The geopolitics of expertise

Dave Roberts at Gristmill has a post that TOD readers will want to weigh in on, and since you may not all read Gristmill all day everyday, here's the capsule summary. It's often said that oil will become less fungible as the supply dwindles, but Roberts isn't so sure that's true. He notices that many countries simply don't have the expertise or technological capability to explore and exploit their own oil resources. Roberts concludes:
Fields are aging and declining all over, and the need for technological means to squeeze out the last drops is sure to devil any country that depends on oil revenue. They can't just shut the world out -- the world contains not only geopolitical rivals and consumers, but experts.

I'm still inclined to think that oil will be fungible as fungible can be (I sure do like the word "fungible") right up until a) it runs out, or b) nobody needs it any more.

We probably need to differentiate between net exporters with and without refining capacity.  

Once the reality of Peak Oil sets in, I predict that we will begin to a movement in net exporting countries with refining capacity toward restricting exports.  It's a win-win proposition for the exporters.   They get to sell less oil at a higher unit price, while preserving more reserves for future generations.   The proposition is simple.  Do the exporting countries want to deprive their children of a future so that overweight Americans can continue driving overweight Urban Assault Vehicles to and from $500,000 mortgages?  Of course, there is also the rapidly increasing domestic demand factor in net exporting countries.

From the point of view of net importers, I would not view the plans for more refineries in Russia and Saudi Arabia as a positive development.  

BTW, I just read a news item regarding Russia.  Year over year production growth continues to fall, continuing the trend we have seen for about three years.  The latest year over year increase (for February, 2006 versus February, 2005) was only 1.5%.   Before production starts to fall, it stops growing.  With growing domestic demand, I bet that Russia has already started showing declining net oil exports.

Btw, is there a credible resource that has the current list of exactly which countries have peaked and which are still producing at full capacity?  I could really use such a list.


There's the ASPO newsletters.  Kind of a pain that they removed the country index (temporarily, I assume), but you can still find specific countries by searching the newsletter archives, or by using the index that appears in the older PDFs.
I'm still inclined to think that oil will be fungible as fungible can be

Huh?  I don't see a very insightful conclusion here at all.  Is he even saying anything other than, "gee I don't really know"?

I don't think "fungible" is really the right word here. Fungible means that all product is the same, that one barrel of oil is just like another. As it happens, that is not particularly true with oil. As we know, every field produces a different grade - light sweet, heavy sour, and everything in between. Within grades oil is pretty much fungible but as a whole it is not.

What he is trying to get at is that a competitive, "liquid" (in the financial sense) market will still exist in an oil shortage, and that oil producers will make their oil available to the market rather than keeping it for themselves. I do think that is reasonable. There are plenty of other products that have gone into shortages, and what happens is that their price gets high, but a market still exists.

What people forget is this. It is true that as oil becomes more valuable, countries may be tempted to hold onto it, or as the article describes try to use it for political purposes. But this ignores the other side of the coin: as oil becomes more valuable, the lure of selling that oil becomes proportionately greater as well. I think people somehow think that oil will be tremendously valuable, but it will still sell for only $65 a barrel. That's not true; in the circumstances we are considering here, countries using the "oil weapon" or diverting oil to internal industries are giving up potentially hundreds of dollars a barrel.

Economists say that "the cost of anything is the foregone alternative". This means that the holder of a barrel of oil has the choice between keeping and using that oil, or selling it for its value on the market. The more valuable the oil becomes, the more he gives up by keeping it and using it. And these two factors rise together in precise equality. So the temptation to keep the oil will always be exactly matched by the temptation to sell it. Hence there is no more reason to expect companies to hoard or exploit oil when it is expensive than when it is cheap.

The main case where countries will hold onto their oil and not participate in trade is in wartime. Then of course countries will not trade with their enemies. If we do see open warfare than oil trade will probably be impaired. But if the world maintains a peaceful state then there is no reason an oil market can't continue to operate even as oil gets more expensive.

"So the temptation to keep the oil will always be exactly matched by the temptation to sell it."

Not necessarily. The flip side of ever higher price of oil is ever lower value of money, since money is just the implied promise to perform work, and work requires energy, which comes from oil. So, you can treat both oil and money as currencies, except one of them keeps its value. Which one of them, then, is a better currency to hold in reserve, the ever-shrinking dollar, or the perennially valuable barrel of crude?

A lot of these countries say they are building a non-oil economy out of their oil revenue stream.  Regardless of how real that commitment is (or its possibility of success), it also serves to silence critics of a fast pump-out.
As the price of oil becomes painful, you will see importing countries attempt to make "strategic" deals to guarantee supplies.  Ironically it is the US that wants to keep oil traded openly.  Normally, as the largest importer, they would have the most to gain by making strategic deals - but since they have an unlimited supply of paper dollars, they can always afford the market price.

Interestingly, language warning China about making strategic energy deals was added to the National Security Strategy review released this week:

Voicing concern about China's trade tactics, the document said Beijing was ``expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow 'lock up' energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up -- as if they can follow a mercantilism borrowed from a discredited era.''

In many ways, peak oil will be a return to the past, not just in using more energy efficient modes of transportation, but also in politico-military affairs. It is really only in the oil age that humanity went from the merchantile/colonial trading systems to lowering trade boundaries and creating a true open world market.
Correct. And one might validly ask: in whose interests has globalisation worked? And: in whose interests is it now working? Imperialism can wear many clothes, but it is always the weak and poor that pay.
Hello Tetsudo,

Your quote: "As the price of oil becomes painful, you will see importing countries attempt to make "strategic" deals to guarantee supplies".

The flip side of this is that importing countries should be making internal strategic deals to minimize demand.  For example:

  1. It would be painless to abolish external lighting on billboards and store signage, turn off the idiotic idea of streetlamps trying to illuminate black asphalt, and so on.  The sun sets-- it get dark-- we need to get used to it, or use a flashlight outdoors at night.

  2. To reduce the pain/cost of house/industry heating or cooling: install mandatory thermostatic controls that limit heat to 55 degrees maximum, or cooling to 90 degree minimum.  These numbers are just my guess, medical experts may have a better idea of what temps are best to maintain life.  This combined with super-insulation will conserve enough energy and extend the lifetime of the National Grid that the poor will not go violent against the rich when they are priced out of the electrical grid.  If we are all adapting to the same internal temperature 'window' then this will prevent many energy riots in the future.

Google Tanzania. They are currently having grid shutdowns of 16 hours/day, but the rich just fire up their generators.  It is only a matter of time till the rioting poor pour dirt into these engines.

3. I have read many newsreports of how rising fuelcosts are busting school budgets.  If parents understand Peakoil, then they should be telling the admins to abolish most busses and start buying bicycles for their kids.  These buses can then be shifted to providing public mass-transit until inner-city rail is up and running.  The kids need the exercise and as much money as possible should be going to education, not burning fuel in a schoolbus.

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

Rather than having children biking to schools, I think we should do something much more radical: Go back to small schools, including the one-room school house in rural areas.

At one time it was thought that consolidating schools and busing children would lead to better education and lower costs. The world did not turn out that way.

Why waste huge resources on busing children and on hordes of educational administrators? Put the school buses to work on transit, as you suggest, and perhaps the brighter of the educationists put out of work by getting rid of school bureaucracy can retrain as diesel mechanics or coal miners.

Hello Sailorman,

One room schools sounds good to me too--whatever the local community Peakoil consensus decides is best to save energy.  Just turning off the damn streetlights and shifting the energy savings to heat/cool schoolhouses would help alot of kids as we go postPeak.  I think people overrate nightlights as a deterrent to crime-- most burglaries happen during the daytime when homeowners are at work.  When energy costs skyrocket, most people will go to bed soon after dark, like in the old days.  In the future, having lights burning after dark will be a 'beacon' to attract the most violent kind of thug.

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

Actually, California funds "necessary small schools."  This has been a financial boon to many rural school districts since the state gives block grant funding and districts can usually operate the schools for less then the grant.

The school district (which covers about 500 square miles with a K-12 student population of under 400) in my very rural area has two such school.  IIRC, they are 1-4 or 1-5 grades.  The parents would like to see them go into junior high or HS.

A far cheaper long term alternative is to simply go to home schooling.  The are many circula used today by home schoolers with excellent success.  Of course, this assumes someone is home to do the schooling.

I am glad you said number 1,  its great, if you have cities where the population might not kill another person.  

You can turn off signage, say from 11 pm til the next time of turn on, because fewer people will see the signs at night.  But you will always have some folks complaining about their advertiser dollars not getting spent right.  

Across the board we can elimnate the big nasty power hungry lights with lower wattage just as bright lights.
Solar powered advertising is a viable option, just not in high use.

But some city streets do need street lights, or some form of illumination to keep the bad people at bay, unless of course you live in a totally crime free city, then go ahead turn all the lights off.

For #2,  Totally change how houses are built, or can be remodeled. change that and you can solve a lot of the insulation and heating and cooling issues.  then go back and get the poorer or already built houses.

For #3,  revamping how our kids get to school and the whole racial bussing issue, where we don't bus kids half way across town to go to a different school we make all schools as equal as possible.  But you will find that unless you install a marshal law like system the countries departments of education will just float all your energy saving measures out the sewer drain pipe.  Even when they have to pay an arm and a leg, they are a bit slow on the up take.

Having cultured yeast and other micro-organisms, they can kill themselves off, just give them enough time.  Tropical fish breeding does have its up sides and knowledge bases.  I have been breeding tropical fish for about 15 years.

Hello Dan UR,

Thxs for responding. I don't claim to have the answers we need to optimally Powerdown-- just hoping to prod people along to hopefully form a workable consensus.  We all know infinite economic growth is impossible, therefore, the advertising agencies should be willing, if Peakoil aware, to turn off night-lighting of billboards.  Eventually, they will confront a cost/benefit ratio that will force them to turn off the night-lights anyhow.  Might as well get ahead of the game.  The smart companies should be PV or windmill powering their signs now.

A true Powerdown program will spread the pain equally among all people.  This is the basic premise behind ASPO's Depletion Protocols.  For example: if taxes were directly tied to total BTU usage for home, food, and car.  Below a certain BTU minimum you would get cash back to further enhance personal Powerdown, anything above this minimum would rapidly scale to be extremely punitive.  This would force people to quickly scale down the amount of personal sq. footage that requires energy to heat, light, and cool, and to minimize senseless appliance excesses.

