DrumBeat: December 2, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 12/02/06 at 10:10 AM EDT]

Four U.S. West states adopt greenhouse gas accord

Energy regulators from four U.S. Western states, saying they cannot wait for the Bush administration to act on climate change, signed an agreement on Friday to cooperate to promote energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The move by the public utilities commissions of California, Oregon, Washington and New Mexico is likely to draw in other states in the West, officials said.

Stern: China sees tackling climate change as urgent

China's leaders recognise that tackling climate change is urgent and that reducing greenhouse gases does not mean slamming the brakes on growth, the author of an acclaimed report on global warming said on Friday.

OPEC Expansion Ups Clout But Also Brings Problems

The already sizeable footprint of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in global oil markets is set to become even bigger as the group prepares to enlarge its club with new members and with oil production from non-OPEC countries set to plateau within the next decade.

...Although the move would give OPEC more clout in oil markets buoying up oil prices, it could also slow investment by Western oil companies in the three countries, potentially hindering new supplies of crude oil coming to increasingly thirsty world markets, oil analysts said.

Alaskans should take note

Scott Waterman of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation earlier this week spoke to three southern Kenai Peninsula audiences about the importance of finding new ways to get the most out of our energy resources. The presentation was titled “Peak Oil and the Economics of Energy Efficiency,” but the lessons were about responsibility and stewardship.

Energy efficiency challenges small businesses

An Answer to the World's Energy Problems? - Bacteria Could Be the Source of an Unlimited Supply of Power

Forecast: U.S. Renewable Energy to Hit 700 GW

Leading experts predict that policy goal of 25% renewable production capacity by 2025 could potentially double.

Commodity Strategists: Oil Prices May Fall Next Year

Crude oil prices may fall 7.5 percent next year because of an increase in supplies from Russia, Brazil and Angola, said Bank Julius Baer & Co., Switzerland's largest independent money manager.

How to win the winnable war? Oil

If Saudi Arabia "strangled" Iran's economy, that would also strangle Iran's capacity to fund its nuclear blackmail program, not to mention Hezbollah and other murderous proxies. And what was that the Saudi adviser said about cutting the price of crude oil in half? A Saudi-Iranian, Sunni-Shiite rift over Iraq sounds like a win-win situation for the United States, maybe even better than the Sino-Soviet rivalry of the Cold War.

Cameroon: New Firm to Soothe Country's Energy Crisis

Algeria: Oil Tax to Vary on Field Size, Profitability

Algeria's new fiscal regime on hydrocarbons will be "sensitive" to the size and profitability of foreign partners' investments, Algerian oil minister Chakib Khelil said Thursday.

Canadian Income Trusts at Risk

Canada's energy trust sector has been left "in limbo", with firms not sure if they are allowed to make acquisitions under the country's plans to make trusts pay corporate tax, according to a income trust spokesman.

Bodman: Africa Increasing in Strategic Energy Importance

Any hopes the U.S. may have to loosen some of the control the OPEC cartel has on the crude market through increased oil development of Africa's crude and natural gas production may have been diminished by an announcement earlier this week by Angola that it wishes to join OPEC.

Video: Amory Lovins on Charlie Rose

Church heeds calling with food bank

According to Ken Brewer, head of the local food pantry, he and the 25 volunteers that assist the ministry have noticed a big increase in the number of families seeking help from them.

“I have been doing this for several years and this year has been the busiest,” Brewer said. “Even people who work and bring in a regular income are having trouble making ends meet.”

The reason, Brewer said, for that increase in need are the continually high utility and gasoline bills families are faced with each month.

Analysis: Reid to change U.S. energy plan

LAS VEGAS, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- When he takes control of the U.S. Senate in January, Harry Reid's agenda will include moving the country toward energy independence -- a U.S. security issue, he says -- which he blames the Republican Congress and president for hindering.

In an exclusive interview with United Press International in his Las Vegas office, the future Senate Majority Leader said Thursday he's astonished by how much oil the United States consumes and by the lack of attention paid to drawing down the crude habit.

OPEC sends conflicting signal on need for deeper cut

CAIRO (Reuters) - OPEC ministers sent conflicting signals on Saturday on whether the group needed to reduce oil production further to bring markets back into equilibrium.

Libya's top energy official said markets seemed to be nearing a balance and he did not feel there was a need for OPEC to add to the 1.2 million barrel per day cuts agreed in October.

...But influential Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi reiterated the market was out of balance because of high fuel stockpiles and that 100 million barrels needed to be removed.

Peak Oil Passnotes: We Were on the Money

PARIS (ResourceInvestor.com) -- As Resource Investor has been pointing out for some time a breakout in the crude oil market has had to come. Finally the data from the United States, combined with the cold weather in the northern Americas, has woken the market to the fundamentals.

That is that gasoline stocks in the United States – once presumed to at “record highs” – have slumped by 80% in just seven weeks. The momentum has all been about a draw down in the distillate stocks for the United States.


New World Oil Balance at EIA now shows world supply of 84.98 for 3Q of '06....beating the previous record of 84.93 for 2Q of '05. Seem credible anyone? Where is it coming from. Is EIA doing biofuels, now? Is it legit(again, where would the new stuff be from-especially with the OPEC, KSA declines recently, and Russia flattening.

AFAIK  those numbers do include Bio-fuels and in the US alone ethanol production has increased by 90 K Brl's per day over that time period. How much have bio-fuels production increased in the rest of the world? Perhaps C + C is down more than most folks suspect.

EIA Data:   Ethanol production Thousands Brl's/d  and Thousands Brl's/month

Jan     241   7,471
Feb    245   6,860
Mar   243   7,533
Apr    238   7,140
May   237   7,347
Jun     249   7,470
Jul      258   7,998
Aug    260   8,060
Sep     261   7,830
Oct     269   8,339
Nov    275   8,250
Dec     280   8,680

2005 255  92,978/A

Jan     288    8,928
Feb    302    8,456
Mar    301    9,338
Apr     289   8,656
May    293   9,093
Jun     318   9,532
July    316    9,804
Aug    329   10,185
Sep    333    9,992

  If we can just keep the rednecks from drinking the biofuels...

  Actually you're pointing out one of my main gripes with the statistics, they are now including not just biofuels but synthetic crude from the Canadian tar sands. My personal definition of oil is that it flows out of the ground. Condensate condenses from natural gas at normal tempratures and at one atmospheric pressure-14.4 lbs PSI or so.
The rest of the stuff-biofuels, synthetic crude has huge costs compared to oil and should be counted seperately.

Agree! "All liquids" is a scam. An ugly scam.
Because the only reason we worry about oil is because the vast majority think humans are important and feel the lack of oil will be an issue for continuing the human race I offer up:


Move to new planet, says Hawking
Hawking (BBC/Laurence Cendrowicz)
Prof Hawking is in "no hurry to die"
The human race must move to a planet beyond our Solar System to protect the future of the species, physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.

OT: At least one sci-fi book (read in a college sci-fi literature class yrs ago so the title has disappeared in the fog) proposed Hawking's scenario. But the radiation streaming back from the two spacecrafts' nuclear propulsion systems kills all life remaining on earth as they accelerate toward a distance solar system. Then the crew of one craft dies and as a result it accelerates past the other, the radiation then killing that crew. In the end, the machines remain motoring through space. Doomed.
Let's start now.  All aboard!!!!  Let's start loading people now and leave me and about, say, not more than a billion people here to enjoy what is still a beautiful planet.

Just for the sake of argument, if there is a creator, the placement of the human species on this planet may be just an experiment, one that, I think, may be failing.  The problem is, the only real constraint, is the carrying capacity of the whole planet, a basic design flaw.  When we get overpopulation of, say, elk, we can bring in the wolves or bring in the hunters.  The only thing that is going to stop us is virtual destruction of the planet's ability to support us.  

 "When we get overpopulation of, say, elk, we can bring in the wolves or bring in the hunters.  The only thing that is going to stop us is virtual destruction of the planet's ability to support us."

Since there are no longer four legged "wolves" capable of culling human population, human wolves long ago took up the  function. From Sargon through Ghengis Khan to Hitler.    

When you run the numbers, the record of "human wolves" in controlling our population isn't all that good.  WWII caused a total of 60 million deaths or so, over about 6 years - say ten million per year.  Our current excess birth rate is seven times that.  We would need seven simultaneous conflicts on the scale of WWII, continued in perpetuity, to control the population.

The only wolf capable of mustering that kind of ongoing death rate is that old she-wolf Mother Nature.

Shall we squander the remain resources of energy to achieve this goal?  Will all the Earth's poor fit into these ships?  Or will it be the billionaires building their own craft?
Shall we squander the remain resources of energy to achieve this goal?  Will all the Earth's poor fit into these ships?  Or will it be the billionaires building their own craft?

It's really a myth that space travel costs a huge amount in terms of energy or money. NASA budget: $16 billion, DOD: $419 billion. In fact we squander the Earth's resources creating weapons.

The cost of energy per launch is actually a minor component. Space travel is expensive because of the complexity, and the fact you have to get from ground to orbit in one go (or vice versa), and the whole system has to be designed for that. If there is a problem during flight, there is virtually no opportunity of making a controlled landing.

Ironically, it's because of the military incentive  to create weapons (e.g. V2 and ICBM) that enabled space programs at all. So the question is really, would we ever prioritise space travel instead of wasting resources on weapons?

Unfortunately, probably not, which IMO is why significant space travel remains unlikely. Same conclusion, I guess, but different reasons.

It's really a myth that space travel costs a huge amount in terms of energy or money.

Of course putting a person into orbit costs far less than putting a person on a train and sending them to Newark. We all know that. Heck, we should all put rocket motors on all our vehicles!!

The average cost to launch a Space Shuttle is about $450 million per mission.

Heck, I could probably get all the way to Cleveland with that kind of pocket change.

Each of the two Solid Rocket Boosters on the Space Shuttle carries more than one million pounds of solid propellant. The Space Shuttle's large External Tank is loaded with more than 500,000 gallons of super-cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, which are mixed and burned together to form the fuel for the orbiter's three main rocket engines.

Gosh. I suspect the space shuttle bus could carry, tops, one hundred people. My guess is if we converted all the available energy on the planet into rocket fuel, we might get a million people into orbit. And, of course, that would not cost us anything. Heck, just think how many bombs we would have built if not for this grand plan of space travel.

