DrumBeat: July 8, 2006

Update [2006-7-8 10:20:29 by Leanan]: It's dawning on some people that oil sands may not be the answer:

Fears growing in wake of expected 50% cost increase at Shell oilsands plant

Bob Gillon, an energy analyst with John S Herold in Connecticut, said the Athabasca expansion would now cost six times what the original project did, on a daily flowing barrel basis.

"It's not a knock on Shell or this project, everybody's facing it," Gillon said in an interview Thursday.

"But my Lord in heaven. If you're talking about something that cost you six times as much as it did six or eight years ago, even with the move we've had in oil prices, we're getting these things back to where the economics . . . are going to get skinny in a hurry."

Kurds Protest Energy Shortages:
Drivers have to wait days to get their petrol shares, which range between 25 and 40 litres per week, and local authorities recently announced electricity cuts despite soaring temperatures.

It is not uncommon for drivers in northern Iraq to hang around in queues for several days before they are told that there is no fuel left at the station. On July 6, in the northeastern Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, about 500 drivers who had waited for fuel for more than three days poured into the nearby streets, set tires on fire and blocked four main streets of the city.

Kremlin ignores democracy to snatch oil from the wilderness

Countries need to oil their wheels:

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in conjunction with the UN, published a major agricultural study last week.

The study said that there are very few countries in the world that are able to produce biofuels that can compete on price with conventional fossil fuels. In fact, with the exception of Brazil, all countries are finding it very difficult to reduce their dependence on oil at all.

The Real Oil Crisis is a free, 13 minute video from ABC Australia:
What would happen if the world were to start running out of oil? Conventional wisdom says we’ve got 30 years, but there’s a growing fear amongst petroleum experts it’s happening much sooner than we thought – that we are hitting the beginning of the end of oil now. So how soon will the oil run out, and can we stop our economy collapsing when it does? How prepared are we for the real oil crisis?
From India... End Of Cheap Oil, The Global Energy Crisis And Climate Change:
The increase in oil prices has led to protests, which have moved to the center stage of Indian politics, displacing the protests against reservations in medical and engineering colleges.
Energy agency voices doubts on Gazprom deliveries

The Indepedent has a vision of How a 'green' Britain should look in the year 2020

Update [2006-7-8 9:53:22 by Leanan]: Record oil price sets the scene for $200 next year

With many commentators now on holiday the record $75.78 oil price last week was almost ignored. Yet with the world economy still hot the scene is set for a powerful rally in oil prices and the equally inevitable price spike. So will we see oil hit $200 a barrel in 2007?
A few days ago Alan and I were talking about electic cars, production volumes, and Lotuses ... it turns out that Lotus is supplying the chassis for the upcoming Tesla Roadster:

They claim that the Tesla Roadster, built on the chassis of a Lotus Elise, will go from 0 to 60 mph in just four seconds, travel 250 miles before needing to be recharged (by plugging in to a regular AC outlet), and retail for about $80,000. They intend that Tesla's second-generation car, due out in 18-24 months, will be somewhat more popularly priced at around $50,000.

More on upcoming EVs in Joel Makower's "Who's Reviving the Electric Car? "

(I saw "Who Killed the Electric Car?" yesterday, my ramble is here)

FWIW, Real Goods in Hopland, CA has had EV charging stations for years.  They are/were used for a couple of conversions from gas to juice.

I think the real key is lifetime cost competitivness.  When we replaced my wife's '90 Geo Prizm in 2005, we considered a number of fuel efficient cars but opted for a used 2004 Toyota Corolla rather then a new Prius.  The initial cost of the Prius was $6k more plus I assumed we'd have to replace the battery pack eventually since we keep cars forever.  These costs added roughly $10k and given our driving distances made absolutely no economic sense.

Toyota says that they've never had to replace a Prius battery due to wear and tear, and many are now over 300K miles.

I agree though, if you can use a smaller car, there's no reason to pay the hybrid premium.  Go even smaller and save more, with a Chevy Aveo, Honda Fitt, Toyota Yaris, or Scion xA.

According to the EPA's shared (real-world) mileage database, the Yaris does the best with 37.7 mpg:


I have a 2004 4dr toyota echo (read: yaris) that I've had for a bit over 3 months now.  I use it to commute a 75km round trip (we're planning to move closer soon needless to say, but we're having issues with banks), and couldn't be much happier with it.  It handles well, is dependable and fairly comfortable.  Even better, since I have very little stop and go traffic I average 18.5 kpl when I have the AC on, and 19.5 kpl when it's cool enough to just use the fans.  That's 43-45 mpg; I've one of the lucky few to actually get better than the claimed mileage.  Of course, if I do a lot of weekend driving (read short trips in stop and go traffic), I can end up as low as 16.5kpl (39mpg).  Oh, this is with an automatic transmission to boot.  I'd definitely recommend the Echo/Yaris.

The only regret I have with my car is it's a fucking sedan.  I really wanted a hatchback, but I was on a time/price crunch and couldn't find any used hatchbacks in my area.  There's been a few times where I've had trouble fitting large irregularly shaped objects into the back.

Wow, 18.5 KPL, that's really amazing!

How much does a liter cost you?

Onto a more general question.  If the US were to overhaul its existing fleet of cars and trucks,(hypothetically of course) and convert to hybrids, how much would this affect the cost per liter and do we have the resources to allow such a shift?  

There are still a lot of people who buy SUVs and then use them as if they were Corollas/Civics.  That swap would save money all around ... at some cost in "ego."  Even a Prius (at $22K) is less than the average car sold in the US ($27K).

You say "do we have resources" when it's pretty clear we overspend.  Do we have resources for a new line of Chrysler Hemis?  Apparently so.


Sorry for not being clear enough.  What I meant by resources is the electricty used to charge the battery.  

That's all far future, without any mass production plug-in-vehicles on the market.

But to figure it, we'd need to know:

  • adoption rate
  • charge capacity

then we could calc out how many MW would need to be available each year.
I am more concerned about the energy and materials needed to replace a significant portion of our automobile fleet.  Beyond that, I think it makes more sense to spend it on electric rail.
Spending "it" implies a pretty monolithic approach.  There's a lot of room between here and there, including fuel taxes to fund both light rail and electric cars.

A lot depentptn how battery tech evolves in the next few years though.

According to Matt Savinar, at http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Index.html:

"The construction of an average car consumes the energy equivalent of approximately 20 barrels of oil, which equates to 840 gallons, of oil. Ultimately, the construction of a car will consume an amount of fossil fuels equivalent to twice the car's final weight."

So, to replace the 225 million or so automobiles in the U.S., it would require approximately 225M*20bbl = 4.5 billion barrels of oil to replace all the existing cars, or about a half-year's-worth of consumption in the U.S.

Of course, to replace all the cars in the world, it would take even more oil...

And I'm sure I'm missing some energy inputs in this calculation.

At $20,000 a piece, all these new cars would cost people in the US about $4.5 trillion. I'm sure the auto manufacturers would be into this plan...

The more batteries in a hybrid would greatly increase the amount of oil used to build a hybrid car compared to non-hybrid.
There was a link on TOD or some other forum that indicated that hybrids used, IIRC, 154% more energy then a regular car.  Sorry, I don't have a link at my finger tips to support this.  In any case, it isn't a 1:1 situation.
I'm sorry you only heard the (marketing) survey, and not the rebuttal!!!

Those hybrid critics stacked the deck. They claimed, quite arbitrarily I thought, that a "car" lasts 100,000 miles while a "truck" lasts 250,000 miles. Those convenient assumptions lead to calculations showing a lower per-mile energy costs for a Hummer H3 than for a Toyota Prius.

Someone happened to report the real numbers:

The improvements are helping cars' longevity. In 1977, half of all U.S. passenger cars lasted until they were 10.5 years old, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates. Their travel lifetime was 107,000 miles. By 2001 -- the latest year tallied -- median longevity was 13 years for passenger cars and their travel lifetime was up to 152,000 miles.

For light trucks, the mileage rose from 128,000 to 180,000, reports NHTSA, but longevity remained 14 years, largely because more trucks were being used like cars.

For more on the way they worked that number, look here.

To name just one other funny numeric business:

The study includes the energy put into research and development, which Art said is much higher for the hybrid than it is for the ICE. I'd like to see these numbers though. There is still research and development work going into the ICE.

So, you've got a few hundred million conventional cars on the road, their R&D all amortized ... what happens when you force an R&D accounting on any new technology?  Fewer units to divide by, and higher "costs" ... even if they'd really be paid over time by higher production.

If we weren't avoiding bad words today ....

When we've only got a 4% per year auto retirement rate, I don't think we need to worry about anybody putting forward a serious plan to increase that to 100%.  I agree that no one is going to expand the auto production by 20x, just to abandon it a year later.

So the 4% is good news and bad news.  It makes "electric cars" (as some fraction of the replacement fleet) more possible, but it also makes them one of the "silver bbs" and not the "silver bullet"

4% per year retirement rate??????????

Does this mean cars on U.S. roads average 25 years before going to the great death assembleges of vehicles known as junkyards?

Sorry, I should have given a link the first time:


Just means cars are lasting longer than ever. They don't make them like they used to (thank goodness).
4% retirement rate for the cars??? That would mean over 20 years for a car's average lifespan! I sure don't think so. You will be awful lucky to get 20 years of a lifespan out of a car. Even ships and planes are pushing the envelope at 20 years old. ValuJet bought up old Boeing 737s which were 30 years old. And we all know about what crocodiles in Florida call "airline food". Not good!

Given how I like to affect an Aussie accent, I liked this variation of the old ValuJet joke:

Q: "A ValuJet plane tried to make a mission to Sydney (Australia) but they missed! What did one croc say to the other?"

A: "Put another Yank on the barbie, mate!"

I don't know man, follow the link and see what you thing.

I do know that the older a car is, the fewer miles it is driven.  There is an inverse age/VMT correlation.  I suppose old cars tend to sit there in a multi-car family, or in the garage of retirees.  They become the "extra cars" but aren't scrapped as long as they keep up registration.

My buddy Walter Hiatt died in that crash.  He was a damned fine songwriter.
Probably the best thing that we can hope for here in the U.S. for the time being is to do what is possible to encourage those who drive large, fuel inefficient vehicles is to a) drive them less, and/or b) increase the number of people or amount of cargo in the vehicle when it is being driven.

My recollection of the '70s is that the number of passengers per vehicle increased with more carpooling, ride sharing and hitchiking.  However, my perspective could be warped by the fact that I was a student throughout that period.

Seriously, though, a medium-sized SUV usually sits 4 comfortably.  With one person driving, the vehicle may get something like 18 mpg and 18 passenger mpg.  Put 4 people in the vehicle, and you have 72 passenger mpg or about the same as two people each driving his or her own Corolla.

If we couls utilize our present SUV  and mini-van fleet similarly, we'd save quite a bit of embodied energy.  However, I think that gasoline prices would have to go much higher before too many folks would be all that interested.

I've commented on this before, but it's good to do again.  Think about the likelyhood of finding 4 people going to the same place at the same time.  Then think about the likelyhood of finding 2 people going to the same place at the same time.  It's probably exponentially more likely to find 2 people going in the same direction at the same time than it is for 4 people.
Note that it's the energy equivalent of approximately 20 bareels of oil. A lot of that energy will come from coal used in smelting the metals used in the car and to produce the electricity used to drive the manufacturing process. It's not all oil.
I would even suggest that most of it is not oil. I can imagine some amounts of oil going into transporting the vehicle and the parts, but too far from the 4 barrels mention.

That part of the Matt Savinars representation of PO I found a little bit biased.

Dear all
During the last 10 years, a number of Life cycle analysis (LCA)"cradle to grave" have been made on different aspects on transport. The best of these take into account most of the objections I have seen on the Drum. So no need to guess- but rather critizise.
One of the better LCA's is this , made by the VW. It is in german- but the numbers are self explaining.

The Functional unit (the  is 1 car driven 150.000 km (93.300 miles) The Primary energy ( energy at the source- oil well, coal mine, iron extraction- including end- of life- that is scrapping and recycling)-  cost for 150.000 km is between 70 to 150 MWh. This value is cradle to grave- that is raw material extractiuon and production, production of the vehicle, use + maintenance of the vehichle 150.000 km and scrapping and recycling. As a rule of thumb 1 kilo car cost presently 4 kilo +/- 0.5 kilo oil to produce.

I'm pretty sure I typed "A lot depends on" correctly.  I think that one was my net connection.
Are you all ready for a very contreversial proposal to cut population? There is after all a way to cut oil use, being to cull off some population, an obviously ugly topic.

What you do is you pass needed laws that both allow for suicide facilitation and allowing suicide kits to be sold in drugstores. That way, as people finally give up during the "powerdown" they have an "out". If Cuba means anything, a powerdown will be nasty at best. North Korea is a powerdown at an approximate worst.

Of course, you want to discourage childbirth. Any powerdown scenario is going to be some ugly stuff.

Oh Max, don't be so morbid: I've already posted a couple of weeks or so ago the obvious solution--just convince everybody that oral sex is better than the kind that leads to babies. Combine that innovation with new technology that allows couples to determine the sex of their offspring, and Bingo! Now the problem becomes long-term population decline, rather than the reverse.

No need to kill off billions--though Malthus was right, in the long run.

But wait a minute . . . in the long run, we're all dead, as John Maynard Keynes pointed out.

Note that the Roman Empire did not fall due to overpopulation--just the reverse!

Don, I sorry I missed your original post.  As Im sure youre aware, the neurotransmitter cocktail brought about by the symphony of traditional sex, at least from the female perspective, is much deeper and richer, and therefore more satisfying than the oral variety. Not a bad idea though...
Oral sex trumps genocide.
I agree; while we should focus on replacing our auto fleet with much more efficient models, those of us in "developed" countries (especially the US) should also start strategizing now on how to live with fewer cars overall.

Spending more on electrified rail systems, and urbane, mixed-use neighborhoods around rail stations, could eliminate the need for a lot of replacement cars in metropolitan areas -- and preserve a lot of greenbelt land that we will need for local food production.

Car-sharing is another option that is finally catching on in US cities. It is a membership service, where one can use a car from a nearby "pod" and pay only for the miles you drive. Each car serves a lot more people, and our local nonprofit car share organization found that a third of their members' households get rid of a car -- sometimes their only car, and sometimes an infrequently-used second car. Car share organizations also have pickup trucks and vans in the fleet, so folks who can usually get by with a small car but occasionally need to haul something big can use the larger vehicle only when they need the extra capacity.

I know, I know -- alternatives like these won't work for everyone or in every setting, but as we accelerate into peak oil and global climate change, we need to simultaneously embrace a broad range of effective strategies for sustainability.

Hello Rose Selavy,

Well said.  These alternatives transport methods will obviously help, but the headwinds created by the desire of personal convenience and time savings of one-two person transport will oppose this shift.  To what degree is hard to determine as fuel prices increase, but I expect to see an future explosion of bicycles, scooters, street-legalized quad ATVs, and motorcyles in places of urban sprawl [like my Asphalt Wonderland].

I have posted before about keeping your used pickup or SUV for the occasional hauling of large loads or 3 or more people [or when the weather is simply atrocious], but buying a used small scooter/ATV for one-two person commutes or errands.  Bicycles best of all, of course.  I presently feel this is the most cost-effective way to be prepared if gasoline suddenly spikes out of sight.

My eleven year old pickup is only worth maybe $2000-2500, but only has 115,000 miles on it-- many years of life left on it.  My recently bought used 2004 scooter: only 1600 miles [yes, only sixteen hundred!]-- estimated lifetime virtually unlimited until gas prices rise so high that some punk shoots me while I wait at an intersection to then steal my little scoot.

As a plus, sparetime hauling stuff for cash has easily paid for all the pickup's running expenses, and provided me with beer money.  A lot of people would rather pay someone than rent a U-Haul pickup to do it themselves.  Phx has a lot of 'bling-bling' pickups and SUVs with very expensive aftermarket accessories; I call them an ornate 'chrome penis'-- the last thing they want to do is fill the storage area with manure or crushed desert rocks for landscaping.

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

Most of the use that people put their automobile to can be covered by a small electric 2 or 3 wheeler. This will use many fewer resources, than a big car for every person in the family. For examples see http://www.evtamerica.com/

That might be true in many places where it doesn't snow but that is only a small portion of the US.  Not only do I have to often put chains on all the wheels of my (small) 4x4 truck but we still do get snowed in for a few days and up to a couple of weeks every year.  We had friends that got snowed in for 4 to 6 weeks this past winter.


Yes winter conditions are a concern. But I am sure that chains  would work on small vehicles just as well as they do on large ones. And yes the batteries in these vehicles would have to last in winter conditions, and these vehicles could be made more comfortable for winter riding. But people do go out on snow-mobiles!  Also, EVT also happens to be a Canadian company!
Interesting.  Living in Florida I never thought about the problems of using a 2-wheeler in the Winter.  Should be no problem until it snows.  I own an Ego (see egovehicles.com) and have been quite impressed with its abilities to get me around.  Much faster than an electric bike, but you don't get any exercise.  Many times it is faster than taking the car for short trips.  Once the price of the new li-ion batteries comes down to reasonable they will be great short hop transportation (up to 30 miles round trip at 25 mph).  No gas, insurance, noise, fumes and can go on the street or sidewalk.
Yeppers. Not much way to get around the weather up here. Plus you never know when you may have to drive thru a creek or 2.
I have an 2003 2dr Echo Hatchback.  I've put 113,000KM on it already... drive about 160KM roundtrip to work.