A good practice to save energy is to do what I call the 'Stevie Wonder'.  If you declutter your house so that you can navigate safely to find things-- it is amazing how well you can do learn to do tasks with open eyes in very low wattage lighting or even darkness.  Rheostat light switches are heartily recommended by me.

My house looks dark most of the time because I try to get the major chores done while the Sun is shining.  My biggest problem is my girlfriend [who refuses to believe or even discuss Peakoil with me], but she is slowly coming around everytime the power bill comes.  Our biggest vice is the old above-ground backyard spa [220v 3-phase wiring, 300 gallons], but damn she looks good in a swimsuit-- I call it our own personal Thermo-Gene Collision! :)  :0  ;} Lights out, of course!

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

If a rheostat light is dimmed, it still uses as much energy as if the light was all the way on. It's just that the rheostat steals some power away from the light (so the light is dimmer) and converts it into heat. There are better kinds which reduce energy consumption that use solid state electronics. Rather than waste power, they switch the light on/off really fast to cause a dimming effect. This method doesn't waste any energy in a resistance coil.

HowStuffWorks Article

Just have new homes facing south and taking advantage of passive solar, instead of making them face the conventional street which usually does not help.
You can do both.
Well, here's how I deal with it:  I designed and built our house almost 25 years ago to be energy efficient(yes, I've been concerned about energy a long time).  I designed it to get 30% of its heat from insolation.  That was the reasonable maximum short of going to an active system (I live in the Coast Range Mountains of northern CA and our weather is more midwestern then Californian.  Right now I still have 6" of snow on the ground from the last storm.).  It has an R-47 roof, R-20 walls on an insulated slab.  Our windows are double glazed but I made storm windows so they are really triple glazed.  The front of the house is mostly 8' high sliding glass doors.  In the winter I cover the insides with clear vinyl sheeting so as to obtain triple glazing.

Although we are the last people on the grid in my area, we have a 3.6kW PV system and I used to have a 1.5kW wind generator.  For back-up I have an 8kW gas generator and a 23kW diesel generator and will run them on wood gas if regular fuel becomes unavailable.  All lights including the ones in the range hood over the stove are florescent.

We have solar hot water and a heat exchanger in our wood stove to pre-heat the water in the winter.  The wood we heat with comes from trees from our property that I fell, buck up and split.  We burn 2-3 cords per year for a 2,400SF house.  I did buy a gas powered splitter when I turned 60 (I'm 67 now.)rather then keep on doing it with a maul.

We grow most of our fruit and vegetables.  This includes fresh eating and preserving them via canning, freezing, juicing (mostly apple, grape and tomato) or dehydrating.  As a back-up to our electric range, we have a wood cook stove in the kitchen.

There's more but this is enough.

If you are serious, which I doubt you are, I want to come live with you.
Oil CEO,

Yes, I am serious.  You must not be.

Do you have broadband or are you still using a dial-up modem?

I am serious.  I never believe this stuff because I've seen too many movies, and there is always a catch. You won't tell me what it is, so I have to figure it out.

Did your wind generator break? It has been my Minnesota experience that many (possibly most) wind generators purchased during the 1970s and 1980s broke and were too expensive to repair. They are hard to fix.

I am an enthusiast for old-style windmills, and that makes me a really old fart.

However, the new and very expensive vertical turbines from Finland do not break. Also, you can make your own vertical turbines that are durable--but not very efficient.

Tradeoffs everywhere . . . .

Bob Shaw - your examples of conservation mostly involve electricity.  That is not going to be a problem for a very long time.   The problem is oil, which is not used very much to generate electricity.  Moreover, there are several substitutes both short and long term for oil in generating power:  coal, nuclear, wind, and solar.

One reason the doomers are wrong IMHO is they hypothesize a grid emergency, which is not likely to happen until natural gas becomes scarce.   I've not heard any discussion of when that might be.  Plus, as I say, there are substitutes, so any pain will be temporary until the substitutes are employed.

Furthermore, the economic depression that will result from peak oil will reduce demand for electricity, even further mitigating that as a problem.  

"One reason the doomers are wrong IMHO is they hypothesize a grid emergency, which is not likely to happen until natural gas becomes scarce. I've not heard any discussion of when that might be."

If the issue is natural gas in North America, the problem is now. We appear to at peak natural gas until / unless LNG starts to arrive in volume. The good news is that the peak demand periods for natural gas for electrical generation and natural gas for home heating are not in phase on a seasonal basis.

The problem is that a build up in storage in summer is an absolute requirement to get through the heating season. A big draw on supplies by the gas powered peak electricity generation makes it increasingly hard to enter the winter season with a high probablity of avoiding a crisis in the event of a colder than normal winter.

The first time we have a any shortfall in gas for home heating the gas peak generators may very well be legislated out of operation. Coming soon from a government near you.

"Plus, as I say, there are substitutes, so any pain will be temporary until the substitutes are employed."

Agreed, and we need to pursue them ASAP. I am also a lot more optomistic than many about the prospects of using grid delivered electricity as tranportation power if only through the use of plug in electric vehicles.

Some people experienced it this winter (mild though it was).  Not long ago, there were rolling blackouts in Colorado, due to a natural gas shortage.  
You got it right -- and my memory is much too short. The Colorado symptoms / problems were very recent, but IIRC tied directly to a very short but record cold snap. I should have qualified my speculation that "any" shortfalls would trigger a major political problem for the gas generators.

I still suspect that if the shortage had been more general and occurred under more spring like conditions, the political fallout for gas generators would have been ugly.

More might experience it this summer when they all turn on their air conditioners to avoid the 90+ heat with 70+ humidity. is a more appropriate place for this post, and possibly as well.
It also depends on the power structure in each country. Do the people hold power or a few corrupt individuals? Both Stalin's USSR and Pol Pot's Cambodia explicitly starved their people to death to sell food elsewhere to enrich the central coffers and strengthen their own power base. Saddam Hussein starved his people by selling oil in a manner to enrich himself personally. When dictators/power elite can enrich themselves by selling product to outsiders for a high price despite the consequences to their own people, they will do so. This is kind of what's been happening in Nigeria all along with the government and oil co's there. On the other hand, a place like Great Britain or Canada will respond differently since people have more power.
The USSR and Cambodia are good examples, but what about the US of A? It's about to become a net importer of food, and yet there are plans to "drive on corn", or so ADM would have us believe. What's the flip side of that? "Let the poor eat dirt?" This story is a lot closer to home than we think.
Agreed -- same goes for health care
Fungible is the correct term. Fungible does not mean that there are not different grades. If it did then nothing would be fungible. Lumber is a fungible commodity but one cannot replace knotty pine with cedar. But one can replace knotty pine with any other knotty pine. Likewise oil, of the same grade, is interchangeable with any other oil or the same grade. That is what fungible means. Oil, lumber, orange juice, or any other product that can be traded on a bourse is, by definition, fungible. Furniture, automobiles, homes, clothing and such are not fungible.
Right, fungible means interchangeable, a commodity for which there are standard grades such that everything of a particular grade is equivalent. You get your light sweet from west texas, brent or saudi arabia, you don't care and it's all the same, as long as it meets the standard.

My point was, what did the article mean when he discussed the question of whether oil would remain fungible? He wasn't considering that oil might alter its material properties so that we could no longer define standard grades! But that is what it would mean to say that oil was no longer fungible.

Instead, he was arguing about whether there would remain efficient and liquid markets for oil. That has nothing to do with fungibility. Hence my point that he was using the wrong word.

I agree. Its a question of liuidity not fungibility.
Interesting post. Iran has a very poor refinery capability and imports gasoline/finished product. That is one strategy for sanctions that has been proposed over the nuke issue with Iran. Aim specific sanctions at refined petroleum products.

Got this off another site this morning:

Iran's economy needs the West to bolster flagging oil production

TEL AVIV -- Despite its threats, Iran continues to rely heavily on the West for Teheran's oil economy.

A report by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies said Iran's oil industry remains dependent on the West. Authored by Gil Feiler, the report said Teheran, with an estimated 10 percent of global reserves, needs Western help to increase Iran's crude oil production to a planned eight million barrels per day by 2020.

"International sanctions would hamper Iranian technological progress," the report said. "Iran's oil industry is not in good shape. Without Western assistance, Iran's stated goal of doubling its oil output to eight million barrels a day by 2020 will not be realized. Iran's ability to pump oil, and hence its ability to hold its economy together, is contingent on reliable maintenance of its infrastructure."

The report said Iran's oil industry has not fully recovered from the war with Iraq, which ended in 1988. Feiler said Iran also needs Western investment to develop its petrochemical and refinery industry.

It is true that Iran needs outside investment to develop its oil fields and maintain their infrastructure.  But it won't be western, it will be eastern.  The US&EU can dream up whatever sanctions they want, and China will step in to partner with Iran.
That is a given. Makes perfectly good sense.
The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv???

Now there's a great place to get a really objective view about Iran, the threats it poses, and what the world should do about it!

Iran has passed its' peak oil production and won't be able to to get to 8 mbp, even if the expertise and infrastructure is in place
Iran is currently an importer of refined products like gasoline. Yes, they really should increase their refining capacity.
I still think the major problem with fungibility will be the rocketing inflation and instability that hits the currency markets if oil zooms up to a few hundred bucks a barrel and then the prospect of resource wars.

I still stand by what I wrote last Summer about the oil markets:

the oil trade may collapse completely on the basis of money for oil. In its place would be a sort of barter system of food or other commodities or manufactured goods for oil. Order may breakdown in some developing countries as economies collapse due to lack of fuel.

By then it will be apparrent to all that oil is a very precious strategic commodity that needs to be secured by military means. Even without major wars, I believe the world will revert to a neo-mercantile system of economic/military blocs, which has been the norm of human history except for the post WWII era fueled by cheap oil.

Instead of paying for oil with dollars or yen or Euros, I can envision a system whereby oil is largely exchanged for real hard goods like food, manufactured goods, military hardware or maybe gold.

An oil exporter would want to align itself with a technological and military power to keep the oil pumping and defend it's borders from encroachment. We'll probably hang on to Canada and Mexico, but beyond that is anyone's guess...

I've phrased the question this way:  could the 100 largest financial institutions survive without the 100 largest oil fields?  Or, more accurately, what is the intrinsic value of the 100 largest financial institutions as virtually all of the 100 largest oil fields in the world enter a permanent decline phase?

