Thursday open thread

Go on, have at it.


please post a list of countries that you all
know have peaked and a list of countires that
are in the 'maybe' category and a list of
countries that oil is actually growing. (like
the super project post)

this site rules

From the Greg Croft website

A brief history of oil production peaks

Oklahoma peaked in 1927 at about 700,000 BOPD; now it is 167,000 BOPD.
The US peaked in 1970 at 9.66 million BOPD; in 2004 it was 5.43 million BOPD.
Libya peaked in 1970 at 3.32 million BOPD; in 2004 it was 1.54 million BOPD.
Kuwait peaked in 1972 at 3.28 million BOPD; in 2004 it was 2.34 million BOPD.
Iran peaked in 1974 at 6.03 million BOPD; in 2004 it was 3.93 million BOPD.
Saudi Arabia peaked in 1981 at 9.64 million BOPD; in 2004 it was 8.86 million BOPD.
Russia peaked in 1983 at about 11.5 million BOPD; in 2004 it was 8.88 million BOPD.
Alaska peaked in 1988 at 2.14 million BOPD; now it is 968,000 BOPD.

The following countries' oil production was at an all-time high in 2004:

China (3.49 million BOPD)
Mexico (3.38 million BOPD)
Canada (2.42 million BOPD)
United Arab Emirates (2.36 million BOPD)
Nigeria (2.34 million BOPD)
Kazakhstan (999,000 BOPD)
Angola (985,000 BOPD)
Malaysia (859,000 BOPD)
Qatar (783,000 BOPD

Want to save some SERIOUS gas?  Buy this get's like 8000 mpg.  Crazy!,,30100-13523559,00.html

Hello TODers,

How will the rising Cold War Politics between BCR, Putin, and the Chinese leadership affect the upcoming G8 Energy Security Conference in July:  Will they consider ASPO's Energy Depletion Protocols as a way to defuse the political storm, or will it just be a pointless shouting match leading to ever more militarism?

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

''Will they consider ASPO's Energy Depletion Protocols as a way to defuse the political storm, or will it just be a pointless shouting match leading to ever more militarism?''

Well... lets take a wild guess.

You are looking into the future and these are alternative scenarios. In order to codify some kind of short hand for future scenarios, may I respectfully suggest we  harden our options. I welcome any other handles or alternatives or other possible scenarios.

  1. THE JETSONS - A cornucopean, hi-tech vision of our future based a new , unlimited source of energy and personalised transport.

  2. HOBBITON - A heavenly vision of rustic charm, real ale and copious amounts of food with relatively little back breaking work in the fields. This scenario is basically 1) but low tech and with hairy feet.

  3. MAD MAX - A disorganised, chaotic dystopia of brigandage along Hobbesian lines.

  4. 1984 - An organised, regimented dystopia with extreme social control, propaganda, torture and chemical coshes.

  5. THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR - Just get it for us. Now.

  6. SHOGUN - Pretty self sufficient. Excellent news for those allowed to wear Katana, Not too hot if you are one of the night soil collectors.

Right now, 4) and 5) seem to me to be on the up.
Seems to me number three (Mad Max) is the most accurate model of US foreign policy: a large, rude warlord rides around the desert shooting people and stealing their oil.

Just substitute Dick Cheney for Lord Humongous and there you have it.



To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men.

"I am gravely disappointed. Again, you have made me unleash my dogs of war."

Yep, sounds about right Matt...

You forgot

7.  Soylent Green.  I think that it is spot on (with the possible exception of Soylent itself).  No energy, destroyed ecosystem, masses of people, global warming, and a very few wealthy people living in luxury.

attn Duncank
yes , that is where i got this name ....
was using it long before i gound out about PO . but it does seem to fit the situation in a way .  im a country boy , in a fairly survivable spot . small town with less than 10k people , 60 plus acres thats a had a garden for 130 years nonstop in my family , pretty much raised in the field and stream ....congrats to you , your the first one here to catch that ..
Yes, Soylent Green at number 7)

Number Eight?

8) THE HANDMAIDS TALE: Theocratic , fascist, dystopia with complete subjugation of Women.

Just need anothe two and we have the top ten hits for 2020.

Chronologically, several of the following could occur, in sequence:

#6) Three Days of the Condor - Some could argue that we have already entered this period. Puts off the inevitable.

#7) Soylent Green - The decline begins in earnest, government unable to cope, corporations step in. War, famine, and pestilence stalk the land. 10 years from now.

#5) Shogun - Modern civilization starts to crumble, stabilizing in a neo-feudal system, similar to that seen in third world countries today. Somalia or Zimbabwe seem apt models. 25 years from now.

#3) Mad Max - Effectively, the end game. Only vestiges of modernity remain, fossil fuel energy sources mostly exhausted. 50 years from now.

On the movie theme, how about 'THE POSTMAN'

Modern civ destroyed itself, those who survived found different ways to make a living:

some making it by living as 200 years ago, farming, fishing, community
some making by maintaining some modern era tech, hydroelectric, computers
some find themselves subject to warlords, raping, pilaging, burning, taking


I might be moving to San Jose / San Francisco in a few months (still completely up in the air). If I wanted to buy 10 acres of land where I can grow food, is there anyplace in particular I should be looking within 100 miles of the area? Or is all the arable land out there a million bucks an acre?
A place to live and place to grow food need not be in same location. You could get a small place in town and rent/lease a tract within bicycle range or easy drive.

With  small pieces of  ag land stranded by zoning you may wind up with a much shorter commute - good idea in these times. Up here in Western Wash ag land leases for  about $350/acre/year.

Be sure to inquire about water rights.

Hmmm...sounds kinda like a Russian Dacha setup.

A 5 acre plot in Pescadero (a charming peak oil ready village about 1 mile from the beach and surrounded by farmland and redwoods) on Pescadero Creek in rural San Mateo county is about US$300,000.  I was going to relocate my home from San Jose to Pescadero last year.  Then I realized that it would be more prudent to leave the US entirely.

PS:  Strongly advise not living in San Francisco itself.  The SF Bay military bases were gradually closed over the past several years.  Then Jeb Bush was heard to joke at a Florida GOP meeting that San Franciscans were an endangered species.  Make of that what you will.  But Livermore Lab has taken delivery of vehicles with gatling guns, and Camp Parks has been refurbished as an emergency detention centre, presumably for unruly San Franciscans.

Where did you end up moving to?

Right now I rent, I am probably a few years away from owning anything. I am unwilling to buy anything in this surreal real estate market anyway.

That's rather scary. Do you think that SF is where the next AlQaeda 'spectacular' will take place?
MillMan - you're off by an order of magnitude, man! $10 million an acre should set you up nicely. Don't forget to budget for watch towers and snipers and ammo for when things get bad and ppl are willing to die trying to get your cucumbers, or anything, to eat. .........

could you all have user polls like free market news?

and is there any chance you could have a voting
and flagging system like craig's list where us
users could rank posts and get some posts in
a hall of fame type page?

this site rules

Looking at the price chart on the right pane, I can see that changes in prices seems to vary from 1$ to 1,50$ almost each days in intraday trading.

Does anyone think that this kind of volatility is normal or just a result of too many contradictory headlines and day events?

