DrumBeat: August 10, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/10/06 at 10:18 AM EDT]

Gas Prices Alter Habits of Many, but Far From All

Car owners across the country braced themselves on Tuesday for another smack in the face at the gasoline pump, as the shutdown of the giant Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska rippled through energy markets and consumer psyches.

But Justin Ogle, a newly minted light-rail commuter, was calm. Mr. Ogle and his wife, Lauren, bought a new home two months ago, partly to be near the train tracks.

Consumers May Pay as Businesses Feel Pinch at Pump

As oil prices climb, the U.S. economy has become the arena for a tug of war over inflation.

MSU professor quietly creates one of nation's largest databases for wind energy research

BP's Prudhoe Bay a "giant water field"

"Really, we are a giant water field," said Bill Hedges, BP PLC's corrosion expert, explaining that what comes up now during drilling is three-quarters water.

[Update by Leanan on 08/10/06 at 11:24 AM EDT]

Saudi Oil: Far from Twilight
Michael Lynch isn't worried...

With the recent problems in the oil market, renewed attention has been focused on the theories of M. King Hubbert and a new generation of oil supply modelers, who believe that geological resources are scarce and a peak in global oil production is near. In fact, these analysts – usually geologists – are unfamiliar with statistical modeling and don’t recognize that they are engaged in curve fitting, not scientific analysis. The repeated failures of their predictions and their refusal to address substantive criticisms of their theories and methods are damning indictments of their claim to be scientific.

Meanwhile, Matt Simmons is proselytizing even on summer vacation in Maine: Energy Expert Warns Of Tough Times Ahead.

This question is mainly for westexas and was buried in yesterday's open forum:

Which countries are in the top 10 exporting countries?

Thanks in advance,

This is a good article that has a list of the top exporters (in 2004).  If you look at current EIA crude + condensate data, seven of the top ten are showing declines since December.  The other three are flat.


Canada is not on that list.  Are they not an net exporter?  Or are they just not in the top 14?


Canada is a big exporter on the West side, big importer on the East side.
Yes, Canada is a net exporter.  It just doesn't export that much on a net basis.  Not enough to put it in the top 14.

Of course, listening to Canadian leaders lately, one could be excused if they were led to think otherwise.

Our prime minister recently talked up the nation as a new "emerging enery superpower".

Who knows, someday we may overtake tiny Qatar!

For 2004, which is the last complete data set from the EIA, Canada comes in at number 16, with 840,000 barrels per day of exports. In 2005 their exports were 820,000 barrels per day, but I can't compare this to any other countries, since Mexico is the only other country that the EIA reports 2005 numbers for.
Huh?  According to this EIA page in May 2006 Canada exported 1.868 million barrels of crude oil per day to the United States alone!

Do oil sands not count?

Canadian tar sands production is over 1 million bpd currently, it is counted as part of their total crude production of approximately 2.5 million barrels per day. Add to this RPG,NGPL, and other liquids and you get 3.135 mmbpd "all liquids" daily production in 2004. Subtract 2.294 mmbpd consumption in 2004 gives us 841,000 bpd net exports. These are EIA's numbers, my math.

BP's 2005 numbers for Canadian production and consumption basically match these. BP gives 1.6 mmbpd exports in 2005 - matching that figure you found of 1.8 mmbpd in 2006.

Houston, we have a problem. The only explanation I can come up  with is that they are receiving imports of approximately 800,000 bpd from the US. Didn't Westexas say that was the case above somewhere?

Anybody know?

BP's 2005 figures for Canada (mmbpd):
  Production -  3.047
  Consumption - 2.241
Difference is 806, not far off the 841 figure.

But Canada imports 934 mmbpd (not counting product imports), mainly from Europe. Added to the 806, that gives 1.74 mmbpd as exports. This is intermediate between the two figures above.  

I think that is exactly the million barrels we were looking for. Thank you.

Now for extra credit, can you explain why? When you say Europe, I'm guessing that's mainly the North Sea? or Russia?

Refining ability? To send the product to the States?

Mainly from the North Sea. Remember that almost all Canada's imports are consumed in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.

Product exports Canada->US in 2005 were 558 mbpd on top of the  1643 mbpd crude exports, according to BP. Sorry about the units mixup above.    

Remember that almost all Canada's imports are consumed in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.

What are you, crazy:) How was I supposed to remember that? I didn't even know it to remember it. Seriously. You should post more often here. We really, really like this kind of information. At least I do. Screw up the units all you want, we'll fix'em later.

Why can't Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces get their stuff via pipeline from Western Canada? That's the part I'm unclear about. It really makes more sense to ship crude from Europe rather than pipe it from next door?

Is it possible to make this equation more efficient?

It is more efficient (net transportation wise) to supply the Upper West (US) & Midwest from Alberta pipelines and Eastern Canada from the sea than vica versa.  Look at a map.

New Orleans would like to barge more oil products up-river instead though.

Absolutely. So the next question is, why do we as intelligent individuals, as a society, allow The Powers That Be to manipulate the numbers so that things can always be something they are not.

We complain about transparency. It is time to clean up our own  back yard.

Canada - (and my beef is not with Canada, it is with us) - Canada exports 840,000 bpd, not 1,840,000. Or, conversely, it does both. But we need a standard for reporting these numbers.   Else the manipulators will run circles around us. They will use any number they want, whenever it suits their purposes.

Are we on the same team?

Thanks for pointing that out, by the way. You have a future here.
The link below


leads to a Norwegian blog that recently posted some diagrams (in English) that shows the worlds 10 biggest producers of hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) as of 2005 baseed upon BP Statistical Review 2006.

the second diagram shows the world 7 top net exporters of hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas)

Hope it can be of some help.

According to Stats Canada, run rate was 790,000 bbl/day total export Dec 2005.

Breakdown by US destination also available:  

Global Oil Exports 1988 - 2003

I stacked the countries to make the graph readable, obviously they are not in order, but you should be able to figure out the top 14. I have to update this for 2004 numbers(maybe 2005, I forget what is currently available). I might actually get around to this today, in which case, I'll list the actual numbers.

Interesting. How come they add up to <55%?
45% of oil in the world in consumed domestically. 55% is exported. And this number has been rising since 1988. Although I'll have to update this to know the short-term trend.
So therefore; "net export capacity" is
still rising if I'm reading your
graph correctly ??

Triffin ..

The long-term trend has been rising.

The percentages for the last 6 years on record:

1998- 54.1%
1999- 53.4%
2000- 54.1%
2001- 53.6%
2002- 52.3%
2003- 53.5%
2004- 54.4%

So it looks like net export capacity is currently on a plateau if you look at last 6 years, rising if you use last 3.

Keep in mind the last data is for 2004, 20 months old. If it has been falling since that point, it is unlikely that it is lower than 52%.

The graph I would like to see is country by country of the top 10 say,  one line production, the other internal consumption.

How many of those lines cross?  Hence no exports.


I'm not sure what you are saying. The top ten all export between 1.5 and 9 million barrels per day, which is the difference between their production and their internal consumption. So no lines ever cross, else they wouldn't be exporting. If you can elaborate, I can make graph.
Take Indonesia for example,  it's production line on the graph went up from the lower left hand corner to the upper right.  Their internal consumption did the same.   UNTIL the lines crossed and now(even though their still OPEC?) the are a net importer.


Most people are not aware that countries that produce oil actually use it themselves.   (As stupid as that sounds, I believe it to be true).


Right, but they are not in the top ten. Indonesia is a rare example. In my graph above I included them in the "other" category, since, as you point out, their exports have gone negative.

The top 17 exporters ratios are relatively stable. The remaining 20 have changed over the last twenty years, but mostly in order. If I did a line-graph like this I think it would just look like spaghetti.

I'll play with the numbers later and see if I can come up with  something.

It's exports / consumption.  These countries also use some of the oil. (thats at least I my guess at why)
Exports -- missed that. Thanks!
The link below leads to a Norwegian blog with diagrams (in English)


illustrating (diagram clickable for larger view) the development in net oil exports, by country, for the years 1985 - 2005 based upon BP Statistical Review 2006. Seems like net oil exports has seen little growth since 2003.

Hope it is useful.


How feasible is second generation Biomass production of Ethanol ? I am interested because apparently Iogen uses ANY source of cellulose to produce ethanol. This would remove a lot of the energy sinks from the production process. The process itself appears to run on heat generated from burning what's left over after extracting the cellulose from biomass.

This would make the EROEI equation very possitive. Do you think  they have a posible solution, is enough usable biomass available (near potential factories) to produce a significant amount of ethanol?

In Germany, Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler started projects on BTL-technology.  Volkswagen called their fuel "SunFuel" while DaimlerChrysler's fuel was named "Biotrol" (biomass + petrol = biotrol). Nowadays both companies work together with a company called Choren  and call the fuel "sundiesel".  Choren is located in Freiberg (Saxony) and has developed the so-called and patented "Carbo-V®" gasification process.
According to Choren it takes 5 tons of biomass to produce 1 ton of sundiesel and 1 hectare generates 4 tons of sundiesel.  A plant producing 13,000 tons per year would need the biomass of 50,000 ha.  In recent years the German set-aside area amounted to roughly 1 million ha. This could generate 4 million tons of sundiesel, which is about 13 percent of current diesel use in Germany.
DaimlerCrysler expects that BTL fuels could achieve a market share of 10 % in Europe by 2015.  Volkswagen cites a study that sees the production potential for BTL at 70 million MT of fuel in the EU-15, which would amount to one third of the fuel currently used by all vehicles (cars and trucks) in the EU-15.

This is about diesel, though, but it should give you an idea.

If 1 ha. produces 4 tons of sundiesel, wouldn't a plant producing 13,000 tons only require slightly more than 3,000 hectares?  Or does it take 4 hectares to produce 1 ton of sundiesel?
Good comment. The text above is from


I had a look at Choren's homepage, they say they need 4 tons of biomass to make 1 ton of sundiesel, and that one hectare can produce 3-6 tons of sundiesel. So, a 13.000t plant needs 50.000t of biomass, not 50.000ha.

I'm wondering if anyone can find information on storage costs for ethanol in Brazil the numbers seem hard to find since Petrobas seems to underwrite the storage costs. Running the number shows that we would need millions if not billions of gallons of storage if we use significant quantities of ethanol.

I know that storage or tank farm can be expensive for oil I don't expect the costs to be cheap for ethanol and the numbers are mind numbing they make the SPR look little.


I would imagine "Silo" could be considered "ethanol storage" as well.
Iogen can use hardwood as a feedstock but not softwood and they've had a demo facility up and running for some time now, however, the feasibilty of 2nd gen ethanol production will really be determined from commerical operations.

In answer to your second question... Yes, there is more than enough biomass and renewable waste resources to make a considerable dent in daily gasoline consumption.

Hello TODers,

Are Californians are going to have to have their dead fingers pried off their SUV's steering wheel?  Good Article!
"People haven't paid for the gas they bought two years ago," he said.  Hamilton says that when, not if, an oil refinery catches fire in the West and crimps already tight gas supplies, California could see per-gallon prices jump to between $4 and $5 a gallon in a matter of weeks.

"If there is a problem at a big refinery, there is no limit to the price at the pump," Hamilton said. "The question is at what stage in the game does the nozzle get so hot that people drop it?"
Bob Shaw in Phx, Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

The really pathetic thing is that Mr. Browne in the article (their lead example), sold his cabin in the woods at a loss, moved back to an apartment 12 miles from work, BUT KEPT THE SUV!!  <sarcasm>That San Diego is a real urban jungle...  Or maybe they have those blizzards in the winter for which you need four wheel drive.</sarcasm>
COuld be that he wanted to keep the SUV because of its high resale value (the GM model), or the converse in that he couldn't sell the damn thing.
In his defense, he did note that the truck is paid off. As the owner of a paid for car I know the temptation to drive the thing forever (within reason) is strong.

Besides, who wants to deal with car salesmen if you don't have to!?

Besides, I don't want to trade in my 17mpg vehicle for a 25mpg vehicle.  I'm waiting for the whole industry to ramp up towards 40mpg.  I want something sleek and sporty that still gets great mileage.  
There's some basic physics there.  Something sleek and sporty can get great mileage, by being small and light.  In fact, why not 100 mpg?


Unfortunately, for the weight and cargo capacity of an American "midsize" I think things like the Prius are already pretty close to the edge.  I don't think there is that much more recoverable energy in the liquid fuel.  That's why the big trend is in plug-in hybrids and pulling energy from another source.

  Yesterday's SF Chronicle; front page article on the Tesla

4 seconds
(Time from 0 to 60 mph)

Tesla Roadster: $89,000

4 seconds

Ferrari F430 Spider: $188,000

Under 5 seconds*

Subaru Impreza WRX STi: $32,995

5.4 seconds

Mercedes-Benz SL550: $94,800

5.4 seconds

BMW 750i sedan: $75,800

Under 9 seconds

Toyota Camry hybrid: $26,480

* Actual specification was 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds

Sources: Tesla Motors;

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/09/MNGSSKDMBT1.DTL&hw=tesla&sn=001& amp;sc=1000

The best thing is that Tesla is working on a second model. a "4 door sporty sedan" for half the price of the roadster, and a third model should be even less expensive. All of them EVs.


Wow. I knew my Subie was fast, but who knew it was ranked up there with all those hot shots.  Oh, I forgot this is TOD, not massivehorsepower.org.

Very sharp looking.  That's exactly what I'm looking for.  Even 50 or 60mpg would be great.  I take the train to work, so I'm just looking for something fun for the weekends.

Someone needs to come out with something that's US Street legal.

Depending on what state you are in, you might get one, with varying degrees of difficulty.  Here's the main US import page:


There are engine and suspension options.  It might be interesting to try for a fuel-sipping option.

Here in California a very limited number of custom cars are allowed licenses each year.  IMO it a fool's risk to buy the car and then hope for the license.  On the other hand, there are some cars on the market with licenses.  There are even some of the old original Lotus Super Sevens out there.

"Besides, I don't want to trade in my 17mpg vehicle for a 25mpg vehicle.  I'm waiting for the whole industry to ramp up towards 40mpg.  I want something sleek and sporty that still gets great mileage."

1988 Honda CRX Si, 105 horsepower, 5 speed, generally get 37mpg mixed usage 40+ extended highway...known to put cars with 3 times the horsepower to shame (tire smoke does not equal acceleration).  Acceleration in 1st and 2nd gears excellent, large dropoff into 3rd...handling excellent and predictable.  Fun factor 10.

They existed.  You may have to wait a while (if not forever) for something new.

In his defense, he did note that the truck is paid off. As the owner of a paid for car I know the temptation to drive the thing forever (within reason) is strong.

Think about it. Keeping a paid off vehicle, even if it consumes more gasoline, is a better deal than paying for a newer, higher mileage vehicle. We save the up-front expenses, keep a vehicle out of the scrap yard, reduce demand for more vehicles including all the resources consumed in making that new vehicle, and keep human mechanics in demand. Not bad really.

Combined with a little conservation keeping the paid for vehicle is better for us and the environment.

What do you think?

He could of course sell his truck and buy a 10 year old Corolla.  It's not necessarily a choice of keep old vehicle, or buy a brand new one.
This is why I'm actually considering selling the Prius and buying a 10 year old Corolla myself. Love the Prius, don't love the payments....... I'm really on the fence on this one though.

Or something cool like an old BMW - the old 3's get good mileage, and while they are a bit high maintenance, the user group around BMWs is amazing, I don't know of a better "support group" of users for any other car.

Any car will get better mileage if you featherfoot it, think in terms of "flow" like everyone used to before the automatic transmission.

Maybe something bio-diesel-able?  Alan does like those old diesel Mercedes.
I think about this quite a bit, and part of the appeal is the idea that biodiesel could be available in the event of gasoline shortages.  But I hate to let go of my newer, reliable gasoline car that gets 35-40 mpg on the highway. Maybe I'll figure it out one of these days.
Or, drive like you're moving a poorly packed crate of bone China, a terabyte server, or driving your grandma with severe osteoporosis. Don't drive like a bloodthirsty deranged Isreali fighter pilot! Which is to say, like the average urban commuter on a Friday afternoon.

I'm glad I get 25mpg despite using A/C and driving like the latter. (as much as the little engine allows) An mpg gauge would be great driver feedback to reduce those "fighter jock" tendencies that lots of people have. One change I'm doing is to move 5 miles closer to work, so I'll burn a fifth of gas less each way. I burn 3 fifth each way now, so I'll use only 2/3 of the fuel now.

Like the cover story, I switched to driving after being fed up with shoddy suburban transit. What'll be fun to watch is how long range commuters try to adapt. I already saw early signs of that demand destruction in my workplace.

We get 22 -25 mpg with a 6 cyl jeep cherokee 1995(4x4).  To me this is amazing....
Get your ScanGauge II, now with multiple backlight colors and an optional USB interface:
Keeping anything, especially a car, is almost always the better thing to do.  Thrift in all forms never hurts.  If you have an SUV but want lower gas prices you can get a bicycle for real short trips, reduce you driving to what is necessary and on the Interstate go 60, not 70, miles per hour.  70 is the speed limit; you can go slower, contrary to popular belief.  When all those savings are added up keeping a paid-for car would be the better deal.  Not to mention no car payments, lower insurance and you don't have to worry about dings and dents.  Used cars are also lower down on the must-steal list for thieves.  

I own a 1999 4 cylinder Mazda 626 (referred to by the dealer as a legacy car).  It gets a solid 30 miles to the gallon.  On the Interstate at 60 I average 35.  I am ready for peak oil; bring it on.