IMO, the only true capital going forward is going to be measured in terms of Calories/BTU's, which of course are just different names for the same thing--energy, whether it's energy from food, from fossil/nuclear sources or from renewable sources.  

A corollary to all of this is that you--and more importantly your children---should strive toward being a net food and/or energy producer.   Perhaps the best investment that a lot of us can make for retirement is to buy and/or develop a small organic farm.  Food is the most basic requirement for retirement, and it would give your college graduates something to do when they can't find a job.  

Speaking of your children, an interesting comment from George Ure, over at Urban Survival:  

The Rebellion Meme

(A meme is a thought virus.) French students have been raising hell this week with their protests over a new youth labor law.  A quarter of a million took to the streets yesterday.  What's interesting to us is the phrase "political rebellion by the country's younger generation" that popped up in the Washington Post's coverage.

The concept of rebellion (as web bot subscribers know) has been rising out of the data for several months of runs, and I ran into it first hand this week as an inter-generational feeling when I was talking to a customer service rep. While waiting on a computer, and talking about the weather, politics, and whatever, the 31-year old who was assisting me said "That's refreshing - to hear a Baby Boomer own up to screwing up the world."  Well, we haven't done as well as we should have, so why not admit it, right?  It struck me, though, that there are millions of 30-and-unders who are seriously angry with us 50-and-overs because we have stolen the dream from them.

OK, what do I mean stolen?  Well, the oceans are out of fish. The sky is full of whatever. The economy is based on least cost labor with virtually no thought of sustainability - something we only started talking about in the 1960's and were co-opted from by the greeds and needs of the 80's and 90's.  Young people today who want to buy a home feel like they are being conned into "buying at the top" of the housing bubble, which seems to be in the process of bursting.  You get the idea, right?  Anger with old folks - and that's before they figure out how badly CONgress and the administration are screwing them over with intergenerational tax transfers.  Oh boy, wait till they get the bills we're leaving them.  You think they're mad now?

My sister (a GenX-er) likes to say that following the Baby Boomer generation is like following a herd of elephants.  By the time you get anywhere, they've consumed everything in sight, and left you a bunch of crap to clean up.  
The way my parents describe it, after the Vietnam war was over everyone with an ounce of idealism was so exhausted from protesting the war that they turned inward and focused on their own lives (and raising their children). I'm not into blame games, but I do hope they starting picking up more of the tab for the resource feast they are consuming. I hope we will do better for the next generation being born now.
What have the kids growing up in the 80's and 90's gotten from this world:

  • AIDS and sexual frustation
  • A great chance to work at McDonald's.  A lesser chance to earn as much as their parents.
  • Ridicule for not succeeding like their parents.
  • The probability of NO Social Security benefits when/if they retire.
  • Conned into believing that 401Ks and Mutual Funds are the same as pension plans.
  • Basic education resources cut.
  • College education out of reach for more due to increased tuition.
  • And NOW, perhaps Peak Oil, the final insult.

Are they pissed?  Ya...a fair amount are pissed or at least highly apathetic about the world and their chances at success in it.
1000% agreed.

I'm 27 and things are going quite well for me. No debt at this point, a decent income and six months emergency fund in the bank.  Nonetheless, I'm pretty pissed about the whole situation we find ourselves in.

However, most of my friends all of whom are just as well-educated as I am fall into one of the following two categories:

Category A: they know we're heading for a clusterfuck of supernatural proportioins but are so burdened by debt (most educational) they're too busy working to think about anythying beyond the next payment to their educational-loan-overlords. Sometimes they ask me for advice and I tell them there isn't much they can do, just focus on keeping expenses low, paying off the debt and hope to hell the shit doesn't hit the fan for another 5 years or so. In the meantime, let's drown our anxieties in a beer while we discuss how Barry Bonds fucked up his life or how Hulk Hogan is fucking up his daughter's life on that new VH1 reality show.

CAtegory B: they think that because they make $100,000 at 28 years old, the clusterfuck isn't going affect them. Thus, they're busy investing their incomes in woefully tragic things like $500,000 homes in the burbs, $50,000 cars and $15,000 engagement rings to spouses also suffering from the pandemic of dumbassery.

I'm also sort of pissed, perhaps "exasperated" is a better term, with many Peak Oilers (present company excluded of course) as the bulk of our movement seem to be over 50 years old homeownners who think we should respond to Peak Oil by resorting to 1960s style thinking. They have none of my concerns and/or frustrations and I get tired of hearing the "well I marched with MLK and I don't think anger accomplishes anything" anytime I mention these things.

Easy for them to say, they've already got homes and had their kids and are finishing up their careers. What about people under 30? What are we just suppossed to happily accept the fact we're fucked before we even had a chance because Gandhi uttered something irrelevant to our current situation 75 years ago? Tell that to somebody whose educational debt now guarantees them a spot in the Halliburton built debtors-prisons I have little doubt are on the way for those who don't pay off their debts by joining the military.

I can't imagine how pissed others are going to be compared to me since I'm relatively mellow in real life.

If those of you over 50 want a glimpse into what people in their 20s are experiencing, I recommened perusing the forums over at



I fall between the edges of the baby boomers and the other generations.  Born in 1963 I am just in my early 40's and not really by the numbers in either generation.  I have a higher debt limit than I would want to have and I am almost a pennyless author type, trying ot move to a new state and a new way of living all on a budget that is less than 300 bucks a month.  So that being said. I can't help you much on the advice,  just don't get tied up in the get rich quick ideas of the folks out there in corporate land.  And if you can help it, jsut find some way of living close to the ground.  When I get to where I am going, I do plan on getting the gardens up and going and getting a house rebuild, So I have lots of work ahead of me, just not a lot of money with my name on it.  I find a lot of riches in other things not normal for most americans.

Glad you like TOD

Of course, the real shaft you guys are getting is that you are going to be taxed twice regarding the Social Security "Trust Fund."  

First, you are being taxed to build up the Trust Fund (which is promptly spent, with one branch of government, Treasury, giving another branch, Social Security, an IOU).  

Then, you are going to be taxed again when Social Security asks Treasury to make good on the IOU's as the Boomers start collecting Social Security checks in ever greater numbers.  

This is why more young people believe in UFO's than believe that Social Security believe that it will be there when they retire.

In any case, this is one of the reasons that I am advocating that we abolish the Payroll Tax and replace it with a fossil fuel tax.  At least for those of you not driving SUV's great distances to and from large suburban mortgages, this would be a tax cut.

I fully expect more and more younger people to opt out of the system and adopt a kind of subsistence/barter lifestyle.  Of course, most of us might be doing the same thing.   We could see virtually a total repudiation of debts.  


Well said, as I believe there is a better chance UFOs will be assisting me in my old age than Social Security.

I can categorically prove Social Security won't be there.  I can't prove UFOs won't.



Accurate assessment IMO. I am 51, in UK, and have concluded likewise.

The young uns that I have mentioned peak oil to have shown similar disinterest as their elders. I'm inclined to agree with Head Lem's perspective on human wisdom. But I do feel my generation owes all humanity an apology for our greed and stupidity.

A win/win proposition for Boomers and younger people (and for the whole country):  

As I said before, probably the best investment we can make as Boomers is to try to secure a reliable food supply.  I think a very good idea is for us to buy land for organic farms and lease it out to organic farmers, with a long term plan for multiple generations living in the same area.

The captioned link takes you to a website that discusses a near zero energy use home (est. average total energy use about $15 per month for a 2,100 square foot home, with a construction cost of about $100 per square foot) that is being built west of Fort Worth.

This would be the perfect retirement home for Boomers, a near zero energy use home on land devoted to organic farming, with several generations living in the same area.  It would also be useful to have a group of people nearby for mutual self-defense.

And as I said before, this gives your unemployed college graduates something constructive to do.  

We could see virtually a total repudiation of debts.  

Some peak oilers are counting on hyperinflation inflating their debts away.  Others figure they'll just declare bankruptcy when TSHTF.  

They could be right.  Of course, if that happens, then everyone who worked hard to pay off their debts and live within their means will be majorly PO'd.  

This is the question I wrestle with all of the time.  I'm not too worried about a return to the stone age, but I do see wrenching change.  The question is, will the change be a depression, hyperinflation, or stagflation.  There are some good studies at the National Bureau of Economic Research that suggest that the "oil caused stagflation" explanation of the 70s isn't the only possibility, and the monetary policy of the time could have caused the problem just as easily.

So we know what deflation looks like, just read about the Great Depression and Japan for the past 15 years or so.  Fed Chairman Greenspan certainly knew about deflation.  We more or less know how to get there and how to avoid getting there.  We know what stagflation looks like, though we aren't quite sure how we ended up there the last time.  

If generals are always fighting the last battle, that leaves hyperinflation to clean up the mess this time.  That would neatly erase all of the debts that Americans have built up, and would fit with a currency collapse, which would also clean up our current account problems.  I think the politicians have far more to worry about from the people with debts than from the people who are both solvent and can't move their money fast enough.  The rich can certainly move into inflation protected assets.  As others have suggested, the Fed may be forced by events to back off rate hikes and let the inflation genie out of the lamp.  With the way the government has fiddled with the economic metrics, we may be halfway there already.

This is something that is frequently argued over, here and at other peak oil sites.  I think most people agree that the government would pick inflation over deflation if they could.  It's the easy way to deal with their obligations.  (The good news is, we'll all get our social security benefits.  The bad news is, it will take about a year's worth to buy a postage stamp.)  

However, some people believe that the economic crisis will be so great the Fed won't be able to prevent deflation, no matter what they do.  

You got that right.
One of the reasons for the huge 60% Republican and 40% Democratic to 40% Republican and 60% Democrat swings in 1928 to 1932 was the loss of bank savings by working class conservative people. When the banks closed, the rich people on the board had told all their friends that the bank was going down and had withdrawn their funds. The middle class people didn't get the word till the banks were empty, and lost it all. Watching the collapse of stock and real estate prices and thinking of how much they could have bought with their lifetime savings was what made so many people vote Democratic for the rest of their lives.
Now those people are dead. It's their grandchildren and great grandchildren who will have the bitter memories of the hard work and sacrifice that was stolen by the Republicans. It's going to be a long time before the Republicans win another presidential election.
Then again, it's been a long time since they won a presidential election anyway.
Hello Matt,

Your generation will eventually be forced to cull my generation [I'm 51].  The best example I can think of is the old poster where two desperately hungry young vultures are sitting on a branch in the desert.  It is the adopted motto of AC-130 SPECTRE gunship crews linked visually here:

I apologize for my generation's excesses, but I doubt that  an apology will be sufficient when your generation forces old farts into a Desert Deathmarch.  The future belongs to the young--always will. Your generation's ultimate task is to prevent the final filling of the planetary petri dish; to match the population curve to the Hubbert Downslope. Events beyond your control will force your generation to fulfill this task.