Seems like it goes up for a headline telling that "someone" likes "someone else" and goes down because a "guy" dont like an other "guy".

Ok replace "guy" by some country name and you got it.

There's no question that there has been greater volatility in commodity prices lately, especially energy and metals. A significant component of energy futures trading is speculation, which is very news-driven. Momentum traders will enter or exit positions at the drop of the hat. They will invest in anything that is moving up and sell their positions when it becomes temporarily over-bought and the momentum wanes. When the price drops back, they start all over again. The net result is the large swings in prices that we are observing.
Does anybody here have the goods on a Bill Leighty, who is a director of the Leighty Foundation? He is proposing that Iowa lead the nation in producing hydrogen from wind power.

One of his interests is the possible use of hydrogen as a replacement for global-warming-causing fossil fuels. His particular expertise is in the economics of producing hydrogen and transporting it through pipelines.

He has presented papers on the topic at conferences all over the world.

One method of producing hydrogen is to pass an electric current through water, which breaks it into its component parts, hydrogen and oxygen. This becomes a renewable source of hydrogen if the electricity comes from wind turbines.

I thought you couldn't transport hydrogen through pipelines..

Depends on the level of carbon in the steel. Older pipelines generally have higher levels of carbon as that was the low-tech method of having a strong pipeline. Unfortunately that also means that the steel can be susceptible to embrittlement from hydrogen. Newer pipelines with low carbon levels don't have this problem.
I thought you all might get a kick out of this. I have said before that rarely do I encounter an ethanol advocate who backs up their arguments with actual literature references. Most of them seem to fall into one of 3 (not necessarily mutually exclusive categories): 1). The naïve idealist; 2). The investor; or 3). The person whose livelihood depends on continuing the ethanol boondoggle. One thing that seems to be very common is that their style of argumentation consists of ad homs, bombast, rhetoric, and made up facts. Their arguments are conspicuously light on references and verifiable facts.

So, I give you one of our TOD ethanol proponents, "fuelaholic". We have had an increasingly nasty exchange going back to Monday's open thread. I don't think there is any place for "over the top" arguments like this, and I think they need to be exposed to discourage them from taking place. I think the problem is that he is taking this personally, which is a shame.

It goes back to some claims that were posted of David Blume's, which I briefly addressed (to fuelaholic's dissatisfaction). I have challenged him time and time again to debate this issue, but he has only responded with insults. I want to highlight some of his claims, to show you exactly the kind of thing I get too often from the advocates. Note that all of the following are either 1). False; 2). Misrepresentations; 3). Ad hominems.

Lest you think I am making this stuff up you can see the exchange starting here.

Fuelaholic: I think the Oil Drum folks need to research who you really are and who  your allegiance is really to. Your paycheck, perhaps?

Isn't it ironic that an anonymous poster would say that I need to be investigated to find out who I really am? You would be what we call a "hypocrite", fuelaholic.

Fuelaholic: Like Pimentel, who refused to apply his numbers to organic farming methods, you focus on what is, not what can be.

I have written before that I think Pimentel's numbers are outdated, and that he should include co-product credits. But otherwise his methodology is far more accurate than that of the USDA, and he hasn't played around with the numbers as the USDA has. He also included necessary inputs that the USDA just completely omitted.

Incidentally, fuelaholic frequently calls Pimentel an "oil company shill". Speaking of which:

Fuelaholic: First of all, I've read plenty of biofuels comments here.  They are not as clearly slanted, and poorly thought out as yours.  And I haven't agreed with a lot of them. But I  know they aren't oil company shills.

If you can't support your arguments with facts, insult your opponent or cast aspersions on their motives.

Fuelaholic: I repeat, you are the one with the made up facts, poor understanding of basics (energy input vs energy output) and you are simply parroting oil company complaints and then covering your butt to disguise it whenever you can.

This from someone who hasn't once addressed any of my arguments. I invite the reader to check that out by clicking the link above.

Fuelaholic: You're an insulting smug wannabe know it all.

Sticks and stones.... Again, the reader can see who is doing the insulting. Also, my work with ethanol is in the public record, and can be easily verified. What would make me a "wannabe" is if I hid behind a pseudonym and naively presented the case for ethanol without actually having done the proper research into the issues.

Regarding my debate challenge:

Fuelaholic: I think a challenge should only come from someone who is qualified to make it.  Engineer Poet comes to mind.  He doesn't appear to have allegiances to his employer that cloud his vision, prompting numerous ad hominem attacks against me and Blume and Stryker.

Nice dodge. If I am not qualified, you should have an easy time of it. Ironically, EP was my inspiration for starting my blog. I have read 90% of the essays on his blog, and I bet we agree on 95% of the issues. Besides that, he has debated the issue and has it archived on his blog. He probably wouldn't mind debating the issue, but I can't speak for him. I can tell that I am willing, able, and if I am not qualified you shouldn't have a problem with me.

Second thing, I think you better look up the definition of ad hominem in a dictionary. If I say Blume isn't credible, and then dissect some of his claims to show why he isn't credible, that isn't an ad hom. When you call me a shill and then don't address my arguments, that is a classic ad hom.

Fuelaholic: I think frankly  instead of saying something like, this beet EROEI is bullshit, you should be saying, oh, really, I'd like to see that study. But you didn't.  

The funny was that I had asked him for the reference. You can see at the link above. This is the kind of sloppy argumentation that is par for the course from him.

Fuelaholic: Because it's your nature to be dismissive and not consider anything that doesn't inflame people to capitalize on TOD's tendency to doubt any energy alternative that comes along.

He knows my nature. So, not only an Internet ethanol expert, but apparently a psychologist.

Fuelaholic: It's clear you have no children, no concern for hope, no concern for anything other than your paycheck.

Wrong on all counts. These are the same sorts of "facts" he has used to support his ethanol arguments.

Fuelaholic: And you spend too much g-d time blogging.  You have to be paid for it!  End of story.

That's it. End of story. Another "fact" from fuelaholic. Sadly, the advocates often can't tell the difference between making a claim, and making a factual claim.

Nice guy, eh? Maybe he should be investigated. :^)


Robert Rapier -

Don't take such comments too much to heart.

I think what we're contending with here is a desperate attempt by some people to latch onto anything that will give them hope about the future of energy in the US; and you are viewed as the guy who dropped a turd in the punch bowl.  A certain faction desperately wants ethanol from corn to be a viable option and has upmost scorn for those who logically demonstrate its serious shortcomings.

You are a spoil sport; you have taken away their hope; and they hate you for it.

You are the crazy person, the only one who can't see the emperor's new clothes.

For shame on you!

Exactly, and whats worse that punch bowl had been spiked with some 12% ethanol cheap white wine, rendering it unfit for use just blew fuelaholics eroei numbers all to hell ;-)

Keep on bloggin in the free world RR, great stuff!

Keep on bloggin in the free world RR, great stuff!

Maybe I'd better wait until the investigation is complete. :^) I just hope they don't discover that I am a hopeless, childless shill, and that my real name is "Ethanol Hater".


You may be correct (I certainly agree with what you say) but I wouldn't reply with non-scientific arguments because that is the same thing the person taking a swipe at Robert did. You don't know with certainty the motivations of the ethanol supporter.

