I was out tending the vegie garden and mulling over some Saturday thread comments and logged on to find a new thread. Here's my thoughts on biofuels; firstly an acknowledgement they won't keep 600 million (or whatever) cars on the road. However
  1. let the customer decide on food vs fuel
  2. the learning curve and scaling up will help
  3. exploit the electrical stretch
Rather than a long rant I'll give examples.  Your 'meat'loaf and 'full cream' milk could be part based on oilseed leftovers after extracting the oil for fuel.  With a steamlined cropping  system you could run all agricultural machinery on biofuel. With spare renewable or nuclear electricity you could make nitrogen fertiliser. Then there's plug-in hybrids, and so on.

The killer is that none of this needs the unproven technology that ecotopians want to believe in. We could have something resembling the present but a lot less wasteful.    

let the customer decide on food vs fuel

What if that results in the wealthy getting both and everyone else getting neither?

What if that results in the wealthy getting both and everyone else getting neither?
Could be, though more likely to be the landowning classes http://www.aboutbioenergy.info/benefits.html
A variant of this is already happening in the developing world: cash crops for international markets (tobacco, cotton, coffee, etc.) being favoured over food for the national/regional market.  
The consensus in Eastern Arkansas-The Delta, is that cotton
will be planted turnrow to turnrow (meaning, everywhere possible).

Corn and rice will be cut back-at least 20%, with soybeans
(no fertilizer needed)filling the gaps.


Back to the Titanic/Iceberg Analogy

In James Cameron's movie, do you recall when the music tempo picked up, as the water crashed through the windows to the bridge, and the ship started going down much faster?

I think that we have hit the iceberg, but the water hasn't yet started crashing through the windows to the bridge.

Some people are heading toward lifeboats as fast as possible.

Others are debating whether the ship will actually sink or not.  A few experts say that the ship most assuredly will sink, because it is a question of basic physics.  In most cases, the experts are disregarded

The first lifeboats leaving the ship are only partially full.  As it gradually becomes more apparent that the ship really is sinking, a mad rush for the remaining lifeboats begins.  As we all know, there weren't enough lifeboats for everyone on board.

My continuing advice:  try to reduce your spending to 50% of less of your current income; try to reduce the distance between home and work to as close to zero as possible; look into becoming a net food or net energy producer, or look into working in these industries, or look into providing basic needs, not wants.  Do not go into debt to provide a college education for your kid in a "soft" major.

xnext=rx[1-x], which works well so long as the variable r (rate of population growth) has a relatively low value. Above a certain value r the formula refuses to arrive at an equilibrium. x = population r = rate of growth xnext = next years population

No extra energy is entering the system. Per Capita Energy Production has been dropping since Reagan's Era.

In a system defined by nonlinear equations, the act of playing the game has a way of changing the rules, much as in the parable about the nail and the kingdom.

It will get worse.

At some point in the Titanic parable, a bifurcation occurs
whereby the passengers go from scoffing at those in the lifeboats to the perturbation of swamping them.


Do not go into debt to provide a college education for your kid in a "soft" major.

But even some of the "hard" majors are looking a bit dicey. Computer scientist jobs are being outsourced to India where that expertise is growing rapidly. High energy physics is moving to Europe or even Asia as that is where the cutting edge research machines are being constructed, those remaining in the US being headed for mothballs. The ports debacle likely means the Muslim world will shift to flying Airbus rather than Boeings.

What are sharp, hardworking teenagers with excellent grades and test scores from middle class backgrounds to do? Both too much complacency (the world will continue for my generation as it did for my parent's generation) and too much alarm (life isn't worth living) are bad. To develop self awareness of the coming world on their own and to establish a basis for making good choices (most high schools likely don't and won't help much in either case), what books should they read or movies should they see? Unless their parents are wealthy, attending almost any private school means they will graduate with significant debt. With instate costs where they are, even attending any state-assisted four year school means they will graduate with some debt. Those looking to professional degrees will graduate with considerable debt. Tough choices compared to those of my generation.

Maybe going to learn a special trade, such as mastering the installation of solar panels or solar water heaters, for which there will be a local demand instead of college is a better path?

But even some of the "hard" majors are looking a bit dicey. Computer scientist jobs are being outsourced to India where that expertise is growing rapidly. High energy physics is moving to Europe or even Asia as that is where the cutting edge research machines are being constructed, those remaining in the US being headed for mothballs.

Well, speaking as a physicist, going into high energy has always been a difficult career path.  There were always more grad students and post-docs in the pipeline than there were proper jobs for them to migrate into.

I study natural resources management, in the department of agriculture. We'll always need soil science, forest managers, and such.
I would add careers in:

Escapism Entertainment

Don't forget handicrafts. I've already registered the following url:


. . . in light of what Bob Shaw posted yesterday:


I plan on having a model that is wrapped with those new thin flim solar cells so it can be used to power small gadgets.



The Times (of London) claims to have sources that back up Hersh except for the nuclear part.  However, they're thinking maybe not till 2008.  
I think what the Sunday Times says can be ignored - to put it mildly, they don't have a track record.
Spring is here and it's a truly beautiful Sunday morning. The sea is glinting in the sunlight, birds are singing in the garden, and the flowers are forcing their way through the slowly warming soil. One really wishes the reports relating to contingency plans to attack Iran were totally unfounded, could easily be dismissed, and that nothing could be further from the truth: unfortunately, I don't think they are. But who knows, maybe we'll get lucky and somehow avoid disaster. Maybe aliens will land on the Whitehouse lawn?

In my opinion the number one question we're going to face during the next year or two, is how do we stop an attack on Iran. Forget global meltdown and Peak Oil for a bit, these things are threats we face in the future. Iran is far more of an 'immediate concern' and could bring on the effects of Peak Oil far quicker than actually 'running out of oil' ever could.

What worries me, is that the current Bush administration has a great deal of support for taking some sort of action against Iran, especially in Congress, and not just in the Republican group. I seem to remember hearing various politicians stating that waiting and allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons is a greater threat/risk, than taking action, before it's too late. This of course in a question of 'balance' and relatively small things can upset or sway such a balance.

There is also the 'Israeli equation.' What happens if Israel decides to lauch an attack on Iran? Is that worse or better for the US? Is attacking the nuclear facilities enough? Isn't 'regime change' in Iran the only viable and long-term solution to the Iranian question? These are difficult and complicated questions.

Perhaps Tony Blair could even stop such an attack. Let's imagine that literally threw himself into campaigning against an attack, with the same energy and vigour that he used to justify the war with Iraq. By doing this he might even wipe-out the stain on his reputation, save his legacy and secure his place in history. Surely this would be the kind of challange he loves, once more at the centre of the world stage, travelling from country to country, city to city, and speaking to millions at anti-war demonstrations. His rhetorical skills, and flowing words, mezmerising the adoring crowds, maybe even flanked by Bono and Sting holding guitars! Could he do it, could he swing the American people behind an anti-war stance? I think he just might pull it off. If only an angel would whisper in his ear!

If I was him, I'd go for it, and definitively break with Bush. I fear though that his gone too far down the road to perdition, and redemtion, is well nigh impossible.

Perhaps I should have added that stopping Iraq sliding into full-scale civil war, leading to to a wider regional conflict is also an enormous problem, requiring the skill, intelligence, and wisdom, of a Solomon to stop it happening.
Without Peak Oil, we'd have no need to attack Iran. If there were plenty of oil to go around for another decade, these sabres wouldnt be rattling.
Except that Israel is dictating to us that we go to war- a minor point.
You do realize that by "naming the Jew", you are being antisemitic, which is the most immoral thing you could possibly ever be? Shame, tsk, etc.
Arabs are Semites, too, and thus if you are anti-Arab you are also anti-Semitic.

As for myself, I am for the human race.

You might get in trouble for that too.
There's anti-semitism and then there's anti-Semitism :-)
If there was no oil in the Middle East, we would have about as many soldiers there as we do at the North Pole.
The Washington Post had essentially the same story this morning:


(which is down right now, so I can only quote indirectly) and discussion of this is making the usual rounds:


The suggestion has been made that this is a sort of palace coup - an attempt to prevent such an attack by leaking the information to the press.

It isn't just the U.S. of course:

Israel is preparing, as well. The government recently leaked a contingency plan for attacking on its own if the United States does not, a plan involving airstrikes, commando teams, possibly missiles and even explosives-carrying dogs. Israel, which bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear plant in 1981 to prevent it from being used to develop weapons, has built a replica of Natanz, according to Israeli media, but U.S. strategists do not believe Israel has the capacity to accomplish the mission without nuclear weapons.

The Israelis are pushing for an attack soon - probably because they think there is a window of opportunity while Bush is in office.

Israel points to those missiles to press their case in Washington. Israeli officials traveled here recently to convey more urgency about Iran. Although U.S. intelligence agencies estimate Iran is about a decade away from having a nuclear bomb, Israelis believe a critical breakthrough could occur within months. They told U.S. officials that Iran is beginning to test a more elaborate cascade of centrifuges, indicating that it is further along than previously believed.

The question as to why a nuclear attack is being contemplated has to do with the underground targets they are trying to destroy:

"The targeteers honestly keep coming back and saying it will require nuclear penetrator munitions to take out those tunnels," said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former CIA analyst. "Could we do it with conventional munitions? Possibly. But it's going to be very difficult to do."

Retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner, an expert in targeting and war games who teaches at the National Defense University, recently gamed an Iran attack and identified 24 potential nuclear-related facilities, some below 50 feet of reinforced concrete and soil.

The conclusion being reached is that we are painting ourselves into a corner:

Gardiner concluded that a military attack would not work, but said he believes the United States seems to be moving inexorably toward it. "The Bush administration is very close to being left with only the military option," he said.

The attack on Iraq went forward because Iraq had WMD. This was not true.
The attack on Iran is going forward because Iran does not have WMD. See below.

Russian military stalls on reports Ukraine sold warheads to Iran
12:25     |     03/ 04/ 2006

MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - The chief of Russia's General Staff said Monday he could neither confirm nor deny reports that Ukraine had sold 250 nuclear warheads to Iran.


Nothing beats a faith based foreign policy and a Messianic leader concerned with providing a lasting legacy to the world.

 I agree with the previous poster who suggested that if this attack goes forward that the USA be repudiated by all other nations of the world, that all trade and contact with the United States cease.
 I feel that way and I am not a Muslim. I do not know how the world Muslim community will respond but I would be surprised if their sense of outrage is not greater than mine.

 To our American friends, I would suggest that for you, Peak Oil will commence on the day that you bomb Iran.

Nothing beats a faith based foreign policy and a Messianic leader concerned with providing a lasting legacy to the world.
Which, to our peril, includes both Bush and Ahmadinejad.
 There is a singular difference between the two leaders.

 Bush is already a lame duck facing an increasingly independent and obstructive congress and a disenchanted electorate. I suspect that an attack would further fragment any remaining support for Bush and possibly result in his impeachment.

 Ahmadinejad is unpopular due to a failed economic policy. Once Iran is attacked the populace will unite behind him. He will become stronger, not weaker.

 Most revealing will be the response from other nations to the Hersh report. I would expect increased muslim nation solidarity despite religious differences. North Korea is in some form of strategic pact with Iran. China has invested in Iranian energy resources. Russia has an opportunity to run their Afghanistan defeat in reverse. Europe has to ponder where next winters NG will come from; they know it will not come from the US. Dubai and the other nations on the Gulf know that they, not the US, will form the frontlines in any subsequent conflict (remember those nice photos of a surreal Dubai waterfront development posted last month?). The "Bolivar Bloc" in South America will likely draw closer together.

I think Stuart's analysis is correct. The sources are speaking out of a concern for the decisions being made and the potential negative outcomes visible to any rational actor. They are not, as Sailorman suggests, speaking out due to the Pentagon conducting a normal planning update. The sources appear to have the expertise to discern between the two.

I bet one dollar, to be contributed to the charity of your choice, that the U.S. does not attack Iran during the next twelve months.