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

I doubt anyone will be forced on any death marches.  The medical extortion racket will do the job.  "Can't pay for heart medication?  We're really sorry, but..."  
Actually, you have it backwards: heart disease and most other "western" diseases will become rare because meat and dairy will be expensive, as they are extremly resource intensive.
And it just isn't a depressoin without a huge drop in obesity is it?
I agree with you, but the baby boomers have had decades to clog their arteries.  Heart disease is a cumulative problem.  After TSHTF, people will stop accumulating artery clogging deposits, but those who already made those deposits will be the last round of heart problems.  Couple that with the stress of watching your presumed world crash around you, and I would expect heart problems to skyrocket for a few years, then decline.
I've just started reading "Irrational Exuberance" by Robert Shiller.  It has some interesting bits, that I am cautious to summarize, given that I am all of page 45.  But two ideas are so interesting, and related to the peak oil lifestyle, that I'll mention them:

There are documented changes in our cultural values, favoring money more and non-market institutions less.

"A Roper-Starch questionanare given to survey participants in both 1975 and 1994 asked, 'When you think of the good life - the life you'd like to have, which of the things on this list, if any, are part of that good life, as far as you personally are concerned?'  In 1975, 38% picked 'a lot of money,' whereas in 1994 fully 63% did."

The author also documents (pre-Katrina) an idea that lower confidence in government programs and employer retirement plands increases the drive to accumulate net worth.

"The anxiety that one's labor is turning into a commodity that is traded internationally in impersonal markets can boost the perceived value of both stocks and housing as investments in something whose value may be more enduring."

Now ... an intersting bit:

"Understanding the factors that precipitate market moves is doubly difficult because the timing of the major market events tends not to be lined up well with the timing of precipitating factors.  The precipitating factors often tend to be medium-term trends that catch the public's attention only after they have been in place for a long time."

I think that ties together in an interesting way.

You are correct that 1960s style thinking will not help.

However, I was raised with 1940s style thinking:
Use it up,
Make it do,
Or do without.

In other words I was brought up with rationing of meat, butter, sugar, gasoline, kerosene, clothing and the idea that waste was both intrinsically sinful and also suspicious on the grounds of helping the Japs and the Huns.

Damn, did we kids ever have fun! We learned to scrounge, to collect bottles for the 1 cent refunds, to save pennies one at a time to paste more War Savings Stamps in our little savings books that we all had by age five. We understood that our parents could not buy us much for Christmas and birthdays because they had to buy war bonds. We got to help weed and water and plant the Victory gardens.

Of course we saved every tin cans, every drop of bacon fat or suet (to help make explosives to blow up the evil enemy), and we got by with hand-me-downs, many-times- patched bike inner tubes, etc.

By the end of the War, not only my parents but almost everyone had saved a great deal of money in the form of U.S. savings bonds, which yielded a glorious 2 and 3/4 or 2 and 7/8%. (Of course, later the government stole most of those savings through inflation, but that is another story.)

Anyway, I have four kids, and all have graduated college, the two youngest from Carleton College, that has tuition higher than Harvard University. None of them have much debt. My son, 27 years old and about to get married has not owned a car for almost 3 years; neither he nor his wife to be have credit card debt; she has no student loans, and his are paid down to about $10,000. He has worked at various jobs since age 16, and I'm happy to say is such a generous guy that he now regularly takes his old man out for Sunday brunch.

From a very early age, he learned that happiness is not buying stuff. His friends are, to some extent, the same way: Mostly from wealthy families, they have seen plenty and figured out that having a big income is neither necessary nor sufficient for happiness and success. His computer is five years old (but fast and powerful through upgrades), and his rent is low, because he lives in a basement apartment in a semi-crappy neighborhood.

So, besides bragging, what is my point?

The masses are asses. Socrates knew that. The herd of sheep is lead by judas goats.

My advice to you: Choose your wife with care. And don't tell anybody where your retreat is:-)

Years ago I went to Carleton - the tuition back then was only 4900$ in freshman year.  It seemed like a lot, but I could still earn about 1/3 of it from summer jobs.
Tuition is now up by almost a factor of ten from when you were a freshman, but there is a strong financial aid program. An old guy I know gives each year one and a half million to their scholarship fund; there are a number of wealthy and great grateful and generous Carleton grads around.

And yes, Ultimate Frisbee still rules, and most of the football team is still premed students.

The problem my kids have is being surrounded by uneducated people at work--can be a stressful situation.

I went to a state school.  It was really cheap.  I began college in 1993, graduated in 1997.  Grad school was very expensive, a luxury, definitely not a neccessity.  With the internet, I see no reason why more people, should it become financially unbearable to attend, can not obtain an online degree or go to a local or state college.
In terms of return on investment, I think by far the best ones are now to be found in two-year degrees at community and technical and vocational colleges.

We are always going to need police officers, nurses, plumbers, carpenters etc.

My son-in-law is a contractor, and he finds it nearly impossible to hire a journeyman carpenter at any wage. He'll get 300 applications when a position is advertised, many from out of state. Can they hang a door? No. Are they sober enough to show up on time to work? Maybe half, maybe less than half.

To get good employees he now tries to find hard-working kids (often off farms) at about age 16 and work them as apprentices during the summers for a couple of years. The best of these turn out to be good--but the best of these competent and hard-working guys hive off to become contractors on their own. Meantime he is being underbid by schlock out-of-towners who skimp on rebar, don't care about anything being square, and who gladly paint over defective lumber.

People gripe about not being able to get good jobs . . . . Cheezus: Do you know what a diesel mechanic earns nowadays? Or a crane operator up at Fort McMurray? Or a plumber? Or an air-conditioning repairman in Las Vegas?


You can get a visa to America if you have an upper class education (for India) and are willing to work as a programmer, and you can sneak over the border if you have a lower class education (for Mexico) and are willing to work as a security guard, and what does that tell you about hiring middle class people as skilled carpenters?
Good points. If the U.S. is such a bad place, why do thousands of Irish go to great lengths to stay and work here illegally? Etc.

Could it be there is a lot of whining going on? Could it be that kids raised in the lap of luxury are surprised when somebody stood up and removed the lap?

Ireland no longer exports labor because they are a prosperous nation. Hell, they've started to import Catholic priests from Nigeria! The Irish people here are the ones that want to live in America for cultural reasons, and they are middle class people tired of living as illegals.
They can move anywhere in the EEC and work legally, and they don't understand why they can't move anywhere in the US and work legally, too. They are educated and speak English very well, and so they can hold middle class jobs and make enough money to pay more in taxes than they consume in services, and that's why they can't, because they compete with middle class Americans instead of poor Americans.
I've noticed that.  We used to have more Irish illegals than Mexicans around here.  There was a huge scandal when a local Irish pub was found to be funneling money and weapons to the IRA.

Now the Irish economy is booming, and there's nary an Irish immigrant to be found.  

Immigration is going to be a huge issue in the post-carbon age.  "Overcrowded lifeboat syndrome," as Jared Diamond puts it.  Everyone is going to want to crowd into the lifeboats - the countries that are doing relatively well.  

And no, I'm not sure we'll be one of those lifeboats.  For all know, we Americans will be clamoring to get into Canada when TSHTF.

Think off all the nice and competent people who would like to move to Sweden or our neighbouring Scandinavian countries. Be first in the queue and move your business over here!

Totally agree with all you said. One big problem: if everybody did as you did as a child, the present economy would collapse. The ensuing mess would most likely take thrifty people like you, your son, and myself down with it.  

Example A: 1 out of every 8 dollars of global gdp comes indirectly from the aviation industry. So if people signifincatly cut down on their flying, all sorts of jobs and capital will evaporate.

Exampl B: probably don't have to explain why the automobile manufacturing industry is so important to the US. If people drive significantly less, fewer cars are made and the economy gets it in the nuts.

Problem is all money is created from debt, even the money possessed by those of us living debt free. Debt can only be paid back if more money is available in the future then the present (sans hyperinflation).  I'm sure you know all this already but just saying for others who don't.

So if we all cut back on things like air travel, automobile driving, consumer good purchases, the economy collapses and we all take it in the nuts as the money we have is only valuable so long as people keep buying shit so other people can payback their loans.

Had people lived frugally since Day 1 (say the 1940s), then we might not be in this Catch-22 style disaster but sadly, that's not what we as a society choose to do.




All of this leads to problem number 2 - the vast majority of people today have no useful skills.  When TSHTF these people will be out of luck.

I live in the boondocks and it is interesting to see city people move to the area.  They can't do anything for themselves and never even try to learn.  Heck, they even buy their firewood.  It is going to be bad news!

Urban people subsidise rural people everywhere in the OECD except Australia and maybe New Zealand. Rural people are on welfare. God help rural people when oil prices go to 200$ a barrel and they have to try to buy it in competition from the richer urban areas.
When gas gets expensive (as it did in the seventies) then rural and small-town people get out the gasoline siphons and also do the "gas and dash" routine. This is not looked upon as "theft," ohmigoodness, no: It is redistribution of wealth, in this case gasoline.

Gasoline theft also happened (and is happening) in urban areas, but in the small-town heartland of America it is an art form.

Californians get irate and point handguns to get at the precious fluid when gas lines get too long, but for boys raised in a generations-long tradition of poaching, illegal fishing, making moonshine, growing weed and other popular rural pastimes, robbing the fat dumb suburbanites is almost as much a form of entertainment as it is a way to get free stuff.

Would you belive that some of these citified folk are so ignorant that they put tarps over their store-bought firewood to keep it dry? We get a lot of chuckles when the tourists buy places out in the boonies.

I suspect you are right.  No, not all rural people are on welfare, but a disproportionate number of them are, and they have a lot longer distances to travel, whether they are on welfare or not.  

Moreover, the rural areas will be the first to be cut off.  From food and gas deliveries, from electricity, etc.  As it is, many rural areas are "food deserts."  There are just as many people living there now as there were 50 years ago, but the distribution system has changed.  No one wants to supply a couple of mom and pop general stores when they can supply Wal-Mart instead.  Similar, when supplies are tight, it will be the areas with high population density that are supplied first.

