Taj Mahal"

Just a fantastic juxtaposition - I love it!

- sgage

Get the Sony 40" LCD.  It is Energy Star rated.
Whether you package it flat, thin, or energy star'd... it still represents the same conundrum: more stuff .



I used to think I needed a larger home.  Now I realize I don't.  I need less stuff.

Same here...my wife and I thought about getting a larger house when we had our second child in 2002.  By that time, I had started researching Peak Oil pretty heavy and we decided to stay in our 1800 sq. ft. house, fix it up to be efficient, refinance the mortgage to 4.15%, cut the mortgage to a 15 yr instead of 30 yr., buy some decent bikes, buy a Prius, I realigned my 401K to a different strategy (heavier in developed international, midcap value), bought a little gold/silver, connected with a KC Peak group, and developed more friends of like-mind.

I have also bought efficient light bulbs, canvas grocery bags, have my "emergency" kit stashed away with about two weeks of food/drink supplies, books on gardening, camping, and survival.  Next year we are going to research permits and installations for solar panels on the house.

Lastly, we have a couple of friends with land out of town about 30 miles that are willing to put us up if need be for short term duration.  They have cows, chickens, pigs and stream close by.

Plasma TV's aren't really quite as power-hungry as some folks think. For example a 50 inch set might be rated at 480 watts but that's its peak draw. it might typically be crusing at half that. They generally do about as well as an LCD set of equivalent size. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I have a fifty incher and a house full of high-efficency light bulbs. My electric bill rarely exceeds 25 bucks a month... and that's with an old 'fridge.

Okay... I do walk around in the dark more than most...

Over the last 3 years we have expanded the vegetable garden each year and added a chicken coop and blueberry patch. Last year I purchased a 34 acre tree farm to add to our 9 acres of pasture. This year we added solar hot water and solar electricity (grid tie). I believe battery technology will improve before adding battery backup. Am ordering a book from MOFGA on building a root cellar and one on winter vegetable growing. We have traded in our vehicles for more fuel efficient ones. I cut our own firewood. That said I feel no where near being prepared. The spirit is willling but the body after injuries and age is balking.  
Wow, I wish I was you.  Can I come and live with you if things get really bad ? :)
I am afraid there is going to be an extended family wanting to do the same thing.

I do feel a bigger problem which will drag us all down is society's unwillingness to face up to what is coming. As many have expressed here our country has an incredible amount of debt as do many individuals. When the chips are down we aren't going to have the capital to invest in alternatives and the Chinese aren't going to lend us more money.

i have a idea.. supliment your income by teachng what you learned to others.. i would be willing to pay :P
You seem fairly well down the road to self sufficiency. Enough to adapt to what comes.

I hear what you say about age. This morning I am putting the last of my R-19 up on the inside of the gable ends of my loghouse. This is on top of 1/2" of polyisocurinate rigid board and 1/2" of outside woodsheating. I made is extra thick since its the north side gable end.
So I work awhile and rest a while.I'm a lot slower than I used to be.

I have always wanted to dig a root cellar. My basement suffices somewhat but I like to have a place in the summer to store perishables for short periods.

I could box off the northwest end of the basement and super insulate it for a workable root cellar.

Best regards,
I also need a milk cow or two and some chickens.

Chickens are a cinch. Build a box below where they roost. Cover the box with a wire mesh removable covered cap. Makes cleanout easy.

I'm just about where you are, prep-wise, over here in NH. Garden (Fedco seeds!), berries, chickens, cutting own firewood (and skidding it out with my big Percheron mare), etc.

I too am finding that age is taking its toll - especially with regard to firewood procurement. I'm thinking that maybe it's a younger man's game. However, one learns to pace one's self. But I confess I do feel a bit creaky sometimes...

- sgage

I am expecting some desperate younger extended family members to do the heavy lifting when the time comes. My mate is a real slave driver. She can supervise. We'll see how that works out.
Just have to get everything ready
khaos and sgage;
  Have you got any ideas for further reducing that Firewood requirement?  We approached it from three directions in our 1980 Home in Stoneham, Me. (White Mts, near Fryeburg)

  • Passive Solar & Heavy insul. design(no surprise there)

  • Russian 'Masonry' Stove, highly efficient, lots of heat mass.  Holds (Mason  Steve Busch, now installing Tullikivis)

  • Cool Tube  'Geothermal Air Supply' - Uses the 4" Drainage tubes around the foundation to also allow fresh air to enter the house.  Natural convection can create a decent draft, or it can be augmented with a fan.  As long as it travels far enough, and well below the frost line, you will get 'warm' air in the winter (45 or so fahrenheit), and cool air in the summer, and will be assuring a decent O2 supply, which can be lacking in Fire-heated homes.  Also can reduce 'negative pressure' which drags the cold air in cracks and blasts it in when doors/windows open.  Very little info on the web, save one that cautioned about molds developing.. if drainage is properly set up, this should be OK.

Bob Fiske
missing line under Masonry Stoves..

"Holds its heat for a day or more, after a basic 2-hour burn.  It also used part of it's interchamber design to allow for a bake oven, which was strange for Mom, since it was long after the fire was down, and there was nothing to 'Turn On' (or off.. and you had to be SURE you set that timer)


I don't think there was any way to add insulation without tearing the house apart? We have vaulted ceilings in the living / dining area so there isn't room for more. We have the standard R19 in the walls and R35 in the ceiling. The bedrooms aren't vaulted so I was able to double up the insulation there. If I build from scratch I would be using 2x6's for extra wall insulation and R70 in the ceiling.

The masonry stove sounds interesting. Just using a Jotul 602 now. Small but does the trick. This is a small house. We only use 3 to 4 cords of wood a year. But using less would be even better. May need extra floor reinforcement for all the weight.

Have been thinking about how to add space if we need it for ageing parent(s). That would be super insulated.

Our house faces south with lots of windows. Great for the solar systems and good passive solar in winter but heat loss at night. Do you think tripple pane windows are worth the cost? We have been thinking about replacing the double paned ones.  
Thermal blankets are cheaper and better.  In a crisis putting them up at night and taking them down on a sunny morning will seem a worthwhile effort.
I'm with jografy (sp?)..  
  They also call them 'window quilts', and are priceless.  My mom swears that even with a whisper-thin bedsheet over a window, she doesn't 'feel' the cold (prob the radiative loss) of passing a dark piece of windowglass.  I'm also considering a simple(ish) design of reintroducing 'Shutters' on the outside that are made of Rigid Foam, and shut tight, probably with controls on the inside somehow, so as to further 'incentivise' the process.

But yah, glass is a 'Lossy' part of the house.. solutions aren't that difficult, just a bit of a bother.


Getting firewood for a season is the best way to appreciate propane.

That said, in answer to your question, have you considered an outdoor wood fired boiler?  They are expensive, but can really cut the labor involved in wood heat.  One of the big labor gains is wood length-up to 4 foot, so less sawing and carting pieces.  No splitting involved. And with the big firebox, you can burn even small stumps,  Plus cleanup is a breeze, literally.  And the big health plus is NO woodsmoke in the house.  

I have heard very good reports about the masonry stoves. I have a small Jotul stove, and burn about 3-4 cords a year. I have a log house, so my insulation options are limited.

- sgage

I'll confirm this with my Mother, but our fairly large house was using something like 2.5 cord.  The present owner says this is the cheapest house he's ever had to heat, and he used to live in NJ! (That says more about the passive solar and insulation though, since he mixes some NG heat in with the wood)
If the house envelope is at least pretty tight, consider ways to do the cool tube idea. (After the spring, anyway)

  I live in Portland, now, but am going to try a 'retrofit' by running an air intake manifold around the base of the basement walls to absorb the ground heat, before entering the home..   It's not the first project on the list right now, so I won't be reporting on it soon.

  The Masonry stoves are great!  You can really be cutting your woodload in half or better.. Like anything truly worthwhile, these are pricey (maybe $6-10K), Heavy, and will be paying back steadily and for a long time.

I'm probably as well prepared as anyone can be for this having started about six years ago.  I live way out in the sticks and I've got gardens, fruit trees, a greenhouse, root cellar, egg-laying ducks, a milk cow, solar energy, lots of hand tools, cook stove.  The problem with preparing is most other people are going to do nothing.  Do you think you are going to be able to hide out in your little homestead being well fed, warm and cozy while everyone else is freezing and starving to death?

As I see it we are likely to see an economic collapse here in the US within 2-3 years.  You'll have lots of unemployed young men going around looking for some kind of work to do in exchange for food.  If you've thought ahead and already got a small farmstead going like I do you may be able to give some of them some chores to do in exchange for some food, at least for a while.  As things get worse and worse and there are more and more desperate people you'll be overwhelmed by the people begging and stealing from you.  Don't think they can't find you either.  What are you going to do, shoot them all?  And of course all your relatives will want to come and join you too.

I basically enjoy what I'm doing and would probably do it anyway even if we weren't about to collapse.  Farming is rewarding and keeps the mind occupied.  But let's be realistic about what's coming down the pipe here.  The lucky ones are probably those who are going to pass away peacefully and naturally in the next five years or so.  Learn to accept the fact that you may not live to a ripe old age.


I agree with your comments 100%, particularly the last paragraph. I sure don't have any illusions. I don't do what I do because I think I'm "preparing" for anything. I do it because I love the life. I embarked on my path long before I ever heard of PO or whatever. It's just what I want to do.

I live in an area where most all the folks around are quite competent at useful skills. We're pretty used to helping each other out from time to time, and I guess we mostly like each other. No matter - we get along. Among my nearest half dozen or so neighbors, we have just about every tool and every skill you could want. And lots of horses - what I call the "horsepower of the future" :-)  I just want to fit in with that, and be friends with everyone.

Meanwhile, I keep gardening, maintain the ol' chicken fleet (I guess most people would call it a "flock", but I think of them as "the fleet"), and manage my woodlot.

Nice and warm today in NH - sunny and mid-50's! No need for a fire in the woodstove until after sunset...

- sgage

Problems with others after the breakdown.

As I see it there will be plenty of land available. There will be many folks in the rural areas who won't survive and they sit on lots of acres. Since thats so then those with the will and the means can and should be able to survive if they wish on land that is of questionable ownership. I don't think someone will come up and demand you move if we are all just trying to survive.

I don't see any ruling authority that will be in control expect possibly the one sheriff we have in my county and he won't be going looking for trouble. He will have far more other more difficult problems, if he is still around and thats likely debateable.

Remember back in Thoreau's time many did what was termed squatting. They occupied questionable land. Besides there are thousands upon thousands of public land.