If you lose, you pay one dollar to my favorite charity, The Nature Conservancy.

Want to put your money where your mouth is?

(Honor system: I'll trust you to contribute if you lose, and you trust me. O.K.?)

My wife asked me yesterday if I thought we were really going to attack. I said "No, I think we will come to our senses here." I hope this is carefully leaked information to get Iran to negotiate. We are busy enough in Iraq without taking on another enemy over there. Not to mention the cost in lives, and dollars.


If the Iranians already have Russian warheads, then what is the point in attacking Iranian enrichment facilities.  For that matter, what would be the point in building enrichment facilities, knowing that this itself would be provacative?
The worrisome part is that the Bush admin is acting like they have an upcoming deadline.  At the end of March, they only wanted to give Iran 14 days to stop enrichment.  They tried to talk El Baradei out of going to Iran next week.  If they're insane enough and have decided to do it no matter what, they won't wait and take the chance of being stopped by a bad hurricane season or what have you.

I found this from the Times article you noted (thanks!) quite revealing:

"The Sunday Times was last week given the same message. A senior White House source said Bush and Cheney were determined not to bequeath the problem of a nuclear Iran to their successors. "It's not in their nature," he said.

White House insiders scoff that Bill Clinton left Al-Qaeda unchecked. A nuclear-armed Iran, they believe, is too dangerous to be left to a potential Democrat president.

One date is said to be etched in the minds of military planners: 2008. Word has gone out that the Iranian nuclear crisis must be resolved by then or the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with its Israel-baiting rhetoric, will face military consequences."

It reminds me of the point made by the Indian General after the Gulf War, "Don't fight the Americans without nuclear weapons."

As to some other comments on this point, it is unlikely that Iran would have its first nuke or two for three years.

Mother's plea for justice for her slaughtered son

Just before midday on 11 April, 2003, an Israeli sniper opened fire on three children as they played in a dusty, makeshift playground in Rafah, deep in the fag end of the Gaza Strip. The youngsters froze. A young English photographer dashed to the scene, carrying the traumatised body of a small boy to safety.

 Yup. That President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with his Israel-baiting rhetoric. Better bomb him quick.


 And funny how this story got no play in the US media. Appears to concern an American citizen.


 Emails show that Hurndall arrived in Rafah after hearing of the death of American peacekeeper Rachel Corrie. He wanted to know what had really happened, Could it really be that bad?

Rachel was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a gathering of young idealists who offer themselves as human shields. Three weeks before Tom was shot, the 23-year-old had watched a bulldozer rumble towards Palestinian homes that the IDF wanted to flatten. She stood her ground. The bulldozer, it is alleged, crushed her, stopped, then reversed over her broken frame. Photographs show ISM activists huddled around a crushed body. In the background stands the massive shape of a bulldozer. Connecting the two are deep bulldozer tracks. The field report by the IDF, in keeping with the controversial accounts furnished by their inquiries into the death of James and Tom, state that Rachel was 'not run over by an engineering vehicle'.


I just had an epiphany regarding peak oil.  Perhaps it's not so much the event as it will be a catalyst.  I see peak oil as a catalyst that become more volitile as it becomes... more concentrated-- like certain explosives.  What's needed is some event-- some spark that causes the actual problems.  The US passed peak production without anyone really noticing (not high enough concentration-- not big enough spark?)  I'm afraid that when we start to have the problems associated with peak oil it won't be attributed to peak oil as much as it does the actual "spark" event.  

What we should be considering is the combination of event and severity of the peak oil situation and not just peak oil alone.  The probelm is that there are so many possible "ignition sources" and information about depleation is difficult and/or inaccurate.

It seems to me that Iran is looking like a pretty good spark... but then again the US doesn't get much oil from Iran.

When the US reached Peak production in 1970, it was already importing the equivalent of 1.2 billion barrels per year in crude and refined product. By 1978 that had exploded to 3 Gb/y, and by 2000 was over 4 Gb/y. This scarcely mattered to US consumers because the rest of the world had plenty of spare production and the petrodollar was also the US Dollar.

World Peak production will be different. We have probably already seen the peak of light sweet crude, and there is a large refining capacity that is geared to just that quality.

To upgrade a refinery to handle heavy sour oil requires changing a lot of piping to stainless steel, upgrading pumps, and needs the physical room to introduce a de-sulfuring unit at the critical location in the processing stream. Some refineries will make the changes, but one must calculate how long one can expect the heavy sour input stream to continue. If you take a stab at the URR of heavy crude and current production, and anticipated growth over the next two decades, and interest rates, and knock off the down time to do the rebuild, you might find there is not enough production time left to pay off the loan without shaving your refining margins to zero.
(Any hard figures for this calculation welcome).

Trying to guess what will spark a financial collapse of the US Dollar, US Treasury Bonds, stocks, derivatives, super funds, mortgage guarantee funds, and all the rest of the mountain of fiat paper, is pointless.  It is coming, and you will know it is here when Wall Street shuts early and your friendly local bank closes its doors with your money still inside it.


Im curious about that, both from a traditional investment standpoint, and from a policy viewpoint. If there is little or no extra refining capacity NOW, and the quality of oil continually deteriorates as we get higher sulfur lower viscosity oil, can the Valeros of the world just pass on their increased infrastructure costs to their customers?

Can refining EVER become a gold mine or does government step in and nationalize refineries - do most countries already have state-owned refineries?

Would I rather be in Exxons shoes or Valeros? Who has the economic power - crude oil doesnt do society any good unless it can be further condensed/refined. With commodity prices for basic metals and such hitting new highs each month, I think the 'energy invested' part of the EROI equation is in the process of rising substantially

The few refineries that are located in Sweden are already gold mines, especially one recently rebuilt to make almost sulphur free diesel from heavy russian oil. Its quite nice to have well run process industries in a country, they provide jobs, tax incomes and makes other part of the world dependant on your countries well being. Preem that owns most of them also invests in RME production to make "biodiesel" from rapeseed oil, we will probably have 5% RME in the diesel sold in Sweden within a year or two. If we are realy lucky they will also invest in a natural gas pipelines to Norway. They are a tempting target for taxation but company taxation is since a long time quite low in Sweden following a corporativistic tradition among our kind of socialists. The opposition have no policy for raising company taxes and the bulk of the tax policy is heavy cuts in taxation for the lowest incommes and abandonmnet of an awkward and for our economy hurtfull private capital tax. This will be combined with lower levels in manny social security systems, now it often gives a higher income to be unemployed and that is not good. I can only imagine some kind of government takeover of these refineries if the current Saudi Arabian owner suddenly abandons them.
The Combination of the Event-

The Synergy of the Event-

The Self Organized Criticality of the Event-

The Gaussian Bell Curve, the Hubbert Curve, the Power Laws-

From Wikipedia-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_law

Examples of power law probability distributions:

*    The Pareto distribution
*    Zipf's law
*    Weibull distribution

These appear to fit such disparate phenomena as the popularity of websites, the wealth of individuals, the popularity of given names, and the frequency of words in documents. Benoit Mandelbrot and Nassim Taleb have recently popularised the analysis of financial market volatility in terms of a power law distribution (as opposed to the traditional Gaussian distribution), and Aventis science prize-winning author Philip Ball has argued that the same power law relationships that are evident in phase transitions also apply to various manifestations of collective human behaviour.

...collective human behaviour-

Humanity mirrors the Hubbert Curve.  So as oil production stabilizes so to will humanity.

But according to the Power Laws at asymptote perturbations
occur more often than modeling predicts.

My Theory-every inflection point in historic oil production
has been accompanied by an epic social/economic/political

The countdown to war Paul Rogers

The timing and nature of a United States attack on Iran can be gauged by a close look at air traffic and base security in western England.

 ...It is likely that the first such exercise took place last week when three B-2s flew into Fairford within a few days in what appears to be the first orchestrated deployment of this kind. This may well be an indicator of training now underway.The second signal is a sudden increase in base security at Fairford, including the policing of an extended cordon and closure of local roads to minimise any external observation of activities there. If and when that happens, the countdown to war with Iran will almost certainly be well underway. The moment may arrive at any time in the next year or more, quite possibly when it is least expected.


Let's see - we use about twice as much energy per capita as the Europeans and we use about 25% of the world's oil.  If we cut back to the European level of use (which shouldn't be a major reduction in life style) then we'd free up maybe 10% of worlds current oil use.  Or, alternatively, we'd accomodate a 10% reduction in production.

Of course, gas would cost $5-7 per gallon like it does in Europe and we'd see businessmen commuting to work on scooters, like in Italy, or bicycles like in Holland.

We do have some suburban sprawl issues which will make our transition more painful, but with enough buses, etc. it should be doable.  

What may not be doable is accomodating peak oil along with a heavily indebted society facing a recession and whatever curves global warming is going to throw us while governed by the Marx brothers.  

I'm not sure Americans will really be forced to tackle peak oil in the first few years or even the first decade or two.  We can easily cut back on discretionary driving.  Driving is inelastic in the short run, but not in the long run.  People can vacation less and closer to home.  Many more people may chose to telecommute, carpool or do a 4 day work week.   A return to the 55 mph speed limit would alone account for a couple years worth of post-peak decline.  Further, without inventing any new technology and without hardly having to role out a single new car model, we could increase average mpg from 21 to 40 over 20 years or so, a nearly 50% savings in gasoline consumption.  In other words, I fear Americans will waste a lot of energy accomodating declining production by changing their driving habits a little and getting more efficient cars rather than facing facts.  They may try at all costs to maintain the absurdity of exurbia rather than create real solutions (like local economies and mass transit) in the early stages post peak.  
just saw this nytimes review.  will americans trade in their suv's for these regular production honda/ toyota small cars and squeak through the early years of the peak? They may thus delay the inevitable tough decisions regarding exurbia for a while.


The Fit doesn't go on sale until 4/20, so it's still an unknown in terms of market acceptance.  But the Yaris, even with that horrendous name and no advertising that I've seen, hit the market in the last week of March, and sold 1,339 units.  That's a very impressive number under those circumstances.

Another newcomer is the Dodge Caliber, a 4-door hatch model.  It sold 1,397 units in Feb., its first month on the market, and 6,541 in March.  I'd say those are also strong numbers for a new model.  (I don't know when in Feb. it became available, so I can't compare its first month on the market to that of the Yaris.)

I've been predicting for some time that we'd see two changes in the US car market happen much quicker than many people expected: First, the return of the hatchback.  To appeal to people who want utility without the MPG penalty of an SUV, hatchbacks are perfect.  And the market has plenty of them, with more to come.  Second, US consumers will embrace smaller, much more efficient cars.  They're pissed off about high gas prices and they're going to do something about it.  Fleeing SUV's in large numbers was the first part of that reaction; buying smaller cars, and in some cases MUCH smaller cars is the second part.

By the way, I have a database of US car sales on my web site.  It's an Excel spreadsheet, and isn't complete, but it has a lot of data for Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota.  See the downloads page: http://www.grinzo.com/energy/downloads.html

Lou - do you know the percentage of new car sales that are lease vs. loan to buy?  For that matter, the real question is how free are people to make a move on a vehicle that is say, 2 to 5 years old?  I have no doubt people will move to more efficient vehicles - when and if they can.  However, IF the time delay until that can happen is a couple of years, and we experience an economic downturn (maybe just higher interest rates plus a real devaluation of their present vehicles), then it may be that many cannot move now without a big penalty, and won't be able to afford to later.
Phineas, you actually think americans will have years or a decade or two to solve this crisis?  That is interesting.  I do not believe the crisis will be solved, but rather delt with in a adhoc way.  
That's the timeline suggested in Peter Tertzakian's "A thousand barrels a second."  Good book, and I think he builds the case very well.