I've been tracking my mileage, and generally get 5L/100KM... or about 54-55MPG.

I'm on holidays now... so we've been city driving... but I haven't filled my tank yet in the past 3 weeks, so I don't know my mileage yet. ;+)

gas is 113.9c/L here in my neck-o-the-woods (about $US3.50/Gal)  Port Alberni, BC... on Vancouver Island

We are a 2 person, 2 veh. household in Ontario. As with "Coffee17" we have an Echo (4 door 2002 with automatic) and get similar performance to him. My wife does a 4 day a week cross town work commute with it for $10 CDN a week (2 bus tickets would cost her $4.50 for 1 day of transit use for the same trip) reg gas selling here today for $1.04 CDN / liter. We paid $15,000 for the car, tax in, 1 year used with 19,000 km on the odometer

I drive a 250cc scooter (Honda Big Ruckus) I feed it 89 octane (1 up from regular) since it has a 10.25 /1 compression ratio and I get a little knock on steep hills on regular. This juice sells today for $1.10 CDN / L

I just did 475 km of highway driving over 3 days with a passenger riding all the time for $21 in fuel. Top speed is 115 km/hr which is as fast as I need to go IMO.

I won't say we don't care at all about gas price rises, but I think we are far from feeling a pinch considering our use pattern.

a 4 day a week cross town work commute with it for $10 CDN a week (2 bus tickets would cost her $4.50 for 1 day of transit use for the same trip)

Does C$10/week include depreciation and wear and tear on your car ?  Could you get lower insurance if you drove less (I do) ?

Would your bus costs be less with a monthly pass ?

Please consider using the bus "occasionally".  Increased demand will ensure that the service is there when you need it.

Think "Islamic Republic of Arabia", among other future possibilities.


NEW ORLEANS , LA, MAY 24, 2006 - Global Green USA and design jury chairman Brad Pitt announced today the final details for The Sustainable Design Competition for New Orleans. The historic Holy Cross Neighborhood in the Lower Ninth Ward is the focus of Stage 1 of the competition. Global Green and Pitt announced on April 20 th they are teaming up to sponsor the competition to provide an opportunity for talented architects, urban planners, designers, ecologists and students to put forward a creative yet practical vision for New Orleans

I have seen *TOO* many of these out-of-town visions & plans (and some in town as well).  GOD HELP US IF THEY ARE BUILT !!

Auto-centric (less than the rest of the US, more than our "Old Urbanism"), ugly (just attended community planning meeting yesterday in Upper 9th Ward, 90% black, some vehement objections to plans "by people that don't know us",  I was well received and will have some private meetings this coming week with my streetcar plans) and failing to understand the local climate, people and architecture.

Just have John Williams do it all (an ally of mine BTW and occasional lunch partner).  I noted that he was one of two local consultants for this project, which impressed me.

I am going to submit my ideas for streetcars for North Rampart extended to St. Claude in the Upper & Lower 9th Ward and a a handicap accessible double (on a double shotgun site)

You're not going to outsource?

The Asian companies that visited D'Iberville are seeking partnerships with American companies and want to bring materials and workers from China and South Korea to help rebuild the Katrina-hit Coast.

"They would bring as many as they need to get the job done as quickly as possible," said D'Iberville City Manager Richard Rose.

That just seems so weird and last-century to even be in print!


That is the basic problem. People, at best, just consider the variable costs. I say, at best, because, most people probably just consider gas costs even if they are actually considering the economics of driving vs. mass transit.  All others don't consider costs at all because their is no way you are getting them out of their private little shell even if they have decent transit alternatives.

All that aside, one still has the problem of fixed costs.  These are sunk costs, so they are not going to be considered unless the decision is to buy another car for a spouse or other family member.  

Due to the fact that most people have a very distorted view of auto costs, all transit needs to be free.

Combine horribly crowded highways with bus lanes and free transit and we will start to get somewhere. Don't expand existing highways, but if you must, just add bus lanes, no car lanes.

When I used to work in Denver, I took a bus through Denver. All was wonderful until one got halfway through Denver. That is when the bus/high occupancy lane ended. Great! From there one, we had to sit in bumber to bumper traffic, making the bus just as slow as the damn cars. It was if they had designed the system to fail on purpose.  


The $10 does not include w&t , or Dep. I was not suggesting that the cost of our car is only $520 a year, just talking aboy fuel costs

We lived engine free for  15 years, bicycles + transit only. But the tragic commons in which we live combined with the crappy transit we have here pushed us back into the hands of the car owning class.

Mobility in a Canadian winter in a region with poor transit and no car is quite a challenge at times.

>75% of the users of our local bus system are "captive" i.e. to young, old, or poor to own a car. Sad to say thats what keeps our system up. Hamilton Ont. not New York city and 3/4 of our municipal council thinks that "peak oil" is a "tinfoil hat" idea

The no. 1 problem with the hybrid cars is that as time goes by they may be less expensive but be more unaffordable. The bit with jobs must be taken into account.

I already reported that a coworker quit the job at my workplace due to the brutal cost of the commuting mission. It cost him $500/month i.e. 4 barrels of the gasoline a month.

As jobs get harder to find - and immigration continues - the wages will drop during the unintended "powerdown". It indeed is a Good Thing that I never had kids... for their sake!

The immediate effect of peak oil will be higher oil prices. Duh. This will translate into inflationary pressure which the Federal Reserve will try to counter will higher interest rates. The only way to prevent a hyperinflationary blowout is to enter a permanent recession. This will cause higher unemployment and lower wages resulting in less energy use. Unfortunately energy prices won't drop unless the Federal Reserve is aggressive enough to get consumption below Hubbert's depletion curve. The vast hordes of optimists will quickly notice that silly curve keeps dropping. I doubt the unemployed will be buying a hybrid.
"I doubt the unemployed will be buying a hybrid."

I doubt the unemployed will be driving much at all.  A car that sits uses no gas at all.

Unless one uses a siphon.
Exactly what I was trying to say. I was trying to dispute the notion that we will all just buy hybrid cars and keep on motoring. Once the oil production starts dropping many people will likely be stuck with their vehicle. The demand destruction resulting from free market forces will likely be rising unemployment and less driving.
>Exactly what I was trying to say. I was trying to dispute the notion that we will all just buy hybrid cars and keep on motoring.

To add fuel to your statement, Most americans buy vehicles with credit. Whether its a recession created by PO, higher interest rates or the bursted housing bubble, there is 100% of a credit crunch in the future. Once it begins no one is going to lend them money to purchase a new vehicle anyway

The Chevy Aveo gets abysmal fuel mileage for the POS that it is.  The Corolla actually gets better fuel mileage and is quite a good car that will last a long time if you take care of it.
I have a Honda CR-V diesel. That's a SUV. With my usage it gets 1.78 km/l, or 0.56 l/10 km. Roughly translates to 45 mpg.

My Honda Fitt (Jazz in Europe due to Fitt describing the Nordic slang word for female genitalia, oh well...), gives 19.2 km/l or 0.52 l/10 km or roughly 48 mpg.

In Europe Toyota has the very cheap (<14000 USD) Aygo, which gives 0.48 l/10 km or 53 mpg or so.

T ...  "Inconvenient Truth" just showed up at the Noyo.

Thanks.  We haven't gotten the Willits News in 20 years so I never know what's playing.  Besides, I haven't been to a movie in about 25 years so I don't pay attention to that sort of thing.  I might have to breakdown this time though.  It would be my first time in a "multiplex" :-)


PS  I emailed the Sustainable Laytonville group with L. Brown's site a few days ago but didn't cc you.  I thought they might like to look at it before the big radio program and figured you had seen it on TOD when the link was first posted.  All the big names will be at the conference in Italy and JB will act as the expert so I thought Brown's book would give them more insight and data.

Thanks. Actually first read  it on Silicon Investor. Sometimes we are faster  than TOD

I was driving around Radcliff KY the other day, just off Fort Knox Military Reservation, and I saw it....the queen of all cars...a couple of high school age kids were out motoring about in it....


It looked to be about a 1968 model, still as clean as a pin, the RHD (Right hand drive) model, so it must have came over from England, and not been an export model.

Everytime I see one of the old original Mini's, I smile....how can you ask for anything more....all weather capability, park it anywhere, great fuel economy, low amount of consumption in it's construction,  what could have inspired such a piece of work?
Of course, we know......inspiration was Europe before the extraction of Atlantic North Sea oil.  Europe without the North Sea was at "peak" of a type in the 1960's, with consumption outstripping European production, which was non existant for all practical purposes.  

Now, Europe is back on the hunt, and desperate for fuel.  The North Sea is dropping like a stone on production, but the Europeans, like us, are spoiled to an ascending standard of living and consumption.

Look again at the Mini.  With a CNG or LPG tank for fuel, and possibly hybrid hydraulic drive or battery electric hybrid, you may be seeing the look of the future.  And it may be at the top of the "performance and size" range.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

For reliability, the Mini, as I recall, was not so hot. IMO when the Jap cars started coming in, the bar on quality was raised and American and European (especially Brit) cars looked poor by comparison.
It was never really practical to operate them here. At home in England the small continuous problems were handled easily and cheaply. The only large problem the Mini had was rust.
I also read somwhere that they were not profitable to build.  I never knew if this was true or not - I wonder whenever I see one.
So unprofitable there were 4 million in a 40 year production run. Maybe they lost money, I don't know. But the maker didn't lose as much money as all the enthusiasts who keep the old cars going 'cause they're so cool.
My brother had a mini when he lived in G.B.. He, his wife, and two children went all over England with it. We have a pic with his children standing in front of the mini. They looked like giants.  

The new mini is way too big, fancy, and expensive.  It's only in the last few years that I have come to realize how wonderful that mini was.  We have a guy from G.B. in my little town who has a right hand mini.  Would love to have that car.


You can have that car. There were 4 million of them. BMC Heritage makes replacement bodyshells and replacement subframes so the rustout problem is gone, You can even easily swap in the BMW (MG Metro) engine if the old 'A' series is too problematic for you. Details in the many current Mini publications
Hello ThatItImOut,

How about a Stallion?  Brutal acceleration, but better mileage than a hybrid, with A/C and heat to boot.  Looks like a fun commuter vehicle for those unable to balance a scooter or motorcycle!




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

I was driving around Radcliff KY the other day, just off Fort Knox Military Reservation, and I saw it....the queen of all cars

If the Mini is the queen of all cars, then this is surely the king:

Now, there's a good name for an e-car. A Tesla roadster! For us electrically minded people Tesla is one famous electrician. He was about the best electricians ever.

For those of us who are not natural electricians, Nikola Tesla was about the greatest. He ranks right up there with the greats like MR. Westinghouse and Tom Edison, two other natural electricians. It was Westinghouse that gave us the good ol' Alternating Current. Why? It's becuse of how you can use transformers to change voltages and currents. Step up the voltage, and you get to step up the transmission over the wires. Step it back down, and you make it halfway safe! :)

From http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blwestinghouse.htm

Westinghouse saw the potential for electricity and formed the Westinghouse Electric Company in 1884, later known as the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company. He obtained exclusive rights to Nikola Tesla's patents for a polyphase system of alternating current in 1888, persuading the inventor to join the Westinghouse Electric Company.

is there a pic of this concept vehicle?
Tesla has a cover on their car ("The cover comes off July 20!"):


but we know what a Lotus Elise looks like:


Leanan, I saw that "$200" article too ... but it's really just a "chartist" talking ;-)
Interesting excerpt from the $200 article.  Oil demand in the Middle East is already going up at close to 6% per year.

"For the Middle East there would be a sudden influx of hundreds of billions of petro-dollars, and most likely hyperinflation, which is already appearing in certain economies. There would then be a further spike to the real estate markets, and local stock markets would boom again far more quickly than anyone might believe this summer."

I guess he doesn't think we can expand our debt fast enough to soak up their dollars ;-).  Seriously, we'd need a lot of restructuring all around to support a sustained $200 price.
West Texas,
I am not certain that I understand you. I THINK you mean that DOMESTIC demand in the Middle East is going up at 6% per year. O.K., hope I'm correct. Now, for the record, exactly which countries do you include in the "Middle East," which is a very slippery concept.
Total crude oil exports in Arab states reached USD 327 billion - OAPEC  

Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) - 01/07/2006

Regarding the oil and energy consumption in the Arab states, OAPEC said that the consumption increased by 5.6 percent reaching 8.1 million bpd in 2005 compared to 7.6 million bpd in 2004.

From what I could make out from the article. Crude production in the Middle East (OAPEC) went up 0.6 mb/d from 2004 to 2005 (20.8 mb/d to 21.4 mb/d. But the increase in consumption used 0.5 mb/d of that - leaving an increase of only 0.1 mb/d in exports!

They still made a truck load of extra money though. There is no need to increase export volume when the price is going up so much.

"OPEC" is NOT the same as the "Middle East" which is not the same as "Arab countries." Please just list the countries so we don't have to follow every single link.


OAPEC=Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries.

So which OPEC countries are Arab? That would be Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

Exactly which "Arab" states? For example, Iran is NOT an Arab state--not even close to being one. Are you counting Iran? Exactly which countries are being counted?
Iran is certainly not Arab, but the demographics are very similar to the Arab countries.  The key point is that domestic consumption is growing very fast.

"By 1982 the membership of the Organization has risen to eleven Arab oil exporting countries:  Algeria (1970), Bahrain (1970), Egypt (1973), Iraq (1972), Kuwait (1968), Libya (1968), Qatar (1970), Saudi Arabia (1968), Syria (1972), Tunisia (1982) and United Arab Emirates (1970).  In 1986, Tunisia submitted a request for withdrawal.  The Ministerial Council deliberated the request and it was agreed to suspend Tunisia's rights and obligations in OAPEC, until such a time that Tunisia chooses to reactivate its membership."

Thanks much. But I still fail to understand the logic of excluding Iran--which is a huge exporter.
Don, it's the Orginization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. The Iranians are not Arabs, they are Persians.
I know that.

But the list given is for 1982? Is the list exactly the same today? Possibly, but I see no way to check without doing about twenty minutes or more of Google searching myself.

My big point is that numbers are good--if we know what they mean. That means knowing what they include and what they exclude (and why).

"Demand" is a profoundly ambiguous term except when used by professional economists. Others, if they are wise will either learn exactly what economists mean by "demand" (No, it does not mean "production.") and "supply" or, better yet, avoid these ambiguous (in the hands of most noneconomists) terms.

The "Middle East" is a deeply ambiguous term. Does it include Turkey (Asia Minor)? Why or why not? Does it include Israel? Why or why not? And for the life of me, what is the bizarro reason for excluding Iran just because most of its people are non-Arab? To me this exclusion makes no sense at all.

Numbers and all facts, by themselves are MEANINGLESS.

I see a lot of the fallacy of misplaced precision on this site and bite my tongue (metaphorically) so as not to become a bothersome nag.

Or did I once again misunderstand? (Confusion is something I have a lot of practice in;-) Was Iran included in that original 6% number referring to "The Middle East"??
"Regarding the oil and energy consumption in the Arab states, OAPEC said that the consumption increased by 5.6 percent reaching 8.1 million bpd in 2005 compared to 7.6 million bpd in 2004."

This was the source for my statement that oil consumption in the Middle East is going up at close to 6% per year.

This does not presumably include Iran, but given Iran's demographics, it's a pretty safe assumption that its rate of growth in demand is equal to or higher than the Arab countries in the Middle East.

My point is that oil production in the Middle East is flat to declining, while oil consumption is growing very fast.  

And I fail to see why an increase in oil consumption from 7.6 mbpd to 8.1 mbpd requires any sophisticated understanding of economics.

Here is the point;
If you talk about "The Middle East," how in the heck does Tunisia get in there, along with other N. African countries?

I suggest that the category of "Arab" countries is nearly meaningless in the context of Peak Oil.

Regions I understand.

Religion I understand.

Oil I'm learning about.

But what logic is there in throwing together a bunch of countries just because they consider themselves "Arab"?

Is Egypt on the list? Egypt is the largest Arab country.

I object to meaningless categories--but not to you, because you are one of the five best posters on this site.

Keep up the good work!

umm he is not lumping them together they willingly aligned themselves together.
PetroSun Announces Formation of Algae BioFuels
Thursday June 22, 1:00 pm ET  
Subsidiary to Develop Algae-Based Biodiesel
Alternative Energy Resource to Supplement Petroleum-Based Fuels

PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 22, 2006--PetroSun Drilling Inc. (Pink Sheets: PSUD - News), an emerging provider of oilfield services to major and independent producers of oil and natural gas, announced today that the company has formed Algae BioFuels Inc. as a wholly owned subsidiary. Algae BioFuels will be engaged in the research and development of algae cultivation as an energy source in the production of biodiesel, an economically feasible and eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based transportation fuels. The R&D and production facilities for Algae BioFuels will be based in Arizona and Australia.


PG sent the editors a link to Costs explode at Shell Canadian venture
The first phase of expansion, intended to add 100,000 barrels daily to the current 155,000 barrel per day output was budgeted at C$7.3 billion (£3.6 billion) only a year ago. It is now expected to cost as much as C$11 billion, according to estimates published by Western Oil Sands, Shell's partner in the project.
The projected higher costs are due to "significant upward pressure on capital costs" including the price of steel, cement, a skilled labor shortage and the required natural gas.
The soaring price of crude oil set off a scramble for oil sands, a resource once ignored due to the high costs. However, the high price is rebounding on oil sands investors. "The high price of oil is a double-edged sword," said a Shell Canada spokeswoman. "It leads to a heated marketplace and adds to input costs."
It's hard to assess the meaning of this. At current oil & natural gas prices, which can only go up IMHO, there is still profit to be made. But at what point do investors get discouraged?
I think you have to diffentiate a little bit between the players and the stories here.