Whooops! I forgot. We probably should build some sort of destination up there in the great unprotected space desert. That means sending stuff into space. Lots of stuff. HUGE quantities of stuff. That means fewer passengers. LOTS fewer passengers.

But on the positive side, at least we have a really great history of not fouling our nest. Because, if we were nest-foulers, we would be screwed in space where we would have to recycle EVERYTHING. We would really have to take care of our newly-settled space environment, since we would not have this already exquisite machine known as earth to clean up after us. But we do that already, right? We clean up after ourselves, right?

I have a really great plan. Let's send the engineers into space. Why? They really like this kinda stuff -- Star Trek and Star Gate and all the masturbatory tech fantasy. And, because they have such confidence in their ability to create tech without fouling the earth nest, they should be just fine out there where they get to start with a blank slate. Hey!! Guess what, Melvin? You're GOD!!! And, I'm sure they will create a great civilization out there in spaceland. No more philosophers to question their basic premises, no artists to document their folly, or woolly-headed humanities professors to stumble over on their way to techno ejaculation. And, once the engineers are out of the way, maybe we can rummage through the environment and make sure that all their assurances that what they do is harmless was actually true.

I can see it now. Late at night, we earthlings will look up into the sky and see a speeding twinkle of light arcing across the heavens and we will tell our children all about the curious race of technofixers, a race of gods, who came to the planet many, many centuries ago and boasted they could engineer better than the gods who made this planet. They worked and worked and worked until their hands were filthy and their pocket protectors blue with ink, and they destroyed the planet and announced, "It is good." Then they got back into their rocket ships and returned to heaven, leaving us poor mortals to clean up their mess.

Please never give up, I'm sustained by these periodic "dark sarcasms."
Thanks, Reed. These ramblings are my respite from the novel.
Which novel was that? Cherry, my friend, you better start writing me. You owe me a considerable sum. We can work that out. But the piper needs to be paid, and you've been banking.
Where's the sarcasm?  In sounds like the truth to me!
there was a guy that put a rocket engine in his impala  and it went pretty good until the road curved slightly  the suspension and steering in the impala just wasnt up to steering a rocket engine   end of story
i saw a video of the alledged test but i cant remember where and have no way of knowing if the video was real
Gosh. I suspect the space shuttle bus could carry, tops, one hundred people. My guess is if we converted all the available energy on the planet into rocket fuel, we might get a million people into orbit. And, of course, that would not cost us anything.

I wouldn't normally respond, but your guess is so wildly wrong, it's probably the wrongest guess I've ever seen, anywhere. I realise your rant need have no basis in plain facts, but there is a limit. As TOD is concerned with energy, and values facts over lunatic raving, I thought I would indulge you.

As mere superlatives are inadequate to describe how wrong you are, I will use numbers.

It would take about 0.001% of annual energy use to launch 1 million people into space. Or, we could launch about 95 billion people per year into space - more than 10 times the whole population.

This, perhaps, says a lot more about how much energy we use on Earth than anything else.

I've absolutely no idea where you got this hare brained idea about sending 1 million people into space anyway? We are talking about colonising other planets, you only need a few hundred for that. People have a tendency to multiply, y'know?

It is always amusingly ironic when people use the internet to complain about engineers. I should really contact the High Priest of Engineers and have your Technology Permit revoked. ;)

Boy...you guys really ran off on all this.  

I was merely stating that I wish Hawkins would devote more of his HUGE brain to working on the problems and issues we are having here on our beloved planet than just give up on it and say, "Let's hitch a ride to another one and start over".

And, in less something is changed with our collective thought processes, we will still just be exporting the same mentality that ruined the first planet we inhabited.

I was merely stating that I wish Hawkins would devote more of his HUGE brain to working on the problems and issues we are having here on our beloved planet than just give up on it and say, "Let's hitch a ride to another one and start over".

You have misinterpreted what Hawking said. Eventually all life on Earth will be extinguished, certainly in about 4.6 billion years time when the Sun becomes a red giant, but quite possibly before that. Therefore in order to survive as a species, at least a few humans would have to travel to other solar systems. That is just simple logic.

More practically, there are some huge problems facing civilisation that will definitely occur within the next 50,000 years. It is quite likely we will be snuffed out well before we have been able to ruin the Earth irrevocably. So let's not get too worked up about travelling to Barnard's Star just yet, ok?

As for Hawking's HUGE brain, he can do with it whatever he damn well pleases, as far as I am concerned.

More practically, there are some huge problems facing civilisation that will definitely occur within the next 50,000 years. It is quite likely we will be snuffed out well before we have been able to ruin the Earth irrevocably.

50,000 years?
What about 50?
Singularitarian, Eh?

The typical rate of extinction differs for different groups of organisms. Mammals, for instance, have an average species "lifespan" from origination to extinction of about 1 million years, although some species persist for as long as 10 million years.

We have already used up a few millions years, don't worry about 4.6 billion years!

...uh, did you count the energy necessary to build 1,000,000 space shuttle rocket busses and the energy necessary to run all the associated infrastructure necessary for these 1,000,000 launches?

I guess the rest of us starve while all these privileged folks get shot into space.

What I want to know is how soon can we start blasting these billions of people into space?
Not nearly damned fast enough, I'm afraid.
...uh, did you count the energy necessary to build 1,000,000 space shuttle rocket busses and the energy necessary to run all the associated infrastructure necessary for these 1,000,000 launches?

I guess the rest of us starve while all these privileged folks get shot into space.

Of course I did, I'm an engineer, aren't I? I don't even make a guess without having done a rough calculation.

I still don't understand why you want to launch all these people into space. What is the point?

Ah, yes, the evil Engineers – Those who design and make things: the greatest evil ever known by man.  First we made simple tools of stone, then we discovered metals.  We built aqueducts, roads, and great halls.  Tools for agriculture, cooking, and hunting.  Harnesses for beasts of burden, then wagons and carts.  And then one day we decided to cut down all the trees for firewood, dig up all the coal, pump all the gas and oil, and burn it all.  And we did too, all by ourselves – we invented heating systems, trains, and automobiles to make go faster.  And we fought all the wars, killed millions just for fun.  Then we used our unmatched virility to overpopulate the planet.  Now, at long last, we've filled the skies with greenhouse gasses, and the world is toast!  I'm just delighted that I'm here to see it happen – the crowning achievement of my deviant, evil sect.  Bwaahhaahhaa!

It's kind of sad though – if it weren't for us engineers and there were only journalists and English instructors, none of this would have happened.  We'd all be sitting around in animal skins (well, maybe not, as there would be no tools to make them) reading poetry and making beautiful drawings on the cave walls.  Because as we all know, journalists and English instructors would never use fossil fuels, and could never have contributed in any way to the problems the world faces now.  No, it's the engineers – especially the ones who read science fiction when they were young.  

Seriously, what I see in all of your comments is someone who thinks they have no blame in all this mess – no sir, its THEIR FAULT!  My kind are different, and we're INOCENT!  Complete stereotyping of a large part of the population, as if somehow engineers are actually a different kind of human from everyone else.  What crap.  I'm an Engineer.  I read.  I can write.  I appreciate art and music.  I work with my hands.  I plant trees in my woods.  I love animals.  I love my kids.  I don't fantasize about technological solutions to the problems we face, although I would imagine that technology will play a part.  

And you sir, are the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of years of technological advancements of the human race.  You use this technology every day, and are more than happy to have it, in spite of your pathetic protestations.

The word is "hypocrite".

In effect, stuff happens. Don't blame me. I'm only following orders. They did it. Had I been the project manager, all would be well.

In other words, you're telling me I should shut up because I have to live in your world. You see, I must use fossil fuel in order to survive, not because I am making a specific choice, but because I was raised with this. I do not have those skills necessary to survive as a hunter gatherer. But, more importantly, engineer man, incapable of foreseeing the results of his monkeying around, managed to kill off the natural world to such an extent that I could not live off the natural environment even if I had the skills. Of course, you choose to believe that "engineering" means any built environment. That is rather a poor way to spread the blame. I guess anytime I use a bow drill to make fire, I get to claim membership in the IEEE.

You see, the problem is you cannot possibly believe that what you do you may be evil, and you must harrumph and point and bellow. You must. My world view is so different from yours it may as well be from an alternate universe. The paradigm I'm advocating is so radical that you cannot possibly comprehend it. To use your reference frame, it would be like you showing up on a completely primitive island in a spaceship, and the natives, to your utter bafflement, could not understand your self-anointed technical and moral superiority. Of course they don't see you as you see yourself. And you, reading my writings cannot possibly see what I am saying.

You are not an inherently bad person. That would be silly. The problem is you are incapable of seeing how our technological road has led to this truly screwed up planet where people actually feel that this planet-wrecking technology is good and that we, the hapless denizens of your built world should thank you for doing such a good job of wrecking things because we got STUFF. Fat lot of good that will do when millions die due to the shortsighted philosophy of man the engineer. That is the true irony. You cannot see the destructive effects of your efforts. You truly look about you in bewilderment when my little mosquito stings of insight catch those sensitive spots that still bespeak the natural world. You ask, "Why, oh why, does that bad man gripe about all the cool stuff? Why can't he see all our good things? Why can't he bow down to us?"

I can't because I see what you won't or can't see. Now I am faced with the dilemma of somehow conversing with you, a member of Flatland. You only see a tiny cross-section of my thoughts and may never be able to grasp these fundamental truths I offer.

I can't bow down to the engineer worldview because I have spent so much time trying to understand it, and once I did, I realized it was a lot like making that choice faced by Neo -- take the red pill or the blue pill. Once you know, you can't go back.

So, since I cannot go live in a natural world that remains complete enough to quit your world, I must be, as you say, a hypocrite. Here I am using this swell STUFF to write this message to you, knowing full well that you, down there in Flatland, will never be able to comprehend this message.

I would note also that Native Americans were also the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of years of technological advancement. Of course, most of them are dead. I must note that the people who used to live around Chernobyl were also the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of years of technological advancement. Then there are the slaves we shipped around, and yes, they were also the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of years of technological advancement. Don't forget the millions who died in both World Wars. They were the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of years of technological advancement. Who else? Cambodians? The killing fields? The Armenians?

