DrumBeat: December 9, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 12/09/06 at 10:06 AM EDT]

Russia: How Long Can The Fun Last?

...Some also wonder whether the expansion can be sustained. There's little doubt that a major driver of the newfound bounty is oil and other natural resources. Without the runup in commodity prices, economic growth would have been two to three percentage points lower during the last three years, estimates the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. Developing countries, meanwhile, don't have a very good track record of using windfall profits from commodity booms to lay the foundations for sustainable growth.

10 percent of Russia's oil output illegal, minister says

MOSCOW: More than 10 percent of Russia's oil output, nearly 1 million barrels a day, is being produced illegally, the nation's natural resources minister said Friday.

Yuri Trutnev made the statement during an official meeting intended to work out measures to tighten official controls over the extraction of mineral riches.

Save energy, urges Russia and EU

Russia and the European Union on Friday backed energy efficiency measures to save more than 400 million tonnes of oil equivalent each year by 2020 -- similar to adding two more Irans to world oil supply.

Zimbabwe: US$800m Needed for Power Projects

Close to US$800 million is required for power generating expansion projects, setting up of new transmission and distribution systems as well as carrying out a cocktail of maintenance work on existing infrastructure in order for the country's power sector to meet growing electricity demands.

India’s Energy Crunch - Council of Foreign Relations backgrounder

Study: Oil Transition Carries Major Environmental Risks

The increasing use of substitute fossil-based liquid hydrocarbons—either unconventional crude oils or synthetic liquid fuels (synfuels)—will dramatically increase global greenhouse gas emissions unless mitigating steps are taken, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley.

Carbon emissions up one-quarter since 1990

Global carbon emissions rose nearly 3 percent in 2005, up more than a quarter from 1990 levels despite many governments' pledges of cuts to fight global warming, a scientist who provides data for the U.S. Department of Energy said.

"The rate of acceleration is quite phenomenal," said Gregg Marland, senior staff scientist at the U.S. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), which supplies emissions data to governments, researchers and NGOs worldwide.

Forecasting Future World Energy Sources and Emissions

While wind power, tidal and solar energy are the best and fastest growing energy sectors, worldwide transitions away from outdarted, polluting forms of energy can be slow. Here is a report that looks at likely scenarios.

Biofuel Skeptic Extraordinaire: An interview with David Pimentel

Q. All of that is very controversial, but let's get to the really provocative part of your work. You claim cellulosic ethanol's energy balance is "worse" than that of conventional ethanol. How can that be?

A. It's quite easy. Number one, if you have a handful of sawdust, and a handful of corn, which one has the most starches and sugars? That's easy. It takes almost twice as much sawdust to make the same gross energy as [corn] from cellulose, or wood.

Number two, it takes two additional treatments to release the starches and sugars [from cellulose]. That is, you're going to treat the cellulose.

Canadian oilsands seen as global energy bonanza

CALGARY - Despite rising costs, Canada will be the planet's largest source of new oil supplies by the end of the decade, economists said Friday.

Jeff Rubin, chief strategist with CIBC World Markets Inc. in Toronto, said virtually all of the world's new capacity growth outside of OPEC will come from oilsands development after 2009.

House Rejects Push to Renegotiate Contracts

In a 207-to-205 vote, the U.S. House on Friday rejected a plan aimed at pushing oil and natural gas companies to renegotiate flawed 1998 and 1999 drilling contracts.

Devon trims output forecast on Canada drop

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Independent oil and gas producer Devon Energy Corp. on Friday trimmed its forecast for fourth quarter production by 1 million to 2 million barrels of oil equivalent, hurt by reduced Canadian gas output.

Iraq oil wealth distribution planned

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi legislation intended to resolve the politically charged question of distributing the country's oil wealth is nearing completion, the chairman of a panel drafting the law said Saturday.

The distribution of oil revenues, the mainstay of Iraq's economy, is at the heart of some of Iraq's most contentious political issues, including the push by Shiite leaders to allow the oil-rich south of Iraq to set up a self-rule region a similar to a Kurdish one in the north.

Congress OKs oil drilling in Gulf of Mexico

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Just hours before it ended, the Republican-led 109th Congress sent President Bush legislation early on Saturday to normalize trade with former enemy Vietnam, renew popular tax cuts and open the Gulf of Mexico to new oil and gas drilling.

Nigeria: Militants to hold hostages indefinitely

LAGOS, Nigeria - A militant group in Nigeria's oil-rich delta said Friday it will hold four foreign hostages "indefinitely" to press for the release of two of the region's jailed leaders and compensation from an oil company for alleged pollution.
Wow! That source of renewable energy, our sun, is not a static heavenly object.

Via Spaceweather: (site current has movie of the solar event)

Telescope spots solar tsunami

Propagation -  current satellite and radio effects

World All Liquids Peaked in May 2005, so far anyway.

Looking at the EIA's International Petroleum Monthly, spreadsheet 1.4, I was shocked to learn that all liquids peaked in May of 2005. Of course the EIA originally had all liquids peaking a July of 2006, as does the IEA. But unlike the IEA, the EIA often revises its figures several months back as better data becomes available. The IEA never revises its numbers past the second month back.

At any rate the new numbers shows all liquids production in May 2005 to be 85,205,000 barrels per day while the July 2006 numbers, the second highest month on record, are 85,184,000 barrels per day.

The peak year so far is still 2005 for both crude + condensate and all liquids, but by a far wider margin for crude + condensate than all liquids.

Ron Patterson

Awssume catch Ron!


I see that many of these global oil production numbers are reported to five significant figures. This makes me wonder how real a roughly 0.0025% difference (85, 205,00 vs 85,184,00) actually is.

One reason I (again) bring this up is that one of the lead articles in today's thread claims that roughly 1 million bbl/day of Russian oil is sold illegally.  It has also been reported elsewhere that a smaller yet still sizeable amount of Iraqi oil gets diverted to the black market. As such, I find it doubtful that this 'hot' oil gets accurately recorded in the respective country's production statistics, if it gets recorded at all.

I've asked this as an open question about three or four times in as many ways, but no one out there seems to be able to offer a numerical answer (i.e. something other than 'pretty good') as to the confidence level, error band, or whatever those more statistically literate than I wish to call it.

The accuracy of these production numbers is also potentially muddied by an apples & oranges problem as to whether all the components that make of the global total consist of just crude + condensate, c + c plus NGL plus other liquids, or what.

As such, I have a very hard time seeing these global production numbers as being anymore accurate than three significant figures (at best).

I know this is a bit beside your point that production (as however measured) has not moved much, but I think there is a tendency here at TOD to read too much into some of these very small differences between very large numbers.


In my haste I dropped the last zero. Should read: (85,205,000 vs 85,184,000).


Joule, a couple of points. The Russian oil is oil that is being produced above the agreed upon quota, or so Russian officials say. It is not produced illegally other than it violates their agreed upon contract. It is counted just as OPEC oil produced over the agreed upon quota is counted.

And yes there is some oil sold on the black market that is not counted. But in the grand scheme of things, this small amount of oil can be ignored. It has always been there and will likely be there for a very long while.

The second point is the exact month matters little. What matters is that we are currently on a plateau, and we have been there for about two years. This plateau, in my opinion, is the peak of world production. The month simply does not matter, nor does it matter that some oil is not reported, and neither does it matter that the figures are not exact. Even if the numbers are fudged by the reporting agencies, they can only fudge the numbers so much for so long. This will not hide the peak when it comes. (Which in my opinion is right now.)

Ron Patterson

Yep...I was just about to say the same thing...in the large-time scale look at production, the last year has been "struggling" at best to get up to 85,000,000 a day.  I think 2007-8 time period is going to be the kicker here.  If we don't see some "amazing" increases during this time, someone here wins the office pool.
sadly, i think your right!
I would have to agree with you that in the larger scheme of things, particularly as it relates to the world being more or less stuck on a plateau ('undulating' or otherwise), the month-to-month figures are not of much signficance. Year-to-year is much more meaningful, but even there, one has to be careful in not presuming more accuracy than is really there. I know there are people who would read much significance into 85.2 million vs 85.1 million.

Regarding the small amount of 'funny' oil, you are probably right in that it has always been there and therefore tends to be a constant source of error that more or less washes out.

Based on my work in the environmental field, I am particularly skeptical about a lot of these gross 'aggregated' economic statistics, particularly those generated by governmental agencies. Not because someone is being deliberately misleading, but rather due to the inherent limitations and just plain slop in many of methodologies used in generating the numbers.

Most of Trutnev's remarks were about violations of environmental laws and regulation. He spoke about the whole sector without singling out foreign-run or joint venture projects.
Why were you shocked, Ron? I would have thought all this was old news. Or, at least, here. These numbers cahnge evry month. No big deal. Where I come from we just look at the yearlies. Can't tell much from the month.
I've been testing my tolerance to lowering the thermostat. So  far I'd say the low 60's is about the limit. I'm not wearing gloves or a hat, but I have an extra shirt on. By putting on gloves, coat, and a hat I could probably take off five more degrees. Is it sane to set the thermostat at 63, 58? The energy used is directly proportional to the temperature differential. So if it is 40 or below the heater is going to run, but not as much. If you get a real cold blast the outside temp will drop much more than you can tolerate lowering the inside temp. Pipe freezing is also a concern if your house has poorly designed plumbing. I wonder if there are some simple ways to know how well the house is insulated. The outside temperatures keep moving so it's hard to do rigid testing.

I remember hearing about some people who lived for several months in pre-medieval conditions, (I don't recall the exact historical period). The hardest part of acclimating back to modern life was that they were always too warm when they went into buildings heated to modern temperatures.

Have not run the heater yet this year...it's 53 degrees inside the house.  We had several freezing nights this week, but the extra blankets on the bed took care of that. Sitting in a down sleeping bag on the couch works well too.  Just to see how long I can hold out...
You're single aren't you.  I've tried to hold out.  Last year I got made it to the end of december with out it. This year, I get an ear full when I set it below 68.
Oh man, I hear you! Thank goodness I heat with wood, or my wife would have me in the poor house with all the oil she'd burn. I cut all my own wood (about 6 cords), so a heating season ends up costing me about $200 - all things considered. If it gets below 70 in the house she complains. And that's better than she used to be - 74 was the old comfort level for her.
Blame modern sedentaryness at least in part.....

In the process of moving to my new place I had to do a lot of heavy work over 3 days, and I could not believe how warm the new place seemed. It's warmer than the old place true, but I find my tolerence to cold goes up a lot if I'm doing a lot of physical activity. I was walking around downtown in a t-shirt while everyone else was bundled up!

The last day or so have been very active for me, and again my cold tolerence spiked again.

