Monday night open thread

I can see there's some restlessness, so please dump it here.
Russian economy: forecasts for 2006

Growth rates of production in the Russian oil and gas sector are declining. Last year, oil and gas condensate production increased by 2.2% (to 469.6 million tonnes) and gas production by 1% (to 640.6 billion cu m). In 2004, oil and gas condensate production increased by nearly 9%, and in 2003 by 11%. Sergei Oganesyan, head of the Federal Energy Agency, expects that this year's growth rates of oil production will stay at the 2005 level, or will be close to zero.
Therefore, among the priorities of the state energy policy, Russia's energy strategy for the period up to 2020 provides for the formation of new oil and gas production centres, primarily through the development of new fields in Eastern Siberia and the Far East and also shelf deposits of northern and Far Eastern seas.

The programme of the development of Eastern Siberia and the Far East is given special importance in the energy strategy. It provides for the creation of an integral system of gas production, transportation and supplies, with due account for possible gas exports to the markets of China and countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Explored gas reserves in Eastern Siberia and the Far East are expected to increase by 6.6 trillion cu m by 2030.

The Shtokman project in the Barents Sea worth $20 billion is undoubtedly the leader among major projects of the future. It is of key importance for Russia from the point of view of a new market (the United States) and possibilities to develop an LNG (liquefied natural gas) market.

Construction of new oil pipelines - the East Siberia-Pacific (Taishet-Nakhodka) pipeline and the North European gas pipeline will promote the development of hydrocarbon deposits in Eastern Siberia and the Far East and gas condensate deposits on the Barents Sea shelf.

Thanks for the update. Your information seems to confirm trends already noted. East Siberia, Shtokman and Sakhalin are the key plays. Western Siberia is declining but still the main production area.

We'll see as the future unfolds for the 2nd largest producer in the world.

I will note that the new plays are far more expensive to produce than the traditional Western Siberia source. As Kurt Vonnegut said in a book he wrote, so it goes.

Chevron Tests Africa Well Said To Be A Major Discovery
20:03 EST Monday, Mar 27, 2006

HOUSTON (Dow Jones) -- Chevron Corp. said Monday it has completed its first exploration well off Western Africa's coast in a discovery that's reported to have as much as 1 billion barrels worth of oil and gas.

A Chevron (CVX) official said the company is evaluating the results of the drilling, completed on March 15. The official declined to give specifics about the well, other than to say it's in waters of Sao Tome and Principe, a tiny archipelago nation near the equator in the Gulf of Guinea.

But initial geological studies of the well suggest there are around 1 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, according to a weekend report in The Business, a British newspaper, citing unnamed sources.

If the billion barrel mark holds true, it would put the discovery on par with the entire holdings of some large exploration and production companies, said Aliza Fan, senior equity analyst at John S. Herold.

"That's a significant size," Fan said.

Even if the well found a thick column of oil, discoveries typically require several more wells to delineate the size of the field and its commercial potential.

For Chevron, a major discovery would come at a time when the San Ramon, Calif.-based company is struggling to expand its reserves. Its oil and gas holdings stood at 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent at the end of 2005.

Chevron acquired rights to explore the island nation's waters in October 2004 and began drilling Obo-1, the location of the well, last January.

It now has a 51% stake in the site, with Exxon Mobil (XOM) holding 40% and the rest owned by Dangote Energy Equity Resources, a jointly owned Nigerian-British driller.

On Wall Street, Chevron shares were among the Amex Oil Index's (XOI) top advancers on Monday, rising 1.1% to $58.21. Exxon (XOM) added 0.2% to $61.29.

A former Portuguese colony, Sao Tome and Principe is eyeing its territorial waters in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea as a way to transform its agrarian economy. It sold its first production licenses in 2004.

Ronald Gold, vice president of Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, said that while the Obo-1 discovery appears to be significant, it doesn't represent a big impact in market terms.

"When Prudhoe Bay was found [in Alaska], it was announced at 8 billion ... so 1 billion barrels is very nice but it's not going to change the world oil supply," said Gold.

The JDZ Block-1 is located approximately 190 miles north of the city of Sao Tome and approximately 125 miles from the city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.

New oil province?

Significant, useful, but a but a rook or knight.
But good news for the people of Sao Tome - assuming they get to share the wealth.
Bush and Blair decided on war before UN council meeting - NY Times link

Another good reason to drive a smaller car: lessens your chance of falling through the street.

 That's what happens when the bottom drops out of the economy. Potholes of that size are one of the key selling points for the Hummer class SUV. That looks to be about a 4 Hummer hole.
I keep telling people (mostly from Boston) that about every three months, right in Downtown Boston somebody drives into a hole. One of my sisters finally said she believed me tonight. We have a serious problem with this in Boston. C'mon people. When is Menino going to get on top of this?
Has anyone studied using sail for intercontental trade?  Any thought to using sail for coastal trade, as was common around here until eighty years ago?
Sail is being considered,especially in Kite ships. There has been some work on using solar and windmills to drice the drive shaft. Also to convert wave action to drive the ship. The benefit of windmills is that the direction of the wind is irrelevant.

The value of kites is that the higher winds are more uniform and a lot stronger.

Where I live, windsurfing has been popular since its invention, but the new sport of kitesurfing has really gained ground. You need much less equipment (windsurfing requires many different rigs) and once you learn to kite, it's apparently rather easy, and fun!

Regular old sails are easier for someone with a 3rd grade education to invent and use, but kites, if you have the knowhow and materials, scream.

Accusations of "windsurfing for pleasure" in part cost John Kerry the election in '04.  Too elitist, everyone said.

In one of the most egregious examples of advertising deviousness, Bush campaign operatives took the video of Kerry windsurfing in Cape Cod, and reversed the image to make it look like he was going back and forth. Flip-flopping, get it?

You can see it in this animated gif where the frames are reregistered with each other, note the reverse text.

Kites? Ahem, . . . when the wind commences suddenly to scream and howl, pray tell, how do you reef a kite? Or do you cut it loose?

Flying kites is fun, but sailing ships is a serious business, and he who cannot reduce sail in a hurry may be heading pretty quick for Davy Jones Locker.

A quick Google turned up this and this.

Seems like kite sailing is no less serious than regular sailing to me.


 I do not have a link as it was pre-web but there was a firm looking at panamax sized transatlantic freighters powered by wind.

 The concept was taken through to prototype trials. I do not know the results of the trials but given the lack of further development the company must have had the wind taken out of its sails.

 Key to the concept was the use of heavy instrumentation linked to servos that would trim and reef the sails. The marine environment is very unforgiving and my hunch is that the mechanism may have worked well in benign laboratory conditions but failed in real world conditions. The vessel was bermuda rigged with five or more masts.

 During the same period as the above trial was being undertaken it was also common for offshore drilling rigs being mobilized between transatlantic locations to rig sails. With a fair wind this would add 2 to 3 knots to vessel speed and with dayrates of $150,000 and up, seconds count.

Perhaps the USA should invade Panama and renationalize the canal.  

We'll seem pretty stupid for giving it away once higher energy prices and slower sailing speeds make sailing through the Strait of Magellon inpractical again.  


Check out the movie

There may be other companies...

... and in reply to Dons comment above, it would appear that the prototype shown in the movie is easily retrieved and stowed. And in any case, until the weather got really nasty, you could fly the kite at a different attitude.

It appears that they are targetting Frieghters and Tankers in response to the price of oil.

(I have no association with the product)

Easily retrieved? In a line squall? If you are cranking the kite as the wind is gusting up above sixty knots and the cable breaks at or near the kite, then my guess is you'll be looking at some deaths or amputations, because when tension is suddenly released, that sucker is likely to whip back in a nasty way.

As I've noted before, there are new ideas and good ideas, but there are few new good ideas, and I strongly suspect that sailing a commercial ship with a kite is not one of these few. Under ideal conditions, it would be fine to augment power with a kite (steady moderate winds well abaft the beam; I've done this on a small sailboat), but those conditions are not typical at sea.


So, it's useless because it might fail under the most rapid weather change condition that you could think of? Nothings perfect, and yeah it might, but it's an idea worth looking into don't you think?

You are not informing us.  Share your knowledge. In a line squall, how long do YOU have to react? How frequent are they? If you are sailing along at 90 degrees to the wind (according to wiki this is "beam reaching") what will happen to a yacht?  Do you not think that the kite could react by moving to its azimuthal position (ie mainly vertical lift) and if a certain strain level exceeded then for safety it could be released? Maybe those good German engineers are idiots?  Attempting to live within the resource base of their own country without extending their energy leibenstraum... hmmm maybe some do adapt.

Please, less bluster more input/information.

I guess I better throw away that GPS... a solar flare might fry those satellites.

(although not a fixture here, I'm away for a week)

I would never bet my life on a GPS; they can fail about twelve different ways I know of, some of them subtle.

Maybe the kite idea will work; time will tell.