The list goes on. But the truth is we are bloodthirsty lot, and though technology made this wholesale slaughter possible, it is only an extension of our Neolithic origins. Should all post oil technology somehow disappear, the killing would go on.

No. The main beef I have is with the willful ignorance of those who cannot acknowledge the obvious end result of our growth at any cost society. That is what makes me sad. Those who mistake attacks on their profession as personal attacks, who cannot understand the underlying stakes, or understand the use of metaphor will never be able to rise to the level of hypocrite. They are neither informed enough or intelligent enough to rise to that level. No. They are milling around amongst their little clique, harrumphing about their wounded pride while the earth turns to complete crap.


Actually engineers only build what they are paid to build, otherwise they are unemployed. It's tough to run a research program to design anything without any money. If you give me enough money I could design something nice and friendly for you, perhaps you could do this with whatever proceeds you get from your livelyhood. This would save me from having to apply for the funding I need from the government next year to begin a PhD in the renewable energy field. About £30000 pounds a year should cover it, including equipment costs as I won't have a lab.
A bow drill is technology - you just feel you have the right to draw arbitrary lines to define what is and is not "tech".  If you wish to get others to see the wisdom of your ideas instead of seeing it as a blame game, try using the word "we" as opposed to the word "you".  You claim I'm just taking it personally, but in fact that is how you frame it.  These are not problems unique to any group of people, but you are more interested in establishing the YOU are not part of the problem, that YOU are unique and special.  Bull.  It is WE who are the problem.  

In fact, I would probably agree with many of your ideas - while I have not used a bow drill yet, I'm very into hand tools and moving towards simple, low energy ways of doing things - but you cannot seem to present them without striking out at others.  Which only makes it obvious what you're really all about.  

So in short, if you want to make a difference, drop the chip off your shoulder.  And recognize that maybe, just maybe, there are other people out here who "get it" just as much as you do.  

The word is "hypocrite".

The other irony I have consistently noted is that he uses a computer and the Internet to post these diatribes. You what's really funny, though? It is unlikely that he would have ever been born if he had his way about technology. The world wouldn't support nearly as many people. I guess then he wouldn't have much to complain about. :-)

Actually, the word is civilization. By the way, your heads are on the floor. Never even felt it, right?
Have a look at Ben Elton's book "Stark"
The human race going extinct at this point...  would require a lot.  The only singular event would involve a very large asteroid or comet.  Two regular-sized disasters happening at the same time (90% lethality epidemic + nuclear war) could make us endangered, but some would always survive.

If the Navy(or any other large Navy) would allow female sailors aboard submarines, we could guarantee surviving populations for anything that doesn't threaten the structural integrity of the earth.

"Of course it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition.

"Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. But ah with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present gross national product within say, twenty years."
--Dr. Strangelove

The season provides an opportunity to give family, friends and acquaintances books that will enlighten them on (or at least alert them to) the complex, serious issues facing us from increasing scarcity of petroleum and fresh water to climate change to population growth.  

Any recommendations on the best new books for informing people, considering that individual perspectives range from the clueless to the alerted, political orientations from the liberal to the conservative and opinions from the cornucopian (technology and the market fix everything) to the doomist (we're done, no matter what we do) on these issues? Any that might have the opposite of the giver's intended effect on people with particular perspectives?

I started a topic on this a while back.
I'd recommend The Omnivore's Dilemna - A Natural History of Four Meals.  As one reviewer wrote, it's a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs.
A message to Posters

Two comments from Stuart's thread yesterday:

You're fucking shitting me. Hahahahahaaa. How's Jim Morrison?

Your articles are half of the reason I look at TOD, (the other half is WT).

One I find mildly offensive (thoughtless), the other I find deeply ironic - and if you don't know which is which your probably reading the wrong blog.

I spent most of yesterday posting on Stuart's thread - and amongst other things discovered that I was not alone in seeing the irony of hanging by the neck until dead the man who has held Iraq together for a couple of decades.

Euan Mearns
TOD Europe

PS CEO - you gotta understand that there are 10,000 or so folks who read TOD and don't post - many might find your style offensive. Whilst I appreciate your humour you gotta think about the greater goals of reaching a wider audience that runs parallel to understanding the nature of the PO problem.

Fire away

Was it really necessary to bring that over here?  I repeat...can we let what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas?  Why pollute two threads?  
Perhaps because he does this sort of thing in many threads. I read here alot, but rarely post. And the more I see rambling and (apparently) completely off-topic comments, the less inclined I am to read. When this type of comment pushes to about 25% of the content, I'm done with the site. I know, one less reader - big deal. Just my 2 cents. And I'm not just picking on CEO, I actually enjoy a good percent of his contributions.
IMO, he's a troll.  Trolls get off on attention, so quoting their trollish posts elsewhere only encourages them.

OTOH, if you think he's not a troll, then a private e-mail would be a better way to communicate the message.  

I am also concerned about the vulgar language. Many people access this site from filtered computers at schools, libraries, and offices.  Some of those filters automatically block any page with obscene language.  By quoting such language in another thread, you're keeping people from reading the thread.

I am also concerned about the vulgar language. Many people access this site from filtered computers at schools, libraries, and offices.

Excellent point. And I'm among the guilty. I'll strive for restraint.

Thank you Leanan.

I'm sick of certain people (you know who you are) getting inebriated and abusive (as well as incoherent)and spoiling entire threads. Many of us give up on the thread, and worthwhile things downstream are left high and dry.  

Maybe you guys should censor the site.

You could appoint a high commissioner of content, someone who vets each person's bona fides, makes sure they don't challenge the prevailing gusts of windy opinion. Lord knows we wouldn't want to hear from people who disagree, even those who disagree flamboyantly, using big words and pointed truths that makes others scratch their heads and curse beneath their breath.

And we sure wouldn't want to hear from those who may be entertaining as well as doggedly contrarian. The more boring and ginned up with graphs we get this site, the more likely that we will get average people to tune in. That's just common sense. Unless, of course, you are trying to limit your audience to technofixers and other less than entertaining people. Then, what you really need is well-written opposition, fabulous fights that argue the issues of the day. As we all know, pyrotechnics never attract average people, look at the fourth of July, one of the least popular holidays. Those fireworks displays are usually sparsely attended by physicists, geology professors, and policy wonks.

I understand that the censorship position has a really great champion in Newt Gingrich. Maybe you could get him to come over and act as your high commissioner?

Just my humble, sardonic opinion.

It had to happen eventually....I agree with something you wrote.
Sorry Medic.
everyone likes censorship.. up to the point they find out that they can be censored as well.
Typical false dillema argument.


I dont post often but do read often.

I'd like to voice my support for this point as one who strongly dislikes the aforementioned content but would prefer it was not discussed in later threads.

I'd also prefer it if you didn't point out the base level irony of my comment. Thank you.

Without sounding unappreciative to those who put in effort to keep this site running (a big thank you), a rating per post system (like slash dot for example) is a simple and effective way to marginalise the deservedly marginalised without active moderation. I dont know how much effort it would take to implement this and quite frankly, will continue to visit anyway.

That's not really true.  I could probably name off a dozen people who will be marginalized just because they disagree with someone else.
The drumbeat was created for Oil and off topic comments.

I am an advocate of sustainability, and post ideas comments and links about the idea that we can live a sustainable lifestyle with the Oil use of today or the Use of less oil that we will have in the future.

 Isn't that what the Drumbeat is all about?

 Posting comments that aren't directed to the thread headers of the other sets of posts.   We have almost gotten to the point that if its not in the header section of the DrumBeat we can't post about it.

 That is not why the Blog's owners started the DrumBeat in the first place.  

 This is the Babble section.  The chat room.  The place the rest of us post our other ideas on a day to day basis.

 Dave's CERA rebuttal, is for CERA related topics and CERA info..  The DrumBeat is to discuss the rest of the days events, and thought processes.


Agree, I think.  If we don't like a poster or a post, we can and do scroll on by.  No point in asking this to be fixed because it is not fixable.
Maybe the rest of the days' events.  Not yesterday's arguments.  That is all I am asking.  Let what happens in Vegas, stay in Vegas.  Do not bring old arguments forward into new Drumbeats by quoting old posts.  Keep the argument in the old thread, and anyone who is interested can follow it there.  
What's the difference?  If no one wishes to discuss old stuff, it will simply be ignored.
The problem is that it's often only two or three people who are interested, and they go on and on ad nauseum, sometimes for days, making the thread tedious for the rest.  
Who? What are you talking about? You don't go on ad nauseum?
Hello Leanan,

As most other TODers already know: I am a big fan of ever expanding Peakoil Outreach efforts.  I do use the acronym WTSHTF--do the software filters at public libraries and schools sensing this acronym preclude public computers from allowing users to access TOD?  If so, I will stop using it.  Thxs for any reply.

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

Sorry, I'm not sure about that one.  I would guess not, though.  
There's no question that foul-mouthed trolls, with nothing but 100's upon 100's of worthless posts to their name, damage the site. I think the TOD can ban such posters while still allowing for tons of leeway and freedom of expression.

Your concerns are well-founded. As for myself, I have an iron-clad rule to never respond to trolls. It's the only thing that works. But that's only a personal solution.

Your the Editor, so I wish you well in trying to solve what is historically a tricky problem.


I don't post here very often either, but read much. I have to say I find his posts confusing at best. They are very distracting.
I agree with you 100%.

Let me suggest "Thumper's Rule" from Bambi: "If you can't say something nice, then don't say nothin' at all."

I find that the people I generally agree with are civil, intelligent, logical, and well-informed (surprise, surprise:). My comments on their posts are in the nature of amplification or providing a somewhat different point of view or perhaps adding some information. Now the people's whose posts are useless or offensive, these people whom I disagree with are uninformed, illogical, imbecelic, intoxicated, or infantile.

Why should I--or anybody else--respond to these posts? Let them have the last word; if nobody responds, then they will go away. As TOD is set up, we cannot stop people from posting garbage, but we can stop responding to it.

Missed you Sailorman--good to see you posting again!

Agree with you about trolls, offensive posts.  They do it for attention.  Ignore them.