Shell is also having problems with cost management in Russia, not to mention their minor reserves overstatement, so Shell has much wider problems.

Western Oil Sands is part of the same project with Shell, but they also raised a lot of investor ire by making moves in Iraq.

Nexen and Canadian Natural Resources have oil sands projects in progress that they appear to be managing much better than Shell.

Encana is laying back on oil sands development because they recognized the cost pressures.

The incremental cost for the Shell project is roughly $100,000 (US) per bpd of new production.  In other words, it (now) costs about a million dollars to add 10 bpd of new tar sands production, not counting operating costs.  
Oil sands construction cost inflation has two implications, very different from each other and not to be confused:
  1. New projects and expansions will be stretched out, postposed, or cancelled.  Result: slower growth in total production from Canada.
  2. Existing capacity is just as profitable as before, perhaps more so because the higher price of oil (and low price of NG) are far more beneficial to profitability than the detrimental higher labor costs they are incurring. Those oil sands operations currently operating at substantial capacity such as Syncrude, which has just completed it's latest planned capacity increase, are in great shape so long as the price of oil is above $60.  Result: existing oil sands production is not curtailed or disadvantaged.
Existing infrastructure needs to be maintained. As prices increase, the cost of maintenance will make existing infrastructure less profitable. Indeed, as prices for natural gas continue to escalate, there will be other problems, too.
Impact on maintenance is minor.  NG price is actually quite low compared with last year.
Somebody is paying attention...

Or perhaps the other explanation about all those underdeveloped reserves when oil was at $20 will come to the fore? This implies that the current supply squeeze is a blip until these plentiful fields are brought online. Let me just say that Saudi Arabia's oil rig count has nearly tripled in the last two years. Something is afoot as they are obviously in a fervent mode of exploration. Will they produce the goods against what has been a flat production rate during this rig count boom? We'll know for sure in a year or two. Just remember many an oil producing country peaked on a high rig count as they desperately sought out the new oil that was simply not there.

Re: Voting With Their Feet

Oil rigs leaving Gulf of Mexico

Oil rigs are leaving the Gulf of Mexico in record numbers, threatening to put upward pressure on U.S. oil and natural gas prices, according to a report published Wednesday....

Natural gas is mostly a local market, so decreased U.S. supplies won't be easily offset by international imports, said the [Wall Street] Journal. Oil is a global commodity, so the impact of the departing rigs on American oil prices will be less....

This story actually pisses me off. Natural gas bills here (in Pittsburgh) are outrageous just as they were in Colorado where I lived before. HO and I have repeatly warned about our concerns about future natural gas supplies in North America.

Generally, if you look at many family budgets, my view is that spread over a given year the increased natural gas price costs exceed the increased costs for transportation. This depends on many variables like geographical location, distance from work, etc.

And now these assholes are pulling up roots and leaving.

The Governor of Louisiana is blocking any new lease sales offshore Louisiana (years of legal actiosn) because of the damage already doen to our wetlands (swamps) and that Louisiana gets 0% of the royalities.

The rigs are going to Saudi waters, where they will produce more energy in any case.  North American gas prices are just not high enough to keep them here.

I understand the economics and politics of it. They will produce more energy there and not here. Where is the good of the North American commonweal figured into this?

Re: gas prices are just not high enough...

Well, they will be. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come true.
I suppose that here, Louisiana is getting away with, on a small scale, what Florida has gotten away with for decades, and on a huge scale. Maybe Louisiana's excuse is the better one, post-Katrina, since Florida's only excuse is a number of totally expendable "jobs" in the "tourist industry", which offers little save for "careers" in changing bedsheets for virtually no pay. And the tourists won't be coming in such numbers without cheap fuel.

I suppose the "commonweal" will be taken care of - if ever - when the "commonwealth" as a whole eventually decides that the problems are bad enough to overcome the usual Congresscritter instinct for logrolling, i.e. regionally based beggar-thy-neighbor thievery. Maybe as part of a quid pro quo we could spare Florida and Louisiana - and everyone else - the many huge costs of massively subsidizing corn-based ethanol, which certainly appears to be a big-time loser in every important respect.

Florida is where fearful old people with huge cars go to wait for death. They don't drive many miles--but they sure are dangerous (many of them) while they're in the road. Without Florida and Arizona, etc., where would the morticians go?
Where is the good of the North American commonweal figured into this?

You've got to be joking! Commonweal? America?

These are corporations we're talking about here. They care about nothing except profit. They are soulless, nationless, uncaring, profit-maximizing machines. If throwing you under the bus will result in a few extra dollars of profit, then they will do so.

Alan, the rigs are contracted by the month and year. They do not get a cut of the goodies they find, and they certainly do not in Saudi Arabia. They go to the highest bidder and right now Saudi Arabia offers them longer contracts for more money, without the chance of a hurricane destroying them. In other words, they save a mint on insurance.

And by the way, natural gas prices are higher in the USA than anywhere else in the world.

I still need help understanding rig counts
in ss post
his grahp says that aprox. may 01 the rig count in all opec countries was about 190. then in march03 the rig count was about 145. thats about 45 rigs in 22 mounths. can someone please explain. did these rigs actually go somewhere esle or just go offline
Earl, it's a little of both. Oil rigs, just like any other kind of machenry, wears out. Land based rigs are often put in storage when demand for rigs are low and brought back out when companies wish to contract them. Then sometimes they are just scrapped. But that would not happen unless they are too far gone for repair.

But they are often moved from country to country. Remember most are owned by companies that simply contract them out, along with their crews.

Land rigs and sea-going rigs are different animals entirely. Land rigs are cheap when compared to the tens of millions that even a single jack-up rig costs. Jack-up rigs don't just go away unless they get so run down that it is impossible to repair them.

I doubt that we have the highest ng prices. Britain and spain routinely outbid us for lng cargoes last winter when US ng was twice what it is now.
I am aware that rigs are leased and basically go to the highest bidder.  Given transport costs between Gulfs (LOTS of downtime), I doubt that we will see very many of these rigs come back.

But with $25 NG, we can build some more.

And $25 NG would have kept more here because oil companies with GoM prospects would have bid higher.

One good item.  Oil rig leases will become a nice positive in our Balance of Trade.

Very well-said.
the best of my understanding is that storage tanks for nat gas are pretty much full (since we had weak demand on a warm winter) and the price of nat gas is at a 3 yr low, maybe more? It was 15 in Dec, and has dropped considerably since , stabilizing at around $6 plus or minus $1.

Now we should see the price slowly climb back up.

And now these assholes are pulling up roots and leaving.

Errr, before you call em assholes:

  1. They are 'capitolists' and that means chasing the best return on the money.   Don't like that, then ponder a way to change the nature of capitolism.

  2. If the rigs can't operate in cat five hurricanes (nature)  and can't get insurance (Ohhh, that capitolism thing), why should they stay?
That is spelled capitalism.

Much more often than not, the "logic" of capitalism and the responsibilities of corporations to their stockholders are invoked as some sort of magical incantation. Then the conversation just stops. All is well, the phenomena has been explained.

Can't homo sapiens do better than that?

Most of the time, apparently not.  
I rather liked 'capitolism', and suspected it might have been on purpose since it was misspelt twice, though if that were the case I'd opt for 'capitoilism'.
I also much enjoyed "Capitolism" and thought it a clever reference to federal and state capitol buildings. Is that what was meant? If so, the remark was brilliant!
How many barrels of oil would the US capitol hold if the dome was inverted?  We could add to the SPR!  Put that building to good use for a change...
Interesting trivia question. The Capitol dome has a complex internal structure, but let's just assume it's a half-sphere sitting on top of cylinder. The approximate height of the cylinder is 150 ft. and the approximate radius of the half-sphere and cylinder is 50 ft. (assuming 200 ft. total height from rotunda floor to base of Statue of Freedom's pedestal). So the volume is 1,963,495 cu. ft or almost 350,000 barrels.

The U.S. consumes 20.7 million barrels per day. If my calculations are correct, that means one Capitol-dome of oil will supply the U.S. for 24 minutes.

I could have wemt with capitol-ism as an attempt to reflect the tie of the state to money and business.  If the rig owners and drillers stayed, the lawyers could sue for not max'n the shareholder value. (The state again - in the form of lawsuit)   Perhaps the tax advantage ended.    

No matter how one wants to slice it, the reaction of "they are assholes for keeping energy I want to buy at a cheap price like I got yesterday" will continue to spread.  The scape-goats will be other nations, individual corporations long before the money structure....

If the "teachers" in school confessed to you that they were preaching a religion rather than teaching you a course about how you can achieve "The Wealth of Me-nation", you probably would not have engorged yourself with all that economics chalk and talk --all that pablum about each of us doing what is most profitable for the self and then by magic, by wave of an invisble hand, the collective prospers.

After 20 years of indoctrination, it is a given that capitalism is built on nothing but pure "logic". We homo sapiens cannot do better. We are not evolutionarily pre-programmed to do much better. You are what they taught you to be.

Capitalism is the most successfully-spread religion on this planet.

Just as Heinz has more than 57 varieties of flavors, there are more than 57 varieties of capitalism. For example, Sweden is clearly a capitalistic state (rumors to the contrary notwithstanding) because the great majority of resources (Land, labor, capital, technology) are privately owned. True, they have high taxes and much welfare, but they are a capitalist mixed economy. (A mixture of market and command features.)

ALL REAL-WORLD CAPITALIST COUNTRIES are mixed economies. Can I shout louder?

Pure capitalism is merely and "ideal" or "polar" type and no real-world country any time or any place has even come close to realizing this ideal. And, I think that is good.


What you mean is that all states have an economy with both
state and free market decision making. For capitalism, competition between governments is essential. Private ownership is actually irrelevant; for example, the USSR still engaged in trade with other nations.
One intresting thing with free markets, competition and ownership, capitalism is that it works on all levels from individuals and up to the largest groups we have.

We also have centrally controlled economies in all sizes, almost all corporations are such and they often have the same kind of problems with inefficiencies as communist states. The main differences between large corporations and socialist states are probably that only a state can use nearly unlimited violence to stay togeather and it is much easier for a corporation to go bankrupt while a state can become North Korea and still survive as a bankrupt entity.

The closest thing to such a situation in the corporate world might be nearly bankrupticies of Japanese banks or soon of General Motors who are supported by the state since a true bankruptcy would disturb the lives of too manny people. On the other hand such support use resources that could have been used for other ends.

In Sweden we still remember such mistakes done during the 70:s when our very large shipbuilding industry and also the textile industry were supported with government money giving us a state debt that still lingers. The ship building industry of large ships is all but gone, only some repair facilities and now foreign owned production of steel submariens and composite stealth boats remain. Much of the supporting industry died. Some government money were invested in converting steel mills into speciality steel mills and I think some of it used old civil defence reserch into into low level alloy speciality steel made to lower the alloy material stockpiles we had back then. Those investments and research into technical use of textiles instead of clothing use have paid back handsomly in jobs and tax incomes.

The point is, what new can you do with what you have when times are bad for what you alread do?

The new things can be done both privately and by a state, both carry risks and the main risk with government investments might be that nobody can make as grand mistakes and follow thru with them then as a state. A local example is our governmnet controlled schooling system who overall have become worse for about 30 years as the same kind of people have tried with more of the same medicine to create the ideal free thinking equalized people who think in the same politically correct way. That project is comming to an end but now carries a momentum since most of the new teachers are brought up within this system wich curiously have resulted in non professional techers comming from other professions  getting better results with their pupuils wich irritates our teacher unions and current governmet enough to surpress research into the matter. I think the main hinderance for correcting it being that a significant percentage of the population and politicians have their income from the established system and would also loose face if they had to accept that they are wrong.

I choosed this local example becouse it is slowly being corrected via market mechanisms. A right to start non government schools have been established and they get the same money per pupil as a state/municipiality school, it is equivalent to the school cheque system the US liberal party have been proposing for manny years if I am correctly informed. This has establised a true market for education in large towns where parents freely can choose between different schools run in different ways. This has locally changed the overall quality trend nicely supporting the capitalistic theory that competition is good. New schools are started and some goes under but most of the bad schoos are better then they were before the reform.

The number of social services that are run by municipialities over here is very large and there is also  large differences in how they are run. The traditional way since the expansion of our socialist state is politically controlled local monopoly organizations taking care of elderly people, maintaining the streets and so on. There are now large variations in this, most of the care of elderly people in my home town is now done by roughly a dozen of competing companies and the old monopoly organization is steadily shrinking. Almost everybody including our local socialist party concider this good since the quality of care is the same or better while the cost is lower. Another nice thing for the local politician is that you only have to represent your customers and the use of their tax money and not also being the employer for those who produce the srevice.

The left wing local proposal for the election is to continue as it is while the right wing is to gradually move the buying decisions from a political board who puts out tenders to competing companies to the individuals choosing whom to care for them to make it into numerous personal micro decisions as in the successfull shool system and thus get even better competition to produce what each individual ask for instead of what the local government board requests in an about 5 cm thick specification.

It is either way financed with tax money but the later system would work better in a cash strapped poor peak oil future since it would integrate better with volonteer work, help by relatives and limited personal funds while our state can continue to guarantee that everybody (exept the insane who do not want help or people the system do not understand) can get basic care. Maintaining absolute levels and either/or choises is bad in a changing world but guaranteeing a reasonable basic level and a working infrastructure for adding to the basic level is doable with much less resources then those we have today. (Do I think after pondering this sitting on my chair, I have not done any proper research at all. :-( )

I know less about the large coproration world then the fairly small state in Sweden but it seems that also they often try to create markets within their organizations.

I could also tell about how this sometimes have failed within our state. The good thing with this is that it at least creates some instuitutional knowledge for the law making. My overall impression is that success or failure mostly depend on how true and good the competition is, the best measurment is how easy it is for a new person or company to enter the business and then it needs time. And good ideas can be postponed indefinately if they regard something that is conciderd to be ideologically important.

The suggestions for peak oil policy from all political parties use the free market as a tool to get things done and it has proven successfull in the ongoing work to get a better environment, save energy and compete on the world market where delivery and not political wishes matter.
It is the surrounding freely competing word who made the trend for true socialism in Sweden impossible. We were with our consensus culture headed for disaster when the generation of socilist politicians who had a background in real industry and farming culture were retired and replaced by theoretical socialists who wanted to build a true and proper system accoring to the theories.

Socialism is a broken system even if some people still believe in it but some parts still seem attractive and it can sneak up on you since it is comforting to be part of a very big socialistic organization that cant go bankrupt nearly regardless of how it performs, take a look at Nasa for instance. Descriptions in TOD and some other sources of some of the large corporations and socio political structures in USA do not seem especially captalistic in a free market way. You might have some of our problems withouth knowing that you have been infected with such thinking. But I am out on a limb here and can not realy provide you with usefull insights, as me again in 5 years or so.

The latest laugh over here is that the party chairman of our small left party who has argued for true communism has his 17 year daughter in a non public school in the same schooling system he has worked against politically in his whole career.  Why? She is old enough to make her own choises... Probably correct and hopefully it well keep some communist voters from bothering with going to the election boxes. Good ideas tend to spread, the same is unfortunately true for some that overall are bad.

Btw I like and respect socialists and communists as long as they immediately try their theories by starting a small collective togeather with friends and live by their theories. No harm can come from that for the rest of us and they will learn a lot and if they succeed and figure out a system that works better then the one we have and thus outcompetes us in a non violent way we deserve it and it would be a free market competition, right?

One of my benchmarks for the goodness of a political idea is if it provides room for other ways of being and small socialistic collectives is a handy example. Its unreasonable for me to know what is best for all people but it ought to be good to make room for differences.

The U.S. public education system has problems very very similar to Sweden's--but ours are much worse and have the added problem of many very poor children and also minority groups that include many children who cannot speak English at all.

The teachers' unions must go.

That single condition is prerequisite to the survival of modern civilization, IMO.

One major problem in solving these problems is that the schools that voters and most politcians remember no longer excist. I left school about 20 years ago and it would be a grave mistake to try to use my personal experiences as a reference if I went into school politics today. Quite a lot of people are routing to solve the wrong set of problems, the problems they themselves remember.

We will probably have some benefit from living next to Finland who has kept and made better the kind of school system we had 30-40 years ago including better status for the teachers. Teacher status is one of the problems, it goes down when quality and leadership fails and that adds to the problem in a feedback loop.

What is your closest good examle in better schooling among the US states or neighbours? We have the probably US influenced "school cheque" free schools and our neighbour contry Finland. In how manny areas has this US idea been implemented? I have heard that home schooling is big and the Swedish examples of that can probably be counted on one hand, has it influenced school politics and quality in any way?

Because perhaps of its many Swedes (more people of Swedish ancestry live in Minneapolis than in Stockholm) Minnesota claims to be #1 in quality of public education in the U.S.

That statistic . . . . Laugh? Cry? Vomit? I don't know, but our public education is fine for the world of about 1940 or 1950--totally inadequate for today's world.

The private college that my two youngest children went to (Carleton) is one of the best in the U.S. The majority of students there went to very expensive private schools, because it is a real college where people are expected to be able to read and write and do college math and have at least three years of high-school hard science (such as honors chemistry or physics) even before they apply. I think only about one in twelve applicants is accepted now.
Rich people cannot buy their way into this college except by making sure that their very bright children have the most rigorous education available in elementary and high scool. Of course, graduates of places like Caleton become the successful business people, doctors, lawyers and scientists.