Here is what I have a problem with: There are tons of tried and proven designs out there that are robust and that have been proven for generations. Then somebody comes along with a brilliant idea . . . but is it so brilliant? People have been flying kites (mostly for fun) from boats for at least the last two thousand years. Occasionally, as an assist to other power sources, kites make sense, but IMO probably not as a primary power source.

How long do you have to respond to an unanticipated wind gust? That is a helluva good question, and I'll answer it by explaining how the question is handled on yachts that fly spinnaker on the Trans-Pacific yacht race from Calif. to Honolulu. There is a guy with an axe standing by the sheet that controls the spinnaker (a sail that has been around for about eighty years now and is well understood) whenever there is much wind. He watches the helmsman (who is steering and knows how the boat is handling). When the helmsman yells: "Cut!" the axe comes down, the sheet (which is a rope) is cut and the sail flies free, often being destroyed in the process. From the time the problem is recognized to getting out of trouble is about two seconds. Now I grant you, that is an extreme situation, because in racing sailboats you are always at the edge, and "safety last" is an unspoken rule, but as one who has a considerable experience with sails and with kites and some experience flying airplanes, my strong opinion is that the "failsafe" principle should be included in designs where lives depend on what happens when something breaks.

Maybe they have engineered on failsafe principles; it would be interesting to find out. But there are so many bad "new" ideas out there, such as the architecture underlying the NY Twin Towers or the graphite shielding on the Chernobyl reactor, that my tendency is to go with long-proven designs.

Late in the nineteenth century some robust and fairly efficient designs for multi-masted (four, five, maybe even six or seven masts) schooners sailed for many years, some with auxilliary power. We know that works. Why not go with proven technology, such as that one, or perhaps robust wind turbines charging big banks of batteries? We know those technologies and some others will work--all proven designs.

BTW, the hybrid car idea and prototypes have been around for at least fifty years; it was a huge problem for the Japanese companies to work out the bugs, and those things do not usually kill you (except maybe by electrocution) when they fail. With the benefit of hindsight, maybe a better idea would have been to forget about hybrid cars and focus instead on improving small diesel engines and their fuels, as in the case of Europe. Both diesels and biodiesel fuel have been around for about 125 years, which, IMO, is a big plus factor.

I've been wrong before, and I'd be delighted to be wrong about the limitations of kites for ship propulsion. That reminds me, March is kite-flying month, and I've yet to get one of my kites up . . .;-)  


"Sir John Templeton: The Unsuccessful Innovations Have Disappeared

A man who has seen so much and still has his wits about him is a great treasure. If he is still solvent, that is even better. Somehow, he must have avoided the bad ideas, bad investments, and bad advice. Innovations are like genetic mutations. Most of them are mistakes. Most fail. Old people tend to reject new ideas, new styles, and new things. This is not simply because these dogs are too old to learn new tricks. What the oldsters know - from experience - is that the new tricks are probably not worth learning. What we have around us are only the innovations that succeeded. Companies, products, ideas, governments, clubs, styles - all that we see are the successful ones. The unsuccessful innovations - thousands and thousands of them - all disappeared."

IMO, the whole post is worth reading.  Maybe I'm just another old fart who is out of touch...

BTW, how about that other out-of-touch guy I remember reading about many years ago...Graf Felix von Luckner?

One of the reasons I first became interested in peak oil is bc/, like many of you, I detest the automobile-oriented culture.  Although I would like to see us switch to more walkable communities and mass transit, I fear the American love affair with the automobile will win out in the early post peak years.  Here's why:

If the U.S. is currently consuming just over 9 million barrels a day of gasoline, and we assume gasoline consumption "wants" to grow at around 1.5 to 2%, then in 20 years the U.S. economy would be expected to require around 11 million barrels a day.  Here are the savings that we could realistically obtain without completely derailing the economy.  To be more conservative I'll base them on the current 9.2 million barrels a day not the projected 11 million:

  1. Greater fuel efficiency.  If average mpg could increase from 21 to 42, we could save 50% over 20 years.  Considering there are already multiple cars on the market getting this sort of mileage, this does not seem unrealistic.  
  2. The dreaded 55 mph speed limit is 15 to 20% more efficient for freeway driving than the current 65 mph.  Of course most driving is not on the freeway, but let's suppose we can save an additional 5% of gas from a restriction.  Our remaining 4.6 becomes 4.4 million barrels.
  3. Driving less.  With gasoline being more expensive, people will vacation less and closer to home.  More people will telecommute.  Some may actually begin carpooling to work again, etc.  Let's say people can decrease the driving distance per person by 10% over 20 years.  Our remaining 4.4 becomes 4.  

Thus our overall savings from these three basic measures over the course of 20 years is 5.2 million barrels a day.  If we "want" to be at 11 million barrels a day and we subtract this 5.2, we get 5.8 million barrels a day or 56% of current 2006 consumption.  Again, I wish we'd move toward walkable, sustainable communities, but I fear we'll find a way to maintain our automobile culture at any cost.
Oops, should read 63% of 2006 consumption.
I think you are underestimating the "driving less" portion. 20 years is enough time for us to build much more light rail, better mass transit and find many other ways to reduce driving we can not even think of right now. Consider that 1.5 billion now China uses as much as that 4 million bpd you estimated and for a lot of other purposes than driving.

Overall there is so much waste around that I can not stop wondering how people are biting the idea of a die-off... Die-off why? Because we will not be able to drive SUVs? If we only give up and/or substitute non-crucial things like cars and tweak all those places we waste energy, the remaining declining production will be enough for maybe half a century or so... After that if we have not found substitute yet, we are going to synthsize it or whatever. There will probably be hard times in the meantime but we will not be dead without our cars, right?

Die-off why? Because we will not be able to drive SUVs?

That would be a "no."  If there's a dieoff, it will be due to agriculture, not a lack of SUVs.  

I personally am not expecting a dieoff right away.  At least, not in the U.S.

Some possible U.S. dieoff scenarios: Warfare.  Famine.  Pestilence.  Note that they tend to go together.  A disease that would not be a big deal to  healthy population will be brutal to a population that is overcrowded, underfed, and stressed.  


Let's calculate that. They say modern agriculture uses (a very generous) 10 cal of fossil fuels for each calorie of food produced. So a 2000 kcal daily diet per person (hope ppl in Somalia don't read that) would require 20 000 kcal per day which translates to 0.0013 barrels per day per person. Multiplying that by 6.5 billion souls would result in 8.5 mln.bpd. So the whole world can be fed by modern agriculture with less than the US gasoline consumption! And this is today without conservation efforts, without substitution, without localy grown food etc... How long will it take for us to plunge below the 8-9 mln.bpd mark? A lot - probably not before the end of the century.

Again - to give up your car, even to lose your job is a whole lot of different than to be starving or being dead. These are two different worlds and I suspect that only people that never faced either one of them can not recognize the defference.


The only thing I really fear of in the coming decades. But given that we don't actually need that oil (to survive), the only reason left for war will be just one: greed. Trying to maintain the status quo and not paying the price of weaning off oil should read greed. And this is already a societal problem we'll have to face sooner or later, and that's why I'm partially glad that PO is coming. I think it is more of an opportunity then a threat to our survival as species.

So the whole world can be fed by modern agriculture with less than the US gasoline consumption!

But it's not, is it?  What makes you think that will change?

Will agribusiness grow food to feed poor people?  Or will they grow fuel so rich people can keep driving?

See, I'm not worried that we won't be able to drive SUVs.  I'm worried that we will.  

There's no way I can qualify or prove this statement, but I'm going to say it anyway:

You overestimate the rationality of a frightened animal.

I would love to think that we'll fight some resource wars and then suddenly realize the futility of it and live in peace forever, but that was promised at least three times in the previous century, and I haven't seen an everlasting peace yet.    

So, you (and Leanan in a more indirect way) are actually assuming an endless cascade of resource wars. I'm not excluding that but I think they too far from being granted - a lot depends on what we do in the meantime. IMO, world is different now (that many countries have nukes) and it is not that easy to start a war without making a complete mess with yourself. Very soon the truth will come out and the people in your own country will start revolting. The costs will become too high for the ruling elites and the correct path will be forced on them rather sooner than later.

Of course I fear there may be several more attempts for resource grabs. But the only country that has the potential to do it is USA, and we are headed to a certain bancrupcy anyway - IMO only one more war and we're out. This will have the side benefit of freeing some oil for building the alternatives by the rest of the world and we'll be forced to follow how much we don't want it.

Yes, I think there will always be resource wars.  If not between nations, within them.  There always have been resource wars, we are fighting them now, why should that change?  Peak oil will increase conflict, not reduce it.

IMO, world is different now (that many countries have nukes) and it is not that easy to start a war without making a complete mess with yourself.

And World War I was "the war to end all wars."

Very soon the truth will come out and the people in your own country will start revolting.

Like I said, the resource wars don't have to be between nations, they can be within them.

When it comes to food, I think people need to be far more concerned about peak water, peak rock phosphate and peak crop land then peak energy.
You don't think they are related?

Given enough energy, we can solve those problems. As we have been doing.  