Agreed, keep it. Prius is only a step on the journey. My 1992 Mazda Protege has 102K on it, 33 mpg in town since I bought it new, twice driven East Coast <> Arizona. Fun car to drive too, if a bit road noisy, but I walk 2.5 miles each way to/from work or take free public transit bus.
Exactly. Trading the SUV for a new car just puts one more new car on the road. Someone else will buy the SUV (such a deal) and keep driving it. It's only a question of who, if anyone, gets to feel the guilt and which person has the bigger gas consumption. Only when the SUV goes to that big parking lot in the sky will there be an overall improvement.
This is a problem.  Human-oriented urban environments are all about compactness so that the necessities of life can be located within a walkable area and socialization, trade etc is facilitized.  Providing for storage of any vehicles, much less gargantuan ones is perhaps the most challenging thing about creating such environments.  The storage of an SUV including parking space and drive aisle widths etc take up about the same amount of space as a reasonably-sized efficiency appartment and costs (developer or municipality) about as much to provide.  
That's a great article, with lots of good stats.  The interesting tension is between people saying they are driving less, and the national numbers showing they are not.

Maybe those folks are passing on 3 mile runs to the market, but unable to change the big work (and social) commitments.

It's fascinating that US gas consumption is not declining yet. In Europe, price increases are proportionately much more modest, yet there is a measurable decline in motoring.

A tentative explanation :

  • In the US, there is a large segment of population who are affluent enough that a higher price does not discourage discretionary driving (in Europe, income disparities are much less, and even the relatively well-off feel the pinch sooner)
  • In the US, the less well-off have no alternative to driving. In Europe, a significant proportion of people can decide to leave the car at home and take the bus or train, even if it's inconvenient.
A manifestation of Jevon's Paradox?
Traditional "Jevon" needs prices to fall following conservation, and for consumption to re-expand.  Here we're at pretty high historical prices, and not seeing that pre-Jevon conservation.
I think we're seeing Jevon all right, it just takes time for the fleet to be replaced, and gas prices are really only affecting say the bottom 50% of the population in the US. A lot of people don't have the money to buy, which most often means finance, a thriftier car.
I hate to be picky but the dude's name was William Stanley JEVONS.  Even the Wiki is mislabelled...it's the Jevons' paradox, not the Jevon's paradox.  


Call me picky.  

Hey odo maybe it's like the overweight folks ..... "but I'm dieting" which actually means they're getting a diet soda with the latest Supersize Trough at Micky-D's.
As a result of paying living expense via borrowing against home "equity," a lot of people are going to be paying for expenses like gasoline and toilet paper for decades to come.
Lots of ARM horror stories in this article:

8/10/06 WSJ Article:  "Feeling the Pain of Rising Rates"


Some California brokers say they are beginning to see a return of "short sales"--transactons in which the sales price isn't large enough to cover outstanding loans.  Patti Vaughan, an agent with Assist 2 Sell in Temecula, California, says in recent months she has begun to get calls from borrowers looking to unload houses they can no longer afford.  "They've upgraded their houses, put in a pool and bought themselves Hummers and BMW's," she says.  "Now they can't get it refinanced and they can't sell."

And now it begins.....

Glad I checked the "30 year fixed" box when I bought in '03

Yeah me too.  30 year fixed is a mortgage that lets you sleep at night.  

As it was I got hit with increases in my escrow account which amounted to a significant jump in my monthly payment this year.  I can't imagine if my payments were going up too.

30 yr fixed since 2000 paying double monthly - I'm going for security. Few more yrs I'll own it, solar panels and all!
I hung out with a Volvo salesman I befriended for a bit ..... RE bubble was going strong (2003) and he said, basicallly, one of the most traumatic experiences is buying or selling a house. There's so much paperwork, uncertainty (will they bid high enough?) etc. that he often sees people break into tears. Very traumatic. And, when the dust has settled, esp. in a bubble market, buying a high end car was like small change, after dealing with such a huge amount of money. So, they do! Or at least did....... It often just went onto the car loan, or would later get covered by a refi.

What I really admire, if you walk around the streets of coastal Newport Beach, on the bluffs and on "the Pen", you'll see these older BMWs that were bought years and years ago and taken care of lovingly since. 2nd car that's very popular is an OLD Toyota van, the one that looks like a gerbil on wheels. You can buy 'em cheap, carry a lot, great for taking a bunch of kids to the beach or doing a nursery or hardware store run. I went and visited a house one of my sisters and I spent a winter in on Balboa Island, and the guy who lives across the street was lovingly washing his old station wagon, from about 1970 or so, old boat but it was paid for. Frankly a lot of the "Old Rich" around there never expected to become rich, they just had the old values that got them there - that and 50 years of Oil Parrrrrty!

It's funny. Two days ago I rambled:

"That tipping point will come differently for different families, but a very key point is that it is based on cumulative debt a well as immediate prices. I think this is one of the keys to understanding the 70s. If in 74 they had not started rationing, we would have experienced the price increases only, and it would have been like today, with prices rising for everyone and debt increasing. Even with the rationing, *eventually* people ran out of money and debt available to cover the higher prices. However, it took a while, partly because unions were strong and could negotiate higher wages. It was also harder to increase your debt load back then. Today it's much easier to increase your debt, but much harder to increase your income."

In the article they write:

"They hesitate [to predict a gas-price tipping point] because America is not the same place it was a quarter-century ago. Supercharged suburban sprawl, the explosion in two-income and two-commute households, and the concept of filling up the gas tank on a credit card have made Americans more willing and able to swallow big gas bills.

"Back then, the impact of the crisis hit people immediately - the price at the pump came out of your weekly paycheck," said Tim Hamilton, a Washington state-based energy consultant.

Now, rather than cutting back, people are putting gas on their credit cards, Hamilton said.

"People haven't paid for the gas they bought two years ago," he said."

Let's see, that might be one piece of the puzzle figured out, only 99 more to go... (Though I have to say that I like Westexas version that they haven't paid for their toilet paper better. )

Everybody can relax.

The U.S. Department of Energy predicts a 30-cent drop in the average U.S. gas price by next August.

Of course, this August we were supposed to be back to what, $38/bbl? according to CERA..

Just saw two stations in Portland, ME at $3.07 (Regular, HiTest was around $3.30).  Still was able to fill up for $2.99, got home and called the AltEnergy store about inventory for 110-130w panels.  Looking at Treadmill motors on my other browser window for a DIY Windmill project.  Made a 'Bike Garage' for us and our tenants, to 'incentivize' use of ZEV's and save some of the paint/plaster in the hallways.

Indeed.  Similarly, the EIA said in april that gasoline during the summer driving season would average $2.60 (when it was already $2.70).  Then in May they increased their prediction to $2.71 when gas by then was already $2.80.  I just think it's so funny that they kept predicting prices that were even lower than the current prices.


Wow Toto, the guy sold the small cabin at a loss too, oh yeah, the RE market is turning around...... which means going down. Bigtime down in San Diego.

Still dunno why the guy didn't keep it though, just get a motorcycle to commute, you can legally split traffic in S. California, and use the carpool lanes.

Hello all,

  As a new member here, I've spent the past few weeks working out the truth from BS about peak oil, and thanks to many of the postings here I feel i have a pretty good idea of what we face.  Now, my question is how does one go about telling those he cares for about this problem.  My family and friends are typical "consume and burn" Americans, up to their eyeballs in debt, and are generally clueless about the impending energy crisis.  My parents especially seem to convinced that this is just the 70s over again with big government and big oil conspiring to screw us over.(some truth in that, just not in the way their thinking)  I know you've all done this dozens of times now, but I was looking for some advice to help friends and family see the light, or "peak" if you will.  


There is always the End of Suburbia DVD.

I basically think that most people have to go through the five stages thing, and most Americans are between Stages One and Two--Anger & Denial.

I recommend ELP--Economize; Localize & Produce.

Assuming that people implement ELP:

Case #1:  Yergin is wrong.  At least you will be better prepard.

Case #2:  The Peak Oilers are wrong.  You will have a lower stress way of life, less (or no) debt and more money in the bank.

 I find End of Suburbia the best way; burned a bunch of copies and gave them out.
 There is also a sequel on the way; basically about ELP...

The New Frontier
by Natylie Baldwin
August 7, 2006
As Gregory Greene, director of the mobilizing classic, End of Suburbia, observed, it may be too late for such "top-down remedies" to work anyhow: The U.S. dollar and economy are dependent on a reliable source of energy and there is not enough time to build nuclear power plants or implement other fuel alternatives on a large scale. Even if we could quickly build nuclear power plants, the recent heat wave and subsequent demand for electricity in France showed the ecological weaknesses of relying too much on nuclear power. So what are the alternatives? (1)

Greene is currently finishing a follow-up film called Escape from Suburbia. This new film looks at communities that have taken the initiative and are "re-localizing" -- preparing for a future with little fossil fuel by scaling down and redirecting focus and resources toward local self-sufficiency. Communities from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Cuba and the Middle East appear in the film, but it is the town of Willits, California that provides the most intriguing and advanced study of the effort to re-localize and form a sustainable and vitally democratic town in the U.S. "It was evident about five or six months ago that Willits was really serious [about localizing the economy] and a lot of people look to Willits for leadership." (2)

The Willits Model

Jason Bradford, an academic with a Ph.D. in botany founded the Willits Economic Localization project, otherwise known as WELL. Brian Weller, who showed up at the first screening that Bradford hosted of The End of Suburbia, eventually became an instrumental participant in WELL. In the two years since then, Bradford and Weller have learned some interesting lessons about mobilizing a community to prepare for the inevitable changes ahead.


Here's the Escape from Suburbia website.  The trailer is "coming soon."

In ESCAPE From SUBURBIA director Greg Greene once again takes us "through the looking glass" on a journey of discovery - a sobering yet vital and ultimately positive exploration of what the second half of the Oil Age has in store for us.

Through personal stories and interviews we examine how declining world oil production has already begun to affect modern life in North America. Expert scientific opinion is balanced with "on the street" portraits from an emerging global movement of citizen's groups who are confronting the challenges of Peak Oil in extraordinary ways.

The clock is ticking. ESCAPE From SUBURBIA asks the tough questions: Are we approaching Peak Oil now? What are the controversies surrounding our future energy options? Why are a growing number of specialists and citizens skeptical of these options? What are ordinary people across North America doing in their own communities to prepare for Peak Oil? And what will YOU do as energy prices skyrocket and the Oil Age draws to a close?

I have a number of issues with relocalization efforts.  I'll use WELL as an example since Rat and I know each other and live in the same area so he can chime in if he disagrees.

  1. WELL has no defined scenario as to what they are preparing for.  I recognize that the people involved are sincere in their efforts but, ultimately, survival of the community will depend upon whether the proper scenario was used.  What I fear is that people will be lulled into a sense that things will go on as they have because of token actions.

  2. Willits, where WELL is located, is grossly populated beyond the area's carrying capacity. Regardless of proactive actions, it would be impossible to feed and provide heat and water for the population including the outlying areas.  Now, if the arguement is that the purpose is to provide some local veggies when the chain stores have few and make sure there are emergency services, fine.  But, that's not going to save the people.

Population reduction should be a major issue but, understandably, no one touches it.

  1. Relocalizers do not look beyond their own areas.  What I'm thinking of here is the "90 mile dinner" where the food comes from within that radius of the town as an example.  In Willits' case, 90 miles runs into Sonoma County with a huge population.  It seems to me that Somoma will keep whatever food falls within their 90 miles and exclude small towns like Willits.

  2. Building commuinity is a prime directive of relocalization efforts but few people outside of the group care.  There is no doubt that community is important in the long run.  Unfortunately, as country people know, it is hard just to get people to pay road association dues muchless organize for survival due to peak energy, peak water and peak grain or...a depression.

I would like to believe that as impotent as these programs are, that they will at least lay the ground work for when they become necessary.  But, I just don't see it happening in reality.  It's like the trite saying, "All hat and no cows."
How funny...a California version.  In Texas, we say "big hat, no cattle."
For me, the importance of WELL was to act as a personal wake-up call.  I first heard about PO in '72, but the messages at the Environmental Center jolted me into action. Not only me, but Laytonville. In fact, the entire county.
  I did have a lot of disagreements about how things were preceeding. Seemed too much time was spent in talking about talking about. I know there has been some progress made, especially with their community garden, and the plans for the green hospital.
 But what has really been done? How many people in Willits have gone alt-en in the last 2 years? I can think of 4 or 5 here, and I don't know how many more new systems are out there,  but, in driving round, it is pretty rare.
I mean,what has really been accomplished, besides promoting awareness? If it hits the fan tomorrow, are we any better prepared as communities to survive? Has anybody taken a PO/GW stand against the new freeway bypass? Have we restored  an operating rail link along the north coast? Have any local industries fired up? Are the vacant  lumber mills being converted to alt-en manufacturing plants? (Or will we build 20 thousand million new houses at Masonite?) At least a lot more people are thinking about issues than were a few years ago.

  "Building commuinity is a prime directive of relocalization efforts but few people outside of the group care. "
  That bothers me. I came away from the first few meetings thinking this was gonna be a catch-all for every hippie- vegan-new age-utopian-Mother Earth News scheme ever proposed; that there was an agenda for some.  Either the problem is urgent, and needs immediate responses, or it isn't, so why worry. If we are all gonna go off a cliff, it seems frivilous to be singing songs about the power of the sun. This is real life, not third grade.(Not to mention, if the Hog Farmers and you and I get pissed off with this, what about the effect on business people, loggers, cowboys? What about the people who love to hate hippies? There are a lot more traditional folks in the community you need to reach.) That's not the way. You don't need to "build community", you need to prepare the community. Struck me as ironic that some folks talkin' community are also talkin' 'bout unplugging from the grid. How does that help the community?
 There is still no gut understanding of the seriousness. of this. Talk hemp around here, and I get "It will seed my crop. I can grow flax for fiber." Come on, folks, get real. Still trying to cure cancer by meditation and wheat grass tea.
 OTH, I am much more Pollyanna than you, cuz I still have hope, not to mention a 6 month old granddaughter.



You're no Pollyanna - just realistic.  But, you really nailed it more explicitly than I did.  

I don't know if you were around when most of the county co-ops started a food trucking company (semi, reefer all that stuff).  I ended up being the VP of the corporation but I eventually quit because all the warm and fuzzy people on the board couldn't graps that a company has to be run as a company and it eventually went broke.  It's the same deal with all of this stuff.


> "If we are all gonna go off a cliff, it seems frivilous to be singing songs about the power of the sun..... if the Hog Farmers and you and I get pissed off with this, what about the effect on business people, loggers, cowboys? ..."

yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  We are tribal primates, and visceral reactions are hugely important; if newcomers come away from the peak oil meeting thinking "these are not my people", it ain't gonna fly.

> "Has anybody taken a PO/GW stand against the new freeway bypass?"

I was talking to a town mover-and-shaker yesterday, who's heard it all before and so doesn't take the predictions-of-doom seriously and so is still working to get that new freeway interchange built.  How do you convince people like him, that this time it's not a false alarm?
(and for that matter, I find myself acting and thinking and planning as if tomorrow's world will be like yesterday's.  Reprogramming the gray matter is not an easy task.)

you have to judge the person on a case by case basis.
the person you describe is in the category of people that you should just let them to run off the cliff.
> "the person you describe is in the category of people that you should just let them to run off the cliff."

His thinking is representative of the business community.  I know him.  He is a reasonable person.

How do we convince reasonable members of the business community?

"they can just jump off a cliff" isn't going to fly either. ;-}

I would go with the "Message from a good source" route

My favorite first articles are...

The Rainwater Prophecy
(Rich Guy that is REALLY SCARED)

A few from Congress(aka Barlettt speaks)

Transcript: Third Peak Oil Presentation by Congressman Bartlett

Transcript: Fourth Peak Oil Presentation by US Congressman Bartlett, collegues.

Then,  I would send them to www.dieoff.com
(just kidding, they'll have a heart attack)


Peak oil in the U.S. Congress

Congressman Bartlett discusses peak oil with President Bush

Yeah, and steer them clear of LATOC at first as well.  I appreciate Matt's contributions, but they'll just switch to hardcore denial over anything lower than Defcon 3.

You could also discuss simple economics with them.  The housing bubble is deflating; gas prices just aren't coming down anytime soon; maybe it's time to think about doing things differently.  *Then* talk about *why* gas prices aren't going to go down.  

Make small changes in your own life at first. People will ask you why you are doing x or y and you'll have a golden oppotunity to explain. Insert some peak theories into political conversations now and then, challenge your smarter friends on any simplistic media stoked views of energy prices they may have. Above all, be patient and measured. Condescending preaching isn't usually too effective. Likewise, apocalyptic explanations tend to undermine one`s credibility and have the opposite effect than that intended. Few want to know or acknowledge that the future may not be as good as or as easy as today, don't expect your friends and family to be any different. Oh and try to avoid contribution to urban smug... (see southpark episode of same name)
Thank you. Very well said.
I agree.  My approach is to talk about it a little, and then back off.  I figure the PO idea will start to make sense as current events (continue to) head that way.

Compare it to people who buy into GW in heatwaves, or after seeing melting glaciers.  They've had the GW idea (and science) in the back of their head, but they needed a real-world trigger.

Yes, very well said, thank you
I second dinaz' recommendations.

This path creates many of the benefits while minimizing many of the disbenefits.

Westexas' ELP recommendation (or HELP as some have said) is the best high-level organizing principle that I've found to help decide your own particular responses and courses of action.  Each situation is unique so specific courses of action that some may deem best may not work for you.

Benefit 1. Gets you started within your own sphere of influence.

Benefit 2.  Credibility.  As bizarre as it seems sometimes, I have had numerous people dismiss my entire PO discussion by pointing out that I personally am taking, or not taking, some action that is somehow inconsistent with a PO belief.  Even when their logic is convulted to the n-th degree, it gives them a too convenient counterargument.

Benefit 3. Conversation starter.  Your actions will be noticed.  And the curious and reasonably open minded will inquire.  This creates a benificial form of self-selection.  Those who would tend to be most prone to accept the new reality will be most likely to start asking questions.