Advocates of a faster crash don't work the plots and graphs quite so hard ;-)

No, I think we need to start making major changes in how we live starting yesterday.  My point is that there are avenues that will allow Americans to deny the long-term ramifications of our mode of living.  If post-peak declines are in the 2 to 3%/ year range, society can probably accomodate such changes.  Granted we may have 1970's style stagflation but it may not be TEOTWAWKI.  The day of reckoning may be delayed by years or maybe even a decade or two by buying smaller cars, driving less, 55 mph speed limit, etc.  That day of reckoning, however, will still come and it may be even severe if we deny it and maintain exuberant exurbia in the first few years post-peak rather than addressing the core issues.
Phineas is exactly right.

Technology that continues the absurd physical design of exurbia is technology that is taking us cloer to the cliff rather than away from it.

Also, hybrids are net energy losers. Cradle to grave analysis of energy costs indicate that the energy savings from better gas mileage are overwhelmed by the energy cost of manufacture. You would be better advised to buy Smart Cars.
  1. Those numbers are BS
  2. Smart cars are not for sale here.
Hybrids are bad news because they are designed to be scrapped.

If any vehicle has a part which 'wears out' after 4-5 years - say like a catalytic convertor exhaust - suppose we are talking about something that costs (x)000s to replace like batteries/supercapacitors whatever. Who is going to buy a 4 year old prius? The car has total depreciation in 4 years. This is a fatal flaw.

Incidentally, I dont know why people are saying new technology gives you 40 - 50 mpg? I drive a 10 year old Peugeot 405 1900cc turbo diesel. Sure it doesnt burn rubber from the lights but it's no slouch either. 4/5 seater saloon [sedan?]. This does an EASY 50mpg on the open road and about 40 in light urban driving. Taxis love them because they do high mileage too.

I was very disdainful in my above post (that felt good), but here are threads with good reason to question this study:



Beyond that, I think we have to think about the recycling "cost" a little bit.  Is this the source of their error?  When Toyota or anyone else recycles valuable lithium batteries, the ultimate result is more valuable lithium batteries.  When they count higher front end production, and higher back end recycling, are they double dipping?

BTW, a 4-5 year life assumes a mi/year value several times higher than the national average
2001 Prius w 67000 mi Private Party Blue Book $13,335

You can pick one up on Ebay for a little less.

We own a 2005 model with 14000 miles. (Full Disclosure) Um I think that tailpipe emisssions have to figure in any total lifespan values.

Wiki '90% lower emissions'

The car cost $23,800 but this year they qualify for a

$3000 dollar tax credit through the 2006 Energy Bill

based on a formula based on how much each hybrid beats the average CAFE city mileage. (Actually estimates range from $2750 to $3150)but it's a bunch.

Someone said that if we had gone ahead with Kyoto this kind of car would have had more push to develop here in the U.S. It's not Zero pollution but @ 53 mpg I expect that makes up for a fair amount of production and recycling energy over just about anything else.

I bike to work but we live out quite a ways and do 'need' to resupply and care for our elders a fair amount.

I know this sounds like a Prius commercial but I really think they are a 'better mousetrap' and since I can't manage to abandon driving completely yet it was one of my responses to peak oil. I'm sorry Kunstler does not approve.

BTW, the reason no new car on the American road beats the hybrids on MPG is the choices we've made on emissions and safety.  Europeans, with their higher diesel use, make different trade-offs:


It costs $8000 to replace the battery in a Prius at current oil prices.
Why would you volunteer that "fact" rather than the fact that no Prius battery has ever been replaced as a result of normal wear and tear?  None have worn out.
Why does this have to be repeated over and over?? Get your facts. The Prius battery lists at about $3,000, has been dropping in price, it's not a function of oil price, and doesn't have to replaced anyway.
Actually Smart cars are here.

 /ZAP!/news http://www.zapworld.com/about/news.asp

4/7/2006 *Grand Opening of ZAP Authorized Smart Car Dealership
Seattle Area
 ZAP announced today that it has made one of the largest
shipments of the Smart Car Americanized for ZAP to its licensed and
authorized dealer in the Northwest, The Green Car Company. ... Read More

And the numbers regarding hybrids are simply physical facts, and I own a Prius. Imagine my chagrin.

The "good one" is the 70mpg European Diesel.  The US, smogged down, gasoline version turns in 40mpg (EPA):


Yeah, I want the diesel. Events will conspire, I suspect, to force the introduction of such vehicles.

I had planned on trading in the Prius on the Smart Car, but the mileage is less than what I get with a hell of a lot more room. But the technological depreciation factor of the 8 year battery makes trading problematic. As that day closes in that eight grand albatross makes trading more and more unlikely.

I have a couple links on those "facts" above ... still looking for the best I saw (a translation of a Japanese page on the incremental costs of toyota hybrids).

But really, I've got to ask you ... do you always take "facts" from a self described "marketing research" company as your bible?

So, you are saying that batteries, no matter how they are made, last forever?

Wow. We are saved.


Did I say that?

You just make yourself ridiculous when you put words like that in someone else's mouth.

What I said was, none are replaced for wear and tear yet, and that when they are ultimately recycled, they will be made into more batteries (for cars or whatever).

There's no definitive word on replacement costs because they are almost never replaced. According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.


Link to the Green Car Company

This is so cool!  I'll be in Seattle over Memorial Day and want to test drive a Xebra (their electric car).

I love blanket statements like that.  I assume that an efficient electric car, charged by efficient solar cells, would be bad, right?

... because it supports "expurbia" and not because, you know it actually pollutes or uses oil or anything.

Private electric cars have a couple of related problems.  

With the extra weight of batteries being carried around (unlike electrified rail & trolley buses that get their fuel from a stationary wire) efficiency drops.  The energy in/energy out loss of batteries is offset in part by the higher efficiency of elelctric motors vs. internal combustion engines.  So no net energy savings from private EVs.

The amount of energy used by private autos is immense (and tehy will be recharged "whenever", not just at night).  The marginal source of fuel for electricity in the US almost everywhere is natural gas.  True now, true in 2010, perhaps less true in 2014 (think coal) but still largely true.

Any wind or nuclear that comes on-line in the US in the next 15 to 20 years will displace NG, even with zero EVs.  94.5% of recent electric power plants in US were NG fired (2004 or 2005 data).  Trend has been true for almost a decade.  LOTS of US NG fired power plants.

So we burn MUCH more natural gas, a bit more coal and burn less oil with large scale use of EVs  Invest in more transmission infrastruture and recharging.  Are we better off ?

Conversely, Urban Rail gives an improvement in energy efficiency of better than 10 to 1; going from 18 wheel trucking to electric railroads about a 24 to 1 gain.

Which policy should we push for ?

Bzzzt, wrong.  Li-ion batteries have a return rate efficiency of over 90 %.  Apply a 99 % efficient electric motor and your plug-to-wheel efficiency is around 85 % (rounding conservatively).  Then you have to incorporate all the 'hybrid' advantages of idling, regenerative braking, etc.  Compare that to a pump-to-wheel efficiency for spark ignition ICE of maybe 27 %.

Don't get trapped by thinking that Pb-HSO4 batteries are representitive of the technology today.  

Thanks for the data on Li-ion batteries.  I was not aware that their efficiency was that high.

Small electric motors are not 99% efficient (very large ones are).  Shade that number down a bit.  And rubber tires are not particularly efficient either (rolling resistance).

However, the balance of my points still stand.  The US has gone to natural gas in a big way for electrical generation in the last decade or so.  The newer plants ARE ~60% efficient in thermal to electrical conversion (a good thing) and many are relatively close to their loads > lower transmission losses (another good thing).  BUT we need that NG to extract tar from the sands and then upgrade it :-P

Fifteen to twenty years ago, I saw small two seat EVs (think Honda Insight) as being a big part of the solution.  The change in our fuel sources for electricity has been one reason that I am less sanguine about them today.  

(I imagined a small diesel generator on a small trailer for extended range for the EV (also moves noise/vibration away)).

Perhaps the greatest virtue of EVs will to get Americans to drive smaller cars.  They will still be relatively heavier than comparable turbo-diesel due to the weight of the batteries. but FAR more efficient than the average US fleet car of today.

An interesting exercise would be to compare an all electric Honda Insight (exchange engine for batteries & larger electric motor and add 400 lbs more batteries perhaps to give it 55 mile range (guess) vs. slightly smaller Mini-Cooper turbodiesel vs. turbo-diesel driven Honda Insight hybrid.

My GUESS is turbo-diesel Honda Insight wins.  Optimum point may be an extra 100 lbs batteries, slightly larger electric motor and a plug-in feature.

A 500cc vehicle could be very practical and useable, and could be manufactured now and use existing infrastructure.  Very little investment would be required.  Then we could spend the money on electric light rail!
I remember the first Subaru imported into the US, the 360 cc Subaru 360 (from distant memory).

However, current collsion standrds work against such a car.  Without resorting to aluminum (or equilavent) structure, i thinka minimum 2 seater would need to weigh at least 1700 lbs. to meet standards.  An 1 liter to 1100 cc turbo-diesel could probably operate that reasonably well.  The small engine size & low fuel consumption would make it easier to meet poluttion standards.

Practical electric cars definitely have problems.  I am just amused by the idea that if we had them, they'd be bad anyway ;-)
You do realise that fossil fuels are used in an electric car's manufacture? That fossil fuels most likely will be burned to provide electricity for the vehicle? That batteries are an immense source of pollution? That the materials used to make high efficiency batteries are facing their own peak?

Don't fall in love with an idea. Study it unemotionally. Be relentless. Use physics as your guide. You know, the laws of thermodynamics and so on.

Your basic premise is founded on the wonderful freedom that powered vehicles represent. (This is the premise most people formulate their tech dreams on.) But what most people do not see is that that "freedom" is actually conceptually based on enslavement to a society that structurally formed around the rise of the automobile, unlike Europe which developed most of its infrastructure pre-automobile. In other words, a car means freedom from the insensible arrangement of suburban and exurban life. Without a car, you must either use your energy to propel yourself the many miles you must go to make money and feed, clothe and entertain yourself, or you are "captive" to the mass transit system and its fixed, inadequate routes. The solution never seems to be the rearrangement of the infrastructure to a more logical human-scaled and post-oil scaled built environment, but rather the idea that we must keep the defective arrangement and somehow improve the method we use to navigate that arrangement.

You do know the definition of insanity, right?

Have you read Peter Tertzakian's "A thousand barrels a second?"

We essentially eliminated oil as an electricity source in the 70's (a few small isolated communities still use diesel).  It looks like there is natural gas for a little while, and coal after that.  We'd be better served pressing to get greenhouse gas emssions under control, rather than worrying that we'll run out of those things.

BTW, that bit about "my premise" is just more words pressed into my mouth.
   He has a thesaurus and an agenda...don't get in his way.
Not only that, but a bicycle.  It's a beautiful day, see you all later.
Wow. Just like high school, attack the kid who uses big words.

Lol. Sorry, no thesaurus. Just a decent education.

This is why Bush got in the White House, bubbas like oilmedic pointing at the smart candidate and saying, "He's too smart!! I want a preseedent what I cun drink beer with."

And it is also why the U.S. will not make the peak oil curve. We will not slow down. No way. We 'merkins are too macho, too much the patriot. Full speed ahead bubba!!

And POW! We crash into the wall of physical reality, burst into flames, and slide around the wall into the post-peak era.

This reply dumbed down to comic book language level for the benefit of the cretins who made our oil-centric world possible and who wish to continue it.

"Wow. Just like high school, attack the kid who uses big words"

   I am getting the feeling you suffered numerous beatings in highschool.  I empathize your need to believe this due to your diction and not your dickheadedness.  My point (a sarcastic one) is you consistently attack your opponent with as a straw man.  You summarize their argument with 50-cent words with a meaning or direction they never implied in the first case. Then you attack that extraneous idea as stupid.  A fallacious argument is worthless and it seems they are the only arguments you have.  So my ad hoministic friend maybe I am a "bubba", but if you knew me you would know I was the chess club geek, the "straight A" student.  

