The Chicago Tribune Story on Oil

Along with most who have read it, I was much impressed with the Chicago Tribune special segment on oil this weekend, and, if you have the time, would highly recommend that you both read the articles and watch the video (which takes about an hour). It does not have the fictionalized aspects that we have seen in other coverage from the BBC through Fox, and CNN about the problem, but rather, in a series of facts, lays out the situation. For those who don't have the opportunity, I thought I would give a summary, with some comments.
The series provides a number of answers to questions that appear from time to time in comments here, including the bits that get added to the price of the oil as it moves through the chain, to the point that it reaches the pump. It begins with the load of gasoline delivered to a Marathon service station in South Elgin, just north of Chicago. They were able to find that the 7,723 gallons of a delivery came from

Gulf of Mexico crudes--31 percent

Texas crudes--28 percent

Nigerian crudes--17 percent

Arab Light from Saudi Arabia--10 percent

Louisiana Sweet--8 percent

Illinois Basin Light--4 percent

Cabinda crude from Angola--3 percent

N'Kossa crude from the Republic of Congo--.01 percent

Iraqi crude - a little more than a trace.
And then they went on to trace back to where that oil came from, at least for the greater percentages. As the report notes
This is, in effect, a journey into the heart of America's vast and troubled oil dependency. And what it exposes is a globe-spanning energy network that today is so fragile, so beholden to hostile powers and so clearly unsustainable, that our car-centered lifestyle seems more at risk than ever.
The portion of the gas from the Gulf came from the Petronius rig, out in the Gulf that produces up to 60,000 barrels of oil a day, from some 19 wells from the field of the same name, some 130 miles south-east of New Orleans. It was closed, due to hurricane damage, for 175 days after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The wells are also now, more complex.
Out in the gulf, for instance, Petronius' 19 wells do things engineers couldn't dream of a quarter-century ago. They snake downward through almost 1,800 feet of seawater, bore vertically through a mile and a half of rock, and then veer off laterally under the stony seabed for distances of up to 5 miles. This is the oil-patch equivalent of drawing blood from a hidden vein--with a hypodermic needle 180 feet long.

Such whiz-bang technology has encouraged the U.S. Minerals Management Service to boost the Gulf of Mexico's potential oil reserves by 15 percent, to 86 billion barrels. That's enough, in theory, to meet U.S. demand for another decade. Much of that, however, lies in deep, environmentally sensitive waters near the Florida coast and is prohibitively expensive to extract using current technology.

Petronius, itself, is anticipated to have a life of less than 15 years.

Nigeria occupies a large percentage of the supply, with most of it coming from the delta, but, as the story notes

Nigeria, Africa's oil heavyweight with 36 billion barrels of reserves, boasts only a seventh of Saudi Arabia's bounty. Still, African crude has its advantages. It is light and low in sulfur--well-suited to pollutant-sensitive U.S. refineries. Its reservoirs are closer to major East Coast ports. And American companies can do business on the continent unhampered by the terror war tensions that dog them elsewhere.

Americans already get more oil from Africa than from Saudi Arabia. By 2015, oil experts say, African states will supply a quarter of all U.S. imports, up from 15 percent today. The United States quietly signaled this shift in 2002, when the State Department declared African oil a "strategic national interest," meaning in diplomatic code that U.S. troops may intervene to protect it.

Interestingly the Akwa Iborn River where the story is based in Nigeria, is, further up river, a potential source of palm oil, and at some 635 gallons/acre (for biodiesel) it might, long-term provide a better benefit for the local people than either soy beans in the US, or the impact that oil has had on them, which, as reported has not, in the main, been good. Unfortunately I found this quote to be telling:
The powerful Texas-based company is both courted and reviled by the Ibibio people. The Nigerian central government is for the most part invisible in the backwater region, so everyone turns to the Americans for solutions. When asked why villagers didn't dig latrines--a simple way to blunt fatal gastrointestinal epidemics--Itak Abasi's old, bald-headed chief snapped, "That's the oil company's job!"
Nigeria continues to be unsettled, even this weekend Leanan was drawing attention to the worsening situation.
Royal Dutch Shell, which produces half of Nigeria`s oil, said last Tuesday a leak of an oil pipeline in south Nigeria had cut output there by 180,000 bpd. As a result of the leak whose reason remains unclear, the contracts of Shell might not be honored in July and August.