Now if they don't want to bootstrap themselves up but want what you got then AFAIAC they will have to kill me to get it.
I won't be handing it over easily. Let them go get their own piece and farm it. If they wish to cooperate then they have to have something to offer except a hungry mouth. Even then they are going to have to be extremely careful how they approach others for the others will be expecting trouble.

This is the hardest part. Learning if you can trust a stranger. The stranger can just cut your throat in the night after you have given him a place to sleep.

So its a troublesome question. I worked hard for what I have. No one will take it from me.

Its as we used to say "root hog or die".

There didn't seem to be any good place to stick this in so I'll do it here.  A few years ago I posted an essay n another forum about approaching the future from a risk management point of view.  The intent was to provide people with quantifiable metrics.  And, from these metrics decide what to do and how to prepare.  My rationale was that people get caught up emotionally when they simply talk about what may come.  I grant that a lot of it involved reading tea leaves and making guesses and we all know humans aren't too good at foreseeing what may occur.  However, even with those caveats, it's better than nothing.

What I see of TOD posters indicates that there are three views of the future:  Extremely serious problems are likely to occur; Any problems that occur will occur over a reasonably long time period sufficient to adapt as necessary; There won't be any serious problems.

The advantage those of us in the first group have is that we have gotten over the gloom and doom/grief so many people experience when they first consider that life may not be the same in less than a decade.  If nothing earth shaking happens, fine.  I think we all like where we are and what we're doing.  If something really bad does happen, we know we will have more than an even chance of coming through it.

Airdale, that was a good opening post.


In case anyone wants to see the risk managment essay, it's at  http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showthread.php?t=146676

There are also a ton of comments by others.

Thanks Todd. A good read.
Todd -a year ago or so you listed some  soil amendments/fertilizers you would stockpile. Our soil is acidy clay & I get lots of horse manure/sawdust compost. Thanks.      
 As things get worse and worse and there are more and more desperate people you'll be overwhelmed by the people begging and stealing from you.  Don't think they can't find you either.

That's correct, especially about the stealing.  Imagine going to harvest your garden or hay the back forty, after all your work, to find the goods gone.

As I've said before, don't jump rural for just PO.  I don't see the end of the world scenario, but things will become different and get tough. And the last place law enforcement will be is rural.  It can hardly manage the current cost of gas, and we now can hardly support their tax share.  If it does get worse, recall that land titles are only as good as the government's ability to protect it.  The old dictum  "strong fences make good neighbors" will fall with a pair of wire cutters.    

German Sheapards and 30-06's make Strong Fences.....
A few years ago, circumstances brought us to our present location, which although not originally intended as such, provides a good deal in terms of what is being discussed here as a good "retreat" post PO.

No chickens, no cows, not even blueberries, but a big organic garden and 10 acres of woodlot with two streams, a dead end private road, and two neighbors who are good with their hands, machinery and hunting (bow and rifle).

I'm not much of a handyman, and as a city boy I've never hunted, so I've made it my role to provide our little compound with vegetables, something that I was able to do this past summer in spades. The neighbor's kids were fascinated by the vegetable garden, and I often sent them home burdened with root vegetables and squash for their dinner table. I've still got some winter squash (butternut) sitting here in my office and some greens in the freezer.

However, any idea that we are going to be able to survive as a "liferaft" while the rest of society goes completely to pieces is pure fantasy. All it will take is a group of armed men in a pickup truck to pull up the driveway one morning before dawn and drag us out of bed, and that's the end of that story. Think that can't happen? Look at Europe in the 20th century. In fact, my wife's great-great-grandfather in Germany was murdered in his house by two men who came to steal the food that he had stored away. My wife's grandmother, who is still alive, was a child and watched from the other room as it happened.

In order to have any power over your situation post-peak, or post-catastrophe, or post-financial-meltdown, IMO, you have to be part of a larger social organization that can influence the behavior of others. How was this done in the past? Well at least one way was to form a local militia. And when the local militias cooperate or are controlled centrally (regionally or otherwise, not the case in Iraq, unfortunately), then you have order and security and life goes on.

Iraq is a good, if unfortunate, example - no central control, no societal organization and the result is chaos without personal safety for anyone. Try growing vegetables and being left alone under those circumstances!

If you truly want safety and food post-peak, it may help not to be in an urban environment, where you are completely dependent on others for the basics of life. You will also likely be more comfortable if you are prepared with a wood stove, no debt, some sustainability skills and something of value to trade with your neighbors.

This, combined with being part of the effort to form groups and to organize, may result not only in survival, but in some degree of comfort (if not prosperity by previous standards), under the new circumstances.

"No man is an island, no man stands alone."

I am as prepared as reasonably possible for a retired rural resident with bad knees and limited income.  I hope the fall will be slow, but I have had a great life!
Don't assume people here are doing nothing.  Some of us have children and jobs which must go on as normal, until an appropriate time can be agreed upon to make a prudent and timely change.  It's one incredible dilemma and at our house we converse about it daily.  Our previous "retirement" dream has been scrapped.  We have picked a plan B, but hope we have a couple years to act on it which will be timed with our youngest graduating.  We will try to also create somewhat of a "safe haven" for our teenagers, even though we are advising them to pursue their own goals for now. I could write a book to answer your question, and it would make quite an interesting book or movie, and I'm sure all the rest of you have interesting stories to tell as well. We are somewhat excited about our Plan B, in that it may be a better life with the value changes we have made.  Isn't that partly what PO is all about?  In the meantime, I'm collecting books to keep me entertained until I'm 100, just in case Amazon.com goes out of business.  And walking and biking a lot, something that has also increased my quality of life.  (We already have a large organic garden and backyard chickens.)
I recently bought a ten-acre farmette 5 months ago in south central Illinois. I'm in the process of making the house more energy efficient and preparing for spring planting - grapes, blueberries, paw paw trees, asparagus, etc.. I've also planted the forested part, about two acres, with wild onions (ramps),and three different types of mushrooms. I'm five miles out of a small town (the county seat) in a isolated area at the dead end of a gravel road that is surrounded by some pretty dense forest.  Game is everywhere - turkeys, dear, pheasant, rabbits, so putting some meat on the table shouldn't be too difficult. I'm a little rusty with the bow, but I was once an avid hunter and archery instructor so it should come back with practice. I'm not as ready as I want to be, but I feel I got a good start in an excellent location.
One year after "crash" wild game will be pretty
depleted.  Two years after damned near extinct.
BTW--avid hunter in the Adirondacks.
It seems to me that most of the 'doomers' are jumping the gun!  Unless you're young, you'll probably be dead of normal causes before all this 'romatic' stuff comes to pass.
In regards to the myopic statements by the `Options Trader' above, he perhaps should note that

1.    His/her car runs on gasoline, not crude oil, and gasoline inventories are steadily falling below seasonal trends

2.    OPEC made most all of its November cuts in the Far East, but then redistributed those cuts to the West in December.  So it's just affecting the US.

I don't think the 'Trader' will be saying `ha,ha' in a few months the next time gasoline goes up past $3.

Are the refineries trying to boost other products now? Where are the heating oil supplies standing?  There are customers in Maine paying up to $3.
OK, Bloomberg says #2oil is only a little down..

 U.S. supplies of distillate fuel, including heating oil and diesel, dropped 445,000 barrels to 131.9 million barrels, leaving supplies 0.2 percent below the five-year average, according to the Energy Department. Gasoline inventories fell 174,000 barrels to 199.9 million barrels, leaving supplies 4.1 percent below the five-year average.


Bob Fiske

I call $3.60 for the 2007 high.
The way the dollar is going, you might need to specify whether that's 2006 or 2007 dollars.

The, what, 12% ?, drop vs the Euro so far this year may mean a lot of pressure.

Hugo Chavez, the House of Saud and Vlad Putin lost tons of money because of that, and it will have to be dealt with sometime somehow. World reserve currency, all nice and well, but not when it costs oil producers billions of dollars (or Euro's). Unless the dollar recovers, and it's hard to see what would cause that (apart from warfare), it'll likely come down hard.

Add that to the housing crisis, and there's no telling what the dollar will be worth a year from now. It might as well be $6 a gallon.

As far as I know, the dollars slide was only dramatic the day after Thanksgiving, and has since been hovering within a few % of that rate for the last 3 weeks.  Its only at an 18 month low vs the Euro after all.  Not only that, most analyst feel the dollar is declining because they expect the Feds to cut interest rates in the next couple of months while both Japan and the Euro zone are expected to have increasing interest rates.

The reports of the Dollars death have been greatly exaggerated.

you should invest your entire life savings in govt bonds    if there is any left over that is from your oil shale "investments"
And as we can see elsewhere in this thread, the dollar is easily worth its entire weight in metal. When the greenback turns brown, melting will become much more lucrative.

The dollar may not be dead yet, but maybe it's time to start wondering who pays for the respirator.

The other news on non-silicon photovoltaic generation is from Spectrolab who have just achieved a record 40.7% efficiency using a triple junction stacked cell operating at a concentration factor of 250. The significance of the concentration factor is that the cells only have to cover a 0.4% of the collection area, saving 99.6% of the cell area of  non-concentrator cells, needing only cheap plastic Fresnel lenses to concentrate the light. Even with the cells being much more expensive per unit area there is great saving in cell costs per unit power. A 25mm² (5mm x 5mm) Spectrolab cell behind a 80mm x 80mm lens at 40.7% efficiency will generate 2.6W which would require a 127mm x 127mm area of Nanosolar's CIGS cells at 16% efficiency,  640 times the area, to produce the same output.
You're about the 10th person to post that news story.  :)

The longest previous discussion of it was here.

One question: does the 8-10 c/kwth include the capital cost of the mirrors/lens plus the mechanism to move them to follow the sun? For comparison solar trough plants, featuring most of the same components (like for example INDITEP project) are already achieving efficiency in the 20-30% range, but costs are in the 20c/kwth zone.
640 times the area
You best check your math. How about 2.5?
No, 670 is right, 5x5mm is 25mm² 127x127mm is 16129mm²
Concentrator systems consist of tiny cells spaced out behind relatively large lenses of mirrors and cover only a fraction of the collection area . The CIGS systems are not concentrators and have to cover the entire collecting area and being much less efficient need much more collecting area.  
Comparing the areas covered by the respective PV cells (to get  the same watts) is meaningless because you are concentrating sunlight on one and not the other. One could put a concentrator in front of a CIGS cell as well, no?

