World events roundup

So, what's going on out there? Let's see.
  • Oil prices are falling again, and the US just reported a big jump in stocks of crude. Why? It appears that refineries are in maintenance season. This doesn't seem to be affecting the price at the pumps, though. Hmmm. Is demand down these days? Not all news is rosy, though. This article also reports: "Iran made a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency earlier Wednesday in which it threatened the United States with 'harm and pain.'"

  • In Nigeria, the head of the military has been removed from his post on suspicion that he's involved with theft of crude oil. You may be wondering what happens to that oil: "The crude oil is siphoned from pipelines and wellheads in the mangrove-lined creeks of the delta, loaded on to ocean-going tankers and exported to refineries." What I want to know is, who's buying it?
  • ExxonMobil is on a roll. They claim they can "bring on as many new barrels as a major OPEC producer" within four years! They're looking at the Caspian Sea and deepwater GOM. Now we know why they ran that NY Times ad the other day... (BTW: Carl Pope of the Sierra Club weighs in on that stupid ad.)

  • Of course, the Saudis are giving ExxonMobil a run for their money. They still claim that "the kingdom's Haradh oil field production [will] be at 300,000 barrels a day by April 1." We've seen this before.

  • For those of you into alternatives, how about the use of olive oil instead of charcoal in smelting processes? Scientists appear to be saying that the "Mediterranean's first foundries were fueled by olive oil and not, as previously believed, by charcoal." This could be useful when blacksmithing becomes a valued profession again. Jared Diamond would like it—we get to keep the trees and have our fuel source too!
A bit more news. OPEC Says It Will Forgo Production Cut from the NY Times today.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I see articles like this.

With prices hovering stubbornly above $60 per barrel -- well over the $40 to $50 range that many OPEC members have called optimal -- Daukoru said the group was ''concerned'' but refused to say what price threshold would trigger action....

''We are concerned that prices don't get out of hand -- that there's some sanity to price levels,'' he [Edmund Daukoru, Nigeria's oil minister and president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] said.

Oil ministers conceded that prices were uncomfortably high, but cautioned against lowering output at a time when extremists are attacking energy installations in Nigeria and the Middle East, the West is confronting Iran and only a comparative dribble of crude is coming out of Iraq.

Prices have hovered at high levels for months. On Wednesday, light, sweet crude for April delivery fell 43 cents to $61.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. April Brent on the ICE Futures exchange fell 47 cents to $60.70 a barrel.

It's ironic that we're getting quotes from Edmund Daukoru of Nigeria. Their production is going down and it seems there is little they can do about. MEND is on the move. But beyond that, OPEC can't raise production, they can only lower it to influence prices--which would send them up, not down. All this nonsense from OPEC is meant to give us the impression that they are in control. But if they want oil in the optimal $40 to $50 range, what exactly can they do about? Nothing, nothing at all. I have hardly ever heard such unmitigated bullshit in my life.

"Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah, predicted that prices will drop below $60 a barrel by the end of June, but are likely to rebound to the $60 range in the fourth quarter. He said he believes political turmoil and extremism have added $5 to $8 to each barrel....".

He's an future oil price prophet

OPEC leads the charge toward greater price stability!

deffeyes points out how to lose money in the oil market.
Perhaps you would make the effort to expand on this cryptic remark and enlighten us all as to what you mean -- with a link, perhaps?
i scanned deffeyes "beyond oil" book.

at the book end deffeyes comments on how he invests in the oil market.

maybe good advice?


Dave said: "Perhaps you would make the effort to expand on this cryptic remark and enlighten us all as to what you mean."

So I guess the answer is no.

I guess the answer is: "sell oil futures at $60/bbl".
Jerome Corsi in "Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil" stated that the futures market takes into account all factors that can affect the market - instantly and efficiently.  IMHO this is yet another of his major BS statements that leads to a greater truth.  In fact the opposite is true:  The short-term futures market is highly manipulated and the "reasons" for price movements are only given by the "experts" AFTER said movements, not before.  

Many of us have guessed at the reasons that PO has been kept secret for so long, and I believe that the trashing of the oil prices (even by OPEC) is along the same lines. When you have trillions of dollars at stake, how much would you spend to plunge oil prices, especially if you know that you will make significant bucks from said plunge?  I have read many times that even the most extreme price movements can be caused by a relatively small amount of money.  All you need is a lack of buyers (bulls warn out by having their stops continually tripped) and a few sellers (the Conspiracy with billions of loose bucks to spend) and you can take the price down to any level you want.  News - spews.  Fundamentals - grundimentals. Peak oil - freak oil.  "They" control the vertical.  Do not try to adjust your dial.  I'm afraid that the natural and positive "Golden Hand of the Marketplace" is being held off by these people.  Just another indicator of how the people will be blindsided by the most nasty energy shock possible (I predict....)

Check this out for an example of how governments can manipulate gold prices to protect their paper currencies while "we the people" get moved further out on the limb that will inevitably break!  Get Ready!!!

I truly believe in the positive power of a truly free marketplace - I just don't believe that this world has ever had such a thing.

Have you heard of this?  If the futures market really took everything into account, what effect would this have?  Another example of how the Main Stream Media works with their Masters to keep oil prices low:

Satellite Data Used To Warn Oil Industry Of Potentially Dangerous Eddy Ocean FOCUS began issuing forecasts on 16 February 2006 - just in time to warn oil production operators of a new warm eddy that has formed in the oil and gas-producing region of the Gulf of Mexico.  
These eddies, similar to underwater hurricanes, spin off the Loop Current - an intrusion of warm surface water that flows northward from the Caribbean Sea through the Yucatan Strait - from the Gulf Stream and can cause extensive and costly damage to underwater equipment due to the extensive deep water oil production activities in the region...

