Perhaps we need an open thread?

(Grin) For those not coal-inclined, (or perhaps now the MMS) you might want to note that the January figures from a different source are showing an OPEC drop of about 460,000 bd.

And for those interested in natural gas, drilling in the Barnett Shale continues, giving you a sense of how progress on a well occurs. As for the rest, herewith enjoy this open thread...

[editor's note, by Prof. Goose]Thanks to TF for bringing this piece to our attention, a prominent news source (Boston Globe) with a laissez-faire attitude (after playing he said/she said). Quality reporting there folks, way to help with the public debate, eh?

Nitrogen Fertilizer Tool Part of USDA Energy Strategy

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Friday announced the release of USDA's Energy Estimator for Nitrogen, a web-based awareness tool that farmers and ranchers can use to identify potential nitrogen cost savings associated with major crops and commercial nitrogen fertilizer applications.

...Nitrogen fertilizer is one of the largest indirect uses of energy on an agricultural operation. Fertilizer accounts for 29 percent of agriculture's energy use, according to USDA research data.

Interesting article in Harper's Magazine "The Oil We Eat"


The journalist's rule says: follow the money. This rule, however, is not really axiomatic but derivative, in that money, as even our vice president will tell you, is really a way of tracking energy. We'll follow the energy.
If you follow the energy, eventually you will end up in a field somewhere. Humans engage in a dizzying array of artifice and industry. Nonetheless, more than two thirds of humanity's cut of primary productivity results from agriculture, two thirds of which in turn consists of three plants: rice, wheat, and corn. In the 10,000 years since humans domesticated these grains, their status has remained undiminished, most likely because they are able to store solar energy in uniquely dense, transportable bundles of carbohydrates. They are to the plant world what a barrel of refined oil is to the hydrocarbon world. Indeed, aside from hydrocarbons they are the most concentrated form of true wealth--sun energy--to be found on the planet.

Yes, he's grasped an important truth: for agriculture to become viable over hunter-gatherer lifestyle it has to provide food in winter (or whatever the off season is). Grain is a pain to harvest and process (even in the simple sense of de-husking, then there is milling if you want flour). There must be some advantage to make this worthwhile and that is its storage ability and ease of transport relative to food value.

Ultimately the carrying capacity is determined by its weakest link; for many societies that is probably its winter / drought food availability.

HO: in your Iran comment it said that exports were cut 260,000 b/d for the month in order to "build stocks in order to blend different crudes so as to make a more marketable grade." This one makes no sense to me. Seems like they could blend the grades as a matter of course before shipping them out. Do you have a clue as to what is going on here??
Well they are coming from different fields, that may be producing at different rates, so they may be just filling the stock tanks while they wait for enough from the slow producer to blend into the tankers, or the pipelines, but that is just a guess.
I would suspect that they have an overstock of relatively heavy oil that is not suitable by itself for the usual refineries they ship to, so they can't ship it alone.  When they are not receiving lighter oils from certain fields to blend the light with the heavy, due to pipeline shutdowns or terrorist damage, whatever reason, they must wait until that light stream resumes before they can continue blending it with the heavy and resume shipments of the blend to the usual refineries.  This is a guess. I would have to know the API gravities of the streams, before I could really confirm that.
As oil supplies are tightening everywhere, does this mean that an additional part of "standard logistics" will become waiting on (decreasingly available)lighter crude to mix in with heavier crude for refining (so, higher stocks in general)? Or sending heavier crude longer distances to specialist heavy crude refineries?
Actually it is already standard practice. Yes, it must increase as heavier supplies are substituted for any present lighter feedstocks.  Refineries with only light processing capability must be modified, or new refineries capable of working with heavier feed blends must be built.

I designed 2 adjacent pipelines in Venezuela.  One from a marine terminal for light oil, delivered from the good quality Mesa fields, and take it 140 km inland to the heavy oil Zuata Field.  The light was blended with the heavy (APIº9.6   bitumin) at the production facilities in Zuata.   It was then heated to min 175ºF to decrease the blends viscosity to levels capable of being pumped via another pipeline back to the marine terminal.  This process was changed later to use naphtha in place of the Mesa crude.  An adjacent separating plant was started up to separate the naphtha and recycle it back to the Zuata field, where it is blended again.

My gist of events is that we have a low level of international turmoil that has reduced the all out production of oil down a notch (or two depending on what country your talking about). It looks like some sort of compromise is being worked out over Iran. The USA has extra natural gas and oil, and Europe has some extra oil going into the spring and summer. And the oil industry is gearing up test wells that will mean an upsurge in production (certainly minor) in 3-6 years out, say 2009-2012.

But the background to this is greenhouse gases continuing and increasing at a high rate and 850 coal power plants (at least most will have cleaner coal technology) planned or coming on line combined in the USA, China, and India in the next few years.

I think it will take ski runs being closed down in Colorado and the Alps for people to get serious. Until then, business as usual will continue with some renewable energy getting a larger, but not massive, slice of the energy pie.

Ken Deffeyes interviewed in my local paper (On the front page of the business section!)