Avoided disbenefit 1. Marital discord.  I would love a psychologist's opinion on this, but you may be perceived as attacking your loved one's very essence.  The whole PO, depletion, GW, species extinction, etc. thing boils down in my head to one word...less.  Less stuff.  Less people.  Less consumption.  Less driving.  Less, less, less.  And that is so completely taboo to most people.  It's reflected in a number of ways, but often it's perceived as a reduction of standard of living.  And them's fightin' words.

Any psychos (oops, psychologists :>) care to elaborate on the perceived threat to standard of living that PO discussions entail?  I could use some help here.

Avoided disbenefit 2.  Tin foil hat-itis.  Folks WILL look at you as if you have a 3rd eye in the middle of your forehead if/when you argue that there is a fundamental disconnect between infinte growth and a finite system.  And even if they get that, heaven forbid we should actually BE at the points of dynamic instability.  I recently traded in the lawn service for push reel-type lawnmower.  By avoiding the lawn service cost the new mower is already paid for, I get modest exercise, I ain't putting more CO2 in the atmosphere, and have a conversation starter.  But the looks I get as people drive by...

GO SLOW!  My own coffee-spitting moment was last August when I read the Hirsch report.  Rudder hard to port, port engine full reverse, starboard engine full ahead, Ensign..make your new course 1 - 8 - zero.  If you are married and/or with kids, they might not like the new you.  So ease into it.

I can related to the post by bjj. There was marital discourse between my wife and I because the messages I was communicating to her were that our standard of living was going to be readjusted negatively. She had a really hard time considering the idea that our two young sons may not go to college.

So yeah, go slow.

No one likes to think about losing their way of life. Even those of us who know it is inevitable. (Would  you like to wake up tomorrow without your bagels?)

People go through three stages when accepting something revolutionary. Not in any particular order they are: denial, anger, and fear. They can go back and forth between all of these multiple times.

Fear is the most troubling of these. When you start talking about societal collapse, GW, die-offs, and the rest, people get scared. You don't even have to talk about these things -get them to believe in PO and/or GW, and they can connect the dots. To be brutally frank, this is scary sh**.

People also have an ingrained need to think that things will be better for their children than for them. To think they might be worst is utterly alien to human nature. We are also by nature utterly resistant to change. And yes, people will fight will definitely fight to maintain the life to which they feel they are entitled.

I wrote out my advice earlier, but it bears repeating: Go slow, don't scare the hell out of people, and don't present problems without solutions. I would also recommend not trying to convince older adults; they are in their twilight years and why burden them? Secondly, don't let your children know. Impress upon them the need for a healthy, earth-friendly, sustainable lifestyle, but don't tell them about potential disasters or end of civilization scenarios. Don't even let them see  your preparations. Children are very easily traumatized, and you don't want to do that to them.

American nature != Human nature

Nooooo, it's our own "Western" culture that has this emphasis on Growth and Progress. Humans in other cultures tend to think things will always be about the same, and many think things were better in the past, and the present is just a matter of trying to hang onto the values of the (better) past.


That is a very good question indeed. I talked about this with quite a few people at Aspo-5 in Pisa, and I think most people who had tried hard to convince people had eventually concluded it was pretty pointless. I haven't personally managed to convince any of my friends or family members to take PO seriously and have largely given up trying. And the funny thing is, I write articles about the issue for a fairly well known magazine! (And no, I haven't received any feedback whatsoever...)

It appears most people won't buy into something unless the MSM go on about it for ages. Telling them to "look at the numbers" will have no effect in most cases; after all, if things were getting bad, surely more than just a few people would be worried!

OTOH, I'm not entirely sure it's necessary for people to learn about this. I think I would be a happier person if I believed economic growth will go on forever, meaning my children will be even better off than I, and my generation, have been. Many peakniks do become pretty obsessed with the issue, spending hours every day at TOD for instance ;), and find it increasingly difficult to communicate with those not "in the know". I myself never talk about PO when I go out with friends and acquaintances: if you're gonna have fun, it's not a great idea to bring up "the inevitable die-off" or something similar.

I think more people are slowly becoming PO-aware, as things become more obvious (unless there is a major war in the Middle East to blame for the fuel shortages etc), but unfortunately the process of adapting to the new reality will be slow and, for most people, extremely painful. Knowing about PO and being a doomer, for instance, will not necessarily even be helpful; when you know things are gonna get worse, you may not have the energy (pun half intended) to do anything to try to mitigate the decline. Or perhaps that's just me on a bad day... :)

Excellent point!  Send them a copy of the Chicago Tribune editorial.  Use the MSM when you can.  
That is one thing that frustrates me.  I'm not a doomer on principle.  I believe that if enough people acknowledge a problem, that they will adjust their life style, even if it brings personal hardship, to make sure that future generations are secure.  Peak oil is undoubtedly that most serious threat our nation has faced in many generations.  People tend to respond to crisis, and usually, despite several glaring exceptions, as a community and with determination.  Unfortunately the nature of this problem is that by the time there is a crisis, serious demand destruction and shortages, it WILL be too late.  People need to know, because the only way that TPTB will do anything meaning full is if the people demand that they do.  
I've read a few books, and lots on-line.  For me the two books that carry the core problem description are Kenneth S. Deffeyes' "Beyond Oil" and Peter Tertzakian's "A Thousand Barrels a Second."  The first explained how oil reserves produce and peak, and the second painted a wonderful picture of how "global supply chains" push all that (potentially) peaking oil around the world.

Maybe the second book also encouraged me to slow down and think of this as a decades-long transition.  Those supply chains are huge.  That makes them very hard to replace, but it also makes them unlikely to crash in a month or a year.

I think the thing to mention to friends and family (and hope it clicks) is that current prices and shortages might not be passing events.  They might be part of a real trend, and it might be a good idea to get on the right side of that trend.

It might be a good idea to be prepared for the mini "gas crisses" that will be part of each year's news.

Well, yeah, but Tertzakian gushes over oil sands without giving a second thought to the water and natural gas problems.  He really flubbed that point.  It's a good read otherwise.  

Either of Deffeyes' books are great starting points.  Actually, I can't think of anything better.  They're short, interesting, easy reads.  He also sounds quite credible from the get-go.

I gave away my copy so I can't look that up.  It strikes me that the early folks "in the door" on tar sands are going to make a lot of money, but that won't help us poor consumers with our "total liquids" problem.

Like ethanol and other things, it's a question of perspective.  When someone says "X is great!" are they speaking as a producer, or as some average guy trying to buy gas?

I agree about Tertzakian.  Along with his treatment of oil sands, he dismisses solar in a few sentences saying that it is too expensive.   Yet solar is quite unlike other sources of energy.  It is like making flat panel TVs or Ipods -- the more of solar panels get produced, the relatively cheaper they become, because more silicon is produced, and more people come up with innovative manufacturing methods, etc.   Also, the price of other electricity is going to go up, too.  (This is all relatively speaking. Obviously high oil prices increase the cost of making solar)

Yet I still like this book as a recommendation to introduce people to overall concepts.  They then can go out on their own and find out more of the limitations on tar sands, etc., as you said, and hopefully be slightly more bullish on solar, as I am.

Ah, is solar going to fill our short term (next decade) shortfall in transportation fuels?

(I think that is the way he is looking at these things, not what is "good" but what can replace the "global supply chains.")

Good point.  But I guess I still see a greater role for electricity in doing just that.  As Matt Simmons quipped in the Chicago Tribune piece, "you can't plug in an airplane."  But, long-term, electricifcation with wind, solar, etc., can help mitigate demand for substances that are better liquid fuels as those fuels grow scarce, or even replace the need for them (.e.g, using electric light rail).  I just think the book maybe underemphasized this.
It might be good to be ready for those rolling blackouts that are sure to occur down the road. Where I'm moving to is in a known area with a poorly maintained substation. I lived there before and know how to prepare, as I did it before. When buying electrical stuff, buy stuff that use less power, like an LCD TV, not a power-guzzler of a plasma TV. Use CF lights, not incandescents. And so on. That way, you minimise load (especially in summer as heat must be removed by the A/C) on the grid as well as your UPS and batteries.

Any time I bring up the oil peak, I'll usually use oil news (Prudhoe Bay for example) or the climbing prices as the lead-in. I make jokes about it too, despite the seriousness of the topic.

I have had bad luck talking to ANYONE about PO. My friends are completely uninterested and now I don't really want to talk to them because I don't want to talk about boring stuff in their lives, much less them talking about MY boring stuff(PO). In other words, I have changed so much from studying PO that I need different friends now! Problem is I live in Vegas and there aren't very many peak oilers around(none). As far as family is concerned, I will leave this topic alone!!!
  I just worked in LV this summer on World Series of Poker, tho' I never took my rental car option, either carpooled with other crew, walked and bussed around the town.  (The Titanic and Bodies shows at the Trop are well worth it, as is the "Magnificent Desolation" Imax film about the Apollo missions.  What a glorious sacrifice of massive amounts of Fossil Fuel!)

The locals I know are in trucks, and the LA guys, too.. all have other concerns upstaging their view of this elephant in the room.  I think they know this could hit us, like they know a terrorist could strike, a meteor could fall, the water supply could get 'worse' (vaguely 'dangerous', but not anything for them to tip the applecart of life over for)

I would say to my closest pals at the start of some days.. "You know we're F-d, right?" and I'd smile and joke about it a little, but they have no doubt that I'm serious about this, and yet I'm willing to talk soberly about it.  I would keep the opening 'Doomerism' of that catchphrase in balance by following up that it's simply 'a problem', and that it's likely to blindside most of this culture, badly.  I'd really leave it about there.  Not offer solutions, not get wild-eyed and evangelical or critical of 'their user- lifestyles'.. just setting up a voice in their heads that says this seems to be actually happening, that someone I can listen to (Bob) is keeping HIS eyes on it, even if I can't do that yet.  I think one of the most persuasive ways to affect someone else's attitudes is just to let them know what YOU truly believe.  I think that people who really know you are hungry to find out what is real and vital to you, or at least are soon affected when they discover that you have deep concerns.

  It's like driving on snow..  To get traction, you have to be consistent and careful, you have to listen as much as you talk, and you have to start slow.  If you are slipping, you take your feet off the Gas and the Brakes and let the wheels find the groundspeed/direction again, and then carefully reapply the controls..  Ahh! I went right into a driving analogy!

'Dat iz vat dey mean ven dey say Po-ettic Jahs-tice!'
   Ahnold,  'Raw Deal'

Pure AC+Driving towns like Vegas, & LA have to be in such deep denial, I almost think you have to Shade part of your roof with PV's that look like an American Flag, and play it as 'Pure Patriotic Pragmatism' to show them that there is something 'The little guy' can actually do.  If they catch a whiff of Granola on you, though, the message gets twisted and lost again.. skid, skid, screech!

Bob Fiske

Bah. I'm in the SF Bay Area and it's more like driving on black ice!

The PPP, Pure Patriotic Pragmatism approach is about the only way anyone will listen, and even that has to be in teeny bites.

Damn, Fleam, you should see what it's like here in the reddest of red states...you say denial? We got denial in spades in Texas. The Bay Area is a prism of enlightenment compared to our SUV-driving, megachurchgoing, flagwaving cretins. It's like when I see Magnus bitching about Swedish politicians; dude, you have no idea how bad it can be.
This is just MO, but one of the most important factors that will convince people, in my experience, is if you 'walk the walk' and not just 'talk the talk'. I'm not just talking about peak oil necessarily; I'm new to this community myself, but I've been interested in voluntary simplicity, sustainable living, non consumerism, environmental issues, etc, for years.

Now, what I mean by walk the walk is, you won't convince people to change if you talk about changing but are driving around a huge SUV and/or making 3 mile trips to the supermarket everyday. The same for recycling, not consuming etc. People are more apt to listen to someone who follows their own advice. (Case in point: people are less likely to listen to a doctor who tells them to stop smoking and lose weight if said doctor also smokes and is overweight.)

Also, don't get shrill or condescending. Don't preach. Find ways to work it into everyday conversations in minor ways. The first step is to get people to think. Once that happens, its much easier to get the point across.

Avoid apocalypse, die-off, and collaspe scenarios. You scare the hell out of people and they stop listening.

Above all, take it slow. As Carl Jung said, people can only handle so much reality at once.

"Above all, take it slow. As Carl Jung said, people can only handle so much reality at once."

I think I read once that it takes humans 3 years to change their minds about something big.

That's probably a junk number and idea ... but in a way it seems real.

Yeah, I'm not sure about that stat. I changed on PO in about 3 months.
It took me about 3 hours of reading, and then I kept reading/considering the implications for the next week.  It was tough as I stumpled onto the rough sites first (LATOC, die-off, etc.)
I consider myself an upstanding member of the reality based community, so perhaps that made it easier since I already was regularly thinking "realisticly" about the future.
I can't even remember HOW I stumbled upon LATOC, but for me that was the first site and boy was it an eye opener.  I was midway through my spring semester of college and started peppering my prof's with questions, but couldn't really make any valid arguments as my head wasn't wrapped around it.  

It still isn't but I think I can make some solid arguments, but academic weenie men seem to bury their heads in the grounds since they've got tenure.  I find it ironic when an econ professor is preaching competition but sits on his pulpit of tenure to avoid reality.

I was doing research for a story idea I had and Wanted to know a few facts. It was about 30 years ago when I was reading a new set of Tomes I had gotten from National Geographic that I really started to wonder abou the production numbers plus the number of people on the earth.  I was writting Sci-fi as soon as ahold of a pen and realized I liked to imagine things.  I honestly do not remember when it was, I know it was long before my parents bought there current house which is 29 years ago.  It was when I wrote a High School term paper about the Pros and cons of nuclear energy that I really got started on finding out what things were going on.  It was in the first months of my second marriage doing the research for the story idea that I found Campbell's work and then Dieoff and the Yahoo Groups and became a regular reader and Posting and talking about the issues to friends.  I knew things weren't going to come out okay from long ago.

My dad is a believer that the future will not be easy.  But he has always planned for a future that would not be easy.  He worked in Oil feilds as a teenager, he turned 70 this year.  The only thing my dad owes are some small credit card bills.  He still works about 40 hours a week, my mom would drive him nuts in a few days if he stayed home.  The people I talk to know something it up I tell them the truth, they can deny it and call me crazy, HAha, like that is something new. I don't care if they do or don't I just tell them what I know and where if they want to look to find it.

Hedging the bet of not losing your friends now just means when the bad things hit, and they turn to you who are prepared and ask.  "Why did you not tell me the facts?"  It will be to late for them, and you might loss them to death and loss anyway.    

3 hours +/-.

Hirsch and Campbell, Laherrère were completely adequate to 'get it'.  Everything after that is just details.

Were you quick guys firm in the other direction, and forced to swing around, or starting from a neutral (or like-minded) position?
I was neutral on PO, but a firm GW denier. As I said in another post I was a cum laude graduate of the Bjorn Lomborg School of Don't Worry be Happy.  SWMBO got me to look at some of the actual evidence, and I started to swing.  So I guess I was primed for the notion of PO, since I'd figured out that all that CO2 was coming from somewhere, and if I'd been wrong about GW what other problems was I missing?  When you're in that frame of mind Kunstler is very good at giving you your first "Oh shit!" moment.
One other thing - I started out as a techno-cornucopian, with an abiding faith in Space Elevators, Solar Power Satellites and Fusion the Fuel of the Future.  Luckily, coming from a scientific family gave me the reality-based background I needed to read and believe the data enough to change my position.
Boy, Odo, that is gonna take some time.  You see, I was born a poor...nah, better not go that far back ;)

In short, neutral.

I'm an engineer from a technically-oriented family.  I've subscribed to SciAm since 1981 and remember the 1998 article, The End of Cheap Oil.  My brother's a geologist helping to punch holes in WY for coal-bed methane, and I was professionally all about pipes, pumps, and tanks for about 7 years.  So I have a modest familiarity with the petro business, and if you make a convincing enough technical argument (the truth) I am willing to accept that you are right and to change any of my thoughts, beliefs, and prejudices that are inconsistent with the truth.

There has always been a vague sense that something was just not right with this (Life's) picture:  Limits To Growth, End of Oil, that sort of knowledge.  I'm guilty of not ever taking the time to really think through the whole trajectory thing.

Reading Hirsch, et. al. was profund.  It just made too much sense.  The daily drive provided  opportunity to see how much is predicated on cheap energy....which is just about everything.

Now, if I could just break this TOD addiciton I could get back to work!  I really have other things to do :)

I have been pretty enviro-aware for a long time. I believed in GW long ago, and I have always had a love of nature.
So the messages in The Long Emergency just made a lot of sense to me (infinite growth is not possible, there are limits).

I remember finishing the book while on a business trip and I needed to get out of my hotel room, so I went across the street to walk around Gander Mountain (outdoors store in the Midwest) and I had this smug grin on my face the whole time. My mind was saying "We're all fools! Look at all of this crap that doesn't even matter. It's so clear that this is impossible without cheap oil." It was a memorable experience and one that I think will stick in my mind forever. I can just imagine telling my grandkids someday... "You wouldn't believe all of the options we had. hundreds of different fishing poles, some costing $250!"

I was neutral.  Found out in 2001.  Hit an article at www.FromTheWilderness.com .  That was the first.  

A great ah ha moment was reading Heinberg's "The Petroleum Plateau"   (still one of the best for a new person I think).  

Just looking around and saying "I knew this couldn't go on forever,  Now I know exactly why it won't"

I worked for a Plastic company making plastic film.  We bought millions of pounds of Polyethene a year.  After I "Awakened"  I started talking to the Purchasing Manager who bought all the plastic resin.  Told him about it.  

Awhile later he said,  "Last night I layed in bed thinking of all this, and his wife said,  What's wrong?  He said, You don't want to know"

I have "Awakened maybe 10 - 30 people I know about since 2001.  And Yes, about only 2-3 are actually doing any prep work.  

Also,  Reading "Eating Fossil Fuel" (also published at FTW),  I REALLY knew we were F$#@ed.