I was referring to the farmers, not the rural poor. The farmers are the ones on welfare. The rural poor are the ones that would have emigrated to the city (raising their, and their stay at home relatives incomes) if we hadn't imported so many unskilled immigrants and zoned housing so expensive. I think of them as being in the 80% tax bracket, counting all the ways we've structured the economy to screw them.
Watch them prosper over the next ten years as the dollar renormalizes.
I think the farmers will continue to receive government support as long as government exists.  Either that, or the government will take over the farms outright.  It's just too dangerous to let the free market have its way with food supplies.

This is my first post. I've been reading TOD for a few months now and enjoy it a lot. My interest was really peaked my Prophet of Doom's postings about the twenty something reality of PO. I'm a 23 year old just graduated from Williams College with a double in History and Geosciences. Right now I'm teaching and living in S. Korea and hoping to keep teaching back in the states next year.

I've really enjoyed reading TOD, but I agree that a lot of the content seems to by biased towards the interests of the 50+ year old engineers and scientists, for whom I have immense respect, but don't always find the commentary helpful. At this point, PO is going to happen in my life time, no doubt, probably sooner rather than later. I have no debt, even some savings I've put away, I'm interested in organic farming and sustainable construction and a raft of other things. I'm also a blacksmith, old coal forge kind (sometimes you do learn something useful in college). So if the end comes and you need a smith for your survival group/farm thing, drop me a line. ;-)

I guess what I'm writing about is my feeling that we need maybe a different forum, not about whether or when PO will happen or a lot of the stuff that gets written up on this board. I'm thinking something devoted more towards action, etc... and/or a place for younger folks to share ideas and express concerns. There's not a lot that I can do right now, I'm living in a homestay, working at a Korean school, but I'm thinking a lot about next year. I just think building community/exchanging ideas amongst youngsters or people who are actually doing things might be a good idea so that we can improve our responses to what ever comes and find better ways to live not only after decline but just next year.


I'm thinking a lot about next year. I just think building community/exchanging ideas amongst youngsters or people who are actually doing things might be a good idea so that we can improve our responses to what ever comes and find better ways to live not only after decline but just next year.

i'm quite interested in the same thing and have been mulling it over for months now. i'm also abroad this year (czech republic) and am wondering when i should begin a course of action for what will inevitably be lower energy future. the problem is determining what that course of action is. i don't think we're in for a doomsday/survival shelter kind of scenario, but i think it's safe to say that things will be a lot different in 5-15 years.

two other minor things: i don't think this conversation is exclusively the domain of young people, and i don't think participating in the political process as it exists today will be a good use of time or energy.

(if you want to take this discussion offline, let me know your email address.)


Get involved in local politics is a good start.

I am volunteering for a local guy running for County Supervisor. This is a county of 260,000. He asked me to put together an energy platform. Below is what I pitched, though I am sure like meat going into a sausage machine, it will come out different than what I submitted.

PS I am over 50.


for Supervisor        (photo here)

    BG as Supervisor will push for practical solutions for the greening of the county. These solutions will be both visionary and practical, solutions that can be accomplished at the ground level in San Luis Obispo.
    Working with fellow Supervisors and staff, BG will push for:

  1. Builders who design "green" to have their designs go to the front of the line at the County Planning Department.
  2.  No permit fees for solar equipment, whether that's a 40-gallon solar water heater or a large photovoltaic system. (retain the permit fees for safety and aesthetic reasons - the permit fees can add to the cost and assessment fees should be dropped on this home improvement.)
  3. No county sales taxes on big-ticket solar/green purchases for homes and businesses.
  4. A home-owner who skews the house so it is south facing, but not facing the street, to take advantage of passive solar will be recommended.
  5. Regular meetings between County Planning and County Building with the SLO Green Build Organization to find common ground for reduction in energy use and increased energy efficiency.
  6. New County facilities construction will have BG embracing Green Building elements including:
a. Safe wind turbine technology.
b. PV solar electric and water heating systems.
c. Passive solar technology in the architectural design.
d. Heat-pump technology.
e. Green building technology.
  1. Pursue funding for alternative energy from private, state and federal agencies.
  2. In this era of constricting oil supply BG will study, and if feasible, will look to hybrids and alternative fueled vehicles for County use.  
  3. Zone an area(s) of the county for wind farms. (Treat this like the view shed ordinance - it will contain opposition such as off Martha's vineyard. I would also add that such wind farms need to pursue low-no bird/bat kill ((Audubon vote knows about this issue)) wind technology - this technology is out there).
  4. Study the possibility of incorporating methane digesters into the County sewer systems and/or landfills as is being currently installed at Marian Hospital in Santa Maria (my company has a small role here).
  5. Look to full use at the County level of recycled paper and printing on both sides. (Some city just adopted this - maybe Eugene - printing on both sides saves money and trees).
  6. BG will push for the acceptance of the guidelines of the "Kyoto Protocol" (Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), in the same manner as the City of San Luis Obispo has adopted it.

    Working together we can move forward at the local level into the 21st century.
And just exactly what would you like us old farts to be doing for you, Matt?   You can vote, you can organize protests.  How come the young people who will suffer the most from Bush's deficits have done NOTHING over the past five years to make themselves heard on the subject?   I doubt that a lot of them even vote.  The pols are concerned about old people because they know that old people vote.   They were concerned about us during Vietnam because we made sure our opinions mattered then.   Time to start taking some responsibility, old boy.
Voting and protesting? Why don't you tell me to just piss my time away watching television.

Politicians are paid liars! We elect whoever is the most persuasive liar. The richer you are, the better a liar you can afford. Then the liar goes out and lies to rubes like you who then tell people like me we should write to our paid liars. Some examples:

Nixon? Liar.

Carter? Told the truth, got tossed out on his ass.

Regan? Liar.

Bush I? Don't remember any lies specfically, but I'm sure there were plenty.

Clinton? Liar extraordinaire

Bush II? Liar extraordinaire.

It's no different in Congress and not much differen at the state or local level. The freaking Terminator is running the fifth biggest economy in the world. What does it take for you realize it's a big scam>

Come on dude, stop being a rube.



AlphaMaleProphetOfDoom and Wanderer:

You are the future and you are making it now.  Creating community ties with like-minded individuals.  That will be key to your survival in the very near future.  Do not wait for things to happen, go ahead and do what you need to do to survive...that's the key.  For instance, go create your own blog (i.e., Surviving the Peak)

What I am seeing in this blog is EXACTLY what I referred to above "Ridicule for not succeeding like their parents."

Comments like "Of course we saved every tin cans, every drop of bacon fat or suet (to help make explosives to blow up the evil enemy), and we got by with hand-me-downs, many-times- patched bike inner tubes, etc." are my case in point.

These comments while true indirectly tell younger people, "Quit your complaining, you don't know sacrifice and suffering."  Those comments fall on deaf ears with younger folk and only fuel their anger.  See the problem is you didn't have all of these amazing luxury items for most of your life and then one day, they vanished....poof.  

I also think comments like "why doesn't the younger generation protest more, my generation's their turn" are not useful or realistic for the reasons Matt points out.  He also neglected to mention that in this day and age, protesting could land you on a database that could eventually land you in a Halliburton gulag.  What I would like is to see some people with REAL power protest, like CEOs, senators, police chiefs, priests, doctors, scientists.  People that if "disappeared" from society would be noticed.


I am in the same position as you, 41 years old and stuck between the "Baby Boomers" and the "Generation Xers."  I call them the "Lost Generation" because we really have no identity with either group.  I think our "destiny" is to help the Boomers and the Xers, Millenials, etc. understand each other.  They are miles apart these days.

I do not want to discount what ANY generation of people has to contribute to ANY other generation.  We HAVE ALL had our own set of triumphs and difficulties.  I respect what my grandparents and parents have gone through.  But they must also respect what I and younger folk have gone through.  If not, then the switch in my mind turns off and their comments fall away silently.

Food for Thought for All

He also neglected to mention that in this day and age, protesting could land you on a database that could eventually land you in a Halliburton gulag.

I can't find anything about gulags in their annual report. I guess you are not a big fan of the present administration.

I think maybe it's time for a new Saturday Open Thread or something.

Also reported in MSM, although I dont' have any links handy.



A good example of how rumour, innuendo, and conspiracy-theory, if repeated enough start to become common knowledge. I like how this particular source PhotoShopped-in the Halliburton logo to the photo of KBR headquarters, just in case you couldn't draw the connection yourself.

When I realized Halliburton was going to be the company to hate about three years ago, I loaded up on the stock. I can't say I'm disappointed. It helps that they are the best at what they do in a world where what they do is becoming increasingly more important.

KBR has been doing this kind of work for the US military since at least Vietnam. The only reason this crap gets any play now is because Cheney was at the helm in the 90's. If he hadn't have been, nobody outside the oil business would have heard of these guys.

Their stock price recently proves that old theory that any news is good news.

Contracts for possible detention centers, fine. Rounding up American citizens, "dissenters," under martial law, pretty funny.

Oil Ceo,

I should round up the less-sensational links from the MSM. Put aside the conspiracy-tinted rhetoric of that source. The fact is KBR does have a contract for detention centers. I see no reason why detention centers for immigrants can't be used for rioting Americans who (I suspect) are going to go nutty when gas is $10/gallon.

Even if that's not Homeland Security's intention at this point, what do you think will happen when we get large scale civil unrest?



No, you are right. But these are two different topics entirely. The original post talked about gulags for Americans whose only supposed trangression was being anti-Bush. Very Orwellian.

Homeland security can't get water to the SuperDome with helicopters. Now it's going to round up Democrats and gays like it's Kristallnacht. Yeah, right.

What will happen when we get large-scale civil unrest? I don't know, same thing the countries always done, just send out the National Guard to shoot a few people. Tear Gas and flex-cuffs. It happened in France this fall and again just two days ago. What did they do?

But all this nonsense about Halliburton concentration camps, I just think it might be taking the apocalyptic fantasy a little too far at this point. Last time I checked, gas was still $2.10 and the only thing Americans riot over is basketball games and the occasional LA police beating.

In all seriousness, this Homeland Guantanamo/KBR-conspiracy talk diverts focus and attention from a problem that actually exists in this country. Our prison system.

Am I making any sense. We've got over 2 million mostly poor, uneducated black men behind bars for "drug" crimes. There's the real gulag. How come nobody wants to talk about that? Unless Bush/Cheney created it, it's not that bad, is that the idea?