Communities like the can succumb to group think as much as the broader culture can. While I think this place has orders of magnitude less misinformation as, say, the MSM does, but I sure as hell do not rely on this place exclusively for my daily does of news and "reality."

Your travails with the ethanol contingent echo the frustrations I am sure most of us suffer when trying to educate people about peak oil in general.  Just today I caught myself getting upset and wrapped up in the bad logic of the person I was discussing things with.

Your best bet is to engage only those who will put forth and defend their ideas, and ignore those who merely sit back and snipe, and you cannot gain anything by dealing with this type anyway.  If all people want is an argument, and not an exchange and balance of ideas, then don't let them take on peak oil, or whatever valuable concept you know of, as an enemy.

Sadly, most people you will meet assert their "intelligence" by trying to tear others and their ideas down.  

Why don't we just grow corn--and let the South Americans grow sugarcane and refine ethanol--and we trade them corn for ethanol.

Didn't I read something somewhere about comparative advantage?

huh, I asume it was some kind of sarcasm? :)

If not, here some (I dont have time to back them) fact :

Sugarcane is grown using mainly manual manpower and somes are dying from thirst up there.  

Corn is fun to eat once or twice a year.  After that, cream corn is the only product that is good enough.  Do you know that 40 000 americain food product contain corn?

Corn is a cash crop because it is subsidized by your government.  No farmer can grow corn and make money if it is not subsidized.

When you put a full corn plant in front of a cow, it will eat all the plant except the corn.  

Corn is just about the worst thing you can grow and the worst sugar content for alcool production.

If it was a sarcarm, I wrote it for the others :)


That makes a lot of sense to me...  I think that eventually people will stop associating ethanol with corn. Based on our current crop-to-ethanol understanding most ethanol will be produced in tropical countries from other crops.  Definitely comparative advantage.

Maybe areas like the Caribbean, Phillipines,Malaysia, Africa, etc.. can actually catch up a little.  We send them corn they send us ethanol. I like that.

Reasoned arguments aside, it certainly
seems that TPTB have placed the ethanol
bet for at least a 10% blend with gasoline
or ~13 billion gallons anually .. That's the
size of the market just to displace MTBE ..

Has anyone seen any data on per acre ethanol
yield if the entire corn plant is processed,
rather than just the grain ?? Like it or not
we're going down the ethanol path .. might as
well be as efficient about extracting it as
we can be ..


Sorry about that, RR. Our anonymity on TOD means we can say things without professional repurcussions, but it also opens up the possibility of being really nasty. Hiding under cloak of darkness doesn't bring out the best in human nature. KKK members don't usually reveal their activities, and any academic on TOD can tell you how nasty anonymous journal reviewers can be.

Invective, tirades, diatribes, or <unacknowledged> rants don't us help much. [Self-aware rants can be cathartic and fun.] Personally, I'd suggest not engaging once it's obvious there is no point. I understand that the ad hominem is a classic fallacy, but I'm not convinced the underlying logic is always wrong. Sometimes the problem is the messenger more than the argument. If you read a post, and the word "bozo" comes to mind, there's probably not much point in reacting.

Sorry about that, RR. Our anonymity on TOD means we can say things without professional repurcussions, but it also opens up the possibility of being really nasty.

Just to be clear, I do not begrudge anyone their anonymity. I posted anonymously for years on Creationists boards after a particularly unpleasant Creationist starting posting my personal information (address, phone number, wife's name) on the Internet.

I just couldn't get over the irony of someone who goes by the name "fuelaholic" suggesting I should be investigated to find out "who I really am". LOL!


Why would you post on Creationist boards? Would you post on my (hypothetical) Hogwarts board complaining that you doubted dragons exist because you had never seen one and that my slash fiction Draco/Harry love affair was not canonical? Why pee in their sandbox? It's rude!
I am in fact a Creationist. Granted, I'm a Tiplerian Omega Point we are living in a video game Creationist, but still, I am a Creationist.
And yes, I'm going to kill the GM!
I guess I just like conflict. Here are a pair of articles I wrote a few years ago, before I became anonymous for a while:

A Lesson in Creationist Ethics

An Encounter with Walter ReMine

The first one is an account of an incident in which a rogue Creationist took over a debate board and started moderating his own debates anonymously. The second is a discussion of Haldane's Dilemma, with Creationist Walter Remine.



Let's face facts. You're not only a shill for the oil companies, you are Dick Cheney's personal bitch, correct?

Tell us, what does the inside of his underground lair look like?



I prefer the term "personal assistant".



Something to consider: there are lots and lots of people who are going to acquire either social and/or financial capital from things like ethanol. Or those that hope to. The best way for them to do this is to paint it as being WAY better than it is. That gets the rubes excited and ready to fork over money or attention. After all nobody is going to get that excited over something that promises to help only a little. No, they get excited over something that is going to let the suburban drive through shangrla of eternal shopping continue forever!!! So the biofuel advocate has a deep-rooted incentive to dramatically overestimate how much biofuel can help. In most cases they sincerely believe what they are saying. It's "Machiavellian self-deception" at its finest.

The reason they react so virulently to you is because you are bursting their inclusive fitness bubble, or at least the one they are hoping to build.

Basically, it's not facts your arguing over with them. It's "hey, this biofuel stuff is my ticket I'm gonna be rich and score with the hot babes!" from them and "sorry, but it ain't, here are the facts, let's stop the bullshit" from you.



If they keep the hype going and keep the ball in the air the  ethanol promoters will get rich and score the hot babes. For a short time.
Ethanol responds so completely to popular wishes and dreams it has the potential to be a costly and protracted experiment
RR - You are relatively new here, and in my opinion one of the most valuable contributors. Since you and I have had personal correspondence, I have insights into your integrity, knowledge and background. Reading listservs, blogs, chatrooms and places like the oildrum, one has an innate tendency to believe that everyone is an equal balanced voice that needs to be heard and addressed. The truth is that as the layers of the Peak Oil onion unfold, Greshams law of the bad driving out the good will evidence in spades. (case in point where is Don Sailorman?)

My mother taught me that everything one says should either be meaningful, or funny. Your posts are always coherent and I already know your background as a chemical engineer so I read and learn from every one of them. Not everyones posts carry the same weight, and I as a free citizen of the internet who is already strained by the complex time contstraints of society can choose how I spend my TOD reading time effectively.  

Bottom line. It was informative for you to voice your frustration above, but please dont take it personally. None of us ever can nor should please everyone with what we say and think. Keep up your integrous commentary and we want more turkey photos.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I was really sorry I missed the conference in D.C. You will have to give us an update. How did your panel go?


The powerpoints in the alternative fuel panel were excellent. I feel badly (and expressed this) that we couldnt devote the entire two days to discussing the importance between energy quality and energy density and environmental externalities when analyzing future fuel sources.

We touched on the importance on transitioning from a society powered by high density institutions to one of lower density  (wind, solar, biomass). Dan Lashof from NRDC, the main biofuel proponent, was really adamant (and rightfully so) that if we switch from oil and gas to coal, the climate impact will be devastating - he didnt address the net energy issue though and got a little drowned out from the others.