Factors important in comparing solar PV:

  1. Cost per watt (including concentrator optics)
  2. Watts per unit area (of collector, not just PV cell)
  3. Watts per unit mass of collector
  4. Lifetime
Depending on the application, the relative importance of these can vary. Spectrolab's business has been driven by #3 (space applications), so they are going with their strength. If you have a small roof and want to maximize wattage, #2 becomes more important. In general, though, #1 is critical. I'll believe a company's figures for this datum when they start selling it. My money (if I could invest) is still on Nanosolar.
No it is not meaningless because that is how the two systems have been designed to work. Although I have done some work on photoeffects in semiconductors somewhat like CIGS, I am still a bit uncertain here but I don't think you could increase the optical flux too much in such a very thin amorphous CIGS films without saturating. The relatively low absorbance in the single crystal Spectolab cells is a disadvantage in that it needs a thicker layer of semiconductor but it does allow more photons to be absorbed before saturation.

Of your four factors

  1. Cost/watt. We will have to see but plastic optics such as the Flatcon system are already being made and Spectrolab will have a good handle on the costs of their existing substantial triple junction cells production. Nanosolar are still building their factory.

  2. Area. There may be some places where area is important   and there Spectrolab will win.

  3. Spectrolab may have started in space applications like Sunpower Corp but they are now clearly aiming at terrestrial applications.

  4. Lifetime.  Spectrolab have a track record, Nanosolar do not.

This is not to say that Nanosolar will not find a large market especially on roofs but I think that in large purely power generating installations Spectrolab have a good chance. I wish both companies well.
After thinking a while about the 250 times concentration leads me to ask, what about the other 59.3% of the energy not converted? That level of solar heat concentration must create a spot that is over 1000F. The article didn't mention how the cell is cooled so the material doesn't vaporize. Most of their economic argument is rooted in a concentrating system of either lenses or mirrors. A cooling system failure at that level of concentration would be a financial disaster.
That was my first thought when I came across these systems but in fact they run cooler than normal non-concentrator systems with no active cooling. The tiny cells are placed on an aluminium heat spreader plate that covers the whole collecting area. Because they are so small they have a very high periphery to area ratio and the heat is easily conducted radially away. With the dimensions I gave 6.5W falls on the cell 2.6W is taken away as electricity and 3.9W needs to be dissipated.

It seem surprising at first but those that have designed power electronics will know that 3.9W in a TO220 power transistor which has a die of about this size can easily be kept cool with a 120mm square un-fanned heatsink.

Have a look at the Flatcon system

Although the latest record of 40.7% is still a lab sample Spectrolab have been supplied over a million triple junction cells with efficiencies in the mid 30's and have a contract to sell half a million of then to Australia to create an 11MW system. In that they already have a well established manufacturing plant producing very similar cells in moderate quantity their claim to be able to bring this sort of performance to market in a year is not that hard to believe.

According to Spectrolab comments at a recent VC conference their next target is 45% and they consider it doable -- and that's not even the theoretical limit.
RE: Executives Urge Action to Cut Dependence on Foreign Oil

Why would the NYT put "foreign oil" in its headline, while the Financial Times reports that that is precisely what the meeting rejected as the key point?
Someone didn't pay attention? Someone has an agenda?


Bush urged to break US oil dependence

The Bush administration should act decisively to break America's dependence on oil, said a group of leading US business executives and senior military officers in a report presented on Wednesday to the White House and Congress.

The bipartisan group, which includes the chief executives of Fedex, UPS, Dow Chemicals and some of America's best known retired generals, urged Washington to recognise that "pure market economics will never solve the problem" of US oil dependency.

The report poured cold water on the Bush administration's goal of reducing America's dependence on foreign oil, rather than on oil in general. It urged Mr Bush and the new Democrat-controlled Congress to set up a plan to halve the American economy's oil-intensity by 2030.

George W. Bush has repeatedly identified "energy independence" and immigration reform as two of the issues most likely to attract bipartisan support following the Republican loss of control of Capitol Hill in mid-term elections last month.

"Events affecting supply or demand anywhere will affect consumers everywhere," said the report, brought out by the Energy Security Leadership Council, a think tank.

"Exposure to price shocks is a function of how much oil a nation consumes and is not significantly affected by the ratio of "domestic oil" to so-called "foreign oil".

Senator Richard Lugar published an interesting letter to the editor in this weeks Economist. He identified oil dependence as the nation's (US) biggest national security threat. While this is nothing new to TOD baccants (Greek for participants) it is absolutely great that an old-style conservative Republican is recognising the problem and publishing mainstream magazine.
  If we are to achieve mainstream acceptance of peak oil before TSHTF,  we need conservative allies or we will be marginalised like global warming as a "liberal" isssue. That propoganda by Exxon Mobil and its paid whores set climate change back 6 or 8 years, and we can't accept their labels on an issue of geology. I think security is the issue that everyone in the US can agree on, because it is real. Economic security and physical security coincide here, because importing 70% of our main transportation fuel is insanity.

New rules outlaw melting pennies, nickels for profit

WASHINGTON -- People who melt pennies or nickels to profit from the jump in metals prices could face jail time and pay thousands of dollars in fines, according to new rules out Thursday.

Soaring metals prices mean that the value of the metal in pennies and nickels exceeds the face value of the coins. Based on current metals prices, the value of the metal in a nickel is now 6.99 cents, while the penny's metal is worth 1.12 cents, according to the U.S. Mint.

Strange, I thought I owned my money. So now it is a crime for me to melt my own money?
When I was 12, I filed down some pennies to the size of dimes. I used them in a Coke machine and got a coke for 3 cents. I went back to my junior high, bragged about it, and was reported. The police came to school, hauled me in, and told me that I had committed a federal crime: Defacing government property. So I guess it isn't really "your" money.

For me, I had to pay back the 30 cents. This was quite a sum for me at that time, and I learned a valuable lesson: Don't brag about your crimes. :-)

Naughty, Naughty.... Money clipping for gain is High Treason...

You want to be careful with regard to coin clipping:

From the proceedings of the Old Bailey:

Ralph Markland, Elizabeth Markland, Ann Markland, Robert Gregory, offences against the king : coining, 13th October, 1680.
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Ref: t16801013-6

See original Trial Summary:
Alternative account of this trial: u16801013-6
Crime(s): offences against the king : coining,
Punishment Type: death,
(Punishment details may be provided at the end of the trial.)
Verdict: Guilty, Not Guilty,
Other trials on 13 Oct 1680
Name search for: Ralph Markland, Elizabeth Markland, Ann Markland, Robert Gregory,
Crime Location: Saint Anns Black Fryers
Associated Records...

Original Text:
Ralph Markland , Elizabeth Markland , Ann Markland and Robert Gregory were Indicted for Clipping, and Filing of his Majesties Coin, the lawful monies of England, viz. 100 of Elizabeth shillings, 100 of King Charles the first his Shillings and one hundred of his Half-Crowns The Evidence against Raplh Markland swore, that he not only saw him, but often helped him to Clip several parcels of moneys to the vallue of 100 pounds, or thereabouts; and that he had given him 22 shillings of Clipped
See original monies for 20 of Broad, and thereby had made Exchange for considerable sums. Several Clipping Blocks were likewise upon search found in his House in the parish of Saint Anns Black Fryers and two pair of Sheers for Clipping, lately made for him by a Cutler in Southwark found hid in the Nettles in Georges-fields, and that he sold several parcels of melted Silver to a Goldsmith in the Mint. Against Gregory it was sworn that he bought the Clippings of Markland, or that he received them to melt down, being a Refiner by Trade and that he supplied him with monies, the same being attested by a Servant of Marcklands who had not only carried Clipped monies to him in Exchange, but likewise saw his Master weigh and deliver Clippings to him. Against Elizabeth Markland the Evidence was, that she filed several shillings to the number of 20 or thereabouts, but against her there was but single Evidence. And against Ann Marckland none; so that after the Court had given the Jury their Charge punctually to every circumstance, they only found Ralph Marckland Guilty of the High Treason, and acquitted the rest.

[Death. See summary.]

There is a machine at the Frasier Historical Museum in Louisville that takes your pennies and stamps them into oval medallions.  I wonder if they know its illegal?
What is more interesting is how gets penalized in these things. People can't do this, but the Fed can inflate the money supply so that this happens in the first place? Somehow this isn't a crime though...
"Defacing" has been illegal for a while ... at least that's what my mom told me as I melted pennies.  (An oxygen/propane torch ... what a toy for a kid.)
defacing is illegal but that doesnt stop our government from debasing the currency
Of course you don't own 'money' in the form of coins and bills.  They belong to the issuing agency.  Otherwise, they would be worth only their value as metal or paper.  Now, in the case of coins, the metal content is worth more than denomination, but bills wil always be worth nothing except as guaranteed by the issuing agency.  Think of it this way, how much is an Iraqi bill worth?  The issuing agency is not a creditable backer ov value.
Think of it this way, how much is an Iraqi bill worth?  The issuing agency is not a creditable backer ov value.

What?!? but that's where I invested all my money ;-)

Damn!  Now what am I going to do with that solar kiln I just ordered....??
Break the law.  What the Secret Service doesn't know, won't hurt 'em.  ;-)
I dunno, don't wanna end up in Gitmo for a chunk of copper.  I still remember getting in trouble for putting pennies on the railroad tracks when I was around 10.  That was cool, though, you could hear the wheels hit them and they got smushed very nicely...
You've probably seen those gizmos at tourist locales where you put in a dollar plus one penny, turn the crank, and press out some medallion from the penny. Interesting that Elliot Ness and the feds never go after the manufacturer.
Very much like that mess with the meatpacker Swift the past couple of days.

Molly Ivins had a novel take on the illegal immigration problem.  Enforce the law and imprison the employers. Watch the problem end.


I don't want to melt them, just electrolytically purify the copper out of 'em.
Save your 1982 & earlier pennies, worth about 3 cents each.

In the middle of 1982 (that year is a mix) they switched from pennies that were 95% copper and 5% zinc to 97.6% zinc and 2.4% copper.

One can drop a 1982 cent and figure out which one it is by sound.

Only about 400 saved so far :-)

One day it will be legal to melt.

I noted that minor base metal coins kept their value during the German hyperinflation.  One could give change for a silver mark coin in bronze pfenning  Both had some intrinsic value, even if 100 bronze pfenning did not trade easily for 1 silver mark (I dod not know yes or no).

Later I will stockpile nickels, if things look like they are unraveling.

Best Hopes for coin collectors :-)


Link to Coinflation, http://www.coinflation.com/

A nickel is worth 1.7 cent more than a quarter. Great site.

If you need money, draw your own!