Calculations of the energy cost of agriculture need to take into account not just the current size of the world population, but its probable growth over the next few decades. Most of the projections I've seen indicate that there is enough momentum to top the world population off at something like 10 billion, 3.5 billion more than the present number.

Maybe a die back can be prevented. I'd like to think so. On the other hand, at best it's going to be what Wellington called "a damn close run thing."

That is why I think a dieoff may be inevitable in the long run.  Peak oil will mean the reversal of many of the factors that lead to lower birthrates.  I fear a lot of the progress we have made will unwind.  

Also, the loss of cheap oil means the loss of our insurance.  We still have the same problems farmers have always had: drought, disease, pests, bad weather.  Cheap oil allows us to fix many of these.  We can build irrigation systems, spray pesticides,and if worse comes to worse, buy food on the global market and transport it where it's needed.  The population will be increasing, the available oil will be decreasing, and the same old problems will still be there.  Possibly exacerbated by climate change, warfare, and other inconveniences.  

I think we should start differentiating between "die-off" and "die-back". Die off in the biological sense of the word will come at the point we are so much desparate for some critical resource that we will start killing each other over it. In the end the system will reach a state where the competing elements are so few that the ERoEvI (energy returned on energy in violence invested) would be less than one.

A die-back in my reading is where a declining quality of life leads to a lower fertility, a femine etc. leading to a gradually decreasing population. This is a more feasible scenario and is even a quite desirable one, some time later in this century. As an incurable dreamer I would suggest though, that this transition would be much more pleasant if we succeeded in providing (at least to some extent) a western quality of life to the 3rd world. Education and TVs are proven to be much more effective population regulators than femine.

Die off in the biological sense of the word will come at the point we are so much desparate for some critical resource that we will start killing each other over it.

Not necessarily.  In 16th century Mexico, 20 million  people (out of a population of 22 million) died of what was likely a hantavirus outbreak.  Exacerbated by drought and by the stress placed on the population by the arrival of the Spaniards.

An agriculture data point:

Subsidies shift to larger farms

Critics say the government's payments enable big operations to swallow more land

...Economists say the USDA study illustrates the dramatic shift in U.S. agriculture -- and of federal subsidies -- to larger farms.

"More and more production is starting to shift into some very large operations," said James MacDonald, who led the study.

One of the "small" farmers they interviewed blamed the rising costs of fuel and fertilizer.  

Yea, I agree, we could reduce driving by much more than 10%.  Although mass transit is the better choice, part of my point is that when the pinch of declining productin is felt, many Americans will probably prefer buying a more effecient car, vacationing closer to home, telecommuting, etc. instead of mass transit.  thus, the blight of the automobile-dominated landscape may not regress for the first couple decades after the peak.
Today's (3/27) WSJ has a front page article "As Prices Surge, Oil Giants Turn Sludge into Gold". Tar sands in Alberta. The article is fascinating and profoundly depressing. An area the size of Florida is going to be destroyed so that the world can delay facing reality a few more years. Will we end up eating the bark off the trees?

Perhaps someone can find a link.

Today's Financial Times, p. 6, has an article on corruption in Cuba. Yawn, usual stuff, until: "'The top leadership appears squeaky clean, but below there is a chaos that has proved very hard to dent' a Havana-based foreign banker says." What!? Is this Granma? Has the FT gone commie, or what? Here we still have some institutions at lower levels that are not totally corrupted, but have a cess pool at the top -- just the opposite.

So here's my proposal: bring the top level of the Castro gov't here, and send the top level of ours there. But, we let Chavez and Carter monitor the elections, well, and make sure we them. Hm? What's in it for Cuba?

An area the size of Florida is going to be destroyed so that the world can delay facing reality a few more years.

 But the area of Florida has already been destroyed, paved over, drained, filled with trailercourts, stucco high rises, and expensive 100 story condos in the surf. Why the concern about goes on up in blackfly country? Ever been there? You wouldn't stay long.

 I cannot get behind the WSJ paywall but it amazes me that with their red in tooth and claw, no holds barred capitalist ethos, they are raising these dainty concerns. Maybe the WSJ has gone commie too? Think its something to do with the newsprint?

News and editorial totally separate.   News still run by human beings.
Descolada looked down at the device that Ford Prefect had handed to him.  In large lettering, the words "Don't Panic!" were written in large friendly text.  That was definently reassuring.  Despite the destruction of the world, his family, and everything that he had ever known in his life, he felt suddenly at ease with the world around him.  He would have to remember to thank the makers of this device for including such a wonderful feature.  He flicked a switch on the unit and the screen lit up.

"Welcome to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the American 21st Century.  Please state your query."

"Compassionate Conservatism."

"No page with that title exists.  You can create this article or request it.

"Well, that's strange... Capitalism."

"Hello.  Welcome to a new Capitalism! A friendly, smiling capitalism who hands out suckers to little kids in the mall!  A capitalism that understands the plight of labor and is willing to negotiate a settlement that will make everybody happy!  Capitalism that understands that just because someone is poor and cannot afford healthcare it doesn't mean that they are lazy, immoral drug addicts (although the majority probably are.) It's the face of a lovingly nerdy Bill Gates giving away free computers to underprivilaged children in inner-city schools! (awww.. the children! They look so happy now!)  It's the huge movie studios starting to give up and coming directors a shot at the big time without making them compromise their artistry! (I mean, wasn't Crash such a beautiful movie?  And Brokeback Mountain inspired a dialogue in America!) We promote the development of third world countries by providing them with ample employment opportunities.  (Some people call these sweatshops.  That's a gross exaggeration! We installed AC into all of our manufacturing facilities last year, and now hardly anyone breaks a sweat while being whipped for moving from their worksite.)  

So, be at rest, young one.  Nothing bad can happen to you.  Because of the all the good deeds we have been doing throughout the world, Americans are reveered, loved, and worshiped planetwide. You are safe and happy.  No one can hurt you.  You are free (to do as we say.) You are free (to do as we say.)  You are gloriously free (to do as we say!)

Oh! And don't forget to be a good Christian and take your Jesus Pills tonight at 7.  Remember that they symbolize the body of Christ, and through them the Holy Spirit will enter you and fill your spirit with the resounding glory of the Lord.  

Good night, Descolada.  And remember: We love you."

The screen flicked off.

"Wow, I feel so much better now.  Like the world doesn't suck nearly as much as it actually does."

And he fell deeply asleep, soothed by the idea that somewhere out there, there were people protecting him from any pain he might ever suffer.

The End

I hope you guys realize that as a very brief and crude satire, it cuts both directions equally.  Also, it is critical to read the "You are free.." part with the same voice that Bill Hicks used in his standup.  That's essential.  The entire thing crashes without doing that.  

You write very well. I think college may be slowing down and interfering with your intellectual development. Why not drop out of school, go up to Fort McMurray or someplace and pay off your student loans with income from truck driving while you try to write your first fantastic mind-expanding science-fiction novel?

One of my students at the end of his sophomore year wanted to be a writer, came to me for advice, and I told him to quit school and travel. He went up to work on the Alaska pipeline and in one year made enough money to travel for the next four. He is now an English teacher, poet and songwriter. When I was twenty I decided civilization was about to collapse and emigrated to New Zealand, where I worked on the very worst idea I have ever had--a historical novel based on the life of the Roman emperor Galerius, in which I tried to make him a sympathetic protagonist. The idea was totally original and totally rotten, but at least I began writing novels with fatal flaws an early age, and after a few more failures got much better.

Peak Oil is a time of increasing uncertainty. There is no unique strategy that is best for dealing with it in our personal lives. However, IMO we should go with our strengths, and yours is in writing.

Good luck.
P.S. See if your library has a copy of "Down and Out in Paris and London" by George Orwell.

"It is not the strongest of the species that  survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."  -Charles Darwin
Oh, the WSJ hasn't gone soft -- I'm the one depressed, not them. The "dainty concerns" are mine, based on what they report.

I went commie long ago, recovered partially, and am now catching it again, except maybe a gentler, kinder version. Want the world to be here for my grandkids, that kind of mush. Think the unbridled pursuit of profit might interfere with that.

The interesting Booz Allen document in HO's recent thread on refining concludes that refineries should be seeking to improve efficiency and maximize utilization:

Capturing today's high margins requires refinery availability, an increasing challenge for many companies in times of very high utilization. There is no better time to address the reliability performance of each refinery--current margins reward even small improvements.

However, EIA data for refinery inputs of crude indicate that the gap between the quantities of refinery input in 2005 and 2006 has been widening for several weeks, with 2006 inputs being lower than 2005.  Crude stocks, however, have been above 2004/2005 levels for almost a year.  Do the EIA data suggest a small increase in unused refinery capacity? or are there other reasons for the increasing gap?