Adaptability is the entire discussion on this website.  Can America and Americans and the rest of the western world get past Peak Oil.  The little nerd who got his ass kicked and never learned to fight, not the most adaptable. Content to wallow in self misery and point out all the flaws of the world.  Forever sure of the impending doom.
  Buddy I realized when I graduated high school the american way wasn't forever. So I went into the Army to be a Ranger.  Then I became a Paramedic.  I have almost tested out of my RN and will probably start Medical school fall 07.  So between growing up on a farm and that this "bubba's" education might be more valuable than yours.  The difference between us is I have all these "real world" skills and I have a high vocabulary.  

As for me being a racist, my fiance is Columbian and one of my best friends is black.  I only hate poor people who want to stay poor and pretentious jerks.

Question. Do you hate monks who have sworn poverty, chastety and silence?
Question. Do you hate monks who have sworn poverty, chastety and silence?

No because they don't complain or feel entitled. They have everything they want.  I get pissed when people complain about the man keeping them down instead of moving out and becoming the master of their own destiny.  There is no fate but the one we make.

Guys: please cut the personal attacks.  Thanks.
I wanted to see if it was poverty in general or self pity which was the issue. There was no personal attack.
Sorry to disappoint you, but people in Italy commute with scooters because of traffic, not because of gas prices.

With gas at $6 per gallon, Rome has the highest car concentration of the known world: 955 cars every 1000 inhabitants.

Nobody cares about $6 gas.

In Toronto our price hit $5.50 a gallon last fall with no effect on traffic at all. In the US you will probably need gas prices of at least $8 to see major behavioural effects.
Nobody cares about $6 gas.

Sure they do. Look at the vehicles they drive. I have been all over Italy, and it's just like the rest of Europe: Tiny fuel efficient cars all over the highways. I would go for weeks without seeing anything resembling an SUV or pickup.


Speaking of tiny, fuel efficient cars.....

I have been looking to rid myself of my 1989 Honda Civic for some time now, but it won't cooperate.  I figured it would have died on me long ago, but no such luck.  The darn little thing keeps on running beautifully, taking me wherever I need to go, and I rarely have had to pluck money into it beyond routine maintenance.  It simply won't give me a plausible excuse to scrap it for something fancier.    

The UK was becoming increasingly full of minivans when I lived there, despite the price of gas. SUVs were rare compared to North America, but rapidly gaining ground, and pickups were non-existent. (Jeremy Clarkson recently did a hilarious spot on the Ford F150 on the BBC's Top Gear programme - he called it 'barn-door engineering' and mocked its incompatibility with narrow British roads and tiny parking spaces.)

I admit to owning an old F250 now that I live on a farm in North America instead of in a town in England, but I don't rack up much mileage in the thing. It exists in order to tow the shared haybine over from my friends' farm, take sheep to market and haul hay and firewood. On occasion it also carries kids, dogs and sled to regional dog-sled races, but a rise in the price of gas would remove that as an option. My old Subaru is the vehicle of choice for distance travel when necessary. It doesn't get the mileage that my little Rover Metro got commuting up and down the M40 in the UK, but it's not bad.

Hooray for Captain Spaulding!

Iran won't be needed
America has more trouble than it can handle without it.
Egyptian President Mubarak stated this morning that the Iraqi civil war has already began.  After three days of bombings, the Shi'ites can do nothing else except return fire, and in in full measure.

Below is a post I wrote for various boards and friends some year ago.  The current civil war was already a foregone conclusion even then:

 The byline you should be seeing in every newspaper in the West (If honesty and a free press existed):
Possible catastrophic failure for the West. Civil war leads to Sunni holocaust by Shi'ites. Sunni's in other Arab countries radicalized, begin massive outpouring of resistance and insurrection, throughout the region.

Iraq is sitting on the fourth largest oil reserves in the world, right next door to the first largest on one side, and what could be the second largest on the other.....It is strategically important in a way that nowhere else in the world is. If you accept that many in and close to the Bush administration know that non-OPEC world oil production is already peaking (To quote Dick Chaney when he was at Haliburton:
"It will take a new North Sea sized find every decade to stay up with demand for oil." Matthew Simmons, who is rapidly becoming world famous as the "Peak Oil" theorist of greatest repute, is an advisor the the Chaney energy plan meetings (still secret), and his advice led President Bush to fully endorse and fund the U.S. LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) importation plan, which proves in deed what they won't admit in words. North American (and that includes Canadian and Mexican pipeline) gas production has peaked. This means massive importation of natural gas as well as crude oil from the Middle East, financially catastrophic to the United States, and making the region's outcome fundamental to United States continuance as a modern world power.
The Sunni's are essentially attempting to create a horrific civil war, which will lead to the slaughter of many of them by the Shi'ites......the outpouring of anger, grief and support from the surrounding Sunni Islam nations (including Saudi's and Kuwaiti's, who are two of the three largest oil producers IN THE WORLD) will create a Sunni backlash so great it could engulf the entire Middle East. Osama Bin Laden did not embark on 9/11 and the follow through without seeing ahead.

The United States walked straight into a well layed trap. Future historians may see the Iraqi invasion plan, poorly concieved and poorly executed (we are leaving aside whether you supported it or not, it is now a fact of history) as one of the great American foriegn policy blunders in history.

As things are now developing, unless thousands, even ten thousands, of additional U.S. troops are poured into Iraq to regain control on the ground, the genocide is soon coming. The Sunni's militants are very deliberately provoking it, and the majority Shi'ites will reply, terribly and brutally.

The Saudi, Kuwaiti, and UAE (United Arab Emerites) royals along with "Westernized" elites throughout the Middle East will now in fact, are now having to decide whether to cut and run. The only thing that can keep them in the region as wealthy overlords will be MASSIVE AND REPEATED beating down of insurgencies throughout the Middle East. Europe, with British North Sea oil peaked 5 years ago, is now in complete capitulation to the Arabs. The United States has tried to rely on "force on the cheap" and use our military power to retain control. This was badly concieved and has proven undoable. Soon, the Sunni's in surrounding countries will pour in to stop the bloodbath, and the elites will have to capitulate and back them up, or flee.
For the U.S. and the nations of the world, the outcome could be catastrophic. A withdrawal at this time by U.S. forces would essentially lock in the most horrific outcome possible.
We are trapped, WITH NO EXIT available unless we resolve to regain control on the ground. This would require billions of dollars, and the return of the draft on a massive scale, assuring an explosion of American rage. U.S. is now in a trap. Bin Laden is still free and alive. The United States is on the verge of losing the whole ballgame and losing the war on terror for all practical purposes.

I read a short article some days ago, unfortunately I can't remember where, sorry: A journalist had talked to the military wing of the Sunni resistance about their tactics and strategy. What are their aims in Iraq? I think it was interesting, even if it isn't 'true.' Finding out what's 'true' in Iraq is difficult. I think the interviews showed that elements amoung the resistance/insurgency/terrorists, may in fact have a strategy, and we'd be foolish to underestimate them. It kind of showed 'method' in what can appear to be 'madness' seen from the outside. It also appears rather 'subtle' and 'sophisticated.' This doesn' mean that I condone terrorism in Iraq. It does mean that I don't buy the line that it's just 'terror for terror's sake'. This is way too simplistic and fatally inaccurate. Sure these people may be 'evil' and 'bad guys', but I don't believe they are stupid. Guerrilla wars of 'national liberation' are always nasty, bloody, and inhuman things.

Basically they want to provoke/force the Shia to take up arms in revolt, a revolt that will 'spill over' into open conflict with the US. The Sunnies cannot accept Shia 'pasivity' and 'neutrality' in relation to the occupation. The Shia have to choose, are they going to fight to 'liberate' Iraq, or side with the US. The Shia cannot sit back and wait for the Americans to hand them Iraq on a silver platter, they will have to fight for it, one way or another. Keeping the situation 'fluid' in Iraq is important. As long as the situation is 'fluid' it isn't stabil. There are 'possibilities' in instability as well as enormous risks.

The officers in the resistance are using terror to show the Shia that they cannot rely on the Americans to protect them. The Americans simply do not have enough troops to impose security on Iraq. Only the Shia can protect themselves by arming and 'competing' with the US to police/control their ethic areas, this, according to the Sunni analysis will inexorably bring them into open conflict with the occupation forces and undermine the central 'government' at the same time.

Now, this analysis may be false and incorrect, the internal politics of Iraq are really complicated, like the rest of the Middle East. I just thought it was an interesting perspective from the 'other side', which we rarely see presented in the mainstream media. We need to 'know the enemy.' At some point, on the way out, we're going to have to negociate with these people aren't we?

Nice analysis, I am allways suspicious of the "they are just crazy, evil etc" theory of violence when applied to groups.
On the home front the politics of energy prices seems to be "heating up".

This chart:


seems to show a strong inverse correlation betweem oil prices and G. Bush popularity. Is this the case with Blair?

This article in Foriegn Affairs discusses the American public's changing views about energy. The political establishment is clearly starting to take notice of energy issues. Most elected leaders may be incapable of understanding Peak Oil in terms other than political ones.


sorry the comedy central link doesn't work
try this  
just go to the rice rongi link
Something light.

I heard the quote below in a DVD I watched last night. To me, it not only summed up our current situation, it seemed to be a perfect quote to describe us here at TOD.

10 points to anyone who can tell me what movie it's from.

"Dark & difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy. But remember this: You have friends here. You are not alone."
Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire
no, no.  It's Breakin' 2 - Electric Boogaloo!

Wait.  Maybe not.

Correct!  I'll send you a chocolate fish via email!  ;-)
Off topic, but: On Canadian oil sands, any reliable data on: (1) Tons of material moved (including average overburden) per bbl of oil produced? (2)BTUs (of MCF) of NG used to first "cook" oil out of sands, and then amount of NG required to hydrogenate?
Regarding (2), the published data suggests that the EROEI on tar sands is about 1.5 to 1. Not very good, for sure. I still don't know how Canada is going to meet their Kyoto committments, unless they figure out how to sequester carbon dioxide. But they must have some kind of plan, because they are definitely ramping up tar sands production.


Canada is already making noises that it cannot meet the Kyoto targets.


Canadian Press. Canada's Environment Minister Rona Ambrose says that it is impossible for Canada to reach its Kyoto target, and that Canada must set more realistic targets for cutting greenhouse gases.

Reasons given here:

Between 1990 and 2003, significant growth in exports of natural gas from Canada to the United States resulted in a sharp increase in the emissions associated with the production and transportation of natural gas. In 2003, these emissions were 25.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2e), a 101% increase over the 1990 level of 12.7 Mt. Total Canadian GHG emissions in 2003 were 740 Mt; total net US GHG emissions were 6,072 Mt in 2003.

The largest increase in Canadian GHG emissions between 1990 and 2003 was in the electricity and heating sector, followed by light duty gasoline-fueled trucks and then heavy-duty diesel vehicles.

The boom in the oil sands sector will be contributing significantly to ongoing increases.

theyre going to import ethanol from US....;)
It would appear that this international treaty thing isn't all that big a deal anymore anyway.  It's more of a guideline.....  
Hello Robert Rapier,

I am fascinated by the oilfield shutin discussion you and Stu S. had over your posted Billings Gazette link.

When North America went on a drilling frenzy after the 70s energy crunch, does anyone have any idea or statistics on the avg amount of crude temporarily shutin and the avg length of time it took to build sufficient pipeline spiderweb and/or refineries to allow full extraction capabilities?  Can the vaunted TOD data freaks dig this info up?

I would be interested in seeing a comparision of the '70s infrastructure build rate vs today's struggle.  If significant difference: is that due to greater complexity today, OR SOMETHING ELSE?

My latest reply from SAT. OPEN THREAD is reposted here:
First, the 'million dollar question': In your opinion--pipeline contraints intentional, or just piss-poor 'pipeline spiderweb' planning to get this crude to the correct refinery in a timely manner, or is this a 'normal' infrastructure problem?