Of course, graduates of places like Caleton become the successful business people, doctors, lawyers and scientists.

How much of that is 'the quality of the education' VS the social contacts made and therefore explotable in the future?

60% networking
30% sifting--only the brightest are admitted
10% further sifting, because only the diligent graduate

Also, you do learn (roughly, based on samples of my former students that I have kept in touch with) about three to five times as much during for years at an exclusive private college such as Carleton compared to, e.g. the University of Minnesota or the University of Wisconsin, both of which are pretty good as public universities go.

Note that private colleges have small classes and encourage their profs to teach with passion and excellence rather than publish a paper a year in a prestigeous journal. This last difference has an enormous impact on quality of education for undergraduates (but not for graduate students).

I live in an area where a substantial portion of the children either go to private schools or are home-schooled. The private school tradition in Chattanooga is well established and pre-dates racial integration in the South which gave it a big boost. The older private schools here were established to give the wealthier portion of the community a way of providing a primary/secondary education for their children which would prepare them for admission into the Ivy League colleges. Today a great many middle class parents still sacrifice a lot of money to send their children to these same private schools to give them a better foundation for college.
A second group of private schools in the area provide education that is faith-based. These schools are run by various religious denominations. The parents who send their children to these schools do not want them exposed to any 'heretical beliefs' that they might encounter in public schools or even the other private schools. Most people I know who home school their children do so for the same reason but do not have available a denominational school of their choice.
My personal opinion on this is that it increases social stratification on the one hand and helps fuel the religious conservatism that keeps our current administration in power on the other.  
One intresting thing with free markets, competition and ownership, capitalism is that it works on all levels from individuals and up to the largest groups we have.

No, it works only where everyone is willing and able to obey a fair ruleset (usually requiring a neutral arbiter). What rules are fair, is another question. What you are trying to accomplish is also an important criterium before you're able to say whether something works: ruthless expansion or sustainability?

...while a state can become North Korea and still survive as a bankrupt entity.
Again, what is the measure of success? North Korea still exists because they can stop their competitors from taking their territory.

I think, and we agree on that, that decisions are best taken as decentralized as possible, to make them more efficient. That is an important principle in free trade as well as democracy. Capitalism and the parliamentary representative system are historical, real-world applications of these theoretical systems. They are often confused. Democracy, for example, means that those who are ruled take the decisions. For many practical and historical reasons that has become diluted into choosing representatives, human rights etc. This is an approximation of democracy, but not quite it. Capitalism requires the free flow of capital, not freedom of enterprise. In fact, those who are in business often try to restrict the freedom of enterprise by means of patents, monopolies, etc. Adam Smith's vision of free trade could work for independent citizens with their own business, but not faceless leviathan companies. Big business and big government are bad, and it should come as no surprise that they often are indistinguishable, and represented by the same persons.

Regarding the schools, I think any entrenched system is bad. Here in Belgium, everybody can start a school, but most schools are of Catholic signature and carry the same burden of conservatism and calcified educational mores you have witnessed in the Swedish state schools. The improvements you are seeing are partly thanks to the fact that there is a reform, not only the specific measures. I think that many of the problems of modern education stem from the contradictory goals of preparing children to become independent, able adults on one hand, and preparing children to become useful, obedient parts of the corporate economy and/or state bureaucracy on the other hand.

Most of the current school problems in Sweden are not due to old conservatism and calcified educational mores but rather a failed attempt to do something about them in combination with a goal of making pupils more politically correct and equalized while abolishing almost all disciplinary methods good and bad.

This effort has in turn become conservative in its own entrenchment.

The resent sadest part of this ideological effort were probably the disbandment of a national speciality school for multiple handicapped pupils such as those being both blind and deaf to distribute them among ordinary municipiality schools. The idea were that it is overall good for pupils to be exposed to all kinds of people and all schools should anyway be capable of handling all kind of pupils in a good way. Having a school for mutliple handicapped were a segregation and a lost opportunity to enforce the all-people -are-equal idea. That it were a disaster for multiple handcapped childrens quality of life and education were of no special concern, that criticism dident stop our current ruling sociliast party. There is still some teeth in their ideology when they want to make the best for the most...

One intresting thing with free markets, competition and ownership, capitalism is that it works on all levels

Bull-tragedy shit!


I've said it with brevity.

No it does not "work" (whatever that means) at ALL levels.

The over-fished fishies in the deep blue sea don't think "it" always works.
The defrauded workers of Enron don't think "it" always works.
The massive sheeple herd that is soon going to figure out that they have been had by Peak Oil are soon going to think "it" does not always work. Only if you are a devout religious follower of the Smithian belief can you conveniently wash away all the failures of a capitalist system and sing pure praise for its glory.

(And don't cast me as a commie. I never said I am. I understand that communism is a system far more susceptible to corruption, cronyism and collapse. Just wish I can think of a system better than current capitalism, but I can't. Makes my brain hurt.)

Actually, the over-fished oceans really got kicked down the stairs when nations started subsidizing their fishing fleets:

GENEVA - The World Trade Organization (WTO) is debating the subsidies industrialized countries grant to their fishing industries, a practice that developing nations and environmentalists complain are distorting international markets and pushing some species towards extinction.

Fourteen billion to 20.5 billion dollars are spent worldwide each year to shore up inefficient fisheries operations, the equivalent of 20 to 25 percent of the industry's global revenues.

Subsidies create an excess of capacity among the subsidized producers, who then engage in over-fishing and thus limit the access to fish catches for other fishing operations that do not receive government support.


It's always sad to things criticized as 'capitalist' outcomes, when they are shaped by 'non-market' players.

States are players on the market, since they are competing for export markets, resource access, etc.
If you go down that road, what isn't a market?  The Soviet Union certainly qualified as they competed for export markets, resource access, etc.
BTW, I believe the US government subsidized construction of fishing boats in the 70's.  Looking for a link on that, I found this:

Subsidies for the global fishing fleet have helped produce enough boats, hooks, and nets to catch twice the available fish, contributing to overfishing and destruction of fisheries."


Regardless of what you want to call it, the rig owners are in business to make money.  They took the risks by investing in those rigs  and are entitled to the highest rate of return they can garner from the market.  We live in an international market, for good or ill.  There are risks associated with the  Louisiana market that no prudent investor would want to take, given the alternatives.  Capitalism, like all systems has both  positives and negatives.  While there may be a better system out there somewhere, this happens to be the one that we are currently owner.    
Here in Russia you can burn whatever amount of natural gas you want just for $1-$1.5 a month. No restrictions, no gasmeters.  Obviously Russians are happy and want to retain such a communist system. But is it wise even from the nationalistic point of view?
If it keeps the peace, it may be a "second best" tactic. I do not say "internal peace at any price," but as one who lives in Minnesota and who knows that minus 40 celsius equals minus 40 Farenheit, I think ridiculously underpriced natural gas for heating and cooking may not be the worst of all possible worlds.

At least for now . . . .

Me, I keep my axes sharp and have many Swede saw blades and mauls and sledges and wedges for splitting wood, plus more than one acre of hardwood trees.

Hi, old bones!
Where have you been?
Been having fun. Sailing and biking season is here.
He who has the gold, rules.
CNBC had the CEO of the Rowan Companies on.  He said that they would be happy to stay in the Gulf if US companies would sign long term contracts like they are getting in the Middle East.  The publicy held drilling companies actually have no real choice.  The executives could be sued if they didn't head for the Middle East.
Dave, I understand your frustration but we don't need the profanity.  The rigs are going to go to the highest bidder and  will drill in the most promising spots possible.  If my understanding of drilling rigs is correct, they drill for oil mainly, and the gas is more a byproduct.  The oil can come over here on tankers, so I don't see it as a bad deal.  

The oil companies can't build rigs strong enough to take our new hurricanes on steroids that GW seems to be producing.  The sooner we start to modify our usage behavior, the better.  The only mechanism we have for that is price.  

Do not lecture me for using the word assholes, a common enough term, as if you were a parent and I was some wayward child.

I would also remind you of something you already know. If we are going to survive in the future, the current structural economic system is going to have to change from a continuous growth model to a sustainable equilibrium model. Concerning this there is no choice.

See my other comments on this subject.

Drop the profanity.  I am not lecturing you.  This is a public forum.
If desparate times call for desparate measures, then the  profane times we live in can allow for a little profanity. It was not gratuitous and did not distract from the post.

Seems to me that public forums were created for free speech.

It's not the public square.
The people who created this site own it, and they can set any rule they want.

Although I'm tempted to use profanity on many occasions, it tends to destroy credibility and make people look uneducated.

Since the point of this site is to give peak oil credibility, profanity seems counterproductive.

Everybody here uses TSHTF and WTF comes up and there's a link to Clusterfuck Nation in the left sidebar.
It ain't Sunday School.
Very true, but I often have the sense that profanity is employed as a shortcut, not for emphasis, but because the writer is too lazy to sort out his or her thoughts.

Back to Leanan's opening post...

It would appear that the easy fixes are crumbling. Oil-sands have been referenced repeatedly by the MSM as our bazillion barrel solution. Now the costs are coming in many-fold higher.

One might ask... Whatever happened to journalistic due-diligence? Or straight forward accounting and financial due-diligence?  

Carbon sequestration, our get-out-of-jail pass to burn coal, did not fare well in a recent ScienceNow story, linked elsewhere in this thread. This is much, much bigger problem for us than the oil-sands. We are that much closer to an intractable GHG problem now that electricity assumptions are compromised.

Then there's ethanol... at least, something to smile about. Perhaps when we're reduced to foot power, they will let us drink it.

The current solution set isn't impressive. It's almost as if the Invisible Hand is running into Intelligent Interference.

Straight forward accounting can sometimes be detrimental to equity valuation, which is detrimental to upper management renumeration. In keeping with the profane theme, often a straight-forward accountant is about as useful as a hooker that does not provide sexual services (not even the Bill Clinton type).
Agreed. I recommend TOD to my exceptionally bright eight year old granddaughter. She understands about half--but all of the profanity.
There's no need for censor police.  This is the real world.
Gross language is an indicator of sloppy thought. If you can express yourself clearly and forcefully with sound logic, then any profanity is obviously a worthless distraction that takes away from the appeal of your line of reasoning.

The people who swear the most are often (not always, perhaps not even usually) dumb.

Do you want to label yourself as too stupid or ignorant or careless to use formal English?

I guess I'll stop enjoying bukowski
You enjoy Bukowski?
i do wonder why people drink.
never done so myself.
Damn right, beyootch!



Words of wisdom from gas station  in Kansas

"Profanity is the last refuge of the inarticulate asshole".

I agree that foul language on this site is not a problem. However, there are two problems that I'd be delighted to see vanish forever:
  1. Long insane conspiracy rants that go on page after page after page
  2. Lunatic fringe antisemitism that is totally off-topic and that seems to be coming out of mental institutions from unmedicated paranoid delusional patients--and again, it wastes time scrolling through all this worthless and irrelevant verbiage.

Can anything be done?

I don't think the conspiracy theories are any worse than the mindless free market blather that passes for "economic analysis" on this site.  Free markets are as much a belief in a neoplatonic fantasy of the global economy as conspiracy theories are a semi-false belief of another kind.  The are old songs that people pull off the shelf from time to time to try and get their heads around the mysterious workings of the world...Conspiracy stories are one...the atomistic theories of the self-interested rational natural actor is another.

This site could well do with some of the other social sciences in addition to economics and evolutionary psychology (well, this last one is almost certainly a pseudo-social science).  Hell, I'd even settle for some good old institutional economics, mixed in with some good old kinship theory (extended to elite family lineages of course).  I think the conspiracy theories are filling a void that could be better filled from other, more informed, sources.

Naw, I agree with Don. I had a thousand times over rather read free market blather than those very stupid conspiracy theorys that go on for page after page, usually cut and pasted from some conspiracy nut's web page.

I know market's aren't really free but they serve the purpose. However free markets, or un-free markets for that matter, are not the problem.

The destruction of the natural world is not the result of
global capitalism, industrialization, 'Western civilization'
or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of
the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious
primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human
advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
     John Gray, "Straw Dogs"

This falls under the "pseudo-social science" category and is about as useful as the conspiracy theories, in my opinion.  There is simply so little empirical data of the rapaciousness of homo sapiens for that past 150000 years as to put any "theory" of past human behavior in doubt.  There are some nice examples of course of over exploitation (North American megafaunal extinction comes to mind easily), but other examples of relative equilibrium (been to New Guinea Highlands lately?).  In any case, these are in the remarkably recent history of post-glacial human expansion and the concurrent development of a rather sophisticated tool kit (starting 12000 BCE).  Certainly not enough to say with any clarity anything about human "history" or human "nature" which stretches back at least 2 million years as a tool using biped.
Tedman, you really used a lot of words not to say a damn thing.
I like short posts.

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Try this one and see if it is "pseudo-social science":

As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we
might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of
gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the
degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular
human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its
evolutionary and genetic origins.
     Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene

What both Morrison and Gray was saying was that what is happening we are doing to the world is not the fault of any institution or behavior problem, they are saying that it is in our genes. Others have made the same point, using a lot more words.

It's all about biology, social science has nothing to do with it.

Our genes do not directly alter or affect the physical universe, except when we procreate.
All the things you think our genes make us do require social mediation and social structure.
So social sciences and behavioral sciences are appropriate.
Even tho I cringe when I call them Sciences.
Our genes do not directly alter or affect the physical universe, except when we procreate.

Gad! How can you possibly come to that conclusion? If we affect the physical universe when we procreate, then we would affect the physical universe if we did anything. Years ago I heard this quoted: "You move a pebble on the beach, you set up a new pattern and you change the whole world.

All the things you think our genes make us do require social mediation and social structure.

Every aspect of human behavior is the result of nature and nurture. Only a blooming fool would suggest that any human behavior is the result of either all nature or all nurture.

So social sciences and behavioral sciences are appropriate.
Even tho I cringe when I call them Sciences.

Oh? Then what the hell would you call them?

Methinks some people simply do not understand the problem. Homo sapiens have not just taken over the world but we have dramatically overshot our niche. We have overshot so far that collapse is inevitable. And we just keep multiplying. Why? That is the question. And if you think trying to figure that one out is not science then.....

A gene is a little thing. It don't pick up a tool. All it works on is making a human body. When a human body does anything that event happens within what is possible in the immediate physical and social environment. And within what that particular organism has learned in its' time here. The limits caused by the genetic facts of having opposable thumb. bipedal locomotion are all there, and are assumed. What you know about how to post on TOD is social, not genetic.
The final peroration of your post is something about overpopulation. Duh, did I mention procreation?
I don't get the fad for extending genetic determinism all kinds of places it won't go.
If you think what you post here is the result of some sort of genetic imperative: 1. I don't understand your thinking and I don't agree with you. 2. What I post would come from some similar imperative even while I contradict you.
Oldhippie, apparently you can't read. I did not say one damn thing about genetic determinism, I said Nature and nurture. Do you have a clue to what and means. Everything you do, every action you take, is made possible by a combination of genes and environment. And if you cannot understand that simple fact, then God help you.
Go back and read context of original thread. Biology uber alles? Who can read? Maybe we just don't want to read each other.
However, there are two problems that I'd be delighted to see vanish forever:

  1. Chatty posters with nothing much to say about PO who bloat threads with numerous backslapping posts of a social nature.  Guys, get a (chat) room for the mutual admiration society stuff or exchange Skype addresses or whatever.  Just get it out of the public space.

  2. Vanity publication of one's fiction
PS: Please, no more amateur poetry either

The unique value of this site lies in the hard data from the quants; Stuart, Westexas, Robert Rapier, Khebab, etc.  Suggest taking the liberal arts and social stuff to an appropriate forum at peakoil.com

How much clout do the "quants" have in the halls of power?

And do you know why?

BTW, I yield to no one in the relevance, wit and value of my posts.

So there, take that you engineer!

Well OK, it's a serious and technical topic, and deserves an appropriate treatment.  There is also a large social aspect to PO and how we will deal with it.  But TOD is also an online community, and there are people behind the monikers.  I find it helpful to understand something about those people, to better interpret their comments.  Besides, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (no offense Jack).  All things in moderation.
Well, moderation in conspiracy rants and delusional antisemitism would be a big improvement;-)
What about delusional zionism? Can we expect to see less of that in any US dominated forum?
Please identify one single zionist rant (delusional or not) on TOD. Please specify date and moniker of the commenter.

Thank you.

I'll make it easy for you. Take what you identified as delusional anti-semitic rants, and look in the vicinity :-)
Thank you.

Please be specific.

Since you were the first to complain, I think you should be the first to be specific.
I have a legitimate complaint.

IMO you do not.

Let's quit and be friends.

To show your complaint is legitimate, it would seem simple enough to make it specific.
But let's quit, by all means. I do appreciate your courtesy in polemic.
Thank you.

The feeling is mutual.

I like you.

Thank you for your input.

Do you consider your lengthy whingeing about your declining standard of living to be relevant to Peak Oil?

And if so,


My standard of living and those of most of the people I know has gone up considerably during the past thirty years.

Why hasn't yours?

You say that the medical system in the U.S. has already crashed. Then why are we living much longer now than we did thirty or twenty years ago?

And did peak oil have anything to do with the increase in your malpractice premiums.