We still have refineries closed from Katrina I believe, and this is the season for maintenance, between the winter demand and the summer driving.  Further the US has been importing more refined product this past season than usual, and the season was warmer.
From the Time "global warming tipping point" cover story:

The photograph taken in 1928, above, shows how the Upsala Glacier, part of the South American Andes in Argentina, used to look. The ice on the Upsala Glacier today, shown in 2004 below, is retreating at least 180 ft. per year
Leanan, remarkable. One of my biggest worries. Got the small house, rural,passive solar, heat with wood thing down pat. Have for 30 years. I listened to Carter.The climate changes, and potentially  "very big" weather can raise havoc with standard growing seasons etc.

I can produce food, but not in a climate that is off the edge. Frost...wind.. rainfall.. how can you tell what we have in store for us? Each crop has it's needs.. if we have a totaly unstable climate.. how do we plan?

Because of fossil fuels, if I have a bad year, I can buy food. If we don't have that ability and the climate goes off the edge, what do we do? PO and the use of fossil fuels really just gave us the most unstable climate you can imagine.

I have a problem with bio-fuels etc..just for that reason.. corn ethanol, nobody seems to see the climate is changing in very dramtic ways.. the crop you grew last year.. may not survive at all 2 years from now.

This is exactly my concern as well. I grew up on a small patch of mountain land where my parents raised most everything we ate. The only things we bought at the store were flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and soda, coffee, tea, vinegar and pickling spices. We ordered a bushel of oranges and grapefruit from Fla. in the winter and stored them in the root cellar along with the potatoes and onions. At some point my father traded the mule for a Gravley and my mother traded her canning jars for a chest freezer thereby reducing the labor required to produce food considerably. I ate much better as a child than I have as an adult buying my food at the grocery. So I now am now recreating the world of my childhood on a few acres of land nearby to where I grew up. But if the weather becomes too unreliable then the crops will fail.

I've been doing much the same thing for a slightly longer period.

You might be interested in the book Solviva by Anna Edley, 1998,  ISBN 0-9662349-0-1.  It's about her year-round, passive greenhouse on Martha's Vinyard - hardly an ideal place. FWIW, most of the winter heat for it came from animals.  Lots of good ideas.

Some glaciers are retreating, others are growing, others stay fairly stable.

Which is not to say global warming is not happening, just that you can't prove it from glaciers.

Yes they may grow where the temperature is so low that increases in temperature can actually facilitate precipitation and therefore increase snowfall. However, in regions that are higher in temperature, the rise in temperature puts it over the tipping point.

Some of this is so obvious it shouldn't need to be pointed out.

Actually, almost all mountain glaciers have been retreating, with only a few exceptions.  As to "proving it from glaciers", here's a reconstruction of global temperature from Extracting a Climate Signal from 169 Glacier Records published in Science last year.

The red line is the glacier-based temperature reconstruction.  Sure looks like quite a bit of warming to me.  Good discussion at RealClimate also.

One of the reasons I become nostalgic, resigned, frustrated and slightly angry, is, that we could choose a different path and without too much difficulty solve a lot of our problems. Nothing would be perfect, it never is. But we could at least be making a start on the right path. Unfortunately, I don't really see the signs, unless one includes TOD and all the other sites.

We could choose not to desroy our environment. We could take control of our lives and our political systems and change the world for the better. We could stop global meltdown and we could amiliorate the worst effects of peak oil. None of these things are theoretically impossible, at least not compared with the myth that we can continue with business (more or less) as usual. Baring a real "Green Revolution" I don't think we'll alter our present course.

I don't want to malign anyone, but from the outside, looking at TOD we seem a strange, old bunch indeed. I asked someone to have a peek at TOD, as an experiment, she knows only a little PO. Her reaction was as follows. She thought many of the contributors were rather self-satisfied and almost narcissistic. Especially the ones that flash their academic credentials. She didn't worry about hurting my feelings, even though I had intimated that I thought TOD was one of the best sights on the whole web.

Old, curmudgeonly, puritanical, miseries, killjoys, Stalinists, gloomers and doomers, were just some of the words she used. O.K. she's only seventeen and not really into graphs, models and tables, at least not yet.

How unfair is she being? After all our self-congratulation on the recent birthday is this a reality check? I sholulf point out I don't agree with her. I just thought it was interesting to get her naive response to TOD. Maybe she will have to grow and learn more in order to appriciate the standard of debate and all the hard and necessary work people put into TOD. Maybe she represents most people who won't find out about Peak Oil until it's too late?

All I could think of saying to her, to console myself as much as her, was that I didn't belive we'd ever truly see oil run out. Way, way before that happened the society built upon cheap energy would start to crack, split and fissure - and something else would replace it. I'm not sure that really did the trick for her.

Was the seventeen-year-old your daughter? Aha! Maybe our kids like to show their independence by tuning out whatever we advise. I am blessed with four of the smartest, most decent, and lovable adult children in the galaxy, but will any of them take Peak Oil seriously? Well, to be fair, one is going to buy a hybrid, but on the other hand, when I gave him my copy of Jared Diamond's "Collapse" to read and mentioned that I thought it was the most important nonfiction book published during the past twenty years, what happens? He "looks" at it, and after some months returns the book, muttering "post hoc ergo propter hoc . . ." even though he did not dare to even whisper "fallacy," because he knew I would not let that one go by without vigorous discussion.

One thing I found when my kids took college classes from me (in logic, ethics, economics, sociology) is that BECAUSE they knew their Old Man so well they tended to be highly skeptical of anything I said--far more so than other students. Of course, I am proud to have raised them to be skeptical and to assume that everyone is pitching BS until proven otherwise. What I have found is that eventually they discover things for themselves and are amazed, absolutely astounded to discover that Dad has gotten smarter over the years, as they come to conclusions similar to mine.

Readiness is all.

Now with my granddaughters, I'm having better luck . . .;D  

I think that's the mainstream reaction to peak oil.  Nobody wants to hear bad news.  

There's a reason we keep electing people who tell us we can continue with the "happy motoring" lifestyle, and not people who tell us the party's over.  

There's a thing called an "attention economy" at work on the web.  It's what makes sites successful, and what determines what character they ultimately have.

Peak oil is booming, The Oil Drum is booming, and "attention" is focussed.

... but what kind of attention?  What brings folks out for a Monday Night Open Thread?

I think we're seeing a skew.  People who see Peak Oil as a real, but slow moving, concern ... might stop by now and then.  Or they might hang out until they have a handle on things.  But they'll move on.  There isn't really a need to check in every day on a multi-decadal process.

On the other hand, those who feel an immediate concern for short term crisis might become more attached to the issue.  Their attentiony siome focused.  They change the nature of the site.

Couldn't agree more. For the time frame most of live in this is a slow moving problem. The enormity of the challenges requires long lead times, and many of us are not used to planning that far out. After all, a substantial protion of this country lives without a budget, and even our government provides a budget with all but a minimal connection to long term financial realities.

As for who visits, how often, and  when those statistic can probably be parsed by an analysis of the regularity and frequency of partical ip addresses.

writerman -

Very interesting take on how many TODers are peceived by people not very familiar with most of the things discussed on TOD.

I wouldn't doubt that some of our comments might come on as a little strong, particularly those TODers of a more apocalytic, back the Garden mindset.  Some of us might seem a bit overly pedantic and anxious to show off our knowledge.  

I myself probably come off as gloomy, opinionated, and curmudgeonly. There is a very good reason for that: I AM a gloomy, opinionated curmudgeon. :-)  


Should be.....  'apocalyptic' ........

The BBC reports that Peruvian glaciers have lost almost a quarter of their area over the last three decades.  You can see an animation of the melt of a Puruvian glacier between 1978 and 2004.

The immediate threat is to water supply in the dry season.  Glacial meltwater is the only supply for many Andean communities at this time and is critical to the success of farming.

This is not just happening in Peru though.  Every monitored glacier in the North Cascades, in Washington State, is retreating.  The same thing is happening in Glacier National Park, where the largest glaciers have lost over a third of their size since 1850, and

numerous smaller glaciers have disappeared completely. Only 27 % of the 99 km² area of Glacier National Park covered by glaciers in 1850 remained by 1993.
It looks like our own Westexas got a big shout-out by Kunstler this week for his national income tax relief idea. It is a great idea, Jeff.
Who's idea?
It was my idea. I just didn't write it down when I thought of it ^_^
Hello everybody in this forum

I have another question which is not subject to the current issue, discussed in this

I'm currently writing a research paper overhere in Germany, focussing on
Peak Oil and Energy Ressources in general. In this paper, I would like to
come up with a study about the EROEI of different renewables,  so far,
I don't have very much sources/information, dealing with it.

I would really appreciate, if somebody in this forum can help me out with  

Thanks in advance.




I may be able to help.  I have done a great deal of research into Bio Diesel and might be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to renewable Bio Fuels.  However, if your talking renewable electrical production such as Wind, Solar, and Hydro I don't think I have enough information to be of much help.  Instead I would point you to some of the earlier discussions on this forum about alternative energy.  Some the discussions in the past have gone into great detail about the EROEI for Wind, Solar, and to a lesser extent hydro.

Assuming you are talking about renewable Bio Fuels here is some very basic info about Bio Diesel and the energy that goes into it's production.