JSG Boggs

May be illegal in some countries

Somehow...somehow...this just must be germane to
Hothgor's above comment about the deth of the
Are we already losing the bidding war for declining petroleum exports?

Following are the four week running averages of US Total Petroleum Imports (mbpd) for the second week of December, along with their year over year changes.  Note that Khebab's graph of Total Petroleum Imports showed about a 5% long term year over year increase in imports.

 2006:  11.8 (-9.9%)

 2005:  13.1 (6.5%)

 2004:  12.3 (16%)

 2003:  10.6 (-3.6%)

 2002:  11.0 (7.8%)

 2001:  10.2 (6.3%)

Some predictions & outcomes, all based on the mathematical Hubbert Linearization (HL) method, which has been proven to be accurate in predicting the post-peak cumulative production for both the Lower 48 and Russia:

Deffeyes picked 2006 as the most likely start of the world decline in crude + condensate production, and world crude + condensate production is down.

I picked 2006 as the most likely start of the Saudi decline, and Saudi production is down.

I predicted lower world exports this year, and we are seeing lower exports.

In other words, we have an accurate triple play for the World/Saudi/Export predictions.

We have been meeting US demand by drawing down product inventories--by about 57 million barrels since the start of the first quarter.

What struck me is that while we have been drawing down inventories and seeing lower imports, crude imports into China are up by by about 30% and product imports are up by about 20%, year over year.  There are some SPR issues, but the point is falling US imports versus increasing Chinese imports.

Let's assume that when a tanker unloaded a petroleum cargo, that we loaded "stuff" on the tanker in exchange for the energy delivery.  Worldwide, who can offer the energy exporters the best "stuff" for the lowest cost?

Key point:  for US petroleum imports to even stay level, we have to reduce consumption, in terms of bpd, in volumes equal to our annual domestic production decline, and we have to reduce our consumption by that amount every single year.   I think that we are soon, as in right now,  going to be in the same position that Africa was in earlier this year--facing price based, forced conservation.

BTW, it looks like crude oil demand in IEA countries exceeded (production) supply by about 1.3 mbpd in October--IEA inventories fell by 41 million barrels in October.  

I predict that the world is going to shocked!, shocked! by the energy crisis next year, highlighted by confirmed simultaneous declines in Saudi and Russian production.

Which is exactly what OPECs stated goal was in their production cuts.  I guess you missed the numerous news articles over the last few days where many OPEC nations came out and said that the oil supply was now more or less in balance and that no further production cuts would be necessary.
and though, they cut it...
Yeah.  I've got a gut feeling about this.  Let's
say Russia could theoretically push production to
12-13 mbd...why?  It get's to a point where they
see the hand writing on the wall, kind of in the
collective mentality point of view, and reason that
doing so will only limit short term prices.  So
hold production at 9-9.5 mbd, let prices run, and
your better off in the long run.

You're well ahead of domestic consumption, prices
for exports stay high, and you don't needlessly over-deplete
your fields in the short term.  Sounds pretty
logical.  Maybe Saudi thinks the same.

We're probably already managing the tail.

Inventories are at a very high level even from an historical stand point.  Distillates are at the 5 year average and only gasoline inventories are significantly below the 5 year average.

Perhaps you should go and re-read this discussion where it is very clearly outlined that there has been no drop in final blended gasoline to the consumer.  The difference this year is that we now have mandated ethanol content, displacing our needed pure gasoline refinery use.

And isn't that 13.1% spike in '05 Katrina induced?
2005:  13.1 (6.5%)

The 13.1 is for mbpd.  The % increase from 2004 is actually average for the five year period.

Oops!.. sorry about the "%". I was at work and not paying attetion. Anyhow I meant to not include the percent sign. BTW, WT... while I do not necessarily agree with you on the specifics of peaking, I do agree with your posts in general context. For example I had never really considered the hit that importing countries would experience as the exporters respond to internal demand. This was brought to my attention by your most informative writings on this site. Please keep kicking us in the ribs:)
IMO, the stuff is about to hit the fan. . .
IMO the "stuff" has already started hitting the fan.  

The funny little "sceptics" who deride the preparations of others are still deep in the Mass Delusional.  

They will be the first ones standing on street corners holding the "Will bend over for food" signs.


Ah, a true 'end of oild is doom' cultist.  Except that oil is nowhere near the end.  It's just going to become more expensive.
It's just going to become more expensive.

A typical middle class american.

I work a large large company making consumer products. When oil prices rise, so do gas prices. Consumers have less money to blow on crap like digital cameras and flat screen tvs.
My company starts laying off people.
I'm out of a job.

Now its just not me that's out of a job, there's tons of us out there looking for work now. My chances at getting rehired are pretty slim.

Now I'm on the dole. If I had a mortgage I'd be struggling to pay it right now. My car gets repossessed.

Finally after a year or two I loose my house. Now my wife and two kids are homeless with me. Perhaps we move in with the mother in law. I still can't get decent work.


Now remember this is just 3-5 years post peak. It only gets worse as oil prices won't ever come back down. The only thing limiting their meteoric rise is demand destruction ie depression.

Yeah so oil gets more expensive. Its going to suck big time. And I haven't even gotten to the die offs that will/may come.

I think everyone is missing a step that is at least theoretically possible, even in a place like the US.

What happens when the economy really tanks? Yes, people sit around trying to do 'business as usual' for a while, but not forever. People soon get jack of it. They riot. They march on Washington. They kill the Romanovs (in Russia). They at least end up with FDR. Etc. No more business as usual, if they are lucky.

The point is, you being out of a job, homeless, without food, etc., this is in fact not a direct result of Peak Oil, but rather of the economic system's reaction to that. In other words, capitalism will be a magnifier of Peak Oil's initial effects. You will suffer not because of Peak Oil, but because there will be no productive investment following a rash of bankruptcies and a general collapse of confidence.

But there will still be materials that can be used to house, clothe, feed and employ people. Yes, they will be expensive and a lower standard of living may be required, but that 'required' standard of living will probably be objectively higher than what you will be offered by capitalism post-Peak Oil! It is at least technically possible to say: 'Peak Oil - time for a societal triage!'

Of course, I do not think this will happen in the US, but this is because of your currently dysfunctional government (see what it allowed to happen to the people of NO), and a generally paranoid cultural aspect that shows up even around these parts (do European doomers imagine themselves having to shoot all comers to defend their stash of tins, game and grains?)

That's the sad part. It isn't a law of nature that the US has to go down like that. Or perhaps I should say, it wasn't. It might be, now. Who can tell?

Good luck.

What if I had titled it "a typical middle class German" and made him a software programmer at SAP?

Could you have skipped the gratuitous anti-American rant then?

Rethin: IMO, Franz has made an insightful link between the lack of oil depletion preparations in the USA and the apparent high level of fear and distrust between American residents.
I repeat my original comment. And I'm neither American [I'm Canaidan], nor middle-class [I'm retired, and living on a small pension with no car, an old style tv in a small apartment and I'm an anarchist].
That's funny - "a cultist."

It's clear you are skeptical only because you have very little understanding of what Peak oil means for this civilization.

Be a good skeptic - challange your own naive assumptions.  

Maybe start with  the silly "oil is nowhere near the end" - the problems begin long before oil is "near it's end."

to skeptic: I didn't say you were deep in the Mass Delusion as a rhetorical device.  I'm serious.  Once you look beyond the assumptions of the Herd you will understand the meaning of the term.  
More expensive gasoline is simply going to modify behaviour for quite a long while [ten plus years] before serious economic affects begin to affect life.  Why do I say this.  Oil will ve available and therefore gasoline will be available.  It'll just cost more.  For the disadvantaged, there ill be easy mitigation strategies such as car pooling, trip planning, replacement of behemoths with more fuel efficient vehicles.  
I deliberately used the word 'cultist' because they are addicted to the vision of the rugged individual living on his own plot in the wilderness, able to handle all life's vicissitudes on his own; IMO a person with such a vision is highly unlikely to be able to sustain the actual experience.

Besides in any situation with as much mass as the oil business, the changes won't happen that quickly, thus not panicking the masses.  Their life style will slip slowly, so they'll just grin and bear it, until something breaks in maybe thirty years.  

They will be the first ones standing on street corners holding the "Will bend over for food" signs.

This is especially funny when one considers that the end of cheap oil will bring with it the end of cheap lubricants!

LMAO !!!  Nevert thought of that ;)
Agreed, can't help but feel that Katrina increased imports above normal. And cumulative imports YTD are down -1.3%, very different to the -9.9% that Westexas quotes (4 week average for 2nd week in December, IIRC).
Westexas, why would we lose the bidding war when gasoline is relatively cheap at $2.20/gallon?  We may start losing the bidding war (to whom???) at $8-$10/gallon, but not before that.  Remember that Americans spend close to half trillion dollars on Christmas presents and spend less than $300 billion on importing oil.  When gas gets really expensive, people will buy more fuel efficient cars and spend less on Halloween decorations & other frivolous things.  But they will still buy all the gasoline they need.  Note that even at $10/gallon, the cost of gas is a small fraction of the total vehicle ownership cost.

Having said that, I agree with almost everything else you say.  I think the peak was last year and we are on the down slope.


US total energy consumption per capita is twice what it is in the EU, and vastly greater than China's.  This alone puts us at a competitive disadvantage.  

IMO, the root of the problem is that a lot of the other importers can match or beat our bids for petroleum in currency terms, while effectively, in most cases (especially China), offering better and/or cheaper "stuff" in exchange for the petroleum.    

I think that the bidding wars have only begun.  As Deffeyes said, let's hope that the wars are not fought with nukes.

The first consumers in the crosshairs will be lower income Americans (and lower income consumers everywhere), but demand destruction will gradually, or perhaps not so gradually, move "up the food chain."

Let's assume two car owners.  One has a fully depreciated vehicle that only costs him about 10 cents or so per mile to drive, before gasoline.  Another driver has a newer car than costs him 40 cents per mile to drive, before gasoline.  

Assuming 12,000 miles per year and 20 miles per gallon, at $2 per gallon, our poor driver would spend $2,400 per year.  At $4, $3,600 (50% more).  At $6, $4,800 (100% more).

Assuming 12,000 miles per year and 20 miles per gallon, our richer driver would spend $6,000 per year.  At $4, $7,200 (20% more).  At $6, $8,400 (40% more).  

These same dynamics are why Africa is where the forced conservation has shown up so far, but they are just at the leading edge of the demand destruction.

I have I mentioned ELP today?