Pimentel stressed that agriculture needs to be used for food and there will be tradeoffs between energy and agriculture and the pro-cellulosic people are missing some of the soil and water implications.

David Blittersdorf, a wind entrepreneur, suggested that society needs to move to a much higher % of electricty and that if you flip the world hubber curve upside down it will give you an indication of energy prices (have been low, now going up, permanently).

I thought we did as well as we could in a brief time, pointing out that environmentally friendly options lack the high energy gain that society has been built on and that the best energy gain alternatives are bad for the environment. A plea was made for funding and research into developing a framework to analyze the relative merits of new fuel options.

We aimed at a '5' on a scale of 1-10 on beginning vs advanced for each panel and this one was probably a 9, so people that had never heard of EROI and such, might have been (more than) a little confused. But they can go back and research these things on their own.

We have a bandwidth issue on but hope to have the powerpoints up soon - also we are told that Julian Darley will get the videos and put them on Global Public Media soon. We were also informed that an independent film crew will make a documentary of all the interviews made with the 24 speakers that were there. Sorry you missed it - Im sure you would have asked your charismatic Governor a question or two...

Keep up your integrous commentary and we want more turkey photos.

How about a truckload of deer? This is how I plan on surviving Peak Oil. :^)


Wow!  How do you make the truck run on deer?
That's great, EP. Good one!
You actually use the deer to pull the truck, like Santa and his sleigh, and when they wear out you eat them. :)


That truck load of deer link was hostile. It was very slow to click back from the ads.
I didn't have a problem with it. I use imageshack for hosting pictures quite a bit. They do have ads, but they've never bogged me down too much. Sorry it caused you a problem.


dude! what the heck is the bag limit where you live? any of those bucks would have been a lifetime trophy in wisconsin.

that mustve been alberta or some such...


Do you work for any oil company. I have read your material and would like to know its real and not just some propaganda from the oil company's point of view.. I am staking my reputation upon your answer..

What does it matter if he works for an oil company? Hes pointing out scientifically laid out arguments on why ethanol is a bad idea and suggesting that if we go the biofuel route that biodiesel is a better option. Boy, oil companies stand to make billions by his comments!

I guess things have gotten so bad in this country that its better if people dont admit who they are and say things anonymously. Otherwise they are all viewed to have an agenda

In any case, Im sure the government is tracking all his phone calls, and yours.

  1. Yes, I do work for an oil company. I have that displayed in my profile. I came to Big Oil after several years in the chemical industry, to do R&D on a GTL project.

  2. My stuff is of course "real". I have been interested in, and have worked on, alternative energy for many years. I did my graduate school work on a process for turning biomass into chemicals, including ethanol, and there are links online describing this research which show me as a contributor. We won a presidential award in 1996 for this research. I strongly support many alternative energy technologies, and some of my blog entries have covered those. I will be writing an article soon on solar power, which I believe is the best alternative energy source there is.

  3. My point of view does not always coincide with that of my employer. They neither condone nor discourage what I am doing. This is my personal business. I once testified in favor of increased funding for wind infrastructure, and my company had to deal with a bit of fallout from that. Even though it was my personal opinion, several people wanted to present it as the official company position. If I had my preference, I would drastically reduce oil consumption worldwide, even if it meant I had to find another job. I have kids, and don't want to leave them a world in which they have a much tougher time than I had.

You are certainly free to question my motives. But even if I had ulterior motives, it doesn't change my arguments. That is what those who make ad hominem arguments do. They say "Oh, but you work for Big Oil", and then dismiss the argument. Well, I don't care if someone works for "Big Ethanol". Just make the arguments, and I will address them.


Just so you know, I have saved as one of my "must vist daily" sites.

Thanks for all of your wise words.



I would like to thank you for your response and yes you have answered all my questions.

And I for one, don't believe that ethanol is the answer and that you research is very interesting.

I wonder if the Iowa legislature would be interested in hearing from you someday?? Talk about a bunch of vote pandering politicians..

I think the thoughtfulness and well-considered reasoning of your many posts speaks loudly enough for anyone to hear who is willing to.

But I can't figure out when you sleep.

Reno, just Google "Robert Rapier" chemical, and you shall find the information you need in the second page. We are very fortunate he chooses to participate in this forum.
Reno, just Google "Robert Rapier" chemical, and you shall find the information you need in the second page.

Yep. I just checked. Busted. Top of the 2nd page.


Folks, please listen a second to grandpa.  Don't bother yourself overmuch with people who don't argue fair.  Just patiently make your case as well as you can, and assume correctly that the rest of us can pretty well tell what's right and not right between you.  Otherwise you might do the stupid thing I did quite a while back- got so mad I died of a heart attack ( but they pumped me back up again and whattayaknow, here I still am- I think).

Nice thing about science-and even engineering- right will out.  Just let it.

A week or two ago I was really excited by David Blume's ethanol commentary, at Community Solution (linked to from TOD). But very soon the shine wore off and I began to suspect that he was just another new age huckster.

First off, I went to his site, and tried to buy his book, but it turns out that even though he "produced a PBS series" twenty years ago, which was "killed by Mobil Oil", he still didnt' actually have the book he advertised. Instead, he was soliciting contributions of up to $100 to help him "self publish" it.

FOr someone who made "$100,000" an acre growing crops (marijuana?), surely he can afford to self publish his own book. Or take subscriptions and have it paid for. But it reeks of his milking people to help support him while he writes it. And as anyone who has tried to write a book knows, that can take forever.

I want to thank RR for challenging this font of potential misinformation.

Still, RR, I have to agree with above comments that you shouldn't take it too personally.


jim burke

RR quotes fuelaholic:
Fuelaholic: I think a challenge should only come from someone who is qualified to make it.  Engineer Poet comes to mind.  He doesn't appear to have allegiances to his employer that cloud his vision, prompting numerous ad hominem attacks against me and Blume and Stryker.
Somehow I managed to miss this in my pass back through that thread.

It's been a couple of minutes since I read that and started laughing out loud.  I'm still snickering.

I have an invitation for him:  read them and weep.

Great pieces, EP, I cannot believe I missed them previously.

If I may quote from you:

And others, too, it would seem.

I've grown to both enjoy and respect Robert Rapier's posts and work here on TOD.  Robert, you are indeed an asset to this board, a valuable contributor, and as I've mentioned before do not concern yourself with attempting to interpose logic and fact-backed responses to those who will not even listen or think about it.

BBC Newsnight programme has just brodcast a segment on oil and Chad.  Political in nature, but maybe worth a look.  'Chinese' buzzword squeezed in there too.  On their website for a week.

Also,  ASPO Ireland (Colin Campbell) has set out some aims and objectives worth looking at.


I have been reading from various sources that even organic farming is unsustainable. It didn't seem to make sence but I didn't really have a good argument for sustainable farming.

Could humanure be the answer we are looking for?

I dont have any links for proof of this but just basic common sense and a brief amount of experience dealing with some Amish folks here in Ohio dispells that myth. Organic farming is sustainable, its been going on for centuries. The two families I came in contact with used animal manure for fertilizer in small quantites, fields were worked using animal power and harvested by hand. Both families had been on the same land for more than 75 years. Does it work doing this alone? No, that kind of life and lifestyle depends on the teamwork of many families. Not all of them farmed, some raised horses, some made cheese, some raised cows, some made leather products. It varied quite a bit, but they work together because they have to. This kind of farming isnt productive enough to provide lots of extra produce to be exported to produce much fuel, but it normally is more than enough to provide for themsleves and have a better than decent leftover amount to either sell or save for when times are tough and the crops dont produce much.
my understanding is the Amish are quite dependent on the greater society around them then we have been led to believe...