Next, your gut feel for how much of the NAFTA [MEX,US,CAN] present day internal extraction is shutin.  0.5%,1%,2% or barrels/day estimation is fine.

Do you think Canadian tar sands will be given preferential pipeline treatment so they can expand mining ops and recover invested costs quicker?  The oilsands ERoEI is lower than any NAFTA area oilfield--so any oilfield shutins helps keep the oilsands corps profitable--and they need BigBucks to expand mining capacity vs just punching holes for a gusher.

These questions all make sense if one looks long-term: the oilsands, if fully developed, will provide more oil than the new miniscule oilfields.  In short, ramping up oilsands provides more long-term NAFTA security, and the last NAFTA oilfields provide emergency backup as the former NAFTA giants [TX,Cantarell]rapidly deplete.  Bush could have issued a secret Nat. Security directive with MEX,CAN leaders to make it so.

The net effect would be to help plateau the NA downslope tail by bringing the oilsands up to speed early, because we may not have the required wealth to do it later if we suck the easy crude from wells first.

Very interested in what you can answer.  Do the best you safely can reveal.

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

Here was my reply in the other thread:

First, the 'million dollar question': In your opinion--pipeline contraints intentional or just piss-poor 'pipeline spiderweb' planning to get this crude to the correct refinery in a timely manner?

Not intentional, just the nature of cyclical businesses. When times are good, money is invested to bring capacity online. The problem is that everyone does it, so then you get into an overcapacity situation and the prices fall. Three years ago, prices weren't that good and the forecasts were that they would stay low. So, the industry didn't invest the funds required to debottleneck to the required level.

Do you think Canadian tar sands will be given preferential pipeline treatment so they can expand mining ops and recover invested costs quicker?

Who gets the pipeline space is dependent upon the purchases by the refinery. If I decide not to purchase any heavy sour crude, and instead purchase syncrude, then they will get the pipeline space at the expense of the heavy producer. So, the downstream users are the ones who dictate that. In general, though, syncrude should be pretty popular as a lot of refineries still aren't configured to handle heavy, sour crudes.


Hello RR,

Thxs for responding and moving discussion here.  So if oilsands crude is relatively light and sweet compared to surrounding liquid oilfields, if they can efficiently expand mining & processing capacity to lower cost/barrel, they can then start approaching or exceed upstream parity with a normal oilfield from the refineries point of view.  Very interesting. Thxs.

That means at some financial point in the future: as oilsands crude ramps up, it would be more profitable to cut out the middlemen [current refineries]and finish the chemical processing themselves, forcing the other refineries to specialize in the processing of the heavy and sour. Or buy the refineries to gain pricing leverage over the surrounding liquid oilfields, further enhancing shutin power.  Seems like vertical integration becomes financially obvious at some point.

Which brings us back to politics: who has the more effective lobbyists to swing the current balance one way or the other?  I think the oilsands corps have future crude volume [Think lobby $] on their side, combined with NA strategic needs going for them.  The wild card is environmental blowbacks [insufficient water, Co2 additions, better use of natgas for fertilizers versus oilsands production, etc].

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

Seems like vertical integration becomes financially obvious at some point.

The thing is, though, that many big oil companies have bought interests in tar sands production. So, they have a say in what happens with the syncrude that comes out of the tar sands. In other words, they are already integrated, because they already own the downstream refineries.

But the other thing to note is that due to the poor EROEI, tar sands syncrude is always going to cost quite a bit more than the heavy sour stuff. The refiners who are configured for the heavy stuff probably aren't going to pay the premium for the syncrude unless it's their only option.


So I reasoned that if you are right that Canada has significant spare capacity that cannot get to market, that ought to show up in prices.  A quick check with the EIA confirms this.  Canadian "Lloyd blend 22" is running $37.69/barrel last week.  "Canadian Par 40" is running $60.10.  So Canadian heavy oil is indeed running a heavy discount, and the light oil is running a slight discount.  A quick glance at the history also supports the idea that this has been going on for a while.

However, this situation is unique to Canada.  The next cheapest blend after Lloyd last week was "Mexican Maya 22" running at $51.65, and then heavy grades go up from there through the low to mid 50s.  So it looks like the problem you identify is largely restricted to Canada.  Or are you aware of more?

The Saudi's, who are always complaining of lack of refinery capacity, are getting $54.19/barrel for Arabian Heavy 27.

So it looks like the problem you identify is largely restricted to Canada.  Or are you aware of more?

I am personally aware of the situation in Canada, but I don't know if that situation exists elsewhere. (Well, we know it also exists in Montana and Wyoming). But we do import more oil from Canada than from anyone else, so the amount is probably not trivial. In fact, a person could probably get an idea by calling various Canadian producers and asking them if they have a spare 50,000 bbls a month to sell. Or, talk to a crude trader. Those guys are very knowledgeable about the supply situation.  


Hello Robert Rapier,

Just a little more thought expansion...

I give great credence to W&K [Westexas & Khehab]'s theory of accelerated export depletion due to rising internal consumption inside the energy exporters.  I have no idea if current NAFTA [CAN,US,MEX] agreements are currently structured to negate W&K theory effects: Do CAN,MEX have to keep exports to US constant?

My speculation on early rampup of CAN oilsands is then the best way to counteract W&K's theory as applied to rapidly shrinking non-NAFTA foreign imports.

Sadly, if Mideast War expands, then foreign imports go to zero, rapidly confirming W&K's theory, and our reliance on superrapid rampup of oilsands becomes almost total.

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

Hi Bob.

The time between discovery and delivery of first production to a refinery can be as short as a couple of weeks if the well is in an area with developed infrastructure. To over simpify, just enough time to set tanks, and arrange for a buyer. Gathering systems that go to each producing well are a matter of economics. If the tie in is close, and production is at a high rate a gathering system will be developed. Otherwise, the crude gets transported via truck to a terminal.

OTOH in a remote location it can take a very long time. I have no personal experience in this area, but logistics are everything. An example is gas production out of Prudhoe Bay which probably will happen but is still in the future as no gas pipeline has been built.

I don't know where the next drilling boom will develop in the continental U.S., but it will most likely occur in an area that already has decent oilfield infrastructure.

Back to your question, my guess is that crudes that are of reasonable quality in the U.S. will go to market almost immediately whether by truck or by pipeline.

There's no such thing as global warming.  At least according to this guy.  
I doubt that it is much of a surpise that he is part of an organization funded to promote climate non-science.
I quoted to a friend the other day that oil company exploration expenditure is presently running at around 50% of the level it was at in 1990. He challenged me as to the source, which I now can't track down. Can anyone help, to either point me to where that figure can be confirmed, or to where the true figures are? Thanks  in advance, Sam.
Oil prices edge closer to $100-a-barrel

...With production capacities of petroleum exporters increasingly being questioned many are openly predicting a three figure barrel price. The margin of spare production capacity is already so narrow that the market jitters at the slightest interruption to any key source of supply.

Analysts say that a combination of two or three adverse developments on markets such as natural disasters, war, political crisis could easily send oil not just to $100 a barrel but substantially higher making last year's prediction by Goldman Sachs of $105 a barrel look mild in comparison.

Industry insiders, including Algeria's Energy and Mining Minister Chakib Khelil, consider that with China's continuing growth there is now such a consistent upward pattern in oil prices established that prices reaching towards $100 a barrel are almost certain in 2006.  

The Queensland (Australia's equivalent of the US deep south)State parliament has just finished an inquiry into rising petrol prices:
http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/petrol/view/committees/committees.asp?area=PETROL&LIndex=2& SubArea=report&Bindex=8

The list of over 90 submissions is at:
http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/petrol/view/committees/committees.asp?area=PETROL&LIndex=2& SubArea=inquiries_submissions&Bindex=2

Many are from individuals upset at the recent rise in oil/petrol, in particular, see submission No4 from Andy Lipp:
..."The effects of high fuel prices are going to flow on to other areas of the economy. That's obvious. They need to be reduced at the bowser & reduced substantially. People want to see the cost of fuel at the bowser back below $1/litre & stay there for quite some time without these stupid price fluctuations all the time (every week).
It's no good coming up with hair brain ideas on the way to save fuel. For example, correct tyre pressure, not putting the foot down as hard on the pedal etc. Let's get real, this saves nothing in the context of pricing & is a futile exercise."

I think this is one indication that Western governments, especially when oil goes over $100 per barrel, will be asked by Andys the world over to take us back to the past when we had lots of cheap oil- a scenario that Kunstler raised in "The End of Suburbia".

Consumers must work with oil powers to tackle crisis

I read this article and I couldn't quite put my finger on just what exactly was the "crisis".  But I do see that the MSM is getting a little more edgy about oil prices and peak oil(although they still won't mention it).

World oil powers are the first line of defense to combat an energy crisis, but consumer nations, led by the International Energy Agency must develop a new role as their allies, experts say.

 Set up in the 1970s as a counterweight to OPEC, then at the height of its influence, the IEA now considers itself a collaborator as the producers' cartel seeks market stability.

"We always try to work together with OPEC to deal with the risk of supply disruption," Claude Mandil, executive director of the Paris-based IEA, told Reuters.

Analysts praised the IEA, which represents 26 industrialised nations, for its decision last year to release emergency reserves to compensate for lost production and refining capacity following hurricane damage in the U.S. Gulf.

But they say consumers as a whole must go further to recognize their responsibility.

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman warns Summer fuel shortages, spikes possible

U.S. consumers may face gasoline shortages or price hikes at the pump this summer due to fuel additive changes at refineries and a likely strong hurricane season, the U.S. Energy Secretary said on Friday.

"We face a combination of factors that could mean some localized shortages," Samuel Bodman said in an interview with Reuters, adding that the markets should sort themselves out quickly.

"Sounds like Dr. Strangelove" quote of the day.

"They're telling the Pentagon that we can build the B61 with more blast and less radiation."
It's a FRIENDLY nuke - yeah, that's it!  

They just need a cool name and a marketing campaign.  Then we can issue some new definitions about what constitutes a nuclear weapon - say, if the yield is below a certain level and it's meant to detonate underground, then it's not a nuke, it's a ground penetrating explosive device (GPED).  And walla!  No problem, it's not covered under international treaties.

And if they put a camera on the nose, we'll all be a lot closer to Dr. Strangelove that we ever thought possible.  

 If this attack does go ahead, is there any chance of persuading the US President to reprise the role of Slim Pickens?

 He already has the boots and the hat and I am sure his years of ranching have taught him how to ride large cylindrical objects. Plus, once it is released from the bomb bay, it does represent a form of aircraft and he is a highly qualified pilot. They could even string the Mission Accomplished banner out behind the tailfins.

It is certain to solve at least one of the world's problems.
Even better if the large cylindrical object disintegrates in the air and a parachute unfurls.
A new gas war looms, with Belarus the loser

The Kremlin prepared a truly original gift for the inauguration of President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus, whom many in the West call "the last dictator in Europe." Gazprom, the Russian energy behemoth, set a deadline of April 30 for Lukashenko to either forgo a strategic Belarussian gas asset or start buying Russian gas at market prices as of 2007.

A new gas war is in the offing, posing more risks than any of the previous conflicts between Moscow and Minsk since the early 1990s.

This NY Times article starts out interviewing people who are cutting back their driving due to high prices, but ends up admitting that Americans haven't changed much.

Now in the Rearview Mirror: Low Gasoline Prices

This weekend, Maria Bland says she will be driving around in a pristine Ford F-150 truck, picking up her dryer and dishwasher from the repair store and enjoying a smooth ride in Miami's sunny weather.

She will also be saving on her gasoline bill: Ms. Bland, a secretarial assistant at a technical high school, is renting the truck for the weekend rather than drive her 13-year old GMC pickup, which gets much poorer mileage. Ms. Bland, who has been renting regularly as gasoline prices have risen, said, "Sometimes, nothing will do like a rental."

Can that possibly make economic sense?  How much does it cost to rent a truck for the weekend?