Sold my house 2 years ago at the peak in our area,  Still renting paying bills,  Going to do the "Farm"  thing.

The most amazing thing these last 5 or so years has been watching people you tell go thru the stages of denial.  It has been a very eye opening experience.  

Perfectly intelligent people Refusing to look at facts.

I now hold little hope for the masses.  The inertia of their beliefs will kill most of them.  Like the scene in one of the Raiders of the lost ark, when the girl had a hold of the piece of gold, and him yelling "Let it go let it go"  she did not and fell and died.  

That same firm grip is around 98% of the peoples belief systems.    I am very optimistic about individuals and individual communities,  by on the 6 billion?  A VERY large number of them are going to die I sincerely believe.

Watching the unfolding of world events the last 5 years... Every day just reenforces that belief....

Sad, very sad.


I'd say it comes from a couple of years of reading PO and originaly the Car Free Movement stuff..... just looking at how much money having a car costs.

I grew up in a family where the encyclopedias, yes there was more than one set, took the place of a Bible. In fact the first time ppl came to our door talking about "cheesis" I had no idea of what they were talking about lol!

Grandfathers in my family were well established techie types, a good background in Firm Hard Science. We had TONS of books, the Life Nature Library, The World We Live In, tons and tons of Science For Kids stuff. When I was 11 or so, my two most beloved toys were a chemistry set (did all the experiments I could and then some others I cam up with) and a microscope. Earlier, I used to wish and wish and dream and dream to "someday see cells".

So, how did my family's fortunes go in this Big Oil Party? The generations worked out just right to not serve in WWII, but the techie grandfathers did scientific work for the War, one did work with ores for The Bomb. When my mom was a kid, her father died so they ended up a mom and kids family trying to hang onto their erstwhile upper middle class lifestyle and I don't think they had to live in any rooming houses, they did OK. Of course my Dad grew up a spoiled kid and went to an Ivy. Score: Good starts, so far Mom not doing as well as parents, Dad inconclusive. So, they marry. Have a bunch of kids (us) and from the sound of it, Dad already rather repelled by the regimented IBM type culture but is still able to find plenty of work as a programmer. Loving Thurber and Seuss and Ogden Nash helps more than a lot of math for programming! Mid-70s find my partents being on the edge of foreclosure out of the one large, middle-class house with a big yard we have. They are on the edge of divorce. They sell that house just before we're booted out, and buy a "prefad" out in an exurb. It's 30 miles to town and one hell of a long drive - an hour, and Dad buys a 2nd, thrifty car because even back then, gas is expensive for a big station wagon. Dad is progressively settling for less and less pay though, and tries everything under the sun. He ends up programming as an independent contractor, so it's boom or bust. Just after the mid-70s finds my parents divorced although since they never did it officially, I guess it's seperated. They never rejoin. We are foreclosed out of this exurb house...... Score: Both parents worse off than their parents, in fact at this rate, Mom and us worse off than she was back in the 40s/50s living with her widowed mom. Mom works out how to get Welfare, and the next several years are a matter of us growing up, dodging school (when you're on welfare you go to horrible schools) scrimping and scrounging. No telephone most often and at times no electricity. If it weren't for Welfare we'd have been in a homebuilt shack and digging in trash cans for sure. As we're getting old enough to take off on our own, we are, ASAP. My oldest sister has by now, my older brother doesn't come home any more (he seems angry and disgusted with how "beaten down" we are when he does, he's doing better on his own). My dad has gone to work in Iran, and sends some money, which is most often used to try to fix up this or that @#%$#$ old car we have, that sits on the lawn. The Iranian Revolution kicks him out, and not too long after that, he's in town and myself and the two younger ones decide to take off, essentially run away, from home and go live with him. He does his best, but is just not able to support us. It ends up a sort of "commune" situation, with us, my oldest sister, and him, each one kicking in what money they can. At least we're not on welfare. By the mid-80s, friends and in my mom's case, a care home, are all that keep them off of the streets. The military provides a way out of poverty for some of us, but none of us are smart enough to become "lifers", we all have these insane dreams of Progress, not realizing that the lowest-common-denominator military is still a better career path than anything practiceable "outside".

Score: Well, we may live longer than our partents, who died in their early 60s both, utterly beaten down. And maybe not - time will tell. I'd have to say we've done better than our parents, simply because we've never reached the heights they did, so no "crash and burn". None of us have had kids, I think we've all been horrified at the thought. So, in a very essential way, our parents did get to procreate, and provide a decent life for their kids for several years. They got to pass on their genes. None of us have done that, like the various Aborigines who've just sat down and decided to not live, or often live but not have kids, as a reaction to the onslaught of "Western Civilization". In that way we of course are infinately less well-off than our parents.

So, it's been a case of constant decline, and these during times that most people are convinced were good. But, and this is a big BUTT...... this real-life experience is not supposed to happen in America, not in Amurrika, to say this may be the norm only more so, strikes right at people's basic Reason For Being.

I hate to be trite, but thanks for this post.

The most amazing thing these last 5 or so years has been watching people you tell go thru the stages of denial.  It has been a very eye opening experience.  

Perfectly intelligent people Refusing to look at facts.

I tried to make a similar point in an answer to another post:  The vast majority of peakers who understand what is coming down are still cornucopians at heart.  They appear to believe that life can go on pretty much as it is by tweaking the energy system.  I admit I'm a doomer and part of the reason is that I haven't seen squat (realistic squat anyway)as to how we are going to live in a no-growth, stable state society.


BTW I like your posts on Downstreamer's forum.  I used to post there until you had to "sign up" with ezboard.  That's a long time ago.  Good luck on the "Farm."

I agree about reality. To trot out a point I'm going to be making soon in a post, CERA/Yergin have the position that (paraphrasing) "this is not the first time the world has run out of oil, it is more like the fifth time".

I beg to differ. I would say that all previous predictions about running out of oil were made when were still on the left upward side of the curve. Only recently have we peaked (or are in that vicinity). This is indeed the first time the world is facing future declining conventional oil supply. No, we are not running out of oil. This is a straw man argument. Therefore, lessons learned from historical experience (false predictions) do not count for much in the present, there's a new reality for people to handle. That takes awhile.

We tell our kids that you have to taste a new food 10 times before your taste buds stop thinking it's weird and "icky".

Perhaps big new concepts like peak oil or climate change are like that to our mental/emotional taste buds? If so the increasing frequency of news stories should be whittling away at those 10 tastes.

Hope so...

Greg in MO

  People for the most part are pretty simple.  They tend to follow the path, line of thought, with the least resistance.  For the past 50 years, oil and energy has been plentiful, so why shouldn't it always be.  I drove my car yesterday, so why cant i drive tomorrow.  Thankfully we are also intelligent and if given enough evidence, will see that a prudent change in direction, even if its not easy, will benefit us all in the long run.  The key is what will trigger that realization.  The community here at TOD is enough evidence for me that it is possible, now i think it is our responsibility to help other see as well.    
Good points. I gave up trying to persuade anyone and we started to homestead at the edge of town. People love what we're doing, but most say  "but I couldn't do that." too much work, etc.

Eventually, however, when we're living in a verdant permaculture garden that is beautiful and sustains us, people will want to live like us for positive reasons. And in fact, any lifestyle change works far better if made for positive rather than negative reasons.

The way to deal with Peak Oil/Greenhouse Warming is through changing lifestyles. Ideally, people will change to be healthier and happier, but it is evident that it will also require the push of very high prices and declining levels in their present lifestyle.  

Even before you broach peak oil, an understanding of 'limits' is very powerful. I recommend Albert Bartletts growth lecture
Just remember that the exponential is not always the enemy ;-), and exponential growth in solar/wind would be nice.  Are we on one?
exponential growth in solar/wind will have negative externalities - the high EROI of wind will be split between entrereneurs and end users. if its SAVED or invested in conservation then it will be a good thing. if its spent on plastic crap and more global plane trips, then it is renewables gone bad.
So we better stop that solar and wind now?

Really, I liked that presentation as a reminder to folks that it's important to do the (sometimes exponential) math, but it's a sad misuse of the same presentation when people take away an innumeric message that all "exponential is bad."

Do the freaking math, and find out where on the exponential you want to run, and where you want to get off.

If for nothing else I hate Bush for introducing "folks" into the national vernacular.  Makes me cringe everytime I hear someone say this.
Heh heh, borrowing the weapons of the enemy ;-)
On 'Folk'
Interesting reaction.

I had an Irish girlfriend who cringed at the word 'Mate'.. (used as a noun, I mean.  I don't know if she'd ever heard it used as a verb.)

I'd hardly credit Bush for introducing it, but he sure does abuse it, as the 3rd Generation Yalie/ War Profiteer/ Teetotaler 'Who you could have a beer with'..  aww, shucks!

I looked up 'Vulgar' some months ago, and it too is rooted together with the word 'Volk' or Common People.  Pagan and Heathen aren't far behind.  The demonization of the 'untouchables' I think is a form of self-loathing that shows how closely we still identify and define ourselves with the Aristocratic models of society.  Everytime I look at a new 'Domestic Robot' coming onto the market to Vacuum, Serve Drinks and perform other 'menial tasks', I have to wonder if we still have a deepseated desire to have slaves.

Just started reading Howard Zinn's  "People's History of the United States".. Watch out, I'm going to get a little wild-eyed before long!


Further on Robotic Servants..

I mean, why make them Humanoid, if the goal is to Own them and have them 'Work for you'?  -Ask Asimov, on your next seance..

This is a link to an article I wrote called "Oil Shortages: The Next Katrina?" It is a four page PDF article, with easy to read graphs, and not overly scary conclusions. It is aimed at an audience of insurance executives, but others have found it helpful as well.


Dear Gail,

That is an excellent introduction to Peak Oil indeed.
Very basic, and accessible. Easy to read. I think it being addressed to insurers may raise some eyebrows in general.

People, pieces like this are extremely important because everyone understands that insurance premiums depend on risk. So even if someone is blaming high fuel costs to Big Oil profeteers, you may be able to show him/her that in the insurance industry PO is being taken seriously, and is going to show up in insurance bills.

Additioanlly, this is understandable for the youger generation.

Thank you very much Gail!

And I would like to add that it is completely and ultimately objective.
I liked your article.

Since the audience were people in the insurance industry you might have added that coal, tar sands and shale add to the risk of GW. And that the nuclear industry insists on being insured by the US taxpayer rather than by private industry.

Hi JetJockey,
I just got on board the Peak Oil train in May '06 and my life has changed in several ways. What spurred me was the article in Outside Magazine about Jim Kunstler. After reading that I checked out "The Long Emergency" and read it while on a business trip. When I got home I told my wife that the world is going to come crashing down and we're going with it. There was some real tension between us for a while. She didn't want to hear what I had to say, but I had no other outlet to discuss my fears.

I checked out the DVD "The End of Suburbia" and watched it with her. She was a bit more convinced about it, but at the same time she took the attitude of "OK, so we're all screwed and there's really nothing we can do." The real turning point was that we went to see her therapist together because my wife was tired of me coming up with impetuous plans to save our family (like move to the middle of the woods and build a cabin by hand and live off the land). It was scaring the snot out of her. So the therapist told us that we need to set aside 15 minutes each day as "Peak Oil" time, dedicated to discussing Peak Oil.

We started discussing Peak Oil from both sides, instead of me just spewing out all of my fears and plans. She told me about her fears and challenged some of the claims of PO, but we came to a middle ground on how we would handle it as a family.

We had two cars, so I sold mine and now bike to work (or bus). We have sold our house in the suburbs and are moving to an old neighborhood downtown (Madison, WI). We've changed some of our investment allocations and strategies (like actually having a savings account and no credit card debt). We've joined a CSA and get as much of our food as possible at the farmer's market. We're basically just trying to have less stuff, and when we do need stuff we try to buy it locally. Not only does it feel good, it's fun. Mostly we're not as scared as we were. We even joke about being warlords and reigning over the park in the neighborhood "after the apocalypse".

Most of the people I've shared the PO story with either buy it immediately, refute it completely, or just politely accept my views but never discuss it again. My parents can only wrap their heads around talking about using less energy, but aren't interested in talking about what happens to society on the downslope of Peak Oil.

My advice to you is to take actions that help you prepare for the future (or deal with the present), and when people ask you about something you're doing, explain your rationale as much or as little as you'd like. Be prepared to "take some arrows" from most people, but also be delighted when others engage you on the topic.

The truth is, no one knows exactly what will happen, and everyone comes from a different paradigm when describing what they think will happen. That's what makes this whole topic so fascinating.

Good luck!

In about two months you should get over to Budget Bikes Used Store (Regent Street) and get everyone fitted out. The selection is rather good in the fall, of excellent quality, and the mechanics are not busy so you can get racked and fendered, etc... nicely.

My entire family is riding mid-80's high end Trek sport-touring machines. All are used, all are fast and all set up to carry the groceries and school books. Nobody misses the cars <g>. Welcome to downtown.  

Thanks for the tip. I'll do that.
I'm always interested in meeting like-minded people. If you ever want to talk PO, Madison, biking, whatever, email me.
tandersonbrown <at> yahoo <dot> com
What's nice about the PO Movement, if we call it that, Peak Oil Awareness? PWA? Is, it's good for you! Biking is fun and saves you a lot of money as long as you stay away from the Pearl Izumi. Growing your own stuff is fun and tasty. Having chickens it not only about the eggs but getting to know chickens - they're nice people. Getting out of debt is Good. Downtown Madison has just gotta rule, you're lucky to have those choices. Getting into shape and learning some basic first aid (or last aid ha ha!).

There are books on becoming self sufficient published all through the Oil Party Era, even in the go-go 50s and 60s, there were people tired of the rat race and looking at how to drop out. I think the book "Your Money Or Your Life" was originally published in the go-go 80s.

Your story is eerily similar to my trajectory.  I also got my first "innoculation of doom" from Kunstler, then moved on to Deffeyes and Simmons, found this board and all the others including LATOC, and started seriously worrying about TEOTWAWKI.

I shared my voyage of discovery with my partner until she finally sat me down and told me she wasn't sleeping any more, and when she did, she was having nightmares.  I was forbidden to talk about problems any more, only solutions.  That is kind of tough when you have come to the conclusion that there really aren't any...

My partner is very environmentally and ecologically aware, and had a handle on the realities of climate change well before I'd left the Bjorn Lomborg School of Don't Worry Be Happy.  As a result the dangers we face are very clear to her, and she's very supportive of our powerdown actions.  We are still mulling over whether to move from our small urban bungalow in a walkable neighborhood to my parents' inactive 50-acre farm near a small village and just outside a medium sized city.  There are plusses and minuses to either location, so we're just keeping an eye on the situation for now.

In terms of talking to people about it, I guess I've been luckier than most.  My family all "get it", and I've had positive conversations with half a dozen or more co-workers, all of whom grasped the issue and the possible consequences right away.

In fact I just had a remarkable experience.  A new contractor moved into the cubicle next to mine an hour ago.  The manager he was working for introduced us, and pointed out the mounted "Oil Age" poster on my cube wall.  I said that oil depletion was a big personal interest of mine, and the new fellow responded with, "Oh, you mean the oil peak in 2010?  Let's talk over lunch."   So the ground is being plowed here and there.

I came at this from another side.  I'm a rare Gen-Xer, old enough to remember Carter and thought as a kid that he was right, had gotten a raw deal, and Reagan was messing things up.  My parents loved Reagan, but he gave me the willies.  I started biking late as a kid, but got seriously hooked on it, and have been biking for transportation ever since, especially in the past 25 years or so.

I first heard about Peak Oil in Campbell and Laherrere's article in Scientific American in 1998, then in Newman and Kenworthy's excellent book "Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence" back in 2000.  A friend pointed out EnergyBulletin a few years ago and I discovered the Peak Oil blog community and the usual stream of books, starting with Goodstein's "The End of the Age of Oil", another excellent book that delves into the thermodynamics problems.   I think I got it the day it hit our library.

So, I would say that I never felt like I fit in the 80s and 90s, but I feel at home in the 00s so far.  I'm not a doomer, but I do think things are going to be miserable for a while, particularly for people who think we're still in the 80s/90s.


Why do you assume your life after the peak will be worse than it is now?

Is it because you will no longer be able to drive a combat vehicle to a box store to buy stuff made in China?

Is it because of the likely loss of stuff like reality TV, political correctness, chain stores and easy motoring?

Is it because you will have to work to optaing stuff rather than taking on more debt?

OK, if your only skills are a bullshit degree in arts or literature, you're in debt and you live in a desert only made habitable by cheap energy, then you may indeed be f@@@ed.
But if you live in an aerea with relative food security, know a practical skill, have almost no debt and is prepared to work hard. Who is to say your life in 10 or 20 years won't be both richer and more fulfilling than today.

Does this apply to people living in Zimbabwe, Chad and Bangladesh too?  While I agree that panicing is pointless, the notion that the post-peak world is going to be some kind of reborn low-energy high-involvement utopia is, IMO, denial of the worst possible sort.

The "world problematique" is a lot bigger than just Peak Oil, and the walls of the ecological box we're in are closing in from many other directions as well. PO is merely the pointy end of the stick, and its effect on American consumer culture is arguably the least important of its possible outcomes.

"Does this apply to people living in Zimbabwe, Chad and Bangladesh too?"

The answer to that is simple. I don't live there, and I couldn't really care any less what happens to those people.

The fact that someone would care if people 10000 miles away gets to live or die, is just another symptom of the way cheap energy has perverted our morals.

Post peak I will do my best to help people close to, or near me.
No doubt people like you who consider yourself morally superiour to the rest of us, will waste your time and energy trying to help the unhelpable and prevent the unpreventable, and feel better doing so even if you're no different from a clown in a circus.

Hmm.  I think you're reading things into my post other than what I put there.