There are three ingredients to Bio Diesel: Lye, Methanol and Soybean Oil.  The lye and methanol create your catalyst which works to separate the glycerin content from the soybean oil.  Once the glycerin has been removed, the excess methanol and lye are then removed from the final Bio Diesel product.  Since the energy cost of actual Bio Diesel production is very low, (15,000 gallons of heating oil to produce 5,000,000 gallons of Bio Diesel), most of the energy invested is in the production and transportation of the soybean oil and methanol.  

To give you a reference point it takes 1.2 bushels of soybeans to create 1 gallon of soybean oil, which can then we converted into 1 gallon of Bio Diesel.  So on the Soybean energy input you simply need to find how much energy is spent by your local farms to produce 1.2 bushels of soybeans.  

Transportation only represents about 20% of the total energy investment.  As the soybeans after being harvested need to be trucked or moved over rail to an extruding plant where the soybean meal (80% of mass) is separated from the soybean oil (20% of mass).  Then the soybean oil is transported to a soybean oil distributor and then to the Bio Diesel production plant.

Some experts report that Bio Diesel on the whole, has a slightly negative EROEI and others report that it has a 300% positive EROEI.  In my opinion these different numbers are both accurate, however based on different data.  If the soybeans are transported, harvested, and produced inefficiently then Bio Diesel may very well have a negative EROEI.  However, more and more Bio Diesel production plants are being strategically placed next to soybean oil extruding plants, so that the soybean oil produced can be directly pumped into the Bio Diesel facility for processing.  There by drastically reducing the transportation energy input.   In addition new techniques coming into production this year will also increase the amount of methanol recovered in the process, allowing producers, to reused the methanol to create more Bio Diesel.  These are just a couple of the different strategies being employed to reduce the cost of production and energy input for Bio Diesel.

For more information I highly recommend the National Biodiesel Board's web site:            

The web site has a great amount of information and can far better explain what goes into a gallon of Biodiesel then I can.  They have a number of industry reports that detail all the latest updates in the field and industry.

I hope that helps with your research.

Prolific Researcher

There are three ingredients to Bio Diesel: Lye, Methanol and Soybean Oil. The lye and methanol create your catalyst which
Just to be pedantic, not really a catalyst. The lye requires electricity to produce, while the methanol can be created by a number of methods.

If you're talking about making soap (which it sounds like you are), followed by esterification of the fatty acid with methanol, your ingredients are going to be consumed in the reaction. Some of the lye may be recovered from the process, but the methanol will be part of the fuel. Glycerin is a byproduct, perhaps it could figure into methanol production.

Just a guess, but I'd say some of your lye is going to become washing soda (from side reactions producing CO2) as part of the process and need another energy boost to become lye again.

Like Leanan, my main worry is not that the rich won't be able to drive their SUVs, it's that they will. With the concurrent degradation of arable land, not really much good news on the GHG front, and starvation for everyone who can't afford the boutique hydrocarbons so produced.

works to separate the glycerin content from the soybean oil. Once the glycerin has been removed, the excess methanol and lye are then removed from the final Bio Diesel product. Since the energy cost of actual Bio Diesel production is very low, (15,000 gallons of heating oil to produce 5,000,000 gallons of Bio Diesel), most of the energy invested is in the production and transportation of the soybean oil and methanol.
Bottom line is, I truly doubt the accuracy of your ERoEI calculations.
Energy Returned on Energy Invested is a bit of a ho-hum concept.

Energy quality, and hence economic value, is much more relevant. Some forms of energy are more useful than others, because of factors like state (e.g. liquid, solid, gas), energy density and compatibility with existing infrastructure; any process which can profitably exploit a cheap lower quality energy source and convert to a higher grade will likely make economic sense, even if the EROEI is low.

For instance, batteries (both rechargeable and throw-away) have hopeless EROEI but are valuable because they are so compact and portable. Or coal-to-petrol or NG-to-petrol plants, in which the product is higher energy quality than the feedstock, but the EROEI is low. Given expensive enough petrol prices, they will be built. Hydrocracking plants have a low EROEI compared to simple fractionation distillation, but they have been built all over the place.

In the real world economics will dictate the outcomes for alt fuels, not EROEI.

Economics has proven to not have a long enough lead time. 6 years in a  row the EIA and major wall street firms have called for lower prices for crude oil and gas. Real businesses made investment decisions based on those forecasts (90% of new electricity capacity in US was oil and gas based).

Economics will work as long as the neo-classical capitalist system is intact. EROI is forward looking and the methodology will work in a system where energy, not currency is the item of scarcity

"EROI is forward looking and the methodology will work in a system where energy, not currency is the item of scarcity"

Considering economics is the study of allocating scarce resources according to supply and demand, it will certainly apply and already does.

And I disagree that economic models are flawed in the example you gave- it is more reflective of poor planning, mismanagement, and political failure. Would an EROEI analysis still have built gas turbines based on those same forecasts? As it is the most efficient form of power generation, and the fuel is very accessible, it is pretty likely.

So no, I think EROEI is an interesting, but not relevant concept.

Or could it just possibly be that the investment bankers that pretty much completely decide the direction and focus of the economy are... ya know.. stupid?

I'd love to take a poll of the thousands and thousands of account managers working in NYC's financial district just to see how many of them are Peak Energy aware.  I'm afraid the numbers would be much much lower than we hope.  

Well, you're probably right. But there are reasons to think things may be changing. I live in NYC's Financial District. People who work on Wall Street and make any money have always had a driver in a Lincoln Town Car take them home in the evenings. The livery cars queue up in a single file lines that can encircle an entire city block. The drivers sit and wait or idle their engines, inching forward. I've started to spot an occasional Prius in those lines.
Economics is the study of allocating scarce resources but has never had to deal with the scarcity of one that the entire planetary system requires and there is no ready substitute
Are you perchance an economist Shifty?

The concept of EROI was developed in ecology to describe the important role energy plays in nature.  All organisms must use energy to perform a number of life-sustaining tasks such as growth, reproduction, defense from predators etc.  The most basic task of all is to use energy to obtain more energy from the environment.  When energy is used to do useful work, energy is degraded from a useful, high  quality state to a less useful low quality state.  This means that all systems must continuously replace that energy they use, and to do so takes energy.  This fundamental reality means that EROI is used to explain the foraging behavior of organisms, the distribution and abundance of organisms and the structure and functioning of ecosystems. It plays less of a role when money is involved, but is central to natural science


I agree with you only to the extent that the concept of Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) does not tell the whole story regarding energy production and use.

However, it appears to me that the term EROEI has come into such common usage that it is sometimes applied in a manner for which it was never intended. It has also erroneously been used more or less  interchangably with the term 'energy efficiency'. The two are not the same thing.

I maintain that the term EROEI should be applied only to the primary production of energy, and not to its downstream uses.

 The ratio of barrels of oil made to come out of the ground to the barrels of oil consumed in causing that to happen IS a correct use of EROEI. The ratio of the BTU content in a gallon of ethanol from corn to the BTUs required to grow and produce that ethanol IS a correct use of EROEI. But trying to calculate the EROEI of producing say a flashlight battery is NOT a correct use of EROEI.

Why?  Because in manufacturing a flashlight battery one is not actually producing energy in the same sense that one is producing energy when oil is extracted from the ground or a gallon of ethanol from corn is produced.  A flashlight battery is merely a means of storing energy that has already been produced. One can legitimately talk about the 'energy efficiency' associated with the manufacture of a flashlight battery, but not its EROEI.

The way I view it, after the primary production of energy sources, such as oil coal, biofuels, etc., all of the downstream uses of energy from that point on have by definition a zero EROEI, simply because after the primary production of the energy a zero amount of energy is subsequently produced.

On the downstream side of energy production, one can talk about the efficiency of energy conversion (such as coal-to-electricity in a power plant), or the efficiency of energy use (such as in the amount energy wasted in the production of steel), but one cannot meaningfully talk about EROEI.

A term I haven't heard used for quite a while is 'form value', the premium placed on a given unit of energy  due to its form. A BTU of electrical energy has a much higher form value than a BTU in the form of  a lump of coal. Getting back to the flashlight example, a Watt-hour of energy in a convenient trasnportable flashlight battery has a much higher form value than the same Watt-hour of energy coming out of an electrical socket. The point is: so what? This has nothing whatsover to do with energy production.

However, as in the case of corn-to-ethanol, the ethanol is being touted as a substitute for fossil fuel. If it only has an EROEI of slightly greater than unity, than it is not really substituting much fossil fuel. As such, the ethanol-from-corn becomes less of an energy source and more of a downstream use of primary energy whose only benefit is its form value.

One should always be clear on the distinction between the term EROEI as applied to primary energy production and the term 'energy efficiency' as applied to downstream energy uses. The distinction is more than just semantics.

All true. But to certain extent IMO. For me the concept of EROEI is more forward looking and at some point will convergate with the economic view of the problem.