I would think for example they don't mine their own iron ore and create steel from that ore? - steel for knives, plows, nails, horseshoes etc.  I think there are probably hundreds of examples of this - do they grow cotton, and make their clothes from that cotton (cotton not being a crop you normally associate with Penn. farming)?

so if they get a lot of their stuff from the society around them, they are largely dependent on that culture - which isn't to say they aren't prepared to do quite well WTSHTF - but I don't think that the Amish are quite so independent of society as many might think...

Depends on the sect or variety of Amish, there are many. Some do depend and interact with the rest of society quite a bit, some dont. Some are very shut in from the rest of america, some arent.

From my very limited time with the two families I can tell that they strongly believe in doing things in as permanent way as possible, very pragmatic and practical people as a general rule. Some of the farm equipment they use has literally been around long enough to be handed down several times for example. I saw some pretty inventive ways of doing things too. Some practice a way of life that basically forbids them from doing anything that causes others undue labor for lack of a better description. They really dont use very much that isnt renewable or reusable as a general rule. Yes, some are commercial small businesses.

As far as their clothing, most of it was wool, sheared, spun, and sewn all by hand, like everything else most of them do, its done the old fashioned way. Same with building construction, think late 1800's type woodworking. Not as much iron or nails as you'd think, lots of joints with wooden pins or dowels. But again, it varies, they make use of whats available wherever they may live.

They also trade with others from other parts of the country, thats something I found suprising. Its how they get some things they lack, they have a sort of network of sorts setup around the country. It tends to be local most of the time but many of them do reach out to other sects or their faraway neighbors from time to time.

At any rate, I think we can learn from them and use it, we will likely need it in the future. Same with what Cuba has gone thru. In the challenging times ahead it would be stupid not to.

From what Ive read about farming(one of my hobbies in my own quest for self sufficiency) it can be done sustainably without outside unatural inputs, its just very labor intensive and as much art as it is a science. The better you take care of the land, the better it serves you. You take as little as possible out, and put as much as you can in, let it do its job. For a farmer topsoil is your livelihood, its your bank account.

WTSHTF we will all be dependent on others more than ever before or life gets ugly damn fast, and for some, it will be very ugly. Some countries are already experiencing this. North Korea is starving to death slowly. Russia is losing around 700k per year to a combo of immigration out, starvation, and low birth rates. That info came from a link on this site I think, read that a day or two ago. Cuba lost quite a few people when they got cut off. I think that if anykind of a collapse hits hard at all, people are going to go hungry in droves. They still talk about cannibalism in rural russia, no im not kidding.

Not to dis the Amish, but I think 75 years is still too early to call it sustainable, not saying it isn't just don't know. We would really need to know what the topsoil on the farm was like prior to first cultivation compared to now and see if they are loosing or gaining.

I think I read somewhere that the global record for uninterupted agriculture in 1 spot is on the order of 600 years, China? anyways somewher in south asia

Well, certainly passed the 600 year test in the past, though I guess the Nile delta system is "done for" now that the dam is in.
You cannot define sustainable without specifying how much land per person you're talking about.  It's easy enough to illustrate the argument by taking it to extremes in either direction.
I meant sustainable in the context of soil depletion rather than a societal structure.

It seems to me that if you have a closed loop system (compost the manure of the consumers of vegetation grown on that soil), the soil should not deplete. This is why I question those who say agriculture is not sustainable.

Indeed, man has been farming for centuries using lots of techniques. He did so before petroleum and will do so after.

Crop rotation, recycling waste as fertilizer, and just good old fashioned hard work are the basic ingredients. Add a bit of luck too, mother nature has to cooperate. Global weather patterns changing due to man's interference probably pose as much of a danger to that area as any.

That's what I was talking about too.  If you have enough land per person, obviously it's sustainable - heck, you could survive on foraging with enough land.  But if your trying to feed too many people with too little land, you will deplete the soil unless you have other inputs.  So how can you figure out how quickly the soil would deplete without knowing how much, and of what crop, you are trynig to get out of it?
Well, if you consider the farming that was done by many of the North American Indians as organic, then yes, organic farming is sustainable. There is a book that touches on this, in places, called 1491, by Charles Mann, very interesting, and relevant for just these kind of reasons.

The Indians did not, unlike us, depend very much on things they dug (or pumped) deep out of the ground. Most stuff deep in the ground doesn't renew in meaningful periods of time. Biological stuff on the top can and does if nothing else messes it up. In the long run we are going to be a lot more dependent on what above-ground biology can do for us than on underground resources which are depleting.

That's why the sludge dumps and all the other above-ground devastation is so tragic. The one thing we can't do without is the topsoil and the above-ground ecology. Not that it won't renew more quickly than the underground stuff (like, the oil will take millions of years to come back, if ever) -- but it could be  rough for a few hundreds of years.

Of course, if you're the patient type, then it's not a big deal.

Humanure works great. We've been doing it for a year and a half. Otherwise you're taking nutrients out of the soil, flushing them down the drain with pure drinking water, and mixing it with toxic chemicals in the sewer.

Humanure is NOT nightsoil. Jenkin's book "The Humanure Handbook" is not only a highly entertaining read, it also has a chapter on composting that makes every other composting book irrelevant.

I would like to draw your attention to an Australian blog called The Soil & Health library which has pdf copies of out-of-print aggie classics, including Walter Lowdermilk's "Conquest of the Land through Seven Thousand Years."

Loudermilk, a top Soil Conservation Service scientist in the  early 20th C., went around the world looking at what remained of the soils of the classic civilizations, and gives a very convincing argument that topsoil loss was directly responsible for the collapse of each of them.

The key thought is that farms might lose the thickness of a dime of topsoil per year or decade, but over decades, centuries or millennia, these loses mount, until the land is no longer productive.

Also, he points out that as long as the soil remains intact, any civilization which collapses or is conquered will quickly spring back under new ownership. The only reason for lands to become uninhabitable is soil depletion, and soil really is the basis for all civilizations.

Those interested in Amish technology should check out Lehman's which is the hardware store for the Amish. We got a lot of our "technology" there, including a hand powered washing machine that requires no fossil fuels.  