It doesn't make sense to me. The gas savings would have to be bigger than the difference in the base cost of renting the car versus running the 13-year old car. Renting a car for a day is around $50 bucks (I just did it yesterday). Would you save that much in gas costs driving the rental versus the 13 year old GMC? I doubt it. Maybe Jayson Blair is working at the Times again.
I doubt what she's doing makes much sense, but part of our thinking in not getting a truck-type vehicle is you can always rent one. I did a big bathroom project, got sheet and other goods at Home Depot, and rented their nice flatbed with drop down sides for $19.00.  Worked great, for cheaper than buying one and always paying for gas for a trip to the convenience store. We have a high mileage Honda and Toyota, way cheaper to buy initially, also. We have also rented a Tahoe for a weekend when we wanted to take 7 of us to the mountains. Renting can be a great option.
Even better, get a tow-bar fitted to the Honda or the Toyota and buy (or rent) a small trailer.

That way you can use it when you need to cart something big home from the hardware store.  In fact, most of the big hardware stores here have 'loan' trailers that you can borrow to take stuff home.

I used to have a 900cc Honda City with a towbar that I used on many occasions to tow fairly large (up to one ton) loads.

God, I miss that car now! It used to get over 40mpg, but it started rusting and there was no hope. :-(

However, I think I'm going to start looking for a really small car to take me to and from work when I can't bike.  Hopefully the market for those is still quite quiet.

I posted this "late" in another thread yesterday and would like more comment.

> Cost to restructure the US away from the automobile.

We have a historic analogy.

After WW II a very high % of the established prewar US urban structure was trashed.  Some abandoned, some became slums, soem changed character and use, some stayed as is.

The US managed to prosper despite abandoning much of the embedded housing stock and the capital it represented.

The US gov't did this as deliberate policy.  I have seen a "Chamber of Commerce" promo for post-WW II sprawl in Jefferson Parish.  Only white folks on screen, etc.  But also the telling "You can use your VA loan to buy a new home in Metairie but not to renovate an old house in New Orleans".

I support the same in reverse.  Put all gov't support into efficient energy urban forms (where the postman/woman can walk his/her route, the policeman bicycle his beat, UPS can deliver a days' worth of packages and put 16 miles on his truck) and let the "free market" do the rest.

Step one is stop building more highways with ANY federal funding.*  Step two is at least 80% (as it used to be a few years ago for rail and still is for buses) or 85% or even 90% federal funding for any viable Urban Rail that a city or region wants (viable includes long term funding support from locals).  Step Three is giving mortgage interest breaks (via the federal mortgage companies) to high efficiency neighborhoods due to their lower risk (in a Peak Oil world this is just prudent financial management).

*Also, eliminate property taxes on any railroad that electrifies with some federal compensation for any school district, etc. that loses more than 3% of their revenue.  This cost savings (no property taxes) will be enough to justify electrification in many cases.  Electric railroads carry more freight and cost less to operate as well.

Encourage local property taxes to reflect the cost of providing services to low vs. high density (1 firestation per 80,000 in high density, per 9,000 in low density, etc.)

No "Grand Plan" to bulldoze the McMansions in the exurbs, just let "natural" economic forcs take their toll.  As they did after WW II (with a push from our gov't.)

The pre-WW II houses that we junked were solidly built, unlike what I see today.  Most of Phoenix construction today will be in need of lots of TLC & repairs in 50 to 60 years.  So letting "natural" economic forces take their toll will not have the inherent cost that trashing 1920s built homes did since much of sprawl has a "limited lifetime" anyway.

The fact is that the values of $750,000 McMansions in the exurbs cannot be salvaged in any case.  The question is, do we let that sunk cost in bad investments dictate policies that will trash our society & economy or do we "move on" ?

BTW, if total US real estate (non-farm & forest) is worth $X trillion today, my SWAG is that 2/3 to 3/4 will suffer moderate to severe declines in value and most of the remainder will climb in value (adjusted for economic activity & inflation).

That is why I own part of a rental house in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans.  Walking/bicycling distance (1.1 miles) to 51 story office building in cneter of CBD, almost as close to ports, 3 blocks to streetcar and on a 10 square block urban park. Yahoo maps 1300 Camp Street for those interested.

The difference is that WWII to about 1970 (the U.S. oil peak, perhaps not coincidentally) were an economic golden age for us. The economy was growing like gangbusters.  We could afford to build a ton of new infrastructure.  Now, we can't.  And that's not going to get any better.

Another thing you are overlooking is that retrofitting/rehabing infrastructure is much more difficult and costly than building new.  As a small example, the survey done in the 1950s for highway plans is "plus or minus 10 ft" in accuracy.  It really didn't matter, since the only thing you were likely to impact was Farmer Brown's chicken coop.  Try "plus or minus ten feet" now in, say, NYC.  You'll make a lot of lawyers very rich.

In short...the problem is that we have grown much poorer, and infrastructure has grown much more expensive since the post-war boom years.  (Tainter's "declining marginal returns" in a nutshell, really.)  

Sorry, I have to agree with Alan here...if we could build urban and suburban street cars with a pre-1940's economy, that went not only within the city but also conntected nearby towns, in an economically depressed southern city (Savannah, Ga), I think we'll be able to do something similar  in the future.  The difference this time is that we'll have to supplement the streetcars with plug-in hybrids, electric cars, and bicycles to get people that "last mile" or so from home to the streetcar station, due to our current spread-out housing patterns.  This will change over time, slowly, I believe to the kinds of housing patterns prevalent in 19th century American cities and present-day foreign cities (a la Kunstler), gradually allowing people to walk to the streetcar stop from home.  Alan's posts have convinced me this is the cheapest and most beneficial way to go in an energy-constrained society.

By the way, the latest Scientific American has an article on hybrid cars, including discussions on future battery replacement costs (going down), plug-in hybrids, the "inevitable peaking and decline of world oil supplies," and the use of biofuels and plug-in hybrids after oil is gone:

Scientific American: Hybrid Vehicles Gain Traction [ TRANSPORTATION ]
As car buyers turn to fuel-sipping gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, a new generation of greener hybrids is just coming over the horizon

I'm not saying it's impossible.  I'm just saying it will be much more difficult and expensive than the post-WWII buildup was.  It is not a good analogy for what we're facing now.  
Why should this be more difficult? We have 6-Sigma quality now, powerful CAD-CAM systems, considerably better engineering technology, just-in-time inventories, more MBA's... lotsa leverages <g>, should be cheaper and easier...  
6-Sigma and MBAs - my god, we are doomed!
This is quite a nice set of recommendations.  I think it should become part of the party platform for the Sustainability Party.

What might it cost to rebuild light or ultra light rail connecting small rural communities? Vehicles might run along existing strips or behind them. Leaving aside right of way issues, there is the track, prepping the bed, the electrification, vehicles.

I can look out my window and see where the interurban used to run between Portland and Auburn, Maine. There is no way it cost anything like the prices I've been finding for light rail projects now. But the system did exist in the first third of 1900's so it can be done. The standards will have to be very different from light rail now.

Some mix of bicycles, rail, walkable towns and strips paralleling the rail. Both freight and passenger. It didn't serve the last mile then and won't if it gets rebuilt.

Seems like a good project for the National Guard, eh?

Light rail in the US has been relentlessly "gold plated". "Urban Jewelry" is a term used by supporters (typically in private).  I have coined and made somewhat topical the term "Transit Palaces" to describe many US light rail stations.

Misc. tidbits.

My favorite splurge is the 1% for "Art in Transit".  Almost all of it is tasteless.  More trees would be better.

However, consultants typically get 1/3 of the total.  That could be cut back to 1/10 (unless a city is a doing a series of projects and then they could hire their own people for decades to do that work).

In 2001, rail on ballast construction was $200/linear foot (single track).  Higher today but not dramatically.  Overhead wire for electrification a couple of million/mile.
More for substation/DC rectifier.

New Orleans built their own streetcars for a budgeted $1.5 million each (31 to date), but actually after production started was close to $1 million.  Expected life 500 years (75 years for trucks). (I presented a paper to the APTA on this).  Compare to $2.5 million for commercial products.

I worked with Public Works for the City of New Orleans on ways to reduce the cost of building the first half of the Desire Streetcar Line.  By avoiding the federal process, combining with needed street reconstruction, using city contracting, etc. we got a cost of $11 to $12.5 million for 1.5 miles in a VERY historic route.  Vehicles & electrification not included.

New Orleans budgeted $160 million for 5 miles on the Canal Streetcar Line, and was $10 million under budget.  Last 80% FTA funded project in nation (50% max now, Seattle got 20%) so many "extras" included.  New Orleans RTA felt like they got raped by consultants and vows to never let that happen again.  Building just track, electrification & streetcars to same VERY high standard today for 5 miles would cost about $85 million (barn & streetcar production line included in original, no need for repeat).

The moral is that costs for light rail CAN BE reduced significantly, and the current federal process works against that.  As does urban pride, desire to attract "choice riders" with amenities, etc.

"New Orleans built their own streetcars for a budgeted $1.5 million each (31 to date), but actually after production started was close to $1 million.  Expected life 500 years (75 years for trucks). (I presented a paper to the APTA on this).  Compare to $2.5 million for commercial products."

Alan,  How can you expect a 500 year life time?
Your city is sinking and the oceans allegedly are rising.  Even if we ignore those facts, are there any complex machines enduring daily use that are 100 years old?  If the intent to electrify and develop rail should we not focus on a universal system so cars and equipment are interchangable throughout the country?

> How can you expect a 500 year life ?

AHH !! :-)))

Let me expound !

The Perley Thomas streetcars operating today on Canal (our St. Charles fleet) were all built in 1923/24 and were rebuilt 1989-92.  Pre-Katrina we operated them 24 hours/day, 364 days/year (every day but Mardi Gras).

Elmer von Dullen started work for NOPSI in the streetcar barn in 1954.  A native mechanical genius of the first order (one example, he designed a way to change resilient wheels (tightly bound spring steel & rubber core rail wheels, invented by French for TGV) as easily as changing a bus tire).

He has lived with our P-Ts for over 50 years and knows ALL of their weaknesses.  He thinks that the current P-Ts have only 75 or so years left in them (he rebuilt some weaknesses out in the major rebuild). Some structural issues will become significant then.

(BTW, about 8% of the original wood seat bottoms are still in use after 80 years.  All backs have been rebuilt/replaced).

He made over 100 detail changes in the von Dullen series streetcars.  The body & frame are Corten steel (thicker) rather than carbon steel, the steps that fold down at each stop are on stainless steel shafts with nylon bushings and cast steel supports for the step vs. 1923 carbon steel shaft with cast iron supports rotating on them (retrofitted to St. Charles during rebuild), bronze handholds on seats had cracks develop occasionally in two spots, he added metal on the ID for those two spots for new castings, streetcar frame was "a bit too short" in original and was lengthened, strengthened (L profile) and a bit thicker gauge.

Corten steel is remarkably "tough" and fracture resistant.  It will not rust through except in a salt environment (rust stops unlike carbon steel).

All together, I find Elmers' claim of 500 years for the body credible.   Basically 4 times the P-Ts.

The VP Engineering of Brookville Equipment that built the trucks (which also does rehab work on older rail equipment & locos) felt that stress cracks in their carbon steel frames  might begin appearing in 75 years (gears reworked every 20 or so years).

Cool stuff - sounds like a fun job!
> If the intent to electrify and develop rail should we not focus on a universal system so cars and equipment are interchangable throughout the country?

We will be glad to build streetcars for otehr cities. The "other" streetcar from the Czech Republic is oinferior to ours in various ways.

Light Rail is somewhat standardized on 2.65 m wide vehicles (Baltimore, Dallas and one other are wider LRVs), standard gauge (New Orleans, Philly & Pittsburg are 6" wider than standard gauge), 750 V DC (many older cities are 600 V DC, Seattle, for specific reasons, is going 2000 V DC).

We built better streetcars cheaper to our own design.  Ones taht fit our urban fabric.