Hear, hear.  After two long debates with climate deniers in the last week or so, it seems like they should just be referred to RealClimate or the aforesaid debates.  Why waste our energy?
I spent most of yesterday posting on Stuart's thread - and amongst other things discovered that I was not alone in seeing the irony of hanging by the neck until dead the man who has held Iraq together for a couple of decades.

How about these four blunt observations:

Wars have usually been good the leadership and the spending in the economy in the short term.

A dog on a leash who defies the master should be put down.  (that would be pricing oil in euros)

Something had to be done to avoid a recession/depression and the excesses of the bubble economy

Putting money in the hands of privte defense contractors was good for the family businesses.

Saddamm had outlived his usefullness in the short term,   Who knows if he, as far as the US leadership class was concerend, be tought to heel.   He got to play one last part - that of villan.

re. "Saddamm had outlived his usefullness in the short term"

Iraq under Saddam provided a counterweight to Iranian power in the Persian Gulf. With him gone, Iranian influence in Iraq increased greatly because both countries populations have Shia Muslim majorities. With Iran having a population of 9 million and Iraq a population of 6 million, and a large percentage of Iraqi's being sympathetic to Iran ,,the balance of power in the Persian Gulf has shifted to Iran.
   Saddam is an evil person and was the worst kind of dictator so please do not interpret my post as any endorsement for him,,but one of the great costs of the US invasion of Iraq is the loss of Iraq as a counterweight to Iranian regional power.


I don't think anyone here would defend the individual actions of Saddamm or his government.

Yet he got support from countries that claim to be champions of 'the rights' of others.   So he must have had some usefullness to said nations that supported him.

Iran might not be the probelm they are today without the meddlesome meddlling of meddling otheres in hte region.

At what point do nations stop punching the tar baby, call for turentine, and come clean of the tar?

As one of TOD's 10,000 readers, I have never been offended by Oil Ceo's comments. I actually look forward to his posts, the levity.  Yes, he's a heckler, he's a sarcastic wit, but he also does his homework. He knows energy.  TOD is the most informative energy discussion that I've found on the Internet and if TOD ever got too stuffy, readership would probably parallel Hubbert's Texas' curves and show decline in readership. IMHO.

Thanks to Leanan, HO, Khebab, Eng Poet, Prof Goose, Dave Cohen,WT, SS (nice to hear from again) and all the behind the scenes folks that make this site happen. You all are the vanguard.

Once again: WHY give a "heckler" attention?
For the same reason Statler and Waldorf are worth giving attention to: it's funny.  I personally LOLed when I saw Oil CEO's fp, and I enjoyed it: TOD sometimes keeps me from falling asleep, and occasionally makes me want to cry because I see that there is no way out, but rarely does it make me laugh.  It was refreshing.
Speaking about offensive- did anyone see the pictures of Britney getting out of the limo without her undies on?  It wouldn't have been so offensive if she was getting out of a Smart car.
Google listings for Britney Spears:  25 million

For Peak Oil:  4.6 million

The end times are near.  

Google listings for Britney Spears:  25 million

For Peak Oil:  4.6 million

You know, somehow I think this is the most revealing post of the day. For the vast majority of people, their thoughts never go outside the immediate problems of the day. And for the vast majority of people, Britney Spears, and her carryings on, are far more important than peak oil.

Ron Patterson

Are you kidding? Britney doesn't even have an order of magnitude more listings. If the above is correct PO has 18% of the pages she has. Thats astounding if true. Of course, its entirely possible 4.5 million of that 4.6 million are p*rn sites (asterisked with Leanan's comments in mind).
Ever since Ben and Jen split up, I just can't sleep at night.
No, do you have a link?
I can not post it, my wife is censoring me. Try google.
If you can't find the graphic (and gross) upskirt shots of Ms. Spears, your internet skills are sadly lacking.
To quote Mr. Churchill:
"After all Madam, if you are going to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
May I suggest that after all, if we are going to save the world it costs nothing to be polite.
It would be good to convince the "Church Lady" too.
The EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook which came out November 7th, had Saudi production at 9.2 mb/d for both September and august. That same report expected Saudi to cut production in November by 350 thousand barrels per day and produce, in November, 8.85 mb/d. However the EIA's International Petroleum Monthly, that came out yesterday, had Saudi production down to 9 million barrels per day in September. That is down 300 thousand barrels per day from their production in July and August, and 200 thousand barrels per day lower than what The EIA expected Saudi September production to be.

It seems Saudi Arabia has been cutting production well before their obligation to OPEC to cut production.

Saudi Arabia, great friend to the USA, who pledged earlier to try to keep production high and battle unreasonable oil prices, has done a sudden about face. They are now leading the OPEC effort to cut production. Why, that is the big question.

Well, the official explanation, the reason they have already cut production by 600 thousand barrels per day from last summer, is that they cannot find buyers for their oil. And amazing enough, the mainstream media, as well as even a few peak oilers, buy into this explanation, hook, line and sinker.

No, the reason Saudi Arabia is leading the OPEC effort to cut production is that this is the perfect cover for them. Their production has dropped by over 6% since last September. This is a way they can hide that fact, while they drill like hell in hopes of regaining their status of saviors of the world's energy problems. But they are simply drilling more wells in the same old tired fields that are currently swiftly declining. In the end, even if they are successful, will only hasten the end of their glory.

Saudi Arabia is well past the mid point of their total recoverable reserves. What is happening now is only natural. The world has greatly overestimated Saudi reserves, as well as the reserves for the rest of the Middle East. Ten years from now many oil experts will look back at what they thought Saudi and other Middle East reserves to be and exclaim: How could we have been so stupid!

Ron Patterson

the official explanation, the reason they have already cut production by 600 thousand barrels per day from last summer, is that they cannot find buyers for their oil

The explanation is lacking capacity of refineries that can handle their heavy sour crude. Refineries of that type are being (re)built.
Coming production from the Saudi Monifa oil field, which contains plenty of oil with very high contents of sulfur and vanadium seems to point into the same direction: They cannot produce but low quality oil, but they do have lots of it.

I bet Darwinian thinks every refinery in the world can process that ultra sour heavy crude oil or they would just pump it into a SPR until it can be.  So where's the problem, right? <chortle>
I'll bet Hothgor is a blooming idiot! But that is not news, almost everyone on this list already knows that. Only an idiot would think that refieneries could just pump heavy sour into the SPR. The SPR belongs to the US Government. They must purchase oil from the producers in order to fill the SPR.

The world has far more capscity to use heavy sour crude than people give credit. Valero specalizes in processing heavy sour crude.

In fact 75% of all US refineries can process heavy sour crude.

This oil cannot be processed by refineries designed to process conventional oil and very expensive (read billions of dollars) "upgrades" have to be made to refineries to enable them to process heavy sour crude. Fortunately, in the US about 75% of refineries can handle heavy sour crude, and this may, in part, be responsible for their high profits.

As the supply of light sweet crude drops, and the supply of heavy sour crude takes over an ever greater percentage of the world's crude oil supply, refieneries are converting even thought the cost is high. But as the first link above explains, as the spread between light sweet and heavy sour becomes greater, it becomes profitable for refineries to upgrade.

But to Hothgor, and all others who use the "heavy sour" explination as to why Saudi Arabia is producing less oil, it just will not wash. There is always a market for crude no matter how heavy or how sour. The simple fact is you must discount the price by from 7 to 16 dollars per barrel. Saudi can sell all the heavy sour crude they have by simply discounting the price. In fact they must discount it if they expect to sell it. That is, they must compete with everyone else out there selling their heavy sour, like Venezuela.

Also, all tar sands and Orinoco bitumen oil is of the very heavy sour variety. If there were no market for heavy sour crude, they would shut down the Canadian Tar Sands operation.

Again, with 75% of US refineries able to process heavy sour crude, there is a huge market for the stuff. Saudi Arabia production is declining pure and simple. They are not holding oil off the market because they have no buyers. That explination is pure baloney.

Ron Patterson

Saudi can sell all the heavy sour crude they have by simply discounting the price. In fact they must discount it if they expect to sell it

OPEC (and thats mostly KSA) are trying not to let crude prices below $60 because otherwise it is unprofitable for them. Consumers on the other hand can't afford high oil (fuel) prices in the long term.

That's why I believe that any half-way correct prediction of URR is per se flawed, and that much oil will - hopefully - stay in the ground forever.

OPEC (and thats mostly KSA) are trying not to let crude prices below $60 because otherwise it is unprofitable for them.
(Emphasis mine.)

Wow! Where on earth did you get that bit of information? It cost Saudi Arabia about five bucks to produce a barrel of oil. But all this is beside the point. Oil comes in different grades. Heavy sour has always sold at a discount to light sweet crude. It is just that in the last couple of years the price difference between the two has just about doubled.

Ten years ago, when oil was less than $20 a barrel, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and many other nations was selling heavy sour crude at a profit. Today, they are still selling heavy sour crude at a profit. Heavy sour from Saudi Arabia, if it is discounted by 10 to 17 dollars per barrel, is going for about $40 to $45 a barrel. That represents an enermous profit, a profit of about 800 percent over what it cost them to produce it.

The price difference between heavy sour and light sweet crude is not likely to decrease any way soon. It will remain in the $15 dollar range for many years. It does Saudi no good to deliberately hold it off the market. Eventually, when they do sell it, the price difference will still be there.

But I don't believe for one minute that they cannot find buyers for their heavy sour. Heavy sour crude, just line any other commodity, has a price. And if Saudi markets their heavy sour at that price, they can and will sell it. And that is why their "no buyers" story makes no sense at all. Does Venezuela have buyers for their heavy sour crude. Of course they do. And they are one of three OPEC nations of whom the EIA says has not yet cut a single barrel of production. Nigeria and Indonesia are the other two.

Ron Patterson

OPEC (and thats mostly KSA) are trying not to let crude prices below $60 because otherwise it is unprofitable for them.

I too that this was an interesting revelation.  If taken at face value, it would suggest that OPEC is determined to encourage:  (1)   the development of unconventional oil reserves; (2)  the development of alternative energy sources and (3)  increased conservation.  

If memory serves, $60 is more than twice as high as the price ceiling that they said that they were trying to maintain just a few years ago.