If I understand "humanure" correctly, it involves composting in sawdust.  Composted excrement loses most of the nitrogen and yields no useful byproducts; you'd probably be better off using anaerobic digestion, which produces methane (fuel) as a byproduct and retains nitrogen in the effluent.
humanure is human feces composted in any number of materials, usually bulky organic matter such as weeds, grass clippings, hay, staw, leaf mould, etc.  you are thinking of sawdust toilets (peat moss, rice hulls and other organic materials can also be used) which are simply a way to collect the poop and act as a biofilter to absorb odors and moisture.  depending on having the right C/N ratio in the compost bin (not the toilet collection system) you can reduce N loss significantly (according to Gotaas, referenced in Jenkins book - N loss of only 0.5% with C/N ratio between 30-35).  also, not turning the pile reduces N loss.  

humanure is the way to go (trying to start a simple system myself) as it returns vital organic material, nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil (as well as detoxifying poisons/heavy metals/drugs in our excrement).  closing the nutrient cycle is one of the most important things we can do for topsoil fertility (not to mention preserving fresh water supplies, reducing energy consumption and pollution in wastewater treatment).  that's how organic farms are supposed to work, as well, using cow/horse manure.  humanure is just more nitrogen rich.  

the Humanure Handbook Messageboard is helpful for people interested.  

i'm not necessarily against anerobic digestion followed by feeding the remainder into a algae fishpond or other wetland (like was described on Energy bulletin) but most individuals can't carry out this complicated process and don't have fishponds nearby.  as well, it doesn't replenish topsoil (although it does make ponds/wetlands more fertile).

Recommended read...  short story  THE MACHINE STOPS
by EM Forster.

Anyone communicating out there and no-one listening.


This  was posted by me on an earlier thread. I can not believe that a Senator with his influence should get away with making such rash statements.
I just now heard Sen. Harkin D-Ia.  state on MSNBC that it requires more energy to produce a Gal. of gas than the energy in a Gal. of gas. How can a Senator afford to display his ignorance, or lie to the American people? He also stated that ethanol production must reach 20 billion gallons annually by 2020.
That is 75% of our current annual corn harvest. That is good for 100% at E-14 content for our current gasoline consumption. We had better get in gear to find other means of producing ethanol. BTW CBOT ethanol for May is currently 2.95/gal.  
It sounds as though my good senator has fallen to the dark side of corn growers association of Iowa..
Here's more on what my senator stated today:
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced aggressive new plans that will help wean America off its dangerous and costly dependence on foreign oil while giving America's drivers access to more ethanol and biodiesel at fuel pumps. Harkin's plan provides a comprehensive approach to boost ethanol and biodiesel use through a much higher renewable fuels standard (RFS), far greater availability of E85 pumps and would ensure that nearly every new vehicle sold in the United States is flex-fuel within 10 years.

I just now heard Sen. Harkin D-Ia.  state on MSNBC that it requires more energy to produce a Gal. of gas than the energy in a Gal. of gas.

He is utilizing Argonne accounting rules, which apparently aren't used for ethanol accounting.


I don't understand argonne accounting rules.

I have tried to understand which could be the underlying error here. One error could be that they compare the BTU's of 0.54 barrels of gas to the BTU's of one barrel of crude and make the assumption that the ratio of the two is the EROEI of gas. However this is false because one barrel of oil yields also 0.25 barrels of gasoil, 0.04 barrels of residual fuel, some kerosene, gas etc .
It should be noted that contrary to any fischer tropsch process, the esterification of vegetal oil, or the distillation process of ethanol from fermentation, the refining of crude is very efficient, with very few dissipation of the initial BTU content of the crude barrel processed. The extra energy required from electricity and other sources doesn't exceed 10% (see link above).

The error is pretty straightforward. In the case of gasoline, they consider the BTU content in a barrel of oil, and then determine how much of that BTU content it will take to refine it into gasoline. By definition, this number will be less than 100%. For example, if I have a barrel of oil worth 6 MMBTU, it may take some 600,000 BTU to refine it. My energy return then was 90% in the way they have calculated it. But in reality, you input 600,000 BTUs and netted out 5.4 MMBTU.

They don't account for ethanol in the same way. If you input 1 BTU, and returned 1.3 BTU, they are saying the energy return is 1.3, or 130%. As you can see, far more energy was wasted in making the ethanol (you only netted 0.3 and used 1.0 to get it) but by applying different accounting rules they claim ethanol has a superior energy return. If they applied the same accounting method, then the return for ethanol would be 0.3/1.0, or 30%.


In some respects, it is mathematical manipulation, similar to what has been done regarding "reported inflation" through the CPI index. The obvious question begs, "but why?"  
That answer is simple: To disguise or conceal the truth.
I have read that in the 1920s one barrel of US oil was required to produce 100 barrels of US oil. By the 1980's one barrel of oil was needed to produce 17 barrels of oil. I think by now it is one barrel of oil to produce 10 barrels of oil or even less. Sen. Harkin may be more correct than you think. I think I remember these figures from either Colin Campbell or Matt Simmons. If anyone has better figures, I would like to know. I suspect 1:10 ratio is optimistic.
I've tried to find the link, but I read somewhere lately that a gallon of gasoline would cost several thousand dollars if you consider the cost of trying to replace the crude oil.  I'm not sure how serious or acurate this is, but is an interesting thought: How much would it take to produce a barrel of crude from scratch, so to speak?
A thought on the energy returned on energy invested formula.

I was thinking about the model for a little bit.  While I completely agree with the logic behind it, I had a thought, what if it doesn't matter?  

What if the energy returned is in a form which is more economically valuable, but not necessarily energy valuable based on the formula above?  We already know that liquid fuels demand a greater premium the market place than other fuels (e.g. solid fuels, gases, nuclear) because of the nature of our transportation system and already embedded infrastructure.  Therefore, couldn't you have a situation where a liquefied form of energy, while using more of less valuable forms of energy to manufacture, demands a market based premium, therefore negating the respected formula of energy returned on energy invested?

Sure, on a scientific basis energy returned on energy invested is an important measure, but within the confines of our current economic model and already developed infrastructure, I'm wondering if "economic value" matters more.

I also join your reasoning - one has to account for the quality /availability of the input energy in calculating EROEI. Using it by itself to compare energy sources could be meaningless.

For example the EROEI of a solar panel is just 1:7, but the input energy (sunlight) is free and abundunt. If you compare it to the EROEI of ethanol (say 2:1) you may end up with rejecting solar panels in favor of ethanol. I think the EROEI concept should be used only when the inputs are of comparable quality with the output. It can help clearing some disturburances in the market price like for example a temporary glut/shortages, taxes, subsidies etc.

there are many problems with EROI analysis. Such as how do you account for energy quality and environmental impact - these are being addressed.

But the bigger issue that EROI critics ignore is that the overall society is run by an energy gain (see Joseph Tainter) of 5-10:1. If we have to replace that with something smaller, even if it is of higher quality, society will have difficulties.

Also, EROI critics are more technology focused than thermodynamic focused.

And finally, even if a high EROI technology would exist, its like depositing money in the bank and then having the bank making subsequent loans - there is a huge consumptive multiplier to high energy gain systems in a growth environment. The environment, from many standpoints is reaching a breaking point. New fuels need to be high enough EROI not to have a  big fall off from current levels, but also environmentally stable. To me, wind power is the only thing that currentyl fits this, (and to soem extent solar). The real answer lies in consuming less.

If you use a solar panel in a concentrator, the return on energy is pretty much as high as you want it. The cost of solar power is pushing the cost of natural gas already.
PV EROEI is much better than that... and those figures are several years old now.
In the 1/7 EROEI I was including the sun light energy as an "input" energy, rather that the energy embodied in the production of the solar panels. As a result the EROEI turned to be 0.14 as opposed to 3-5 range given by the study.