If you could get your wife doing exercise, her cold tolerence would probably go up quite a bit - and the prospect of doing some push-ups before going to bed in the Finnish tradition to sleep warm, would not be so frightening.

I see some gals who are just HUGE (what can I say, I live in the US) and they're very cold-sensitive, it's amazing with all that insulation, but it's the result of an extremely sedentary lifestyle.


Have you considered withholding sex as a bargaining tool?

I find that once it gets too uncomfortable I shut down. I have to go crawl in bed to warm up. I have stuff to do. I can't afford to just hibernate for 3 months.
I know that "frozen in place" feeling - some activity or a hot cuppa tea solves that, one of those little things that's made to boil up water quickly can, with tea leaves of course*, can provide that hot cuppa quickly and frugally.

*and it's amazing what you can call "tea" in various cultures so it does not necessarily need to depend on globalism.

Is this code for something? This "hot cuppa." In my country we would say you are a little funny.
do you have a few yrs heating bills to look at   some utilities print the average temp on their bill  but this doesnt take into account "wind chill" (not to be confused with the wind chill used by your local weatherman - that is for humans)   noaa (national oceanic and atmospheric administration) publishes heating degree days for specific areas (based on the outside temp and some presumed inside temp)    you can probably get an energy audit done by your utility company  for a charge  but they will sometimes rebate this cost if you buy insulation  
 or on the low tech side you can get ahold of one of those infared temperature sensors (sold at autoparts stores)  go outside and measure the temperature of your walls windows roof  and get an idea or where you are loosing the heat  (heat flows downhill temperaturewise ) so higher external temps will indicate heat loss   good luck
I am a huge believer in zone heating.

We have areas of the house at 58 and other areas at 68.

The area that is 68 is the TV, dining and kitchen area.  You would not believe how it "brings the family together".

By the way, I work in my office at 58. You get used to it.

Disclaimer - 58 is not recommended for the aged or the sick.


I keep my thermostat at 55, but occasionally I turn on a pellet stove in my office for about an hour just to get the room warmed up a bit. That way I am not heating up the whole house, just the small portion that I am using.  If it is sunny during the day, I am quite comfortable with the sun coming through the windows. If not, it's a bit chilly but then I just wear more clothes, including a fleece pullover.
We have no furnace or thermostat.  We heat with a small wood stove in the living room and an electric wall heater in the bathroom (opposite end of the house.)  On cold nights, we use the electric heater in the bedroom but I just got a new down comforter and hope to use less electric heat.  On days that go near or below zero, we fire up the wood furnace in the basement to heat the whole house.  It uses up the chunks of wood that won't split small enough for the woodstove.
Lots of passive solar in the living room on sunny afternoons.  Large, well insulated south-facing windows.  Can't take credit--previous owners had them installed, along with the excellent (jotul) woodstove.  On sunny afternoons we don't use the stove at all. :)
From a vignette of life in 17th century Amsterdam:

The whole house, in fact, was probably cold.  It was also probably damp owing to its being continually cleaned with bucketfuls of water.  The chimney was a prominent feature, large and ornate with a carved canopy and shelves containing rows of porcelain and other ornaments; but its peat fire gave out little heat, and in cold winters the ladies of the house sat sewing or reading encased in layers of bulky undergarments, with foot-warmers under their feet and thick shawls round their shoulders.  Husbands were as well muffled as their wives.  'The true Dutchman cuts the strangest figure in the world,' wrote Oliver Goldsmith.  'He wears no coat but seven waistcoasts and nine pairs of trousers, so that his huanches start somewhere under his armpits.  The Dutchwoman wears as many petticoast as her husband does trousers.'  They both wore the plainest clothes, another Englishman complained, with 'neither shape nor pleats; and their long pockets [were] set as high as their ribs.'

I guess it's a strategy for dealing with Peak NG.  Seriously, though I heard many people in my town were setting their thermostats way down last winter.

Did you see this one?


Construction methods of the 16th century resulted in considerably less drafty houses than those of the 1960s or even the 1990s, the British Gas-commissioned survey found.

Houses built in the 1500s were found to leak an average of 10.11 cubic metres of air per hour for every square metre of wall, compared with 15.1 for a 1960s property and between 12 and 23.6 for a 1990s building.

This may have a lot to do with the increasing availability of cheap and (untaxed!) glass.

In the 16th C and 17th C windows were few and far between. Glass prices or the imposition Window taxes meant that many existing windows were walled up.

The 1960's building fashions went for large 'picture windows' - At least here in the UK. These were rarely double or triple glazed. Some of these windows were seriously large and occupied a major percentage of a house frontage.

As well as heat loss, owners used to get frantic about kids playing knock about soccer in the street...

A Middle Ages construction method used a mixture of mud and manure to fill in gaps and cracks in the walls.  Cheap and effective at stopping drafts.  Keeping livestock under the living quarters in winter was also quite common.  I wonder if people became acclimated to the odor.
An energy auditor can do testing that will tell you how much insulation you have.

I like the thermostat at different temperatures depending on what I a doing. If I am sleeping, 50 is fine. In the morning, 67 is much more comfortable. Whenever I am around the house, a sweater or pullover is standard - so is about 65.

My biggest problem is visiting other buildings. I can dress for the weather outside and to be comfortable around the house, but then when I visit my friends in their apartments, the thermostat is set to ~77 by the management. This is uncomfortably warm and explains why my friends have so many pairs of shorts.

I think a law that mandates a standard temperature for public buildings should be legislated. If evey one of those building went from 77 to 65, think of how much NG would be saved. People would also get used to that temperature so that other buildings would be more likely to select a lower temperature as well.

Alternatively, a powerplant like the one from 'the matrix' to harness all of the hot air coming out of washington might be a good investment.

It's my family's tolerance that I have been testing!  

We have a programmable thermostat, which is essential for us.  We live in a dark and very cold climate in a house built in 1946.  It is not well insulated, although we are gradually correcting that.  We set the thermostat to 55 degrees at night.  In the morning the temp. goes up to 65 degrees for one hour then back to 62 degrees (F) for the rest of the day.  Suffice it to say that the woodstove is popular and the kids actually like getting long underwear for Christmas/Solstice.

When we kept the house at A-STP (American standard temperature and pressure...68 degrees day/65 degrees night) our fuel oil consumption for the year was averaging 355 to 400 gallons.  Now we use between 180 and 220 gallons per year.  However, some of the heating load is taken up by our high-efficiency woodstove, so we really have not halved or fuel use; more a case of substitution.  On a cash cost basis, the 400 gallons were priced at $2.25/Gal while last winter's heating oil ran about $3.50 delivered.  Our strategy is to heat room where people are, not the house.

I don't think we will willingly set the thermostat much lower...the kids and wife are about at their limit.  My experience is that, as long as you are busy, temperatures between 55-62 degrees are comfortable.  If you sit down to read or play on the computer it becomes uncomfortable unless you add clothes...mostly the family wears hats, berets and beanies inside.  Wool throws and blankets become fought over commodities.  Long underwear is just what you wear in the winter (the merino wool stuff from smartwool is worth the price).

As to plumbing, when we get those -10 to -40 degree nights, we do increase our heating but rather than heat the unheated spaces through which the plumbing is routed, we open sink cabinets and leave the water running; my more wealthy neighbors us thermostatically controlled heat tape.

Given the complexities of insulation, my choice for determining how well your house is insulated would be exploratory and mathematical.  First, determine what you actually have, (I removed the siding and poked around) and then calculate the whole wall insulation.  Remember that the insulation between the joists/studs is only part of the picture...the thermal "breaks caused by the studs significantly reduce the whole wall insulative values.  Then you need to get a handle on leakage. Leakage will be pretty important especially on older houses like mine...when the wind blows the house loses heat very quickly.  After all that math you will be able to calculate how many btu/hour your house loses for a given outside temperature and wind speed.  It is a good exercise, but time consuming...I usually do only a wall at a time...windows and wind suck heat bad.  I think ASHRAE has some good numbers for this.

My wife and I convert one room of our Sacramento Victorian into our "cabin" for the winter season.  We move our bed into one room, which has a gas heater, and hang curtains over the door to hold in the heat.  Our thermostat is set at 61, and the rest of the house (including the bathroom) remains unheated.  We do bundle up, including knit caps, and this arrangement is quite comfortable.

Apart from visual inspection of accessible areas and windows, there isn't a simple way to know how well your house is insulated.  I've looked into purchasing a camera sensitive enough to IR to show heat loss from walls, but they are quite expensive.  An example is the IR 235 DX Robust handheld FLIR Thermal Infrared Imaging Camera which shatters the 8k price barrier!.

Someone has got to be renting those things.
Back In The Day, you could use an IR filter with a film camera. Long expose times no doubt. Read an old book on photography, 1970s or earlier, and you'll hear about it - guess a lot of films will react to IR and with an IR filter and longer exposure, you can take some lovely IR pics.

You just want to see the heat leaks in your house, not catch a running perp.

IR film is passé; you can do the same by pulling the IR filter in a digital camera today.

But there's a huge difference between near-IR (8000-12000 Å) and thermal IR.  Soda-glass lenses are opaque to thermal IR, so you couldn't have used a conventional camera to take a picture of a thermal source even if you could have kept the film's thermal radiation from exposing itself.

Camera filters of any kind are passe...just snap your digital photos and do whatever you want to them in Adobe Photoshop Elements (filters, color changes, contrast changes, artistic enhancements....)
The thermal sensitivity of such approaches isn't enough to detect heat leaks.  Even current generation digitial cameras with "IR" capability lack sufficient sensitivity.
Count me as another who ran a GW/PO experiment.

I turned off my condo's heater, but in coastal California the lowest temp I've seen so far is 57F in the morning.  I seem to recall 54F as the low last February.  The real drag is that my condo is down a hill and behind some trees.  It might be 11:00 AM before I get any direct sun.  That means bundling up, or heading up the hill to the sun.

This all started as an experiment, to see if heat is really needed here, and I'd say it isn't (for a healthy adult).  And I think I actually stay healthier ... but that could be my imagination.

My best practical advice?  If you feel cold, eat something.  That seems to flip a switch, fire up the body's thermostat.

(59F feels warm to me right now)

Secret heat source

To cut firewood for personal use on National Forest lands you must have a Personal Use Firewood Permit. Permits are available for purchase each year starting in the Spring and are valid for gathering firewood from the date of issue until December 31st of the same year. The minimum volume of wood per permit is four cords, with the cost per cord at $5.00.

Eating hot soup is really good if you are cold.  And don't forget hot chocolate.  Both taste much better when cold.