Oil Ceo,

I actually got into peak oil as a result of my concern about the prison-industrial complex. (Was looking for articles for a war on drugs website and came across From The Wilderness) It is a HUGE concern of mine. I could go on and on and on and on . . .

Regarding the incompetence of Homeland Security: this is my only hope! Nations are like people in that each one has different attributes. The Germans, for instance, were and are still known for the efficiency. It would be impossible to carry out what they did sans an efficient culture.

Americans are not efficient enough (thank God) to carry out what the Germans did in the 1935-to-1945.  At least I hope not. Just go to your local DMV for an example of what I'm talking about.

But looking at our history, we do see we were one of the last nations to get rid of slavery. We then had 100 years of Jim Crow and segregation. Then 35 years of the war on drugs, which has been disproportionately waged against poor people and racial minorities.

We've also had a lot of religious zealotry through the years and seem to pursue everything (even secular topics like drugs) with an almost-religious like zeal.

I think the tendences we've shown thus far (racial factionalism, religious zealotry, and economic stratification) will come to define our decline more than hyper-efficient lockdown state ala Germany 1930s. But I wouldn't rule anything out at this point.



One thing people always forget: the prison population in this country doubled during the Clinton reign. Yes, doubled. A disproportionate number of that was from the black population.

When people ask "why do poor whites like Bush?" I add "why do poor blacks support Clinton?"



Perhaps because blacks, like whites, want to be safe?  The victims of black criminals are largely other blacks.  
Bush I?

No new taxes.

I was not in the loop.

A great chance to work at McDonald's.  A lesser chance to earn as much as their parents.

i went to college via a certificate program which was sold to me as 'just as good as a 4 year full degree' in the same Field.
in fact it was so much equal that someone half a world away could do the job just as well with the same thing.
i spent the next 2 years working at a subway fast food place.
after that i finally got into the sector i wanted to work in only to be payed a full 4 bucks bellow market value and after a couple months i was shifted to 'phone sales'.
i left after they started making us work off the clock to avoid paying overtime, they also rounded off the hours to 40 per week i lost on average 3 hours per pay period.
between then and now i have only been able to get seasonal work, or i could just walk up to the closest fast food place and get a min wage job again.
i am 24 and i still live at home, i do not expect to have a job any time soon to pay enough to live on my own. my older brother lives on his own only because he has mental problems and got a pretty high spot on the section 8 housing program waiting list.
my mother thinks i am somewhat of a failure, she is a child of the 50's and any time i try to talk to her about what is going on she either doesn't believe me, thinks i am exaggerating, and thinks it can't happen this way because it would be a
Damn shame for us to end up like that.

because i have to follow her rules while i stay under her roof and because i can't get her to read or look into any of this i can't even keep myself busy by doing even a minor things. we still have fights over how many lights have to be on when she is home, they always end like 'i'm old and i need them to see and read properly'

I grew up in the eighties, went to college & grad school through the 90´s and early 2000´s.  I never was unemployed.  I worked on the Nymex, for a market making firm, an insurance firm, and even did a few temp. jobs in between.  True, after a  while I hated every job I did, and I did sour on the American dream and eventually went to brasil and am now working for myself.  But you get the point.  Come on ridicule from their parents?  Sexual frustration.  Go to a tropical island, there are always more women then there are men.  Besides Aids prevented unwanted pregnancies.  Nobody I know trusts the government.  401k´s are looked at as an aid in retirement.  Come on my friend, its not that bad, or am I living in a bubble because I never took on any debt, plus my parents paid for my education?

The answer to your question is a resounding "yes."



I fathered one child, a delight, and got cut afterwards. As I approach 60, can you say you did that too?
If we look at how oil rich nations manage their resource, I think the most interesting characteristic is that they get all hooked on oil-fueled growth.  They see the benefits when they exchange the oil for a new highway, hospital, or urban mega-statue.

Even if a country (or an informed minority within a country) knew there was a benefit to slow down on production ... it strikes me as tremendously hard in a human sense.

It must strike them, in a visceral way, as a return to poverty.

Though, even this is a dicey situation. Some oil rich nations figured out how to manage their money (for better or for worse). Others, like Nigeria, are only becoming more catastrophic because of it. Who will be better off when production declines? Those who have never seen improvements following from the oil wealth of their countries, or those who forget what it's like to live in poverty?
Norway seems to have invested most of the money flow in "keep things as they are", that is running the same kind of benign() socialist wellfare state Sweden were 30 years ago. But they have invested and are investing in (narrow) roads and massive ammounts of tunnels making their mountainous country easier to travel in untill a hundred years after going totally broke, wich they wont get due to hydro power, or untill the next ice age. Norway now seem to increase their investments in their railroad network but I do not base that on good data. I think Norway post oil will be a much easier country to live in then Norway pre oil due to these massive investments in long lasting infrastructure. This holds true regardless of the value of their oil fund.

() Easy living but it is hard to get other kinds or qualities of services then what is provided for free or cheaply and you usually dont have enough money to buy alternatives since it is a high tax economy. If your leaders screw up you get screwed as services such as schools and hospitals deteriorate untill people figure out that the good old times are past and they need to change leadership and if this do happen as it seem to do in Sweden it takes more then a generation since there is a deep feeling of love for parties who have provided so much. (Of oil / or in Sweden other peoples labour... )

Maybe the recent UK natural gas experience sheds some light on fungibility. Prices can go through the roof but if potential suppliers are already locked into long term contracts, or (as westtexas so often points out) want to preferentially supply domestic markets then the commodity isn't really fungible. Which brings me to a question I'vwe raised befoer on TOD but to no response: how much of today's oil is sold on the spot market as opposed to long term contract?
Charlottesville, Virginia
March 17, 2006
1344 Hours

   One only has to look at the energy situation in the UK to form much of an opinion on the fungibility of oil. As much as I appreciate the good brother's input regarding the availability of oil well into the foreseeable future as a dynamic part of the energy marketplace, I am betting that right now, the various MP's in the British Parliament and elsewhere in Tony Blair's government are kicking themselves over all that oil (and more importantly, natural gas) they sold off over the past 15 to 20 years. In retrospect, selling those resources for the pittance of 20 to 30 dollars a barrel (or whatever NG was selling for at the time) looks not so much like a financial bonanza, but more like chump change when compared with the prices being commanded now for those same resources.
An enlightened leadership would have been more careful in closely husbanding those important energy resources. And you can bet that whoever controls energy policies of the net oil exporters is going to take a good, long, hard look at what is happening in Great Britain. If I were those guys, I would seriously consider cutting production with an eye to saving that energy for my own country and strategic interests. I think one of the fundamental, and very serious flaws, of the market place is that in the race for corporate profits, they (our astute heads of government and commerce) are unable tell the difference between a commodity and a strategic asset. One you can sell for short money, the other should be closely guarded and well cared for. Peak Oil will highlight that difference in very stark terms.
   Is it just me, or am I correct in thinking that our political and economic elites are arguing about who gets to sit at the captain's table while the Titanic is taking on water?

Subkommander Dred

"they (our astute heads of government and commerce) are unable tell the difference between a commodity and a strategic asset."

Or the difference between renewable and non-renewable commodities.  I agree (I am British) ... the British look like complete, utter idiots when it comes to "husbanding" their resources.

There has been talk in Europe of making Norway's oil/coal/gas reserves part of "Europe's" energy reserve. There were a few, but of course there are only a few, Norwegians who wondered what the heck was this all about!!
I wonder if the last ~25 years of relative British prosperity will in the future be attributed not to the neo liberal (sell those public assests) policies that served as a model for many other countries, but rather, will be ascribed to the past plentiful flows of now depleted North Sea oil & gas?
Hello TODers,

I refer you to this link at EnergyBulletin:

Canada , the US , and Oil -- An Increasingly Bizarre Relationship
By Tom Whipple

The issue is back again. This time a trio of Canadian research organizations has released a harsh report entitled Fuelling Fortress America , that calls into question the basis of Canada 's energy relationship with the US .

The story goes back to the 1980s when the Mulroney government dismantled Canada 's National Energy Policy by stripping regulatory powers from its National Energy Board, allowing US oil companies to invest in Canada , and removing a "vital supply" policy that required the country to have a 25 year reserve of oil and gas available before exports were allowed.

I think Canada should withdraw from NAFTA and hoard its remaining energy reserves; to rebuild the 25 year reserve.  The sooner they do this, the less they will have to rely upon non-Canadian financing and export requirements to develop ever-decreasing ERoEI projects.  The self-induced Economic Depression can be mitigated by cheap energy [e/capita very large],and a huge national Powerdown project will help sustain this e/capita far into the future besides providing new employment opportunities.

I think that if the Canadians believe ERoEI > ERoVI, a societal shift to a labor-intensive Agrarian Lifestyle is a worthwhile tradeoff to keep their lights on and houses heated far into the future.  If Americans believe ERoEI > ERoVI: we will congratulate them for forcing us into our own Powerdown, and will not militarily invade or migrate North.

The sooner Gobalization halts, and people shift back to being 90% localized permiculturists-- the better their future will be in terms of extending peaceful civilization.  95% non-farming lifestyles is unsustainable as we go postPeak: to continue this delusion only increases the chance for ERoVI > ERoEI; violence more likely than cooperation.

This is what Matt Simmons fears worst as he expounded in his latest CNN interview, "Neighbor against neighbor, town against town, county against county, state against state, nation against nation".  I agree with Matt-- we do not want to 'go there'.

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

Boone Pickens is calling for a higher gas tax and a cut in the Payroll Tax.  I suggest that we all join him.  At least it is some kind of positive action.
You mean, you suggest he join us, right? Seems he's a little late to the party.
The final comments you attribute to Simmons remind me of Thomas Hobbes. He was afraid of the "war of all against all" or "each against all" a kind of primative, violent, anarchy. His answer was a stong State. Were one would give up power voluntarilly in order to ensure order and mitigate against chaos. One could call him a conservative, a pessimist or a realist. He wasn't a great admirer of human nature!

This is a Big subject to jump into. This is just an outline so don't get hung on details. I haven't got time to write book.

I think we've been "ungluing" our social structure for the last thirty years, with disasterous consequences, and things appear to be accelerating. I think we've seen too much individualism, too much competition (which is fine if you're a winner) and too many resources diverted from the public/common sphere to the private.