The Straight Dope has a short piece on Peak Oil this week. In response to a question asking if peak oil production is going to hit in the next 40-60 years:

Sit down, Scott. What you're describing isn't the worst case; arguably it's the best case. While it's not clear when oil production will peak, or whether the peak is already past, no one doubts oil production is bound to decline--the only questions are how soon and how fast. Opinions vary (boy, do they), but my feeling is, 40 to 60 years? We should be so lucky.

Word is getting out indeed.

There is a "debate" in the forums associated with Cecil's columns:

Not a very good debate - just lots of pointless arguing, really.

Cecil Adams' answer isn't bad, but he does overlook something very important. He writes:
But Cecil, you object, how is this thought supposed to be comforting? Today we don't have any comparable alternative fuel waiting in the wings. Sure we do. What's more, it was waiting in Hubbert's day. The title of his 1956 paper was "Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels." His purpose in writing had been to point out that, in contrast to oil, the U.S. had sufficient reserves of fissionable fuels, chiefly uranium, to last hundreds and likely thousands of years.

He neglects to mention that nuclear energy isn't going to affect the transportation issue, which is arguably where the most important breakdowns will occur. But maybe Adams was too reluctant to claim that hydrogen or electric cars are going to save us.
That assessment of "hundreds to thousands" of years of course takes inventing breeder nukes. Since the natural fissionable uranium is 235 at .7 of a percent, we need to efficiently make the U-238 into Pu-239 to use. Also, with breeders, we can use thorium by making it into U-233, an artificial fissionable. You need to isolate U-235 (already done) to get the ball rolling once you invent a breeder.

Of course, you don't want idiots to get any of the fissionables, as they can get a bang out of them. This is the biggest problem of nukes in general. Breeders mean that you can recycle waste most-way. Spent fuel is mostly U-238 with some Pu-239 added for flavour from normal reactors. The Pu-239 comes from neutron bombardment of U-238 during use. A "perfect" breeder would end up making waste made of fission byproduct elements about half the atomic weight of the fissionable.

As above, fission has its problems, but nothing is problem-free. I'd rather risk an occasional Chernobyl vs. the certainty of global warming with using up the coal. With fusion, all bets are off. It could take centuries to figure it out - assuming we keep civilisation up and running! (and that's a dangerous assumption!)

Of course, you don't want idiots to get any of the fissionables, as they can get a bang out of them

Of course, many would argue that many of the world's leading idiots already have fissionables.

Unfortunately, ONE idiot does have fissionables, in the form of the remote to use the fissionables. That is guarenteed, until 1/20/2009. (at 11:59:59AM DC time) Barring the possibility of this idiot seizing power in a coup-like action.
One alternative is a slightly improved CANDU reactor (using heavy water) with a lot of thorium mixed in between the convential fuel.  1:1 breeding (no extra fuel for other reactors like French Phoenix, etc.) but no real depletion either.

From my Physics background (decades ago), U-233 is not an ideal bomb ingredient but can be made to work with an effort.

Bush has decided to push MOX recycling (do not seperate all of the relatively short lived and intensely radioactive elements above Pu).  These elements have some fuel potential as well.  The heat and radiation from these make fabrication from stolen fuel "problematic".

Estimates of fuel reserves are with current technology & prices.  Uranium has been prospected for and mined for only a few decades; much less than most other minerals.  No interest in new sources for two decades or so.

Fission reactors have considerable prospects for that "New Technology Silver Bullet", unlike oil.

BTW: Used fuel may become a good source of platinum group elements (when U atoms split, they do so in a variety of ways).

He neglects to mention that nuclear energy isn't going to affect the transportation issue...
Not by itself, no.  But there are so many Li-ion battery technologies either already in production or just about to hit, plus supercapacitors, plus the Firefly revision of the venerable Planté cell, that this problem should not be regarded as a roadblock.  Sure, any one of these technologies could have something which prevents it from becoming cheap enough... but all of them?
At least Li is a fairly common element. What would be good as far as common-elements concerns, would be a "Sodium-ion" battery. Might be heavier, but may pack a decent punch like the Li-ion cousin. But that may be a wish, as Li is liable to get scarce or expensive, while Na is "dirt cheap".

Lithium is fairly expensive. A lot of the cost is processing raw material to get it. Making sodium and aluminium has the same problem. Electrolisis is a major cost.

How nukes can serve transportation is to have electrified mass transit. Buses and trains, both passenger and freight. No fun, but a commute is possible. Battery cars (any battery) may be rich peoples' toys in the long run. One good thing about extensive mass transit is that drunk driving will no longer exist.

One good thing about extensive mass transit is that drunk driving will no longer exist.
Don't be so sure; running buses and trains is a very boring job, and the personnel have been known to use substances to make their time more bearable.
OK, you got me. :) What I meant, of course, was that it would cease to be a major problem becuse commoners wouldn't be driving. With a vastly smaller pool of drivers, it would almost stop being a problem. In a virtually car-free future, drunk driving will be as rare as that other type of drunk bus driver, the drunk airline pilot. Laws could be zero tolerance. A bus, train, or aircraft operator gets caught, and they lose all vehicle operator priviledges forever. Attrition will reduce it nicely. Want to drink? Don't drive!
Australia's oil production is quite small, but a national government agency reported that (page 655):
"Australian crude oil and condensate production
has been declining since the early 2000s,
mainly as a result of lower production from a
number of mature fields. For example, production
from the Gippsland Basin, which previously
accounted for a significant proportion of
total Australian production, has declined at an
annual average rate of around 17 per cent since
This 17% decline in our main oil basin means we will only be about 50% self-sufficient in about 5 years (down from about 65% at the moment). Oil imports now make-up the second largest factor of very large monthly current account balances. ASPO Australia has helped set up a Senate Inquiry into this situation:
Overall, australia is an energy exporter, exporting large volumes of coal and ng. Either could be converted to liquid fuels, seems very odd that they aren't already doing this...
Well, that's because the americans aren't doing it yet.