If taken at face value, its suggests to me another example of the dead horse I keep beating of declining net energy. Conventional finance looking at energy assumes the whole world stands still while they bring on new production. But more labor, more steel, more risk, more complexity, more materials, etc all require more dollars to get at the tougher stuff.

We cant make future projections of production without a lens that looks at wide boundary costs. My bet is that KSAs are increasing. Someone posted a graph here of KSA having record oil profits but going from surplus to deficit...

A few years from now we'll hear the same grumblings about tar sands 'well, to be economical, oil will have to have a floor of $150..."

Remember, oil shale in the 1960s would be profitable if oil got to $2 a barrel. Now where are we?  

Ron, thanks for clarifying this point, which many of us were misinformed about.
I don't know how accurate this calculation is, however from what I can find 2006 KSA oil revenues are about 84 billion dollars/year. If they consume 1.8 million brl's/d that leaves 7.2 for export, or about 2.6 billion Brl's/year. That's about 32 dollars/Brl income, so I would suspect their costs are more than 10 dollars/Brl.
> Wow! Where on earth did you get that bit of information?

From some official OPEC statement on the Schlumberger site, saying OPEC is "concerned" about too low oil prices (Barkindos saying IIRC). For which reason other than "not profitable" should they be concerned?

Is it possible that heavy sour crude both from Mexico and Venezuela can more easily be sold to the US because a) there is so much of it (in Venezuela) b) and shipping to the US (with 75% refineries able to process heavy-sour) is shorter and c) the market was temporarily saturated?

Please have mercy with me when I seemingly misunderstand something. I'm not a natural speaker and I'm not here to defend the OPEC position. I really appreciate your comments.

Quote: `...It cost Saudi Arabia about five bucks to produce a barrel of oil...'

I think this appraisal is outdated. Yes, 20 years ago this was true, but today, with skyrocketing number of rigs and skyrocketing salaries in the Middle East the costs of production are much higher.

It cost Saudi Arabia no more to produce a barrel of oil from wells that were drilled 20 years ago than it does today. In fact it cost less because the wells are already in place.

However if you are talking about new wells, then that is a different story. But those new wells are producing only a small percentage of Saudi production.

It is extremely difficult to say how much it costs to produce on barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia. It costs far more to produce a barrel of offshore oil than a barrel of on shore oil. It cost far more for a barrel from a new well than from a barrel of oil from a twenty or thirty year old well.

But since the vast majority of Saudi oil comes from very old wells, most of them on shore, I still maintain that it cost them less than  an average of $5 a barrel to produce a barrel of oil. Of course I could be proven wrong. But I would have to be proven wrong.

Ron Patterson

Of course I am not an accountant at Saudi Aramco. But it is just a common sense. There is a big state company. The overall costs of production in this company are rising because of the rising costs of new marginal production (significantly more new wells per same amount of oil) and rising costs of production from old wells (repairing of infrastructure, field refurbishments, water and gas injection, etc.). And as I said earlier, the last but not least factor is a wild rise in wages in the ME.

I don't know the exact number. But if a decade ago the costs were estimated at $5 a barrel, today this number must be significantly higher.

I still maintain that it cost them less than  an average of $5 a barrel to produce a barrel of oil. Of course I could be proven wrong. But I would have to be proven wrong.

Well, we know you cannot be proven wrong as ARAMCO is the only organization with the data needed to make the proof and I doubt they will release it just so we can post it on TOD. So lets try another approach.

We know that oil sold for an extended period for $20 a bbl. Since this was "old" oil from established fields the lifting costs were likely around the $5 estimate that you quote. And we know that during this period KSA ran up huge deficits. If you have 4,000 princes to support and they all need new 747s to transport their fleets of vintage Bentleys well, soon you are into real money.

Today oil goes for $60 a bbl. Another thread on TOD worked some numbers and derived an estimate of $19 per bbl investment for each bbl of new oil. All those rigs don't come cheap.

Then we have "lifting" costs for all that old oil. Taking millions of gallons of seawater, running it through a treatment plant, inject it into the field through hundreds of new injection wells, extract it at a 40% water cut and then run it through a series of separation plants -  that is not be a cheap form of "lifting".  That process uses a lot of energy and the opportunity cost of that energy is three times higher than it was 5 years ago. So we will double your $5 figure and call it Operating costs of $10 a bbl.

At $20 oil the KSA royalty was around $15 and this still put them in deficit. Playing with the numbers suggests they need around $25 a bbl royalty. If the graph shown elsewhere on this thread is correct then $60 oil gives them enough to operate the Kingdom and also pay down their foreign debt.

Total the above estimates and we get:
Capital costs per bbl            $19
Operating costs per bbl       $10
Needed royalty per bbl       $25
Estimated Costs per bbl     $54

Not all of KSA production is Saudi Light. More of it tends toward heavier fractions and must be sold at a discount. How much of a discount? For the sake of argument we'll set the discount at $6 a bbl. So KSA costs of prodcution are around $54 a bbl and the selling price of their oil is also $54 a bbl. I think this is the reason they need to ensure a scarcity of oil and want to see the world price back up above $60.

If the price drops much below the current price, then KSA is faced with a difficult set of decisions. Do they ask the 4,000 Princes to forgo the new 747? That will not make for happy times in the Kingdom. Do they make the ordinary citizens pay market prices for housing, health care, water, energy, and stop subsidizing job creation? That will not make for happy times in the Kingdom. Or do they stop the investment in all of the new fields and projects that they have underway? That will not make for happy times in the future Kingdom.

My take on all of this is that the KSA leadership read Twilight in the Desert, looked at the numbers, and realized they have a big looming problem. So they are now spending like mad to ensure the discovery and production of all that CERA theoretical oil. And given the structure of the Saudi state they cannot afford NOT to look for it. We think of Iraq, a state failing due to internal contradictions, as a violent intractable problem. Just contemplate what would happen if KSA started to implode.
We think of Iraq, a state failing due to internal contradictions, as a violent intractable problem.

And we think of Iran, a state with a president who came to power with the votes of the poor. He will have to fulfill his promises any time soon. 50% or so of Iran population is younger than 20. Iran is currently a major importer of refined products, unsuccessfully attempting to cut its (large) budget for imported fuel. There is also a looming energy crisis for Iran.

It is extremely difficult to say how much it costs to produce on barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia.

Above you seemed quite confident that it must be $5 ...

Any chance of a quick reminder on what you get from a barrel of heavy compared to a barrel of light (in terms of fuel)?

Aslo how much more energy input is required to crack the heavy?


In the spring--at the same time that the Saudi stock market started crashing--the Saudis announced that they were cutting production, because they could not find buyers for all of their oil--"even their light, sweet oil."  This was at a time when light, sweet oil in the US was selling for about $70 per barrel.

Coincidentally, the Saudis are at the same stage of depletion at which Texas started declining.

I'm sure this is just a coincidence. Why would the Saudi stock market crash just because insiders discovered that Saudi oil production is crashing?
Why would the Saudi stock market crash just because insiders discovered that Saudi oil production is crashing?

I have made the argument for years, that when the world fully realizes the consequences of peak oil, it will cause the mother of all stock market crashes. The reason is simple. People invest in the stock market for growth. When people realize that energy, at least oil enery, must now decline....forever, they will realize that industry must now shrink....forever. People will then realize that their investment in the market must shrink as industry shrinks. They will then, in mass, pull their money from the market.

Also it must be realized that as money dries up from Saudi oil exports, the Saudi economy will suffer. Expats in Saudi, and the money they earn, support a large segment of the Saudi economy.

In short, I think there are very good reasons for connecting the two.

Ron Patterson

I could be wrong, but I think that Jim forgot to add "sarcasm alert."
Apparently sarcasm by others is lost on Darwinian :P
I've started expressing the crude + condensate shortfall in terms of cumulative lower production relative to 12/05.  This number can jump around a lot because of revisions, but as Khebab has noted, those revisions tend to be downward.

In any case, it's interesting to look at the first nine months of 2006 versus 2005.  

Based on EIA crude + condensate numbers, the world produced about 270 million barrels more oil--through the first nine months of 2005--than if we had just maintained the 12/04 production level.

Based on EIA crude + condensate numbers, the world produced about 192 million barrels less oil--through the first nine months of 2006--than if we had just maintained the 12/05 production level.  

And as we know, this 2006 shortfall corresponded to oil prices that have been 50% to 100% higher than the previous record (nominal) oil price--and 50% to 100% higher than Yergin's predicted long term index price.

Coincidentally, the world is at the same stage of depletion, based on the HL analysis, that the Lower 48 started declining.  

US urges Opec not to cut production further

By Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent, in London
Updated: 7:42 p.m. MT Dec 1, 2006

The US on Friday urged the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries not to make further cuts to its oil production.

Samuel Bodman, US energy secretary, said: "I encourage them to keep markets well-supplied."

But almost simultaneously in Cairo Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia's oil minister, indicated that the cartel needed to give serious consideration to further reducing its production when it met in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, on December 14. He told reporters that demand was "okay", US inventories were high, and 100m barrels of oil would have to be removed from the market to achieve a balance.

I've been looking at the ratio of total US product inventories to product supplied.  The average (at the end of November) for the past six years (2000 to 2005, inclusive) is 34.4 days.    The 11/24/06 number was 33.4 days.

The absolute number for 2006 is 709 million barrels (11/24/06 product inventories, EIA), versus the six year average of 681 million barrels, but again you have to take into account increased consumption.  Product supplied has increased from 19.2 mbpd in 2000 to 21.2 mbpd in 2006.  

This is also why the crude oil inventories are really not that high--especially when one considers that we don't know how much of commercial inventories consists of heavy, sour versus light, sweet.  I think that building inventories of heavy, sour have been obscuring flat to declining inventories of light, sweet.  

OPEC sends conflicting signal on need for deeper cut

By Summer Said and Talal Malik
 Saturday, December 2, 2006; 10:23 AM

Libya's top energy official said markets seemed to be nearing a balance and he did not feel there was a need for OPEC to add to the 1.2 million barrel per day cuts agreed in October

Kuwait's oil minister has said OPEC should not make additional output cuts with U.S. crude above $60 a barrel.

The prospect of another supply cut by OPEC raised alarm in the world's leading consumer the United States on Friday.