News - Spews...

(I'm all for low oil prices, but not at the expense of the natural and proper preparation for Peak Oil.)

the united states seems to be prepareing for a air attack on iran.
they have moved both c-130's aka spooky's that are flying gun ships to iraq bases and they have deployed the uss ronald regan to the gulf.

Usually I dismiss the "US suicidal in Iran" scenario, but this thing sounds scary. You woke up the paranoid part of me and now I start to wonder why indeed everybody is striving to build inventories in this country... we'll see.

A gunship against insurgents planting mines on roads and blowing up marketplaces? Are they kidding?


It is obviously NOT there for roadside bombers.

Remember last fall when Iran ordered three of their divisions to be ready to move into Iraq in the event of an American attack on Iran. They may decide not to that in the event of an American attack, but the military wants that asset.

So you take the war with Iran as granted? We'd all better head for the mountains then.

The AC-130 against insurgents was not my statement:

The U.S. Air Force has begun moving heavily armed AC-130 airplanes -- the lethal "flying gunships" of the Vietnam War -- to a base in Iraq as commanders search for new tools to counter the Iraqi resistance

No, I do not take war with Iran as inevitable, even if we think it will only be for 2-3 days. I think the USA will stand down and Israel will do the bombing out of a sense of self-preservation, but the repercussions will spill over into cutting off Persian Gulf oil for a period of time.

But we want those big planes there as insurance.

The USA military has a lot of power, even if we do not talk about Nukes, though France does.

If you follow military deployments, the Navy has gone from under 70% "under way" or "deployed" to 86% deployed and underway in the last month and a half. And most of those have been to/around the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. You can follow Navy deployment information weekly, if you wish.
This is sabre rattling. If these assets were really going to attack Iran we would know not about it.
There is the probability that these are replacements for units and ships nearing the end of a duty cycle. But then I have too often overestimated the intelligence of Dubya.
You can't hide large scale deployments in an open society. It cannot be done. You can confuse people by making it appear they might be going somewhere else, but everyone knows when a full aircraft carrier of seamen are gone from their home port so there is no point in trying to pretend that they are not deployed. As someone who has followed deployments since I left the military 20+ years ago, I disagree completely with your assertion that we would not know about it. We would indeed know about it, just as public deployment information made the Iraq invasion obvious as well as the first Gulf war. The only excuse for not knowing about it is simply failing to observe the publicly available information. This neither tells us if Bush will attack Iran or not but those forces are deployed.

If you had watched the "underway" list over the last 45 days you would realize that there are now 3 different complete Marine expeditionary groups in the Persian Gulf region. That page only lists the "underway" assets and once they arrive "on station" the name of the ship or other asset is removed from the page. However, I've watched three complete Marine expeditionary groups go to the Persian Gulf and not return yet.

Do I think this is saber rattling? Yes, but those forces are real, in place, and have the firepower to at least start something even if they can't finish it.

Remember the Mongol hordes...  Forecasting a pending invasion of a town worked in their favor.  It was a great pyschological warfare tool.
After the map and post that was published here earlier this week and now the news on the movement on C-130's, and the build-up in oil stocks, I am starting to beleive that an "incursion" into western Iran is inevitable if not already under way.  There was a piece on NPR last night about cross border raids by Special Forces but I missed most of it due to a late evening client call.  

Those of us with memories of the 1960's and 1970's can only mutter "Laos" and "Cambodia," and I firmly believe that Rummy and Uncle Dick desperately want to rewrite the lesson plans from that era.  But the kicker here lies in the oil shock of 1979-1980 and the resulting damage to the U.S. economy that resulted, in part, in Chairman Volcker monetary policy.  The incrredible damge to the world economy that results from this reckless may be beyond calculation, and range from economically fatal disruption to the "carry-trade" in currency and bond markets, to full escaltion of Middle-Eastern War the U.S. has not chance of quieting.

I am suffering from delusional paranoia - before the cocktail hour, or is the Bush/Cheney effort to rewrite 20th Century history making its last stand?

No, I doubt even the more looney neocons are that mad. There will be no US invasion of Iran. If GW looked seriously like doing it I would expect Cheney to shoot him (that's an almost serious comment, BTW).

I do not rule out Israeli or US air strikes against presumed Iranian nuclear resources but even that is quite unlikely (maximum risk from June onwards, probability < 25% this year IMO).

My assessment would change if, say, Venezuela stopped oil exports to US but Hugo is wise enough to know that card is best in sleeve than on table.

Let's hope you are right. Heretofore, I have assumed that this was a Grand Game of Chicken, with the Iranians playing their hand better than the Cheney Neo-Cons. {I don't suppose Sec'y Rice plans on any VP hunting trips.}
What has typified this sad and latest version of the "great game" is the total ineptness of the US player (unless its objectives are somewhat different than seem in its country's interest and would be held logical) when compared with all other potential players. I blame: God, America, humans, in that order ;)

GW might like to play chicken but the other players are too smart to let him play that until they want him to, and they have all sorts of plans in place in case he tries to go early for that strategy. Ooops, I've probably got you all worried again now.