There were also 477,000 barrels offline in the western region of the oil-rich Niger Delta. Altogether, Nigeria had to cut oil output by 675,000 bpd because of a string of leakage accidents.

However, the calculation did not take into account a recent attack at an oil pumping plant operated by Italian energy group ENI.

Last Wednesday, ENI said local militant youths attacked its Ogbainbiri plant in south Nigeria on Tuesday night. The plant has an oil extraction capacity of 35,000 bpd.

The key quote there being that contracts might not be honored.

The Marathon station, which incidentally sits in a corn field, where the corn is slated for an ethanol plant. even got a minute amount of oil from Iraq, and the story there is also not a promising one.

A former colonel in Saddam Hussein's army, Yousif, 49, works for Olive Group, a British security firm that specializes in oil field protection. He had just spent 18 months training 4,500 Iraqi recruits to patrol the nation's vital southern oil fields against sabotage and fuel smuggling.

But strange new faces were appearing at the checkpoints. They were the bearded members of local Shiite parties and their violent militias. His oil army was being infiltrated. In places like Rumailah, Iraq's boggling oil wealth was falling prey to sectarian greed.

A stiff, bespectacled man cocooned in body armor and escorted by a three-car convoy of British and Iraqi bodyguards, Yousif glared at the militiamen. They squinted back with open contempt.

It takes 41 days for the oil to get from Basra to the LOOP, and so the impacts of Middle Eastern events can have an actual impact on day-to-day events (as opposed to that on the financial market) some time after the event itself. But overall the situation is unlikely to increase oil production from that country in the near term.
The interfactional fighting over oil is getting worse, not better," said Jamal Qureshi, an oil analyst at PFC Energy in Washington, an energy consulting firm. "I continue to pencil in declines in Iraqi output for the next couple of years. This isn't pessimism. It's a real mess."
Though it is a country where the Chinese oil companies already have personnel.

In contrast with Nigeria, the Chavez Government in Venezuela is using the oil revenue to raise the standards of its poor.

"This is a good way to run an oil company into the ground," said a skeptical Michelle Billig, an analyst with PIRA Energy Group in Washington. "On the other hand, if leaders in places like Nigeria, Angola and even Iraq ever tried a bit of this, we probably wouldn't be hearing so much about instability in their countries."
And the Chinese were also in Venezuela, leaving behind, in this case, an orchard of cashew trees, that were, as it happened, dying when the reporter was there. Yet it again underscores the ubiquitousness of their activity. The article doesn't see much immediate impact from the heavy oils of Alberta and Venezuela, and quotes Congressman Bartlett.
Heavy crudes might help delay a global peak oil crisis, Bartlett added, but not for long. He noted that even with a fast-track program, Canada might squeeze 5 million barrels a day from its tar sands by 2025. But by then, the world's daily oil appetite may have swollen by 40 million barrels.
We have noted before that the Chinese are interested in Alberta, and the Koreans have now joined them. It is a presence and level of activity that the reporter notes.
"America and China are on a collision course over what remains of the world's hydrocarbons," said Gal Luft, a China expert with the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington. "The 21st Century is going to be defined by this aggressive competition for a resource that's depleting."

Cushioned for the moment in their oil-soaked lifestyle, most Americans have little idea how surging energy demand in China is reshaping the future, Luft said.

The speed of Chinese activity is noted, with their ability to lay a 1,000 mile pipeline through the Sudan, in less than a year. The same speed drive appears to underscore the current Chinese activity around the world. Although not noted in the article, it is worth observing that the Chinese are now also getting oil from Kazakhstan a 963-km journey. The world is indeed becoming a smaller place. And bear in mind that the more China has as its share of some of this oil, the less there will be for others, as production declines and rising internal consumption reduces overall the amount available for export to the West.

Reading the comments of others different folk can (as you may have noted, grin) find different information in the article. But I learned a fair bit both about the economics of gas station operation, and, more particularly through the video, more of where the different oil feeds came from. If you have the time go read and watch.

First thing, go and read it, and watch the "multimedia" thing, the movie. Good stuff! I'm hoping this will become a PBS standby for at least a while.....
The article must also obviously have scared the pants off people.  At the end, you can take a poll and the numbers were astonishing. If I remember correctly, the percentages were in the 80's of those who believe there is a problem and that we aren't doing enough about it.


Only 500 votes though. Notice the percentage of people who said car dependent suburbs are not sustainable. How many of those came from peak oil sites?
Maybe there's a hidden, diffuse movement waiting to get organised. Time to check to see if there's a surge in joiners. Of course, a story like that is going to attract peakniks (or as the article calls us, peakists). Someone googles it and mentions it, like our site.