Anybody need a Christmas present idea?  I get cold easily and like to wear a light-weight goose down-filled vest all winter.  Lands End sells them for $25.  Works great for me.
Of course all these strategies are fun to try when your healthy.  Try going without heat when you are sick or have a chronic health condition.  People forget how much of a life support system central heating and plumbing is.  I have a coworker who tried living the 18th centrey lifestyle (outhouse and woodstove).  He tells an amazing story of how the family got influenza, and he had to crawl out to the wood shed on hands and knees to slowly push each piece of wood back to the house.

(Currently suffering from sinus infection and asthma.  Thank god for electric blankets.)

The general health of the body can be greatly improved with vitamins. The average diet is rich in energy but short of the catalysts needed to utilize it. My strength greatly improved after I started taking C, E, B-complex, and selenium.

I totally agree that you have to be healthy to endure cooler temperatures.

just pop a galic bulb like popeye ( the old popeye i mean not that spinich eating whimp of late) and you are ready to defend olive oil against the advances of bluto ?
Bitteroldcoot I know the feeling, I shared a place and got sick, top temps for a couple of weeks were in the 20s, I got sick and stayed sick. Housemate actually spent some real money trying to keep the place warm too. I decided I'd have been ahead of the curve to simply check into the motel across the street from my shop and get over my bug there, decent heat and clean sheets each day, and the better productivity would have paid for it.

Being cold when you're sick SUCKS.

Look into goose down though, I swear when TSHTF I'll collect pigeon down and cat hair etc if that's what it takes, down is Nature's electric blanket.

I heat my small log house with wood, primarily, but with oil furnace backup. I keep the thermostat at 60 by day, 55 at night. Part of the scenario is that I work at home mostly, and am going in and out all the time to tend my animals and such. It's terrible to come in from a nice brisk wintery day into a too-warm house - it's a real yank, and I doubt it's healthy.

Let me second what Joseph referred to - I get so acclimated that I have to change my clothes if I'm going to a more "conventionally" heated place in the winter, or I'll just roast. It's amazing what you can get used to, with the proper clothing. If you feel chilled, just sit by the fire for a minute.

Back in the days of the first oil embargo, my mother turned the thermostat waaay down, and whenever we kids complained, she would simply say "put on another sweater". To this day, if anyone in my family mentions that they're feeling cold, we all recite "put on another sweater", and it provokes gales of laughter.

- sgage

Any party on this thread who is really comfortable at much less than 60 degrees needs to consider the possibility that they are somewhat hyperthyroid.
Not diagnosing anyone. My thyroid tests normal and I can remember when younger and spending much time out of doors I could acclimatize to 50's indoors.
Don't bust up a family over this ooe. Insulate. If family members aren't adjusting it may be because they just physically can't. That you are able to do something is not an indication someone else could if they were willing.
Agreed all around.  This is a mostly a function of age, I think.  Kids and people older than 30 can't handle colder temperatures as well as teens and twenties. I expect the excess body heat slowly drops after around 30.  Besides that, many women (and some men) have a condition called Raynaud's phenomenon, where colder temperatures (even reaching into the fridge) can cause your body to cut off circulation to the fingers.  My poor wife found out about this at 32.  She can't take the cold nearly as well as she used to.

We heat with a wood stove and a high efficiency gas furnace, gas stove, and gas dryer.  We keep a kerosene heater around for backup and use it sometimes.  We go through about 350 total CCF of gas, one cord of wood, and five gallons of kerosene in winter in Michigan.  We drop the temperature to 55F at night, use the furnace to raise it to 60F in the morning, and keep it between 65 and 68F during the day using the woodstove.  We direct the gas clothes dryer exhaust into the room during the winter and bake a lot.  We've also doubled our attic insulation and plastic sealed many of the windows in the winter.  Finally, though they probably didn't realize it when they built the place, our 1k sq.ft. house has many passive solar features that help heat the place when the sun's out.

This year the wood's been pretty much free, since we got a bunch of ash wood that the city was removing.  The emerald ash borer is probably going to eliminate ash trees in eastern forests.  Too bad, it makes great firewood.

JC dude, another one?  Hemlock woolly adelgid, spruce bark beetle, Dogwood anthracnose, Sycamore anthracnose, Locust borer...are we going to have any trees left?
Chestnut blight, butternut canker.

Pollen samples show that Eastern Hemlock was almost a monoculture about 10-12,000 years ago in parts of the Eastern US.  And then it almost disappeared.  What wiped it out does not appear to be affecting the remnant population.

Forests do not appear to have stable species mixes, although human influence seems to speed that dynamic up dramatically.



Yes, Q = UA delta T. You can lower the total heat transfer, Q by lowering U  - heat transfer coefficient (add insulation) lowering A - area (heating just one room or a smaller house) or as you are doing lowering the indoor temperature. I find a down vest works wonders in a cool room. It is light, doesn't constrain movement and keeps me surprisingly warm. Your utlility may offer infrared testing to determine heat loss areas of your house and adequacy of insulation.
My Girlfriend lives in an apartment building, she does not turn her heat on at all, it was Snowing there two weeks ago, and pretty cold, she says that she hardly ever has to turn it on. heat rises andshe uses that for warmth.  

I guess I will know in 2 months or so.  going to miss hand picking pecans in the fall though.  my dad will send up about 5 pounds shelled as a nice gift box every month,,, I have his secrets,, he owes me ... LOL.


I've got neighbors on top, both sides, and behind me, I don't anticipate using heat at all this winter. And if I need it, I have a modern small space heater, to zone heat.
I did that when I was a poor college student.  It was rough the first year, when we were on the first floor.  (The upstairs neighbors weren't happy, either; they complained their floor was always cold.)

The next year, we switched to the third floor, because heat rises.  I'm sure we did evil things to the power bill of the guys on the 2nd floor, but they never knew it.  :)

And it did make a huge difference to our power bill.  With the heat on, the power bill was almost four times higher.  We went the whole winter without turning on the heat.  We had to study wearing gloves and hats, but after awhile, it became a kind of challenge.  No one wanted to be the first to give in and ask to turn the heat on.

Russia claims contractors are overproducing oil fields and demands they cut back.

"More than 10% of oil produced in Russia is extracted in excess of the numbers agreed in project documents," Trutnev told a meeting between his ministry and the prosecutor general's office, which has also promised a tough line on licences.

"As a result of the lowered vigilance on rational field exploitation, the oil recovery factor in Russia has fallen from 0.45 to 0.30 in the last 20 years,"

Guys, why are oil company P/E numbers so low? Because they are considered a cyclical industry? Or what?

Some examples:

Exxon Mobil: 11.54

Total SA: 22.62 (okay, the exception that proves the rule)

PetroChina: 11.44

BP plc: 10.46

Chevron: 8.98

ConocoPhillips: 6.40

Eni SpA: 4.30

Guys, why are oil company P/E numbers so low? Because they are considered a cyclical industry? Or what?

People invest in the market for growth, not price to earnings ratio. Companies, like banks for instance, often have a very low p/e ratio because they are traditionally very slow growers. If you see a company with a very high p/e ratio, then the traders are expecting that company to grow by leaps and bounds.

Obviously people think these oil companies have very little room to grow, hence the very low p/e ratio.

Which leads to another point. When peak oil becomes obvious, and it is perceived that all companies will likely shrink instead of grow.......guess what?

Ron Patterson

And here I thought people invested in the market to get a maximum return on capital.

Silly me.

And here I thought people invested in the market to get a maximum return on capital.
Silly me.

Starvid, are you being factitious? Obviously people do invest in hopes of seeing their money grow. That is why they invest in companies that they think will grow! Only people who hope to have a much better return than the bond market can offer, invest in stocks at all. Companies that pay a small dividend and have little growth, like banks and utility companies, usually have a very small p/e ratio. The capital return from these companies, dividends plus a small amount of growth, is usually about the same as you can get from bonds.

But people invest in the equities market in expectation that they are going to get a far greater return on their money. Of course they also take a far greater risk than if they just invested in bonds or utility companies.

Investors are not so simplistic as you seem to think. They are calculating in the amount of return they hope to make and weigh that against the amount of risk they are willing to take.

Ron Patterson

I was being sarcastic above, but now I see what you mean.
But of course, if one believes oil company profits are going to grow, the low p/e's seem like a bargain.
>Investors are not so simplistic as you seem to think. They are calculating in the amount of return they hope to make and weigh that against the amount of risk they are willing to take.

I tend to believe that lack of understanding of how the market really works, results in a large amount of money getting invested in the stock market. Financial advisers tell people and companies to invest their money and retirement savings into stocks. Since stocks have a much higher turnover rate (in terms of buys and sells), Financial institution profit handsomely. If everyone tried to take thier profits the market would surely crash.

Financial planners push stocks on the average joe and very rarely talk about bonds or other investments, because they don't make very much money as the do with stocks.

Also, I forgot to add, the tremendous oil company profits in the last couple of years have dramatically driven down p/e ratios from where they were just a few years ago. People apparently do not think these massive profits will last. And of course, they do not see any tremendous growth for the oil companies either.

Ron Patterson

agreed   however i think you use the term "invest" loosely  if you are betting on growth arent you really speculating ?  my definition of an investment is buy and hold
"All companies will likely shrink instead of grow"

When Peak oil becomes obvious oil company stocks will be the first to soar followed by railroads, ethanol,coal companies etc.

The market is like an ecosystem, and even big changes like peak oil will result in winners and losers.  

The market is like an ecosystem, and even big changes like peak oil will result in winners and losers.

Oh yeah? How many winners were there between October 1929 and 1932? Not a single one! A falling tide lowers all boats.

Okay, there may be a couple of winners, coal companies come to mind, if they come up with a good way to turn the stuff into liquid fuel. But the losers and losses will be massive. Losers will likely outnumber winners by 100 to 1. Trillions of dollars will evaporate into thin air.

Remember what happened during the Great Depression. When the money supply dried up, millions were laid off, which led to a drop in purchases of all goods and services, which led to more people getting laid off, which led to.....

I do not see any bright economic news coming as the result of peak oil.

Ron Patterson

"Oh yeah? How many winners were there between October 1929 and 1932? Not a single one! A falling tide lowers all boats."

Hmmm, who wound up with all the foreclosed properties? How many farmers lost their land? Some people (banks) got filthy rich off that scheme/scam, just had to wait a few years sitting on them deeds that they got for free.

Yes the international bankers made out great!

Movie houses and move makers did well, anything to get in out of the cold and escape a bit, for a nickel or a dime, whatever a matinee cost.

Didn't the oil industry also do OK?

We are sheep, and Depressions are where we are rid of that extra wool.