I know - the input sunlight energy is virtually free and limitless at least until our Sun turns into a red giant. But this was exactly my goal - to challange the underlying assumptions in the EROEI analysis, regarding the unification of the inputs and the outputs - all just measured in joules without accounting for other factors. For example if in the tar sands production part of the input energy comes from stranded natural gas, oil from the tar sands may turn to be a good thing for the society, in spite of the low EROEI. The reason - the alternative usage of the stranded NG might be uneconomical/impractical or even with negative EROEI by itself.

dbarberic -

Well, what you are getting into is what is sometimes called the 'form value' of the energy.  A BTU in the form of natural gas has a greater form value than a BTU in the form of coal.  Likewise, a BTU in the form of electricity has a great form value than a BTU of natural gas. Yes, the form value of energy is an important consideration when discussing how the energy is ulitmately used, e.g., I can't very easliy light my house with a lump of coal but I can easily do it by plugging in my electical outlet.

That being said, considerations of form value cannot get around the simple fact that a BTU is still a BTU regardless of form it is in. So, when we get down to considerations of primary energy supplies EROEI is of vital importance. For example, if ethanol from corn has an EROEI not much above unity, it cannot legitimately be veiwed so much as an energy SOURCE, but rather as a more convenient energy FORM. The more extreme example would be making flashlight batteries. The batteries are obviously not an energy source, just a conventient energy form.

I also think it could be argued that the concept of EROEI doesn't even apply to electrical generation because that is actually a downstream use of the primary energy source, e.i., coal or natural gas.

So,  what I'm really driving at is that neither EROEI nor energy form value tell the whole story. Often, the two must be considered together. Tolerating a low EROEI for convenience of use may be justified in many cases, but NOT when it comes to producing a primary energy source, for doing so only results in thermodynamically going around in circles of ever decreasing radii.


Does anybody know where I can view the charts for the "Hirsch-Bartlett" talk from 04/24/2006?

I started to listen to it, but it sure would be nicer if I could see the charts at the same time.

Thanks in advance,

I stumbled on the Greg Croft website.  A very straighforward site run by a seismic interpretation firm.  Their take on peak oil is very straightforward with zero opinion:  

I thought this was a refreshing way of framing the issue.

   "The greatest danger from peak oil is that we will do something foolish in response to it "

 we allready turned that corner m8...

Just saw a TV panel of bank economists talking about the future. Not a single one is talking powerdown, dieoff or even an economic slowdown.  They must live in another world to peakers. At the moment Australia is doing well selling coal, yellowcake and ag produce to China and India. According to economists in 20 years we will all be one big happy middle class. Maybe so, but not with the three car garages they envision.  
In many ways this doesn't surprise me.  Peak oil itself and the changes that it will force upon it are a classic example of a paradigm shift:

A scientific revolution occurs, according to Kuhn, when scientists encounter anomalies which cannot be explained by the universally accepted paradigm within which scientific progress has thereto been made. The paradigm, in Kuhn's view, is not simply the current theory, but the entire worldview in which it exists, and all of the implications which come with it. There are anomalies for all paradigms, Kuhn maintained, that are brushed away as acceptable levels of error, or simply ignored and not dealt with (a principal argument Kuhn uses to reject Karl Popper's model of falsifiability as the key force involved in scientific change). Rather, according to Kuhn, anomalies have various levels of significance to the practitioners of science at the time. To put it in the context of early 20th century physics, some scientists found the problems with calculating Mercury's perihelion more troubling than the Michelson-Morley experiment results, and some the other way around. Kuhn's model of scientific change differs here, and in many places, from that of the logical positivists in that it puts an enhanced emphasis on the individual humans involved as scientists, rather than abstracting science into a purely logical or philosophical venture.

When enough significant anomalies have accrued against a current paradigm, the scientific discipline is thrown into a state of crisis, according to Kuhn. During this crisis, new ideas, perhaps ones previously discarded, are tried. Eventually a new paradigm is formed, which gains its own new followers, and an intellectual "battle" takes place between the followers of the new paradigm and the hold-outs of the old paradigm. Again, for early 20th century physics, the transition between the Maxwellian electromagnetic worldview and the Einsteinian Relativistic worldview was not instantaneous nor calm, and instead involved a protracted set of "attacks," both with empirical data as well as rhetorical or philosophical arguments, by both sides, with the Einsteinian theory winning out in the long-run. Again, the weighing of evidence and importance of new data was fit through the human sieve: some scientists found the simplicity of Einstein's equations to be most compelling, while some found them more complicated than the notion of Maxwell's aether which they banished. Some found Eddington's photographs of light bending around the sun to be compelling, some questioned their accuracy and meaning. Sometimes the convincing force is just time itself and the human toll it takes, Kuhn pointed out, using a quote from Max Planck: "a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

After a given discipline has changed from one paradigm to another, this is called, in Kuhn's terminology, a scientific revolution or a paradigm shift. It is often this final conclusion, the result of the long process, that is meant when the term paradigm shift is used colloquially: simply the (often radical) change of worldview, without reference to the specificities of Kuhn's historical argument.

The comment of Planck: "a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." is one that strikes me in particular.  When I was in graduate school, I studied quantum mechanics from a professor who himself had done his graduate work in Paris.  At that time quantum mechanics itself was quite controversial, and he had to study this subject from professors in the department of mathematics because the physics professors of the day refused to admit that quantum mechanics had any validity.

Scientific and social attitudes often change much faster than that.  Examples:
  • Plate tectonics.
  • Immigration.
Hmmm... I'm no geologist, but my understanding is that it took decades before plate tectonics became the hegemonic paradigm.
Plate tectonics was only heresy in America. When it changed, it took about five years. One of the local fans (Dinosaur Jane, as we call her) said that if she had used plate tectonic answers she would not have passed her freshman geology exam, but if she had not used them on her GRE, she would not have gotten into graduate school. The transition was in the middle sixties.
Would this fan Jane have a surname I might recognize from published work?
Interesting article on russian oil exchange.
Putin had his annual big state of the union type of speech, in which he listed several things, including the russian oil exchange using rubles.

He also wants to give incentives to women to have more children:
because of Russia's well known demographic problem:
He'll also need big bucks to update the Russian nuclear arsenal:

RiaNovosti is a fun news source - clearly an organ of the Kremlin to get certain viewpoints out, but at least they are not like Pravda (and its creative fiction) or the AsianTimes which some people here like to quote.    RiaNovosti is on my shortlist of web sites to check when I see other media making comments about what Putin reportedly said (or did not say), just to see what indeed was supposed to be said.

BTW, regarding an oil exchange using rubles... they are aware of one of the possible negative side effects of a strengthening ruble:

Australia's oil production peaked in March quarter 2000, although a second, lower peak is expected in 2007-8.
Production in December quarter 2005 was down 39% from the peak.

The impact of price on Australian consumption of petrol and diesel shows Australian petrol (gasoline) sales easing in 2004 and falling in 2005, while diesel sales continue to rise at 2.9% p.a.

Thanks Dave. I'm returning home to Australia (Perth) in December and want to become active on this subject politically in my local community. Do you know of any groups in Perth meeting on this subject?
Hi I am from Perth.  There is this mob called the Sustainable Transport Coalition.