Here in australia we don't do anything without Uncle Sam's say-so.

(I'm only half kidding - it's partly a cultural inferiority complex that stops us from adopting ideas that have not been tested "overseas")

At present it is far cheaper and non-polluting (at least locally) to sell the coal to China, or whatever, and import the oil we need. It is also politically easier as it doesn't involve a fight with the local Greens.

Even before Australia's oil peaked, when we produced what we consumed, we still exported most of our oil, as it was very valuable light fractions, and imported slightly heavier and cheaper oil for processing and because the local oil is no good for diesel.    

Macarthur Coal, one of our local coal mining companies, just announced a 240% increase in profits, so we can afford $70 a barrel oil imports for now

I futher we may need a coal to oil plant but Australia has no need to do it at the moment.

Of course in there is war with Iran we may need one very quickly..  

From today's McPaper:

The West takes lead on climate change

DENVER -- Half a dozen Western governors impatient for more federal action on global warming are mounting state campaigns to deal with climate change on their own.

Driving their efforts are signs that harmful effects may be occurring in the West: record dry spells, millions of acres of dead forests, warmer winters, dwindling water and catastrophic wildfires.

"Under the Bush administration, the United States is ignoring the world's best scientists on climate change," says New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat named in polls as a possible presidential candidate. "The real action ... is at the state and local level."


Parched New Mexico gets a taste of climate change

New Mexico got a stark glimpse this year of what the future could be if steps aren't taken to curb climate change.

A state report last month predicted a possible rise of 8-12 degrees in New Mexico's average temperature by the end of this century. That would bring hotter summers and shorter, warmer winters with less snow, the 47-page study said.

New Mexico's chief environmental official says the forecast describes the state's plight already.

"In New Mexico this year, we have no ski areas operating on natural snow," says Ron Curry, secretary of the state's Environment Department. He notes the huge loss last year of pinyon pines -- the state tree -- because of a beetle infestation that was worsened by drought and warmth. "This just adds to the argument of what global warming is doing to the climate."

Thanks!  Too many tabs open at once...
Leanan: 'A state report last month predicted a
possible rise of 8-12 degrees in New Mexico's
average temperature by the end of this century.'

Is that Celcius or Fahrenheit?

Either way it is probably a substantial under-
estimate, since anything that came out a month
ago would not have taken into account the
latest data and thoughts on positive feed-backs.

More likely, N M will be largely uninhabitable
within 50 years.

Anyway, it won't be the lack of snow on ski
fields that will bring the climate change debate
to a head, it will be the widespread fuel and
gas shortages that result from a series of GOM
hurricanes worse than experienced in '05.

"Is that Celsius or Fahrenheit?"

Does it really matter? I think, under these circumstances, that it's simply the difference between "roasted" and "blackened."

If it was in a US paper, it's safe to assume they meant °F. Either way, it's a lot. And sad to me, since I grew up there. I used to think I might retire there, but ...
Rather blunt article in the UK Indepedent: Armed forces are put on standby to tackle threat of wars over water:
Across the world, they are coming: the water wars. From Israel to India, from Turkey to Botswana, arguments are going on over disputed water supplies that may soon burst into open conflict. Yesterday, Britain's Defence Secretary, John Reid, pointed to the factor hastening the violent collision between a rising world population and a shrinking world water resource: global warming ... these changes are not just of interest to the geographer or the demographer; they will make scarce resources, clean water, viable agricultural land even scarcer.  Mr Reid signalled Britain's armed forces would have to be prepared to tackle conflicts over dwindling resources.
Was it just yesterday I posted that Peak Water will come first and perhaps nobody will be around to care about dealing with PO?
Some mayors are giving the governors a head start, led by Mike Nickels of Seattle:

This is a bottom-up initiative in the States, lacking federal leadership.

I am going to ask a question again:

can somebody tell us how well coal gasification could be performed underground? I ask this because recently an enormous coal resevoir has been located underneath the sea in Norway. Obviously there are quite a number of problems if one were to mine those layers, but would it be commercially attractive to gasify those layers underneath and extract the resulting gas via drilling?

Though I'm no expert on the matter, what I do know is that in situ coal gasification has been tried on land in a number of demonstration projects, and I think the results were reasonably favorable. I 'm not sure if there are any commercial in situ coal gasification operations in the US at this time.

As far as the vast deposits of coal under the seabed off the coast of Norway, I think that in situ gasification is the only approach that has any chance at all of being halfway technically and economically feasible (mining the stuff appears to be out of the question).  Still, there would be many daunting technical and possibly environmental challeges to doing in situ seabed gasification on a commercial scale.  However, it's feasibility is certainly worth exploring.