Those who live in glass houses should throw Nerf;-)

The only issue I have with profanity is that those who access this site from schools, offices, or public libraries may be blocked if there are crude words on the site/page.  Something to keep in mind.  Sometimes, you either have to curse or cry...but if you choose curse, you may be preventing a lot of people from reading your immortal lines of deathless prose.
Important and excellent point!
Back to the main subject, though. If it is true that the system must become a "sustainable equilibrium model", whatever that means, one thing it probably does mean is that some things we are accustomed to getting cheaply will become more expensive. Another thing it seems to mean to most folks who use it is that economic growth ought to slow radically or even cease.

However, it's probably not very useful to demand that economic growth should stop (or nearly stop) and yet at the same time demand that natural gas and similar fuels should remain cheap. And it's surely impossible to fulfill both of those demands simultaneously as long as world population is still exploding.

So in the spirit of "let's be careful what we wish for", let's please sort out what we're wishing for here.

However, it's probably not very useful to demand that economic growth should stop (or nearly stop) and yet at the same time demand that natural gas and similar fuels should remain cheap.

A lot of the thinking on TOD implicitly comes from a laissez-faire capitalist point of view. Under those conditions, pricing of scarce goods will rise to whatever the traffic will bear. If that's the way one wants the economy to work, that's OK. (Well, it's OK if you're in the upper eschelons-much less pleasant if you're a proletarian).

A society can make a choice about different mechanisms, though. If there is a feeling that old people should not freeze to death in their homes (as some do every winter), then it is perfectly possible to subsidise a certain level of natural gas consumption. In the future, if we have real shortages, it may be socially desirable to guarantee a minimum allotment of energy at an affordable price. This will not maximize profitability, but it would be humane and promote social cohesion.

I agree entirely that we should be careful what we wish for.

Well, "society" doesn't "choose" anything.  It is a complex dynamic open system.  Individuals can choose (sort of) but their choices are always constrained by certain realities while other realities encourage other choices (not always the "optimal" choices either).  The products of society are always emergent and not reducible to the individual components of society (the sort of closed system logic that allows people to reduce collective realities to individual behavior is only possible in the highly controlled settings of the laboratory and does not reflect the workings of the real world very well).  Kinda sucks for political activists, but that the way the world works.
And we probably will. It is in the nature of these things, though, that the subsidized allotment will probably be risibly small...
Agreed. Whether it is laughable or not seems to be dependent on context. Give a typical American a $100 bill, and they'd probably be delighted. Give them a $100 gasoline rebate check, and they'll be infuriated.
I hope there are solutions that can reconcile the strength of pricing as a potent means to influence behavior and consumption, with a committment to the universal provision of fundamental human needs. Many utilities (including my local water utility) have a tiered rate structure; the basic allotment is priced cheaply, while additional units of water rise in price the more one consumes. Another variation is the "lifeline" services offered by utility companies to low income folks. Yet another is to offer free energy conservation home retrofits to low-income folks; in the 70's, some utilities had "house doctors" that would assess utility customers' homes and businesses for potential energy savings, and offer grants of low-interest financing for energy conservation retrofits. IMHO, these are practices that should be revived on a much larger scale.
Solar1 wrote:

If my understanding of drilling rigs is correct, they drill for oil mainly, and the gas is more a byproduct.  The oil can come over here on tankers, so I don't see it as a bad deal.

Well no, rigs usually drill for oil or gas.

In the North America, the split is about 4.5 to 1, gas rigs over oil rigs. In the rest of the world the split is about 3 to 1 oil rigs over gas rigs. But since North America has more rigs in operation than all the rest of the world combined, there are actually more rigs drilling for gas than oil.


Woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.

World's in deep trouble, $75/barrel oil is now kind of normal, when will $100/barrel oil be the new price level? Lots of other bad news. I've got Jeffrey (Westexas) writing me e-mails about the sad state of Ghawar, Simmons is making stronger statements, the tar sand development is subject to radical inflation, the "oil shales" are many years away and last, but not least, my next door neighbor tells me she does not know how she will pay her natural gas bills this winter.

And people here are arguing over my use of a "profane" word. What is profane and what isn't? I mean it, what's an obscenity in such a context? My use of a word or the fact that my neighbor can't afford to heat her house?


I don't exactly know what a "sustainable equilibrium" economy would look like. It just seemed to be the right way to express it. If we can't continue exponential growth, then something else is required. I'm open to suggestions and environmentalists have done some work on this.

Well Dave, I'm working my way through a book called "Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology", MIT Press, 2000. It's slow going. It's not about Peak Oil, it's about Arne Naess, a Norweigan philosopher. He was looking for a post-capitalist paradigm too.  
Dave, u must understand that the globe has an overheated economy this year.  4.9% Real GDP is not sustainable.  Greenspan was able to temper his increase in interest rates in the USA because energy prices were rising.  It's plainly a choice, higher oil or higher interest rates or a combination thereof to allow a soft landing.  There are few relative victims with high oil.  And demand destruction extends the peak while alternatives are hybridized.

Look at Laherrere's and others work at Real Oil and Real Gasoline Prices before u panic...

The price is going up 'cuz it doesn't hurt yet.

"We have only two modes - complacency and panic"

James R. Schlesinger, the first US Dept. of Energy secretary, in 1977

"4.9% Real GDP is not sustainable"

Any percent GDP growth is not sustainable...

How about 0.0001%?
Nope.  S'long as it's a positive number, it will eventually consume the universe.  Sure, we (and everything else) would all last a lot longer, but not, probably, even 'till the sun supernova's.  But at present, I'd settle for the recognition that we need to reduce growth as much as possible, so I raise a glass to your 0.0001%!

While I'm at it - always enjoy your posts, Don.  In fact, whilst taking the evening constitutional with my sig ot last night, I was telling her how you remind me of her father.  Not that you likely have much in common, just that you each exude a certain passionate individualism.  But then perhaps there is a common thread - he was a Merchant Mariner.  

One last thing - after hearing for some time of your love for sailing - (and what an offer you've made to us all!) - I was - shall we say - surprised to see the term 'sunfish' anywhere near you.  I'd have thought you'd scoff at the only vessel I've ever even tried to sail.  Perhaps I just missed the irony?

Hi Dave

We all would like to have some models or ways of talking about "sustainable economies."  But in order to get there there has to be an upper limit in terms of total energy.  Yes, as Stuart has said some time in the past, actually an upper limit of energy production that takes into account efficiency gains.  But, still some way of talking about an upper bound of some kind.  For several hundred years now, there has been no upper limit for human society, so the world has developed many handy ways of talking about (imagining) a limitless world (see Freddy's perfect example below).  It is my contention that we will not seriously begin to develop and widely disseminate ways of imagining sustainable economies until the global system begins to hit this upper limit (we may be at that point now, of course).

A sustainable economy with a diminishing upper limit is another story altogether.  But still one in need of imagining.  (That is beyond the as old as civilization itself doomsday blather that has currently filled this void).

Hello Tedman,

Remember the recent Pepsi-Coke 'secret formula' espionage case in the news?  Companies currently wage war peacefully through competition for consumers, but Foundation, in combo with the insurance companies, could bring company combat into the open.

Already, ins. cos. are refusing to write coverage for those living in hurricane prone areas.  If ins. cos. understand Peakoil, and we have seen links on TOD that show they do, they can start refusing coverage to those  firms most likely to suffer from detritus decline; the energy hurricane.  This proactive policy, under the direction of supercomputer Foundation projections, can prematurely drive companies into bankruptcy thus streamlining energy flows and detritus savings.

For example, I think all TODers will agree that tanning salons and amusement theme parks will go postPeak bellyup; a predictive collapse.  If the ins. cos. raise their premiums until they shutdown; a directed decline, this would be much faster than waiting for the customers to eventually desert them.  No violence, and the energy savings can be directed to the more vital food & farming industries.

So now lets carry this example further.  Remember the riots in LA, New Orleans, and elsewhere?  Imagine postPeak, if the insurance compnies [again under Foundation direction], only offered financial protection to what is considered vital industries, and the police & Nat Guard where ordered to follow this designated plan.

You could have future riots where the cops could careless if you looted and burned a jewelry store, a tanning salon, an SUV dealership, a McDonalds, etc.  But if you tried to loot & burn the local grocery store, bicycle shop, pharmacy, or any other postPeak business deemed vital--the police and NG shoot to kill EVERY TIME.  No ifs, ands, or buts because the vital lifeboats must be saved.

Finally, the corporations themselves could go to full-on combat.  I would expect the ins. cos. and the energy companies to joinup and have the most powerful armies and allies.  Grocery stores [WalMart?] could torch any fast-food chain or restaurant nearby to consolidate their profit potential.

Putin's Russian Govt, in cooperation with Gazprom's monopolistic and predatory practices appears to be the leading edge of this corporate combat.  Maybe they already have a Russian Foundation operating to research the predictive detritus collapse of Europe and proactively drive its decline.  It would seem obvious if we recall Westexas's exporting depletion theory.

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

riots in NO

Not in the 1960s, not in the 1970s, not during Katrina

Our social capital is just too high.

OTOH, Six Flags does not want ot rebuild their theme park in New Orleans and wants out of their lease with the city.

Hello AlanfromBigEasy,

Thxs for responding.  Good for NOLA [I stand corrected]!

Do you see ins., world banks, & energy cos. hooking up with govts. as a possible method to drive appropriate decline [a loose federation of Foundation]?  It seems obvious to me as a long-term profit maximizaton strategy.  Little non-HELP businesses wouldn't stand a chance against these juggernauts as they economically imposed detritovore decline.

Recall the initial US invasion of Baghdad: soldiers protected the Iraqi Oil Ministry as the rest of the city was allowed to be looted.  My guess is most Iraqi firms did not have any insurance to cover their losses.  Another example of predictive collapse and directed decline?

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

Our National Electrical Code (and UL (tm)) were both created by insurance companies to reduce losses.

I think good common sense rather than "Foundation" overview will drive SOME good decisions.  Perhaps with the same result except that the scope will be more limited.

Hello AlanfromBigEasy,

Thxs for responding.

The ins. cos. driving safety changes on the Hubbert upslope is a very practical 'common sense' initiative, their refusal to provide hurricane insurance coverage in the NYC area, and other coastal areas, is a very practical 'common sense' initiative for the downslope side too.  I surmise that if these ins. cos. were really thinking ahead for the long-term: they would be figuring out how to proactively drive people away from the sea-shore to help financially protect them from GW water level rise.  The more fiscally whole people living safely inland, the more potential customers for the ins. cos. to extract future premiums from.

This would be typical Foundation planning as I interpret Asimov: nothing more than a gentle tug on the collective's genetic 'common sense' drives.

If properly genetically projected using Nature & Nuture interaction: common sense and Foundation planning should closely dovetail-- thus, it remains forever hidden to the casual observer.  This was one of the basic requirements of Asimov's Foundations.

Recall fellow TODer TheLastSasquatch's idea that maybe we can learn to somehow 'trick' our natural genetic drives.  This correlates closely with Asimov's astounding literary creation of "The Mule":
The Mule is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. One of the greatest conquerors the galaxy has ever seen, he is a telepath who has the ability to manipulate human emotions. This gives him the capacity to disrupt Seldon's plan by invalidating Seldon's assumption that human emotional responses to stimuli will remain the same.

The Mule established his empire incrementally, using past conquests to aid new ones: first by mentally converting a pirate band to his allegiance, then a whole planet, then the militarily powerful kingdom of Kalgan, then the Foundation (and imperial remnant). The Foundation, after the death of the Empire, was the sole supplier of nuclear weaponry in the galaxy, and using this asset the Mule began rapidly conquering surrounding territories, all of which lacked nuclear power.

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

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.
Cheer up, Dave!
-Oil is a bargain at $74 a barrel!
-The tar sands are too expensive to develop, so there may be some natural gas left to ship south!
-Oil shales are many years away!
-Take a look at how far your breakfast travelled to be with you, and be grateful.
-At least you know what a Ghawar is, and you can probably prononunce it passably.
-If you have your health, you have everything.
-Some days are better than others.

Keep on rocking in the free world.

You always cheer me up, Rick. At least, unlike some others here, you are in touch with reality.

Meanwhile, I will keep on rockin' in the free world.

As a note to some others on this thread, when I use a word or phrase in a comment, and especially in my own posts, I have chosen that word or phrase because it strikes me as the language that best fits the message that I want to convey. Some sort of "intellectual laziness" does not figure into it. In this case, I was trying to express anger about and the crass nature of corporate solutions to our energy dilemma.

best, Dave

So... express the anger. If the rig owners are behaving badly list reasons, offer facts, consequences.

Leanan's point is worth considering. Libraries and schools often filter. I have a friend who works at a major energy company, his content is filtered. He cannot read TOD without his I.S. department getting knotted knickers. He sells energy. His input might be useful here.  

Give it some more thought. Even carefully calculated use of profanity is not productive if it reduces readership.    

Knoted knickers---LOL---panties in a bunch
Whatever... he finds it most annoying. It's annoying that the company scans everything and it's annoying that great blogs are impossible to read or participate in.

And here's something to consider... Any thread here can be denied to this audience, meaning: libraries, schools, many, many  businesses. It takes one word. By anyone.  

People are realy asking to be fucked out of ignorance by using such systems...
The systems are conforming to modest censorship that filters explicit language and sexual content. They do not filter ideas, politics, news, etc... This level of censorship is not something that I agree with but it is not particularly onerous.

I am concerned that resources like the Oil Drum get sequestered. The information here is not available from the MSM. A lot of it is topical and not available in periodicals or books. Peak Oil Sites, particularly this one, are unique in scope and coverage.

This thread is unavailable at my son's high school, or any other school in our system. It is also unavailable at our municipal library which has about 10 branches, serving 220,000 people.

Neither the high school (President's Excellence Award) or the library system, ranked within the top 100 in the U.S. for its circulation ratio are what I would call philosophically conservative, or budget constrained, free wireless access is supported. Sailorman will not name a book I cannot get within days.

The segment of our population that attends school or uses the libraries will not see Stuart's graphs, read his words, or PG's, or anyone else's. We are limiting the reach of this site and its information to private ISP accounts.

IMO this is a remarkably important point.
why cant these victims of censorship just use anonymous proxies? I bet there are even anonymous proxies that will even filter out the oh so scary bad words that are somehow dumbfoundely and inexpliecably, like sex, part of our culture. whatever, censorship is damage in the network and we find ways around it. if we arent resourceful enough to do even that then we have bigger problems.
It's bizarre that people objected to your language, but don't protest when other posters use the same words in their deranged outbursts against fellow posters.
A post from Ed Tennyson elsewhere
Budget data from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for next fiscal year says :

MetroRail will require a subsidy of $ 119 million equal to 7.4 cents per passenger-mile. MetroBus will require a subsidy of $ 289 million equal to 64 cents a passenger-mile, Despite the much lower subsidy MetroRail will carry 1.6 BILLION passenger-miles but MetroBus with so much more funding will carry only 450 million.

We could not afford transit if we did not have MetroRail. As a matter of fact we would not need much transit if we did not have MetroRail. The area would be unlivable, MetroBus is not out of line, Its efficiency and effectiveness is at 101 % of the national average, Fairfax Connector bus service contracted out to low wage employees needs "only" 42 cents subsidy per passenger-mile, still almost six times as much as rail.

The politicians do not present it this way, They hide the bus losses to make it all look equal,
E d T e n n y s o n

Diesel-powered buses simply are not as efficient as electric rail.  Some of the main bus routes could be served by trolley or electric bus, which would make them more efficient.  I believe that there is a move on to do this in D.C. itself on highly-traveled routes, like many of the state-named avenues, like Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Wisconsin.  Out in the 'burbs there are some heavily traveled routes, as well, that would be suited for trolleys or electric overhead buses, but I don't know that any suburban local is considering such.

Many of the other, less traveled bus routes either connect to the subway or run only during rush hour, like the monster line of buses moving north on I-395 in Virginia heaving for both D.C. and the close-in Metro stations at the Pentagon and Pentagon City Mall.

There is talk in Maryland of connecting some spokes of the Red, Green and Orange lines at stations just outside the District, like Bethesda, Silver Spring and New Carolton, which connects to Amtrak with a new Purple Line (that's actually supposed to be a Metro beltway) or dedicated high-speed bus service corridors.

The best way to cut costs on many bus lines in the end will probably be switching from completely diesel-spewing buses to hybrid electric or hybrid hydraulic drives and perhaps to smaller 20-person jitneys for lesser traveled routes and off-peak service on the more traveled lines.

There was a 1996 PBS Documentary "Taken for a Ride" which documents the actions of GM with respect to buying up and taking out trolley car lines all over the US. It is really good and enlightening.

There is a good review in Counterpunch.

Yes, there has been quite a lot written and filmed about the death of the trolleys.  I imagine that D.C. proper had them.  Destroying them was a terrible waste.  But look at GM today.  Sometimes what goes around comes around.
>Yes, there has been quite a lot written and filmed about the death of the trolleys.  I imagine that D.C. proper had them.  Destroying them was a terrible waste.  But look at GM today.  Sometimes what goes around comes around.

Not really, The people that made those policies at GM are long gone. What's at stake isn't the jobs of a few GM executives, its the 10's of thousands or GM workers and even more retirees depending on their GM pension.

I find it disturbing when people promote that the collapse of a GM or other large company is a good thing and ignore the real ramifications. The lost of thousands of jobs and the pension benefits for company retirees. What will these people do when they lose thier jobs and pensions?

I have updated my graphs and added a new one on gasoline imports:

EAI Weekly Petroleum Status Report

  • gasoline consumption is up and close to expectations
  • gasoline stocks coverage is down and in the lower range.
  • gasoline imports are down
  • crude stocks are down but coverage is up
  • crude imports close to the average
  • refinery input is down
  • refinery utilization is down and still below average

Could this be the first year in a long time that oil prices cross the same price they did a year before?