With energy becoming scarce the economic and common sense tell us that it is safe to assume that different forms of energy will start becoming more "fluid" - there will be found many ways to convert one form of energy to another. This would cause certain leveling off of energy prices as different sorts of energy become interchangable.

For example if we can convert coal to oil with 70% efficiency than the price of coal will tend to follow price of oil multiplied by 0.7 (on energy base). With different energies convergating EROEI turns into almost economic concept - if you have low EROEI (say 2) than you have to invest 1 unit of energy to receive 2 units of useful energy. But the wasted alternative use of that 1 unit invested would already be priced too high and the process will turn to have high variable costs (50% in case of EROEI = 2).

Convergation is already becoming obvious in the oil-NG pair (and hindering the tar sands production). The elephant in the room is actually coal, it is yet too cheap on a energy basis therefore it is subsidising (behind the scenes) other low-EROEI energy producing technologies like solar panels and wind mills. With coal becoming increasingly bottlenecked the true energy costs of those technologies will become apparent.

Oops, you mean that the price of oil will follow the price of coal, not the other way around...I'm sure:)
I think the price of coal would tend to follow the price of oil for various reasons--one of which is the greater volatility of the oil price.

However, the question of which commodity follows the price of which is not straightforward, though it is a fascinating one.

It is a complex question actually. In theory it would be possible to perform arbitrage if the price of oil (per BTU) is greater than the sum of price of coal plus some premium reflecting the cost of capital for conversion (which includes the normal economic profit). So:

Po > Pc / k + Pcap

where k is the coefficient of efficiency.
In theory again if we start producing oil from coal the price of oil will drop, because of the new supply and the price of coal will raise. Until they both level off at point where Po = Pc / k + Pcap.

Now in practice: the price of capital for coal conversion is so high and the physical possibility of bringing considerable amounts of synthetic oil to market is restricted. So it is safe to assume that at least in the near term it will not be able to bring the price of oil down... it is more likely the opposite to happen - the coal to be up. That's why I said that coal will follow oil not vice versa.


You might also want to post your question (you have to set-up a Yahoo account and then join the forum) at:

There have been unending debates about ERORI for years there.  The central issue being that no one can come up with an acceptable definition.

I assume you are familiar with the work of David Pimental at Cornell and Ted Padzak(sp) at UC Berkley.  If not, google them.

One interesting, and very different, aspects would be to figure out the EROEI on the Swiss new transalp rail lines.

Flat straight electric rail between Zurich & Milan for 40 million tonnes of freight vs. diesel truck over the Alps.

My guess, 40:1 reduction in energy use.

The Swiss should be willing to help you with this.  They are very proud of it and it would be nice to know energy savings.

Existing infrastructure being built for 100 years, but renewal should be a very small fraction of original.

I noted that each TBM was using 5 MW (for over a dozen years, figure 30% active time).

Also, the Danish wind turbine manufacturers have published some EROEI for their largest turbines (Vestas I think, but could have been another).  Look up Danish Wind Energy Assoc. (may have new name).  I saw well done analysis somewhere ...

I think Karahnjukar has about a 1000:1 EROEI over it's 400 year lifetime.

I know this is going to get nominated for the stupidest question ever asked, but. Did anyone see 24 tonight? Skip all the Hollywood BS, I'm talking more technical. Could that actually happen anywhere close too that way in an NG plant? Was all that stuff about pressure correct? Could you just release the stuff into a chamber like that? Could Jack really outrun those explosions? Do engineers really still wear hardhats, short-sleeve oxfords, and ties, and carry clipboards like back in the fifties, or Homer Simpson?
I think the answer to all of that is... quite possibly.  
I'm looking for real answers. Thanks for your help. I am this lame.
Can't help you on the rest, but many older engineers do dress that way.  Like Dilbert.    
The one thing that didn't make sense to me was this. They are going to put nerve gas into the natural gas so that it will be distributed into homes and businesses. Okay, but natural gas is not released directly into people's homes, for obvious reasons. It is always burned as it is released. But at the end of the episode, Jack's solution to the problem was to ignite the natural gas and "incinerate" the nerve gas. If fire temperatures will chemically alter the nerve gas and make it harmless, which makes sense, then releasing it into people's homes only via a flame would do the same thing.
That is an excellent point. And remember, the purpose of original terrorist plan was related to oil interests in Central Asia. Is doesn't get any better than that.
Hmm.. well, in the most part I would say you are right, but there are a few situations where a tiny amount of NG escapes into the air.

I'd imagine, as with any combustion, there's likely to be a fraction that doesn't react and simply diffuses into the air.

The second between turning the knob on a stove and it sparking might release some.  That really just depends on how fast NG dispurses into the air.  If it isn't particularly fast, it would just ignite with the rest of it.  

Of course, by not suspending my disbelief, that's a completely impossible scenario.  The nerve gas would have to be in incredibly high concentration for it to do anything, and to have to diffuse it at that high of a level across the NG usage of an entire city would take so much nerve gas that it'd make our military envious.  As for Saddam, fugitabodit.

Although it does make me rethink my silly game of letting some gas build up before igniting it, just to see a cool flame.  Because.. ya know.. the risk of blowing up wasn't enough.


  Thats the beauty of NG it does NOT have to be at a high concentration to affect people.  Just a few parts per million cause symtoms.  Higher levels or longer exposure (eight hours sleeping in a contaminated home) cause extreme symptoms.  Remember the point is to demoralize the enemy and weaken their ability to fight not kill all of them thats what nukes are for.


The organaphosphate chemicals used for pesticides and medicine are solids or liquids at room temp.  The gases have shorter chain molecules and are volatile. The flash point at which they will burn are as follows.

VR      150 C
VX      Unknown but gov incinerates to destroy.
DMMP    78 C
Tabun   68 C
Sarin   280F
This website (CDC) says sarin does not burn although I believe every thing not a noble gas is flamable given enough heat and O2.
One thing to remember though it would be difficult to control the mix of nerve to propane gas.  To much nerve and the flame would probably go out.  Pilot lights and other current burns would then fill a home with agent.  The gov uses furnaces with hot agent introduced into a flame and after burners with supplemental O2.

Another bad part of a gas attack on civilians is after the first few cases the media anounces the symptons (see tokyo nerve gas attack) and thousands of people convince themselves they have been exposed.

Buy duct tape and plastic LOL.

I made the following graphs:

Great graphs.

The all liquids graph clearly illustrates the decline rates for the maturing base of Norwegian oil fields.

Nice work!  Thanks.
My server is not working properly, so I give links to other server, just in case.

By the way, Norway has only 64 oilfields. I have the picture   with the production of the 64 oilfields differentiated, but IMO is not as clear.

I will do the same thing for UK when they post the production numbers for December 2005 (so I can include the whole year).

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at


The Norwegian blogspot "Kveldssong for hydrokarbonar" posted recently an illustrated analysis with Hubberts method for Danish oil production.

Earlier this month an illustrated analysis with Hubbert's method for Norway was presented at the same blogspot together with actual data from NPD.



Hubbert's Linearization for the years 1990 - 2003 estimated total recoverable reserves from Danish sector as 3,3 billion barrels compared to an estimate of 3,3 billion barrels by the Danish Energy Authority (DEA) as of January 1. 2005.

The production profile derived from the Hubbert method follows closely actual production as reported by DEA and DEA's forecast towards 2009.

Well, some time ago we had a discussion about the Ukraine situation and I afirmed that the Orange Revolution was going be dead.

Now it is time for some reality check...

The Orange Revolution is dead. Check the news...

João Carlos

Sorry the bad english, my native language is portuguese.

The romans never believed that the Empire was falling. Fool romans....

The election was about the splitting up of the Orange coalition on the grounds that some of them were corrupt. So the next parliament will have lots of parties contending for power. Some of which will be competent, some of which will be honest.
What surprised me is that the Russian half of the Ukraine only supported the Russian backed party by two thirds. They got one third of the vote, instead of the one half that would be expected if people voted ethnically.
I don't think Peak Oil is going to spawn a lot of violence. In post-Katrina New Orleans there was very little combat. Lots of looting, maybe, but basically nobody got killed at a higher rate than usual. Nobody shot shoot at firefighters or cops, no attempts to steal someone's house and evict them, etc. Well, not by violence. There is some fraudalent lending going on because there always is. You know, when the contract you sign sprouts a few extra pages afterwards.
Even when this government fullfilled it's usual role of waiting till the excitement was over and then shooting the wounded, like when they started forcing people to evacuate their houses AFTER the hurricane and floods, even then there were no cops getting shot.
So I expect that things will go along as quietly during the powerdown as they went after we lost New Orleans. Except that the next administration is going to be Democratic or Reform Republican and they will be very sure to do a better job of evacuation and rebuilding someplace else than this administration did. I mean a much better job.
"I don't think Peak Oil is going to spawn a lot of violence."


Ever hear of the "war in Iraq"?

Ever hear of the "war on terror", which just so happens to be a war "that will not end in our lifetimes" and that will take place in and around where most of the world's oil or oil transportation chokepoints are?