In situ gasification is currently planned as the subject of the next techie talk. (But it ain't written yet)
I read this too. Perhaps they are talking about Coal Bed Methane (CBM). Methane is adsorbed (correct word?)on the Carbon atoms. When you drill into it, the Methane Desorbs
(again, correct word?). Methane is then free to move.
I think you have to drill quite a few wells and fracture the coal layer. You can then get the methane to surface in the same way a conventional gas well would function.
Power generation using CBM is/was(?) common in some parts of the US. It was a hot topic in the UK during the 90's.
But it did not quite take off.  
From Kuwait:

Wait drags on for foreign access to Kuwait's oil

"The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to achieve," Farouk al-Zanki, head of the Kuwait Oil Company, told Reuters. "There's a really positive indication that it's a priority."

"We need more help. We have an ambitious production plan. We want to meet our target. We can't do it on our own," he said.

But, realistically, he said a breakthrough was unlikely until late this year.

Better living through chemistry:

DuPont Looking to Displace Fossil Fuels as Building Blocks of Chemicals

E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, unlike most chemical companies, has moved the quest for bio-based raw materials off the wish list and onto the to-do agenda. The company has allocated nearly 10 percent of its $1.3 billion research budget to extracting ingredients from carbohydrates -- things that grow and can be infinitely replaced -- rather than from hydrocarbons, which are mined or drilled and readily depleted.

DuPont already makes 10 percent of its products from nonpetrochemical substances, and Charles O. Holliday Jr., DuPont's chief executive, expects to increase that to 25 percent by 2010. By then, he says, such products will yield the equivalent of $3 billion in revenue in current dollars. The way Mr. Holliday sees it, so-called industrial biotechnology can solve myriad problems. It can insulate DuPont from the relentless rise in gas and oil prices. It can win kudos from environmentalists and shareholders who worry about the harmful effect of extracting and burning oil. It can play well in Washington, particularly since a quest for alternate energy sources was a crucial point in President Bush's State of the Union message. But during a nearly two-hour conversation in his spacious office above the Hotel DuPont, Mr. Holliday stressed his real motive in pushing for bio-based materials: his belief that they yield better products. He notes, for example, that the corn-based propane diol, a product used in carpet fibers that DuPont will begin selling this spring, offers better dye absorption and stain resistance than the petrochemical version DuPont now sells.

"The company has allocated nearly 10 percent of its $1.3 billion research budget to extracting ingredients from carbohydrates -- things that grow and can be infinitely replaced -- rather than from hydrocarbons, which are mined or drilled and readily depleted."


But once again, the Devil is probably in those darn petrochemical inputs and net energy loss.

We shall see.

Not to mention topsoil depletion ... mining topsoil is just another extractive industry.

Wasn't Dupont the company that did so much to demonize agricultural hemp, the miracle crop that competed with nylon?

yes you are correct.
Now this more like it!  

Using corn and other biomass as feedstock for organic chemical production makes about a hundred times more sense than merely using for fuel, a fuel with an EROEI only marginally greater than unity. Biomass is valuable, so it should be used to make high-value products.

DuPont has been having a rough time of it lately, and if I had to bet on it, I'd say that Mr. Halliday's days are numbered.  

Being that DuPont wants to be seen as a science and technology company rather than as a chemical company, it dropped its famous 'Better Living Through Chemistry' slogan many years ago. It's been using, 'DuPont, the Miracles of Science' for quite some time now.

Regardless of Mr. Halliday's optimism, I get the feeling that it's a company that has somewhat lost its way.

This is a very nice description of Barnett Shale's geology and explains why it is a tricky field to drill in and produce gas from the wells.  

Now the most interesting part,

Note!  According to the description, the Barnett Shale is a live gas generator, with anerobic bacteria feeding on trapped organics and releasing methane gas.

Note!  The reporting geologist believes the bacteria can be feed using CO2 to make NG and increase the production.  

If this is true, it throws a bit of cold water on gas depletion to some extent and would additionally be a nice place for Montana to send all the CO2 they propose to make from their coal to liquid process.

Find it at this URL,

> Note!  According to the description, the Barnett Shale is a live gas generator, with anerobic bacteria feeding on trapped organics and releasing methane gas.

> Note!  The reporting geologist believes the bacteria can be feed using CO2 to make NG and increase the production.

Scientifically quite interesting, but a "footnote" for Peak NG.

It is hard to concieve of a series of such fields that can generate enough new natural gas to feed a few % of US demand.

The rate of organic production would need to increase dramatically, and how long till the trapped organics are depleted ?  

So true.  I certainly don't pretend that Barnett production will save the world.  Just a "Note!" to catch the theoretically inclined and those that think its of scientific interest.  I haven't thought of this as a process that could still be continuing in modern times, so it burned out a couple of my last remaining neurons, but now that I think about it, no reason why all of those ancient bugs should be dead.  Actually, they'll probably inherit the planet.  Next time I'll leave out the "!".
Some of you may recall that back in mid-January I made an inquiry on an open thread about whether anyone knew where I could obtain small samples of crude oil of various grades and types.  The responses I received gave me some good leads, which ultimately led me to a website called  I placed an order there for Petroleum Set #2 for $19.95, which just arrived in the mail today!  (The merchandise shipping time was quite slow, in my opinion, but the samples did get here.)  