What ultimately matters - as far as winning the bidding war is concerned - is this:

  1. What is the after tax per capita income of car owners in US versus after tax per capita income of car owners in other countries?

  2. How much does it cost an average car owner to buy the basic necessities of life (food, water, shelter, utilities) in the US versus the car owner in other countries?

When you consider the above two questions, I bet an average American is in a far better position to win the bidding war for oil.  Of course, this doesn't mean that low income Americans will not be forced to conserve.  But note that nominal income of low incomes Americans in often above the nominal income of "successful people" in other countries.
And when it comes to buying crude in the open market, nominal income (not purchasing power parity) is what matters.

And there are other factors.  Millions of poor people in Asia & Africa use kerosene for cooking.  What happens when kerosene becomes too expensive or scarce?  How will the resulting social unrest affect the economies of those countries and their ability to pay for oil?


What ultimately matters - as far as winning the bidding war is concerned - is this:

What is the after tax per capita income of car owners in US versus after tax per capita income of car owners in other countries?

How much does it cost an average car owner to buy the basic necessities of life (food, water, shelter, utilities) in the US versus the car owner in other countries?

- both of these will change, to the worse, before long.  When Americans cut into those frivolous purchases, that means a loss of income to some Americans.  As the snowball grows, income will decline for many.  Meanwhile, as energy prices rise, food prices will rise, along with utilities and other essentials, further cutting into "disposable income", thus further cutting into purchases that support most of "the economy".  The problem with the comment above, like Stuart's article on "why we drive", is that it assumes that "everything else stays the same", which it won't.  As JHK says, we'll keep doing what we're doing until we can't, and then we won't.

I think that the way to simplify the debate is to assume, for the sake of argument, that we didn't have currencies.  

When a tanker arrived in a port, we would barter with them for the energy.  

What goods could we offer them in exchange for energy?  

Could China offer them goods at the same or better quality and at a lower price?  

What could we offer?

Financial Management
Computer Chip Design
Education (University Level)

Consumer Electronics and Automobiles are dominated by Asian interests, but what other technology do we import?  Yes, we export a lot of our manufacturing, but, most of the engineering is still done here in US.


"Grain is the currency of currencies"   Dan Morgan, "Merchants of Grain"
The United States became a net importer of food in 2005. Check the USDA figures yourself if you don't believe me. And the trend line is solidly towards greater and greater imports over time.

The annual data for the last several years is available in this Excel spreadsheet and all the import/export data is available from the USDA Economic Research Service Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States (FATUS) web page.

Yes, grain may be the currency of currencies but if you don't have a surplus to trade, what do you do?

But that is in Dollar amounts.

What if you calculated it in calories?

Excellent point.  And US cereal grain production is still dependent on exports.
You are absolutely correct.  As some people scale back on their expenditure, others will lose their income.  Also, as oil becomes more expensive, food and utilities will become more expensive.

But the crux of the matter is that this applies to those who bid against us more than it applies to us.

At least we don't have chronic shortages of electricity, frequent blackouts and "load-shedding", physical scarcity of water that makes life miserable for millions, insurgencies and secessionist movements in parts of the country, hundreds of millions of dirt poor people with no sanitation, inefficient infrastructure, etc.  
India & China have all these problems and some more.

At the end of the day, the American society is far better equipped (relatively speaking) to handle $200/barrel oil than those who bid against us.


And there are other factors.  Millions of poor people in Asia & Africa use kerosene for cooking.  What happens when kerosene becomes too expensive or scarce?  How will the resulting social unrest affect the economies of those countries and their ability to pay for oil?

As fuel prices soar, a country unravels

A good WSJ article, if you haven't seen it.


I am betting on 2007 being the year when we will know for certain what is or is not going to happen.

This will be THE wakeup year. IMO.  Others can and will disagree , as always, but for me thats when I start making further really hard decisions. Some that I have put off for awhile.

If gas spirals out of control? If natural gas does the same?
If the exporters fail to meet demand? If it becomes very obvious that we have reached PO?

All this is what I will be watching closely and if the proof is there then I will be  starting to seriously hunker down and make far more purchases with the endgame in view and coming fast down the tracks.

2007...the answer.

airdale--thats when I go find a couple of mules and some harness. Replace my missing anvil and forge I let someone use. Refresh my farrier skills. Buy several hundred lbs of anthracite coal.

P.S. Its not that you need to grow everything. Its that you have a skill that will be in demand. You barter for the rest,after the dieoff of course.

>airdale--thats when I go find a couple of mules and some harness. Replace my missing anvil and forge I let someone use. Refresh my farrier skills. Buy several hundred lbs of anthracite coal.

Bituminous coal is better for forges. Anthacite is really hard to ignite. Anthacite is better for heating since it burns longer and cleaner. I would recommend buying in tons not lbs. Its still realitively inexpensive. You also need to have flux on hand too.

Although a forge is useful, it doesn't compare to a TIG welder, vertical mill and lathe. Electricity can always be generated on premises using steam or converted engines powered by a gasifier.

Coal is an interesting story for me.  A couple of years ago I bought a couple of bags of farriers coal at our farm supply (in northern California) - just to have on hand.  This year I dedided to get some more.  The farm supply said, "Sorry.  We can't get it any more."  They didn't know why.  Maybe this is a heads-up.  Maybe not.


'I bet an average American is in a far better position to win the bidding war for oil'

In a way, that is almost too funny to be depressing. What does the average American have to offer an oil exporter - I mean, the Japanese can export high value electronics, the Germans high value machinery, and the Chinese low cost goods. What is the average American going to offer - a credit card? A share of their McMansion? Half of a SUV?

And since smash and grab isn't going that well in Iraq, I'm pretty sure that guns and planes are not a good way to acquire oil.

expat and westexas,
The US annual exports in 2005 were $1.275 trillion (see http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/gandsexp.pdf).

Ofcourse, we import more than we export and therefore we have a trade deficit.  But the popular characterization of US economy as a hollowed out financial shell is not true.

Japanese government finances are far worse than US (their debt/GDP ratio is 130%, ours is 80%).  The figures for continental Europe and UK are not much better.

And when the US consumer stops buying plastic Santa Clauses with his credit card, it will cause more job losses in China than in the US.

And don't forget that the US is the only power that has a military presence in the middle-east.  If the Saudis don't give us preferential treatment as far as oil is concerned, we can threaten to leave Iraq.  The US military is the only thing that prevents a Sunni holocaust in Iraq.

And China's food production is crashing after reaching a peak in 1998. They are already the biggest importer of wheat in the world; they have 1.3 billion mouths to feed. And now their population has higher expectations.

At the end of the day I would rather sit here holding the cards I am holding than be anywhere else.



There is virtually no bigger doomer than Jay Hanson, and I think that he agrees with you about the US being a good place to ride out the post-peak period.

But one of (the many) things that bothers me about the US economy is that it is my understanding that the majority of Americans live off the discretionary income of other Americans.  Combine that with the debt load, and it's not a pretty picture post-peak.

Post-peak all I can envision are scenarios of ugliness to varying degrees for the United States. I think that mass unemployment of two kinds will be one of the main results of peak oil. First there is cyclical unemployment (as we had in the Great Depression) from a downturn in the whole economy. Second, and even tougher to deal with, is structural unemployment that reflects a decrease in demand for particular kinds of workers.

How the U.S. will deal with high and rising unemployment in the future is, in my opinion, unknowable at this point. I would be very interested to see some suggestions for constructively dealing with large-scale unemployment.

In any case, your Economize, Localize, and Produce in the nondiscretionary economy program is the best advice anybody can have.

Good to hear from you Don.
Don't be a stranger.
Thanks. It's good to be back.
A few things the US has going against it:

  1. crippling personal debt load: the government debt balance may not differ much (though it does in absolute terms, and it depends on what you count), but Europeans are nowhere near negative personal savings (except for the Brits).
    this would seem to indicate much more risk of internal strife, and that is probably why we now have 2:

  2. a plethora of recent legislation (potentially) directed against its own people: Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, Bankruptcy laws, president taking control of National Guard, Halliburton building detention camps etc

  3. hundreds of millions of (hand-)guns stored in closets, basements and dashboards, which is unthinkable in EU and Japan, but looks just like Iraq or West Africa, and we know how nice life is there

  4. dependence on private transport: if trains keep rolling in EU and Japan, transport merely gets harder, in the US it will become impossible; this goes for people and, likely more importantly, for goods

# crippling personal debt load: the government debt balance may not differ much (though it does in absolute terms, and it depends on what you count), but Europeans are nowhere near negative personal savings (except for the Brits).

This is true.  However, this will remain manageable as long as interest rates remain low.  If interest rates rise suddenly, consumer spending will crash.  This is negative not only for the US but also for those who rely on exporting to the US.

# a plethora of recent legislation (potentially) directed against its own people: Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, Bankruptcy laws, president taking control of National Guard, Halliburton building detention camps etc


# hundreds of millions of (hand-)guns stored in closets, basements and dashboards, which is unthinkable in EU and Japan, but looks just like Iraq or West Africa, and we know how nice life is there

The culture in US is so different from the culture in Iraq and W. Africa that any comparision between them is meaningless.  A lot of people in Canada and Switzerland are also heavily armed.  So what?

# dependence on private transport: if trains keep rolling in EU and Japan, transport merely gets harder, in the US it will become impossible; this goes for people and, likely more importantly, for goods

The US produces 5 million barrels of oil a day.  It can produce around 2 million barrels of ethanol and biodiesel a day without starving its people.  Oil imports will not fall to zero overnight.  There is more than enough oil in the US for transporting goods and for transporting people to work in small cars.  What we don't have is enough liquid fuel for everyone to drive a SUV and go on vacations and trips.  There will be a lot of economic pain as the society transitions to small cars and plug-in hybrid cars.  But somehow we will muddle through.


The US produces 5 million barrels of oil a day.  It can produce around 2 million barrels of ethanol and biodiesel a day without starving its people.  Oil imports will not fall to zero overnight.  There is more than enough oil in the US for transporting goods and for transporting people to work in small cars.  What we don't have is enough liquid fuel for everyone to drive a SUV and go on vacations and trips.  There will be a lot of economic pain as the society transitions to small cars and plug-in hybrid cars.  But somehow we will muddle through.

This statement only makes sense if you expect the US to reach an 'undulating plateau' of 5 million barrels.

In the real world you will deplete from 5 to 4 then to 3, 2, 1 until you finally get to zero million barrels a day.

This statement only makes sense if you expect the US to reach an 'undulating plateau' of 5 million barrels.

In the real world you will deplete from 5 to 4 then to 3, 2, 1 until you finally get to zero million barrels a day.