Maybe this article is the PO-awareness equivalent to the Col. Drake oil well. It has to start somewhere.

I am always surprised at how few actual internal hits the news sites get.  They get a lot of folks coming to their page, skimming the headlines, and leaving...not actually reading the stories.

hit numbers for CNN, etc., are pretty skewed like that.  Rarely do their visitors have the same inquisitive nature that the TOD reader does.

Re: "Iraqi crude - a little more than a trace".

I just got to reading it now. I can't remember the last time I read such a great piece of journalism.
yeah, I agree completely.  I have an email in to the author (Salopek) and the researcher credited on the piece, first to thank them, but then also to try to get an interview with them about the fallout from the piece and "the media and peak oil."

It was a nice feeling...a little validation usually will go a long way.

I expected some more weight towards the sleuthing behind tracing the sources of oil, and instead found a delightful human-oriented "feet on the street" look at the problem. I think that's what we need - we need Joe Sixpack out there to become aware of the problem and there were a lot of Joe Sixpacks starring in this article and film.

That's how you get people interested, show you give a damn about people like them. Put people like them on the camera and let 'em talk. Very, very good stuff.

That probably would have been me paying that gal's $1 for gas for her, except I've never been in Ill. in my life.

The piece reminded me of The End of Oil by Paul Roberts, probably because both were so well written. There is a dichotomy among the people who write about this subject. The "content" people like Simmons, Deffeyes, Campbell, etc. have the most direct subject knowledge and hence credibility, but the journalists tend to be better at telling a story that keeps the reader engaged. As authoritative as Twilight in the Desert is, I would not recommend it to the average reader because it's too dry and too technical.
Yes, Paul Roberts' The End of Oil was what got me interested in the subject. I literally picked it off the bookshelf, read the introduction and was transfixed. He explained it all quite well.
I read a PO book written by an oil geologist and liked it, complete with the decently explained technicalness. I'll have to dig it up to get the title. It included some oil geology humor. I think it was "The End of Oil" but not sure.
It also reminds me of The Prize by a certain other Pulitzer winner - who's probably taking some worried notice.
I agree, it was quite good considering MSM issues.
Hi Dave,

What happened to your post about electricity generation, th use of coal vs. nat gas, and carbon emissions?

Writing, rewriting, and then again rewriting the opinion piece on Peak Oil for the Dallas Morning News (with a lot of help from Bart at the EB and Alanfrombigeasy), gave me a new found appreciation for how hard journalists work, and for how hard it is to write really good stuff (also made me realize just how poor a writer I am).

Alanfrombigeasy and I will be speaking at a local Peak Oil conference in Houston on Sunday, August 13th.  I'll post some more details later.  I was about to make some kind of joke about the weather in Houston in August, but after looking at the national weather reports, it may be cooler in Houston than in NYC.  

An excellent, well written article. I put a link to it from our website.
I hope Salopek gets a new Pulitzer with this piece, it's outstanding.
I also thought this one had Pulitzer written all over it. And I thought he did a marvelous job of serving up real and useful information while telling enough human stories to keep at least some nonspecialists interested. I also thought the irony was telling... that oil dependency has hurt the societies of the producers and the consumers. If we had more MSM coverage like this America might even begin to wake up.
I thought the article ably pointed out that the oil was warping both ends of the production process.  The producers, with the possible and probably temporary exception of the Venezualans, were not benefitting all that much from the oil, nor were the users in Chicago. There, gasoline had encouraged the users to arrange their lives in such a way they were dependent upon it.

I agree, this was a compelling piece to catch the attention of the casual reader.

What was also startling to me was the production that they made out of the whole thing - basically constructed an entire website for the story with the Flash-navigated video and audio files. The amount of preparation that went into that story and all the online bells and whistles suggests a carefull assessment of the story's commercial value and interest level.

Also, it illustrates the divide between oil companies that see the peak oil discussion as a benefit (perhaps as a framework for explaining record profits to the public?) and companies that publicly deny its immediacy. Marathon came off looking fairly good, even if the gas station didn't exactly get presented as an ideal place to work.