There are nine samples, ranging from extra-light to extra-heavy.  Generally, the lighter samples are sweet, whereas the heavier ones are sour.  All in all, the smells remind me of certain occasions where I have driven along certain stretches of the northern New Jersey Turnpike (what a surprise!).  One surprise is that many of the grades have a viscosity less than that of water, and even the oil designated as extra heavy has more of a fluidic character than one might think.

That's cool you're so interested.  You will find that blending crudes is a science all in itself.  I have some good links for you if you want to find out where it all comes from. Enjoy!

Here you can see the properties of the oil that the USA is buying and putting into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  You can compare your samples to all the listed properties they have there.

Strategic Petroleum Reserve Crude Oil Assay Manual

At this HPI website you will find the API gravities listed for about 250 different fields from around the world.  
Don't look around too much here, unless you have a lot of money to spend.

This has field, origin, APIº, Sulfur %

Refining Yields-1996

Refinery Types

This is Cheveron's Crude Oil Marketing Site
They list the areas of the world where they have oil reserves and clicking these buttons brings up a lot of properties of the oil from many of their operating regions.

Hope you find those useful.
Search for more using Name_of_Crude or Country followed by "oil assay".

I'm thinking of getting one of those oil rocks for $4.95. I'm curious though, at $19.95 for 9, 4-ml vials - how much were you paying per barrel? I think you are being price-gouged. We should be taxing those excess profits.
I came upon an old thread about the coal deposits under the Norwegian sea bed. The following question in one of the comments drew my attention:

What puzzles me is why we spend so much energy and technology trying to making deep sea coal work.  Why not spend the energy, human capital and time capturing sunlight, wind, waste energy, etc.  Maximize energy efficiency, building design, transportation, etc. so they need less energy.  All those areas are under funded, have great potential and are ultimately more sustainable.

No matter how obvious, justified and logical question this is, the answer is also as much obvious and logical: because it is not profitable. Nobody would profit from conservation, and to lower extent nobody would profit from clean (but expensive) technologies. Therefore nobody is doing it seriously. By profitable I mean for corporations, the individual "consumers" are too weak to have much other choice but take what they are given.

Of course there are companies that make money by selling more efficient vehicles, insulations etc. but this affects the efficiency of the things we use. Conservation would mean that we voluntary cut back and use less energy, doing less stuff.

So question is: how do we make conservation profitable business? How can for example Philip Morris make money by not selling their tobaccos? Any ideas?

Hi LevinK, Have you read Natural Capital by Lovins et al? I know you are no fan of Amory Lovins but I think there are some great ideas in this book. Energy savings of factor four or factor ten should get someone's attention, right? I too puzzle why this isn't more the norm, given the obvious economic benefits. Is it inertia? The "not-invented-here" syndrome? What gives?
Thanks, I'll check it out.

I think that energy is much too cheap relative to labour and capital profits. The market is not pricing the future costs of consuming a non-renewable resource, it is just reflecting the marginal supply/demand ratio. Hence the problem we have.

Just a small plug  for Amory Lovins.  A lot of people  find his sureness and holierthanthou attitude bothersome, but he makes his points with lots of background numbers and hard science, and never ducks  a fight.  I myself find him refreshing, just like I did all those super smartasses I knew in grad school.  I used them to solve my tough problems and ignored their mannerisms.  We could do the same with Lovins. Read his site, esp on kicking the oil habit.
For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area who listened to Ronn Owen's radio show (KGO) this morning interveiwing Max Shultz of the Manhatten Institute re economics and oil, that was me pretending to be "Gordon of San Jose" (not my real name) and firing in that shotgun question about Peak Oil and Hubbert's curve.

They cut me off the minute I fired in the question. During the pre-live screening session, the screener said he had never heard of Hubbert's curve. I told him to Google it. The screener said it sounded like some kook theory because from the very first day mankind started pumping oil, we were by defintion "depleting" it. So what's the big deal? I explained about production rates and that seemed to satisfy him, so he put me on air.

Max Shultz dodged the question with the usual rhetoric about Tar sands and the idea that the Chicken Little peak freaks have been saying this for over 100 years. It was pretty obvious that Ronn Owen had never heard about Peak Oil. He bought Shultz's dodge answer and moved on. Yeaaah. It all flashes by in a few seconds on talk radio. (Any way, maybe someone out there in the Bay Area was alerted, googled Peak Oil, and became part of the PO aware herd. Maybe not. Who knows?)

Another caller before me asked where the so-called Manhatten Institute gets its money from and Shultz dodged that one too. He claimed he didn't know and he just got to the place 4 months ago. Ha.

One theme emerging from the first day of the [CERA Week] conference is that the future is a whole lot more positive than the peak-oil faddists and eco-alarmists -- or for that matter, President Bush -- would have us believe.

Wow. Now Bush is one of us.

Here is little more info on Max Shultz of MI
The above came from this article of his

Other articles here

If Bush was one of us, he'd have at least half of the money aimed at ethanol subsidies directed to PHEV buyer tax credits instead.  And he'd have dumped the guzzler subsidy years ago, and put the hydrogen car down to a $10 million back-burner effort.