Or more likely, the third year in a row that they are consistently higher throughout the year (as your curves so nicely show).

We are at $75 now and no hurricanes yet.  

I see oil is now back to around $73.5.  Which looks cheap compared to the way it was headed just a day or two ago! The  graph above puts this in perspective.  Only last autumn (?September) Colin Campbell was saying that $50 was now being seen as a floor to price fluctuations rather than a ceiling. Indeed it's been nowhere near there since day 150 of 2005. By this spring $60 was looking like the floor - it was last there around day 80.  Now maybe $70 is the floor, that we may not see again until there is some recession-related collapse in demand.
Commentator on Bloomberg has a $10.00 fear premium.  Boy that has dropped from a $20.00-$30.00 premium last year.  Some MSM support for $60.0 +/- floor.
Only the FSU can keep the world from peak oil.

Russia produced 39.65 million tons of oil in June. Converted to barrels per day, that comes to 9.633 million barrels per day. Russia and its former satellites, primarily those around the Caspian Sea, are keeping Peak Oil from being everything but glaringly apparent.

The EIA does not give oil production figures for the former Soviet satellites, they just lumped them in with "Other" after the Soviet breakup. So those "Other" figures are the ones I use, but that is okay because of all nations covered under "Other" only the former Soviet satellites are increasing in production to any appreciable amount. In fact, it is quite obvious that most all the others, like Denmark for instance, are in decline.

So since April of 2005, Russia plus Other has increased production from 14,644 kb/d to 15,703 kb/d, an increase of 1,059 kb/d or 6.7%. However during the exact same one year period, the rest of the world decreased in production by 1,227 kb/d from 69,118 kb/d to 57,891 kb/d. (All figures are crude + condensate, not all liquids.)

So the world minus the FSU peaked in April 2005 and has declined by just over 2% since that date. The FSU has not yet peaked. The question is now; "Can the FSU produce enough to offset the peak in the rest of the world?"

This is not to say that all other nations have peaked, as obviously all have not. However most other nations are in either decline of in the plateau stage. A very few, like Angola, Brazil, and a couple of others are still increasing production. However their output is not nearly enough to offset the decline in the rest of the world.

Russian oil production for first half of the year, plus June can be found at this URL.


I wrote, in error:

However during the exact same one year period, the rest of the world decreased in production by 1,227 kb/d from 69,118 kb/d to 57,891 kb/d. (All figures are crude + condensate, not all liquids.)

That "69,118" kb/d figure is an obvious error. It should have been 59,118 kb/d. Sorry about that.

Note that the Russian government is doing the largest IPO in Russian history for Rosneft.  
Nothing can keep the world from peak oil, it is inevitable (which I know you know).  The only question is when.
I'm not sure it still makes sense to treat Russia and the rest of the former USSR together. Different geological provinces, different companies at work, different governments in charge. The production curves are very different as well. Russia's rapid recovery is over now, while Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are in the midst of expansion (though the outlook for the latter is murky).
Smekhovo, I wasn't treating them together, I was just counting barrels of oil. Russia and "Other" have, in the last one-year, increased their production by only slightly less than the rest of the world have decreased their production. If it were not for the increase in Russia and Other, (the EIA's term for all the countries too small to have a production count all their very own), then it would be glaringly obvious that we are at or past peak oil.

When a nation goes into a natural decline, they do not come back. Only countries that have had an unnatural decline have subsequently increased their production. These include the OPEC countries and the FSU after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Now everyone is producing flat out so you can just look at who's declining and who's still on the increase and get a good idea on exactly where we stand, peak oil wise. Most countries are in a natural decline. A few are at a plateau stage. A very few, Russia, Other, Angola, Brazil and perhaps China still have a bit of increasing to do.

But the forces of decline seem to be winning out over the forces of increase production. When you match those still increasing in production and wondering if they will overcome the decline in the rest of the world, you get the idea they are trying to climb a down escalator, and losing ground.

a better analogy would be someone trying to climb up a escalator that is moving down at a fast pace.
Don Sailorman Asked  that I put a poem up every now and then, but most of my poems speak of love and life and bears and bars of soap and females and things that just don't quite match the tome of this forum.  So I am posting in my own style a poem of what I saw last night.  Oil themed, I'll flex my topic muscles a bit and see what comes of it.

Don Send me e.mail,  Maybe a joint venture on a writers page of free works, I have an artist friend that might like to join the effort.

The sky filled with chrisp chrip of frogs
The bats fly by, feeding
The lights blink horizon filled heat rises
Some red with warning
Dots of distance movement
Edges of dark outline the space
The pace of future streaming
When will the dark flow again
Stars of past shine down on future's heart
When will it all end and go dark
I ponder from my mountaion top
The age of man upon the land
When will only the small fires be back
Lite till moon rise then dark again
The lights their own life grow
Every night more and more the valley fill
When will the dark flow again

8 July 2006
Charles E. Owens Jr.

this is my second effort, the first got ate by computer cut and paste mistakes. Oh well, I speak a lot of my poems to people for one show only.

Keep the poems coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think about one per week is exactly right. Perhaps as another commenter has suggested we could once a week have an open thread (Thursdays?) when literary efforts are welcomed. Then the persons who can only read and understand numbers will know to scroll rapidly;-)

Poets have the deepest truths. Physicists and philosophers both know that.

Some of the greatest minds have also enjoyed and excelled in the arts.  All work and no play kills brain cells.

Case in point, Richard Feynman:


Pictured here playing the bongos:


I printed out your poem and am going to read it aloud over the phone to my three poet friends.
Thanks,  Artist need a bit of encouragement from time to time.  I get most of my encouragement from the females that get poems from me.  But it is nice when we and any of the  other posters on this site get praise for our efforts.

As I mentioned I will try to theme these toward the world of energy and how we live in this new changing world.  I find the idea of fiction or poetry talking about what we are also talking about here in techinical terms as an ability to reach a wider audience.  People fill their book shelves with fiction and future like writings, and lacing that with a bit of humor and poems and forward thinking, and forward looking stories about peak oil and these topics should go over well.

I write from 1 to 30 poems a week, I'll just gear a few in this direction and store them or create one on the fly, if others don't mind, I'll post one a week.

Note that terms such as "energy" and "oil" and "global warming" or "abrupt climate change" have tons and tons of metaphorical uses.

My guess is that you'll be able to get wit, originality, sincerity, aptness of thought and brevity plus punch into your poems.

Keep going.

Yeah, all my three poet friends are female. And except for me, most of their male friends are gay . . . or so it seems.

Not too long ago (June 20), Matt Simons gave his "The Energy Crisis Has Arrived" speech.


It seems like most of the discussion at the time was with respect to the content of the speech - an 8% per year decline in Mid-East production, starting almost immediately. The other thing I got to thinking about is who that speech was to  - the US Department of Defense. Can you imagine how the speech would make them feel? Matt Simons has more credibility than almost anyone else IMO.

Should we be telling our employers about what is happening? Why aren't the news media picking up on the story?

Yes Gail, you should be telling everyone possible about the energy crisis and Peak Oil. And the media is not making a big deal about this is because they are getting an entirely different story from other sources. The USGS says peak oil will not happen for three decades. Daniel Yergin is predicting the return of cheap oil by 2010. There are always people telling a different story and people believe the one that gives them the greatest comfort.

People desire to believe what they desire to be true.

The nice thing about theoildrum is the availability of graphs, data and technical expertise.

Armed with this items it is possible to open the mind of part of the population.  

I work with a lot of science and technology types, they tend to be open to a concept if you show them the data.  

Someone posted a nice power point presentation about peak oil a while back.  I emailed it to several people and it went over very well.  Nobody has started building survival shelters, but they are open to ideas like gardens and permaculture.  I even got my brother interested.


I'm not so sure about that. I'd keep my mouth shut if you want to keep your job.  Of course, there may the possibility that subsconsciously you want to move on but can't find an out. In that case, warning people would probably get the job done.



I was bummed out for a couple days after I saw that preemptive energy war article mentioned here on TOD.  It doesn't seem like it's gotten wide play though ... why is that?
Blood for oil apparently is our national energy policy.  We can jawbone about lots of other solutions on the horizon, viable or not (like ethanol), but look at where the money is going.  The money spent on the military is so overwhelming that there effectively isn't even a 2nd place.  We can kid ourselves that the reasons for this are due to something other than securing oil/NG, but I don't buy it at all.

Is blood for oil our national policy?

OIL IS CERTAINLY a major concern. If I was the President and gasoline hit $4+ a gallon, I do not think I would want the next election around the corner. This thought is political reality, not real reality!! Obviously global warming, GHG, and over-population is bigger than this.

Democracy and Capitalism and the Global Market (which is still booming Oldhippie - kudos go out to the Bellamy Brothers - see the last page of the ECONOMIST) should solve some tactical issues if it gives the poor unemployed in the 3rd world a job. If they decide to illegally enter the EU, our allies, there WILL be issues. That is why we went into Bosnia under Clinton - the EU did not want a million Muslim refugees "comin' on down."

Actually, at least at a tactical level versus a strategic level, ethanol has run its course for 2006 and early 2007 in the USA, barring a war with Iran. The economic pundits seem to think ethanol has become a speculators market and not a real market, and if you go to ande and look at the volume of stock trading over the last 12 months, it should be obvious. The MTBE issue has been met, and a bunch of ethanol is coming on stream (we/USA are now the biggest producer of it on the planet). Other than ADM, I would be careful with Ethanol stocks the next two years.

But I do not think we have hit peak oil yet, which may, I say may, put me in a minority at this site.

The USA military expends about 1.5% of the nation's oil use in the course of a year.

As a sidebar: railroads (Big Easy will love this) is fully maxed out in the stock market and do not expect higher returns/growing price this year into 2007. Just marginal increases.

[ Parent ]

Yes, Jack, the Bellamy Brothers had the one endearing hit. And  they've had some staying power but horrible politics.
For what it's worth I long gave up both trying to change nobody and trying to adjust.
Watch for Chicago's own Hoyle Brothers to make some nat'l country music news. See them and Devil In A Woodpile. live.
What is Simmons thinking throwing statements like "we must win the energy war" around in a presentation to the DoD? That's an extremely sloppy way to put it, there is no literal war that can solve this one ....
A decision to use military force to secure access to foreign oil must be considered only after all other efforts have failed. Indeed the soft elements of national power have largely succeeded to assuring the continuous flow of foreign oil that this country has enjoyed since the 1973 embargo. Diplomatic, informational, and economic incentives have served as effective means for achieving energy security. Diplomatic efforts ended the 1973 oil embargo, reversed various OPEC production cutbacks, and provided access to new markets. In the past, economic and military aid to oil-producing nations provided a framework for cooperation and acquiring new friendships. However, globalization, declining resources, and the War on Terrorism have recently complicated diplomatic efforts and strained relationships. So we cannot ignore a situation in which events could spiral out of control to the point that oil would be used as a diplomatic weapon. If such an event evolved, use of U.S. military force to secure oil fields, pumping stations, tank farms, terminals, and critical ocean choke points must be considered as a suitable and reasonable response to protect our national interest. We must assume that it would take a sizable joint force combined with a large number of contractors to insure production rates keep pace with demands. The cost in manpower and treasury would be significant, especially if the response involves several oil-producing nations while the nation simultaneously fights the War on Terrorism.

Lieutenant Colonel Dennis D. Tewksbury, U.S. Army War College, in "Preemptive energy security: an aggressive approach to meeting America's requirements."

I've tried to put the best face on it elsehwere, pointing out that the conclusions of that report stress non-military actions ... but there's no doubt that "literal war" is there in black and white.

Hello Odograph,

Our genes are not our friends:

Jay Hanson [Dieoff_Q&A #6920 farewell message]
I see my worst fears unfolding in front of my face. The
world is headed to global nuclear war over energy resources. The animal didn't evolve to avoid war, it evolved to use war as a tactic to gain energy resources.

Simmons's presentation to the military is a natural genetic outgrowth towards the '3 Days of the Condor' scenario.  Our military must soon decide between 'Nuke their Ass--I want Gas' or 'No Thanks--I like Empty Tanks'.

Asimov's Foundation concepts of predictive collapse and directed decline, properly applied, can greatly reduce the genetic tendency towards war by proactively opposing our natural inclinations.  The military, if understanding that a global resource war is energetically pointless; a lose-lose for all, should instead be focusing on funding Earthmarines to protect those biosolars and their habitats from being overrun by detritovores.

Richard Rainwater's survival farm, among others, is just a sitting duck unless proactive protection is installed.  The military should be developing plans that incorporate adaptation to detritus decline, not seeking to accelerate it.

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

I hope that with publicity the American public will recoil from this kind of thing.  The soundbite on MSNBC yesterday was "preemptive war is dead."  Let's hope so.

There was a rise of American militarism, but it was based in good part on "costless"(*) war.  God help us, if Iraq had run its course on that basis we probably would be looking for "who's next?"

* - yes, I'm aware of the irony, deception, tragedy in that label

Tewksbury is suggesting a shooting war in response to the use of oil "as a diplomatic weapon." In other words, he would consider war reasonable if the "oil sword" is re-used as it was in the Arab oil embargo.

There is another circumstance in which, if it transpired, war is even more likely, in my opinion. The Carter Doctine (written by Zbiggie Brzezinski):

"Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

It all depends on what you consider to be an "attempt to gain control" or " an outside force."

What happens if oil holders just decide to reduce production, in a good old "captialist" gambit for higher prices?  Doesn't that also mean that "soft elements of national power" (per the quote above) have failed?

Note the difference between the old Carter era "outside force" designation and this scenario.

Matt Simmons' forecast for Middle East production is 100% SHTF. Even my doomer bones has a tough time believing Simmons' forecast. If Simmons is right there isn't enough oil in Iraq to justify wasting our military's time.
>Should we be telling our employers about what is happening? Why aren't the news media picking up on the story?

Nope. Once the cat is out of the bag, virtually every export will cut or end exports to preserve their remaining reserves. Unless you pre-maturely create a global panic, its best to keep this below the radar.

From Energy Bulletin:

Shell Says Biofuels From Food Crops "Morally Inappropriate"

My blog comment was that they have a right to make that argument, but it's an older, wider, question.

I don't know about you ... but I drank coffee this morning.  That's a crop, with low nutrient value, grown in developing nations, displacing food for local consuption (?).

Good point, but I think the problem is more complex. At least with coffee, the tradeoff is relatively simple - is one better off to grow coffee and trade it in the marketplace for food, or is one better off to grow food directly. It depends on a lot of factors. And we are probably incapable (in any reasonable sense) of drinking enough coffee to create widespread mass starvation.

With energy it's not the same. We need on the order of 120 watts per person in food energy, and we use much of the world's potentially arable land to provide that alone. In the more developed world, we also use on the order of 6000 to 12000 watts per person of other (non-food) energy.

Now that's too simplistic, because there can be order-of-a-factor-of-two arguments over energy quality and the bounds of what "arable" might mean for, e.g., non-food grass crops. But let's set that small factor-of-two stuff aside and simply observe that it is easy to consume enough energy to starve the world's people to death countless times over, if we insist that general-use energy ought to come largely from agriculture. After all, we already do so even in the less developed parts of the world where general-energy consumption is just a few thousand watts.

The ratio of general-energy consumption to food-energy consumption is so enormous that this point ought to be blindingly obvious even without a detailed EROEI analysis of switchgrass, ethanol, biodiesel, plant stover, and so on. IIRC, you have pointed out that pretty much all of the accessible fossil fuel is likely eventually to be consumed, like it or not. This ratio is one reason why. And it is why an insistence that general-use energy ought to come largely from agriculture also makes one into a militant doomer virtually automatically. And it is why the self-imposed (by the regime and its supporters) conditions in Cuba are so utterly miserable that people are still willing to risk almost certain death to escape the place.

So I don't think we can lightly dismiss Shell's original point ad hominem, even if we think it happens, just by, ahem, sheer coincidence, to align with their pecuniary interests.

I think Shell is introducing a lot of people to a good discussion ... I just think it's bigger than "which crops."  What if energy crop X earned so much foreign exchange that it allowed the purchase of more food calories in crop Y?  Would palm oil sell for more than the energy-equivlent in rice?  It's certainly possible in the abstract.

(It would only be ad hominem if I'd said Shell was smelly, or bad, or whatever, and said therefore don't believe them.)


This does not answer Paul's line of thinking. The assumption here is that fuel price will outpace food price. I do not think so! Not at the current world population size. This is a sure way to starve a vast number of the current world population. This I believe was Paul's point.

I'm not sure if I'm not being clear, or not thinking clearly today.

I get the tragedy of growing luxury crops for the rich while the poor starve, and I get that energy crops could extend this problem.  It's just that I see it as ancient.  I mean, something like the spice trade has been sending food from poor regions around the globe to the rich (or royal) for thousands of years.

If we are going to be guilty about buying Brazilian ethanol, why not about buying Brazilian sugar?

You are right in that trade is ancient. It is just that this is the first time in history that we have over 6 billion inhabitants. And arable land, that was to most purposes infinite, is now a limited, and soon to be an extremely limited quantity. Thus a substitution effect starts to happen we can either grow fuel, or we can grow food. In other words, one substance becomes less expensive by causing the other to become expensive.

Take for example palm oil (from the West African Palm Oil tree grown in Malaysia). It can be used as a food, or as a fuel. It so happens, that there is a world wide shortage of cooking oils, and cooking oils happen to be quite a large chunk of the income of 70% of the world's population. The only time bio deisel can work, is as a bye product of the "French Fry" industry.