This is correct.  If memory serves, the Total US HL plot shows that we are something like 80% plus depleted.  Also, as production falls and as water cuts frequently increase, the lifting costs (in dollar and energy terms) increase, so the net energy falls as the fields continue to age.  A case in point is Prudhoe Bay, which has a 75% water cut.

The only way we can even keep imports stable is if our consumption falls, in barrels per day, at the same rate at which our production is falling, and we have to do the same thing every year, just to keep imports stable.  In any case, as Jim Kunstler says, we are about to get a new negotiating partner--reality.

Most of the domestic oil, in the event of a crisis, such as sharply reduced imports, will not be available on the open market. Government and industry take almost all. The small part that is for sale will be worth more than gold, and priced accordingly.

It's too late in the game to switch the entire auto fleet to small cars. you need an infrastructure to produce them, that doesn't exist, you need the political will, that doesn't exist, people need the money to buy these cars, which they don't have. Electric cars: same story.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

not to mention any remaining domestic production will after the crash most likly only be used to maintain the military infrastructure.
Most of the domestic oil, in the event of a crisis, such as sharply reduced imports, will not be available on the open market. Government and industry take almost all. The small part that is for sale will be worth more than gold, and priced accordingly. It's too late in the game to switch the entire auto fleet to small cars. you need an infrastructure to produce them, that doesn't exist, you need the political will, that doesn't exist, people need the money to buy these cars, which they don't have. Electric cars: same story.

It is not the lack of political will or infrastructure but lack of consumer demand that is hampering the production of small cars. Demand for small cars will grow with gas prices. And you don't have to switch the entire fleet overnight. 16 million cars are sold in this country every year; $500 billion are spent on Christmas gifts; billions are spent on Halloween parties; billions are spent of remodelling kitchens, finishing basements and landscaping. So clearly people have the money (or credit). Can we reduce demand for gasoline by 5% every year until eventually the fleet is mostly electric? I guess so. Time will tell.

This statement only makes sense if you expect the US to reach an 'undulating plateau' of 5 million barrels. In the real world you will deplete from 5 to 4 then to 3, 2, 1 until you finally get to zero million barrels a day. Correct. So it boils down to whether the rate of decline will give us enough time to make a transition. Suyog
The 'end' will probably be after you've died of natural causes.
Food is not the same thing as cereals.
China's per capita increase in consumption of the foods that people crave - meat, fish and fruit - over the past thirty years is unprecedented in history, and still continuing as fast as ever.
We're still in fairly good position for food production, a critical barter item.  We can take some of our imports as fertilizer.  We would have to eat less meat and deemphasize ethanol.  
The US is not devoid of desireable exports, we just do not have enough of them to satisfy our desires/needs for imports.

Aircraft (civil & military are both the best)
Hollywood movies
Software (even if we sub to India a %, we get the value added)
Medical Equipment
Chemicals (with NG falling a problem)
ICs (see software)
Insurance & other financial services

The only major US $ assets I own are part of a rent house, and shares in one US oil company (rest Canada, etc.) and US based goods exporters.  I even keep the bulk of my "cash" savings in GIM (closed end bond fund of foreign treasuries, 40% EU, 40% Asia, etc.).

So I am NOT optimistic BUT I also realize that the US has residual economic strengths.  One example, the 99 day Airbus CEO was honest enough to say that it would take AB at least 15 years to catch up with Boeing products.  Honesty that kept him from meeting his 100 day goals.

Best Hopes,


WT...is it possible that some shipments of crude are being traded via the bartering system...one million barrels for some electronics, aviation, military equipment...all under the table?

Just curious on your thoughts.

US total energy consumption per capita is twice what it is in the EU, and vastly greater than China's.  This alone puts us at a competitive disadvantage.

There's a flip side to this in that since we use so much and waste a decent amount too, we probably have a lot more room for efficiency/conservation than Europe.

The other interesting question is that if the world economy slows due to high oil prices, what happens to China which is now supplier to the world?  Do they fall less hard, just as hard, or harder?  

I'm guessing harder, because going from full speed to slowdown is an adjustment that's bound to crack some eggs.

I hear this quite a lot on TOD and I have to ask the question. How much of our infrastructure is built around our consumption patterns and how much energy will it take to change our infrastructure to a more efficient one??

i.e public transportation vs. cars.

Also what will happen to all the inefficient SUV's. Will they just disappear one day? If people can't trade in their SUV's because no one wants them how will everyone be able to afford them??

Won't there be massive profiteering?? I was at a local Toyota dealership and they wanted $6k over sticker for a Prius!!

We have been meeting US demand by drawing down product inventories--by about 57 million barrels since the start of the fourth quarter.

Edit button?

Edit button?

If you're very good, Santa might bring you one.  ;-)

You do not "lose" a bidding war. You just find something more interesting to do with your money.

And I just hope it is related to photovoltaic solar cells...

This assumption presumes there is a viable alternative. Let's assume for a moment that you and I live aboard a space station with, say, 1000 other (people. The station owner has a problem providing enough breathable air for the next month and can only provide enough for 900 people so he puts it up for bid since he expects to repair the problem within a month. The first 899 people can bid more than any of the remaining 101. You and I are one of the 101. I can bid more than you or any of the other remaining 101... I hope you enjoy having "something more interesting to do with your money" - for the few remaining moments you live.

Yes you can lose a bidding war. You can starve to death. Your society can be so weakened from within due to poverty (which is what losing a bidding war means) that an external group can subjugate you.

And you can slip in a solid gold bathtub and die. Whatever you do with your money, it does not kill or save you, it just raises or lowers your chance of staying alive (contrived space station examples aside). Buying gas is one choice. Selling the truck is another.

Being thrown out of the gas economy might be painful in the beginning but it might also be the best thing in the long run.

It was just a sweeping generalization anyway...

I think we are getting in a habit on TOD of looking at the "bidding war" the wrong way. It's not going to be country vs country, as in U.S. beats Zimbabwe in round 1, China beats U.S. in round 2, etc.

The bidding war already is, and will continue to be, mostly individual. A few very poor Americans already have been broken by higher oil costs, as well as poor citizens of other countries. On the other hand, my millionaire American friend who just bought a Jaguar convertible is not going to lose the bidding war as long as any sort of national infrastructure holds up. First the very poor will lose, then the moderately poor, then the lower middle class, and so on. This will cut across all countries as long as oil remains a fungible commodity. It might not always be fungible, but as long as it is, this is how it will work.

NASA: You said it.        
More bad news on the export front


Nigeria Continues to Slide Toward Instability

By John C.k. Daly

The ongoing unrest in Nigeria's volatile delta region is having an inflationary impact on oil prices, with no resolution to the crisis in sight. The turmoil in the delta, the center of the country's oil industry, is largely driven by poverty and corruption. This year has seen steadily increasing disturbances, forcing cuts of over 20% of the country's daily output of oil (Terrorism Monitor, August 10). The effect of militant activity is exacerbated by ineptitude and corruption in the country's oil industry. Despite being the world's eighth largest oil exporter and fifth largest importer to the United States, Nigeria must re-import refined oil products--such as gasoline--because of decades of neglect of its own refineries. In January, Nigerian officials speaking on condition of anonymity acknowledged that rampant corruption meant that an estimated 10 percent of the country's daily 2.5 million barrel exports were being purloined. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz told reporters in October that "over the past 40 years, about US$300 billion in oil wealth has disappeared from the country." The effect on government revenues is significant since Nigeria's oil industry provides 20% of Nigeria's GDP, 95% of the country's foreign exchange earnings and nearly 65% of its budgetary revenues. In one of the most scandalous signs of the rampant graft in January, Nigeria's Navy Command in Delta State confiscated a barge containing 250,000 tons of petroleum at Egborode, an amount equivalent to a Very Large Crude Carrier (Vanguard, January 12).
I think it's time to bomb shelters:


Article 5 of the NATO charter identified an attack on one member as an attack on all. It was also designed to prevent coercion of a NATO member by a non-member state," Lugar said in an address to a conference organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

"We should recognize that there is little ultimate difference between a member being forced to submit to coercion because of an energy cutoff and a member facing a military blockade or other military demonstration on its borders," Lugar said.

So... if we don't pay our energy bill and our supplier cuts us off, then he is commiting an act of war against us and we should send the fighters. Brilliant idea, don't you think? Let's bomb those Ruskies back to the stone age! I still wonder how they got away with this before.

Ooops that should read:
I think it's time to seek for bomb shelters
Lugar also seems to point out that if anyone refuses oil or gas to any NATO member, that is sufficient reason for attack (a stretch, admittedly, but not totaaly crazy).

Well, let's see, how about Turkey? Lots of antagonism from their neighbors over Turkey's pro-US stance. Tinderbox for sure. Could be useful if there's a need to justify action.

The other side of the coin is that UK, US and Canada are now appealing for other NATO members to send (more) troops to Afghanistan. That is a bit of a hard sell, though. Germany and France won't send their kids off as cannon fodder. It would spell the end of the politicians in power, the people would never accept that.

If they keep on making those calls, and we're not even talking about Iraq, even though a similar case could be made, that would be the end of NATO, and a whole new ballgame.

Now if you consider a possible expansion of hostilities across any border in the Middle East, id gets difficult to predict who will stand with whom. Which might be the no. 1 Achilles heel of US policy: no allies left. Not even Blair, or his successor, could afford to make a move like they did in Iraq, going 180 degrees against public opinion. In the US, that makes no difference, but in Europe, it does.

a stretch, admittedly, but not totaaly crazy

I disagree. It is totally crazy. I have that feeling that since the Iraqi's non existent WMD and the whole theater to justify "preemtive wars" we have incrementally grown accustomed to listening to absurd adieas like that.

Now I could agree that if Russia for example unprovedly cuts off its supplies in order to wreck somebody economy it would be an act of economical war. But I totally disagree if it is a part of commercial disagreement or a force majore (e.g. harsh russian winter, production/transmission incident etc.). Now how do you distinguish which one is it, and which one will require military retaliation? And what about the universal principle of reciprocy - since when do we legally respond to economic measures with military ones? The equivelent in microscale would be to blow up your local power plant if it cuts your electricity supply.