This is all about posturing and pork.

The Manhattan Institute is well known as a conservative propaganda mill.  I don't dignify it with the moniker, think tank, because I don't think many of its "scholars" would be considered the peers of scholars at universities. Hint: the place provided a perch for Scooter Libby after he resigned as Cheney's chief of staff under indictment for perjury. The Manhattan Institute purports to specialize in urban affairs but also goes further afield in supporting the conservative agenda. Its staff have been known to get easy access to publishing in Forbes, the conservative business magazine.

You ask where they get their money. I don't know the answer, but it would seem that they look to conservative members of the New York financial community for support -- just look at the board of trustees listed on their website. As a rule, charitable institutions like to recruit as trustees,  financial heavy hitters who donate their own funds and also hit up other heavy hitters for additional money. Names on the board that jump out at me: Byron Wien of Morgan Stanley, hedge fund managers Bruce Kovner and Bruce Wilcox, mutual fund and private client money manager Chris Browne (whose firm, Tweedy Browne, has the same address as the Manhattan Institute), investment banker and former Nixon honcho Peter Flanigan, Tom Tisch, whose family built and controls Loews Corporation, and Maurice Greenberg, disgraced former CEO of insurance giant AIG. Not too bad of a start if you're looking for cash.

Talk show host Ronn Owens introduced Max Shultz of MI as a nice and regular "fellow" who knows all about economics and energy.
The interview took place in Wash D.C. As the Q&A began, it became obvious (well to at least to me) that Max Shultz was a master of evasion & obfuscation rather than he being an honest "fellow". I threw the Peak Oil question into the pile just to put it out there as being something Shultz was not talking about.

A one-day archive of the Ronn Owens show (10AM-11AM) may supposedly be found here: Windows Media version

I heard your call. I was on hold to the station--you beat me to the punch on the Peak Oil question. ^_^;

I think KGO did a great dis-service with this interview. I'd be tempted to call it one-sided, but the information was so thin that it's hard for me say thit it supported any side at all.

I wonder if Mr Owens could be convinced to do another segment, this time with an oil geologist, or at least someone who has researched the literature on oil deplition. Someone from TOD? (hint-hint)

You had a good question, I'm not really sure that you were cut that short compared to other callers, it's the style of that show. Next time I get a chance I plan to start with:

if you Google Peak Oil...

at least someone heard it --thanks

The show is still available on archive for a few hours at this Real Player site (I suggest you launch it in a separate window and let it run in the background cause there's a lot of news interjected between the talk radio and it runs an hour. Then jump around till you find sections you like --my call came at about 33 minutes into the show)

I just re-listened to the show. Didn't hear all of it this morning. Shultz is not all that one sided. He's a big nuke supporter. Thinks that nuke tech is the same as silicon tech, that great advances have been made and this is not your Uncle Chernobyl's reactor anymore.

BTW, have you ever succeeded getting on the air with Ronn? He's a fast talker. You have to have your shpeal (elevator pitch) prepared ahead of time. You only get one short bite (sound bite) at the apple.

No, I've only called that one time. I had an idea tonight, I'm going to email him a suggestion that since he is Washington DC, he might want to get Rep. Roscoe Bartlett on his show. ^_^
This was my second time ever, so that makes me a "pro" --I guess.

The first time you call, you may not realize you have to pass through the screeners first. They can throw all sorts of wild questions at you. The phone rings and rings. Just when you are about to give up and hang, a real bad connection is made. They ask, who are you and what do you want?

You have to be prepared with the questions and explanations ahead of time.

When they finally put you on with Ronn, there is no warning. You hear the show, usually a commercial playing through your cell phone  (playing in future time because the actual show is tape delayed). You fumble with your radio, shut it off to get rid of echo. Suddenly, Ronn says, "Joseph from Palmdale, what's your question?" That's why most folk sound confused first time around. No warning. You pop your question. Maybe Ronn will ask for clarification maybe he'll cut you out. You never know.

Radio is very fast paced and very linguistic.

Peter Huber is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute as well as a Forbes columnist.