Haven't checked out the video yet, but kudos for bringing this outstanding article to our attention.  You guys do an amazing job with this blog, and personally, I am indebted to you for your efforts to raise awareness of energy depletion and related issues.  Thanks again, HO.
"Cost aside, we don't see any immediate shortage in the resource at the global level," said Bob Greco, an exploration analyst with the American Petroleum Institute, the industry lobbying group. "Innovation will keep pushing the envelope of what's recoverable."

Cost aside, we could provide health care to every American.  Cost aside, we could feed every human on Earth.  Cost aside, I never have to work again.

I like this Cost Aside thing.  We need to use it more often; it would seem to solve a lot of problems

"Innovation will keep pushing the envelope of what's recoverable."

Like Tim Allen in the movie "The Santa Clause," (who kept asking happens if he falls off the roof), I keep asking "What about Texas and the Lower 48," where production has been on a steady decline since peaking--despite all of the technological advances.

Bjj, I like your take on things. Cost aside means that all those to whom cost matters simply drop out of the competition. That means, cost aside, there is enough oil to last one hundred years. Of course by then only about one percent or less of the population will be enjoying the benefits of this oil, cost aside.
It's just like the response to the ongoing deficit in grain production.  It's just a distribution problem. Kind of like the distribution problem associated with the new $93,000 electric car that's coming out. I emailed the company asking for the car but they said they would have a problem distributing it to me without the $93,000.  How unfair.


This points up a key problem that I think that a lot of people in the energy industry have--they are just looking at the perpetual boom times ahead in the energy business and thinking of all the neat new projects that are now feasible.  They simply have trouble grasping the concept that we cannot have perpetual infinite growth rate against a finite resource base.  
Some people I speak with also seem to agree that peak oil is here or will soon be, but do not change the way they live or think about their own lives.

Attention is turned instead to the usual responsibilites and entertainments of the day.  Both often seem like distractions to me -- as though both responsibilites and entertainments were planned to be that!

Like petroleum industry insiders who get caught up in the new projects now feasable, though, some people get caught up in the various fantasies that techno-magic will solve the problem of peak oil right along with global climate change.

I am over4whelmed by the challenges presented by peak oil together with global climate change, but while I have no illusions that techno-magic will rescue us, I also have not given up in despair.

The thing that bothers me more than the overwhelming challenges that lie ahead, it is the seemingly intentional ignorance that blankets the people around me -- specificly an unwillingness to actively ponder and inquire into the nature of our current perilous relationship with our planet and to connect that awareness with personal action.

This is "the wall" that surrounds us and from which we collectively have not broken free.  Our collective imagination is still quite strongly bound by superstition and illusion.

I have sent the link to the article to quite a number of people, but so far have not gotten heard any responses from people not already aware of peak oil.  Do most people simply select themselves out of the discussion by skimming the headline of such articles, and then moving on to articles or advertising that reform "the wall" around them to seem like a secure cocoon?  It seems to me that the "secure cocoon" is a rather fatal trap.

Of greater interest in that the Chicago Tribune story, and the TOD subject thread discussing it here.  which seemed to create a euphoria of "We have made it to the big time!", ended up getting only (as of mine) 30 posts discussing it, when stories on much more arcane subjects (Russian gas, Brazilian ethanol, Indian/Pakistani pipelines and that sort of thing) would have gotten two or three hundred posts in a similiar time span.

Was there really not much to say once the mainstream media joined in after all?

I will admit, I met it with a yawn, but then I am an old man.  It is the same article I read in about a dozen magazines and papers in 1973, 1979,'s much like the stock market concept of "capitulation", that only when the mainstream, the REAL big time press, and then EVERYONE buys into one position, does the massive turn come....I remember that in the early 1980's (1980 through1981) agreement was UNIVERSAL that to invest in shares and equities was an idiots game....the market was over, the American economy was in decline, potential default, and only those who did not stay up with things, who were "suckers" and financially illiterate played that game...then, on that bright summer day in 1982, began, without warning, without fanfare, and with ZERO press coverage, THE BIGGEST AND LONGEST LASTING BULL MARKET IN WORLD HISTORY.