Darwinian: Always enjoy your posts. Having said that, remember that in the 30s the greenback was tied to gold. A deflationary depression is possible with the current fiat monetary system, but not as easy to sustain as people think. IMO, were an actual deflation to occur globally, the monetary authorities would go into overdrive. So what you would get would be a temporary deflationary period of possibly 1-2 years followed by a hyperinflationary period. Naturally there would be many huge speculative winners out of this upheaval (mostly losers).  
A deflationary depression is possible with the current fiat monetary system, but not as easy to sustain as people think.
I disagree. Just ask the Japanese how hard it is to reflate an economy which is undergoing a deflationary contraction. They tried most of the policies that in theory should have forced inflation into the system, and economists are still scratching their heads trying to understand why ZIRP and quantitative easing didn't work as expected.

Remember, you can drop billions of dollars from helicopters, but if everyone just picks it up and puts it under the bed, there is no demand response. This is why economists are so terrified of deflationary depression. No one knows how to reverse it. Bernanke thinks he knows, but his thesis is untested. Let's hope we never have to find out whether he's packing live ammo.

FTX: The Japan example is used often but is very inaccurate. The Japanese economy has been running a large trade surplus for many years, which acts to prop the currency. A strong currency can have deflationary effects (can, not will). The USA is the exact opposite.The trade deficit is structural and totally out of control.In fact, if the US economy weakens dramatically/collapses, IMHO, the dollar will tank (which is inflationary).There are solid reasons that the USA has not actually experienced year over year deflation since the country went off the gold standard. Not saying it is impossible, but 70 straight years is a trend. Personally I have read predictions calling for deflation in the USA to occur since 1981.      
No, I don't think the analogy to Japan is "very inaccurate".  Japan's problems came about from the bursting of a credit bubble (the Bank of Japan's own subsequent analysis of the country's problems blamed overzealous lending practices by financial institutions as the principal cause, but didn't absolve itself from blame - it accepts that it held interest rates too low for too long - does all this ring a bell?). The 30's Great Depression came about from the bursting of a credit bubble. What we're experiencing now is a global credit bubble.

When credit bubbles burst money supply contracts, usually quite rapidly. And as businesses and individuals go bankrupt, demand in the economy collapses as households and businesses rein in spending in a self-feeding downward spiral. It's this failure of demand that is so difficult to reverse. After running a zero or negative savings rate for so long, what do you do if US households suddenly decide to build their savings and pay off debt?. What if they all take on board Westexas's ELP advice? Barring putting a gun to people's heads, you can't force them to go down to WalMart and spend.

The dollar may dive, but that won't necessarily make much difference (and it would be a precursor to a reversal of the US trade deficit). In 1931 Britain's currency plunged 25% when it came off the Gold Standard. Did that cause an inflationary surge and immediately arrest the depression the country was in? No.

I accept that it may be within the power of the Fed to attempt to monetize all that debt away if the big crunch arrives. But will it? The Fed know as well as anyone else that the end result would be much the same - an inflationary depression (failure of supply) as opposed to a deflationary depression (failure of demand).

In short, I don't believe it's as easy as some assume to inflate an economy in which the money supply is imploding.  Can anyone cite an instance where this has happened?

Very true. And the debt buildup has been going on for a long time, gathering steam after 1980. I should clarify that "Debt" in this chart is total debt, ie private and public. Energy = energy consumption.

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Hell: Since you guys are both predicting price deflation in the USA, perhaps you should clarify your predictions by stating a time period-how long will this price deflation last (and when will it begin)?
Predictions are a dime a dozen, so here are my 2c worth:

  1. Asset deflation has obviously already started on the real estate side. The riskier mortgage securities are also taking a hit. Stocks are still bubbly, but they are usually on speed up until the very last moment.

  2. It will last until total debt/GDP falls significantly. It is now around 330%, was 220% in 1990. In 1929, right before the crash it had reached 270%. Pick a percentage - I think it could really be a wash out..maybe 150% (1980)? Impossible to tell, though. It could take 10-20 years.
Hell: I was referring to the CPI as recorded (published) by the US government, not real estate or equity deflation.
Hell: There have been many real estate and equity bear markets in the last 70 years in the USA without one CPI deflation (consumer price deflation).
Hell: A prediction of CPI deflation in the USA lasting 10-20 years is, IMHO absolutely ridiculous.
BrianT, I will reply here to conserve "width".

I can see how you may consider it impossible for deflation to occur in the US for a prolonged period of time. The whole post-WWII period has never seen anything like it. Here is how it could happen, though.

1. Consumption in the US is currently based on asset inflation, i.e. on the the ability to borrow against real estate and on the wealth effect of higher stocks, instead of higher incomes. That is plain from the debt/GDP ratio, keeping in mind that consumer consumption now makes up 70% of US GDP. When assets deflate people cannot borrow any more against them and can even lose them to the lender. The process works in reverse, creating a "poverty effect" cycle.

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              Debt to GDP is currently at 330%

2. Americans are running a negative personal savings rate, i.e. liquidating savings to spend. They have no "shock absorber" and have to cut down consumption, sell assets or both - since their ability to borrow more is impaired.

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3. Lower prices will also result from another direction: reduced corporate profit margins. Such profits are now at an all time high as a share of GDP, as opposed to wages and salaries. As consumer spending slows down, businesses lower prices. There are signs of that already: WalMart has slashed prices way ahead of the holidays to capture consumers' "rarer" dollars. Keep in mind that their turnover alone accounts directly for 2% of GDP.

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  1. As many people in this forum point out constantly, we are overwhelmed with consumerism. We already own "everything" - what else do we need to buy? If our financial condition deteriorates as per above, we can easily cut back drastically for a long period of time, until finances are repaired - one way or another. Some demand will simply evaporate.

  2. China has built a simply incredible overcapacity to manufacture everything, betting on continued expansion in consumer spending. When that slows down, there will be a race to the bottom.

  3. Last, but certainly not least (since this is TOD), if we are about to enter Peak Energy then real deflation will set in by definition, even if only because there will be fewer people around - or fewer than currently projected, anyhow.


Many generals prepare to fight the last war (Maginot Line?), unable to make the mental leap to another possibility. Likewise, many who examine Peak Oil think less oil will bring rampant inflation. Interestingly, many are trained scientists and engineers and I wonder why they cannot make the obvious connection between the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Economics.


Nice post...wish I could "enlarge" some of your graphs, though, I would like to feature them on the blog.
> Interestingly, many are trained scientists and engineers and I wonder why they cannot make the obvious connection between the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Economics.

What you said is absolutely correct. However, an oil production crisis will be much different than previous financial crisises. Its highly likely currency changes will be asymetric where some goods and services deflate and other inflate. For instance I believe that once Peak Oil is globally recognized, most exporters will drastically alter there policies and limit production. It would make no sense for them to continue exporting oil to the US in trade for dollars, and its likely that price of oil will rise substantially higher. On the other hand, domestically produced durable goods and real estate will deflate. No one is going to want to purchase a new vehicle or hold onto a gas-guzzler that they can no longer afford. Families will consolidate into fewer homes in order to reduce costs (heating, electricity, etc).

The combination of energy depletion and debt liquidation can lead to a semi-continuous recessionary environment - at least for the US and by extension to the global share of the economy that is represented by the US (now 25%). That condition will last for as long as:

a) Debt is worked out/liquidated
b) A sustainable energy balance is achieved

This is not going to be a "financial crisis". It will be an economic crisis, in the full sense of the word "economy".


FTX: One other point. A deflation and a depression are not identical situations. IMO, a depression in the USA is a lot more likely than a deflationary period longer than 1-2 years.
I tend to agree with you on deflation being possible in the US, as well as being - by far - the biggest fear of economists, particularly those that work at Treasury and the Fed. The reason is asset deflation due to debt liquidation.

Let's take an example out of current events. Home prices are dropping and lenders are becoming very edgy - some have even  shut down because they cannot repurchase the defaulting loans they previously sold as packages(eg Ownit).

What buyers there are, naturally prefer to drive a very hard bargain or buy at auction. Lenders are much more careful who they lend to. Combined result: prices get squeezed some more. Builders stop building new homes (the supply is already huge), workers get laid off, incomes suffer, mortgage payments go unpaid and the vicious cycle is at work. This is just real estate, and it has just started to hit the finance side, which is crucial. Once the lenders stop lending it is deflation writ large.

The Fed can do NOTHING in such a situation but sweat it out and Japan IS a good example, though not 100% analogous.

Can the Fed print money? Sure can, but then the US can kiss the dollar goodbye as a global currency - forever. And that will mean nothing short of the US ending up exactly like the USSR, i.e. Upper Volta with nukes. No one in the Fed or any branch of govt. wants that.

Pay attention to the bond market. It is screaming deflation. And them bond daddies know...

I agree that we are facing deflation and have been saying so here, on and off, for 18 months. I don't think we'll have to wait too long for it either. Deflation is like a tsunami - the water has gone out and people are busy walking out on to the exposed sand looking for interesting shells and stranded fish, not realizing that the wave is coming.
>So what you would get would be a temporary deflationary period of possibly 1-2 years followed by a hyperinflationary period. Naturally there would be many huge speculative winners out of this upheaval (mostly losers).  

Its likely in the event of a financial crisis kicked off by declining oil production, that the currency values will be asymetric. Meaning lots of things get a lot cheaper and lots of other things get much more expensive. For instance, the price of domesticaly produced durable goods (cars, washing machines, etc) will fall as consumers loaded in debt will make due with what they already have. Goods that are imported will likely rise since it will still take energy to transport it to the US.

In past financial crisises, only money and credit became hard to aquire there was no physical contraint. When Oil production declines, it will be a true physical contraint which will dramatically alter the course of the crisis.

"How many winners were there between October 1929 and 1932? Not a single one!"

Lots of people shorted the stock market and made a killing. One famous example: Jesse Lauriston Livermore
"Most notably, he was worth $3 million and $100 million after the 1907 and 1929 market crashes, respectively."

There are always winners and losers.
Keithster, There were no pubicly held equities that increased in value between October 1929 and the end of 1932. Of course there were winning people but that was not the question.  Were there winning publicly held stocks that increased in value during that period? No, there were none!

Hell, people who just kept their money in the bank, at no interest, were winners because of the deflation. And of course people who shorted stocks were also winners. No one questioned whether or not that there were people who made out like a bandid during the Great Depression.

Keithster, you cannot refute an argument that was never made.

Ron Patterson

"Hell, people who just kept their money in the bank, at no interest, were winners because of the deflation."

Ron, I hope that was a typo and not a reflection of your actual knowledge of the depression.  Remember stories of old people who kept cash in mastresses because they didn't trust banks?  Ever wonder why?  

My father's father, a yuppie banker, lost all his savings during the crash.  He was on paternity leave for my uncle's birth on the day the bank he worked for went bust.  Till the day he died, grandad kept a hoard of silver dollars at home.

Many people who kept their money in banks lost every cent when the banks failed.  This massive crime is part of what made common thug bank robbers into folk heroes (the other part was the bank foreclosures on farms and homes).  It is also the reason the FDIC (deposit insurance) program was started.