They have so many "scholars", the mind just boggles

I did not realize the connection between Huber and Schultz

The Globe ran this in their Sunday "ideas" section on page one, with a red-yellow-black picture reminiscent of the top of TOD here, or Matt Simmons' book jacket. I hope they're not proud of the article. Maybe they heard of the upcoming award to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (see and felt they had to do something quick - so they phoned up Lynch and CERA who are local here and maybe even stay close to their telephones.... As a subscriber, I sent the Globe (editor, reporter, & ombusman) a suggested reading list as well as a suggestion to attend the public lecture series at Harvard called "The Future of Energy" starting with Simmons (already) then: 3/8 Iain Conn of BP 3/23 John Podesta / Center for American Progress 4/5 Robert Socolow Princeton's Carbon Mitigation Initiative I bet they'll jump right on it... Simmons on 2/8 talked for well over an hour to long applause and then answered questions. Harvard's Center for the Environment may eventually provide a video of the presentation.
In this context I can only bring up The Vincent E. McKelvey Lifetime Achievement Award that I posted a while ago.
Yergin and other oil optimists concede that there may be very good reasons to curtail our use of oil climate change, for one, or instability in the Persian Gulf. But visions of dry wells should not be among them. As Michael Lynch, a fervent anti-peakist and the head of the Winchester-based energy consulting firm Strategic Energy & Economic Research, puts it, "we've got enough oil out there to turn the planet into an Easy-Bake oven."
And indeed we will do have enough fossil fuels out there to accomplish the admirable task of turning the planet into a Cretaceous Hothouse although it will not be predominantly from conventional light sweet crude, which has peaked. It will be from coal-fired power plants which still make up 50% of the US electricity supply and that figure is rising due to natural gas shortages. No power company (mine is XCEL) is comtemplating gas as the resource to build the new plants they want--like the new one proposed in Pueblo here in Colorado. But this wonderful transformation (terraforming) of the planet will also come from such wonderful developments as mining of tar sands, heavy sour crude from various places and any other fossil fuels (eg. CTL) we can get our hands on to preserve our "non-negotiable" lifestyle. Bravo!

Lynch (and of course Yergin) are excellent candidates for the McKelvey Award but I've got to give the advantage to Lynch here--an Easy Bake oven! I am impressed!

A Jurassic-like hothouse? Sounds about right. If you have grandkids, encourage them to stay thin and climb trees and do chinups. Here comes the jungle planet of my "automotive ape theory"! Your grandkids will have to be in shape to get that high-hanging fruit in the forest canopy. Even as we gorge out on the subterranian gooey fruit...
Sorry - I need to give the context. It's about the Boston Globe piece Prof. Goose added at the end of the post.
Can anyone tell me how come we are still getting builds in inventories of crude with nigerian 455000 out and US 250,000 barrels out? Doesnt that suggest that the market is well supplied?
Yes and no.  The inventories data, ignoring right now any question of the accuracy of the numbers, are a blunt instrument at best.  For instance, they are reported by firms who don't give any indication of whether their inventories are building up intentionally, or accidentally.  Most popular commentaries describe all increases as accidental, as if there was some obvious demand lag, when in fact there could have been an intentional increase in inventories because the companies have purposely bought more oil.  Hard to tell, because we aren't told "why".  

The good news has been the availability of product imports, which has really helped cover any shortfalls post Katrina/Rita.  The bad news is the production data, which is lower, year-over-year, even factoring out the impacts of the hurricanes.  I wouldn't focus on the headlines, if I were you.

'We' presumably being the US? Yes. US Refining capacity is currently running at 86.7% if I remember right, which is a mite low so not gobbling so much crude; imports of refined products are at or near all time highs; it takes a couple of weeks for a tanker to get to US and unload from Nigeria; January was warm, reducing demand a tad. That probably explains most of it. Then there is the accuracy of oil stocks' statistics... but let's assume they ain't a too fabricated fiction for now.

The market seems to be well supplied with crude ATM; beware OPEC cutting production officially on March 8th, beware Chavez redirecting his oil, especially if the price drops to $56, beware Cantarell's decline, watch out for the off-field geopolitical plays. Hang onto those high stocks just in case, fear (and buy oil) if they drop much.

We don't know yet to what extent countries have replenished their reserves after the hurricanes and the diversion of stocks (especially of refined products) to US following the hurricanes and consequent price spike. Signs are that China held off buying oil a bit towards the end of 2005 and decided to / had to buy more than usual in January. Oil prices have a funny habit of spiking up in late March / early April.

Thank you both.
Appreciate it.
I read this report that contains this:

"But what's troubling now is that Shell is falling way behind rivals like Exxon and BP despite spending billions more each year on exploring and drilling new wells. Last year Exxon replaced 112 percent of production, and BP came up with 95 percent. "I have never seen anything like this," says Fadel Gheit, a veteran energy analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. "Shell used to represent the gold standard in this industry, but lately they can't get their act together."

I did not think that either Exxon or BP were replacing their production at anything like this.

Are they overstating their discoveries or are they really discovering all this oil?  If this is the case what is wrong with Shell.

Exxon included NGL reserve increases from mid east (forget which country), their replacement of oil reserves was well short of 100%. BP are the only major which is getting close to oil reserve replacement the last couple of years.
We discussed Exxon's last year performance in Speaking of Bumpy Plateaus. That 112% was almost entirely natural gas, and almost entirely in Qatar. If it hadn't been for that, they'd have been looking just as bad or worse.
Thanks Stewart and Agric.  I should have read that previous post better.  Also I understand Chevron 'replaced' its reserves with purchasing another oil company.  These are really dodgy numbers and if not explained can give the impression that Peak Oil is a myth.  I mean if you just read that report and not much else you would think that there is not much to worry about as major oil companies are replacing reserves as fast as they are depleting them.
Exactly right. And if it weren't for LNG Qatar projects going forward (if they are successful), these IOCs dealing in that region would be in in deep manure. I wonder how much TOD readers understand the importance of what our current and future arrangements with Qatar are (4th biggest holder of natural gas reserves in the world)? This is also an issue that relates to the UAE (the fifth biggest natural gas reserves holder in the world). Qatar and the UAE are doing business and these "twin holders" of natural gas are extremely strategically important to the US in the future--this will be the chief source of LNG imports to the US if and in so far as the US implements the processing terminal capacity to actually take in and distribute these imports. There is a huge issue here and the sooner people come to grips with it, the better they will know what the hell is going on.