Also, contrary to much "conventional wisdom" fats, including "saturated" fats, are an essential part of the human diet. incl

Bio-fuels are not equally "morally inappropriate."

Corn is a staple food -- like wheat.  A family in a poor African country can live on corn (in fact, they do).

This is not the case with sugar cane or switch grass.

That's true enough if the land you are growing the biofuel on is virtually useless for growing any food crop whatsoever, not just the local cultural favorite. Otherwise, even if you don't like to eat what food will grow it, you can trade with someone else.

For the moment, it might also be true for some fuel crops in some limited areas - if you can trade the fuel for more food than you can grow. Since the population explosion has not stopped, even though there is much speculation that it may stop in a few decades, the tradeoff in most places will become ever more stark as time passes.

Why now is the best collapse to live through

I'm not actually sold on an  "end of civilisation" type scenario, but let's assume that's what'll happen. In that case, I assert that this is the best collapse to be at the cusp of - that given the choice between living through this collapse vs that of say, Rome, Easter Island, Egyptian FI period, Sumeria, Mayan etc it'd make sense to choose this one.

Why are we in a better position than previous civilisations that have collapsed?

  • We don't have religion. Texts dating from the times these civilisations began to fall apart are often completely lacking in critical analysis or suggestions for mitigation; instead the whole disaster is simply blamed on the will of the Gods. We labour under no such illusions.

  • We have a large, educated population. Never before in the history of man has there been such an enormous pool of brainpower that can (and will) be levelled at the problem.

  • We have unparalleled communication abilities, allowing "amplification" of the power of that educated populace.

  • We have further to fall before going splat. Our lives are lives of comparative luxury and there is a lot of slack that can disappear before we can no longer afford the essentials.

And now for some reasons why this might be the worst collapse:

  • We're a lot more dependent on the system than in previous times, and fewer of us can grow our own food/find our own fresh water. On the other hand that'll only be an issue in a serious, long term collapse.

  • We're much bigger, of course

20,000 nuclear bombs
Not much point bombing an area if you then want to go in and get oil from it - the radiation would hang around for years and kill the workers.
"radiation would hang around for years and kill the workers. "

Not really.  
I wouldn't want to raise a family at the blast site,  but given a little time radiation levels will quickly fall to safe ranges.  Or at the very least safe enough for the workers to get the job done before they die.

The intact reactors at Chernobyl continued to function as power plants long after it went boom.  By the time we start nuking people for oil the situation will be so desperate that getting worker for the hot zone won't be a problem.

Bitteroldcoot -

I don't know if it's still a practice in the nuclear power industry today,  but quite a while back they used to employ unskilled workers as outside contractors to do simple tasks in hot areas.  The purpose was to conserve the amount of exposure allowed to their own skilled employees so that their exposure could be expended on more important tasks.  

Appropriately, these unskilled workers were known as 'sponges'. Typically, a sponge might earn good money by getting his yearly allowable radiation exposure in a short period time, say a week, doing simple maintenance type tasks.

Now, if one uses a little dark imagination, it's not too hard to conjure up scenarios in which desparately poor people (not just people below the current poverty line, but literally the wretched of the earth) would gladly exchange a few years of life expectancy working as 'super sponges' in order to feed their starving families.  So, if conditions are right (read terrible), it will be no trouble at all getting people to work under horrific conditions.

I think one of the cruelest fantasies is this notion that human life is infinitely precious. (Of course mine is infinitely precious to me, and yours to you, but neither mine nor yours is infinitely precious to society in general.)

The fact of the matter is that human life is dirt cheap, and in some instances appears to even have negative value. Let's face it: people are expendable. And the more of them there are and the worse conditions become, the more expendable they will be.


I've never run into the term "sponge", but yes the practice still exists.  Supposedly loopholes in the system allow you to repeatedly do this trick till you kill yourself.  In fact I've heard rumors that they've taken to using illegal immigrants. Given the realities of the post 9/11 world that seem  a little insane, but the man confessing this was drunk at the time. So take the "illegal" part with a grain of salt.
In the great days of Potosi, the Indians who were conscripted, every village its quota, to mine the silver knew that mercury would kill 90% of them in a couple of months.
Indeed, according to legend (as stated on the PBS special of a few weeks ago) eight millian Native Americans were died from silicosis acquired in the mines in only one mountain at San Luis Potosi.

Silver is a precious metal. People kill to get it.

However, my recollection was that median life expectency reached into the mid thirties--and miners started very young, as for example the ten-year-old kid shown on the feature.

Coal mining is worse on a global scale.

I grew up in an area in Sweden where there were copper mines who were abandoned about 100 years ago. They were worked on from mideval times and since Sweden were one of the last countries in Europe to industrialize we had what now is thirld world conditions long into the 1800:s or even early 1900:s. The mines were very dangerous to work in and life expectancy were not good although not much worse then for poor farmers and mine workes had better lives then most poor farmers.

The local history writers might have sweetend the story for me but I get the impression that people even in the old times tried to be cautious within current knowledge and technology. Workers had a kind of ordered career from being child workers to worn out middle aged workers with efforts to make the work easier and safe wich essentially is the same thing as getting more total work out of the available people. And the manual skills of working a mine with hand power and wood burning and later hand drilling and powder and nitroglycerine blasting are valuble. Its dumb to neglect and wear out a valuble resource regardles if it is a worker or draft horse.

I do not get why for instance manny Chinese stone workers dont get the most basic and cheap precautions against silicosis wich would make them productive far longer and with less problems then now when they get silicosis after a few years. And there are all kinds of reports of primitive mining from thirld world countries with less organization then we have had here since mining activites stared to be recorder when we were dirt poor over here. I dont get why they dont do some smarter optmization out of selfish or caring reasons, both work, even at the same time!  

It might have to do with local culture. The poorest, the mine workers, managers and mine owners went to the same church even if they had different benches. The difference in status were enourmous but they did meet each other.

Elitism causes people to not just disregard the safety of the peasant, but to actually despise and hate them.  I had an opportunity to work with a PhD who grew up in the affluent circles of South America.  Although extraordinarily smart, his arrogance and hatred of everyone he deemed inferior to him was astounding.  It greatly reduced his effectiveness.  Especially since we were supposed to be training him.

PS: Please note, this was a sample of one.  Do not generalize it to all South Americans.

I guess we can be happy to not having developed  a classic european nobelity class. We have during most of our recorded history had four clases, (independant) farmers, priests, merchants/towfolks(???) and nobelity. There has most of the time been some circulation of people between the classes following marriages, luck and skill on the upside and incompetence and bad luck on the downside. There has often been an opportunity for a career within the military, in becomming a priest or marriage and inheritance of a farm.

We have quite often had an alliance between the farmers and the king against a fairly poor nobelity. The downside of this were an ability for total war mobilization that bled us white while trying to be a major european power but that were hundreds of years ago. There has been some tendency that if something major needs doing everybody is brought into doing it more or less volontarily. I dont know how much of this remains, nothing has stressed us much since WW2.

The circulation between classes got a major boost during the industrial revolution and also by our "people movement" associations with people starting all kinds of volontary societies, parties, non drinking lodges, churches and so on built on internal democracy, keeping each other company, and education with small libraries etc. I have found disturbing information about this trend from the industrial revolution being broken for about 30 years. The high taxation do no longer allow a regular worker to build up a small fortune and switch "class" upwards and most of the old "people movement" organizations has atrophied and lost their skill for general education of their members. Most of the successfull ones have for a long time been parts of our socialist party power structure and lost much of their soul in the process and become career paths for party member childern while living on old fortunes and established places in society. Those who built those organizations with volontary labour are probably rotating in their graves.

As I understand it the crucial period was the time of the reformation, when the Danish and Swedish monarchies both managed to monopolise the gains from secularising church lands. By contrast, the English monarchy lost them all to the nobility, including new men, which they had to bring in on the scheme.
Good point. That happaned in Sweden.  The church were also turned into a part of the state administration collecting information vital for taxation and distributing information/propaganda.

We had a formation of new "nobelity" after Gustav Adolphus victories but the next strong king made a "reduction" of these land assets back to the state to strenghten the state economy. Indeed in cooperation with the independant farmers.

I suspect that we soon will be due for another "reduction" in Sweden if times turn bad, this time of the bulging state buerocracy, overy sweet pension deals and so on. The problem is nowdays not who owns land but holding assets in an inproductive way and not honoring responsibility of caretaking  the assets.

I have noticed exactly the same thing in every Latin American country that I have visited.

BTW, coots are some of my favorite birds. I've seen 400 or more at one time on White Bear Lake.

I've seen old coots but never a bitter one.

One of my alltime favorite books (and yes, relevant to Peak Oil and Global Warming and saving civilization) is COOT CLUB, by Arthur Ransome.

Ransome's are excellent children's books, can be recommended even to non-sailors :-)
For each of my four children I read aloud each of the eleven Ransome books in the "Swallows and Amazons" series.

They are better books for adults than 98.1415% of the best seller list in e.g. the N.Y. Times.

Ransome (who by the way was a spy masquerading as a reporter in Russia during and after World War II. Believe it or not, he reported to John Maynard Keynes--spymaster and economist) was a sailor, a fisherman, a bird lover, and if we lived live as he advocated (mostly in wooden boats or in marshes watching birds) the world would be much better and we would all be much happier.

There are some excellent Ransome websites.

I'm rebuilding an old wooden boat that is a somewhat larger relative of the Amazon. It is named "Princess Abby," after my eldest granddaughter (the one who likes my comments on this site) who is learning to sail this summer.

Mostly I now sail a Boston Whaler Squall or on friends' big boats as cook.

>Not really.  
I wouldn't want to raise a family at the blast site,  but given a little time radiation levels will quickly fall to safe ranges.  Or at the very least safe enough for the workers to get the job done before they die.

As you pointed out the radiation isn't all that important, especially in the desert where food and water that need to be imported anyway. However the real issue would be the lost of infrastructure. Even if neutron or gamma ray bombs were used to kill off the population wouldn't necessarily prevent the distruction of infrastructure required.

Since it took decades to build that infrastructure it will probably take many years to repair or replace it. During this time, the infrastructure that requires to manufacture parts back home would fail do to lack of energy. If the gov't was to ration domestic reserves for reconstruction efforts, it would still be faced with domestic issues, such as riots, high unemployment, explosion of drug abuse, etc. We also don't know what other nations might do to undermind the US's efforts to control Middle east energy reserves.

No matter what actions are taken, we will face a crisis.

You would want an air bust.  Less dust pulled into the atmosphere and less damage to the oil field.
The neutron bomb would be a perfect fit.  Kill the people and leave the infrastructure intact.

I'm not advocating it as a strategy, just pointing out that it could be feasible.

personaly i think that will not stop them from trying.
Why so many? OH! you are just trying to be funny (as usual) through exaggeration. O.K.
My first thought is that you're whistling past the graveyard.  We certainly do have religion, and many will immediately blame any disaster on the will of the Gods.

I think the whole issue is how artificially high our population has grown - I say artificial in comparison to what it could be without the input of so much stored solar energy, and if we had to exist on sustainable energy inputs.

Sure, religion still exists. The type of people who are going to blame it all on the will of the Gods despite clear evidence to the contrary aren't the type who will contribute towards the solutions though so that doesn't bother me at all.
it should bother you
I try to only post on oil related topics but here i can't resist.
there's plenty of evidence dubwa is an insane jesus nut (apoligies to all offended) and soon to be a lame duck resident with nothing to lose. I'm a little worried
I've been assuming from the beginning that politicans of all kinds won't be contributing much to solving the crisis.
No they won't contribute to the solution but they most certainly will be part of the problem.  Especially if they are inclined to determine that it is God's Will to punish "us" for the presence of loathsome non-believers in "our" midst and that the solution will be to burn said "non-believers" at the stake or otherwise dispatch them.  
I suspect that religion will do fine..... in fact I would predict in the worse case collapse type situation religion would flourish.  

If you think of a group with the community you need to survive a collapse it's probably a religous community.  The LDS in utah are perhaps the ultimate example.

It's fairly well established that church attendance goes up as the economy goes down.  Think of the collapse as the ulimate down, I'm sure these religous groups will do just fine.

Of course doing fine means surviving instead of death in a collapse.  I subscribe to the slow decline theory myself because I think humanity's ability to adapt is regularly under-estimated.

I dunno...we have religion. Worse, we have lots of religions, many of which are mutually exclusive.  

Moreover, tough times usually results in people turning to religion (or more extreme religion).  I'm expecting evolutionists to be burned in the town square.

Unlike most previous collapses, we have nowhere to go.  Tainter notes that collapse is typically accompanied by a roughly 90% drop in population.  However, he was careful to say this did not mean those people died.  They could have just moved elsewhere.  (Well, except for Easter Island, I guess.)

I think our technology/communication will be good in the short term, but bad in the long term.  Yes, it can mitigate the collapse.  On the bad side, we can and will do a lot more damage to the environment than the Romans or Easter Islanders could ever dream of doing.

>We don't have religion. Texts dating from the times these civilisations began to fall apart are often completely lacking in critical analysis or suggestions for mitigation; instead the whole disaster is simply blamed on the will of the Gods. We labour under no such illusions.

Religion is on the rise and interest in science is on the decline. We can see the rise of theorcacy in Muslim nations and even a growing interest here in the United States. New Scientist recently had a article about this. You can probably find it on thier website www.newscientist.com

>We have a large, educated population. Never before in the history of man has there been such an enormous pool of brainpower that can (and will) be levelled at the problem.

Actually the percentage of the global population with an education has been declining since the begging of the 20th Century. In the US, there has been a rapid decline in science and technical degrees into liberal arts and less useful degrees. The Peak of scientific discoveries was in the 1890's and the resources required to make newer discoveries has increased substantially and the technical discoveries become more and more complex and expensive.

>We have unparalleled communication abilities, allowing "amplification" of the power of that educated populace.

Unfortunately most of this communication ability has been turned to useless entertainment. For instance TV, console gaming, cell phones. which have deminished our ability to develop newer technology that would lead us to a path of sustainability.

>Our lives are lives of comparative luxury and there is a lot of slack that can disappear before we can no longer afford the essentials.

Empires and societies fall when they become complancent and addicted to luxuries.

>We're a lot more dependent on the system than in previous times, and fewer of us can grow our own food/find our own fresh water. On the other hand that'll only be an issue in a serious, long term collapse.

We also all have become extremely specialized in our skill sets. We know how to do a much limited set of task that makes us very efficient at accomplishing those tasks. But specialization has remove our ability to adapt to severe changes.

We all have [each] become extremely specialized in our skill sets. We know how to do a much limited set of tasks that makes us very efficient at accomplishing those [specialized] tasks. But specialization has removed our ability to adapt ...


I think you are hitting the nail square on with a carpenter's specialized precision.

But let me add some polish to your handiwork.

"Specialization" means that we each talk our own specialized talk.
Economists talk their freakonomics language.
Geologists rock to their metamorphic music.
Engineers equate in a mathematically precise domain of formulas.
Doctors medicate themselves with the Latin lingo.
Lawyers lubricate their froth with yet more res ipsa loquitor.

And because of all this specialized speech-making and because we lack a common framework: We cannot communicate boundary-crossing problems to each other. The collective "we" cannot see those of the problems that cannot be commonly communicated. They are trees falling in the forest to secluded sounds of their own type and therfore their falls do not make hardly a noise.

"Specialization" means that we leave gaps along the spectrum of infinite possibilities.
Not every specialized endeavor is a "profit making" one. Thus, some specializations are not taken up at all. It is the silent gaps between the loud and prominent peaks that will kill us. Sure we have lots of specialized doctors, lawyers, engineers and politicians. But where in this cacophony of profit taking does the asteroid spotter sit? Who is making sure that all the extinction level externalities are being carefully monitored? Who is building a prospective safety net for dealing with their inevitable comings? Hardly a soul. It is not a profitable enterprise.

Alas, "specialization" is not only the chain of highly tempered links that strongly lift our complex civilization to its current heights, it is also the missing link that will let us down.

My dad who used to cook all the time has gone to more quick and easy meals.  The family is together in my brother's home in Huntsville this weekend.  For breakfast dad and brother went to the store to see what they could get, my brother cooks less than my dog does.   The found a "Jimmy Dean" product, meat, potatoes, and veggies to add to your eggs and other items in a skillet.  We were talking about the time saved with this new form of easy breakfast,  I held my opinions, as I was busy eating.  The problem that has been mentioned above is that we have grown dependant on the easy things that we can get in our fast paced times.  What happens when we can't afford to go to the store to buy things? What happens when we have to grow our own food, get the food fires going and kill our own food.

Chaos in the world,  just a few steps away.

Read Omnivore's Dilemman, by Michael Pollan.  Our agricultural system, which is largely oil and natural gas based, is unsustainable.  
Of all the skills I have (including reading and writing) I think cooking is the most important one. My father taught a great chef--and both of them taught me. With three dollars I can make a feast for four people.
You can make a feast for 3 dollars.  Are you serious?  Ok, I'll take you literally, tell me how you could make a feast for 3 with 3 bucks and please specify the country.
Tell me what you like:
Lentil soup is one of my specialties.
I make prize-winning bread from scratch.
Red cabbage and carrots find there way into a lot of my recipes.

Do you eat red meat? Do you like fish? Brown rice? Yams? White potatoes? Peas? Black beans? Garlic?

For a cook, the first and most important thing is to find out exactly what people like.

Then you think.

Next you plan.

Then you shop.

We could do all that, or we can just drop by your house around dinner time.