Even contemplating such policy is absurd. And I'm terrified that some consider it seriously. If it needs a name let me be the first to suggest "Supply or die".

oops typo:
...if Russia for example unprovokedly cuts off its supplies
You should write to Lugar, he is the one that makes the claim:

"We should recognize that there is little ultimate difference between a member being forced to submit to coercion because of an energy cutoff and a member facing a military blockade or other military demonstration on its borders," Lugar said

This is why I believe a full-scale nuclear war is inevitable.  There's no other way for this to end up.
I think there is still time to avoid this.
What about OPEC continually cutting output by samll amounts that add up over time to a large amount?
OPEC already knows that we will attack. That is stated in the Carter Doctrine that is almost 30 years old. Many people do not understand the key phrase "national interest" when used by a leader of a nation in today's world, especially the OECD nations. Part of the anger at Japan was because they took actions to secure oil but had not publicly stated that they considered those particular oil reserves to be in the Japanese "national interest" first. This is why Carter said that access to the oil in the Middle East is a matter of US "national interest". So OPEC plays games, lowering output, seeing how much they can taunt the beast before it turns and bites them.

They know. They know very well. And Putin knows too, which is why he recently announced that Russia would spend US $189 billion on new strategic weapon systems. He knows that Europe could turn on him, both for him doing something deliberately to antagonize them or for them simply turning on him for their own purposes and without real justification. Both scenarios are reason to strengthen his strategic defenses.

...and for strengthening ties to China.
GZ: I think there is the distinction between "national interest" and "vital national interest". The latter is code for "oil".
Let's see.  Right Now, Russia #1 producer of CO
in world, #1 producer of NG in world.  Build a
few more good nukes, play a little hardball and auction to the highest bidder.

Sounds like pretty good strategy to me.

On the topic of "national interest", I'm sure readers enjoyed the unceremonious abandonment  of the UK Serious Fraud Office's mammoth investigation into the BAE-KSA plane deal!http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,,1972749,00.html
Greyzone, are you beginning to understand 'the mother of all wars'? [Comment by S. Hussein on eve of the action in GWi].  I think all the nations of the ME [except for Israel] understand that they will eventually be in the crosshairs, so discount ME Moslem solidarity.  By the time the West [or maybe just the USA} wakes up, they have sprung the trap.  O, wait a minute, BCRG have already stated that we're in WWiii!
While the MSM suppress discussion of peak oil and gas, the pronouncements from NATO make it clear that we are in an era of energy desperation.  Too bad for NATO, Russia isn't going capitulate to demented threats of war.  NATO is ensuring that it will run out of new contracts for Russian oil and gas.  No self respecting Russian would want to sign such contracts with a bunch of terrorists.
I have to live up to my chosen name and point out that there is a prediction of possible problems from a solar flare today. (sorry about that...)  Around 1PM.  I'd be interested to hear if anyone notices anything.
With all the other problems, the LAST thing we need is for the sun to start getting frisky.  And, of course, the die-hard GW deniers will point at this and say, see, it's all the sun's fault...sigh...
Zero hour, and I'm still breathing.
Discover card had a national outage in its data servers today...related???
Kunstler day, it seems.

What struck me more was an accompanying article from an American in Costa Rica -

Fascinating what the author notices, considers normal, and just essentially their way of looking at the world. A decent enough person, by the little written there, and certainly not unintelligent.

I think American society is not really any longer part of the world, in part because so few Americans have any experience with how most people live.

Let's just put it this way - high speed Internet is not real important in those people's minds, and is unlikely to be that much of a priority in the next few years. Where they buy, and what they pay for, fuel to cook meals is likely to be though.

About the president's latest attempt to make science conform with policy makes me wonder how far it will get in the next Congress.  Scientific research is based on skepticism about a hypothesis but there comes a point when skepticism must step aside.  The weight of evidence in favor of human induced climate change is now so heavy that skepticism is crushed.  
Several whistleblower scientists can attest that this has been going on for awhile.  What I see as very dangerous is a pattern developing of ruthless conformity and extreme disregard for scientific objectivity.

Since it is an area of intense interest for me, I am well aware of this same pattern rearing its ugly head in the FDA and medical academia in general as it relates to the federal grant system.  The deck is usually stacked to support a particular model.

Conformity is very dangerous on either side of the scientific debate.
That depends on the level of evidence.  No sense arguing in the face of overwhelming evidence.
In this forum I've noticed that the participants, while not always agreeing, tend to strive for scientific objectivity.

What may be more worrisome is the tendency for the uninformed to operate on the principle of suspension of disbelief, wherein they more readily accept a point of view that offers a high comfort factor even if that view is (obviously) based on fallacious reasoning.  In Orwellian language this is doublethink.  

Having scientific conclusions rewritten by nonscientists so the message conforms with the current agenda is very much like Orwell's vision.  The whistleblowers I previously mentioned had documented evidence that this was exactly what transpired in their cases.

Exxon says there is no problem ...


I've always wondered then why such articles like this one keep popping up.

There is a wealth of information out there that suggests there was a warm period about 1000 years ago when temperatures were 1C above even todays average.

Some tree ring analysis

Biomarker Reconstruction of MWP

England agrees with the MWP findings

More scientific support of the MWP

Even the Sun is found to be at fault

Cattle Farts more harmful then cars?

Personally, I believe that Global Warming is occurring and that it is in part caused by Human emissions in the industrial age.  But I have often found it amusing that we chose to only focus on one aspect of the issue, such as CO2 levels.  While rising CO2 concentrations are causing the worlds oceans to become more acidic, there are other gases that are far more potent such as methane.

Has there been any research explicitly showing what the atmospheric concentration of other Green House Gas has been in the past?

Here is a graph of CO2 and methane concentrations going back 400,000 years.  It shows that methane concentrations have not gone above 800 ppbv for the past 300,000 years.  They are now at 1745 ppbv, and have shown the ability to rise very fast - rising 200 ppbv in just ten years from 1984 to 1994.

Methane trapped in melting permafrost is one of the big deal tipping points that's keeping climatologists awake nights.

Historically, there was zero SF6 gas or fluorocarbons in the atmosphere.  Today we have enough man made chemicals in the air to equal several ppm of CO2.

I looked for data on GHG ratio but could not find it.  Read it earlier.



Geologists have discovered underwater deposits of hydrates -- icy deposits of frozen methane gas -- at far shallower depths under the ocean floor than expected.

I saw that earlier.  It does raise the level of concern a notch, doesn't it?  Clathrates are also found in the permafrost - I wonder if their depth of burial has been overestimated as well?
I just looked into nitrous oxide concentrations.  They have gone from 275 ppbv to 310 ppbv in the last 250 years or so, a rise of 13%.  Given that nitrous oxide is 300 times as effective a GHG as CO2, that's equivalent to a rise in CO2 of  about 10 ppm.  Given that CO2 has increased by 100 ppm in the same time, nitrous oxide wouldn't appear to be a big player in global warming.
You wretched moron, you've stuck your scraper through the bottom of the barrel again.
My New Year's resolution, by the way, will be never again to respond to trolls.
Four of Hothgor's links are from articles dating no newer than 2003. Is the argument being offered that there has been nothing new on the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) since then?

What about this from NOAA and this from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research at the University of Michigan?

One of Hothgor;s links is to a graphic from a presentation at the 2006 HOLIVAR conference (HOLIVAR is a science group focused on climate changes in the Holocene Era. I think the graphic is supposed to support the claim that the MWP was warmer than now through the use of proxy temperature indicators. However, that direct case is not made. Funny though, going to the group's home page we find on the right a graph of reconstructed average annual temperatures since 1000 AD. Very clear on that graph that the average annual temperatures since at least 2000 (and it looks like 1995 or so to me) have exceeded those of the MWP.  

Finally, we are given a link under a Hothgor-supplied heading regarding cow farts being bigger global warming contributors than auto exhaust. The linked article in turn references, without a link, a recent UN science report. The That UN report can be found here.

In the report we see that livestock (not just cattle) farming activities, including related land use, produce 9% of CO2 contributed to the atmosphere by human activity. Well down into the report there is the fact that "farts" are responsible for 37% of the methane being added by human activity to the atmosphere, along with 65% of the human activity contribute nitrous oxide. Converting the methane and nitrous oxide and other pollutants to their CO2 equivalents results in a contribution of 18% of total human activity world wide CO2 equivalents.

So, four dated reports at least partially refuted by newer work, a report from an organization whose home page includes a graph directly contradicting Hothgor's claim that temperaturs a thousand years ago were at least a degree warmer than those today and a misleadingly labeled link to a  report that shows how yet another human activity is contributing greeenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.

<Sarcasm>Another well researched and accurate contribution. Thanks.</Sarcasm>

I think you missed the article that mentioned how the data about the MWP was mysteriously omitted from several scientific circles to help emphasize the hockey stick rise in temperatures.  And interestingly enough, your own links suggest that there really is no way to accurately measure temperatures more then 600 years in the past.

Why then, exactly, do their graphs cover more then 1000 years of data?

Why are you still beating your wife?
And oldhippie knocks TOD down another couple of notches.
What is remarkable about the data is that in the geological past GHG levels were much higher than the present time but the rate of change is totally unprecedented.  Changes are happening 100 times faster than any time in the past and the ramifications for civilisation are immense.
Forgot to mention that 3 years ago Frontline (PBS) covered this general issue regarding the FDA in its Dangerous Prescriptions program.  IMO, the situation has deteriorated since the program aired.

The End of Pax Americana

With hindsight, we may see 2006 as the end of Pax Americana. Ever since World War II, the United States has used its military and economic superiority to promote a stable world order that has, on the whole, kept the peace and spread prosperity. But the United States increasingly lacks both the power and the will to play this role. It isn't just Iraq, though Iraq has been profoundly destabilizing and demoralizing. Many other factors erode U.S. power: China's rise; probable nuclear proliferation; shrinking support for open trade; higher spending for Social Security and Medicare that squeezes the military, and the weakness of traditional U.S. allies, Europe and Japan.
Losing your standing as a force of stability is inevitable when you are a militaristic blood thirsty society. What was that list again of the "wars", conflicts and invasions might be better terms, that the US has been involved in in the past 60 years? Someone here posted it a while back.

You can't be the stabilizer if you keep on murdering people around the world at random.

"...the weakness of traditional U.S. allies, Europe and Japan".

What weakness would that be? Aversion to joining in the killing sprre?

Desparation more like.  

I read this article earlier
today and couldn't help thinking...Mikhail Gorbachev
(sp?) was a great man.  Things like that(peaceful)
dissolution of the Soviet Union)don't usually happen
in the real world.

Consider the consequences, consider the possibilities.
We will need the good fortune of leadership like
this again.  Unlikely, but apparently possible.