My sole point is that the scale of the problem is enormous, and will affect everyone on the planet.  The fact that we live in a global economy means that events that influence people in far-off places will inevitably have reverberations closer to home.  I agree that the best most of us will be able to do is help those closest to us - our families, our friends, our neighbours, perhaps our communities.  But that limited horizon of action shouldn't prevent us from understanding that if there is a calamity it will be global in scale.  And I  maintain that the demise of the american consumer culture will be the lest significant event we will experience.

Oh, and who are the "people like me" exactly, and how do you know I'm one of them?

"The fact that we live in a global economy means that events that influence people in far-off places will inevitably have reverberations closer to home."

This is a false problem. We only live in a global economy because of cheap energy. Farewell cheap energy, farewell global economy.

"Oh, and who are the "people like me" exactly, and how do you know I'm one of them?"

I have a deep hatred against anyone trying to lecture me about right and wrong. Beeing a gen-X'er and a white male I have had to listen to this sort of crap all my life, and am past the point where I'll take it anymore. If I was wrong I apologise.

Confucius say, "Reflexive responses based on assumptions rather than observations can cause a person to make a lot of mistakes in life."

That's the most lecture you'll ever get from me.

I think people do not fully consider the effects of Peak Oil in a really scientific way.

The fact is that the petroleum efficiency of large cargo container ships for the economic value delivered is very high.

The real expenses in transportation are local delivery.
Given that China is not stupid, they will probably have feeder rail direct to the ports.  Transportation from Shanghai factor to San Pedro will be cheaper than delivery to Riverside per unit value.   We will still be in a very globalized economy and with the poverty which will come getting the very cheapest stuff will be paramount on most people's mind.

Also, the notion that we'll all be better off in rural areas is probably not true either.  Rural living uses a whole lot more petroleum per economic output.   If you are rural, and you don't have cheap oil, you will be very deprived and poor.

A few people owning the farms of energy crops will be very rich, but the products will go to concentrated delivery points where customers with the most money will be around, and that probably means cities.   Maybe if you are near a rail line---and the rail system is heavily upgraded, and they go back to very dirty coal-based locomotives---you might be able to do OK like people did in the Midwest in the mid to late 1800's.

Sometimes I think that the "relocalization" meme is more of a wishful thinking than clear analysis, that we can become a world of shining happy socialist kibbutzes.

Given the specific economic facts of increased petroleum cost, I think the future will probably be very crowded cities with teeming masses of shanty towns.

Look at poor countries.  The effect of too-expensive petroleum has already hit them.   Most people can't afford cars or fuel to run them. Extrapolate that.  There, the pattern is that the wealthiest elite live in the center cities where there are better provisions for public transport and infrastructure.   With Peak Oil, these will become more desirable and the wealthier people will bid out the poor people.  

These cities are surrounded by teeming masses of poor people in shantytowns with little transportation and few economic prospects as a result.

They move there to escape the even worse poverty of being isolated, without transportation or economic opportunity, in the countryside and stuck with non-mechanized agriculture.

I grew up in inner city poverty, and let me tell you, I will take country poverty over city any day.
"Does this apply to people living in Zimbabwe, Chad and Bangladesh too?"

The answer to that is simple. I don't live there, and I couldn't really care any less what happens to those people.

This reminds me of a cartoon someone posted on TOD awhile back. The General is looking at a new rocket and addressing the Major...

General: And what do you use for fuel?

Major: We use babies sir, we grind them up into a fine paste...

General: What! That's disgusitng!

Major: But sir, they are not American babies.

General: Oh...okay then.

The answer to that is simple. I don't live there, and I couldn't really care any less what happens to those people.

But Darwinian, isn't Hurin's comment Darwinian? (ie consistent with the survival of the fittest ethos)

But Darwinian, isn't Hurin's comment Darwinian? (ie consistent with the survival of the fittest ethos)

Of course. And your point is?

But on the other hand one might agree with Kathren Hepburn's character in "The African Queen":
"Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put in this world to rise above,"  

My position; I am not saying.

consistent with the survival of the fittest ethos

Or is it survival of the luckiest?
Which is worse with respect to Political Correctness?

I'm not panicking. I'm sort of excited to see what happens. I think we're living in an incredible era and I count myself lucky to be on the cusp of a potentially huge change in the course of the human trajectory. I think the events of my lifetime have the potential to be exponentially more eventful than the lives of my recent ancestors.

My overriding desire is for Earth to win, regardless of what happens to humans. At some level you just have to remember to enjoy each day as much as possible and make the most of life. I plan to laugh and smile even if I'm a peasant working under the thumb of some Post Carbon Warlord. Perhaps you'll be next to me exchanging jokes while we hoe the fields...

"Perhaps you'll be next to me exchanging jokes while we hoe the fields... "

I hope I will not come to this. I believe in human ingenuity. The difference between me an the flat earthers is that I don't expect human ingenuity to yield the impossible.

I expect us to create an advanced culture based on electricity rather than human labour. We have the power to persevere in the face of enormous odds, but cheap energy has reduced ud to charicatures of our former selfs.

Unfortunately electricity is not a good replacement for oil and natural gas when it comes to create stuff like fertilicer and pesticides.

Actually, some of the third world countries will have an easier time adjusting to PO than the developed nations. Why? Because they haven't benefited from oil as much. Many of them will suffer population crashes if/when foreign food aid is cut off, but that will happen globally.

In a way (and I say this with complete irony), all those dictators hoarding the oil money in many places is a good thing, because they have left traditional lifestyles and values more or less intact.

So, despite having a severe overpopulation problem, most of the third world countries will be better off than us. Exceptions would include China and Bangladesh, as well as other places that have become both extremely overpopulated and environmentally devastated.

So, despite having a severe overpopulation problem, most of the third world countries will be better off than us.

This statement is very dubious for the following reasons:

(1) The third world lives much closer to the edge of starvation than we do.  In the first world, it takes only a tiny fraction of one's income to provide an adequate diet.  As an experiment last winter I lived on $2 of food per day for 6 weeks (and gained weight!).  According to online resources that allow you to analyse your diet, it was nutritionally sound. (grains and beans purchased in bulk, fruit and vegetables as side dishes.  A can of fish once in a while).

So, if PO effects were large, we in the first world would shift more resources (especially remaining oil) to food acquisition and abandon meat consumption.  It's possible that food could increase 50x in price without threat of starvation.

Currently I can feed myself on less than 1% of my income.  That's the kind of cushion we have.  The third world has almost no cushion at all.

(2) Also, the third world population explosion did not come out of reliance on a pristine traditional way of life.  It is sustained by western technology and medicine and grain imports that coult be far too expensive in a PO situation.      So, starvation stalks them far more than it stalks us.

So, starvation stalks them far more than it stalks us.

May be, may be not, but I don't think the "absolute" death ratio from starvation or other causes (diseases, riots, etc...) is the most important factor.
The resilience of the established local social and economic practices seems far more important.
Third world countries would probably withstand much more INITIAL damages than developed countries before the social fabric starts to crumble.
In "developed" countries the supply chains are much more brittle (BECAUSE of their higher performance, JIT etc...) and the expectations of the citizens much higher so that in spite of more available ressources and much minor initial life loss trouble like strikes, survivalist wackos running amok and so on will more easily cripple the remaining functionalities.
A collapse could ensue which will precipitate much higher devastation than in third world countries.

In "developed" countries the supply chains are much more brittle (BECAUSE of their higher performance, JIT etc...)

The supply chains are long, but I can't see how they are brittle.  They are in fact quite flexible as there are often several ways of getting what you need at every point along the way. (For a current example:  Prudhoe so far has been a yawn)

As far as food and fuel, are concerned, in difficult times those supply chains would be the responsibility of the military.  When it comes to logistics and supply lines, nobody  tops the US military.  (I'm a Canadian, by the way.  There is no rah rah patriotism in that statement!)

There are plenty of examples in the last century of advanced urban societies suffering from the sudden onset of crippling conditions that turned out to last for years.   Ration systems were implemented and enforced.  The vast majority submitted peacefully.

Are you saying that the US is uniquely unable to handle such things without disintegration?

What about the Great Depression?  WWII?  As an outside observer quite familiar with US history, I would say that many Americans are capable of enormous sacrifice on behalf of the collective.

They are currently capable of dying in large numbers in distant lands to secure those energy supply chains.  Is there any reason to believe they would not be even more ready to risk their lives when the armed forces are tasked with securing vital supply chains for their home towns and cities?

Note: I'm not saying the country would not be stressed after the oil peak.  I'm just not buy the "House of Cards" theory of the american state.  The best cure for that is to read history in detail.  There were all kinds of nasty uncooperative people back then too.  But the modern state is not a fragile entity.

As an outside observer quite familiar with US history, I would say that many Americans are capable of enormous sacrifice on behalf of the collective.

Historically yes, of course, we have seen it.
Is it still true today?
For people (not just Americans) to endure lasting hardships they have to have an understanding of WHAT they are suffering for.
BTW, I was not talking just about the US but all developed countries.

But the modern state is not a fragile entity.

"modern" ?
How is the "modern state" more resilient than Rome, or, recently the Ottoman or British empires?
A decay of the capabilities of the modern state occuring in a context of dwindling ressources base is certainly to be taken seriously.
When the British empire failed there were no extra global handicaps.

No, I certainly wouldn't say the modern state is more resilient than the empires you  mentioned.  Neither am I convinced they are less resilient.  Tough comparison.  Those three certainly took a real beating before they went down.

For people (not just Americans) to endure lasting hardships they have to have an understanding of WHAT they are suffering for.

Indeed.  But, if the peak passes and the worldwide effects appear on their TVs every night for years on end, my guess is that, say, 80% would clue in and resign themselves to hardship albeit with a lot of grumbling. That new consensus could get pretty pushy on the holdouts who threaten to make hard times even worse.

BTW even global warming is becoming easier to sell these days.

But you and I are agreed that the social fabric must hold in order to prevent mass death.

Americans are not known for their stoicism.  But they are known for eventually undergoing rapid transformations in the face of threats that are "clear and present".  When you guys finally get it, you really get it!


When you guys finally get it, you really get it!

It's been known for a while:
"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."
    Winston Churchill

But THAT may be the problem : "after they have exhausted all other possibilities" ...

Tom, on behalf of the Madison Peak Oil group, welcome to downtown Madison. We meet in RENEW Wisconsin's office once a month. See www.madisonpeakoil-blog.blogspot.com.
This is so awesome! Thanks for the link and I'll be coming to the meetings.
I appreciate the link as well.

-Gary near the Arboretum.

You have probably noticed a lot of books/authors get mentioned here. Most are well worth looking into. The library system has not let me down even once! Last week a poster mentioned "Last and First Men", a sci-fi novel published in 1931! How obscure is that? Yet... it's on my nightstand now.

If you see a book mentioned here, you can have delivered to your local branch, usually within days. Catalog is here:


Many (most?) people view thinking about peak oil
and its scenarios with the same enthusiasm as
pondering whether they will catch a terminal disease
today. It scares the literal hell out of them and
they don't want to think about it anymore. I have
learned (the hard way) to keep my opinions to myself around my house. I keep a low profile and prepare
quietly to protect myself and those near who will
depend on me.


Thanks to everyone who posted, I now have a whole arsenal to bring to my family, and i intend to make them die hard peak oilers.  Society can change, and you guys here are defiantly right at the forefront.  Keep up the good work.  Remember, the consequences of inaction are too great.  Those with knowledge have a responsibility to tell others, even if it falls on deaf ears.  
Hey one more thought, my apologies if this has already been repeated.

I bought the "Oil Age" poster, and it's hanging on the wall in our apartment, in between some furniture, where someone can walk up to it and read it in its entirety.

Absolutely everyone that comes over to our place walks up to it and asks about it.

It's a great way to kick start a discussion with someone not peak oil aware.  That way, that person is the one who is curious, rather than you/I bringing up the topic ourselves.  I will usually discuss the issue to the level of detail that the person seems interested, based upon their questions about what I think about peak oil, etc.

I also bought the poster for my wife to take to school and hang in her classroom.   (She teaches high school French!)

Its great how quickly many of the kids grasp the implication of peak and its many potential consequences.  The kids seem to get it a lot better than the adults.  They haven't solidified their world view and closed their minds to both the voluntary and involuntary change that may result from the more pessimistic scenarios of oil depletion.

I was carrying my newly mounted Oil Age poster on the elevator at work a couple of weeks ago, and three young men who work in the building asked about it.  When I started to explain I saw their interest spark up, so I got off the elevator and spent ten minutes explaining the different aspects of the problem using the poster as a prop.  Three more seeds planted.

That poster is the best conversation-starter you could ask for.

I like that idea very much.  Something that sparks their curiosity, with out being overbearing.  I think my office will have a new piece of decoration next week.
The observation of many here including me is NOT to talk about PO too much. Change your life first. That's most important. Then as you get more familiar the subject you can start creating the psychic space (really mental space) in friends minds. Creating that psychic space is a subtle business. People are more impressed with what you do in your personal life, not with what you talk about. They might think you crazy, but they will think you are serious about the subject.
some advice to help friends and family see the light, or "peak" if you will.

ADVISE: Don't do it. Not with your friends and family that is. Practice on strangers if you must.

Just because you have become "enlightened" doesn't mean others around you are ready for equal enlightenment

(Right click and "View Image")

To change a willing mind takes five years. (That is a quote from Garrett Hardin.)

Be patient.

In my experience, the best way to deal with Peak Oil is indirectly. You cannot beat something with nothing, and you cannot convince people to (in their own eyes) be less than they can be.

Therefore what?

Be honestly cheerful. Hey, let's go fly a kite, . . . go for a bike ride, . . . go sailing, have GAS (Great Aerobic Sex) all night long!

The problem is not just with oil or energy consumption. The problem is that too many people believe that Happiness is Buying Things--the big lie of advertising. Until we can convince people that happiness comes from reading aloud to one another as adults, from singing and drawing pictures and listening to one another's stories, from having meaningful and purposeful work, from a network of friends, from good habits, from volunteering and helping others when and how we can, from grassroots participation in local politics, from playing softball and pitching horse shoes, and so on, there isn't much point in scaring them with the hard facts of peak oil.

Consumerism isn't wrong mainly because of peak oil. Consumerism is wrong because it leads to neurosis and misery and shrivelled personalities--and possibly ecocatastrophe or economic collapse as side effects.

Until we can convince people that happiness comes from reading aloud to one another as adults, from singing and drawing pictures and listening to one another's stories, from having meaningful and purposeful work, from a network of friends, from good habits, from volunteering and helping others when and how we can, from grassroots participation in local politics, from playing softball and pitching horse shoes, and so on, there isn't much point in scaring them with the hard facts of peak oil.

Nicely said, tho' I'd add "growing healthy, bug-free cabbages" to that list.

Two comments regarding the Prudhoe Bay situation of 400,000 bpd drop in production due to pipeline problems.

1) This was announced over the weekend and its now Thursday. Gasoline futures have traded down 4 days in a row since this news was announced. Not just for September but for the out months as well. Sep basis they have traded down over 10% from 2.35 to 2.13 in 3 days...Something doesnt make sense.

2)If I were a political leader in a stealth plutocracy, and I understood Peak Oil, I would entertain scenarios of 'false crises' to increase price and keep some oil in the ground domestically for a rainy day. It works out the same as a gas tax without the re-distribution (in theory). Of course so far its resulted in lower prices across the board.

I have no insight or knowledge to support this opinion, but events like this (now or in the future) seem plausible to me.

On the other hand, oil fields are prone to show production declines, e.g., Cantarell, and/or production/infrastructure problems, e.g., Prudhoe Bay.

This could be a classic case of a point where the price is supposed to go up but does not forming a short- or medium-term price top for oil. I suspect that by the end of the day tomorrow oil will be lower than it was when this news broke.

Just looking at this as any asset, when you get news that should drive prices higher, but the effect is weak and short-lived, that's generally pretty bearish.

I know most folks here are convinced that we're past peak. I'm open to possibility, but very much on the fence. The Ghawar data seem preliminary, for example.

It will be interesting to see where crude goes in the next few months. The slowdown in the USA is getting more and more apparent. Domestic demand (at least) ought to slacken a bit.

I will add that westexas' idea of oil available for export is a powerful one though, and it's hard to see how that can be reversed anytime soon, if ever. Titanic battle going on now over oil prices...


I agree with your sentinment, although I many traders probably already knew about the possibility of the Prudhoe disruption before the news broke.  In other words, I think that when the news came out and crude prices went up 2% or so, this was just the last push of traders, many of whom had already "priced this in" to a barrel.  So the real effect on prices of any one event like this is probably impossible to determine, but it may have been more than meets the eye, if one believes that this type of market information is diffused before the media picks up on it.  

So even if crude trades lower than when the news broke, that does not necessarily mean that this disruption has had, or is having, no upward effect on prices.  Who knows one way or the other . . .

 The government said they will allow refiners delivery of the SPR oil if they need it. I think the market sees a net gain in supply. Prudhoe Bay negative 200-400k per day, but SPR is huge so we're all good.   Just a thought
"but SPR is huge so we're all good."

We are "all good" in the short run.  George Ure, at Urban Survival, asked me about this (will see $10/gallon on the West Coast?), and I told him I expected to see West Coast increases of cents per gallon, and not dollars per gallon.  I also said that the Ghawar/Cantarell stories are vastly more important stories than Prudhoe Bay.

The problem is that the new "swing producer" is the release of oil from emergency reserves.  We have not fully replaced the reserve release from last fall, and they are talking about another release.    

 I agree with you. I was just saying that could be how the traders are thinking.
 When a similar supply disruption occurs and the government says "Damn, the SPR's empty",,that will be a good time to buy gas futures.
This is a perfect example of how the market will not solve the peak oil problem. We have less oil overall, and less available for emergencies, but prices go down because there is a surplus available NOW (due to tapping of SPR). Economic theory of substitutability a) ignores timing b)has never been tested on something as centrality to our infrastructure as oil and c) focuses on short term marginal availability, not long term scarcity.