Here's a link,2106,3665147a7693,00.html
to information about bio-diesel made from algae in sewerage ponds, which looks promising.

I have thought for a while that some of our lakes here in NZ which have been polluted with farm fertilser would be good for growing algae or water weeds for bio-fuel production.

Apparently Dr Fisher here is under the impression, like a lot of people, that there is an infinite supply of coal.

"THE rise of alternative fuels would force a dramatic drop in oil prices in the next 50 years, the head of a government research body said today
Anyone predicting an average oil price above $US40 a barrel in the next 50 years had not taken into account the rise of alternative options, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Research Economics (ABARE) executive director Brian Fisher said.

Oil prices are hovering about $US70 a barrel.

Dr Fisher said Australia should be investing in alternative energy but there was no cause for panic.

"If you're looking at the long term, (the) real price of oil over the next 50 years, anybody who calls a price over $US40 does not bring into place the liquefaction of coal," Dr Fisher told a Senate committee into future oil supply.

"We have more of this stuff (energy) than you can poke a stick at, vastly more than we can use over the next several thousand years.""


This is what he is telling a Senate Committee on Australia's future energy supplies.

200 Feared Dead in Nigeria Oil Blast

LAGOS, Nigeria - An oil pipeline exploded Friday in Nigeria and up to 200 people are feared dead, a local television station reported.

Nigeria's Channels Television reported the fiery blast came as villagers flocked to a ruptured conduit at Ilado town outside the main city of Lagos to scoop up fuel gushing out. Up to 200 may have perished in the explosion, the station said. There was no immediate confirmation.

Also: Nigerian militants threaten major gas export plant

LAGOS (Reuters) - Militants threatened on Friday to destroy a $13 billion natural gas export plant in Nigeria.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in an email to Reuters they were conscious of the potential for an attack on the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas plant to hurt nearby communities, and would launch a warning raid on an oil facility beforehand.

"We recognize the catastrophic result of an unannounced attack on the NLNG and will not do so without good warning to surrounding communities," MEND said.

"We will destroy that plant but I promise you, we will carry out a terrible unannounced attack on an oil installation as a prelude to the NLNG attack and a warning to all to vacate that gas plant."

I would love to see information about how much if any production has been shut out by the pipeline explosion.  And analysis about what this attack will mean in general for Nigerian oil.
High Gas Prices Lead to U.S. Scooter Boom

MSN Money / AP Business News, May 12, 2006 92

A few excerpts:

"Sales at the Chicago-based Genuine Scooter Company, one of the country's larger scooter dealers, which owns the popular Stella brand, have been doubling annually for the last three years, with even faster growth projected for this year, according to owner Philip McCaleb."

"I'm seeing a lot of people from blue-collar businesses, who are paying $100 to fill up their vans," said Nick Mendizabal, owner of Brooklynbretta, a scooter dealership. "A lot of people who thought scooters were not so masculine are now asking, 'How fast do they go?' and `What's the mileage?'"

Read it and weep, if you're a GM shareholder. Read it and rejoice, if you're anybody else. Here in Lithuania, meanwhile, the police are considering ways to crack down / restrict / make life less pleasant for scooter drivers. But that's another topic altogether...

CNN Headline News had a piece on the rising popularity of scooters, I caught some of it while eating lunch today.
"100 mpg and the wind in your hair", it touted.

I also saw that "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) was hit by a NYC cab, while riding his scooter, late last week.  One can only hope that the US roads become a bit more hospitable to scooters in the times ahead. ainment_1590448

You know, running over a real mobster probably would not be the smartest thing to do.

There is an electric scooter out there that I have been meaning to test drive.  About 25 mile range, 20mph top speed.  I vaguely recall that a full charge uses about 1.5kWH or so.

If we get into a shooting match with Iran, such a thing could be viable transportation.

I really should just ride my bicycle more though.

And from Friday's Morgan Stanley Global Economic Forum, in a piece by Shital Patel and Richard Berner, "Business Conditions - Cruise Control?":

"Energy Prices Taking Their Toll

We asked analysts this month whether the recent rise in oil and refined product prices has affected business.  Slightly over one-fifth of the analysts noted that higher energy prices have decreased margins.  Oddly enough, results from our question on margins over the past three months haven't fully reflected the impact of higher energy prices.  It is worth pointing out that 53% of analysts noted that the hike in energy prices has not affected business yet, and 12% noted that such increases have increased top-line growth."

And in another segment:

"Energy:  Business conditions improved noticeably for the oil services companies, and bookings were higher.  Companies plan to increase hiring and capex notably.  Prices charged continued to increase by 3% or more compared to a year ago and have outpaced unit costs over the past three months.  Business conditions are expected to continue to improve noticeably over the next six months."

Gotta love that dry economist-style humor...yeah, I'll bet business conditions in the energy business are gonna improve noticeably over the next six months...

Since there isn't a Fri Open Thread, here's a link to the best MSM article I've ever seen on the gas tax issue.
It's also posted on Energy Bulletin.  Can we build some momentum from this.  They have an article rating system over there, the top ones apparently get recommended to readers.  I say all TOD'ers who agree with a gas tax rate this one a ten (or what you think it merits) so it rises to the top, instead of languishing as it does now at 6.57, ugh) Then send and link it like mad.  This isn't one of us PO nut jobs - it's an MSMer calling for a gas tax to internalize its true costs, an issue that's been dear to my heart for decades.  Go!
Click here instead, and then rate it a 10:

Cliffman's link prevents others from rating the article, since it is his already-rated hyperlink.

Thanks for cleaning up after my hyperlink ignorance...
The gas tax debate is also an interesting observation "window" regarding the failings of our free market economy.

Free market types say, "The consumer should get what he/she wants. The markets decide what is affordable and governments should not interfere."

If you bring up the example of a consumer wanting to exercise his/her free will by buying cocaine at street prices, apologists for the market system rush in and say, Not fair: that is an isolated exception.

Well here we have another isolated "exception", our addiction to gasoline and to our free wheeling automobiles.

The governement admits it is an "addiction". Moreover, by taxing gasoline so as to suppress demand, the government is also admitting in essence that the "free market" is not doing what it supposedly does, namely, sending the correct price signal to all parties involved, consumers and suppliers, so that supply meets demand at an appropriate price point.

So what else is it that we are addicted to?

  1. Suburban life style
  2. Expensive fashion clothes and shoes
  3. Cold Stone Ice Cream (how dumb --ice cream mixed for you on a frozen stone)
  4. All other comfy things found in centralized shopping malls
  5. The Hollywood promise that everything will always turn out well at the end of the movie.
  6. ???? -you add your favorite addiction here (the next season of American Idol?)

Then ask yourself: How is the Market correctly responding to to the issues that truly confront our civilization:
  1. Peak Oil
  2. Rapid Climate Change
  3. Overpopulation
  4. Under education
  5. Addiction to credit cards
  6. Reality distortion by Madison Avenue, K Street, and Hollywood.

When it comes to item number 3, that is called "growth" and the Markets view it as a positive thing, something for us to continue to be addicted to. "Growth" means higher GDP and higher real estate "values" in desirable uncrowded areas. Growth is good. Greed is good. Questioning is unpatriotic. Thinking is over-rated.