Right, it was a typo. I meant to say that people who just sat on their money gained because of deflation. Of course many people who kept their money in banks lost everything because or runs on the bank.

Perhaps I should have said "piggy banks". ;-)

Ron Patterson

Addendum: The most settled and affluent victims of the later bank runs were merely inconvenienced.  Most banks that failed in 1933 were combined and recapitalized and (after a hiatus) reopened with depositors made whole.  However, if one became jobless as well as losing access to one's savings, migration to look for work often followed.  If one was struggling to make a living hundreds of miles away when one's bank reopened, the account was eventually considered abandoned and the bank could claim it.  So about a fifth of the money lost even in FDR era bank failures was never recovered.

(Note the similarity to the most vunerable hurricane Katrina homeowners.  Senator Trent Lott will get a new porch for his mansion, but the 9th ward homeowners will lose even their lots for failure to pay property taxes while they are stuck in a FEMA trailer park in another state.)

"...but the 9th ward homeowners will lose even their lots for failure to pay property taxes..."

Funny, I had read that one of New Orleans' problems was that one could never lose one's home from property tax leins. I'd read that the city was clogged with semi abandoned properties.  But then, what do I know?

There is an annual tax lien auction in Orleans Parish (none this year due to few employees and concerns about fairness).

About half of the listed properties do not go to auction dues to last minute payments (I know someone that bid every year).

It takes several years (5 ?) of non-payment of taxes before the property is auctioned off.

Some properties do not get a bid high enough to cover past due taxes.  Special programs have been set up for these.



Am I the only person who feels, given the coming discontinuity, that having lots silver rounds buried in the yard is not as crazy an idea as it may sound?

I talked to my father-in-law a while ago about the depression and "Where did you find work"?  He said that eventually the MFG companies hired some. (Endicott Shoes was his example).  

That is something that I think is different this time.  In the 30's we had manufacturing base.  Sure millions of them went out of business, but stuff was still made here.

Today's service economy with people who work at the hair salon, buy stuff at walmart, that spend their money at the fast food place...

When the economy stops,  what bootstrap is there to get it going again?  Our economy is now like a Ram-Jet engine. The speed is what makes it work, (with "credit card" payments to the tune of 3 billion a day support), when it slows down, we crash.

Or like a Shark,  we will sink once we stop moving forward(swimming).

Just some rambling thoughts.

Fare Thee Well.


P.S. again from Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd"

Thru this life you ramble, you'll meet some funny men,
Some will rob you with a six gun, and some with the fountain pen.

Thru this life you'll ramble and thru this life you;ll roam,
But you'll never see an outlaw, take a family from their home.

"The Banksters"

When Peak oil becomes obvious oil company stocks will be the first to soar...

I would have to check, but this may be the first thing you have written that I agree with 100%.

Right now oil companies are still being valued as cyclical companies. Once Peak Oil hits, or even "Peak Lite", then the cyclicality will be gone for the most part because it will no longer be possible to overbuild capacity and cause a price glut. Earnings growth will be explosive, but there is always the possibility that the government will step in to "help" consumers gain some relief (not understanding that there can be no relief).

When Peak oil becomes obvious oil company stocks will be the first to soar...

I would have to check, but this may be the first thing you have written that I agree with 100%.

This is quite possibly true but it is no lead-pipe cinch.  If a severe depress hits, brought on by peak oil, then oil demand will drop and prices will drop with it.

We see that happening right now. As OPEC lowers production, prices rise a little but lower demand drives prices right back down until they reach a level that demand can sustain.

Bottom line, a severe depression can cause demand to drop dramatically. People in third world nations have very little extra money with which to buy oil or products produced by oil. As prices rise they will simply do without. And that phenomenon will work its way right up the food chain until it catches us.

Don't get me wrong, I see oil companies as one of the safest bets around. But in the advent of the chaos and anarchy that is likely to accompany the downslope of fossil oil production, there are no guaranteed winners.

Ron Patterson

If you want to reduce the risk then you should buy puts or spread bet sell car companies, mortgage banks and airlines as well as invest in oil co's.

Its a one way bet really. Pretty pleased with the last 2 weeks on Ford.

Exactly so.  Good advice.
RR - are you 100% certain?  I'd like to think that is true, but what about the scenario of high energy costs, leading to inflation risk, higher interest  rates bringing about a deflationary bust. Do you think oil cos will still rise against a back drop of a broad market "fall"?  Agreed, however, that current valuations are ridiculously cheap.
As Ron correctly says, nothing is 100% certain. But personally I think it is a good bet and I am in for the long haul. If you try to time the market, true, you might get burned in a deflationary period. But over the long haul, as oil continues to deplete, people are going to pay through the teeth to get it. I would bet that over a 15-20 year period, energy companies are going to be a very good investment.

How has the weather been in Aberdeen so far? In Billings, we only had 1 period of below zero (F) weather. I don't guess you get that in Aberdeen though.

Turned cold - more normal now for this time of year - frost at night, 5C during the day, a bit raw - but no snow yet - recently snow hasn't arrived until Feb - March.
Snow Drops appearing in the woods around Fyvie Lake.
I hate to admit this to you all, but I inherited some BP stock (quite a bit) and I almost liquidated it several years back.  Even though, much of what I've seen of BP lately makes my stomach turn, I'd be a fool to cash it in now, especially based on RR's comments.
Swap it for stock from a less incompetent oil company, preferably one that actually owns more reserves relative to what it's currently pumping.  It seems that it is the possession of actual reserves that will make a company valuable, and most reserves are now in the hands of governments that won't be selling them off.  The companies can only cannibalize each other from now on, which means takeover bids, which means rising stock prices.  When the last survivors start to run out of reserves, then you sell.
Good advice, I'll have to look things over and try to sell it or part of it when I think it's gone up enough.
When Peak oil becomes obvious oil company stocks will be the first to soar...

Possibly, but I'd then sell them before the politicians begin responding to the problem with expropriation.

They are definitely cyclical. All it takes to drop the price of oil is to drop the demand below the current production. A recession in the US could definitely drop demand below production. Everybody knows the US is way overdue for a meaningful recession. Politically the time is ripe for a recession. Bush is going to be the lamest of lame ducks and isn't going to be concerned with goosing the economy with more government spending.

This is my forecast, so you would be wise to ingore it. The US economy is going into recession next year so commodity prices will initially drop. I also think this will expose the poor quality of some of the debt we have been running up. This will cause the dollar to fall out of bed and give support to commodity prices.

A better way to value oil companies is to discount the value of their reserves to present value. A factor for unndeveloped acerage has to be factored in. Everything else being equal a company with more proven reserves is going to be worth more than one with less.
  It also takes good and honest management, not just current reserves. BP probably looks pretty good on the reserves, but their cost-cutting has really screwed them up-terrible maintainence in Alaska, criminal neglect at the old Amoco refinery in Texas City. Exxon-Mobil seems to care more about swaying world opinion than returning profits to their stockholders, Shell is possibly recovering from lying about its reserves, but they haven't gained my trust, plus they are heavily involved in oil shale and tar  sands. Wonderfull reserves if you don't consider costs or ROI.
  Of the majors, Conoco-Phillips looks the best to me. Frankly, royalty trusts look like a better bet or purchase of working interests in a good unconventional gas program which is unlikely to get whacked by a punative tax. Good independents like Anadarko or Devon. Beware independents with a lot of debt that chase the newest trends, like Chesapeake or EnCana.
  Oil services look very undervalued to me, folks like Schlumberger, Transocean-Sedco-Forex, Baker-Hughes, CoreLabs, Rowan. They're operating at full capacity, will be for the forseeable future, and are mostly honest, hard-working folks. I'd sure beware Haliburton, though, as the karma is bad. And generally, if someone will cheat their customers like Halliburton has cheated the US government, what makes you think the stockholders won't be cheated too? Thieves are thieves.
  Valero looks great too. They are in the cat-birds seat with their heavy oil refining capacity and huge distribution network. They have a margin that goes up when prices go up.
Just to give BP a smidgen of credit, they have invested somewhat in solar products.  They will even come out to your house and size you up for panels if asked.
  They also own 20% of Green Mountain Energy, the countrie's largest green utility. And I've never met a BP employee that wasn't a nice guy who was working hard and concerned to try to be a good citizen. But their management listens to their accountants way too much, and they have really cut down on their safety and maintainence procedures in the chase for higher stock prices, so I'm not going to buy their stock. And I've just inherited a bunch of Exxon and Chevron-Texaco stock, and I'm selling them too because of their management craziness. I'm not soured on oil, just the arrogance and self-dealing of their upper management.
  IMHO a third of a billion is too high a severance package. And supporting every dictator for your economic benefit (including GWB) is reason to dump 'em. Bribing the governments of Nigeria, Khazakistan and Angola is just plain bad business.There are way too many companies who don't sacrifice every principle for me to give those guys my chump change to the ones that are raping us all.
Yes, yes...good points all.  

Now, can I afford to possibly lose my retirement money on moral grounds...that's the question.   It is a personal dilemma for me.

Have you ever seen the movie "Thanks For Smoking"?  It is somewhat relevant to this discussion.

Also, I was thinking, how many large worldwide companies are really free of past shame?  

Think of what GM, Halliburton, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, GE, Walmart,  etc. have done in their past and how many of us probably invest directly or indirectly in these companies.

You are absolutely correct in bringing up karma with HAL.   I learned long ago that profiting from companies involved in questional practices doesn't pay off in the long run.   There are lots of solid hard-working smaller companies in the oil patch.   As well as boring money makers like PetroCanada and Imperial Oil.  

It is an interesting time in Ecomonics.   You would normally think that a US recession/depression would cause oil to sink in price.  However, the lower the value of the dollar, the higher oil will go.  So huge US debt is going to actually cause oil prices to go up for no other reason than the dollar is worth less.    How much debt do you think the US will need when they have to bail out 25% of homeowners who face the foreclosure of their $600,000.00 McMansions?   How many people will go on welfare if the unemployment rate is 10-12%   All of that mean more US debt, and higher oil prices.   A very visious cycle...

I've stayed away from the super majors on the belief they are financially geared to exploit only the largest fields and these will be harder to find going forward. In the absence of finding new plays they buy one another. Flip a coin as to whether you own the company being purchased and hit it big or the buyer and get diluted.

Do like royalty trusts with long reserve lifes.

Believe Encana is focusing on unconventional and long life reserve plays. Don't like the debt but believe the gamble is correct.

Shell's project management has been a disaster.  

I also like Encana.  What other companies are heavily into coal bed methane, shale or other long lived/slow production NG  in North America ?

AFAIK, coal bed methane has a flood of gas the first year, production drops by ~2/3rds, and then a trickle for 25 or so years.  I would like to buy that trickle.