We need to start work on a Top 10 List of the Reasons that the Saudis have voluntarily to cut production.

  1. Geological Decline
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...
  6. ...
  7. ...
  8. ...
  9. ...
  10. ...
I think WT meant the reason the Saudis have "said" they need to cut back, not the real reason.
Yeah, I was thinking of something along the lines of David Letterman's Top Ten Reasons that the Saudis give for declining oil production.  

It is beginning to take on aspects of a dark comedy, with a constantly evolving set of reasons for "voluntary" cuts in production.  

Let's see, they couldn't find buyers for all of their oil, "Even their light, sweet oil," but they are desperately increasing their rig count.  

It shows you how deep the denial is that a lot of people on TOD--on a Peak Oil website of all places--buy their story.   Gives you a good idea of the level of resistance in the general public to the reality that Cheney was wrong about the American way of life being "non-negotiable."  

OK...so let's start over:

Top 10 Reasons Given by KSA have voluntarily cut production.

#10 - "There are just no buyers out there."
#9  - "We need $60/barrel in order to put new drapes in all the royal palaces."
#8  - "Everyone (meaning the US) is oversupplied."

Anyone care to add to westexas' list?

OK...corrected the title somewhat...try again:

Top 10 Reasons given by KSA as to why they have voluntarily cut production.

#10 - "There are just no buyers out there."
#9  - "We need $60/barrel in order to put new drapes in all the royal palaces."
#8  - "Everyone (meaning the US) is oversupplied."

Anyone care to add to westexas' list?

#7 " We wish to encourage the following:   accelerated development of unconventional oil reserves,  greater use of alternative energy sources, and increased conservation efforts."

#6  "We agree with Al Gore regarding the threat posed by Global Warming, and we are trying to help."

"We agree with Al Gore ... LOL!
an oldie, but still gives me a chuckle:

#5. Lack of US domestic refinery capacity.  (huh??)

especially considering that not much KSA crude makes it to the USA in the first place.

#4 - " We are not going to cut production.  We will boost production and cut the price of oil in half in order to devastate Iran's ability to fund Shiite militias in Iraq ."
http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Business_News&month=December2006&f ile=Business_News200612021336.xml
Opec members slash output in November  
Web posted at: 12/2/2006 1:33:6
 Source ::: REUTERS

However, at least one analyst says shipping data signals Opec is making very large cutbacks. Consultancy Pira Energy said this week that Opec crude exports have fallen 1.28 million b/d in the four weeks to November 19 and were 1.7 million b/d below their recent peak in mid-October.

It sure does look like we are going to finish up 2006 with a big time drop in both world production and world exports.  

Quickie chart:

I was surprised that nobody has commented on the Businessweek article, "Oil Woes in Iran"

Some tidbits:

Iran is a net importer of natural gas and gasoline. Their gas prices are 35 cents/gallon, so consumption is increasing 10%/year.

Like Mexico, Iran milks the industry, only investing a third of what is required to maintain production. They don't allow much foreign involvement, so NG and oil fields are both extremely slow to get on line.

Endless haggling and delays have set back some of Iran's biggest oil initiatives. One top priority had been the Azagedan field in southern Iran, which is expected eventually to produce 260,000 barrels a day. But in October, Tehran scrapped a $2 billion contract, agreed to in 2004, with Japan's Inpex to develop the project. And Shell's $800 million Soroush/Nowrooz project in the Persian Gulf has been plagued by cost overruns and technical glitches. In January, meanwhile, Statoil wrote down the entire $329 million book value of its South Pars project because of "productivity and quality problems" with a local contractor.

Bottom line?

As domestic energy consumption skyrockets, Iran is struggling to produce enough oil and gas for export. Unless Tehran overhauls its policies, its primary source of revenue and the basis of its geopolitical muscle could start to wane. Within a decade, says Saad Rahim, an analyst at Washington consultancy PFC Energy, "Iran's net crude exports could fall to zero."

Looks like WesTexas' export model is dead on.

The bigger the subsidy the harder they will fall.
It seems Saudi Arabia has been cutting production well before their obligation to OPEC to cut production.

Thanks Ron.

I had intended on going to local indian casino today to fleece some locals at poker, but reading your post has steepened my discount rate towards future fitness and Ive decided to go to Home Depot and start on my chicken tractor for spring guinea fowl chicks.

Nate, thanks for the post. I haven't seen a guinea in years. But back when I was young, they used to be very common in North Alabama where I grew up. About one in ten farmers had guineas on their farm. But they were wild things. They would nest in fence rows and such. They fed themselves, there was never a need to feed them. And they were better than watch dogs. If any stranger came around they would make a fuss and alert everyone around.

Ron Patterson

Ron, not to get too far off tangent of twilight in the desert, but I had guineas a few years ago. You order 25 of them from an online hatchery (like murray mcmurray link above) and they come in a cardboard box to the post office. You open the box and there are 25 live tiny chicks in there, cute as heck and peeping like crazy. Once a guinea is hatched (or a chicken for that matter), they dont require food or water for 3 days because of the vestiges left from amniotic fluid in egg.

I then trained them to roost for 3 months in my coop then let them free range all over the place. They ate ticks and bugs (and also some of my salad greens). In return I ate their eggs and was much amused watching their antics. From time to time a hen would not come back for a week or so- she would get broody somewhere in the woods and then oneday show up with 10-12 little ones in tow, who then would self acclimate to the  coop.

Eventually, the fox/owl/coyote got most of them, but it was fun experiment. Going to be a bit more serious about it this time (as in, I will be eating the surplus, not the coyotes)

McMurrays provides good stock. I got 25 multipurpose chicks(various heavy breeds which also lay well) and have been very happy with them. However I put up a very sturdy shed and built roosts inside and little ramps up to little chicken doors on the side. I close up their little doors tightly every night and open them up the next morning, primarily because of things like coyotes and dogs. They are quite tame and entertaining and my only problem has been finding enough people to give my excess eggs to. They produce about a dozen a day. My roosters are quite good at protecting the hens from hawks during the day.
How wonderful life is on planet earth in 2006 A.D. One can wake up with a purebred golden retriever licking ones face, brew dark roasted espresso from Tanzania, start a fire with oil-impregnated fat-sticks and quick strike matches with red sulfur/charcoal caps, read and debate about Saudi Arabian oil production via a device that beams signals 2,000 miles up and back to a router, and share guinea fowl stories with a gramma from tennessee.


p.s. put up a sign - free eggs - people will get used to them and one day youll get something in return. (social capital).
I do remember a plethora of eggs from my guineas - smaller than chicken eggs but the yolks were bigger.

TN Granny
Is any particular breed of Guinea better suited to the Chattanooga climate/ forage than the others?


It's exactly the same reflection that i had, especially because of what i'd once read, that it's always been a problem for SA, in the past, to respect the OPEC supply cut decisions.

And now, they appears to be the most fervent supporters of further cuts.. that's suprinsing...

Feasta, the Irish-based foundation for the economics of sustainability, has re-launched its website http://www.feasta.org/ . Since it was founded in 1998, Feasta has been interested in peak oil, debt-based economics, monetary reform, and many other things. Colin Campbell is a member and has spoken at a couple of Feasta conferences.

Its new multimedia page http://www.feasta-multimedia.org/index.php has audio and video material which focuses on many energy issues (with Richard Heinberg, David Fleming and others).

Thanks for posting this link.  IMO sustainability is being developed and implemented primarily at the local level and bottom-up, and it's great to see what other communities are doing.  Top-down political and technological solutions will play at best only a secondary role.
UK oil production continues decline annual maintenance

Britain's North Sea oil and gas production continued its decline in September despite the completion of annual summer maintenance work.

According to the latest monthly index from the Royal Bank of Scotland, oil output was up 10 per cent compared with August to 1.3 million barrels per day, but was still down 17 per cent on the same month last year.

Similarly natural gas production, which is also in decline, fell by 16 per cent compared to a year ago to 6.9 billion cubic feet per day despite increasing by 28 per cent following maintenance.

Down 17%?!  Yikes.

In August, both oil and gas production recorded seasonal lows despite strong investment and increased activity caused by record prices.

Crude oil production alone, which has been in decline for the past five years, has now fallen by nearly 400,000 bpd, equivalent to more than 20 per cent, since the beginning of 2006.

<begin sarcasm alert>
Have no fear, Leanan! This drop is just due to "above ground" factors! The North Sea cannot be past peak! A distinguished English Literature graduate named Daniel Yergin told me so! After all, his expertise in English Literature surely exceeds that of trained geologists who have worked on petroleum issues all their lives, right?
<end sarcasm alert>
And especially those who haven't been :P
Down 17%?!  Yikes.

Have no fear! I am on my way over to put a stop to these declines.

Seriously, one of the most interesting aspects of my new job will be gaining a better understanding of the North Sea fields, depletion rates, and drilling prospects.

Seriously, one of the most interesting aspects of my new job will be gaining a better understanding of the North Sea fields, depletion rates, and drilling prospects.


"Ignorance is Bliss", George Orwell, 1984

Not for me. Besides, one of the other attractive aspects of Scotland is that the area is still a net oil exporter. If things get bad in the short term, I think that's a decent place to be.

I think that the UK has swung from exporting one mbpd in 1999 to now being a net oil importer.

As I noted down the thread, I estimate that North Sea crude + condensate reserves are about 75% depleted.

I think that the UK has swung from exporting one mbpd in 1999 to now being a net oil importer.

That's true for the whole of the U.K., no doubt. But if you considered Scotland on its own, that area is an exporter. That area certainly produces more than it consumes.

Speaking of ignorance, can scotland be a net exporter and UK be a net importer? Do they delineate between the two? Im not up on european geopolitics.
If you allocate the North Sea production to Scotland, then yes. Just like one state in the U.S. could be an exporter and another an importer.
We have elections in May 07.  Scottish Parliament is run by proportional represenatation.  Currently, Labour (lets call them pinkos in the interest of keeping things polite) hold the greater number of seats, but not a majority, and have formed a coalition government with the "Lib Dems" who just say whatever they think folks want them to say....  so at this point my wife chased me through the house screaming that I never do any housework or spend time with the children... three hours later..