The fact that Prudhoe Bay / SPR combination results in lower prices should give evidence to the danger of just-in-time economic theory.

Do you think the SPR is sufficient to forestall alt-energy initatives?

I think all it can do is smooth the smallest, sharpest, bumps.  It can average prices, but it can't change the trend.  To change the trend, the SPR would need more oil than Sauidi Arabia ;-)

It is important to recognize that the Alaska pipeline issue must have been recognized and well planned by BP's senior management and their closest business partners. The mitigation was handled before the announcement was made.

The trading community realized that BP had plenty of time to get their ducks in a row before closing the field. Ergo...BP has already bought oil and was/is prepared to supply the refineries. It is obviously good business practice to protect your downstream operations and major refining partners.  

Just-in-time economics gets trumped by the unforeseen. Not the case here. These guys covered a bad situation well.

The time from when BP found out was the time they got the data back from the 'smart pig'. I don't know the exact date but the be more than a few days.

I don't buy the idea that BP knew about this a month ago. The risk of getting found out is just to great. Just think of all the people who would hve to be able to keep a secret, workers, engineers, staff, management.

MSNBC is reporting that this goes way back, part of a scheme by accountants to "save money".
I think you are seriously underestimating the organization.

We've seen posts here indicating employees communicated these issues. They had a big spill earlier this spring, etc... This is a billion dollar asset, should one believe their insurers and bankers were kept in the dark as well?

Finally, who believes they shut-in the field without explicit permission and collaboration from the government? Would you surprise the President and governor of Alaska like that? I don't think so. This isn't conspiracy theory, it's common sense.

The fact that the domestic oil market hasn't moved tells us the people who needed to be in the loop were in the loop.

I don't buy the idea that BP knew about this a month ago. The risk of getting found out is just to great. Just think of all the people who would hve to be able to keep a secret, workers, engineers, staff, management.

Hurin, you got it all wrong. The workers were telling everyone. They told their workers representive, (a kind of union boss for people who do not have a union.) He took these complaints to BP management. All they did was try to find out who was talking to him.

No one had to keep a secret. Management just denied ever hearing about any problems. No conspiracy, just arrogant management who put profit above everything else.

Just because someone leaks something does not mean they are going to be believed, especially if management denies it. The press will, more often than not, take the management's word for it.

One of the great, debilitating lies/illusions to understanding the world is that canard that "people can't keep secrets."

All right. To all you people who say that "conspiracies," "lies,"  Mortal Sins cannot be kept a secret, a challenge:

Post all you sexual indiscretions on the web now.

The BP board was warned about it two years ago. They chose to ignore it (and even sent ex-CIA agents after "whistle blowers".)

Many BP workers knew that the corrosion was getting very bad but management didn't want to lose money by maintenance.

It will be interesting to see how long they are off line. If they get back quickly, which the EIA and the market seem to expect, it will be a sure sign that the "surprise" was a lie - they knew all along. The reason I say that is that to replace 16 miles of pipe "unexpectedly" would take two plus years - you don't just wander into your local hardware store and say "Could I please have 16 miles of 34" corrosion resistant steel pipe. Oh, and could you please deliver this to Prudhoe Bay."  

Or do you mean the local Home Depot? What's a "local hardware store"? Anyways, Home Depot won't have 16 miles of 34" stainless pipe, nor a way to deliver it above the Arctic Circle.

Home Depot. You can do it, we can help.*

* unless it's for oil infrastructure!

According to Platts BP is going to replace the 34" with 18" pipe.  That's quite a reduction, the cross-section of 18" pipe is 28% of the cross-section of 34".  The article goes on to mention that the  34" pipeline was originally sized for 3x the current flowrate, and that the fluid velocity is too low to prevent separation of solids.  Water is likely to be dropping out, too.

Anyone know a good viscosity figure for Alaskan Slope crude?  I'm interested to see what the Reynolds Number is.

I would speculate that the 18" pipe was chosen partly on availability.  First on hydraulics, but I hope they made a few phone calls first to see how much they could get.

Platts also says that corrosion loss was 85% - 90% of wall thickness in spots.  The worst spot I ever saw during our smart pig runs was 80%, and that looked like a crater!

The Bellingham (WA) Herald reports on BP deals to get the pipe, although no mention of delivery.  Interestingly:

Chuck Bradford, an analyst with Soleil Securities, which covers pipe companies, said the BP orders, while not huge, will nevertheless be a boon U.S. Steel and Nippon Steel.

So the distance of pipe to buy may not be as big a deal as it would seem.  At 40 ft per stick, there's over 2,000 sticks to get.  And ship.  And coat, and....


Separately, ConocoPhillips spokesman Bill Tanner said Thursday that his company had invoked a "force majeure" clause in the contracts it has with customers who receive oil from Prudhoe Bay.

Seems to be a lot of force majeurin' goin' on this year and last.

MSN has an interesting article, too.  It's got good fodder for MikeA (microbes) and Westexas (reservoir dynamics).  Maybe I'll give BP a call and see if they need any engineering/project mgt help.  LOL.

Feds: BP OK to Keep Part of Prudhoe Open

Excerpts below:

"PRUDHOE BAY, Alaska (AP) -- The nation's largest oil field got a reprieve of sorts as BP announced it will try to keep part of its North Slope production running while replacing corroded pipes that have caused two spills this year.

Federal regulators late Thursday gave BP permission to keep the field's Western line operating, but ordered it to conduct more rigorous pipeline inspections."

"On Thursday, it said it was moving forward to replace the eastern transit lines that leaked, signing contracts with United States Steel Corp. and Nippon Steel Corp. to supply 10 miles of pipeline. Sixteen miles will be replaced. BP is working to win contracts for the remaining materials."

"BP planned to keep oil flowing from its western side, buoyed by signs that those pipes are in better shape following thousands of tests conducted after a massive spill of up to 267,000 gallons in March, said Craig Wiggs, an oil field manager."

"BP, which operates the oil field, has not yet said exactly how much the project will cost and whether it will divide costs with ConocoPhillips Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp., which share ownership of the field.

For refineries that normally get supplies from Prudhoe Bay, analysts say the shutdown is unlikely to cause short-term problems because most have a stockpile that stretches 30 to 45 days.

If the shutdown lasts several months, it could create further difficulties as refineries turn to other parts of the world for crude oil, said analyst John Thieroff with Standard & Poor's."
Article here:

Oil Field Shutdown Raises More Questions

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The shutdown of a large Alaskan oil field because of a small leak in one of the pipes is raising questions about whether there are more widespread problems in other pipelines used to transport oil throughout the United States.

For decades, some critics charge, lax government regulation combined with corporate unwillingness to make costly repairs has allowed corrosion and other wear-and-tear issues to fester.

''I think all the pipelines are in trouble regardless of who operates or who owns them,'' said Dan Lawn, who previously worked for the Alaska Department of Environment Conservation and is now with the Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibility, a watchdog group.

BP has approached the Japanese firm JFE Holdings Inc. and other steel producers about buying 18-inch pipe to replace the corroded sections at Prudhoe Bay, said David Belvin, senior technology manager of sales and service at JFE's Houston office.

Belvin said the company is asking for deliveries in September, which will be a challenge.

Although pipeline work in Alaska is generally done in winter, when the frozen ground makes surface transpiration easier, sections of pipe measuring at least 40 feet could be flown in and welded together sooner, he said.

``Can they work there now? Yes, they can,'' Belvin said.

Like other steel industry players, JFE is currently very busy, ``but can we make some exceptions? I think we're going to,'' he said, adding that Nippon Steel Corp.'s land pipe operation is booked until September of next year.

``I think BP will have to pay a premium to get it sooner,'' he said. ``They're going to have to break into someone's production ... they're going to have to pay a penalty.''
http://channels.isp.netscape.com/pf/story.jsp?floc=FF-APO-1333&idq=/ff/story/0001%2F20060809%2F1 742048922.htm&sc=1333

2.17 nymex-unleaded right now. I have a little bottle on the shelf of gasoline I just bought at $2.999, I thought it might be the last time one would see that. Guess not. Perhaps if the price keeps going down, that would allow for something else will have to break/shut-down/blow up/sink. Or maybe the price won't go down at the pump. Gamed, yes. ENRON'R'US


Nate --

Re: Something doesnt make sense.

While I believe prices are high based on the fundamentals, wouldn't we expect some price rise due to the Israel & Hezbollah war and the BP shut-ins? Say about 5 bucks, around $80/barrel. Gasoline trading down! This is quite amazing -- to us.

The summer driving season will end on Labor Day weekend. Demand always drops. Is it that simple? And today

Crude oil prices fell nearly US$1 a barrel Thursday after thwarted attacks on airplanes led many carriers to cancel flights, and could mean lower demand for jet fuel and dent consumer confidence.
Perhaps we should take all this literally without reading anything into it. Anticipated dampened demand are driving price, or at least holding it fairly flat. These traders are the ones who will take a bath if some oil shock occurs beyond what we've already seen. As usual, it is a groupthink phenomenon.

I am watching my oil stocks very carefully right now - ready to sell at a moments notice.
Something is very fishy in my opinion - with all the bad news lately - along with BP in Alaska - but crude has not gone thru the roof - and unleaded gas on Nymex is down again today - even with a bigger than expected draw reported yesterday?
Folks those guys in the pits are not dummies and they were not born yesterday - I am beginning to think this looks a lot like the 70's (I was born in 54) when all of a sudden the truth came out and markets collapsed.
the markets almost always know in advance what news is percolating beneath the surface. no doubt in a week or two we will know what the 'news offsets' are to Prudhoe/Israel/gasoline drawdown bullish headlines.

gasoline down another 8c today which makes 26c for the week so far. You might be right Dave - the british terror warning might reduce demand for jet fuel, so they can refine more gasoline....

now down 18 cents in one day! (I will have to check but Im pretty sure that is all time record for down day) opened week at $2.36 now at $1.99.  Must be some people really counting on switch from jet fuel....
and oil is down 2.45 and natural gas is down .14 even though the draw was larger than expected. Kind of like the 1970s? Watch out - Yergin may get the last laugh?
Imagine what the drops will be when UN gets cease fire in ME and Alaska is back on line?
here is chart
Look like the shorts won today.
I think a LOT of people are going to decide not to fly for at least a bit..... bottles of shampoo??  WTF? And, no major holidays coming up, so airlines may use a bit less fuel in the immediate future, don't the airlines gobble a lot of fuel?
8000 Hedge Funds control over 2.5 Trillion dollars in liquidity.  From what I read, at least half is concentrated at like 5 firms.  That is some incredible power within a stron incentive to make outsized gains, such as those that have been reported for the past two quarters.
A drop in jet fuel demand means more oil to become diesel and heating oil, which is good news for truckers and people heating homes with oil. Since those are closer cousins to jet fuel than gasoline, look for a bigger drop in those futures than with the gasoline futures. If all 4 go down in near-lockstep instead of the 3 above, it'll show refiners were busy twisting valves.
The "Market" sees no problems because the US Government has promised to supply all the oil needed from the Strategic Reserves plus Saudia Arabia has promised to increase production from 9.1 mb/d to 9.5 mb/d to make up for the lost Prudhoe Bay shut-in oil.
The "Market" sees this as "there will be more oil available than before and more oil available equals lower prices.
Now, if Saudia Arabia does not in fact increase production over the next months while Prudhoe Bay pipelines are being replaced/repaired and the Strategic Reserve starts to run out as a result of no increase in Saudi oil - Then you will see some significant price increases.
At least that is the way I see it at the moment.
Now, if Saudia Arabia does not in fact increase production over the next months while Prudhoe Bay pipelines are being replaced/repaired and the Strategic Reserve starts to run out as a result of no increase in Saudi oil - Then you will see some significant price increases.
At least that is the way I see it at the moment.

That's how I see it as well. If you look at what happened in the wake of Katrina, prices spiked, but then they settled out a bit, and started climbing once the outages were prolonged. That's the potential I see here.

Problem here is Petrologistics - they have been pointing out for a while that SA may have problems based on tanker loading - now yesterday they do an about face and state with certainty that SA will turn on the taps back to 9.5 without a problem?
I also understood that BP is going to use tankers to ship oil down from Prudhoe.  This should put more pressure on global tanker capacity, and might give the Saudis the excuse they need.
Now, if Saudia Arabia does not in fact increase production over the next months while Prudhoe Bay pipelines are being replaced/repaired and the Strategic Reserve starts to run out as a result of no increase in Saudi oil - Then you will see some significant price increases.

Well, the SPR has 687 million barrels in storage. If we drew the entire amount, 400,000 barrels per day, it would take 4.7 years to draw it down. I don't think we will have to wait that quite that long. And besides the pipeline should be repaired long before then.

I have to admit that I was not aware that the Strategic reserve was that big. Guess it pays to check numbers before posting <BG>.
Thanks for posting the correct numbers that show the correct relationship.
Another first-time poster here: I've got a question about wind power systems. There's a tiny discussion going on in our community right now about permitting personal (ie residential) wind power systems and the question is whether there are any viable roof-mounted wind power systems.  I've heard arguments about inadequate wattage and structural vibrations.  I'm very new to the wind discussion, so any suggestions or resources are welcome.
I don't think wind is the TOD specialty, but maybe I can help find some links.  One caution though ;-), one of the things I've been reading about small wind is that new designs are "less noisy."  I wonder how noisy "less" is?

OK, Realgoods sells a lot of alternative energy stuff and has some good information pages:


Here's a USA Today story on backyard wind, but maybe that's what you already know:


A workshop on homebuilt wind turbines:


And a PDF report from Vermont about "Wind Power in Your Backyard":


I know that's not very complete or rounded info, but I hope it helps.

A very nice site about DIY wind power systems.
Some are roof-mounted.


This is somewhat off topic for this board, but I'll tell you what I know.  The first step would be to contact your local building authority about installing wind turbines.  In many cases there are restrictions on the height of a turbine tower relative to the size of your lot.  In my area the distance between the tower base and the nearest lot line must be 1.5x the height of the tower.  In terms of mounting on a house, this usually does not work for several reasons that you already mentioned.  The most important is that you need to get the turbine up high enough to get a constant wind speed.  A decent rule of thumb is that the bottom of the turbine blades must be roughly 30 ft higher than any obstruction (buildings, trees, hills, etc) within 300 ft.  Just search the web on wind turbine information and you will learn a lot. Good Luck.
As a further comment - if like myself you find that wind turbines will not work due to building restrictions you should look into solar PV.  Although more expensive, solar PV is expandable, so you can start small and add to a system over time as your finances allow.  I just finished installing a 5kW system on my home.  So far this summer I have fed the grid with twice as much energy as I am consuming, according to my net meter.  Over a full year I expect to be close to zero net energy relative to grid consumption.  Next projects are solar hot water, and an electric car conversion.

Would you mind giving a few details on your system?  Location?  and Cost of setting it up?  I'm very interested in doing something like this on my house, but I'm in New England so I don't know how cost effective it would be.


I am located in southwestern Ontario.  Your solar input (hrs/day) is likely similar to my location.  Total cost was on the order of $10/watt, but I did all the installation and electrical work myself.  It is a grid-tied system with battery backup, so I'm powered during blackouts/brownouts.  Prior to doing the installation we cut back on our electricity consumption via the usual methods (CF lights, efficient appliances, powerbars on everything to eliminate phantom loads). If you are looking to do an installation for economic reasons you will be frustrated because the payback time is usually very long(>10yrs).  I never really figured my exact payback time because I felt morally responsible to take action, and I had the financial resources.  I live in a small community and the system generates a lot of interest from people walking by - a good way to start conversations about energy.
Hello SWF,
Are you a master electrician? I have a expandable PV system myself and the power company will not hook up grid tie(here its called "Interconnect") unless the permit is pulled by a master electrician. How did you get around that? I am in South Florida. We have FPL and in a county of 1.2 million people. I will be the only Grid tied system. Its really pathetic here.
FPL(Florida Pukes and Losers) at a regional planning session stated for the record, "Solar is not viable" for Florida. Go figure. It might have something to do with the fact they are covering the skies with their freakin "Persistant Contrails" that stay up and spread out to cover sky.
Good luck all newcomers(ps cut your entries and save them, this thing likes to eat posts,or maybe its just me :)
Calendula, we have a small roof-mounted wind generator (Southwest Windpower Air-X, rated @400 watts).  We bought it in spite of "experts" discouraging us (not enough power, vibration, too noisy).  We mounted it on a pipe tower attached to the end of the cabin and supported by struts from the roof.  All contact points with the cabin were vibration-dampened with motor mounts out of cars from the dump.  It suffices as an auxilary power source to our photovoltaic system, earning its keep during those short, cloudy, windy winter days and nights.  From inside the cabin it sounds like the wind, which we enjoy listening to.  From outside it sometimes makes some very loud noises, especially when self-regulating electronically in higher winds.  Our nearest neighbors are almost 3 miles away, so not a problem here, but in a residential neighborhood it could become an issue unless all your neighbors within 1/4 mile were sympathetic with your efforts.  For a serious wind generator we would try the Bergey X-1, rated at 1000 watts.  I'm not aware of its noise issues, but you would probably need a tower instead of a rooftop mounting system.
I also recently looked into a community residential wind project, and found the same barriers others have mentioned: zoning restrictions, cost, noise and miserable efficiency for rooftop turbines.  It is not a viable idea at this point.  In order to be realistic, you need open space with fairly strong undisturbed airflow and the ability to erect a good tall tower.  These criteria are impossible to meet in most urban settings.

Here's the alternative I found:  buy a a green energy electricity plan or join a green energy cooperative.  You get all the advantages of wind/microhydro/solar without having to put it in yourself.  You pay the green supplier, they buy power for you from green producers and feed it into the grid.  You continue to draw from the grid as usual.  The premium you pay ($1/day in my case) goes toward capitalizing renewable generating capacity.  For an idea of how it workd, take a look at http://www.bullfrogpower.ca.  There are plenty of these companies springing up all over North America.

Start reading here, and signup and post questions.