Where do you live again?

I live close to the old home I grew up, a few driving minutes from White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

BTW, I'm learning to make my own beer and ale--good skills to have, no matter what.

You are invited. And Wimbi. And all the other geezers and grandmas. We can brag competitively about our grandchildren, which is great fun, then imbibe, then eat, then smoke pipes or fine cigars as we sip cognac or single-malt Scotch.

Life for me is good and getting better.

No Cantarell II? The Noxal-1 deepwater GOM well "trumpeted by Vincente Fox as being a major oil discovery appears to be a modest gas field. Drilled to 4,000 meters, a test flowed 9 mmcfd of gas from a reservoir estimated at 245 bcf." (IHS Energy, Houston, 5 July) Was this the well that was hearalded a few months ago as a discovery possibly leading to the "next Cantarell?" One cannot envy the job of the incoming president of Mexico - with Pemex (that appears to be technically bankrupt) supplying 40% of the government's revenues and Cantarell production allegedly due to crater in 2008, Mexico looks like it is totally up the creek - as do Mexican oil exports to the U.S. PS: Anyone have any decent data on Cantarell projected decline rate? Allegedly the field is still making 2.1 mbpd and I'vge seen quotes that "government officials" (Mexican that is) see production at 550,000 bopd to 1 mbpd in 2008. That rate of decline makes Yibal look like a champ!
The most recent information on Cantarell, that I am aware of, was a WSJ article that was based on leaked internal reports.

The remaining oil column of about 825' at Cantarell is thinning at the rate of about 300' per year.  There were five projected decline rates.  The most pessimistic was for about a 40% per year decline rate.  I have seen recent reported production rates of 1.8 mbpd.

I've seen some reports on Ghawar that the original oil column of 1,300' has thinned to about 150' or so.

What puzzles me is that some people are confidently predict rising world oil production when the two largest producing fields are in such a state of advanced depletion.  

The oil in these two giants is not dispersed around the reservoir.  The oil is in rapidly thinning oil columns between water legs and gas caps.  Key Point:  Keeping the production rate up is the enemy of high recovery rates from this point forward.

Sounds to extreme for my taste.  How could it be that Ghawar has shrunken 90% and the public is still being led to believe that Saudi Arabia is going to provide more oil?  

BTW how does a column shrink?  What are the causes that lead to the effect.(a climate joke)

>BTW how does a column shrink?  What are the causes that lead to the effect.(a climate joke)

The Oil column is the layer of oil that is trapped between the gas cap and the water below. When the Ghawar was originally tapped, there was 1300 feet of oil in the reserve. According to WestTexas's information much of the oil has been displaced with water. The water is injected into the reserve in order to maintain pressure required to extract oil from the reserve.

The bottom line is that most of the oil has been extracted and little time remains before the Ghawar is exhausted. The Ghawar produces about 4.4 Mb/d or about %5 of global production.

The June version of our USA Stocks & Global Extraction Report has been uploaded: http://trendlines.ca/economic.htm#USAReserves

This month's commentary:
Again in the last month, spare capacity in global oil production of only 1-mbd has prevented avg contract prices to drift down to the $50/barrel vicinity as we expected.  This season we have a seachange in the pricing components.  Whereas 2005 and early 2006 saw concern over continued ME insurgency and a potential air raid over Iran to take out the uranium enriching facilities, that fear component is being replaced with very real issues in supply and demand.  While high prices are no doubt causing very real demand destruction, global economies are strangely all firing on all cylinders at the moment and that harmony has created near historic real growth rates on the global scale of 4.9% (IMF figure).  Add to that China's decision to expand its SPR and we could see these high prices for quite some time.  Federal Reserve models indicate that the USA economy can handle $70/barrel oil prices for two years 'til a technical Recession would be at hand.  In that respect, the graph below illustrates that avg contract prices are nudging the $65 mark.

Over 2005, an avg of 0.8-mbd went to stock builds as speculators gave up their positions.  That speculation activity and consequent int'l  stock building has substantially subsided.  Global extraction of (all liquids) oil is growing on pace.  Final figures for 2004 are 83.0-mbd and 84.1-mbd in 2005.  A new quarterly production record was set in 2006Q1 of 84.77-mbd and a monthly record of 84.87 was set in January.  Early figures indicate that a new monthly record may have been set in May (84.96-mbd). (all prod'n figures from IEA).

One more bump for Russia

Freddy, I read the article at Trendlines with interest. They optimistically point out that Campbell missed his prediction because of Russia and non-conventional oil. Actually it was Russia, non-conventional oil had little to do with it. Russia was the reason that December 05, so far, has been the peak instead of May 05. And if December 05 turns out not to be the peak, it will be because of Russia. That is, will Russia bump the peak out one more time?

I keep an Excel data file on all nations. The vast majority of them are in a steady decline. Only a very few are still increasing. Russia, the category which the EIA calls "Other", Angola, Brazil and China, and that is about it. The rest are either in the plateau stage or in steep decline.

And Trendlines is saying, Russia, yah, yah, yah. To my way of thinking Freddy, they should be saying, "We are holding on by a shoestring called Russia." When Russia falters we are in deep do-do.

To my way of thinking, the folks at Trendlines should be deeply worried. Only Russia, and perhaps "Other" is keeping Peak Oil from being blatantly obvious to the world. They, along with everyone else should be worried, very worried.

I am betting that Peak Oil reached us in January. But I think we shall know in two months. In June Russia produced an average of 9,633,000 barrels per day, 263,000 barrels per day more than in April. Will that be enough to put another high bump in world oil production. I doubt it. The rest of the world is declining far too fast for Russia to prevent peak oil for much longer.

I wrote:

I am betting that Peak Oil reached us in January.

Actually I meant to say that I think December 2005 was the peak, not January. Sorry for the oversight.

Actually Darwinian, u had it right in your faux pas:  Dec - 84.64-mbd; Jan - 84.87-mbd (iea).  WRT to Campbell, his musings in 2002 discounted Russia and "all liquids".  Whereas Russian crude broke upwards instead of continuing the decline, his miscalculation of about 3-mbd for 2005 was insignificant compared to the 13-mbd of non conventional oil that has come about.  Clearly ASPO misread this important component or mistakenly left it out of its definition much too long.  This kept alive its proponent position of the Y2K Peak jointly with Hubbert.

Fortunately, Campbell saw the error of his ways and has realized since (with my prodding) that his reputation for providing good data outweighs his being blinded "by a cause".  Altho we see new revised numbers about twice a year, Colin is building respect for his keeping the integrity of the database despite its effect on any hypothesis.  I applaud that and him.

Whereas EIA seems to build its model of URR on probability and has been more correct, Campbell provides with a conservative albeit oft revised base to work from.  Two very different strategies.

And because he collaborates much with Jean Laherrere of France, our Irish buddy will likely shortly increase his March2006 higher revision of Conventional URR (1.9-Tb) closer to the recent 2.15-Tb now being promoted by Laherrere.  This may mean cause the Conventional Peak thought once to be in Y2k, then in 2005, then in 2004, and now back to 2005 ... to be pushed to 2007 in his next major revision.  This ultimately pushes out the more important all liquids Peak to maybe 2012 from 2010 (whilst being 2019 in Laherrere's 4-Tb URR model).

Freddy Hutter wrote:
Actually Darwinian, u had it right in your faux pas: Dec - 84.64-mbd; Jan - 84.87-mbd (iea).

Well no, I don't know where you read the EIA figures but if you go to their International Petroleum Monthly you will find that they have for
December 05: 85.023 mb/d
 January 06: 84.690 mb/d.

That is "All Liquids" which includes ethanol, biodiesel, refinery process gain, propane, butane and god knows what else they will throw in there to get the figures up. For crude + condensate the figures are for
December 05: 74.347 mb/d
 January 06: 73.858 mb/d.

Here is my source, where did you get yours?
Crude + Condensate: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/ipsr/t11c.xls
All Liquids: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/ipsr/t14.xls

Whereas Russian crude broke upwards instead of continuing the decline, his miscalculation of about 3-mbd for 2005 was insignificant compared to the 13-mbd of non conventional oil that has come about.

Woah! 13-mbd of non conventional oil has come about? Since when? Where the hell is it? I know of the 1 mb/d from the Alabaster oil sands but where is the rest? Just what are you calling "non conventional oil" and where does the EIA report it? I am not sure but I think the tar sands crude is included in Crude + Condensate.

To my way of thinking Freddy, they should be saying, "We are holding on by a shoestring called Russia." When Russia falters we are in deep do-do.

And this put Russia in the driver's seat.  And they know it. And this is why they are bullying their neighbors on the prices they pay or will pay soon.  And what a perfect time (in their minds) for them to be chair and host of the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg.


"This will be the first time that Russia will chair this respected international forum. I hope that the experience we have accumulated since joining the G8 will ensure respect for tradition and consolidation of our efforts. Russia, as the presiding country, regards it as its duty to give a fresh impetus to efforts to find solutions to key international problems in energy, education and healthcare."

Address by Russian President Vladimir Putin
to visitors to the official site of Russia's G8 Presidency in 2006."

Don't forget, Russians are very good at playing chess.

When NATO members want market prices it's called fairness, when Russia wants market prices it's called bullying.  The denizens of NATO should get off the crack, you won't get cheap oil and gas from Russia with a smear campaign in the media.  Do you really expect Russia to subsidize NATO expansion into Ukraine, Georgia and elsewhere?  The arrogance is breathtaking.

Russia should start living up to the demonic reputation that the NATO media gives it.  Then the EU will be getting natural gas for a much higher price than the token $230, which is easily half of the current oil-tagged market price.  At the same time Russia should reduce its oil exports from over six million barrels per day to under four.  That will wipe out the remaining slack in the system and most likely lead to $100 per barrel price, which will mostly offset the export volume reduction when it comes to revenue.

Russia is engaging in fruitless NATO appeasement, it is time to start charging for abuse at the hands of sanctimonious NATO russophobes.

I appreciate your comments - it's always good to remember that there is another perspective.  But you have to remember that it's OUR oil and NG - it just happens to be in your country! :)
Meanwhile, the most recent EIA numbers show that world crude + condensate production is down 1% since December, 2005.  

And it's highly likely that the four largest producing fields in the world are all declining.  I suspect that both Ghawar and Cantarell are going to show severe declines this year.

Note that the recent declines in world crude oil production and Saudi oil production are consistent with predictions made in the following Energy Bulletin articles:  http://www.energybulletin.net/news.php?author=jeffrey+brown&keywords=&cat=0&action=searc h

The ex-premier of Alberta, Peter Lougheed, spoke out against the oil sands in the following article.


To access the whole article google Peter Lougheed.  Its the third article down.  Here's an excerpt.

It's unwise, Mr. Lougheed argues, to use natural gas, a relatively clean fuel, to produce the heat needed to extract relatively dirty oil from the bitumen. That gas should be used for other purposes, including perhaps building up a petrochemical industry. It's too valuable and clean to be used for the oil sands.

Lougheed was the last premier with a brain here, but there's no way the electorate is going to pick the Liberal party, regardless of qualifications.  He's off-base in calling for a petrochemical industry.  Reserves aren't large enough to justify any large capital investments that need to burn large quantities of natural gas to operate.  

I don't think Lougheed still welds much influence with the Conservative party.  The provincial government doesn't seem to be interested in tempering the boom at all, which will just make the inevitable bust all the harder.  The real question is which will the province run short of first, water or natural gas?

Jeremy Leggett, Author of "The Empty Tank: Oil, Gas, Hot Air, and the Coming Global Financial Catastrophe" was interviewed on FinancialSense.com.


A diaryist over at DailyKos gives an interesting fact to consider.  Obrador, the populist candidate on the short end of the vote tally in the Mexican election, hails from Tabasco.  "It was in the mid-1990s when Obrador failed to capture a majority of the vote in a bid for the governorship of Tabasco. In protest, he and his supporters occupied the oil fields in Tabasco, ultimately prompting the police to step in and restore order."

Are you ready for $5 gas? Stolen Elections & Oil Privatization in Mexico.

Even a short-lived disruption in Mexican production would be a huge since supply and demand in 2006 seem to be balanced on a knife's edge.  

It's remarkable that every time there's a close election in Mexico, the candidate of the party in power is declared the winner.
It's remarkable that every time there's a close election in the US, the candidate of the party whose name starts with 'R' is declared the winner.


The only result possible: they hold a majority of the supremes.
Pressurizing the oil well with water, natural gas, and CO2 have all been used for enhanced recovery.  Does anyone know if there is an advantage to using gas pressurization vs. water?  

Based on what Simmons has written about Saudi Arabia, pressurization with water prematurly can damage the well.  Is this also the case with gas pressurization?  

I have heard, though I cannot verify it, that C02 acts like a detergent to wash the oil from the reservoir, increasing the recovery rate. I googled it and cannot find verification of this. If anyone can, please post the link. If it is simply not true, please inform us of that also.

At any rate C02 pushed into the reservoir will keep it pressurized and keep the C02 out of the atmosphere. And it will be much better than water flooding, because it will not cause coneing, which is when water cones up to the wellhead and you wind up pumping water instead of oil.

That makes sense.  But  the capital investment for gas pressurization is probably significantly higher than water flooding (i.e. compressors vs. pumps).

Look for super critical co2 its a excellent solvent.

I'm pretty sure at the pressures in a oil field your looking at co2 being a supercritical fluid or close to it.


>Pressurizing the oil well with water, natural gas, and CO2 have all been used for enhanced recovery.  Does anyone know if there is an advantage to using gas pressurization vs. water?  

CO2 is corrosive (but also acts a solvent), and water lowers the URR of the field. Natural gas can also be later recovered and used when the oil is exhausted. If Natural gas is unavailable, nitrogen or CO2 would be the prefered choices over water.

I'm getting 63 MPG in my Toyota Prius this summer. Through a combination of driving below the speed limit and limiting my short trips I have increased my MPG. I suggest more people buy hybrids and slow down on the highways.
i was driving Firebirds when y'all had to put up with those 55mph signs down south.  Sounded kinda wimpy to me all these years, 'til last summer.  the mrs put the car in the ditch and we had to drive the Alaska Hwy at 55-kph for several days 'til a shop was available in the Yukon.  I track mileage (kmage?) and it was stunning.

The Olds dropped from 10.5-Ltres/100km to 8.5-L/100km.  Consistently.  And we now leave a tad earlier whenever we can to drive slower and smell the roses (and see much more wildlife).

I'm a boomer and a stat guy and should have known that almost 20% savings were at hand.  There are likely many others awaiting this surprise which bodes well for "some" conservation.

Re: Col. Tewksbury, The relatively high IQ of the individuals who read/post to this site probably tends to reinforce the collective desire that we as a species have the capability and desire to be civilized. But IMHO the word "civilized" and the words "cheap energy" are synonymous. Your only civilized if tit doesn't cost you too much. You do not have to go back many generations to get to a point where it was generally accepted practice to take what you wanted or needed from anyone less able to retain it. I smile when I read about the concern about  the "problem" of using force to get oil supplies. Does anyone really doubt that that is what we are already doing, and will do in spades WTSHTF. When you are hungry, or in the case of the US public, somewhat inconvenienced, the general thrust will be to "fix the problem". I still feel that we will be continuing to manufacture plastic dog toys while less fortunate people are starving to death. In fact, I think it is happening now.And I think it is closer to base human nature that we will revert to 150 years ago, in our thought process, as we start to wind down.
"Your only civilized if tit doesn't cost you too much"

Hmmm... Typo or interesting choice of example case? Freud commented on these I think... ;-)

There was a time when I would have said you were right either way, but that was more than 15 years ago [Memo to self: Buy 12 long stems for upcoming anniversary]

But yes you are right, past, now, and in the future:

"The rich and the powerful set their banquet on a mountain of skulls, and pick their teeth with the bones of the poor" Anon.

The word after civilized should have been it, not tit. Must have been a freudian slip.
Wondered about that.  AFAIK, tit futures are way up.
I suggested, encouraged, and just got confirmation that PO will be forefront at the upcoming 73rd annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Southeastern section. Nov 9-11 Williamsburg, VA, Nov. 9 Thurs evening public 2-hr session w/
Dr. Rajan Gupta of Los Alamos (Theory division head) &
Dr. Robert Hirsch (SAIC)
discussing energy challenges associated w/ PO/PNG and mitigation, respectively. This is a mainstream APS meeting, should be quite well attended by professional physicists, area wealthy retirees, and hopefully W&M students, most of whom in my experience have never thought about the issue. These two speakers should make quite an impression and I don't think that there will be any distracting parallel sessions. We'll try to record it as we did for these seminars.
Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist, has posted a question on "Yahoo Answers", a new feature in which anyone can pose a question for fellow internet users to try to answer.  The question he formed was, "In a world that is in chaos politically, socially, and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?"
This coming week, he will help review the 1700 responses to post some chosen ones.  He stated that "survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy earth.  He suggested space stations that could function independent of earth.

The link:


On a personal level, I saw "An Inconvenient Truth" last night, and read this question in today's news.  It will be interesting to see which answers he picks, to see what he's most concerned about.

Dave, its sometimes hard to get out of the right side of the bed, these days!

We have a large, educated population. Never before in the history of man has there been such an enormous pool of brainpower that can (and will) be levelled at the problem.

One of Mike Hearn's points above.

Just because something "can" happen does not mean it "will" happen.

If you want to think of the pool of brainpower available from the 6.5 Billion homo-sap craniums now on this common Planet as being a "common" wealth, then the fact that they probably won't be rationally applied is the Tragedy of this Common Wealth.