A permanent US military presence there to preserve the supply chain upstream is not just a possibility, it is the reality. The downsteam problems regarding LNG terminals in the US are another equally pressing problem and not one I am sanguine about solving in the next 5 years or so.

OK, TOD readers, get it?

It seems that if all these alternatives were succesful, we would still need population controls. I am thinking population control similar to China's. Should population control be a part of the overall solution to peak oil??
With little doubt, the positive checks that Malthus identified will work to reduce world population to "sustainable" (whatever that may mean) levels.

When is "Peak Population?"

I do not know. I think we are close. Several nations have death rates in excess of birth rates at this time. As cheap fossil fuels fades away, cheap food goes too.

The Green Revolution was a horrible horrible mistake.

I should have googled this before I asked, but I know you won't come down too hard on me. What was the Green Revolution? Was that Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green?"

By the Way. This movie is still MGM's greatest production. 1972 Rules. For those of you who haven't seen this film at least 5 times, it is as important as Dr. Strangelove or Syriana. Please Do.

In fact, 'Soylent Green' should be the the official movie of TOD. Correct me if I am wrong.

In 1970, the Club of Rome came out with a dire warning that Malthus was right and the human race is about to hit against the finite limits of Mother Earth to produce food and other stuff.

Soon after that, scientists came up with the Green Revolution --which I don't know the precise details of, but it entailed a switch over to genetically engineered crops that resisted bugs better and absorbed nutrients from artificial fertilizer (made with NG), thereby vastly improving the "productivity" of our agricultural sector and proving the Chicken Little folk wrong once again.

The famines predicted by Club of Rome did not materialize in the 1990's. This gave cause to the cornucopians to cry, see Chicken Little was wrong again! There are no limits. The mind of man can conquer all! The markets will provide. Technology will provide. Our best days are ahead of us.

I think Soylent Green was also Edward G. Robinson's last movie before he passed on.

I like this movie as well and have seen it many times.

IMO this film depicts the future as impacted by a number of significant problems, namely pollution, soil erosion, overfishing, and overpopulation.

Although the film is not specific to peak oil or oil depletion, I highly recommend it.

I think the book was better than the movie.

Some other good books, both by John Brunner:
"Stand on Zanzibar"
"The Sheep Look Up"

Sailorman, I love your immense knowledge of literature. I was very pleased to learn of these books. Questions, though.

Apparently 'Soylent Green' is based on a book by Harry Harrison called 'Make Room! Make Room!' Google searches and reviews for 'Make Room!' have references to the two books you mentioned by Brunner.

I was hoping either you or somebody else with relevant knowledge could comment as I am eager to read and don't know where to go first.

The Harry Harrison reference is correct, but Harrison (of course) lifted some of his ideas and plot devices from others. All writers are thieves. The Great Ones such as Wm. Shakespear improve upon what they steal.

There are magnificent bibliographic tomes on science fiction; few genres have had such devoted fans.

Hardly anybody goes to SF conventions anymore, but you can meet some really interesting old writers and engineers there. I have no idea what is available online, but for published books I've found librarians at big libraries very helpful, and of course there is the Great Amazon with her vast bank of lists of books that once upon a time were in print.

Big cities often have bookshops that specialize in science fiction. In Minneapolis it is Uncle Hugo's (named after the famous writer and editor Hugo Gernsback, who, in turn, was named after Victor Hugo). And, of course, you can order from most of these shops online, by phone, and even (Gasp!) by snail mail.

Anytime I have a brilliant thought, it is likely to be a memory of something I read in 1953 in one of the two dozen or so science-fiction magazines then in print or one of the hundreds of books of hard solid "nuts and bolts" science fiction that year.

You youngsters missed not only the sexual revolution of the sixties but also the Golden Ages of science fiction.

It takes luck to be born in the best of times, the worst of times . . . .

Seems like there's all kinds of energy commercials running on TV these days.  We have BP's "Beyond Petroleum" ads, and API's natural gas ads, and GM's "go yellow" ethanol ads.  

Recently I've been seeing pro-nuclear ads.  Scenes of little children playing in the midst of natural beauty, with a voiceover implying that you're a bad parent if you tell your kids they have to chose between technology and the environment.  

They're by the Nuclear Energy Institute:

Apparently, they started the ads in response to Bush's SOTU speech.  It's supposed to be a multi-year campaign.

Nigerian militia tells British oilmen to get out warn 'rapist' oil workers The health system has collapsed, rivers and creeks are full of oil slicks and environmental groups say towering gas flares cause acid rain. Villagers complain that oil pollution has killed off fish and contaminated their drinking water.

Militants give 10 conditions - To release other hostages "be ensured that oil companies no longer operate behind the soldiers, disband the security Joint Task Force (JTF) and demilitarise Ijaw land."

Oil pipeline blown up in Nigeria, but said to be unlinked with militants "No. If this actually happened, it may have been carried out by local villagers or thieves," Gbomo said.