These guys KNOW Wind power.



Look at Windside.com, a finnish firm making 'Savonius' style Vertical Axis mills.  They are less prone to vibration, and make better use of the variable wind directions closer to roof heights.  Power output decreases greatly as the Height goes down, but this is a technology that is mechanically cheaper to create and mount (say, Homebuilts, if you're willing), less vulnerable to Gyroscopic stresses of a Rotating blade trying to turn about. (Some versions are very storm-tolerant as a result)

I'm hoping to build one, so as yet can only toss you their accounts of efficacy.  There are pix of them in use powering StreetLights in Japan, mounted as a spinning design-element, right around the post.

Bob Fiske

IMO because of the nature of wind's drastic scaling with height/size, a co-op is a better means of handling wind.

Solar on the rooftops, a windmill in a field or at the top of the town's nearest hill.

The last couple of days have given us pieces on alternatives to fossil fuels for transportation and/or electricity generation: nuclear(fission) and biofuels(ethanol). In both cases, most of the debate focused on whether or not they can be scaled up to make much of a difference without too many bad side effects.

Even if they are to some extent, however, neither is infinitely scalable. Implementing either in a big way enables us to continue to avoid looking at the elephant in the room, namely the economic growth vs. finite earth collision.

Perhaps it's too much to expect useful ideas or solutions for this to come from government or venture capital. The former of these seems to exist to grow in power, while the latter exists to grow money. Everybody wants a solution, but switching to something else without a change in thinking (spend! consume! more!!) just postpones the collision date a bit.

I'd suggest "energy intensity vs. finite earth collision."
This morning Amy Goodman interviewed Chuck Hamel on the Prudhoe Bay pipeline.   Democracy Now

Two years ago, a longtime oil industry watchdog named Chuck Hamel warned BP about corrosion problems. But his warning appears to have been ignored.

In 2004 he wrote a letter to the BP Board of Directors that said workers at Prudhoe Bay were concerned about safety, health and threats to the environment at the oil field.

TOD Community: Your comment please.
So far I've just looked at the headline.

Did BP Purposefully Allow its Alaska Pipeline to Corrode in Order to Shut it Down and Boost Oil Prices?

I never invoke a conspiracy when simple stupidity and lack of foresight will do. As a political liberal in social matters, it is distressing to me to see Amy Goodman always so offbase when discussing energy issues.

My assumption is that BP knew of the corrosion, knew (obviously) that the water cut at Prudhoe was 75% and rising, and knew that without ANWR opening, the pipeline -- and indeed the entire North Slope operation -- was on its last legs. So why invest bucketloads of money into fixing the pipeline? Better to baby it along as long as possible and hope for the best.
no it has been widely pointed out that when oil was cheaper bp has willingly skimped on it's maintenance. now they are paying the cost of it.
Regarding the BP pipeline situation, I am leaning more and more toward the following conjecture:

It is very expensive to maintain oil production operations on the North Slope, and for it to be profitable a certain daily average production rate must be maintained.

It is no secret that existing Prudhoe Bay production has been in decline for some time now. It is less profitable.

Some time back, BP made a business decision to shut down its Prudhoe Bay operations once production declined past a certain point. It  projected that the cut-off point will probably be reached in the not-too-distant future (say 5 or 6 years out).

BP's transfer pipeline is old and has been known to be in poor condition for quite a while.

It is very expensive to replace 22 miles of large-diameter insulated pipe in arctic conditions.

Ergo, BP made a conscious business decision to  bet in a race against time, i.e., that the pipeline would hold out until the projected time when the pipeline would be shut down.  

BP gambled, and lost its race against time.

Sound plausible?

Now, it is going to be even more expensive, as BP does not have the luxury of going about the pipeline replacement in an orderly manner. The smart and responsible thing to do would have been to have all the pipe procured and staged, have all the construction crews mobilized and at the ready, and then do the relacement in as speedy and painless manner as possible.

In my opinion, if indeed BP made the gamble I  described above, it was highly reckless on their part and perhaps even borders on criminal negligence.

The big question is, if they lost a gamble, will it be worth the cost of replacing the pipe.

Surely a project plan and estimate will be prepared and it will go to the board. The cost my be so high that the ROI will simply be unacceptable. We will be faced with another "shut in".  

I wonder what the minimum ROI they will accept is?

Hmmm... Assuming $1 million per mile of pipe (just a guess), and $28 million in daily sales (400KBPD X $70/bbl) I don't think they'll shut it in.

Add to that the political nightmares of having to explain to the Alaskan gov't & people their oil checks will be less moving forward...

It's a no brainer, or a way to get into ANWR, which if I was on the board would be something I would seriously consider leveraging...

I live in a rather affluent area, and so far most people just seem to be shrugging off the price of gas. They keep tooling around in their SUVs for no reason and driving back and forth to their McMansions in the burbs. Utterly convinced that their way of life will go on for ever. But then, that is human nature after all. Anyone who stops to think about will realize we can't keep on building SUVs and McMansion forever, but most people either avoid thinking about or refuse to deal with the implications.

BTW, I really doubt Yergin is as dumb about PO as he appears. It's his job to appear optimistic. If he came out and said we're at PO, what would happen? An instant economic meltdown and collapse. My guess is he knows the truth but can't admit.

I won't be on for a while after today. I'm not leaving the site, but I am setting sail with Captain Morgan for a week and a half, and won't have internet access. I intend to enjoy the beach while I can. ;-)

For what it's worth, the number of Priuses has exploded along coastal Orange County, California.
Thats because the drivers get to use the car pool lanes with one person/car, so toyota is shipping relatively more cars to CA than the rest of the country. The DMV is almost out of the finite number of special permits... demand for prius might decline soon.
I was thinking, since I often see them parked right along the beach, that there might be a cultural thing.  But it's true that the most recent reaction I've gotten to the Prius from 20-somethings was "cool, you can use the carpool"

That's a pretty neat trick, when you think about it ... getting 20-somethings to say "cool" about a funny looking economy car.

Gee, all the young people back in the 60's thought that little funny looking economy car called a VW "Beetle" was pretty cool - And they bought the heck out of it. It was cheap, fun to drive and economical. Not much new in the universe is there?
I have a 62 Bug that I drive and a 63 that I am restoring (I hope <BG>).
After you get your '63 Bug restored, any chance you might want to sell your '62? My first car was a '61 Beetle, and I've always wanted a '62 because the tail lights are bigger and the engine is better on the sixty-twos.

My current car has only 217,000 miles on it, and I plan to keep it at least until a quarter of a million, so there is no rush. (I drive less than 5,000 miles a year, but I like to plan ahead;-)

Sorry, if I get two of them running I will keep one for driving on the Minnesota salt strips (winter highways).
Take them to a place that does spray in bedliners like a Rhino Liner and get them to shoot the undercarriage.  That stuff really is tough and should considerably lengthen the life of the body of the car.  I had a friend shoot his bass cabinet with the stuff and the thing couldn't be beat.  I've even seen modified off road 4X4's completely covered in the stuff.  Invincible.
Plus you get to solve the world's problems by going out and buying a new car!  How cool is that?
I'm convinced the professional crowd, that happens to be my demographic, won't be impacted by the high cost of gas directly at the pump.  We tend to look at the price of gas and ask ourselves, what is our breaking point.  Most of "us", my colleages and coworkers, can live with $4 gas, $5 gas, $10 gas without a change in lifestyle.

The danger is that a lot of my colleages think that is the only way they are effected, the price goes up, somebody in Asia or Appalachia is forced to live without and they go on their merry way.  What they often don't see is that when "those other people" cannot afford their tank of gas, it means that they don't go to work.  Or they don't renew their cell phone plan, or they default on their mortgage.  and ultimately those things undermine the broader economy.

The relatively affluent can shrug off expensive gas.  But they are very vulnerable to economic contraction/unemployment/dropping property values.

Unfortunately they never think of that; I mean, what could possibly happen to suburban McMansions and Hummers to make the value go down? It's not like heating and gas will ever go up that much.

(That was a rough attempt at satire.)

These people live in a completely different world, I sometimes think. One of my coworkers built a new house not too long ago. Within six months he was complaining that they had outgronw it and they were going to have to move to an even bigger house. His complaint? The master bedroom closet was way too small, and there was no room for his clothes along with his wife's. I asked him how big the closet was and was floored by his respones. 'Only 40 feet by about 20 feet' he replied. That's 800 square feet. My entire house, excluding the garage is only about a 1000 square feet!

An 800 sq ft CLOSET? That could hold several studio apartments! Talk about out of touch. They should visit the residences of the schnooks who have to work for them to see how the other 80 percent live. I bet these whigning rich (for now) morons complain that WalMart workers are paid too much.

At 40 by 20, if it was just 10 feet longer it could hold TWO transit buses. Is their last name Marcos and the wife needs all that room for her shoe collection?

... And everyone forgets that everything that's made with or shipped using oil will rise in price as well... or that natural gas is in the same situation...  

This is a common refrain I hear.  Can someone tell me how much it costs to ship a container from China to the US?  (I'm talking one of those big steel containers, that they load onto container ships)

I could be wrong, but I bet it's cheaper then you think.  They get A LOT of containers on one of those ships.  How much oil does a ship like that use crossing the ocean?

Once that cost is divided up by the millions of computers, or tvs or whatever is being shipped, I think it's pretty economical.  I'd love to see some numbers though.

Can't speak for China, but From the US to the Philippines it's about $2500, from Aisa to the US it's about 2.5-3X that.  Never imported, just exported (a manufacturing line).

40 foot standard container.

So 40' x 8' x 8.5' = 2720 cubic feet of storage.

If I assume $7500 for shipping costs, that works out to $2.75 per cubic ft.

More expensive then I would have thought!

You also have to add in the fact that everything in those computers, tvs, etc, was made using fossil fuels, and that they will be transported from the port hundreds or even thousands of miles away where they are finally sold.

The same thing applies to food, unfortunately. Unless it is organic, it is made with huge inputs of fossil fuels. And most food is transported up to 1400 km from where it was grown to where it is sold.

To add even more to the waste, I have seen an article in the last month or two (can't find a link) to the effect that there are far more shipments of goods to the US than outbound from US, and given the cheap cost to manufacture shipping containers in China they are beginning to scrap quite a few empties here rather than ship them back.  Instead, they are just making more new ones in China - they're becoming like disposable soda cans.  

Maybe the next big thing in affordable housing in California...

The actual dims are (I'm using door opening dims because you've got to get the stuff in somehow) are:

12.04M long
2.34M wide (door width)
2.28M high (door height)

I looked at a couple records, and Michigan to Manilla cost $2400 for just the shipment part plus a few hundred in fees etc.  That was NOV last year.

And for us Yanks, those measurements are:

39 feet 6 inches long

7 feet 8 inches wide

7 feet 6 inches tall

or 2,271 and 1/4 cubic feet

That should hold Ms Marcos' shoes.

That closet could hold two sea containers. They must have a lot of clothing to store... or donate to the Salvation Army.
Part of the problem with trying to get people to accept what PO is that they really do understand what the consequences of shrinking energy supplies will be on their lives.  Post PO is not going to be a picnic; I am reminded of Churchill's famous WWII speech promising the British people nothing but "toil, sweat, and tears" when fighting NAZI Germany.  Initally, Churchill was a compromise choice of a divided cabinet.  It was only when the Wehrmacht overran Europe did the English finally accept the hard choices represented by Churchill's position.  Even then, after Victory in Europe, he was voted out.

There's nothing attactive about post PO life that is going to motivate people to accept it as something better then our current lifestyles.  Only the "survival" angle seems to play well with the few who can forsee the difficulties ahead.

Also, it has been my experience that "evangical Christians" are especially adamantly opposed to PO for two main reasons: one, it goes against their Bibical beliefs of an all providing God, and two, if there was to be a serious "tribulation" they, being worthy Christians, were pre-selected to be "raptured" out of harms way.

I no longer try to convince anyone of PO, I figure current events will make the lights go on, one by one.  The real question is if at that point, there is any time left to make any meaningful preparations.

Flavius Aetius


Glad to see you posting here again.  You know my answer from my postings on TB2K - hell no, there isn't time.  There isn't time for the psychological changes necessary muchless the physical side of it all.  I've been doing the food production and alternative energy thing for 30 years.  It is not something you can do "right now."  But, there are still a lot of cornucopian peakers who think we'll "transition."  Good luck.


Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report is out: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/ngs/ngs.html

Down 12bcf for the week...second down week in the last month.  Still way above last year though.


Over the course of the last three weeks, storage volumes have remained unchanged. This morning's results reflect last week's scorching heat waves. With more seasonal temperatures prevailing north of the Mason-Dixon line,  next week's figures should show a gain on the order of 20-25 bcf. The five-year average gain for next week is 66 bcf.  

A great location for tracking historical NG storage data is:

One thing that strikes me as I continue to read and participate at TOD is how much time folks are spending here and elsewhere getting their (our) PO fix. Expand this to all of the people surfing the net at work (shopping, reading about celebrities, chatting via IM, etc) and I get the feeling a lot of people aren't really "working". It makes me wonder about the nature of work and employment at this point in the history of Western Civilization.

  • Do you spend time at TOD during your workday?
  • If so, What percentage of your workday is spent at TOD?
  • How is it that you continue to keep your job even though you're only partially working?

The root of these questions is not to make you feel guilty (I already do - my answers to the above embarass me). It is to ponder the state of work. Would the economy change in any way if all workers expended respectable physical and mental effort toward their jobs while at work? Or is the American economy somehow impervious to the efforts of workers. There is no black or white answer, but I'm wondering about this and would enjoy knowing what others think.
(embarrassed silence)
I've read somewhere (and its widely recognized here, even by the human resources and industrial engineering sections) that the average amount of actual "work" performed during an 8 hour shift is only 5.25 hours.   But I personally suspect it's even less than that.
10% +/- on TOD & other related sites
5-10% on non TOD related sites

If we could have a 90% efficient work force (both applying labor, AND KNOWLEDGE / PROBLEM SOLVING), we would have a 250-300% increase in ultimate productivity.

But a 250% increase in productivity either equates into a 250% increase in energy usage, or equated into 60% decrease in employment, so let's not try to get all efficient like :-)

Actually, the more time spent on TOD the better. Doing anything else that fosters economic growth just hastens the day of reckoning.

Other things that are now valuable contributions to society:

  1. slackers

  2. pointless meetings

  3. mindless bureaucracies
I can definitely follow that logic. If my boss ever confronts me I'll be sure to walk him through this sort of thinking.

Very classic!

I'm semi-retired and generally have the computer running when I'm in the house.  I step into this room and surf-surf the blogosphere (using bloglines and 53 feeds), probably too often.
TOD is definitively addictive on an obsessive compulsive level. I'm trying to train myself to skip every other post. Just let it go.
I've begun to think that TOD should come with an addiction warning label.  Perhaps we can start a 12 Step program for recovering TOD addicts?

I've had several interesting events this week.  My principal joint venture partner just informed me that we are going to have not one, but two rigs solely devoted to drilling my deals, and on consecutive days I awoke to find my countenance prominently displayed on my two favorite energy websites.  My wife called to say that if anyone in the family is going to retire, it is definitely not going to be me (regarding my status as a "former oilman").   I also received the DVD copy of my debut on TV as  Peak Oiler (I suspect that our debate may have had some effect on Michael Lynch's article above).

On balance, definitely time for me to scale back my TOD commentaries  I'll try. . .

Jeffrey J. Brown

FYI--copy of my e-mail to the editors at the Energy Bulletin:

Two clarifications (and an apology) regarding the (Energy Bulletin) article:  

(1)  As much as some of my joint venture partners may wish that I had retired from the oil and gas business, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of my retirement are greatly exaggerated.

(2)  In regard to the East Texas Field, worldwide we use--from fossil fuel + nuclear sources (not just petroleum sources)--the energy equivalent of the entire East Texas Oil Field every 30 days.    We use the energy equivalent of all of ExxonMobil's proven oil and gas reserves in less than four months.  In my opinion, this is why it is imperative that we kill consumption, before consumption kills us.  I recommend an energy consumption tax, offset by cutting or eliminating the highly regressive Payroll Tax, combined with an aggressive wind and (probably) nuclear power program and an electrification of transportation program (see Alan Drake's articles on the Energy Bulletin).  

An apology.  On consecutive days, I checked my two favorite energy websites, only to find my countenance prominently displayed.  To paraphrase Richard Dreyfuss, in "Mr. Holland's Opus,"  this may be an occasion where those of you who are vision impaired may be glad of it; for those of you who are not vision impaired, I can only offer my profound apologies.

Jeffrey J. Brown

Um, I'm rather embarrassed right now. I work for an overstaffed government contractor on the cost-plus system, so I don't have much to do. I spend most of time reading books, studying, and surfing the web -and counting down the days until I leave to go back to school full time. I spend probably two hours a day doing real 'work', less when we're really slow, up to four hours when we're busy.
Heh.  I 'work' for the government itself, so when the paper shuffling is slow there's a lot more clicking sounds around my office.  I'm curious if there's a lot of people within government agencies lurking on TOD or related sites -- is there any good we could do from the inside?
Yep, another government worker here, mindlessly shuffling papers about. Egads!
On Predicting the Future

It's clear enough that the Perfect Storm is nearly upon us. Still, we cannot know what will happen; we can only guess. Here's a humorous reminder to myself and other so-called "doomers" who think they know what will happen.

In 1959, Arthur Summerfield, Postmaster General of the United States, said,
"Before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New
York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles.
We stand on the threshold of rocket mail."

These words of the chief mailman sound ludicrous now, but at the time they
made perfect sense. And his words did come true though not in the sense
he had imagined. Email does get delivered across oceans within hours
(or seconds) and we do have Rocket Mail (as in rocketmail.com).