I don't think hunting lawyers etc fits with Condi's philosophy and recreational habits. What are her odds on being the next US president (I'm thinking before the next normal term) I might be interested in better than 10/1 if available?

If these events are leading to an attack on Iran, then you can be sure that all "players" are in agreement.  I was surprised when some strike on Iran didn't happen in  June of last year, but now with France, GB, et al on board, it looks somewhat more certain.  A friend of mine thinks the likelihood of an attack is 30% before GWB leaves office.  I think it is much higher.  I don't know how much the IOB is a factor, but if we attack sooner rather than later, my guess is that it was a big factor.
Um, oil inventories are up due to warmest weather in history, which led to lack of heating oil use and natural gas use, which led to large build up of stocks. Nothing war related at all.
Yeah, those evil neocon phantasms in peoples heads can play tricks with reality... maybe Bush tried to save the trouble but found We were not listening ... again.  Like spoiled children whose mommy might take away candy.

"What people need to hear loud and clear is that we're running out of energy in America."
--George W. Bush, May 2001

He tried, the titbabies cried, and IF he tried hared the titbabies would have accused him of making it all up for Big oil buddies etc.

People will ALWAYS find evidence to support their pet fantasy.

The AC-130s could equally be intended for counter insurgency meaures within Iraq. I see nothing indicative of an imminent offensive of any military kind against Iran.
since when did the insurgency start attacking in the numbers needed to justify the use of the ac-130?
when did they aquire armored vehicals?
a fully loaded ac-130 can level about a city block with it's firepower, that seems a little overkill for fighting insurgents planting ied's?
Seems the US has used AC-130's in Iraq previously, in 2004 in Fallujah 6435

Very, very good point.  BUT they only seem to send theom WHEN they anticipate using them for some out-of-the-ordinary purpose.

That could simply be like you say, for controling insurgents in Iraq (curb break-out of civil war).  OR it could be "just in case" too for extra-curriculars for later (or sooner than expected even ???).

But, we just git to sit and watch.  Got Popcorn?

i doubt the simple presence of the ac-130's in iraq would stop a civil war, thats un-avoidable at this point.
OK, what is a better indicator of coming action is when the Stealth Bomber and Fighters fly over my house as they did when we attacked Baghdad.  I'm in their flight path when they go west and take off for them is less than 100 miles away.  They usually don't roll these out unless they are serious due to the price tag to build and fly.

On a sidenote:

sendoilplease, you've gone from sounding like Charles Manson to almost human...what gives?

I quit taking "their" meds and went back to my Mother's meds -lol.  Honestly.

We all have our inner Mansons - just admit it and control it.  Sanity is all relative.  I know from terribly good experinces now.

I think you are right too - but the AC-130s rollin' down the strip with/out airborne daddies can still take a very long trip and deal a nasty blow... part of the salvage effort is my guess.

But I agree with you  - the gig is probably really up this timezUp.

I have something I wish to say about what I perceive to be a reasonable Iranian perspective, here's as good as anywhere:

Iranians are a peaceful people and country. We have not aggressed against any other country in modern times. When we were attacked by Iraq we fought back and defeated them. The US supported the aggressor in that war.

We have abided by all aspects of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We seek to develop nuclear power generation for the time when our oil and gas resources decline or are better used otherwise. Nothing we have done has been in contravention of the NPT, nothing we plan to do is in contravention of the NPT. We wish to develop our own skills and ability to enrich nuclear fuel for our own reactors, we do not wish to be reliant on other countries for this.

Why are we criticized, villified and attacked for our reasonable position?

We are surrounded by countries with nuclear weapons: Russia, Pakistan, Israel, India, US and UK occupying forces in Iraq. All we hear are threats from many of these countries. We wish to live in peace with our neighbours. We ask that we are allowed to develop our own peaceful nuclear facilities without threats of economic and military violence. We call on all countries to decommission their nuclear weapons, as the NPT intends and states.

If these threats against Iran continue and, in particular, if they escalate into any form of action against Iran, we will retaliate. Ultimately we may be forced to withdraw from the NPT (as Israel, Pakistan and India) and develop our own nuclear deterrence, if nuclear powers continue to threaten us and attempt to manipulate the UN Security Council against us. That is not our wish nor our intent.

I'm an American, and I've always liked the Iranians.

That said, there are people in the U.S. government who have Iran and its oil in their sights.

Borrow an ICBM from the Russians and point it directly at Tel Aviv. That will put a quick end to the imperial visions of the Neocons. It will be checkmate, game over.

I don't think you fully grasp the paranoia that rules Israel (and perhaps rightly so since their enemies want them dead and butchered and then pushed into the sea). Borrow an ICBM? Israel would try to take it out. Launch it at Tel Aviv? Israel would launch everything it has on warning in retaliation, destroying multiple Arab cities throughout the entire Middle East.

So don't be absurd. At this point putting an ICBM in Iran's hands could trigger WWIII even if Iran itself did nothing threatening first aside from simply possessing it.

The only longterm solution here is a peaceful resolution between Israel and its neighbors but so long as some neighbors (particularly Iran!!!!) continue funding groups like Hamas and taking the position that Israel should be destroyed, there can never ever be peace in that region.

The idea of the ICBM would be not to use it, but to cool down the aggression using the MAD strategy.

MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) kept the U.S. from invading the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union from invading Western Europe. It has a proven track record.

well yes it worked in the past but do you honestly think it will work now?
At a guess, there are some people in high places who were very annoyed by the 1979 revolution. Some of those people are still calling the shots.