If one looks at the U.K. for example in the last thiry years there has been a truly staggering transferance of wealth from the "poor" to the "rich." This has had enormous social consequences. The creation of an underclass. Massive social alienation. Huge rises in drug and alcohol use. The breakdown of the traditional family unit. Structural unemployment destroying whole areas. A cycle of negative feedback underming the education system.

In the England I know there is only one real crime, not having money. It really doesn't matter how you get it, as long as you've got it. This is the real legacy of Thatcherism and all who followed. It a recipe for corruption and moral decay.

The oil revenues were wasted on tax cuts and crass consumerism, not investment in the future. The very infrastructure of society was allowed to decay for decades. Everything from the railways to the water system was patched-up, not systematically replaced and improved. But so much infrastucture is like a chain. Single weak links can cause the whole system to fail. There are so many areas one could mention. Future generations will simply weep at the gross incompetance and criminal waste of a precious resource - Britain's oil and gas.

The strange thing was the political elite who pushed through these highly controversial economic policies, mass privitisation and wealth transfer, never had that much support among the people. They were always a radical Jacobin minority, with great rhetorical skills. Always thoughout the Thatcher years there was a clear majority against the governments policies. How was it possible then for a radical/right political group, the Conservative Party, to force through such unpopular measures in a democracy?

Well, Britain, like the United States, is a "democracy" but with severe modifications. In Britain one has an unusual electoral system that allows a party with about a third of the votes cast in an election to form a government with a huge majority in parliament and the ability to function as a de facto dictatorship if it is so inclined.

Normally this wouldn't matter because a counter-weight to such unlimited power would be the strength of organised labour combining with the opposition, who after all represent about two thirds of the voters. But if the government is suficiently ruthless and confrontational and ready to use the power of the State, and decides to crush organised labour, then the "break" on despotism is gone, and the political elite can basically do whatever they want and effectively ruin the country. But much of this "ruin" and "disintegration" can be hidden or obscured as long as the oil money keeps pouring in. Now, unfortunately, I fear the party is over, and the chickens are coming home to roost big time!

writerman -

As you put it so well, in the Anglo-Saxon realm the center does not seem to be holding very well, does it now?

From what I have read, the UK is further down the road toward a true fascist police state than the US, though we are not very far behind and will probably overtake the UK before too long.  A race to the bottom.

In those mythic times when populations were thin and things were in abundance, we could gyre and gimbal about the wabe, but now the jaberwocky is  loos'ed upon the land.  

Who will snick-snack with his vorpal blade and slay the jabberwocky?

Lewis Carrol The math professor turned poet and word smith. What a joy to read that poem again, as there are so many words in it that he made up that are now used in common speach.  We can only hope that we don't have to kill the jabberwocky, as I am sure we would then just make ourselves that much more ready to be just as rare and dead.

I hope to live in mythic times, the times after the TV and Internet are shut down totally.

Small houses anyone?

If one looks at the U.K. for example in the last thiry years there has been a truly staggering transferance of wealth from the "poor" to the "rich." This has had enormous social consequences. The creation of an underclass.

I heard on the radio this morning that US median incomes had risen less than inflation for the 5th year running. Meanwhile in the UK there are "gangmasters" exploiting illegal immigrants for cheap labour - it sounds like something out of Dickens!

"They can't just shut the world out -- the world contains not only geopolitical rivals and consumers, but experts."

And I also understand that the world is running short on experts.

What I've read today is so far one of the best threads at TOD. . I really appreciate all posts. Very informative, very sobering.

We are not just running short on oil, experts, infrastructure, and other assets to oil production in general. We have trouble with silver, copper, silicium, and even the production of steel hit a ceiling. Real essential things like clean fresh water, soil, forest, fish and clean air are becoming increasingly scarce.

If the industrialsed world is ever to maintain a technologically advanced stage the first step is huge investments in education.

No Paulus.

Huge investments in education are not a solution. I live next to a large, (45,000 students) well funded university. Peak Oil and resource  compression are not syllabus items. What is being taught is same old, same old. Invisible hand economics permeates EVERYTHING. Sustainability is a deeply alien concept. The money comes from DOD and big multi-national corporations, especially the pharmaceutical subset. They have little incentive for your "clean fresh water, soil, fish and clean air". They are making great money securing the assets and treating the disease.  

Education is almost certainly the answer. Just not the education being provided by our current system. Secondary education is hardly adequate as it now stands, unless you're at a private school or a rich suburban public school. And higher education is a huge waste of resources (time, money, natural resources). Just visit a college and check out the physical plant support required to provide four years of co-habitation and learning to a slew of 18-22 year olds who have little idea what it is they want to learn.

I don't mean to sound too cynical. I am a beneficiary of that system, but having had some time to reflect I realize how luxurious it is (and was), as well as how little value that luxury provides for the future. Nothing I do now to pay my rent has anything to do with what my parents paid more than $100K for me to learn. Yes, there's an argument to be made for having a liberal education that provides a foundation for learning anything else but I can't tell you how much better off I'd be if I had worked for 4 years in the real world before spending 4 years studying.

Anyway, regardless of the current state of affairs, an educated (and critically thinking) populace will always be better than a poorly educated one. Of course, in times of plenty it's less critical than in times of scarcity or crisis, but I think most of us here have grave concerns about what lies ahead.

I think it's pretty clear we have reached diminishing returns on education.  Our schools are failing, and throwing more money at them at this point won't do any good.  

What I would push for is simplification.  That is the way out of the complexity trap.  Put our resources toward technologies that don't require 50 PhDs on three continents to keep running.  Try for technology that is inexpensive and can be maintained locally.  The kind we usually produce for Third World nations.

Bill Gates mocked MIT's $100 laptop this week.  He thinks a handcranked computer is silly.  Well, I want one.  

Yes, the $100 laptop is a brilliant idea.

Recently I bought what I hope to a PC to last into the future. Very expensive, but runs on 35W of power and can be supplied by 10-30VDC. It is not a laptop as the screen must be external, as well as the keyboard and mouse, but the quiet from no fans is blissful.
via's mini-itx would of been cheaper then the pentium-m as well as not supporting isrial.
$100 Laptops? Have you guys ever heard of eBay? They've been available for years.
It's not just that it costs $100.  It's that it's meant to run in areas where electricity is nonexistent or spotty.  You power it with a hand-crank.  
How are you supposed to type? It should come with one of those stationary bicycles like Sol used in 'Soylent Green.'
You don't actually crank and type at the same time.   Bill was just being flip.  You charge the battery by cranking, and it runs off the battery.
Any word on how long it takes to charge battery, how long battery lasts, what speed processor, and how much memory?
$100 PC. If I remember correctly, 500Mhz processor and 1GB of memory
And no hard drive.  That's why it can be powered by a hand-crank.  It's got no hard drive.
Yeah, but if HTecV is correct, you wouldn't need a hard drive. You wouldn't want one. It spins and adds to the probability that you will need a fan. 256 RAM is about all 500MHz can optimize, so you use the other 750RAM of memory as flash-storage- there's your hard drive. You just need OS/Word/Excel and a browser that can deal with that setup. That kind of power if it's new and small works for me. Now all I need to know is about the battery. Throw a $10 netcard/modem chip on that and a 10" screen and you're good to go. Imagine if you could use AA batteries in case you didn't feel like cranking. The more I think about it - this could be a winner. Too good to be true.
Yup, it uses RAM as flash memory.  No Word or Excel - it's a Linux machine.  

It wouldn't be be $100 if they had to pay for Microsoft software.

And if they had to have 20 gigabytes of hard drive to load the operating system.
Running on Linux, it's going to scream! Much faster than our ten times as fast cpu Windows machines. They think they are going to sell them in the third world, but wait till they get WiMax and everybody gets on the air.
They are planning to make a version to sell in the U.S.  For people who want to take their laptops camping and the like.  
Even with Linux, this won't work. I thought some more about it. I seriously doubt they can do this for $100. Not if they want to make money.
I don't think they are in it to make money.  They are doing it as a humanitarian program.
Then it definitely won't work. I don't say that negatively. It's just the truth. The Google guys are too new to the money game. I'd have some faith if Gates were behind it. Bill has always cared.
I suspect the version sold in the U.S. will be for-profit.  I just hope they don't screw it up by trying to make it too fancy.  
Maybe experts are (or may become) more fungible than oil?  Surely they cost less.

Same for specialized hardware: if you can't build it in, say, Iran, due to lack of expertise, you can buy it from, say, Russia or China?  In exchange for some crude?  Would China refuse that?

Maybe experts are (or may become) more fungible than oil?  Surely they cost less.

Good point, VT! They're a lot easier to find, too.

You might enjoy this review of a book I've been reading about the value of expertise:

It describes a multi-decade study recording the predictions of experts and comparing them with coin flips. The coin flips were more accurate. Experts actually did worse in their domain of expertise than when making predictions in other areas. There were some differences among experts, though: one of the few areas of professional experience that correlated with predictive accuracy was media exposure. The more often the expert was cited in the media, the less accurate were his predictions!

It is a pretty sad demonstration of the foolishness of believing the pronouncements of "experts". They are nothing more than our new witch doctors, giving us the illusion of understanding and controlling the future.

This is a book about a narrow sort of expertise, and doesn't extend say ... to the ability of a vulcanologist read rumbles from Mt. Saint Helens.

The danger in blithely applying this to peak oil discussions is that the peak oil question spans the entire range of prediction type ... from geologists (hard science) out through population response (the kind of 'political' prediction the referenced work discusses).

This is such a complicated subject that I hardly know where to begin. But here are a few thoughts.
  • Fungibility is one thing and net exports on a country-by-country basis are not related except in so far as what crude (depending on grade) is available on the global market.
  • Whether a country decides to decrease or increase their exports depends on many factors, among them
    1. What their internal demand is vis-a-vis their production and internal refining capacity
    2. What they think future oil prices look like and whether witholding oil off the market makes sense in maximizing profit over time. This is why I posted about Hotelling and oil futures prices
    3. What their immediate financial conditions look like and whether they need the money now or can wait to get more later
    4. What the internal politics are in any given country regarding economic growth and whether the leadership is a kleptocracy (Nigeria) or has a legitimate interest in raising the living standards of their people (UAE)
    5. What the state of their current production is now. Do they need help like Iran or are they self-reliant like Saudi Arabia. So, what level of investment do they need?
  • If a nation's production is in decline, it may make sense to decrease exports, tighten its belt and export at reduced rates over time to lengthen the race to the finish.
  • If the country in question is flush with oil, they will need current oil revenues to develop future revenues (at a profit, of course)
And on and on. All these considerations are inter-related. This question has so many independent variables in it that no meaningful prediction or opinion can really be expressed.
the top 10 producers make about 51 million barrels
a day

could next 10 posts be about each countries' fields
and their state of production?

or could you make a special top 10 section where all
the good links could be posted with exec summaries
from the site admins?

i just want this site to have more details about actual
production for beginners.

i just want to get a better big picture because i read
that cantrell in mexico peaked and the big kuwait field
peaked but i want organized info that is not burried in
the archives about the other top 10 world producers.

thanks and this site rules!