Good point, Matt.

And there's Nigeria, Columbia, and a few other places.

We tend to discount the violence when it is not happening in "the Homeland."

Myopia, mediocrity, and the politcs of denial, distraction, and dope rule in the USA.

A news that may seem well off-topic, but personally for me it is not:

Stanislav Lem, one of the greatest science fiction writers of our time died yesterday in Poland. His books "Solaris", "Edem", "Star Diaries" were among the ones that formed my world view and my interests in science, philosophy and ethics in my youth.

Rest in peace.

P.S. I could not find a an English language version of the news; and I know that he is probably not known well in Western countries. George Clooney participated in the recent screen-play of "Solaris", though for those interested I would recomend the original version - "Solyaris" by Andrei Tarkovsky.

Maybe will have something.  

It's been a bad month for SF writers.  Octavia Butlet, David Feintuch, Ronald Anthony Cross, John Morressy, and now Lem.  

Thanx. They do have a notice:

A bad month really. It is the generation of SF writers that grew up in the full of hope afterwar years that started leaving us.

The Cyberiad is just about the only Sci-Fi that my wife and I have read to each other.  It is sad to hear.
Someone posted this link over at, to the never-endined bird flu thread:

Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy talks about the flu bug that could bring the world to its knees.

I was struck by this part:

Right after Katrina, when FEMA was trying to rescue itself, they put out a call for anyone who had a refrigerated truck unit to come and sit in one of several parking lots in the Gulf states down there, in case they had 10,000 bodies, etc. A contingent of them went. Not all of them, by any stretch of the imagination. Within 72 hours, major food manufacturers throughout the United States reported that they couldn't ship their goods. They had no trucks. We have a razor-thin capacity in this country right now on virtually everything. They had to get FEMA to release the trucks.

Kind of the flip side of efficiency, I guess.  No cushion.

Thanks for posting that Leanan - very interesting.
And very scary in a variety of aspects.
You know, I use to have a pretty Machiavellian opinion on Bird Flu.  I thought, "Perhaps it's a good thing.  Death is never good, but maybe bleeding off some of the world's population, especially those in the crowded, urban, oil-guzzling areas, will both buy us enough time and give us the will to beat Peak Oil.  Besides, I'm young, healthy, and have a high constitution (rolled a 16 at birth, bizatch!), so I should be fine."

Yea... until I read this.

Amongst the interesting quotes:

Scientists in Hong Kong said H5N1 apparently causes a "storm" of immune system chemicals that overwhelms the patient.

The H5N1 virus caused proteins known as cytokines to rush to infected lung tissue -- evidence of a so-called cytokine storm, an immune system overreaction that can be fatal.

The study, published in the online medical journal Respiratory Research, might suggest that if H5N1 does cause a pandemic, it could disproportionately affect the young and healthy as compared with seasonal flu, which kills many elderly people but few young adults.

Yea, IANAD, but "cytokine storm" doesn't exactly sound fun, and I'm sure that's what would happen to me.  So, now Bird Flu scares the shit out of me.

  We discussed the cytokine storm at my hospital back when the rumors of H5N1 began circulating.  This causes concommitant pneumonia and a condition called ARDS (adult respiratory distress syndrome) The capillary walls in your alveoli leak plasm into your lungs.  To survive ARDS you need mechanical ventilation.  The problem with bird flu is we don't have enough vents.  The discussion was a triage system would be put into place an age limit and other factors like secondary disease process (HIV, Cancer, etc) would exclude you from vent eligibility. While harsh the point is to save the most people with the best possible quality of life.


Well.. remind me to stock up on masks.  That sounds like a not pleasent way of going.  

So, on the age thing, would you be giving the vents to the young adults or excluding them?  I wasn't sure there.  

Elderly people would be lowest priority, already lived their lives, less years left. Young people earn wages and support families more valuable to society.  The key is to have clear rules on a system and have it implemented correctly.  No one person making judgement calls (Dr's elderly mother gets vent, or poor person doesn't etc). Luckily I am far enough down the food chain not to have to make a decision like that. I imagine it would weigh on you for some time second geussing and what not.

Tamiflu is another situation like that. It is an antiviral drug used for flu and we anticipeted using it for healthcare providers who show up to work. It is believed in a pandemic most nurses drs and medics etc might no show.  These people have difficult jobs normally and might decide to take care of family first. Similar to fire dept and police status post Katrina.

Some think that's what happened with the Spanish flu.  It killed young people, especially young men, at unusually high rates.  (Instead of just killing the very young and very old, like flu usually does.)

Hantavirus was like that, too.  People died of their own immune reactions, so it was mostly the young and healthy who died.  The first known victim was a college track star.  His girlfriend also died...but their baby survived.  Meanwhile, an old man who suffered a heart attack after falling ill survived.    

Hanta virus is contracted from exposure to rodent urine crystals, the virus is shed in the animal urinary tract then ussually when cleaning humans aerosolize the dried urine.  Children crawling on floors and people who clean are most likely to get it.  Rats and mice are the primary vectors.
Discover had an article earlier this year about the 16th century epidemic in Mexico.  It was long thought to be smallpox, but new research suggests it was hantavirus or a similar disease.  The pattern was clearly that of a rodent-born illness, not person-to-person.  It killed 20 million  people, out of a population of 22 million.  
I have not seen this discussed on TOD, but in the event of a major enrgy collapse some of the government health provisions might disapear.

  1. Chlorinated water.
  2. Mosquito suppression.
  3. The need to stockpile food for longer periods and the possibility to get chemical pesticides/rat poison could cause diseases we only read about to return rapidly to US.

I don't subscribe to the mass die-off warnings but I do think public health will suffer.  Get vaccines if you have access to them many are good for years.
The CDC is actually recommending people stockpile food in case of bird flu.  They think so many people may get sick that stores and banks won't be open, and the power grid may go down.  They are recommending you keep two weeks' worth of food that doesn't require cooking, as well cash, medicine, diapers, toilet paper, and any other supplies you might need.  

Few seem to be taking it seriously, though.  The media is treating it like the "duct tape and plastic wrap" homeland security advice.

The food and water I always have stockpiled.  I asked my dr for 3 tamiflu scrips and I filled them.  30$ out of pocket for me but if TSHTF me and mine are covered.  If not its good for three years and the flu comes every year.

Chance favors the prepared mind.

What's the big deal about Tamiflu?  They are already seeing bird flu strains that are resistant to it.  Is really that much better than the other antivirals out there?  Wouldn't you be better off with a variety of antivirals, or at least not the one everyone is using?  Or are they all the same?
For resistance to develop, the pathogen must exist inside a population with the drug.  Little kids improperly given antibiotics. Elderly constantly taking them in nursing homes.  Tamiflu is used on humans I am not aware of credible studies of tamiflu resistance but through extrapolation it should not exist. Nobody is spreading birdflu and taking tamiflu so there is little opportunity for resistance to develop.  

Antivirals work on many different pathways, and to be honest I'd have to look them up to speak more accuratly.  Some affect assemble of the virus, some affect DNA/RNA transcription I think there are more specialized ones that affect retoviri etc.  Anyway I beleive from literature I have read and what close friends that are MD's have told me. In the end it was 30$ and I don't think it will hurt.  Hand washing and avoiding places where sick people are is probably more effective (prevention vs treatment).
Hopefully I wasted 30$ and hummanity never endures this.  But like hurricanes and the gulf coast its not if but when.

Here's an article about it:

I'm just kind of surprised everyone is putting all their eggs in the Tamiflu basket, given that there's already resistance when so few people have been infected.  Why not hedge your bets with other antivirals as well?  Especially since they are worried about Tamiflu shortages.  (Apparently, people in Europe are buying it like it's going out of style.)

The amantadines do not seem to work on the H5N1 strains seen in Asia.  Even oseltamivir (Tamiflu) has to be taken within one day of symptoms appearing or it's no good.  But most of the stocks of Tamiflu have already been taken by other countries.  It's only made by Roche and apparently takes 8 months to make one batch.

I suspect that older patients will not get the ventilators for another reason; no one over forty has apparently died of H5N1 yet.  There are only about 200,000 ventilators in the entire U.S. total.  If there were power outages most hospitals would also probably exhaust their oxygen supplies fairly quickly, too.

Interesting.  Apparently, China tried to control bird flu with amantadine:

Guess that explains why it doesn't work any more.

this in my opinion is the one major risk (there are probably some similar Im unaware of) to my 2009 lond crude oil futures position. Bird flu decimates population by even 10% and we're at $15 oil again.
Check out this IHS Energy Report (PDF).

Lots of pretty graphs. Like this one:

And this one:

Thanks for this.

What Happens Next?

* Fear of widening light-heavy spreads leads producers to focus on value-added products rather than crude production
* Significant investment in refinery capacity for heavy crude
* Integrated bitumen-to-product operations in Alberta
* Superior heavy oil upgraders in Venezuela
* Development of resource plays compensates for lack of material conventional prospects
* Expansion of inter-regional gas trade, LNG production and development of LNG spot market
* Innovative capture and use of CO2

I must admit to some puzzlement with Chew's first bullet. Value-added products rather than crude production. What the hell does that mean?