The nuclear issue is one excuse for military action, the backup seems to be the allegations of IED manufacture and interference in Iraq.

As in the Downing Street Memos ( ), the facts are being fixed around the policy.

How's that for cynical?

I've also liked the Iranians I've ever met, and I'll bet that unique among those on this site I can sing the Iranian national anthem in Farsi. Unfortunately, it is the wrong anthem, from about forty years ago, taught to me by one of my Persian sailing students. BTW, Farsi is a lovely musical language, much easier than Japanese to learn, and were I advising young people on which languages to pick up, Farsi would be near the head of the list.

However, having said all that, being a base for terrorist mullahs and their evil talk and actions, well that is what is ultimately making Iran #1 on the list of countries for power-down. We'll at some point tip our friends "the Rooskies" to bug out of Bushy and then put the country quite literally into the dark ages. My guess is that neither the U.S. nor Israel wants to kill large numbers of Russians, and so my query is, when are those guys going to go home? Russians are not dumb; my guess is they have their bags packed.

I agree with you. I am really worried about the demonisation of Iran in most of the Western media. The US corporate media is clearly very anti-Iranian, for reasons one can't really go into here.

I recon Iran will be attacked and they'll try regime change. I really hope I'm wrong, but the signals coming out of the White House are very discouraging. I just hope the attack is relatively modest and the results are containable. Iran should fight a defensive war and under no circumstances give the Bush administration any excuse to use nuclear weapons. Personally I think they would really like to use a few nukes on Iran. This would have an enormous symbolic and psychological "value" in the region as a whole. In a way nuclear weapons have lost their "value" because no one really believes they can be used, especially against a non-nuclear enemy. This is, of course very speculative, but I think it's important to remember that both Britain and the United States did threaten Iraq with a limited nuclear strike in the run-up to the invasion. So it's not that far out. The Romans also kept discipline in their Empire by ruthless use of military to punish provinces that were in revolt, by levelling towns and cities and selling whole populations in slavery. I suppose ultra violence is part of the logic of Empire.

I think you're right about the nukes, but I have assumed that they would use Nukes in the bunker busters and conventional every where else.  Not that a daisy cutter is less formidable than a nuke!  I don't believe there will be any talk of the people throwing flowers at our feet or "democratization"... at least not at first.  I think our first goal will be to succeed quickly.  I also think that the final war signals will be when NATO moves troops into the area, because I don't think a quick success can be had without some level of ground troop involvement.
I lived in Iran for six months before the Shah left. I found it a wonderful country then.

Personally, I see Iran's recently elected president as fully representing the not-elected mullahs.  The combination of stating that Israelis should be moved to Europe and/or Israel should be destroyed, with a program intended to develop nukes, is not acceptable to Israel. The US sees Israel as the only democratic state in the region - notwithstanding the recent free elections in the west bank - and is anyway committed to Israel's defense, both by history and us politics. Meanwhile, the sitting us president is the most belligerant we have ever had and he previously defined Iran as an axis of evil charter member. And, this president has little fear of Iran's main weapon, withholding its oil, because the resulting rise in oil prices will be quietly welcomed by his oil patch backers. Pretty explosive mixture.

As an aside, while some of Iran's neighbors do have nukes, none of them have threatened to destroy another country, and anyway the persian gulf is so far a nuclear free zone. None of Iran's Sunni arab neighbors would like to see the Shia Persians with nukes. If Iran's nuclear facilities were bombed, there would be quiet celebrations throughout the region, save only, perhaps, the Shias in southern Iraq.

That may be so, but India and China have fought one war, India and Pakistan have fought 3 wars ( and one near-as-dammit war after the nukes came out of the bag ). The only war that the Iranians have fought was the one which started when Saddam Hussein invaded them - in an idiotic quest to steal Iran's oil.

Whilst no-one wants to see Iran with nukes it seems that no one who counts ( ie the US ) is prepared to actually stump up the strategic deal which would avert the possibility. Why is that, I wonder?

Iondanium -

There is a simple one-word answer for you rhetorical question: ISRAEL.


This has nothing to do with Iranians either in or outside of Iran. California, where I live, has, I think, the largest number of Iranians living here outside of Iran.

This is about their government. Remember, just for starts, it has four parts. The executive, the judicial, and the parliament AND the theocratic. The leader of Iran is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI who is head of state, the President serves him.

  1. a few weeks back the Shites of Iran were killing Sufi's (the whirling dervishes of old) in the holy city of Qom.
  2. God forbid you be openly of the bahai faith in Iran. Death sentence.
  3. the government as been trying to make the 22-24% population that are Azeri's into Persians - kind of what the Turks were trying to do with the Kurds all through the 70's and 80's.
  4. You can not run for Parliament unless you are cleared by the clergy. I'd like to see that tried in the USA or EU.
  5. and for foreign policy, where do we want to go? Eliminate Israel, by nuclear fire if need be? Or just sanction suicide bombers to kill women and children?
  6. and look at the Iranian Govt. close allies. Those sterling nations Syria and North Korea.
  7. If Iran goes nuclear, than who is next? SA? Turkey has been dusting off their nuclear plans from the Cold War of late.

It is understandable why they want to go nuclear, but it is a bad idea. And if it was just to have civilian energy, they could have gone with the Russian plan. This is not about civilian energy, this is about weapons.

There are some good reasons why the USA and Israel do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons!  