Best Hopes,


Will someone please tell Dave Pimental to go back to studying bugs?!
Baker's yeast mutant can boost ethanol output -MIT

NEW YORK, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Scientists have engineered baker's yeast to produce ethanol faster and more efficiently, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research paper published on Thursday....

The MIT scientists made "super" baker's yeast, by adding a gene already found in the microbe, to speed up ethanol production by about 50 percent. That could allow ethanol plants either to make more of the fuel in less time, or make more of the fuel in the same time, said Dr. Hal Alper, one of authors of the paper, published on Thursday in the international weekly science journal, "Science."
Here is some background on the incremental improvements in ethanol plant design and crop use that are making ethanol competitive.
Technology Improving Grain Ethanol Yields, Plant Profits

...Krissek provided a breakdown of the cost of production for ethanol showing industry averages of 62.3% for grain, 18.9% for energy, 11.4% for capital, 2.3% for labor, 1.9% for maintenance, 1.8% for yeast and 1.4% for needed enzymes.

He attributed greater cost efficiencies over the past six to eight years to the development of heat-exchangers, heat-tolerant yeast, and better enzymes, plus implementation of new systems that capture methane and other emissions for energy, and standardized piping designs.

"Our company - since we really started focusing on this in the early 2000's - has eliminated nearly a mile of pipe in the average plant," he said. "In the 1980's and 1990s every ethanol plant looked very different. Today here is an incredible amount of standardization, almost cookie-cutterishness."...
And if you missed these I will post them again.
Ethanol plant to add wind turbines

The Corn Plus ethanol plant in Winnebago is to add wind turbines to its facility during the next three to four months, moving closer to its ultimate goal of using no outside energy in the processing plant.

Dan Moore, a Blue Earth area farmer and director of project development for Renewable Energy Solutions, said he sees no reason that Corn Plus won't be the first of many Minnesota ethanol plants to add wind energy.

"I really haven't heard of any others doing it," Moore said. "And I don't know why they're not doing it because it makes so much sense. ... It's a renewable making a renewable."
Environmental Implications of Municipal Solid Waste-Derived Ethanol

...We find that the life cycle total energy use per vehicle mile traveled for MSW-ethanol is less than that of corn-ethanol and cellulosic-ethanol; and energy use from petroleum sources for MSW-ethanol is lower than for the other fuels. MSW-ethanol use in vehicles reduces net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 65% compared to gasoline, and by 58% when compared to corn-ethanol....
The yeast you mentioned apparently speeds up the process, but how does it reduce the energy input?

I will grant that using wind seems more benign than coal, but does it actually change the EROEI.  For all I know, it increases it.

We need someone to analyze all this in terms of their overall impact on energy inputs. Pimental, anyone?

The news on MSW appears good, but how does that demonstrate that Pimental needs to go study bugs? Besides, do we have enough MSW to significantly impact our fuel needs?

The bug comment was just a dig at him; he is an entymologist.
None of this changes the reality that at the farmgate the ethanol industry buyer will not be able to compete with the solid fuel buyer, barring continuing subsidies for the ethanol industry.  

Some people like to diss Pimenthal because some research of debatable merit comes up with an EROI of 1.3:1 for the corn to ethanol process.  Whoop-tee-doo.  And then pants are wet at the first signs of an eventual breakthrough which would lead to an EROI of 2 or 3 to 1.

In the meantime, the emerging non-state-supported bioheat industry is delivering energy profits of 10:1 and more.  Manufacturers, around the world, neither directly or indirectly on the public dole, are bringing new and improved solid fuel burners to market suited for uses from households to greenhouses to district heating plants and more. Marketing networks are being established.  Technical skills are being acquired.  And this while the price of natural gas, the primary competitor, is still low.

It won't be long before the temperate zone ethanol industry is remembered with the same disgust over the waste of time and resources that the hydrogen fuel cell white elephant deservedly garners.

 The 4.5 (billion)gpy quoted in the interview is currently over 5. EIA data show 333 kbpd for September. The 1% of energy use means  what - of 28 mmbpd crude? 21/d + x?

 That's nearly 4% of mogas consumption & will probably be 5 to 6% by 12/07.

The Pentagon and hybrids.

I have to post all of this as it requires a password. From Defense Weekly:

 U.S. Army Weighs Li-on Batteries for Hybrid Vehicles

The U.S. Army is revving up efforts to refine lithium-ion technology and build light, fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles.
The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, Engineering Command (TARDEC) has extended its two-year partnership with Saft, providing the French battery design and manufacturing company a new $1.2 million contract for research into lithium-ion, or Li-on, batteries.
Such batteries can be up to four times smaller and lighter than older and more common lead-acid cells. Used for years to power laptops, cellphones and even a new battery-powered two-seat car called the Tesla, the technology is drawing the attention of military contractors.
Raytheon's Improved Target Acquisition System uses what company officials call "the first fielded large lithium-ion battery in the military" to power a sophisticated "target-tracking" telescope and launch Tube-launched Optically tracked Wire-guided missiles.
Now TARDEC and Saft are working to see whether the batteries can handle the needs of a vehicle that might see combat.
The command already has a handful of hybrid-electric demonstrator vehicles powered by Li-on cells, and is testing a new one built by Saft. But officials say it will likely be five to nine years before the technology produces a deployable armored vehicle.
"It is not as simple as taking off-the-shelf technology," said TARDEC spokesman Paul Mehney. "We're not there yet."
The vehicle will need a sophisticated power management system that can balance the electrical needs of the hybrid power train and those of onboard gear such as radios and weapon mounts, Mehney said.
Temperature management is part of this equation, according to TARDEC officials, who say "we are working with the production of prismatic cells [lithium ion] while integrating liquid cooling into the module."
The attraction of a hybrid vehicle -- one that combines a conventional engine and an electrical motor -- is using less gas.
"Fuel efficiency is the target point," said Glen Bowling, general manager for Saft's Space and Defense division, Cockeysville, Md.
$400 for a Gallon of Fuel
Each gallon of fuel hauled to troops in Afghanistan costs about $400 because of the country's lack of infrastructure and poor security, Bowling said. Moreover, a hybrid vehicle would save fuel by smoothing acceleration. A completely battery-powered one would have the advantage of being silent until it started moving.
Bowling said some of the demonstrator vehicle's systems will require up to 300 kilowatts instantaneously; others, about half that.
Current lithium-ion technology has its limits. The cells wear out faster and perform more poorly at high and low temperatures than the military likes.
Another firm, Nevada-based Altairnano Technologies, is working to build a Li-on battery that does better. Instead of using graphite particles on the electrodes, Altairnano's cell used finer-grained nano-titanate materials.
"The typical lithium-ion battery has a life cycle of about three years," said Altairnano Chief Executive Alan Gotcher, who said his firm has developed a battery that he predicts will last 15 to 20 years and to work well from minus-50 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Saft's Glen Bowling said, "Saft does research in almost every electrochemical variety. We are not currently too excited about titanate because its advantage is not so significant as to make up for its really low energy density."
Larry Jordan, who once commanded the Army's Training and Doctrine Command and now works with Burdeshaw Associates, believes lithium-ion technology could one day provide lightweight power to active protection gear weapons, and sensors.
"If the technology delivers, lithium ions could be useful in the field of armored vehicles," said Jordan.
Raytheon's Bill Metzinger sees an increasing role for lithium ions, saying that more developers are likely to "refine and direct this technology to specific goals." *

IMO, the US military is overly technological.  The more complicated and fragile the machinery the more likely it is to fail under battle conditions.  It's no wonder to me that people using basic implements of war are proving so hard for the high tech army to defeat.
I can't find the article now, but one came out last week about all the broken equipment from Iraq sitting around at some base in the US and how we don't have the money or parts to fix them all.  I believe it said that it was causing some Reserves units hardships because they had given the equipment to the war effort and are now forced to borrow equipment from neighboring states.

Seems an appropriate discussion in light of your comments.

I saw a film clip (don't remember where) that included a "tour" of the bone yard at Camp Anaconda. One drove for minute after minutes, looking at blasted, crumpled, burned and shattered vehicles; from humvees to M1 tanks. They drag them there and don't know what to do with them. Not much they CAN do, except to leave them for some future Arab exhibit.
If the US military gets it right (which it very likely won't), then we might get higher efficiency from military vehicles doing things that they probably shouldn't even be doing in the first place.

Engineers have a finely honed understanding of 'efficiency', but they tend to get confused when it comes to an understanding of 'effectiveness'. The two are not the same: not by a long shot.

One can be very efficient at doing something that does not (or more likely, should not) be done in the first place.

In the final analysis, it all gets down to deciding upon what is a wise allocation of finite resources.  Thus, having 60-ton Abrams tanks improving their gas mileage (1/2 mpg last time I looked) may be inproving efficiency, but that begs the question of whether they should even be cruising around in Irag at all.

So, pardon me if I can't seem to get very enthused about the US military's (supposed) efforts to improve their energy efficiency. We're still going to have generals using huge Air Force transports as their personal limos, and we'll still be air-lifting all sorts of stuff half way around the globe to our far-flung imperial garrisons.  

I sometimes wonder how much energy is bundled into that approximate $1.5 billion or more per month that we're spending (nay, pissing away) on Iraq.

saw this earlier today and it's too important to let go on an energy site

Nov 30, Nature ran a story on Philip Fearnside

who has claimed for years that hydropower produces a lot of greenhouse gases; not just a bit, but 3-4 times more than oil gas coal plants

now there's a second study, completely independent, from Taipei, that says the exact same thing

while there's trouble in the Amazon over the zillionth dam down there

it's getting hard to maintain that hydro is such a clean form of power

and now the silly ethanol debate is hopefully over, even though the industry has just started (it's really just a snake oil tale, isn't it?), time to have a go at other "clean energy" forms

and we'll do that till everyone finally understands that there is no clean energy, though it remains a shame, and a deadly one, that all the money going into boondoggles like ethanol, nuclear, hydro, etc, is no longer available to make sure we simple use less

So, let me see - a dam is built across the Rhine at Iffezheim starting in 1969, and it produces roughly 740 million kWh a year from 4 turbines rated at 27 MW. A fifth turbine with a 38 MW rating, expected to produce an additional 130 kWh a year, is being added, and will soon be in operation. (German link at http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheinkraftwerk_Iffezheim - in addition, this is claimed to be Germany's largest hydropower facility.)

And this facility is currently generating 3 to 4 times as much CO2 as a coal fired plant? Really?

Is this along the lines that windpower caused the Europe wide power outage a few weeks ago? A claim which went out with amazing speed, and no factual basis.

To be honest, I am not claiming that drowning huge amounts of living land and damming the water is a good idea or won't lead to increases in greenhouse gases, but how does Hoover dam, to use another example of a massive project, actually produce so much more C02 than a coal powered plant?