I seriously don't think this is going to happen. But good luck. Each of the top 10 producers could have a book written about them, and at least one has. I would make yourself a list and go to the CIA's world factbook online for starters, check the energy or economy sections for these countries.

Also you could just search the tags on this site for these countries. The EIA (as I see you've been there) also has good info and summaries. Matt Simmons book if I remember correctly has some good sections on "other" countries.

The problem you are getting into is that this info changes so fast and is so susceptible to interpretation that it really isn't for the beginner and you need to become your own expert on these regions/countries.

Recommend also the country assessments / reassessments found in the ASPO newsletters.  Not to heavy on statistics, but contains much interesting background info.

The organising you will have to do yourself.

I would say that developments are already showing that Roberts is wrong whatever he means by "fungible". Oil is (increasingly) being allocated by war, threat of war, and so on, not simply by the market. If only things WERE simply market-driven! More and more oil is being produced under the gun, not simply to meet the revenue needs of the states sitting atop the oil.

The market price of oil, were it not for the gun, would be many times what it is now. No one would sell any more than they needed to to pay current expenses -- because holding in the ground would be the best investment that could be made. That's why the West is so pissed at Russian sluggishness in exploiting their full potential. But they got the nukes, so it's harder to rush them along.

Alright, I followed orders and discussed. May I go to sleep now?

This isn't really on topic, but I'm wondering if my eyes are playing tricks on me.  The last time I checked - a few weeks ago- the MMS web page for the (then) latest statistics on shut-in GOM production from Katrina & Rita I seem to recall it was down to about 245,000 bpd.  Looking at it today it's back up at almost 350,000 bpd.  Am I making this up or has anyone else noticed that we seem to be slipping into reverse?
Feb 22nd has 362,000 bpd out
Jan 25th has 373,000 bpd out

I don't recall seeing 245,000 bpd anywhere. I don't think it has ever got that low. Could you provide a date as I have e-mailed myself most of the reports since the middle of September and cannot see those numbers?

Thanks for the figures, I don't have any that I've been keeping saved anywhere, so it must just be me wigging-out & misremembering what I saw one day....
I wonder what the babyboomers will do about the peak oil situation, now that our generation is finally taking over? Will we continue the policies of the Silent generation? The drain America first energy policies, and the borrow and spend policies, and the military industrial complex policies?
Hey, we can finally stop blaming our parents, because after the next election or two, WE will be in charge! Did you see how many congressmen are about to retire?
I rarely make predictions, but here is one:
Increasingly, the babyboomer generation will use its superior numbers to use the political process to transfer income to itself--and hence away from younger people.

If my prediction is correct, the stage is now being set for hugely increased pressure on our already decayed political institutions.

Some have written on TOD that we have merely a sham republic now. In terms of "merely going through the motions" and real political power elsewhere, my conclusion is that we ain't seen nothing yet.

Recommended Reading: THE NINTH WAVE by Lederer and Burdick.

Just viewed CNN's We were warned .
As with previous MSM outlets here in Europe it missed the most important points.

Alternatives like hydrogen were presented as promising
Only oils role in transportation was shown(not in food production, modern medicine, potable water, petrochemical industry etc.)

In short they presented it as a problem to be solved by throwing money at it.

Nothing that will wake people up


This is what I meant in my response to you on education. We are expected to throw MONEY at "it". "IT", of course, has nothing to do with the notion of conservation or sustainability.

Our money will have nothing to do with solving "it". I live in the U.S.'s midwest. My radio is filled with happy noise about GM's E85 autos and Archer Daniel's corn-to-fuel nonsense. "That" is where we are going to throw buckets of money. And "they" are paying CNN to tell us all about it.

An aside... I took my 17 year old son to to hear to local U's presentation on Peak Oil. After a bunch of graphs and several speakers, I asked him what he thought. He said... "I am the only kid here. The rest of you are old."  

Speaking of war, Peak Oil, excessive government spending, massive debt--and debt repudiation, I have proposed a Unified Theory of Peak Oil, War and Debt, which is as follows:

(1)  Bush/Cheny were aware of Peak Oil from day one.   One could reasonably draw several  conclusions, but two of them are:  (A)  oil would become far more valuable in the future and (B)  the federal debt will never be repaid.  

(2)  If you know you are going bankrupt, you can:  (A)  pay off the creditors you can and start adjusting to a far simpler way of life or (B)  max out the credit cards and suck in all of the creditors' money you can before filing bankruptcy.  

(3)  Iraq has the best remaining undeveloped oil reserves in the world.  Next door to Iraq are the other two key prizes--Saudi Arabia and Iran.  

(4)  My theory is that Buch/Cheney deliberately wanted to maximize government spending and debt, and to juice the economy in order to suck in all of the foreign capital they could before in effect filing for bankruptcy (or inflating their way out of debt--note that Bush's new Fed chief has talked about "dropping $100 bills from helicopters" to stave off deflation).   In effect, Buch/Cheney could use foreign creditors' money to take over the Middle Eastern oil fields.  

(5)  The net result of this world be that that the foreign creditors would be left with piles of near worthless paper, while the US is in control (courtesy of the foreign creditor's money)  of the real capital--the BTU's in the Middle East.

A repudiation of external US debt would crash the world economy, and that may be part of the plan.  If the world economy is going to crash anyway, why not accelerate the process, provided that Bush/Cheney have control of the oil fields.

Of course, there are several problems.  First and foremost, as Buch/Cheney are realizing,  seizing Iraq is easier than holding Iraq.   However, this theory does seem to fit most of the facts we have.  

BTW, I just started reading "Cobra II", a very good history of the US invasion of Iraq.  Guess what?  The original idea was a very limited invasion of just the southern Iraqi oil fields.   I suppose that they concluded that it would be too obvious, so they went with the WMD story.

One truly frightening thing I have observed is the number of Americans (generally driving large SUV's with "support the troops" bumper stickers) that think that the seizure of the oil fields ia a great idea, i.e., Americans have a God-given right to $50,000 Hummers and $500,000 mortgages.  

In any case, whatcha think of the theory?

Assumes too much competence/capacity for coordinated action/longterm planning on the part of Bush administration and officials.  Otherwise, quite good.
westexas -

A few years ago I would have said that your Unified Theory of Peak Oil, War and Debt was silly. But now, I don't think it's farfetched at all.

I 've always been puzzled by the way the Bush Regime has steadily increased spending with absolutely no regard for the consequences. I assumed this was just recklessness, but now I'm beginning to wonder whether it's deliberate

I agree that the time is going to come, probably sooner than later, that the US is going to stiff its creditors, probably simply by inflating the currency. The problem is that it's not just foreign countries that are going to be stiffed, but  any American that has assets in the form of dollars. That's going to make for a large group of very pissed-off people, to say the least. The consequences could be very ugly.


The total oil production of US,Canada,Mexico,Venezuela and China is essentially not available to the rest of the world market. It is taken up by US imports secured under preferential trade deals and local consumption.

So oil from 5 of the 12 largest producers is essentially not fungible to the rest of the world.

Oil from Iraq has limited fungibility to countries other than the US - those in the coalition of the willing sure aren't getting much of it.

Canada and Mexico need to realise that the US is the cuckoo in the nest and it is bleeding them dry for its own benefit.

Oil from Iran has no fungibility to the US.

Oil from Libya until recently had limited fungibility.

The rest of us can't help a wry smile when we see that Russia has entered the chart of top 12 suppliers to the US.

In pop music parlance it is no.9 with a bullet.

The smile will become even more wry when we see Libya making an appearence on said chart.

Most Americans are not aware of the nesting habits of the cuckoo, since it's a European bird.
We have them, too.
The people who do wrote a book "The Coming War With Japan" fifteen years ago. Their thesis was that we would fight a war with Japan to loot them of their savings by controlling their access to Australian ore, coal, natural gas, etc.
That's a greatly oversimplified analysis of the book, but pretty much a good condensation. And now people have put China in Japan's place and are using the same logic. Hell, if you lump Japan, Australia, China, and Korea together you can get a real economic block going.
But it assumes that they are dumb enough to pay 60$ a barrel for oil, plus another 60$ a barrel to build a navy to ensure that the oil is delivered, instead of just saying the hell with it and going oil free at half the cost.
A fascinating book. Read for the data and the way they look at it, not for the silly conclusions.
Why fight a war to loot the savings of a people when there is a much easier and more effective way? Both China and Japan have huge amounts of U.S. securities (Treasury bills, etc.) as big parts of their savings.

Now all we have to do is inflate the dollar to the vanishing value of the Mexican peso over the past half century and bingo! Their U.S. dollar savings essentially vanish, and once again lucky Americans have screwed the foreigners.

BTW, the U.S. has quite a history of extracting funds from foreign countries (e.g. the big British cattle ranching investments of the nineteeth century or the selling of overinflated U.S. real estate, etc. to the Japanese in the 1980s) and then screwing them. When, oh when will they ever learn?

I love the irony of posters complaining and distrusting the government.  Wake up, you are its victims.  Your press, your government paints the world as a very very scary place.  They want their subjects to be paranoid.  Think about your predictions for our future.
I'm not worried about peak oil, I'm worried about the government's reaction to peak oil. How smart are they?
Well now... how many different reasons for Iraq do you need?
I'd say they (the authorities) are on-the-case.

Someone here (thank you) suggested Chalmers Johnson's "Sorrows of Empire" a couple of weeks ago. I highly recommend it.


I think unfortunately the answer to your question might be never.

Probably the publics have learned but the Governments like to pretend it isn't so as the US can cause them considerable difficulties during their short terms in office if they don't act nice.

In late 04 we had Canadian writers, musicians,activists in Oz telling us whatever you do don't sign that "free" trade agreement with the US.

It has now been in operation for just over a year.

Scorecard for the first year:- Australian exports to US down more than 4%;Australian imports from US up more than 4%.

Yup looks like its working as intended.