Can't run for parlament unless cleared by the clergy.  Sounds like the GOP.
Although for some reason, being Christian or Jewish is no impediment for being a member of the Iranian parliament.
<< This is not about civilian energy, this is about weapons. >>

I would agree.  It has been shown that nuclear as an energy source is questionable, because the risks are high from terrorism, and the production cost are often higher than stated, and no one has factored in the cost of safeguarding the nuclear waste for the thousands of year that is required.

In my opinion, nuclear power with fission is a boondoggle, and its only worth, is the production of weapons, or of military power supplies where cost is not a factor.

Did you ever wonder why the only aircraft carrier sent to the Persion Gulf was conventional... not nuclear?


The Ronald Reagan CV is in the Persian Gulf right now and it is nuclear. We have had a bunch in there lots of times. . . .

What scares me is if we get one sunk or even heavily damaged, which is possible. Buy defense stocks the day that happens.

The advantage of nuclear power is that is essentially does not generate any GHG of any major import, while coal, NG, oil, does.

As a side note, Jack, Turkey may not need to develop nuclear weapons on its own. According to reports, Turkey has been given 90 each thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs, which are stored at the Incirlik air base. (Note that, the report is correct, the US has apparently also armed Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany with the same weapons.)
Oops! Typo! It should say "if the report is correct".

I am not sure, but I think you are talking about the Cold War cooperation between NATO nations to allow the USA to house and have ready Nukes in case the USSR came over the Iron Curtain. It is not quite the same thing as "having." Some of this was for politics.

No, these weapon distributions have taken place since Bush took office. I think the USSR was gone a wee bit before that. ;)
If we attack Iran by air, the only objective could be destruction of nuclear facilities. The U.S. army, in place or newly inserted into the area, is not strong enough to attack and hold the Iranian oil fields. However, it doesn't matter what the U.S. objectives are in attacking Iran because, once the attack is started there will be a military reaction from Iran's 350,000 man army, and from partisan/guerilla units from various Muslim factions, and possible military actions from other Muslim countries in the Middle East. If the crazies in Washington can't figure this out, and don't step back as a consequence, we are headed for a major conflagraton. Personally, I think it is going to happen. Bush and his bunch are very dangerous, and I think we are about to find out just how dangerous.
Nagging Question about the Missing Economy Hit due to above $30/bbl Oil

In the late 1990's, folk in the computer industry kept asking, where is the payback (a positive one) for all the money being invested into automation?

Before the 2001 Bust, the answer came back: it's in the "productivity" stupid.

Well I have the same question except it is about a negative payback rather than a positive one.

When oil was climbing above $30/bbl, all the economists predicted that The Economy won't be able to absorb the hit. Since then, they have been proclaiming another Dead Man Walking Miracle. Look, the "Economy" is being shot through the head with $60/bbl oil and yet it keeps walking.

My Question: When will the inevitable, negative payback hit and how does the Economy continue to pretend it is still alive? (In other words, under which shell are the Enron accountants hiding all the red ink?)

I'm not an economist, can see the impact partly in the real wages of workers, which has not kept up with inflation and partly in inflation itself, which in my view is not adequately reflected by US govt. statistics. You can also see it to some degree in the rising interest rates, since interest rates reflect inflation plus a margin of return.  
Ever hear of the Plunge Protection Team?

Here's a post of mine over at another board about them (linky). The PDF document I referenced is a very interesting read. There are no such things as "free" markets and the payback for all of that inflation is guaranteed. It's just a matter of time.

As for OPEC... stating that $40-$50 dollars a barrel is "optimal" when just a few years ago the stable price was in the mid 20's is proof enough that it's a whole new ballgame. They've been pumping at a 10 year record rate and can't bring the price down... so OPEC will "forgo" a production cut?

Gee thanks OPEC... /sarcasm

To add to the news:

Ecuador emergency over oil strike (again)

A state of emergency has been declared in three of Ecuador's oil-producing regions after workers began a strike over pay and working conditions.
Thanks. I forgot about that quickie note regarding M3. It puzzled me at the time as to why the Fed would hide this number. I guess it's really no different than the Saudi's maintaining secrecy over their oil reserve numbers.National security you know.  What you don't know can't bother you. Unawareness is next to comatoseness. (Did Orwell say that?)

I so yearn for the years when I was unaware (of PO or other problems) and happily comatose.

Speaking of our State of the Terri Shiavo Unawaredness (SoTsU), there was this at Common Dreams: Happy Happy
<< I so yearn for the years when I was unaware (of PO or other problems) and happily comatose. >>

No you don't.  You may have been temporarily dazzled by the promise of Capitalism, but something was always been gnawing at the back of your mind.

Do you give your change to bums on the street, now?  Do you worry about a time when you may be the one begging for spare change?

Now that's an interesting observation.  Since I became PO-aware, I have indeed started giving much more change to people on the street - to the point of emptying my pockets, much to their delight.  Maybe it's a newfound realization that there's no "us and them", there's just "us".

It's what Scrooge must have felt on Christmas Day.

Yes, well aware of the PPT, one can trade on their actions and even their very existence. If you don't know FSO I suggest you wander round there for a few long days, you will find many oblique and some not so oblique references to them there:

Robert McHugh gets a bit scientific about the PPT here:

The markets, particularly US markets, are probably less free than they were 20 years or so ago - in the sense that there is some overt attempted judicious control operating. On balance this may be beneficial. However, there are signs now that intervention and - much more importantly - the possibility of intervention, have prevented natural market processes. When the boil pops the results may be messy and painful.