Hydropower in the two concrete cases here, is much cleaner than burning coal in terms of greenhouse gases. That we may have already exploited the best sites is certainly a valid point, but to say that hydropower is somehow a dirtier form of electricity than commonly believed needs to encompass a much broader framework than gigantic projects in tropical regions.

Or when tidal power becomes more common, will we then read studies about how it is more harmful than coal burning?

As a by the way - ExxonMobil still seems to be spending a bit of its money funding groups in Europe denying climate change. Which makes sense - no one who isn't paid to believe such nonsense in Europe is likely to show their foolishness in public. Especially in the face of a real historical event - after two months in a row of the highest average monthly temperatures recorded in Germany for the respective months, there is no reason to believe that a third month won't be added. And quite honestly, like ExxonMobil, I don't think you would find too many people thinking that the 10 Rhine dams are a worse problem than generating the equivalent electricity burning coal. But who knows - maybe this is just one of those rare situations which the studies didn't cover.

The contention here is that organic matter sinks to the bottom of the reservoir because it is prevented going downstream by the dam. In the absence of oxygen, it does not naturally decompose and, therefore, emits methane and oxides of nitrogen, too gases that are much stronger with than co2 with respect to their greenhouse gas impact.

My question is.  Wouldn't the buildup of silt and other organic matter over time prevent these gases from escaping from the reservoir into the atmophere?  I'm guessing the scientists took this into account but the article did not address this?

Also, wouldn't the impact of a hoover dam,for example, be much less than a dam in,say the Amazon.    The river largely flows through desert on the way to Hoover so there would be relatively little organic matter.


No claim here of fully understanding the issue, just suspicion about the fact that while these things keep popping up, they're always ignored. If the studies are only half right, that's a big potential problem right there.

The National Hydropower Association tries to discredit all research (phase1: denial). Untold billions are made worldwide with hydropower projects, and the owners like to keep it that way and expand. At the Kyoto conference last month NGO's from India complained that hydro was pushed down their throats, against their will, just so the EU could get carbon offset credits.

Fearnside takes on a multi-billion industry. I know where my initial sympathy lies. The green clean image is nice and profitable, but in the end it's just another corporate entity that takes the bacon home.

NB: he recognizes that emissions are higher in tropical climates: more, faster, and year-round plant growth.

http://www.irn.org/programs/greenhouse/index.php?id=/basics/conferences/cop10/TropicalHydro.12.08.04 .html

The most comprehensive study of net emissions yet published is for Tucuruí dam in eastern Amazonia by Philip Fearnside of the Brazilian National Institute for Research in the Amazon. The study concludes that in 1990, net emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from Tucuruí had a climate impact equivalent to 32 million tons of carbon dioxide.3 This is more than three times the gross emissions at Tucuruí measured by a team from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro headed by Luiz Pinguelli Rosa.4 A natural-gas combined cycle (NGCC) plant generating the same quantity of power would have had an impact equivalent to 8.1 million tons of carbon dioxide.5

An as yet unpublished study by Fearnside of another hydro dam in the Brazilian Amazon, Curuá-Una, found net emissions in 1990 7.5 times greater than a comparable NGCC.6 A preliminary calculation of net emissions at the notoriously poorly planned Balbina dam in central Amazonia made by Fearnside in 1995 found these to be an astonishing 58 times higher than an NGCC.

Interview Fearnside

 Q: A few of your papers discuss the emissions from hydroelectric reservoirs, such as Brazil's Tucuruí Dam, compared with those of conventional fossil fuels. What were your findings, and have they influenced energy policy?

A: The possibility that hydroelectric dams could be a significant source of greenhouse gases was first raised in 1993 by four Canadians with respect to dams in that country, but it was my 1995 paper in Environmental Conservation, with calculations of substantial releases from Amazonian dams, that so infuriated the hydroelectric industry. "It's baloney" was the reaction of the U.S. National Hydropower Association (see1 both sides of this and other controversies). Since then much progress has been made, and the general trend has been to find greater and greater emissions from dams. The 2002 paper on the Tucuruí Dam calculated methane emissions from water passing through the turbines and spillways, which represent the largest sources of emissions.

Hello TODers,

Mother Nature is heading climate change towards making lakes into deserts: Vast African Lakes Dropping Fast.

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

Intelligent debate is always worthwhile. I have no problems with exploring the flaws of mega-dam projects in the tropics, or at looking at various unexamined assumptions.

What I do have a problem with is that just like 'windpower has problems,' the problems then become the entire debate for all those not interested in changing how electricity is generated, whether it be a power company heavily invested in other forms of generation or the original poster, who actually thinks 'till everyone finally understands that there is no clean energy...' we are prevented from using less - though how that author proposes to kill all the dirty plants using dirty sunlight, or overturn the dirty solar powered water cycle in the planetary atmosphere is not easy for me to understand.

And yes, that is a bit of sarcasm - the idea of radical efficiency and living differently is pretty much the only possible solution I see, but to look for perfection and then kick things apart because there is 'no clean energy' strikes me as not well thought out - there are certainly worse forms, even if none are perfect.

And this is not any defense of any tropical mega projects either.

what I try to do is kick at something and see if it remains standing.
very few people know about the emissions from hydro, and vested interests have a large influence there, research is sorely lacking, we just presume it's clean, not a very scientific approach.
for coal studies pile on top of each other, for hydro it's hardly been or being done. but what if we're just blindsided?

Fearnside is in a unique position because he was already in the Amazon doing climate research in connection with clearcutting etc., and started from there. no idea what started him off on his quest. I'm sure he's happy with the Taipei study, he's a bit less alone now.

you claim that there are certainly worse forms of energy, and that's also a presumption. let's see if that is true, and to what extent it is. do read the International Rivers Network article, it's interesting, and well written.

and let's send independent researchers to both the Hoover dam and the Rhine dam, and see what they come up with.

NB the main culprit is not CO2 but N2O and NH4

CO2 was a shorthand for comparison - also left out was CH4,which is undoubtedly produced in increased amounts in the flooded areas.

Still, an interesting area to look at, especially in terms of vested interests. Such mega projects are often run by the same people who also have a vested interested in a centralized power structure (and this is meant to apply in several ways).

This is one reason, among several others which are also valid, that both windpower and PV are not really supported - they decentralize power, not concentrate it.

In other words, true energy independence is a nightmare for a number of people who just happen to be the ones making the decisions concerning how we live.

the NH4 was a typo, I'm sure methane is the worst thing here

and you are dead on, and that's why these reports interest me, as well as the reason why they get no attention

and I'm thinking it would be good to do an assessment of the amount of electricity coming from the Hoover dam, multiplied by x cents per KwH, per annum. the same would be good for all hydro in the US, and perhaps even globally. something tells me the numbers would be way out there

and figuring out who owns Hoover might be useful too

Windpower requires a grid to work properly.  And even solar PV requires either batteries (short lived, expensive & toxic typically) or a grid to work properly.


True in terms of a grid, but at least in the recent past, in Germany, there were literally hundreds of owners of the 'grid' - many, many cities and towns had their own 'Stadtwerk,' and it was this municipal company which tended to own such things as the wiring for the town, the water/sewer pipes, the district heating facility, and was also responsible for trash collection. This came out of how such municipal services first developed, which was very, very locally/regionally. There were also local 'Sparkassen,' essentially along the lines of municipal banks, though in no sense a natural monopoly like the Stadtwerke, and not government owned.

Only slowly are such old structures being replaced, and to a certain extent, not very well. Germany is organized, but that is not necessarily the same as efficient. And of course, different parts of Germany are quite different - I have no idea what East Germany looks like in terms of company structures.

I am fond of Danish co-ops; a group of farmers or some city folk + one or two farmers buy a small group of wind turbines and operate them.

VERY hard to oppose wind turbines when every so many turns = another krona (now euro cent) in your pocket :-)

I wonder how many Americans would invest ?

Best Hopes for Diverse Ownership of Renewable Resources,


This is shocking, but seems credible. Looks like we need to start dismantling those dams.  This is really tragic because things were already bad enough, even assuming that hydropower was a green fuel.  
Maybe the dams are doomed anyway.
It seems that a lot of hydro power comes from the melting snows of mountain ranges, and if warmer weather replaced the snow with rain, the net effect is that less water gets to the river.  This has already become a concern for the Himalayas, on whose snow melt hundreds of millions of farmers depend.  Imagine what it could mean for the overburdened Colorado River system, all the way down to Los Angeles.
Hello Super390,

If melting of mountain glaciers is not bad enough,  Barrick Gold wanted to mine 3 glaciers in the Andes for a future gold & silver operation.  They wanted to remove the ice [currently atop the orebeds], move it to another glacier, then use most of the resulting meltwater running downstream for mining ops.  Hopefully, the protestors can prevent the insanity.  Here is a link to a Powerpoint Presentation with good pictures.

I posted some time ago my idea than eventually China will start mining Himalayan glaciers to short-term solve their water problems.  The poor Tibetans are screwed.

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

And just how does less water reach the downstream dams as rain than snow ?

If anything, the volume will increase as some frozen water evaporates.

The timing changes, yes, but not the total volume.

Global Warming will alter rainfall distribution but the total amount should increase.  Higher temps > more evaporation.


I have not had time to look at the total report, but some items.

This does not affect all dams, or even most dams. Only tropical dams with large verdant areas per MWh produced.  So not applicable for Inga (I, II, III & Grand) near the mouth of the Congo or NT II in Laos for example.

The accounting seems skewed to give the desired result.  Total lifetime emmissions need to be considered.  Methane has more GHG impact but degrades more quickly.  And the methane is a one time hit (as is the concrete used in construction)

They use the least GHG fossil impact power plant, a NG fired combined cycle power plant.  But where will Brazil get the  extra NG ?  LNG of course, so add an additional 1/3 energy loss for that.  For another 30 or 40 years, but after that, they will have to build the dam anyway.

Take home lesson ?  Harvets forest and then defoliate jungle before flooding, and burn dried/dead vegation.  Turn potential methane into carbon dioxide & charcoal before flooding.  Problem solved.

Best Hopes for Much More Hydro Development,


I have to take issue with the people that wrote the articles. At every Hydro Plant that I worked at they took the penstock water off the bottom of the lake, maybe not the exact bottom but very close to it.  As such they are turning the water over all the time.  
From Yale U:  Global Warming of the Future is Projected by Ancient Carbon Emissions (which project a rather high climate sensitivity).
Maybe a bit off-topic, but for those 'privatize everything' mavens, here's a good one showing the sterling engineering prowess of private industry.