NOW, all agreement is starting to come together:  The oil age is over, DONE.  In fact, the FOSSIL FUEL AGE IS DONE.  The natural gas, the oil, the propane that you thought existed was a lie.  The so called "Ultimate Recoverable Reserves" are a giant conspiracy of lies, it is not there.  The old idea of a gradual decline, even a bell curve, is now being thrown out (it will not be a "Peak" so much as a "Cliff".  There can be no way to stop it, even slow it.
Even the conservatve oil and gas people were WRONG, and by STAGGERING FACTORS.  And astoundingly, it happened across the board, from light sweet crude oil, to heavier sour, to natural gas, to uranium, all are running out at the SAME TIME.  Astoundingly, even areas of the world seen as underdeveloped only a couple of years ago, are now considered depleted exactly as if they had been drilled heavily all along!  It is one of the single most staggering turn of events in world was there, and then it's GONE!  Even completely unexplored areas are declared EMPTY before they are even explored!  IT'S GONE EVEN BEFORE IT WAS THERE!!

And the press, always the lagging, following puppy, are falling into line, quickly, and asking no questions.    Articles in the New York Times Magazine, Harpers, the Chicago Tribune, and lining up.  IT'S OVER they say, it's a done deal....

But there are a small number of even those prone to accept the central idea of depletion, the logistical problems, the need for MASSIVE investment and restructering of the petroleum and the whole energy industry, and the self evident need for MASSIVELY REDUCED OIL AND GAS WASTE AND NEEDLESS CONSUMPTION, there are a small number of these, always prone to being suspisious, to being questioners, to being a bit cynical of ANY STORY that gets 100% backing, who are starting to have doubts.

It's just too convenient, just too cut and dried, it just plain fits together too fast....something could be fishy in Denmark.

It is time to hedge.  Time to reread our bets, renew study from some different sources, to avoid getting "single sourced".

The thing that brought many of us to "peak oil awareness" was the deep suspision some several years ago that "something was JUST NOT RIGHT...."

Now, we are having that feeling again.....SOMETHING....I don't know what, is just not right....."  (Is it possible that this story has an advantage to somebody...that even if imminent peak is true, SOMEONE really likes this story enough to push it along and make it bigger, darker, more horrendous than it attach it to other threats....horrible threats, racial threats, populations that really shouldn't be here....xenophobic campaigns (?), a new crusade in the Holy Lands....the final finishing of the hated free market consumer/auto private property owning culture....???  Something, I don't know jut not right...this is all just too convenient....Albert Camus, on Hitler's greatest crime...."His greatest crime was this...he gave us "simple" answers...."
Are the answers becoming just a bit too simple?

As we doubted the popular press before (rightfully so, as the evidence proves), with it's lap dog stories in the early part of the new century when they said, "everythings fine...", we may now be assured it is no mistake to doubt them as they jump on the lap dog bandwagon, "it's all over....we're out of everything, it's a done deal, and no technology or effort works....despite what you have seen for a century, somehow, ALL THE RESOURCES, ALL THE ADVANCEMENT, ALL THE ALTERNATIVES DEVELOPED have dissappeared at once....IT'S PEAK EVERYTHING THAT EVER WAS.

In this age, DEFIANCE is a virtue.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Do most people simply select themselves out of the discussion by ... [forming]  "the wall" around them ... the "secure cocoon" [that] is a rather fatal trap?

Be kind and give "them" some slack. Before you lay that Peak Oil carcass out on their doorstep, realize that most people are already dealing with a long list of daily headaches and personal problems. These can include:

  • 1. Problems or pressures on the job.
  • 2. Problems or pressures at home (from family).
  • 3. Financial worries.
  • 4. Health problems.
  • 5. Attention deficit (huh, what'd you say?)
  • 6. Lack of free time
  • 7. Assaults for their attention from all quarters

And now here you come with one more "problem" for them to deal with. No wonder they say, "No Thanks, I gave at the office."

What is that saying about unwelcomed presents dropped at one's doorstep?
Look what the cat dragged in.

step back,

Your on to something, and remember, they have to try to evaluate the real threat vs. the "percieved threat" and grade this crisis into a scale consisting of  such things as global warming, bird flu, AIDS and several other epidemics, America at war in the Gulf, the possibility of terro attack (this time maybe by gas or biological weapon, or nuclear bomb or dirty bomb?)....

All this after recalling (If they are boomer) the bust that was the (a) political social meltdown of the 1960's, the first energy crisis of the early 1970's, the financial meltdown and second oil crisis of the late 1970's (including an energy price spike that makes this latest one look like a picnic by comparison), the Reagan arms race and nuclear war fear, , then,  the Y2K hysteria, the 9/11 attack, and now, peak oil, a threat of extremely hard to grasp complexity and nuance even to those who study it diligantly, and on which even the insiders do not agree on timing, severity, and scenario.

Yeah, it's gonna be a hard sell....