The US has eaten its free lunch; from the corner of my eye I see the waiter approaching...

There may not be one.

As I (don't) understand this,

US is 12th largest oil reserve holder.  Debt is at extremely high levels.  A significant portion of this debt is secured by oil based assets.  When price of oil rises, oil backed securities can be increased and used to refinance, or finance more, debt.  Oil price declines would cause recall of oil secured debt, forcing closure of oil reserve holders with high levels of debt and the oil service companies doing business with them.  (IE. Pipsqueek's Colorado defunct company)

Increase of oil reserve values are counted in GDP, economy looks good.  Increase of oil reserve values in GDP, without corresponding increase in production by work force.  Work force needs more money to pay for gasoline.  Both force inflation.  Inflation raises interest rates.  High oil prices are here to stay.  Not good, but beats total collapse scenario hands down.  Get ready.

The strength of the American economy lies in what it exports, food and high quality capital goods. What we import is where our weakness lies, oil and consumer goods.  America's future economic health is directly related to cutting total oil consumption and at least a partial restoration of consumer good manufacturing.  
RE: the XOM prediction of additional 1 mbpd production from new fields, net of declines in their existing fields, in four years: if that were to come true, would it tend to invalidate any of the predictions for PO occurance that have been made by prominent writers, such as Deffeyes?
We'll see if they produce - in the meantime, congress will be pleased that they're trying hard, so will forget about windfall profits tax...
Meanwhile their new boe, or barrels of oil equivalent, means replacing yesterday's and today's oil production with ng from qatar. Not worth as much because of the difficulty to ship to far away markets, and you can't so easily pump it into your gas tank, but it will burn... and, more important, it props up xom reserves.
all true.  but IF they can produce as they say, what would that do to various predictions of PO?   I suppose that if peak truly were in 2005 or 2006, then an extra 1 mbpd by XOM in 2010 might not have much impact, as decline might well be over 1mbpd from peak by then.  On the other hand, if peak is 2009 or 2010, seems like the XOM growth could head it off for a bit.
WSJ almost does it...they almost said it...the P.O. todays (3/08/06) ahead of the tape column, Peter McKay starts out with the headline OPEC: UNSTEADY EXPORTERS and goes on to say:
"..oil ministers from the 11-member organization of exporting countries are unlikely to cut production at their meeting today. they don't have. the output of key members is already compromised.."

If SAIC's Hirsch is wrong and peak oil is today, then perhaps SAIC should go the way of Arthur Andersen?

Monitor Staniford's plots at The Oil Drum to locate peak oil.

best from senior citizen.

Curious considering how Exxon has bloodied its nose in the Caspian.

old news
Well, if they keep claiming they will get a lot of oil from the Caspian in the future (as indicated in the lead) they'd better find some. The Caspian is the site of their most spectacular and costly failures, as indicated, and to my knowledge they haven't done any better in the time since the link I put up. For example, all their 2005 reserve replacement was in natl gas (as discussed elsewhere), so since these late 2004 failures it's not clear they've had any more success. If you have more current info I'm interested in it.
Lots of LNG planned to come on in Qatar in 2010.  Is this it?
Yup, that's it. While we're at it, the most recent Exxon news was a dry wildcat in the Norwegion North Sea.

True.  The Sulfur Handling Facility is now being designed in Bucharest here,

This is the contract award,

Qatar will send gas from the Dolphin project.  

Econbrowser has an interesting story -- "Another look at near-term oil supplies"
They compare CERA pridictions for increased oil supply and what actually conspired. Guess what -- 10 of 11 countries produced less, often far less, than CERA projected.

"these countries were expected by CERA to contribute 4.1 mbd of extra production by 2006, and so far they are providing 1.6, not too far from the halfway mark."

Yes, I recommend that TOD readers take a look at this important story from Hamilton who I respect more and more every time he posts on the peak oil subjects.
Um, maybe you should take another look.  The 1.6 mbd is for added production between 2004 and 2005 whereas the CERA 4.1 mbd projection is to 2006.  It's not saying much that 10 of 11 countries produced less from 2004-2005 than the projected figure for 2004-2006.  In fact, the author says, "CERA does not seem to be doing too badly at this midterm review."
Re: "CERA does not seem to be doing too badly at this midterm review"

I had a disconnect there too. I'm not sure what Hamilton was thinking....

The data he presents shows CERA predictions way off, so I don't know how could possibly have made this statement.

Still, I like it that Hamilton is keeping a sharp eye on things....I was more interested in the data that he presented, not his interpretation.

Well, if you're talking about the graph of the 11 oil exporters then I don't think this shows CERA predictions are "way off."

Look at the title of the graph.  It says, "CERA's predicted changes in liquid capacity 2004-2006 and actual change in oil production 2004-2005 (mbd)."  There is an entire year of data not added in which makes the graph a little misleading.

So from the data from just these 11 countries his statement makes sense.  If we just do a linear extrapolation then we would be comparing 1.6 to 2.05.  High but not absurd.

He is less sanguine about CERA's prediction for world production.

Also worth noting that the CERA projection it is based on seems to be dated June 21st 2005, that bodes less well. I am content to assess CERA's predictions in a year's time, I am near certain they will be found wanting and be damned. And if their maybe deliberately duplicious campaigning and misinformation has delayed real awareness of peak oil and serious action to mitigate how should they be judged, I wonder? How many lives might that cost in the long run? And for what purpose?
Did every one see the Chevron announcement in the Frisco Chronicle about ramping up production 3% over the next five years? As I understood it, it was 3% a year, i.e. compounded growth in oil production.