So Robert, we have elections in May.  The SNP - who favour independence for Scotland  will most probably be the biggest party but probably not the majority party after the next election.  If they are the majority party then the UK will have a full blown constituitional crisis.  And yes most of the oil and gas lies in Scottish waters .. and there is a certain lure to not having to send our sons and daughters overseas to fight for energy security - Scotland would become a major energy exporter.

Just as well I'm not political:-)

I think that the UK has swung from exporting one mbpd in 1999 to now being a net oil importer.

I have heard that the UK is a net importer at this point, but this year's statistical review of world energy from BP is a bit confusing.

It shows 2003, 2004, and 2005 UK production at 2.257, 2.028, and 1.808 MM bpd. It gives UK consumption over this time period as 1.717, 1.764, and 1.790 MM bpd. Maybe I am missing something, but that would imply that they are still an exporter (although 2005 is pretty much even on both sides). But I know I have read that the UK is now an importer, so I am not sure what this means.

OK, just read a few articles. There were some articles in 2004 that estimated that the UK would be an oil importer in that year. That turned out not to be the case. I just read another article that said the UK will become a net importer this year, and it said this was 3 years earlier than the government had anticipated. Here is the link on that last story:


So, if they are an importer, it was this year that they became an importer. I had thought the UK was already a net importer prior to 2006, but it was probably from reading those 2004 articles.

Putting some import/export numbers together.

Interesting tidbit:  Norway's consumption increased from 2004 to 2005.  The volume wasn't huge, 30,000 bpd, but it was an 11% year over year increase. The point was that I had been assuming Norway's consumption to be flat.  Yet another example of torrents of cash flow juicing the economies of exporting regions.

Of course, we are seeing the same thing here in places like Midland, Texas, with a record low unemployment rate, a housing boom and with high school graduates with six months' experience getting offers of 75K per year.   Deja Vu all over again.

During the boom in the Seventies, it took two bankers to turn a loan down at the Midland National Bank.  One officer was not authorized to turn a loan down; he needed a second banker to sign off on it.

1986 Oil Patch Joke (after oil hit $10 per barrel):  The difference between a Texas oilman and a mockingbird was that a mockingbird could still make a deposit on a Mercedes.

I was in Midland buying some production from
a defunct oil co. in the height of the oil bust of the 80's.( I think it was March
of 1982). There was a large hotel downtown that
my partner and I stayed in (large national upper
end hotel) that had one other guest. Probably had
500 rooms; 497 empty! Newspapers literally blowning
down the street in the business district. That
bust, for people in the oil business, was every
bit as traumatic as the Great Depression of the
The joke at that time was "How do you get in
contact with a petroleum engineer? Just yell
hey waiter! at lunch."
The UK became a net oil importer in 2005.

The relevant data are available from the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS).

See Table A11 in this document:

UK Trade Statistics September 2006 (pdf warning)

Hello R-squared,

I beg of you:

Just don't let the exports of fine scotch decline.  The way things are going-- we need all the clipper ships we can muster, like the Cutty Sark, hauling casks across the pond.  =)

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

UK Oil Production on trend

Which is 7.6% decline per annum.

Each summer the production dips sharply owing to maintenace, and this year there have been one or two unplanned maintenance shut downs.  One reason why I warn against getting too involved in the details of short term stats.

I don't think the RBS are fully on top of the situation - but unfortunately they have not called to offer me a job as yet. Conoco Philips though - now there's another option!

Thanks to Doug Low of ODAC for sending me the chart:


My North Sea crude + condensate HL plot gives the North Sea a Qt of about 60 Gb.   Through 9/06, the cumulative production is 44.5 Gb, so--based on my HL plot--they are about 75% depleted (crude + condensate).  

1999 peak production (crude + condensate):  5.9 mbpd (EIA)

2004 production (the data I used for HL plot):  5.2

Average 2006 production:  4.4

The remaining estimated recoverable reserves of about 15 Gb would last 9.3 years at the average 2006 production rate.   I would note that the post-1999 production has precisely fit the predicted HL model, and the total North Sea is a perfect HL case.  

(As I have pointed out before, the problem with the early UK HL estimate was the ridiculously high P/Q intercept of about 30%.)

Interesting article over on Euro News

EU push to influence neighbours

The European Commission has set aside 1bn euros (£675m) to boost energy infrastructure and democratic reforms in former Soviet and Mediterranean countries on its borders. Critics say the move comes as a recognition that the EU has to provide bigger carrots if it wants stable and democratic neighbours.

Not that it will probably make a lot of difference, when the gas runs out the gas runs out.  But its encouraging to see a different approach to rading your neighbours for natural resources.

Forecast: U.S. Renewable Energy to Hit 700 GW

Leading experts predict that policy goal of 25% renewable production capacity by 2025 could potentially double.

Of course that's not "net energy." We always seem to ignore that. We always ignore the fossil fuel inputs that went into making the "renewable" energy. As I pointed out to Syntec in yesterday's Drumbeat:

Let's run some numbers. Right now, we are making around 4.3 billion gallons per year of ethanol. At an energy return of 1.3, that means we only net 0.3 BTUs of output for 1 BTU of input. Therefore, you consumed 3.3 billion gallons worth of ethanol to produce 4.3 billion gallons. So, the net of the 4.3 billion gallons is only 1 billion gallons. Of course that net includes massive amounts of animal feed co-product, which you can't burn in a car. In reality, the fossil fuel input is almost equal to the ethanol output. That's per the USDA's most recent estimates.

But I am going to give the benefit of the doubt and give you 1 billion gallons of net ethanol. Since ethanol has 65% of the BTU content of gasoline, the energy equivalent number is 650 million gallons of gasoline. We use about 140 billion gallons of gasoline, so the gasoline displacement is only 0.46%. Apply that only to our oil consumption, and the displacement is down around 0.3%.

I have to say, that post was one of the most succinct summaries of the issue I ve seen. Thanks.

Why doesn t my apostrophe work?

Hello B3ndzla,

More signs of Peak Everything?--Peak Apostrophes--harbingers of Tainterian Complexity Collapse? LOL!

Maybe your personal HAL [recall 2001: A Space Odessey], is trying to tell you that consumptive materialism is a no-no by eliminating your chance to use possessives: it s mine.

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

I can't figure it out. Now they're fine. Weird.
(: LOL. That s rather humorous.
"Why doesn t my apostrophe work?"

We re approaching Peak Punctuation

 Therefore, you consumed 3.3 billion gallons worth of ethanol to produce 4.3 billion gallons.
Did you really mean that?  Did we consume ethanol to produce ethanol? I thought we produced oil, natural gas, coal, etc. to produce ethanol.  
Did you really mean that?  Did we consume ethanol to produce ethanol? I thought we produced oil, natural gas, coal, etc. to produce ethanol.

Note the "worth." What that means is that you consumed the fossil fuel equivalent - in natural gas, gasoline, and diese primarily - to make the ethanol. Those fossil fuels function perfectly well as transportation fuels, hence the net is 1 billion gallons of ethanol energy created.  

Bad numbers indeed. Yet Chevron will not agree to share their Fossil Fuel distribution infrastructure with renewables. Talk of being afraid of paper tigers.
Deadly Ocean Burp
Ward says instead that, "A new type of evidence reveals that the earth itself can, and probably did, exterminate its own inhabitants."

The killer is a type of bacteria that needs lots of sunlight but very little oxygen to thrive. It gives off the gas hydrogen sulfide, which even in small concentrations is lethal. People generally call the gas "sewer gas."

H2S has a short lifetime in the atmosphere. It is flammable, just short of pyrophoric, and quickly oxidises in the air to SO2 and beyond. Just a guess, but it should all be sulphate in a matter of days in an oxygenated environment. Any release would be a temporary local problem.

And I know those bacteria from the saltmarshes of Cape Cod, they're my little friends :) But seriously, it isn't reasonable to blame the bacteria, as they can only do their work in an oxygen-restricted environment. If we have enough of the bacteria about to be a problem, our atmospheric chemistry is majorly screwed up already.

The sort of burp I'd worry about would be frozen methane, since there's supposedly an enormous amount of it, and a slowing of the thermohaline circulation pattern will mean that the cold arctic currents which have flowed along the bottom and kept it frozen (they created it really), will give way to geothermal heat.

A certain threshold is crossed and you have it all thawing in a relatively short time ...

Ya...and then the BIG BELCHHHH occurs!!!
End of Oil = Revival of Coal

Coal-burning plants for UAE

The UAE is considering building coal-burning power plants in order to meet escalating energy demands, reported Gulf News citing Bloomberg. Peter Barker-Homek, the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Energy, confirmed alternative power sources were being analysed. This is despite the fact Abu Dhabi produces 4.5bn cubic feet of natural gas per day and intends to increase this to 6bn; from 2007, 2bn additional cubic feet will be pumped in from Qatar.

Hello TODers,

Good article on Mexican Pres. Calderon and Pemex's problems:
Calderon, a conservative, needs to convince the Mexican public that the enormous profits reaped by Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, trickle down to the public.

And he needs to find the billions required to reverse the sharp decline in Pemex's production. The chief executive of Pemex, Ramirez Corzo, said it needs to spend $18 billion a year to find oil at a time when production is dropping rapidly from its huge Cantarell field, the Associated Press reported.

"The Mexican public doesn't know where money generated by energy sector goes, but they believe it doesn't go to them," said Francisco García, emeritus professor of economics at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Studies, known as the ITESM. "We need to show the channels of money flowing to the people."

IMO, surprising truthful when translated logically: decreasing profits will trickle down to the poor even less as geologic decline asserts itself.

I think Calderon should be honest with the public to start a frank discussion on just how much their society should hoard their declining supplies and cut exports to the US.  It would also be doing the US a big favor by making our gas prices increase to induce more conservation.

If Calderon does this: it is not unreasonable for the loss of nearly 2 million barrels/day to send gasoline to $5/gal or more.  This would have a severe economic impact for Mexicans currently working for low wages in the US, but this could be offset by them going to their local Mexican Consulate and being issued a Mexican debit card that would allow them to purchase gasoline at a discount so they could afford a trip south to rejoin their families.

If this can function properly: the price disparity between MEX & US could induce Millions back south across the border, forcing millions of Americans to shift to relocalized Permaculture and/or helping maintain our industrial agriculture.  Could my wild & crazy idea help with the labor shift of 60-75% of Americans to permaculture labor?