It takes a lot of energy to be the leader of the Global Empire.  Another "indirect" sign of a post PO future in my book.
A good article. Spot on. I could not find anything to disagree with. I think it sums up what a lot of America - watchers think about the turn of events since the neocons took over:

''The trouble is that strength--measurable and impressive--does not translate directly into power. Power is the ability to get others to do what you want. Here, America is weaker.''

A far cry from ''Talk Quietly but carry a big stick''.

Voluntary production cuts?

from an AP report today

"Over $60, OPEC is nervous about doing anything," said energy analyst John Hall of John Hall Associates, suggesting that a cutback in two months depended on market conditions.

But Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah denied this, saying the cut will go ahead no matter what happens with oil price movements between now and then.

- so, no matter what the price, they'll cut?  Hmmmm.

There's been an explosion and fire at Imperial Oil's Sarnia refinery, in Ontario. Sarnia has a capacity of 119,000 bpd.
This link is a Reuters update to the story.
Imperial refinery explosion
Prior to the turnover to the new iraqi gov't, the usa may have kept oil revenues to offset reconstruction costs as part of the UN agreement, but since that turnover by the usa as trustee, the oil revenues have been:
2005 - $23.5 Billion
2006 - $29 Billion to date.

They pumped at 2.21-mbd during the last week of November; of which 1.45-mbd was exported & the balance refined for consumption.

The highest weekly pump rate was 2.33 this season.

More homes are going, going, gone

The loss of a job is the No. 1 reason people go into foreclosure, followed by health problems and a death in the family. Typically, a lender will start foreclosure proceedings after a borrower misses payments for three months in a row. The homeowner can try to sell the property first. But that can be hard in areas where home sales are falling.

That's what happened to Bill and Dana Pittman in Denver. Dana lost her teaching job last year, then needed surgery for a brain tumor. The couple managed their mortgage payments with Bill's wages as an auto mechanic and an inheritance from Dana's parents.

When the inheritance ran out, they fell behind. "I should have tattooed across my forehead, 'Real estate stupid,' " says Dana, 51.

She says she wrote "a letter of hardship" to the mortgage company last summer, but "It was, like, 'Oh, well, too bad. We want our money.' "

MSNBC website has yet another hybrid car hit piece out - like clockwork...

But I'm sure for balance they will produce an article with a positive spin when gas reaches $3.50 per gallon... well, probably not come to think of it.

When I loaded the page the ad at the top was for Jaguar - probably 8 or maybe even 12 cylinder cars.  That's what real `merkins (non-hippies) drive...

Ah, the ole Iron Triangle - in full effect...


Angola was admitted into OPEC today:


Since this site is about all things oil, can anyone expound on the advantages/ disadvantages of joining OPEC?

I think that I have heard this story line before

Posted on Dec. 13, 2006
Russia's Natural Gas in Trouble

Vladimir Putin's government is using Russia's abundant oil and gas to consolidate and re-centralize power in the Kremlin. Putin's also using Russia's energy to project power internationally by punishing or rewarding neighbors - and that punishment or reward usually depends on how solemnly they genuflect in his direction. Acting as Putin's chief enforcer is Gazprom, the world's biggest gas company. But new predictions by the Institute of Energy Policy in Moscow indicate that Gazprom may be more Jabba the Hut than Luke Skywalker.

A recent report by the institute - obtained exclusively by ET - says that rising domestic gas demand and Gazprom's rapidly decreasing production mean that Russia will likely have a gas shortage of at least 100 billion cubic meters (3.5 Tcf) per year by 2010. The report confirms rumors that we at ET have been hearing from inside Russia: that Gazprom will not be able to meet its future gas obligations.

My continuing prediction for 2007:  confirmed production declines in both Saudi Arabia and Russia

http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=122485&version=1&templ ate_id=48&parent_id=28

Opec production cuts already tightening world market: IEA
Published: Thursday, 14 December, 2006, 11:00 AM Doha Ti

Non-Opec production will average 52.63mn bpd next year, 115,000 bpd less than expected, due to weaker supply expectations from regions including Russia.
WT help me understand.  The article stated that world supplies dropped by 40 million barrels.  It also said OPEC decreased supplies by 500,000 bpd which would be 15 million barrels for the month.  That would seem to indicate that demand was already 25 million barrels per month greater than supply before the OPEC cuts or 830,000 barrels per day more than production (supply).  Am I reading this correctly?

Also, the report stated that there were roughly 2,721 million barrels in world stocks (supplies, not supply) and that represented 54 days.  However, if demand is running around 84 million barrels per day, wouldn't that supply only support about 32 days?



IMO, world demand is exceeding production supply, and the shortfall is being made up by depleting inventories.

In regard to the inventory numbers you referenced, I suspect that they were just talking about IEA member countries.

All this puffed chest talk by OPEC reminds me of how the rooster crows in order to make the sun rise.

Cock a doodle doo,
We're the ones reducing oil for you.

Cock a doodle doo,
Saving the planet from CO2.

Cock a doodle doo,
Hubbert's prediction comes true.

Who's your Candy Man now mamma?

I guess NATO will have to launch a war on Russia to ensure that it keeps sending gas to NATO member states.

These reports a full of crap.  My gosh by not acting like some banana republic Russia's elected president is "re-centralizing power in the Kremlin".  So what is exactly going on in Iraq? One could say the US is trying to seize foreign territory and resources.  Perhaps the twits who write these combinations of wishful thinking and hate propaganda should worry more about problems at home.

Who will be shorted in Europe first?

Does China get any from Gazprom?

If this doesn't put an exclamation point on Nato, Europe, and the "Great Game" ?

I think things will start moving even faster in 2007.  

Like the inverted cone that you put a penny in to donate to somebody and watch it roll around and around faster and faster to the center.

So much faster to stay where we are like the Red Queen's Race.

Were captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Fare Thee Well


Gazprom is emphatically not run in the interests of its shareholders, and yet shareholders love it.
Go figure.
Production and consumption figures tell the story and if 2007 doesnt't see a manifest crisis it may at least see some of the fog clearing.
In reference to Russian motives, intentions and abilities we should keep in mind that they saw the NATO expansion into the FS Empire states of Europe as aggressive and insulting.  Now we can understand why those FSE states are very afraid of Russia and want some protection.  Perhaps there was no other way to slake that fear but it may have made sense to try.  It has not left Russia well disposed towards NATO or the EU and therefore she is not in the mood to do Europe any favours.  However she will sell as much NG and oil as she CAN and if it can't go east it will be sold west.  I would be surprised if they withheld available commodity just to make a point (except perhaps to Georgia and other small states they are annoyed with).  The fact that they are building the Baltic gas pipeline reflects their willingness to sell to western Europe.  It also seems that they are using this pipeline to drive a wedge into NATO and the EU vis a vis the new eastern members and the west.  There is hardly more love between western Europe and these newly freed states than there is between those states and the FSU.  If Russia diverts gas from the Ukraine and Polish markets to meet more westerly demands will Germany, France, the UK etc be willing to share with Poland and the Balic states and go without themselves?  Maybe, but it is more likely that they will lie about the gas they are receiving.  This is resource war on an economic level and in business friendship is usually defined by usefulness.
One other bit of speculation I am turning over is the implications of the USA opposed supplying of Iranian NG to Georgia.  Maybe I am too conspiratorial here but once such a link is made, it actually connects Persian Gulf NG to Europe by pipeline.  Is there already such a connection?  Perhaps someone can fill us in on that.  However such a connection makes for an easier cheaper exporting of NG from the Gulf than LNG.  Of course the little disagreement between Georgia and Rusia would have to be resolved.  Could the fear of this bigger issue be behind the US position instead of the more obvious that they are just mad at Iran?
More on the Saudi Arabian diplomatic situation from AP.

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Saudi Arabia's royal family and government leaders are deeply divided over how to handle the growing crisis in Iraq and other looming Mideast problems like Iran, with some favoring strong aid to fellow Sunnis and others more cautious.

The split played a key role in this week's abrupt resignation of the Saudi ambassador to Washington. It also could hurt U.S. efforts to forge a new overall strategy to calm Iraq.

More broadly, the internal dispute shows how Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, long key partners in U.S. efforts to stabilize the Middle East, are struggling to decide how to proceed as Iraq boils over and Iran gains influence.

The tension in the region is straining Saudi relations with the United States, despite both countries' assertions that all is fine.

The resignation of Prince Turki al-Faisal, after just 15 months as ambassador to Washington, for example, came after Saudi officials concluded he was not succeeding at building strong ties with the United States, a Saudi official said Wednesday.

``Many in the royal family concluded that if he stayed longer, things might even get worse,'' said the official, who has close working ties with the Saudi Foreign Ministry but spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.

The Saudis had no official comment, and the White House merely wished Turki well. Turki himself could not be reached for comment.

But Iraq was clearly central to the dispute.

Speaking of Iraq, it will be interesting to see what comes of the apparent U.S. backed move to attempt to isolate Moktada Al Sadr:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/12/world/middleeast/12iraq.html?_r=1&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20 Topics%2fPeople%2fS%2fSadr%2c%20Moktada%20Al%2d&oref=slogin

If the Saudi's get their way, Bush's big speach in a few weeks will have a lot more to do with a crackdown on Shia militias than it will with a crackdown on Sunni insurgents.  Bush seems to have rejected Baker's theory that there is no military solution in Iraq.  He also seems to reject Baker's idea that a greater overt U.S. presence in Iraq leads to greater violence and weakened U.S. influence over Iraqi decision making (oil contracts).  Baker seemed to want to go the way of covert action, diplomacy, bribery, CIA operations, etc.  Bush seems to still favor a very large, very visible, overt military presence.  He doesn't seem to understand that this is backfiring.  Will his next step be to openly confront Al Sadr?

This article,

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/13/world/middleeast/13basra.html?ex=1307851200&en=320b7cf749ad927 f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

gives some interesting information about Al Sadr's influence in the oil producing region of Basra.

Confronting Al Sadr would also be a way to open up another front against Iran:



"If the Saudi's get their way..."

If Bush stays in Iraq for the rest of his term, by that time the public could be tired of the Saudi's running our foreign policy in the Middle East, at which point we could expect a rapid pull-out. Then an irate Saudi govt would "cut production" further to punish us. "Peak oil" will never happen, so to speak, and Yergin will look like a genius with the "above ground factors" argument.

This is funny.

Bolton seeks charges against Iranian leader  

U.N. ambassador says Ahmadinejad's Holocaust remarks incite genocide

NEW YORK - Outgoing U.S. U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and former diplomats from Israel and Canada called on the United Nations on Thursday to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with inciting genocide...

A nice publicity stunt in front of the impotent and useless United Nancies.