Venezuela asked for a reduction by OPEC of 500,000 barrels. It will not happen.

In today's WSJ there was an article on the new CEO at ExxonMobil. One tidbit of interest: Exxon continues to believe that "oil, natural gas and coal will continue to provide more than 80% of the world's energy through 2030."

It goes on to say that most energy companies share this view, but what distinguishes Exxon is that it does not think solar and wind are worth investing in as viable businesses today.

My beliefs are without influence. Not so of Exxon's and the others.

Exxon and the others use and peddle better drugs than you, maybe, predominant amongst them being money. Perhaps that is the most addictive drug of all. It is interesting to compare BP and Exxon, do it as you stumble across their utterances.
"Exxon is that it does not think solar and wind are worth investing in as viable businesses today."

Maybe they should pay attention to their competitors who are also giant and are interested in diversifying itno other energy sources (including solar).

Isn't that just for the "environmental responsibility show" PR value?
NO NO NO a thousand time NO!!!

PLEASE PEOPLE stop brainwashing yourselves with Yesterdayze Civilization.  Stop Conspircizing.

YES there are always conspiriacies in EVERY wave becasue Tangible Goods are involved. BUT the WAVE Itself in each Historic Period is NOT avoidable and Not assignable in Blame to anyone - it belongs in the "shit happens" at the end of Expontential Growth Waves" Catagory.

Those Big Oilers are scrambling Behind the Scenes as fast and feariously as I PERSONALLY am... I am busy collectin "garbage" to sell back to "the Blind adn Stupid Herd" later when they learn What is valuable and
What Was delusion now.

sorry getit - I do not mean to go off on you.  I just hear that from so many in the herd it drives me crazy.

I think BP is very, very serious about the "Beyond Petro" concept.  Same with Shell, Sharp etc etc...

They are looking ahead ... like Peter Salas is ... follwo the SMART MONEY that also sees Peak Energy (or more correctly - saw it in time to make the Right investments for This occurance Here and Now -like ;0!)

I know you "getit" because you are Here on this Board now.

I've worked on BP projects and I don't think they are at all serious.. internally.  Exterior show only.
Really ?  I appreciate your personal experince and your sharing it.  Honestly.  I'll have to go back and look at their annual and Q reports to see where they have been shifting assets or emphasis if at all - in a measurable way.  I know the Big Companies have to play the PR game too, but we all here know that in most cases they knoew or people w/i them who are now-retired and unbeholden and openly speaking out on the issue.

I just find it hard to believe The Big Oil companies are not doing Ops to prepare for this new business line that Mother is making a Necessity anyway.  But it is possible that the Eternal Energy Delusion is still in the business culture - look how long it took the market to wake up and make oil future contracts available (1983 - well after the Huge shocks in the 70s).

They fell asleep at the wheel before and I guess they could be diong it again  - just like Detroit is and has been doing again (and is paying dearly for again - BIG BAILOUT coming to Sink the USA ship?).

Search the Texas Air Control Board fines issued database for Shell Port Arthur Refinery and others.  Usually the EPA agencies in each state are a good resource for violations.
Solar could be used to pump up fossil supplies, particularly in California where NG is used heavily.  There is a Canadian outfit (SHEC) which is building solar-heated reformers to reform methane (CH4) to syngas (CO + H2) and then shift-convert the CO to CO2 (sequestered) and more H2.  The first half of the process could be used to increase the net energy in the fuel and reduce the amount of natural gas required (blogged here).

Don't expect Exxon to mention this.

Did anyone attend the recent presentations at the Stanford Energy & Environment Public Lecture Series: The End of Oil? There are postings of the slides used by the presenters here.

I was particularly intrigued by the Oil Depletion Myth by Steven Gorelick which seemed to be employing all manner of tricks to find reasons why depletion won't happen the way we expect it to. It would be interesting to get some first hand impressions of the talks.

Thanks for the link.
I was there in November and already posted first hand impressions on TOD. Gorelick's was at Nov. 2005 lecture. I'm not sure he was being entirely deceitful. Two people can look at the same data points and yet see entirely different pictures. Gorelick appeared to be an optimist and therfore sees nothing but let's be happy because production just keeps growing & growing --and that picture to date is correct.

On the other hand, we peakers know that trees don't grow to the sky.

>>ExxonMobil is on a roll. They claim they can "bring on as many new barrels as a major OPEC producer" within four years! They're looking at the Caspian Sea and deepwater GOM.<<

Unfortunately, by the rules of the game, they get to choose their major OPEC producer.  I predict they'll choose Venezuela.  Flat for the past 5 years, flat going forward...

There is a request for proposals (RFP) that went out for a zero emissions coal plant from

They say:  FutureGen is a US$1 billion public-private partnership to design, build, and operate the world's first coal-fueled, "zero emissions" power plant. The commercial-scale plant will prove the technical and economic feasibility of producing low-cost electricity and hydrogen from coal while nearly eliminating emissions. It will also support testing and commercialization of technologies focused on generating clean power, capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide, and producing hydrogen. In the process, FutureGen will create unique opportunities for scientific exploration, education, and stakeholder engagement.

It will be interesting to see who and how many bid this and the sad thing is it is the first and clearly experimental. Should have been down years ago.