There is some interchange between Light Rail systems of vehicles, but it is rare (San Jose sold their half depreciated ones to Salt Lake City & San Diego, and ...).

Many believe that we "should have" built wider than 2.65 m wide in order to increase comfort and attract more riders.  I would advise Honolulu to buy "Dallas spec" LRVs.  Dallas will have a large & growing system and the extra width is "worth it". They can piggyback an occasional order between the two.

India just OKed three new cities to get subways.  India Railways wanted "broad" gauge for all.  The cities wanted standard gauge.  The cities get to decide.

Heavy Rail (rapid Rail) subways et al, should have more interchangeability than they do. NYC is a mis-mash of different railcars, etc. BUT they are big enough to still get economies of scale.

BART created an entire set of unique specs (1000 V DC, 5' 6" gauge (from memory), controls, etc.) and, in retrospect, not a good thing.

Seattle had good, and unique, site specific reasons to go to 2000 V DC.

So standardization is good, better for smaller systems, less so for larger (NYC).

What voltage should the US standardize on for freight railroads ?  Should be standardize (different requirements for tunnels vs. open rail, etc.) ?

"Encourage local property taxes to reflect the cost of providing services to low vs. high density (1 firestation per 80,000 in high density, per 9,000 in low density, etc.)"

Fire departments are profitable enterprises in Tampa, Fl in the low density areas....Most people in Mcmansions have insurance.  High density areas are full of welfare entitlement culture.  People with "gold" medicaid cards. They call the ambulance when they want a ride to the Dr.  No medical emergency, they just need a ride.  In Tampa the low density areas pay for the EMS coverage of the high density areas.  So with current economics your theory is flawed.

We'll soon all be a welfare entitlement culture, except of course the rich white guys who have been screwing the poor since the genocide of the Indian population.

Won't that be lovely?

I can't wait for the folk from the suburbs to realise their predicament and try to deal with an angry population of urbanites. Lol.

There will be such a clusterf*ck.

"We'll soon all be a welfare entitlement culture, except of course the rich white guys who have been screwing the poor since the genocide of the Indian population."

I am pretty sure we'll never ALL be on welfare. Someone must work and be taxed for checks to turn out.  And I don't think Americans have committed much GENOCIDE on India. But I will concede you probably mean feather not dot.

And why would any of this be lovely?  You are a sad little man probably with little love or happiness.  It saddens me somewhat you want all these bad things for your country and your world.

When urban centers tear themselves apart rural areas will be fine.  Rednecks own guns and stick together. Cityfolk burn their world around them and shoot at those who would help them.

Cherenkov...get a girlfreind or a dog. Anything to make you smile.  I have nothing but pity for you.

Once again sarcasm and irony prove problematic for the not so bright.

Oilmedic, go to the local elementary school and ask the kindergarten teacher to help you with those concepts.

Umm, girlfriend is not spelled "girlfreind."

I have to stop reacting to the racists of this world. Though racism is a huge problem, peak oil is much larger.

I suspect that most people who read our exchanges shake their heads and say, why does Cherenkov bother? And they are right. It's just that racist, repuglican thugs are one of my pet peeves, and though they anger me, I need to ignore them. Yes, I spelled it repuglican. Nasty brutes these repugs.

The people without humor or the capability to enjoy or understand sarcasm, parody or any of the other wonderful rhetorical devices available to language users, are like the Pol Pots of the world, the Hitlers, the Stalins, the faceless Soviet bureaucrats who mindlessly obey their orders no matter how ridiculous those orders may be.

Come the great fascist take-over, I expect to see you roaming the countryside in your F-150 with your gun in your lap, your hand idly stroking it, up and down, up and down, looking for the "other" in order that your little death squad can corner some poor sucker who used really big words in high school and blow his brains out. Ahh, Pol Pot memories.

"I have to stop reacting to the racists of this world. Though racism is a huge problem, peak oil is much larger."

I am not a racist but whatever. You do not treat peak oil as a problem to be solved but as a spectator sport to be commented on.

"The people without humor or the capability to enjoy or understand sarcasm, parody or any of the other wonderful rhetorical devices available to language users, are like the Pol Pots of the world, the Hitlers, the Stalins, the faceless Soviet bureaucrats who mindlessly obey their orders no matter how ridiculous those orders may be."

I never realized the problem with all these bad men was their misunderstanding of sarcasm.  If only you had been in highschool with them! You could have explained it, after kicking your ass all their agressions would be released and they would not have murdered millions.

Are you serious?

How to argue like Cherenkov 101:

  1. Figure out what it is you don't like.

  2. Put that into this sentence.  BLANK is just like the Nazi's.  

  3. If you can make your post replies long enough, maybe your opponent or the other readers will tire and you will win via attrition.
Alan, the key phrase that jumped out at me is "deliberate policy."

We have lots of work to do. To wit:

I live in Minneapolis, MN, USA.  Urban planning here is premised on auto-oriented sprawl and the notion that we will have more cheap energy every year, indefinitely.

Our local political and business (including labor) establishment is looking at a "three stadium" sports entertainment infrastructure program.

At a time when we need to focus exclusively on sustainable urban infrastructure, our public discourse is dominated by ads for huge sports entertainment complexes assuming that more and more fans will come flying and driving in to town to spend large sums of money on tickets, hot dogs, beer, and team-logo paraphenalia.  Local transit advocates are tying rail proposals to the stadium-building movement so that rail is presented as a convenient toy for the masses to ride to and from games and other entertainment without risk of a DWI, I guess.

So to get to the point of "deliberate policy" we have lots of educating to do.

What we are up against, of course, is a whole bunch of companies presenting nuclear, coal and tar sands and even biofuels and wind mills as easy solutions to provide us with more and more of the same kind of consumption increases we have been trained to expect and consume.

We need a culture change.  More education, more internet activism, more discussion with neighbors, politicians and more coordinated campaigns to transform culture.

This change needs to come pretty quickly.

"Deliberate Policy."  that's the key phrase.

I kinda wonder which is worse: living in a place where you might actually find some PO-aware people and start fighting against the unawareness of the population (like yours), or a place where you really are the "voice in the wilderness," (like mine, where the public discourse is dominated by local effort to lure the Florida Marlins--anther professional sports team, yeah!!).  It's so completely hopeless here, you just have to laugh--the fall off the cliff will be a lot longer for my fellow citizens.
In the various planning meetings post-Katrina (90+ hours for me), the bulk of the other citizens there were not experts, and were not activists before.

I never used the term "Peak Oil", but I did say "as a buffer for our city if oil keeps rising in price, as I expect it to".  And "A good rail/streetcar system will give us a competitive advantage over other cities, especially as oil keeps climbing in price".

Quite frankly, my allies and I carried the day.

The #1 & #2 priorities to come out of planning were better levees and rebuilding our wetlands.  #3 was Urban rail.  Enough that we got criticized nationally for our "strange obsession" and "perverse priorities".

Our wish list was for $3 billion (ask more ...) and Mayor Nagin has said that he has heard from DC that we should get $1 billion for Urban Rail as part of the rebuilding. IF we can be VERY cost effective, we can do a LOT with that.

Perhaps not "Peak Oil" aware in the way that Stuart is, but there is a basic understanding among the good citizens of New Orleans.

A new National Coal Council report says that America can double U.S. coal production, take the pressure off other fuels through coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas, and still having enough U.S. coal for a century.  The U.S. has 27% of the world's coal.

The coal folks are getting spunky, too... they have some new ads.  Check out coalcandothat.com.

Yeah, take a look at the stock price of one of these companies, Peabody.
Introduce coal to the United States's voracious liquid fuels appetite and the huge coal supply shrinks quite quickly to less than forty years with a big bonus of planet destruction.

Good thinking.

Re:  "Increased use of coal"
From my "Open Letter to Two Texas Newspapers"


The world is increasingly turning toward the endpoints--natural gas/natural gas liquids on the light end and bitumen/coal on the heavy end--in an attempt to maintain and increase our supply of LTF's (Liquid Transportation Fuels). There are several problems. These are hugely capital intensive programs that tend to produce liquids at very low rates compared to conventional oil sources, and on the heavy end there are some fairly severe environmental consequences. Another point that is often overlooked is that every fossil fuel resource, except for kerogen, is currently being commercially exploited. In other words, we are simply talking about increasing our rate of extraction of our finite fossil fuel resource base in a desperate attempt to maintain the current American way of life of driving $50,000 SUV's on 50 mile roundtrips to and from $500,000 mortgages.

Currently, the most significant source of nonconventional oil is the tar sands play in Alberta, Canada, where bitumen is being extracted via surface mining or via the injection of steam into deeper beds.

From fossil fuel and nuclear sources, the world currently uses the energy equivalent of a billion barrels of oil (Gb) every five days. The mighty East Texas Oil Field, the foundation of so many Dallas fortunes, the largest oil field in the Lower 48, and the field that was largely responsible for providing the oil to power the Allies victory over the Axis powers in World War II, made about 5.5 Gb. The field is currently producing 1.2 million barrels of water per day, with a 1% oil cut. It took about 75 years to pretty much fully deplete the East Texas Field. In terms of oil equivalent, the Barnett Shale Gas Play in North Texas should ultimately produce, over several decades, on the order of 4-5 Gbe.

The world uses, from nuclear and fossil fuel sources, the energy equivalent of the recoverable reserves in the East Texas oil Field or the Barnett Shale Play in less than 30 days.

There are a lot of good alternative energy stocks that are going gangbusters. Pacific Ethanol is one I have made a lot of money with.

Anyone know of others that are doing well?

I am investing in hydroelectric generators around the world (geographic & political diversification).  Several merchant hydro firms in Canada (some pure plays, others mixed), CIG (on NYSE, in Brazil) and others I will name later after i get my $ in :-)

I have bought Great Lakes Hydro, CIG, Algonquin (not a pure play) so far with limit orders in on more. Dividend reinvestment for all.  Do your due diligence (look at contract details on website for power sales, etc.)

Ten to twenty year investment time horizon for me.

Storage: the next generation

Why build a new power plant when the technology exists to store excess megawatts until needed?

Ontario is moving ahead with a natural-gas-fired generator on the Portlands, with plans to start building this summer. Local opposition is growing louder. Meanwhile, engineer Greg Allen of Sustainable EDGE Ltd., a Toronto engineering and design firm, has been quietly promoting an alternative he believes is cheaper, cleaner and faster to build.

One reason natural gas is attractive to the McGuinty government is that it is a natural complement to nuclear energy, which maintains a steady flow 24 hours a day. Natural-gas generators can accommodate fluctuations in electrical demand, filling in the daily peaks that nuclear reactors don't address.

The government's urgency in building the new generator is the result of warnings that the city could face rolling blackouts in the summer of 2008 without an increase in capacity during peak hours.

But there is another, cleaner way to handle peak demands. In the same way that natural-gas generators dovetail with nuclear reactors, the natural complements to wind and solar power are storage systems, or batteries, that collect the power of the sun and wind and deliver it to us even on calm, still evenings.

There seems to be a prevalent notion that both large coal-fired power plants and large nuclear power plants have to run at a near-constant rate because they are incapable of increasing or decreasing their output. This is simply not true. While increasing or decreasing the speed of a large steam turbine is not quite as easy as hitting the acccelerator on your car, neither is it as difficult as probably many people think.

While it takes some time to increase the coal feed to the boiler, for the boiler to generate more steam, and for the large turbine to spool up,  the daily fluctuations in demand are usually highly predictable, so there is usually enough lead time to start changing output.

 Before the widespread use of gas turbines to accomdate the daily swings in demand, coal-fired power plants did go up and down in output to accomodate load.  Of course, it is more desireable and more effecient to run such plants at a constant optimal speed, but it is not absolutely necessary. A change in output of say plus or minus 15% is not that difficult at all.

Many coal power stations have two identical units. As such, one can run at constant output, and the other can be adjusted up and down.