Billions Later, Plan to Remake the Coast Guard Fleet Stumbles  

That only made the news because Michael De Kort, the guy quoted in the story actually posted a video on youtube documenting the things that Lockheed was doing.

here is the video


Lockheed is just another branch of the military.
 Has anybody here ever bought a Lockheed product for personal use?
I personally use freedoms every day.  Lockheed helps provide some of those so yes I use their products.
Just because you buy a ticket to ride a 747 doesn't mean you bought the airplane.  What Lockheed product can you directly own, and not indirectly own as a taxpayer?  The only product I can think of is the civilian version of the C-130 cargo plane.  Only a few very rich persons could do that. Lockheed does not need to compete with other companies for military contracts for aircraft because the mergers of the past 25 years have eliminated the competition.  If Boeing's 787 is not a big commercial success then it will also be absorbed by Lockheed.
Whose military? I agree with Mr. Oilrig. I use many Lockheed products myself. They are very good quality. Much better than the Russian shit I usually get. But it is difficult with current US export restrictions to obtain these items. That's why I deal with Massachusetts Kennedies some times. They don't care. They will do anything for drugs and underage girls.

I have a question for Americans. Who was the last Kennedy who served in your military?

Hugo...where have you been?  And I ask this again (like I did a year or so ago)... is this the real Hugo?  You can prove it by telling us only something the real Hugo would know.
I had my penis enlarged and I'm seeing a priest about my relationship with Raphael.

No, of course I'm not going to "prove it." What, are you stupid?

Stop snorting the coke, my friend. I know what I cut that with.

And if you are going to do it in the morning, make sure you are drinking some orange juice. See the latest Journals.

Of course this is the real Hugo. How could you doubt me?

(Smart one here)

A few points to liven the pot for this afternoon.

Barack Obama for VP 2008, JHK is almost praying for it and it has been showing in his weekly columns for several weeks now.  The Dems, Would do very good in the Presdential Race if they were to ask Mr Obama to at least run for VP or be named as Head of state.  I figure he'd even make a strong headway as Pres, but might not have the Name-Power in washington yet.   Look for the ticket.  Hilary-Obama for 2008.....  I don't care personally I'll vote My write in canidate again Winnie the Pooh, More Honey for everyone and sleeping after sweet meals.

Yesterdays Columns and Points about the Montreal Summit On 50 failures of Kyoto... Okay that is not what it was called but nothing really got done and we all know it, just a bunch of people getting together to wine and dine and say they are doing something so they can fill the inbox with money and power and make Joe and Fran and the family Six-Pack happy that someone was doing something.  

 The Global Climate change is bringing stranger weather to you as we speak and all the pundits that you want can't tell you why or how to change things, and really though we know it is going on, few of us really understand the total system to even begin to figure out how to correct the problem.  By the time we figure out what is wrong with a PLANET WIDE system and Figure Out a MASSIVE enough Computer Model to see the real causes, the changes will be wrecking new problems.  I have had a hand in making Global Digital Mapping Software, The details to manipulate 3-D real time world surface information onto a 2-D paper surface can get mind boogling real fast, There are over 20 different ways to project our globe onto a flat surface, you call them maps, but the world changes every second of every day and I have seen what that does first hand in the data gathering field of Digital Cartography.  We were never 100% on anything, it changes to fast, We had to deal with what Weather and earth and man was doing on a daily basis, and OUR programs were the BEST in the world. I do not envy the guys and gals trying to figure out what the weather will be like in 5 to 50 years, There are literally a WORLD'S worth of data points to take measurements on and try to figure out how to program for it all.

 This is a problem we will have to live with long after every last drop of Fossil Fuels, or Plant Fuels have stopped being used.  If humans were to vanish from this planet today, the affects would still be going on for eons longer.  Since that is not going to happen we are just going to have to learn to live with it.  Totally rethink how we look at the places we live and the actions we do.  Things are changing to fast for us to ever turn a blind eye to the weather again.

 These Opinions have been brought to you by Charles E. Owens Jr. aka Author at Large Http://dan-ur.blogspot.com

Barack and Hillary. Sounds like the Repubs' dream team.
Anything that includes Hillary is a loser.  When the people start deciding and not the media, this will be more than clear to anyone.  I still need to see Obama in the fire of the primaries and the debates.  Another media annointed phenom, but we shall see. I have been burned before but still think Edwards will go the distance with, perhaps, Obama as VP.  I can well imagine the Hillary folks trying to make a deal with Obama as we speak.  I'd be surprised if it happened because Obama is way too bright for such nonsense.
  I have never understood why Hilary is such a lightening rod for the Republican's haters, but she is. And she's unelectable. I could not vote for her because of her Iraq stance, but, I'm an anarchistic New Left leftover. Obama and Colin Powell are only mentioned because people want to support a black candidate to prove they're open minded, but not vote for one because they are actually racist.
Al Gore with Obama for veep!

Ron Patterson

Um, stay with me here, Obama has HUGE funding from Zionists, basically check this statement out and decide for yourself but it would be basically accurate to call him a "mocha Neocon".
Cher for Prez, Little Richard for Veep.
I think you were trying to say Nigger Jew. Correct me if I'm wrong. Very clever, you Nazis. Pity you couldn't figure out nuclear fission first.
Hey...please don't pull a Michael Richards here at TOD.  We try to keep things clean and non-rascist.
So, you agree. We must unite against these fascists. Fleam is an admitted Nazi. Richards lived with Jews for many years. Have you ever lived in New York, Mr. Dragon? I like your take on Iran. Clearly you know much about Iran and Iranians. How about Iranian women? Can you tell me something about them?
   Jew's don't run the world and you got your ass kicked in school because you're a little prick with your eyes to close together.  Get over it. Quit blaming your pathetic life on various shades of brown and move on.
John Edwards;  When I saw him win the congress seat the first time, I told my wife that he was someone to watch.

I didn't know what to think about him after he dropped out of sight so to speak after the election.

But,  then again remembering these incendentals back in June 2004ish

Sen. John Edwards' standout "performance" at the super-secret Bilderberg meeting in Italy last month may have been a key reason for his selection as John Kerry's vice presidential running mate, according to the New York Times.
(Google:  'john edwards bilderberg')

It will be interesting to see who they put up to run in 2008.


I could never vote for Hillary because she voted for the war even though she had to know better.  I read that Obama was against the war from day one, although he was not in the senate at the time.  I have vowed never to vote for asnyone who voted for the war.
 "I have vowed never to vote for asnyone who voted for the war."

I hear that. Gore
was against the war before he was against the war.  

OPEC's Oil Production Falls in November but Surpasses Target

LONDON, Dec. 8 PRNewswire -- Platts -- The 10 OPEC members bound by the cartel's output agreements produced an average 27.07 million barrels per day (b/d) in November, down 660,000 b/d from October, but still well above the group's new 26.3 million b/d output target, a Platts survey showed December 8.

Desite the absurd and highly politicised spin being put on the facts in this article, OPEC production is not 'above' OPEC's target as claimed, but well below target.

Admittedly, production hasn't been cut by 1.2 million bpd, but that is partly because OPEC's production was already so far below quota. The figures at the bottom of the article show this to be the case.

Interestingly, OPEC's underproduction is not just due to Indonesia and Venezuela, but to Iran and Saudi Arabia as well. Yet this gets no mention in the article. I wonder why...

Hello TODers,

Leanan's toplink post on repowering Zimbabwe is a pipedream unless the world suddenly becomes very generous.  This link paints a more accurate picture:
The economic collapse destroys our culture and our humanity. It is so bad now that people give false names when they leave sick relatives in hospital. This is so they cannot be traced when the relative dies, because they cannot pay for the funeral. Their relatives receive a pauper's burial in a mass grave.

Zimbabwe's awful record

1.6m orphans -- one in four Zimbabwean children -- the world's highest rate

Average life expectancy: 34 for women, 37 for men, world's lowest

Inflation: 1070.2% (October), world's highest

Minimum monthly budget for a family of six: Z$209,000 (£442)

Average salary: Z$50,000 (£106)

Budget deficit: 43% of GDP  

Unemployment 70%
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

   Those poor, poor people. Who needs to invent a hell when we have Africa?
yea. who needs the devil(if there was one), we seem perfectly capable of doing it ourselves whether we know it or not.
And the Central African Republic isn't far behind...
Maybe you should start including this country in your links, Bob.
Hello Seadragon,

Thxs for responding.  Yep, things are only going to get MUCH WORSE as Dieoff kicks in.  We are probably only a year or so away from reading cannibalism press reports.  Hopefully, as this sad news trickles into the First World's conciousness--it will create a huge social impetus to go whole-hog on PO + GW mitigation.  If not, expect the worst here.  Yikes!

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

Hello TODers,

I was thinking about that video clip that showed methane gas bubbling up off the California coast.  If a methane clathrate burp set off an underwater landslide and resulting tsunami that went inland for a few miles--even then I don't think you could pry the soccer mom's fingers from the steering wheel of her SUV.  They would mentally react the same as if it was equal to the common California earthquake.

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

toto I have seen that video also, and I agree with everything you said!

I still wish I could find, online, the Disney video played in the 70s on the "new" Mickey Mouse Show where, tongue-in-cheek, the Earth is made out to be inhabited by cars primarily.

Hello TODers,

Trump's Dump!

link to resort picture

Record First day sales!
 "When The Donald is willing to put his name on the site, that means a lot," he said.

     Buyers in the predominantly Southern Californian crowd said Trump's involvement eased concerns about owning land in a foreign country. They were undeterred by spiraling violence in the border city of Tijuana, and they paid no heed to protesters outside the hotel who said Trump's property was on one of the most polluted beaches in North America, a charge the developer emphatically denied.

     "Trump's name didn't hurt," said Tom Pfleider of Beaumont, who dropped $550,000 for a one-bedroom on the 11th floor. "I'm sure he wouldn't put his name on it if he hadn't investigated northern Baja meticulously."
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I have ruined this nights sleep by viewing on-line live coverage of a Space Shuttle launch with Swedens first astronaut as part of the crew.

I realy hope space exploration can be continued during and post peak oil and not only small utility satellites such as communication, position and weather satellites. The astronauts are not the important part but a Hubble 2 and then 3 would be great for taking an even closer look on what can be found in nature beyond our imagination. And we dont realy now that much about our own solar system, yet.

Hopefully Nasa will replace Shuttle with a much more cost efficient system. On http://www.directlauncher.com/ is a presentation of some good ideas originating withing Nasa for doing that while getting a capacity that is far above what is comercially needed or minimal for having purely utility satellites.

EIA shows production has been dropping BIGTIME with the latest figures from Sept 2006 right here
but could this be from record high storage levels? forgive me but i am a rookie at this! Just a young Jedi in training!
Its short, so I'll just repost it here.

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

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

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

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

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

Darn it, responded to the wrong post in the wrong drumbeat.