Surprise, Surprise:

This is even impacting our local California Highway Patrol. They had a wish list that got real short last year when gas prices went up. No one expected the soaring prices:

Military's Fuel Costs Spur Look at Gas-Guzzlers
Where And How Vehicles Are Refueled Has Big Effect On Budget
(USA Today, March 9, 2006, Pg. 10)
The Pentagon has not emphasized fuel efficiency for its aircraft, ships and vehicles, despite shortages that slowed U.S. troops in the two Iraq wars and warnings from its own experts. That may be changing. With fuel costs nearing $3 a gallon, the military risks squeezing its procurement budget just to pay for fuel for current operations, says Jacques Gansler, former undersecretary of defense who sponsored a 2001 study of the matter.

Spurred by a 57 percent increase in fuel costs, the Pentagon is speeding up its efforts to save energy and develop new sources of power. All military bases and facilities have been ordered to cut energy use by 2 percent per year and pursue alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power. The Air Force, which burns more fuel than the rest of the military combined, is speeding long-awaited programs to fit modern engines on its older, thirsty aircraft, including the B-52 bomber and C-5 transport. (the latter is not popular these days while the more efficient C-17 transport stock is up.)

note to pentagon: stop fighting wars that reduce world oil supply
If the US had not invaded Iraq, Iraq would still be under embargo for all its BSing of the UN anyway as well as all the other UN violations. So how much difference does the war make in oil supply? Something on the order of 400,000-800,000 bpd, not a huge amount and not an amount that will fundamentally alter the impact of peak oil. In other words, considering the rest of the world's output and Iraq's pre-war output, coupled with what we know of existing demand (and demand destruction in poorer nations over the last few years) I suspect that prices would still be high, though more likely in the $50-$60 range than the low $60 range as it is currently. And if Stuart's assessment that peak oil is about now is actually correct, then the Pentagon would have been looking at budget issues caused by fuel prices anyway.

In any case, all steps taken by the government to begin reducing energy consumption, moving to alternatives, and recognizing the limitations of the fossil fuel supply are good. And as I said, this one would have happened regardless of the war.

P.S. One final point to you - the Pentagon doesn't decide to attack anyone. The elected officials do. The Pentagon just executes the orders assigned to them. Don't blame the military for obeying the Constitution. Replace the bastards who made a stupid decision to send them to war.

sorry grey...i do understand chain of command. of course it was junior's idea...just a daily vent
If the US had not invaded Iraq, Iraq would still be under embargo for all its BSing of the UN anyway as well as all the other UN violations.

Why do you believe this to be true?  If the UN sanctions weren't likely to be lifted in the short term, why was Cheney's Energy Task Force so concerned with foreign suitors for Iraqi oil contracts?  They would not have been able to execute those contracts should the sanctions never be lifted, and yet as early as 1997 such contracts had been signed:

Is it coincidental that in 1998 Clinton pulled the UN weapons inspectors out of Iraq and began the bombing campaign Operation Desert Fox?  But that is perhaps overly indirect proof that in fact, prior to the US invasion, UN sanctions on Iraq were shortly to be lifted.

Two quotes from chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix:

"No proscribed activities, or the result of such activities, from the period 1998-2002 have, so far, been detected through inspections."  -  March 6, 2003, on the topic of Chemical and Biological weapons (

"Had we had a few months more [of inspections before the war], we would have been able to tell both the CIA and others that there were no weapons of mass destruction [at] all the sites that they had given to us," - October 6, 2004

Weren't the sanctions about the weapons program?  If the chief inspector says with a little more time, we would have been able to state definitely there was no weapons program, would not the sanctions have been lifted?  (and up to US$1.1 trillion of production-sharing contracts (Washington Post, September 15, 2002, "Iraq War Scenario, Oil Is the Key Issue; US Drillers Eye Huge Petroleum Pool"), already signed, would have gone into effect for non-US companies?)

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, nor that what I've said above is correct, but absent some pretty compelling evidence I'm not convinced that "If the US had not invaded Iraq, Iraq would still be under embargo for all its BSing of the UN anyway as well as all the other UN violations."

I do not think you have grasped the brilliance of Bush's oil conservation plan:
1. Fight Iraq and Iran to reduce supply of oil, which in turn will
2. thereby greatly increase the price of oil and
3. thus achieve our most-desired goal--CONSERVATION!
4. because at higher prices quantity demanded will be less.
Norway is reporting a year-on-year decline of 18%.

I think that is a little steeper decline than anyone had every anticipated.

It's a two-year decline. I read this earlier and had trouble making sense of it. Their back date is Feb 2004, not 2005. If it's two years there isn't any real news here. I looked for other press releases from NPD, but couldn't find any pattern. Maybe soemone else will have more luck. The Norwegians are actually the best at expecting their declines.
Regarding the olive oil idea, it seems totally off the mark to me when it comes to a sustainable future.   Olive oil is a very valuable and labor-intensive food item with great health benefits.  Using it in copper smelting may have been of some advantage to ancient warlords who could steal the oil from the labor of subjugated peasants who got few metal objects of their own.  In our post-peak future we could easily use relatively small amounts of the remaining fossil fuels for truly essential purposes.  We will have to forego the senseless waste of both fuels and products that we engage in now.  As a matter of fact, we will be able to mine already-smelted metals from our existing garbage dumps for many generations to come.  Meanwhile, have you noticed how much olive oil prices have risen in recent months, due to drought in the Mediterranean region, possibly caused by "global meltdown"?