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I think you are both right.

I have responsibility to support two children and to deal with family, day-to-day work and household chores and so forth.

I whine occassionally, but not too often or for too long, and usually just to myself.

The daily responsibilities can be as distracting as mundane entertainments when our lives are designed for us to be self-destructive.

That said, I'd better go do some work...

At least I've designed my work to be as sustainable as I can make it this urban setting, and am trying to make my work and life even more sustainable.

Even so, the "intentional ignorance" truly does set me back at times.

I am stunned by the way our imaginations have become shaped so that folks really seem to think of the "American way of life" as the normal or ideal way of life.

Ah, well, onward and foreward I go....two steps up and one step back...?

the "intentional ignorance" truly does set me back

Each person develops a model or world view in their brain of how the "outside" world is. If PO conflicts with their internal model, they have two choices: (1) modify their model or (2) ignore the information and keep going.

For many, the first thought is: What can I as an individual do about this? If they decide the answer is nothing, the next choice may be to ignore the PO info because there is nothing I can do anyway

Hi there.
It's me
... talking to me.

It's OK to do that once in a while. Just don't let anybody catch you doing it outloud.

So what if we were to model the MSM mind set?

By that, I mean, take your average "Main Stream" citizen, Joe Sixpack or Jill SoccerMom. What goes on inside their mind to establish their world view?

  • 1. Blind faith in MSM as an authoratative source of what is real and what is not. (IOW, if MSM says, "Oil prices went higher today due to above ground tensions in the ME," then that must be the truth and anyone who suggests otherwise must be a fruit cake.)

  • 2. Blind faith in facial messaging by those around them. This has to do with cognitive dissonance relative to the rest of the herd. How often do we see people here complaining: I step out on the street and everyone appears so calm and normal! They are all going about their business as if nothing is wrong. But I know. I know that Peak Oil is on its way, and it's TEOTWAWKI, and yet everyone out there on the street is so calm and blissfully unware! This is very upsetting to me! Now why is that? It's because you constantly look for affirmation of your own emotional mindset by seeking conforming facial messages from those around you. Think back. What were you feeling on 9/11? Oh my gosh what a horrible thing. But you checked with those around you to make sure you were exhibiting the "appropriate" emotions. If everyone around you was instead cheering and exploding firecrackers you would have second thoughts about your own rationality. (You would also realize you had been transported to a different country by way of a magic carpet ride.)

  • 3. Need for continuance, status quo. This one is easy. Everyone wants the present sense of well being to continue into the future. So if someone presents you with a far fetched story (Peak Oil, ha ha) that challenges the status quo, the far fetched story is the thing that's got to go and not your present sense of well being.

Well, there you go. Those are a few random thoughts about how the MSM-oriented brain might operate.
And the cynics and depressed people get something enjoyable about PO. Not to mention people who were tormented as kids. That is, especially with the masses blissfully unaware of something that will screw them even when you don't know about it. All those bullies you had as a kid are going to be bullied by PO!

Cynics and the depressed can think that any calamity is well-deserved by EVERYONE who made others' lives miserable like their lives were made by others. I thought of that in connection with my childish coworkers. PO is Nature playing the part of the mother of all bullies!

Interesting theory.
So Carrie (the movie )unleashes PO on all those who done her wrong.
But in that case why advertise it on a public site like TOD? Why not try to keep it our little secret? (I'll never tell. I'll never tell. )
Right.  Makes sense to me.

I've had a long work day, with a meeting related to The Midtown Greenway Coalition here in Minneapolis.  Just a brief discussion about peak oil there.

The person responded when I said that I thought we were at or near peak:  "I sure hope so!"  He is a bike rider, and really stays away from the car thing, as a step toward reducing pollution and such.

But later at a National Night Out party this evening, people complained about gas prices.  When I mentioned to a couple of folks that one big hurricane in the right place in the GOM could send prices here well over $3.50/gallon, jaws dropped.  I kid you not.

The conversation moved on......

Are you primarily thinking of energy, when you talk about a finite resource base?

What would you estimate as the limits for wind and solar in the US?

The story from the Chicago Tribune has been reprinted in the Daily Yomiuri today (8 aug). The DY is one of the 3 larger English newspapers in Japan.

FYI: It is very common that they reprint articles. They have a deal with the CT, the WaPo, the LA Times and the Times of London to do so on a daily basis. But this one was a bit bigger. It's usually one or two pages, now it was 4+