Perhaps referring to the Saudi plans to build more refineries that can handle heavy crude, and that sort of thing?
Yeah, I thought of that. But in order to refine it, you've got to produce it. Or, on the other hand, Saudi Arabia (others?) will not try to increase production, they will simply increase the value of their current production by doing the necessary heavy, sour crude refining and shipping gasoline, etc.

But I'm still up in the air as to what Chew really means here. And doing less investment in production itself is really what his comment seems to point to.

The world oil market is being manipulated in ways I don't fully understand.

Behind the subscription wall at Barron's Online, an interview with Art Smith, chairman & CEO of John S. Herold Inc., which maintains a database on publicly-held oil companies. "Energy, An Aging Bull," March 27, 2006.

A few nuggets:

"Another issue is in order to prolong a period of rising production and demand, you have to increasingly build up the amount of reserves. In other words, producing 85 million a barrels is equivalent to 30 billion barrels a year. We are not finding 30 billion barrels. We are finding perhaps maybe 10 billion barrels of new oil."

"Q: Why haven't they run up?
A: They are not growing. That's the No. 1 issue. The industry is really having a difficult time just holding its own, much less growing. The primary way they deliver value to shareholders is through dividends and share repurchases. The growth they can show is per-share growth. We are hard pressed to find companies that have much in the way of anticipated volume, meaning increased production over existing declines."

I hate subscription walls. Sigh. Anyway, if you can get a hold of a copy of the latest issue of Barron's, take a look.

Wow.  o_O
From Stephen Roach's latest posting on the Morgan Stanley Global Economic Forum, dated March 27, 2006, at

(but within hours, the next day's set of commentaries will appear, so you'll have to click on Archives and click on March 27 to get to Roach's piece).

"China, the Coming Rebalancing of the Chinese Economy." It's the lead piece in a batch of six.

Relevant quote:
"* Commodity markets.   A reduction of investment growth is likely to temper China's impact on the demand side of many industrial commodity markets.  In 2005, China accounted for around 25% of worldwide demand for aluminum and about 30-35% of global consumption in copper, iron, steel, and coal.  As the pace of Chinese industrial activity slows in the years ahead, pressures on the demand side of industrial materials markets should ease -- underscoring the downside risks to commodity prices at just the time when most investors have concluded that there will be no stopping the upside of a "super commodity cycle."  China's efforts at energy conservation -- a targeted 20% reduction in energy content per unit of GDP over the next five years -- could well amplify the downside impacts on prices of oil and refined products markets."

Whoa, big felluh. 20% reduction in energy content per unit of GDP over the next five years? Is this a reasonable target? Can anyone here think of historical examples where this was actually done?

Can the Chinese reduce the energy per yaun of GNP by 20% in five years ?

IMHO, yes.  Will they is another question.

Please note that growth is "slowing" from 9.9% in 2005 to 8.9% in 2006 (exactly the same absolute growth for both years, but on a larger base in 2006, something not noted by news analysts).

The Chinese economy is likely to be almost 50% larger in five years, using 80% of the energy per yuan of GNP = 20% more energy used in China in five years than today.

China is building a high speed electric rail line between Beijing & Shanghai, a truly breathtaking subway construction program.. Shanghai will surpass London and NYC for subways and Beijing will be in the same league.  A dozen other Chinese cities will also be transformed.

Higher GNP -> higehr energy use, but it need not be close to 1:1 ratio.  Ask the Swiss :-)

Just saw on Bloomberg that oil went close to $66. Is there something going on? They usually post some explanation of the sort "oil rose... on concerns on...", but I don't see any this time.
Nigeria, Iraq, Iran...and France.  There was apparently some concern because energy workers joined the strike in France.  
LOL, did they finally find oil with that Eifel Tower? :)
But anything is possible. Especially if there are others underlying causes of concern even a minor news may get amplified.
OL, did they finally find oil with that Eifel Tower? :)

LOL!  Consider me cracked up.  

No, no oil discovered with the Eiffel Tower.  (Though it was closed due to the unrest.)  But refinery output was slightly reduced due to the strike.

This doesn't exactly have a point, but I came across this picture of the second wave of riots in France:

That should be an iconic picture.  I want to put it on a T-Shirt.

Descolada -

Great picture!  I'm sure we'll be seeing more of it again. It is just as good as that now-famous picture of the skinny little Chinese fellow blocking a line of tanks at Tianamen Square. I just love that one!

The power of photographs should never be underestimated. The picture of the the Buddist monk burning himself, the picture of the napalmed naked young girl runnning; and the picture of of the girl leaning over a dead body at Kent State are one of the reasons that public opinion rose against the Vietnam War.  

That is why the Bush regime has been extremely careful in keeping inflamatory picures out of the media. But it won't work. Sooner or later it is all going to come out.

These thing are like chaotic systems: everything seems to roll along quite nicely, and then suddenly it all falls apart. This will happen to the Bush regime. The only question is: what will be the colateral damage?

"That is why the Bush regime has been extremely careful in keeping inflamatory picures out of the media. But it won't work. Sooner or later it is all going to come out."

Joule, qualify that statement.  This has been the most televised wars.  An enormous amount of uncensored journalists have been embedded with our troops. An equally large number are on their own in Iraq. In Abu Graib, midlevel personel tried to suppress photos to cover their own ass, but media has been invited along for the ride.
By the way the photos in abu graib were taken by soldiers.

So most people know on this site I am defending soldiers, but this post is not to respark an Iraq debate. But please qualify that statement.

I'm not trying to ignite anything either, but I would recommend, if you haven't already read them Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" to understand the self-censorship in the media, and Baudrillard's "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place", which is about how the first Gulf War changed the way war is presented to the public.

The vast majority of soldiers are perfectly fine people who have been put through an incredibly well designed industrial psychology experiment, and it's the men at the top that deserve all blame.  

I would like to push this forward:  There has not been any pictures or video footage out of the MSM similiar to the infamous video of the Marine executing people on the street from Vietnam.  I would be very surprised if this hasn't happened in reality in Iraq.  If there's so many reporters covering the war, where's the discrepancy?

Also, I apologize if by recommending something by Chomsky or Baudrillard I might offend someone.  I know people who are enraged by the names.  

the infamous video of the Marine executing people on the street from Vietnam.

What are you refering to here?

That is what I thought. That's not a Marine, of course.

 I belive your reference to an execution on the streets of Saigon refers to an image of the Saigon Police Chief conducting a summary execution of an unknown Vietnamese citizen.

 If you require evidence of US state sanctioned killing of US citizens please refer to Hersh, Chain of Command, pp 262, 263, Harper, NY, 2004.

 Your statement that the Iraqi conflict is well covered by journalists is a canard. The journalists congregate within hotels in the Green Zone, or immediately agjacent to it and do not venture out due to fears for their own safety.

 With regard to your reference to a "war" please give your evidence for such state of war as you believe exists. Your President declared the war over in 2003 and you should not be contradicting your president during times like these. Remember there is a war on!! The Iraqi nation is not engaged in any armed conflict with any other nation.

 If you cite Choamsky then you want to read him. If you read him then you want to heed what he says. I am enraged that you would cite Choamsky and then proceed to utter unfounded, inflammatory statements.

I have seen a vidie of a vietnamese soldier shooting a bound prisoner in the head where blood flowed in an arc out of his head. Black and white is this the one you speak of because that was not a Marine.

And anyone who is enraged by an authors name is a book burning nazi.  Dialogue will not work with someone who can't hear an idea.

Ok, I was wrong there.  I don't know why I was thinking that it was a Marine.  My apologies indeed.

But, my point that the government doesn't need to censor the media now because it's does a fine job of self-censorship still stands on the table.

And, I'm sorry, BOP, but I'm completely confused by what you said.  

Yeah, Bloomberg has story now. Simmons got in two soundbites.
Earth Day is just around the corner and my company is having some events where someone of a Peak Oil bent (me) could set up a poster or maybe give a short presentation.  If someone has already done something like this, I would love to borrow/adapt/plagerize.  If there is no alternative, I would be willing to collaborate or even share.
Thanks Leanan :-),
That is a most fact-filled and thought-provoking poster.  I have just ordered 3, one for my cube, one for a presentation/poster session, and one to donate to the school down the street.

Click on "Fuelling Fortress America"

This is a 68 page report by a Canadian think tank that is seriously rethinking the US/Canadian energy relationship.

PG pointed out the Oil Drum discussion on this.  I didn't recognize the title of the report.

For anyone who might be interested in the overlap between sociology, history, economics and finance, check out the documentary linked to below:

It's being released free over the net on Friday at the site linked to above.

Sorry, it should have been this link:

The Discovery Channel has a new series called "Oil, Sweat, and Rigs."  About how the oil industry is dealing with Hurricane Katrina.

Sounds interesting:

There's an episode on tonight.