Sorry, I am not an econ expert, but I would be interested in any elaborations or disputations from other TODers as to the feasibility of this idea.

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

Decreasing profits trickling down? Of course. That's called wage cuts.

18B? Is that right? Just to *find* oil? Though I suppose if one were interested in sucking all the money out of PEMEX, spending it all on some company owned by one's friends, eg Arbusto, to find more oil might be one way.

cfm in Gray, ME

New York Times:  Rumsfeld's Memo of Options for Iraq War

Following is the text of a classified Nov. 6 memorandum that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sent to the White House suggesting new options in Iraq. The memorandum was sent one day before the midterm Congressional elections and two days before Mr. Rumsfeld resigned.

SUBJECT: Iraq -- Illustrative New Courses of Action

The situation in Iraq has been evolving, and U.S. forces have adjusted, over time, from major combat operations to counterterrorism, to counterinsurgency, to dealing with death squads and sectarian violence. In my view it is time for a major adjustment. Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough. Following is a range of options:


Above the Line: (Many of these options could and, in a number of cases, should be done in combination with others)

¶Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. -- political, economic and security goals -- to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made).

¶Significantly increase U.S. trainers and embeds, and transfer more U.S. equipment to Iraqi Security forces (ISF), to further accelerate their capabilities by refocusing the assignment of some significant portion of the U.S. troops currently in Iraq.

¶Initiate a reverse embeds program, like the Korean Katusas, by putting one or more Iraqi soldiers with every U.S. and possibly Coalition squad, to improve our units' language capabilities and cultural awareness and to give the Iraqis experience and training with professional U.S. troops.

¶Aggressively beef up the Iraqi MOD and MOI, and other Iraqi ministries critical to the success of the ISF -- the Iraqi Ministries of Finance, Planning, Health, Criminal Justice, Prisons, etc. -- by reaching out to U.S. military retirees and Reserve/National Guard volunteers (i.e., give up on trying to get other USG Departments to do it.)

¶Conduct an accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases. We have already reduced from 110 to 55 bases. Plan to get down to 10 to 15 bases by April 2007, and to 5 bases by July 2007.

¶Retain high-end SOF capability and necessary support structure to target Al Qaeda, death squads, and Iranians in Iraq, while drawing down all other Coalition forces, except those necessary to provide certain key enablers for the ISF.

¶Initiate an approach where U.S. forces provide security only for those provinces or cities that openly request U.S. help and that actively cooperate, with the stipulation being that unless they cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province.

¶Stop rewarding bad behavior, as was done in Fallujah when they pushed in reconstruction funds, and start rewarding good behavior. Put our reconstruction efforts in those parts of Iraq that are behaving, and invest and create havens of opportunity to reward them for their good behavior. As the old saying goes, "If you want more of something, reward it; if you want less of something, penalize it." No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is violence.

¶Position substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and, importantly, reduce Iranian influence on the Iraqi Government.

¶Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions -- cities, patrolling, etc. -- and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.

¶Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start "taking our hand off the bicycle seat"), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.

¶Provide money to key political and religious leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period.

¶Initiate a massive program for unemployed youth. It would have to be run by U.S. forces, since no other organization could do it.

¶Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not "lose."

¶Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) -- go minimalist.

Below the Line (less attractive options):

¶Continue on the current path.

¶Move a large fraction of all U.S. Forces into Baghdad to attempt to control it.

¶Increase Brigade Combat Teams and U.S. forces in Iraq substantially.

¶Set a firm withdrawal date to leave. Declare that with Saddam gone and Iraq a sovereign nation, the Iraqi people can govern themselves. Tell Iran and Syria to stay out.

¶Assist in accelerating an aggressive federalism plan, moving towards three separate states -- Sunni, Shia, and Kurd.

¶Try a Dayton-like process.

The very interesting question:  Did Bush fire Rummy because of this memo?  

I think that the Bushies claimed that they were talking to Gates several days prior to the election, but I wonder if that was just a cover story.

¶Retain high-end SOF capability and necessary support structure to target Al Qaeda, death squads, and Iranians in Iraq, while drawing down all other Coalition forces, except those necessary to provide certain key enablers for the ISF.
Above the Line: (Many of these options could and, in a number of cases, should be done in combination with others)

This "above the line/below the line" talk is sssoooo super intellectual it makes my cerebral cortex swell and pound with excitement.

Are we talking about the unacknowledgeable knowledgeables or about the unstupifiable stupidities? Did we go in with the dumbasses we wish we had or did we settle for the neanderthalasses we did have running and ruining our government?

Rumminating minds want to know.

(P.S. Boy I sure wish Congress allocates another $20 million to create the Donald Rummsfeld Library of Advanced Miltary-Industrial Strategery. Why waste money on peace when wasting the planet is so much more fun? Atta boy Rummy.)

Do I like asking myself softball questions so I can immediately give the obvious answer?

You bet.

Heavy Duty Trucking: Slippery Situations
     Another myth, says Pond, is the idea that more moly is better. Research has shown that a small amount of molybdenum disulfide, known as moly, improves the performance of grease.
      "Moly is what I call that last-ditch effort," he explains. "when everything else is gone, the moly is that last soldier standing if you're in extreme conditions or if you haven't greased the thing in who knows how long." However, he says, "when we do comparisons, we found no difference in performance between higher amounts of moly and lower amounts of moly."
      Because moly is becoming a very rare substance in the world, he says, the difference between 1 percent moly and 2 percent moly "increases the cost enough to make your eyes open."

Peak Moly?

From the Wikipedia:
About half of the world's molybdenum is mined in the United States, with Phelps Dodge Corporation being a primary provider.
At one time I worked at the Climax mine.  You could get a pencil eraser sized blob of MoS2 concentrate on your hand and it could be spread to both elbows completely covering your skin in a silver-black sheen. Neat stuff.
Leanan...just out of curiosity...I googled your moniker and discovered this:


Leanan sídhe are fairy maidens in Celtic folklore. Leanan sídhe are generally depicted as beautiful muses who offer inspiration to artists in exchange for fame and glory; however, this exchange frequently results in the artists premature madness or death. W. B. Yeats popularized a slightly different perspective on these spirits with emphasis on their vampiric tendencies.

Now some of the icons you have posted in the past make sense to me.

The Economy | Dollar likely to keep falling - with luck


There are pluses and minuses to this situation, but the bottom line is that it can't go on forever. At some point, the rest of the world's appetite for dollars will diminish, and demand for our currency will fall.

How far? Tough to say. The more pressing question is, how fast.

A gradual shift would boost U.S. exports, while giving the rest of the economy a chance to adjust. We'll consume fewer imports, maybe cut back on foreign travel, and so on.

But if the dollar's fall speeds up and becomes a rout, hang on.

We'll all have more to worry about than the cost of next summer's vacation.

Concerning the line about "boost U.S. exports".  This is troubling to me because of the lack of exports the rest of the world truly desires.  Take out military and aviation equipment and what is made her that other countries can't get somewhere else cheaper?

Right. Can you picture a good German or Dutchman wanting to drink Budweiser!  Probably would rather drink two-day-old horse piss.
If you pour a bag of sugar in and let it sit for a further 2 weeks you can run your moped on it.

Above is a joke and I take no responsibilty for those arrested and charged with acts of equine terrorism whilst collecting horsepiss.


ps... In all seriuosness it is worring when you have to think hard on what a country exports that cannot be gotten somewhere else. In Scotland, our whisky, haggis, Oil(was) and textiles are big business.

Well, most of the world can get better Budweiser.  The US company has rights to only half the world; the other half consumes a much better Czech mad beer.
Some other examples:

  1. Computer chips (Intel, AMD)
  2. Printers (HP, Lexmark)
  3. Software (heavy piracy in China - it does make that widget cheaper)
  4. Movies, other enterainment (again heavy piracy)
  5. The world shaves with Gilette - again subject to counterfeit copies
  6. Tourism into this beautiful country- but the US immigration clerk is the rudest, most unfriendly, most bigoted SOB I have ever seen in the world. And there is no punishement for the immigration clerk for acting in an arbitrary manner.
  7. High tech materials (Kevlar, composites, alloys...)
  8. Education (the foreign students here have a big impact - tuition, expenses, travel..)
  9. Books - fiction, educational (medical, engineering, sciencetific)
  10. Journals
  11. Medical devices (90% market share) - again subject to counterfeiting
  12. Pharmaceuticals - against subject to counterfeiting
  13. Technology - eg CDMA
  14. Chemical & Process technology - plenty of competition here
  15. Agricultural products, chicken, beef...
  16. Organic produce
  17. Farm produce

Can someone add a few more?

18. Photovoltaics?
I've just spotted something on your list.#15 - I've seen chickens in Scotland once so we must be able to grow those here:-)


19.   Porn.
20 nuclear powerplants, you once built 100+, there must be something left of that industry.
18, 19, 20 are good. I would really think that the folks in Amsterdam etc would produce better porn but the folks in LA are probably more professional about it.

  1. Weapon systems (the LMT Joint Strike Fighter is going to be huge - several hundred billion dollars)

  2. Satellite imaging

  3. Satellite based communications (Iridium, Globalstar - both went into bankruptcy, currently heavily used by terrorists)

  4. Heavy machinery (Caterpillar, Deere, JLG, Manitowc..)

  5. Powerful brands - Nike, Coke, Pepsi, ...

  6. Telecommunication services (see the AT&T press releases)

  7. Financial services - at 27 but a very significant contributor IMO

I believe that the primary reason for high cost manufacturing in the states is the excessive cost of medical and other entitlements (obviously not a popular topic here ;-)). My preference is to go to self pay system - not going to happen because of its perceived harshness. Therefore we have to go to a single payee system; Feds pay all - control access through control of th macro cost, as in Canada, UK etc
(From memory) Intel is opening a fab plant in Vietnam (to the disappointment of India).

AMD has a group of plants in Germany and is doing more design & engineering there (mainly Eastern Germany).

The US still has some metal bending, much of it associated with:

24(?).  Oil & Gas Industry.

Past-Peak Oil this will be a VERY viable industry and we can export enough services, people & material to pay for at least 1 million b/day !