So, what I am saying is that it is not absolutely essential to have gas-fired turbo-generators to accomodate predicable daily fluctuations in electrical demand. True, they have many advantages in terms of efficiency, low capital cost, etc. but their obvious disadvantage (the use of increasingly precious natural gas) will become worse and worse as time goes on.

Regarding new coal-fired plants, a greater degree of adjustability can be designed into the plant if it is known that there will be no gas-fired unit to take up the swing.

I worked at a big coal-fired plant( 2-500 MW,250,& 350MW) in the early 70's. It went up & down for loads; but the operators & mechanics complained a lot that this was causing more tube leaks & down time.
Some better alternatives;

Renegotiate with US treaty to allow 100,000 cfs to flow over Niagara Falls during daylight hours April till October (from memory).  This is when power is needed most, 100K cfs was an arbitrary number that could well be reduced, the hydro plants are in place and throttle down each day.  Zero cost except lost tourism (perhaps, depending upon details of new treaty).

Build pumped storage.  Either around Niagara Falls, Upper Penisula of Michigan is ideal or other site in Ontario.

More wind power with power exchange contract with HydroQuebec (they give peak power when needed, they get 1.x times as much power whenever the wind blows, so they can throttle back on their hydro then).  Win-Win.

The New York Power Authority has a huge pump storage in Lewiston, just downstream of Niagara Falls.


It holds 740 million gallons of water, or "liquid fuel" as they call it.

Yes, I know about that one.  But, AFAIK, Ontario does not have a comparable pumped storage unit on their side.

If Ontario built one, plus an extra nuke, they would not have to build an NG fired power plant.  However, time to completion is more than 2008.

Shorter term, make a deal with HydroQuebec to trade, say, 1.4 MWh of wind power off-peak for each MWh peak hydropower.

I think it would behoove everyone to consider the mid-term elections in regards to the timing of the attack on Iran.

Polls are indicating that the people who had been swing voters enabling the Repugs to get into office are turning against the weasels who have brought us Iraq, U.S. financial destruction, and a monkey in the White House. Resident Bush and his puppet master, Karl Rove, are no doubt frantically trying to get the war on in time for a pre-election boost to sagging polls.

The last thing the resident needs is a Congress full of people with backbone. How will the Neocons get the rest of our money into the pockets of the rich if the Democrats decide to serve the people instead of the off-shore corporate bastards?

Cherenkov -

Some people are saying that Bush wants to 'do' Iran before the November elections to help rally the people, while others say that he wants to wait till after November so as to avoid possible negative political damage to the Republican candidates.  They both can't be right. I myself have not yet decided which is the more likely outcome.

What I am pretty sure about is the lack of noise from either the general public or the mainstream media regarding the advisability of attacking Iran. Given the growing debacle that Iraq has become, one would think that there'd be blood in the streets at the slightest hint that the Bush regime is planning 'Iraq, The Sequel' before the original movie is even over. But not so. It's almost like it's already a fait accompli that Iran will be attacked and attacked hard.

There been hardly a peep out of Congress. The reason is not too hard to fathom. Israel and its highly influential supporters in the US has been pressuring the US government for quite some time to take care of Iran. So, woe be it to any congressman running for election in November if he/she comes out against attacking Iran. Not only will he/she not get any campaign support from the Israeli lobby, but will probably soon find that his/her oppenent is getting lots.  Ditto, the MSM, many elements of which have long been stauch supporters of Israel. And need I say anything about the more loony elements of Christian Right?

If Congress really wanted to,  a group of the key leaders could go to Bush and tell him flat out that if he attacks Iran he will be impeached immediately. But that will never happen. So, as far as I can tell,  there are a lot of people here in the US who not only don't mind an attack on Iran, but are actually for it.

The anti-Iran propaganda machine is going into full swing, and don't be surprised to see some conveniently timed domestic terrorist atttack or international  'incident'  blamed on Iran.  And if the recent Seymour Hersh peice is correct, and the US war plans indeed include the possible use of nukes, then we are that much closer to the proverbial shit hitting the fan.  


Acknowledges Global Peak Oil Likely Happened in 2005
Surrounding Military Installations With Renewables
Preparing For Frequent Blackouts

Michael Kane
Staff Writer


Discussing Energy With DoD

Conversation #1

Michael Kane
Staff Writer


Note: All the articles at "From The Wilderness" are copyrighted - Seems the DOD is getting quite serious about Peak Oil so we can stop debating the topic because the issue is settled.

I have long thought that the best option re: Iran is for someone to give them a couple of nuclear weapons - one to test, publicly - so they could deter an attack (a la North Korea).  This is now crazy talk, of course, since it is clear that Israel + AIPAC and the US's current administration are apparently hysterical about Iran and might do anything if they feel stressed; and the escalating situation seems out of control.  This situation is now far too dangerous to be calm about, with nut-cases on all three sides. I could care less at the moment about Peak Oil, this new issue is more critical and immediate.  
On the good side, as a lot of voters seemed to say in 2004, GWB is the kind of guy you could go have a beer with. Great.  Let's have more Presidents like that.
If this has already been mentioned in another thread already, my apologies...

The April 8 print edition of my local newspaper (Lietuvos Rytas, the largest-circulation Lithuanian daily) had an interesting article by Arminas Norkus about Gazprom and Belarus. Since I get the paper edition, I don't read it on-line, but the site would be http://www.lrytas.lt -- beware the subscription wall -- selected points follow:

  • Gazprom announced a few days ago that it intends to raise the price for natural gas supplied to Belarus from the current 46.68 USD per 1,000 cubic meters, effective January 1, 2007. This would be in keeping with the current one-year contract, which will expire on December 31, 2006. Gazprom's CEO wants the rate to rise, if not to a European level, then at least to the Baltic countries' level.

  • Aleksandr Riazanov, the deputy to the chairman of the board, says that raising the price is purely an economic decision -- natural gas will be more expensive for all CIS members.

  • The Belarus prime minister, Sergei Sidorskii, wants to apply the terms of an agreement whereby Belarus firms are charged the same price as Russian firms, due to the Belarus-Russian Federation status as a unified state.

  • 80% of Russian exports of natural gas to Europe go through Ukraine, 20% of Russian exports of natural gas to Europe go through Belarus.

  • Riazanov says that a compromise on price can be reached if Gazprom becomes a shareholder in the system for transporting and distributing natural gas within customer countries.

  • Last Monday, Pavel Borodin (chairman of the executive committee of the Belarus-Russian Federation unified state) (I know, this is a lousy translation -- it's late, I'm tired) said that this year, the unified state's constitution should be approved. This would include the post of president. (Keep in mind that President Putin is not technically eligible to run again for the post of president of the Russian Federation. However, president of the unified state of Belarus-Russian Federation is another matter altogether.)

  • (I'll leave out the part about Belarus state socialism vs. Russian Federation state capitalism. Too late for me!)

Okay, I realize that Dave, westexas, and Khebab have been looking mostly at Russian oil. But this little story is making me wonder if maybe Russian gas also has problems in the not-too-distant future.

Things that make you go hmmm...

How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

The documentary, "The Power of Community - How Cuba Survived Peak Oil," was inspired when Faith Morgan and Pat Murphy took a trip to Cuba through Global Exchange in August, 2003. That year Pat had begun studying and speaking about worldwide peak oil production. In May Pat and Faith attended the second meeting of The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, a European group of oil geologists and scientists, which predicted that mankind was perilously close to having used up half of the world's oil resources. When they learned that Cuba underwent the loss of over half of its oil imports and survived, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990, the couple wanted to see for themselves how Cuba had done this.

During their first trip to Cuba, in the summer of 2003, they traveled from Havana to Trinidad and through several other towns on their way back to Havana. They found what Cubans call "The Special Period" astounding and Cuban's responses very moving. Faith found herself wanting to document on film Cuba's successes so that what they had done wouldn't be lost. Both of them wanted to learn more about Cuba's transition from large farms or plantations and reliance on fossil-fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers, to small organic farms and urban gardens. Cuba was undergoing a transition from a highly industrial society to a sustainable one.

Cuba became, for them, a living example of how a country can successfully traverse what we all will have to deal with sooner or later, the reduction and loss of finite fossil fuel resources. In the fall of 2003 Pat and Faith had the opportunity to return to Cuba to study its agriculture. It was a wonderful trip. They saw much of the island, met many farmers and urban gardeners, scientists and engineers - traveling more than 1700 miles, from one end of Cuba to the other. It was all they had hoped for and more.

Snip ......


I find the Swiss (and for slightly lower reductions Swedish) experience during WW II.

Switzerland used 26 days worth of oil in 1939 (or 19 MINUTES of current US oil use) for all of 1945.  Not a 50% reduction, but a 92% reduction. No massive disruptions of civil society (democracy reigned as it has for 1,000 years) and acceptable economic changes (six year oil embargo was just part of the effects of WW II on Switzerland).

The Swiss did this without selling their women to foreign tourists (a key to the survival of Cuba, as much as organic farming).

I see Switzerland as the model we should emulate, not Cuba.

Ummm... 19:30 here on the west coast.

Watching CNBC Global Players.

Is this a rerun?  Anyone else watching?

Just finished CNBC Global Players in AZ. Admissions of peak...we must conserve and take action immediately. You can buy the US NATO Oil guy's 40 page book on Amazon for $300. Esoteric knowledge. The PTB know. Iran will be a smokescreen for the near term problem and support the long term goal of global hegemony by forcing demand destruction and more government control.
Just finished CNBC Global Players in AZ. Admissions of peak...we must conserve and take action immediately. You can buy the US NATO Oil guy's 40 page book on Amazon for $300. Esoteric knowledge. The PTB know. Iran will be a smokescreen for the near term problem and support the long term goal of global hegemony by forcing demand destruction and more government control.
Sorry for the double post.
Caught only the tail end of this new show: CNBC Global Players

They said the "Peak Oil" word on a MSM-cable channel.

Here is the link to their "Addicted to Oil" posting.

And what of reserves: is "peak oil" a myth...or a very real prospect? How will consumers adjust if oil tops $100 a barrel? What should governments be doing to foster energy security? Those are some of the questions Sabine Christiansen will discuss with her guests:

Apparently Christine is a celeb on German TV.

The so-called "experts" at the end of show (only part I caught) seemed to be saying that there are plenty of reserves if only we can "invest" more into tapping them

p.s. Kjell Aleklett, one of the panelists on Global Players has his take posted on energy bulletin:

Report from the 7th International Oil Summit in Paris
by Kjell Aleklett

When Peak Oil was brought up it was interesting that Malcolm Brinded, executive Director of Exploration and Production for Shell, accepted that easy oil now is peaking, but saw no problems in increasing production steadily to 2020. Production from deep water, Arctic oil, heavy oil, oil sand and oil shales should be sufficient.

When he pulled out the 54/63 have peaked stat...  dude, you could hear the sphincters tightening.

And to see Shell and the Nigerian OPEC minister tap dance round the quality of life for the people of the Delta... PRICELESS!

Per Hirsch, we need 20 years to transistion to Peak Oil,  According to Shell we have 14 years.
For your amusement, our esteemed Senate is looking at legislation that would allow the Attorney General to sue OPEC for price gouging. The cluelessness in Washington continues to astound me.
The cluelessness in Washington

"Cluelessness" is probably not the right word. What you are witnessing is part of Adam Smith's theory in practice, namely, specialization.

If you recall from "Wealth of Nations," the beauty of the system is that the needlemaker specializes in making needles, the candlemaker specializes in making candles; and society in whole benefits from getting cheaper and better needles and candles.

Take that into the realm of lawmakers and you start to understand that they specialize in the twisting, massaging and manipulating of words. If you have any doubt of their expertise --and given that April 17th is soon upon us-- just take a look at the US tax code if you dare.

To the US lawmaker every problem looks like it has a legislative fix just like to the carpenter every problem looks like a nail waiting to be hammered.

So it is no wonder that the Senators see the "fix" as being just a little bit of more wordsmithing to make everything fine again. Forgive them, they are experts at what they do.