On June 8, 1959, the US Post Office joined with the US Navy to conduct
a test run of missile mail. The nuclear warhead of a Regulus cruise
missile was replaced by post office containers carrying 3000 envelopes.
The submarine USS Barbero carried the missile offshore and fired it towards
its Florida destination. The test was successful, but cost and other factors
pulled the plug on the idea of missile mail.

Predicting the future is fraught with hazards, whether it's the trajectory
of a hurricane, the trends in a business, or the medal tally in Olympics.
But that doesn't stop us from trying.

Another one that comes to mind is "Nuclear energy will be too cheap to meter." The chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission couldn't have been more wrong about that one.

What will the future bring? How will we respond to this confluence of crises? Only time will tell...but we don't have long to wait.

I'd heard the rumours, now I see the signs!

So, what does a Canadian say when he likes something?  He says, "Not bad."  What does he say when he is totally, completely thrilled?  He says, "Not bad.  Not bad at all!"

Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Hahahaha!!! And there are parts of the US where really super great is "Decent" and really bad is "not too great" lol!
shush!  that's supposed to be a secret.  :)
Sorry! I found that url by mistake, at first I thought it was an hoax! :)
Hi Khebab,

Email me at Stoneleigh2006(at)msn.com to discuss.

A Canadian TOD is a great idea.  Although our consumption patterns are similar to those in the US, the energy sources are very different.  Hydro-electric and nuclear play a much bigger role.  And, of course, we have those gooey inland beaches.

Could Canada produce an AlphaMaleProphetOfDoom?

No.  But we might manage a DeltaAndrogWorrierOfLengthyDownturn.

All, the Canadian Oil Drum has already be rechristened "The Tar Pit".  Seriously though, TOD is addictive, there's far too much to read already.  PO is a global problem, probably (though Emirates buying BA would kind of provide a unique business opportunity - i.e. planes with jet fuel and *** (comments censored)), so my feeling is that it is best to keep the focus on one blog.  I live in the UK, went over to the UK drum once and fell asleep.  I want to stay here prodding gas guzzling Yankees.

Fire away

One Wolf

Yeah I figure that main TOD will be where I spend most of my time but the Canadian one will be a good place to organize meetings, for example.  GuiderGlider and I have been trying to find other TOD posters in the Ottawa area for the last little while.  Maybe the Canadian site will help.  
Maybe having UK / Canadian / European "Drumbeats" once a week / month would be a good way of linking local issues to the main site.  Also good for getting diverse opinion feeding into the local issues.
"Something funny is going on..."  I agree.  I've been reading TOD almost daily for the last four months (though it does tie into my professional interests, so it is "work" (how about that for a rationalization?)).  

The piece of the whole jigsaw puzzle that continues to elude me is the continuing inaction of the Bush/Cheney administration on the energy front.  Sure Halliburton and their oil pals are making money during this whole period.  While I'm open to conspiracy theories, in general I don't buy them for reasons already known (too many people have to keep quiet, bureaucratic ineptitude and inertia, too complex and noisy an environment to manage, etc.)  And I just don't think what we're seeing is only kleptocratic profit-taking while the whole ship goes down - too great a loss of political capital/legacy, which is more valuable than $$.  

We know they have long known about PO.  PO awareness surely has factored into the administration's decision making about taking down the Taliban, 2003 Iraq invasion, southern Lebanon, looming showdown over Iran nukes, etc.  But why aren't they setting off more alarms to prepare people for energy tightening?  Why is it all so eerily quiet now?  We also have to presume that the administration knows what the Saudis know about the size of their reserves.  Hiding the size of Saudi reserves is obviously intentional.  

So I find myself concluding, provisionally, that deals with the Saudis have been made to get us through some envisioned downslope and much will be made more public after this election cycle.  For 2007/8 I'm expecting a Bush-led "national emergency" campaign - energy independence (nukes, ethanol) for "national security".  

I think the easiest answer is "they think they have time."  Time for ethanol or hydrogen or ... in my opinion it all hinges on believing those "peak in 2020 or 2030" estimates.

I would suggest that part of the reason is the new thread that just started.

  1. If the world goes into a recession, the price and demand for oil will drop. This is a question of when, not if.

  2. New oil is coming on along with more efficiency (SUV sales are down). I always figured by 2009-10 there would be new fields pumping and delivering.

  3. There is a mentality among Bush and his supporters that look at the world like it was in the 1950's. Peak oil was not an issue then or now to them.
Odograph, maybe you're right - Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation may indeed be the best.  But I remain suspicious, though not conspiratorial.  Whu does nobody on TOD really appear to know what Cheney/Bush know or are planning?  This feeds the conspiracy "folks" here and elsewhere.  So far we know that Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Matt Simmons have personally spoken with the President and presumably the Vice Pres.  I've searched http://www.energybulletin.net and googled Roscoe Bartlett and find little from or about Bartlett after he spoke with Pres. Bush on 28 June 2005, other than releasing the Hirsch and US Army Corps of Engineers reports on his website and hosting a conference with key PO people in his home district late 2005, except this:  

"Congressman Bartlett declined to discuss or characterize any of his private conversation with the President, but said that he was very happy about the meeting."

Has Matt Simmons revealed anything about his conversation(s) with Pres. Bush or VP Cheney?  

In other words, is there any firsthand evidence of what this administration thinks about PO?

This is doubly weird because there are certainly "folks" at DOE and elsewhere in the Executive Branch who read TOD and related sites, and know the whole PO story.  Why do we have no/few signals, direct or indirect, from this administration?  The idea that "they don't want to rock markets or stoke public concern/panic" is valid, but still inadequate IMHO.

We need to at least entertain the idea that the conversations Bartlett and Simmons had with Chimpy ended something like this:

"What do you mean, do we know about peak oil? Did you not notice that this administration is stocked with oil interests?

Now shut up and go away."

Maybe the Pres took the hydrogen promises, the ones he repeated at his hydrogen filling stations, at face value.

That's the simplest answer.  People in government suffer from listening to (conveient) experts at least as much as anyone else.

Personally, I think the "addicted to oil" speech came when it started to dawn that the timelines would not be that convenient (from SUVs now to hydrogen cars later).

The political catch-22 now is that they can't do anything to move the bulk of the US off those SUVs without killing Ford and GM.  No American politician is ready to do that ... so inaction rules the day.

At least $100 million to repair BP pipeline.


Hmm, how much is the oil left in the ground there worth anyway?

At $50/barrel and 400,000 bpd, that $100 million is about 5 days of production.
wikipedia says there is still 3 billion barrels left:


You do the math. Seems like a good investment to me.

Following up on yesterdays late post. "If the story about sulfur loving bacteria being able to accelerate the corrosion, due to reduced flow in the pipe, is true, then it only makes sense that the same problems could be occuring in the main pipeline itself and the flow being now cut in half will accelerate the problem. This could end up a much larger and more time consuming problem than first anticipated." Strictly conjecture- What if BP and or TPTB know that ANWR is not large enough to justify a new pipeline and they are looking at combining it with what is left in Prudhoe Bay to justify the expense? 5 or 6 billion might be justified but 3 might not. Just a thought!
 I always assumed they would use the TAPS to move ANWAR oil. Are their reasons not too?
 Never gave it much thought I guess..
OH, I forgot.  People from another information-network (web folk) have been talking about the appearance of those Ford ads on blog pages (that pump-jack is one, to the top left).  Interesting perspective:

All Your Blogs Are Belong To Ford: FoMoCo Makes A Bold Blog Buy, Jumps On The Cluetrain

FWIW, I don't mind Ford paying the bills.

Peak Newpaper Home Delivery?

We have our daily local newspaper delivered to our door.  Attached to this morning's paper was a bright pink notice bearing the title 'Carrier Cost of Materials Bill.'

It was a cheerful note from our carrier expaining that, 'You have no doubt noted the skyrocketing price of fuel. This cost is not in any way absorbed by the paper. etc. etc'

It ends with a request to make an annual payment of $10 to the carrier help defray the cost of the carrier's gas.  It stresses that such payment is completely voluntary, costs less than 3 cents a day, and failure to pay will have no impact on your service. (Good! Because I'm not paying it - the service couldn't get much worse anyway.)

I think this is a perfect example of a development that is totally trivial in its own right, but possibly highly indicative of things to come.

So, I wonder who's gonna hit me up next to help pay for their gas?

 Hey, maybe a new social custom will develop. When you're invited for dinner at your friends' house, they show their appreciation by giving you a small gasoline voucher to be redeemed at your favorite gas station. How about gift-wrapped designer one-gallon cans filled with your favorite gas-ethanol blend?

Kind of reminds me of the ol' bit with Christmas and Santa giving a kid a lump of coal. I suppose a poor kid in the future would actually appreciate it.

A great gift idea for the peaknik on your list would be a sample of their favourite type of crude oil. A pint of Texas Light Sweet, anyone? And it'll have to come with a leaflet or the like as its provenance, telling which well it came from, the date, and the well's daily output.

As far as showing appreciation with gas vouchers, I already did that, of sorts. On Fridays, I often buy someone else's lunch as he drives to get mine and his. The change is $1.50 or so. One such day, I told him "Keep it and get yourself a couple fifths of gas". He laughed at the idea of gas in "fifths".

Scientists at Max Planck Institute have developed an extremely efficient and simple biomass to coal process, they call it hydrothermal carbonisation.

They simply put plant parts into a "pressure cooker" and add some water and drops of cytric acid as a catalyst.
They heat it to 180°C for 12 hours. After that, the cooker contains fine coal powder and water. 100% of the carbon contained in the biomass is processed into coal. There are no C02 emissions at all, and, after the initial heating, the process is exothermal.
Hydrothermal carbonisation can produce up to 14 tons of coal per hectare.

The full story in German.

Looks very promising. This can even be used to extract C02 from the atmosphere.

Here are the parts that would concern me from an energy efficiency point of view:

"They heat it to 180°C for 12 hours."

"...the cooker contains fine coal powder and water."

You have two energy sinks in those two sentences. Seems to me you would be better off burning the biomass instead of turning it into coal. Even if the process is exothermic after heating it up, (which is a bit of a mystery to me unless they are adding oxygen), you are still going to end up with less energy than from burning the biomass.

After giving up on my weak German, I was entertained by the Google German translation:
http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mpg.de%2FbilderBerichteDokumente%2Fdokument ation%2Fpressemitteilungen%2F2006%2Fpressemitteilung200607121%2Findex.html&langpair=de%7Cen& hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

The process must be thermodynamically favored (or else it wouldn't proceed in the closed vessel) and might indeed be exothermic (although one would have to do careful calorimetry to tell). It's just that heat and a catalyst are required to increase the reaction rate.

I'm not sure about the actual catalyst. In a paper referenced at the bottom, they used AgNO3. They were trying to find a cheap way to make carbon nanostructures, but perhaps they gave up and just kept on cooking until coal formed. Sort of like when I made tar in Organic Chem lab.

I agree that there doesn't seem to be a reason to do this vs. just burning/gassifying/liquifying the original biamass. As we are told quite often, there isn't a coal shortage (yet).

Some other alternative stuff that I believe has been recently mentioned in passing here, but seems perhaps worth of further flogging:
  1. The Chinese recently unveiled the world's first permanent magnet Maglev wind turbine. Claims are that it will reduce wind power costs by 50% and operate at wind speeds down to 3 meters per second. (If my math is right and assuming 3 feet per meter, this works out to 6 mph - pretty low wind speed.) They claim the wind created by cars on a highway would be enough to power road side generators!
  2. Japan's JFE Steel is starting construction of a 100 ton per year furnace to produce metallurgical solar grade silicon (SOG). (Non-SOG met grade is now used in a wide variety of industrial applications, such as an additvie to aluminum for castings.) As I understand it, to produce semiconductor-grade polycrystalline silicon is a two-step process: First silicon dioxide is heated to 1,900 degrees C with a carbon anode: SIO2 + C = SI + CO2. This is metallurgical grade SI that is 99% pure. Since polycrystalline has to have one part per billion or less of contaminates to work as a semiconductor, the met grade is reheated to 1,150 degrees C and exposed to trichlorosilane - the so-called Siemens process. JFE claims its one-step met process produces SOG with a solar influx-to-electricity efficiency the same as polycrystalline. Although the company does not discuss costs, this would seem to be a fairly big deal: The Siemens step is eliminated and a lot fewer btus are required for the one-step process. Any thoughts?
That's true, there plan to use the process is to extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

But Choren would certainly buy the coal they make and liquify it into sundiesel.

In an article in "Der Spiegel" they said that when they only "cook" for 4 hours, they get some liquid hydrocarbon, but that's not mentioned in the press release.

Significantly more actual (anthracite) coal was used in cooking the biomass (assuming modern coal fired electric plant and electric resistance heating) to produce 'artificial' coal than was produced in the process.
Even better. Make the pressure cooker like a solar heat collector and add some mirrors. (not necessarily heliostats) During the summer day - more than 12 hours - it cooks with no CO2 emissions in the process.
The following quote is from Forbes. My question is:
When you take oil out of the SPR does the production curve resemble that of an oil field. If so, then is it true that you could not rely on 4 million barrels a day but rather a peak of 4 million? Or is it an average of 4 million with a peak of about 6 or 7 million?

"There is no reason the SPR couldn't have a major impact during a price shock. Its drawdown capacity of 4 million barrels of oil per day is roughly equal to the amount Iran adds daily to the world oil supply. With the stockpile releasing at full tilt, the government would be able to replace over a third of oil imports and add about 5.9% to the world's daily oil supply for roughly 163 days before the reserve ran dry, according to a study last year by economists Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren of the libertarian Cato Institute."

Good question. The SPR is not a normal oil formation that we peakniks know and love. Instead, it's abandoned salt mines, so it's basically in a giant tank in the ground. That is, the oil does not have to seep around rocks, sand, etc. to get to the drill bit, so it'll deplete like the tank under a gas station.

By the way, anybody check out that thar' crude oil price after the big emergency.....?  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Yeah, I was wondering why it wasn't getting much play here. Nobody cares unless prices are going up.

There is some talk about demand for jet fuel going down, thereby increasing gasoline refining capacity and causing a drop is wholesale gasoline prices.

I guess the British Counter-Terrorism apparatus has more of a pull on oil prices than a war, an insurgency, a nuclear program, and a rebellion combined.

I find it interesting that a so called "fear premium" is built in the price.  According to many people it's like $10-$15.  Oil fell following the announcement and the MSM seemed to have latched on to less jet fuel demand due to restricted travel.  What happened to the "fear premium?"  Wouldnt that fact the planning was days away from execution stir the masses into a bit less secure feelings?  Or the fact that the gov't intervened, so that caused people to be relieved and trust gov't again?

Restricted travel from one country doesnt do a whole lot to the aggregate #'s to really justify a decline in demand, does it?  Interesting times we live in....


One day in Portland I sat next to a woman and we talked a bit (my habit :-)

She now drives "over 30 minutes" from Sandy, Oregon to the end of the Light Rail Line in Gresham.  Beautiful country, but she is burning a tank a week.

Her lease expires soon, and she is looking at apartments in Gresham, "close to shopping" (I asked, and she would like "walking distance", but the rents might be too high) and within "5 minutes" of a Light Rail station.  She hopes to use one tank/month instead of one tank/week and save some time commuting.

Dave C:

Looks like I made it.    This site has come quite a ways since the early days.  As well as the number of people who are aware of the problems that we face.  I have seen several postings with the question "How do I explain peak oil and convince others that we have a problem?"   I don't have an answer to this question.  Sometime I wonder whether you are really doing someone a favor by bursting ignorant bliss.  It is so much easier to blame the oil companies rather than the geologic nature of the earth.

The point that I wanted to make here, on this board, was a continuation on what we briefly discussed at the ASPO conference last winter.  With only 15 minutes of time, I was not able to show the full scope of my presentation.  

When we talk of solutions or mitigations, often the talk is usually in technological terms.  Actually there is much technology that has been proven over decades of time.  The problem is financing of technolgy.  10 years ago I was involved in the Home Energy Ratings/ Energy Efficient Mortgages initiative that was being generated from the Energy Policy Act of 1992.  It disappoints me still that the program has only limited market penetration and most are not aware of what the potential of what this could do for the alternative energy industry.

Some on this board may have already invested in alternative energy.  Most likely they were self financed.  For our society to make a widespread solar conversion, financing must be made available and the btu saving must be reflected in the techologies' energy production so that the devices "pay their own way."  Solar panels or wind turbines may make the homeowner seem outwardly to be "environmentally sensitive"  but unless these systems are actually producing kWH or btus they are a waste of energy.  The Home Energy Ratings are a method of providing energy appraisals so that proper credit can be given to well installed system.

The Energy Efficient Mortgage is a tool that has only limited use over the 30 years in which the concept first was addressed in the 1977 Energy Policy Act.  It is long since due for this to be addressed and promoted by the  powers that be.

10 years ago I gave a presentation to a State Mortgage Bankers Association and showed them a profile of monthly mortgage cost compared to monthly energy cost.  At year 15 I showed the crossing over of energy exceeding monthly mortgage.  There was a gasp of disbelief at the time, but I should say that I believe my predictions are still on target.  

I think that it would be useful for members of this site to do some research on Home Energy Ratings and Energy Efficient  Mortgages.  Search Engines should have quite a few links on these issues.

While I like the idea of energy efficient mortgages, I must say I was intrigued as I'm much too young to have been around when these were introduced.  So i googled it and quickly discovered the perverse nature of businesses trying to make more money.

The gov't's own websit describes the great advantages to these types of mortages and the top two

Stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans for energy-efficient homes!

Qualify for a larger loan amount! Buy a better, more energy efficient home!

Why are we using ARMS to qualify for houses when can stretch our budget on "energy efficient" homes?  I know this is a start, but I'd be curious as to the definition of energy efficient homes, when McMansion would probably qaulify as "efficient."  More digging discovered that if the home is deemed already energy efficient then the lender can stretch your qualifying ratios so you can afford it.  Sounds safe enough, right?

Hello TOD,
Since ethanol debate is still somewhat fresh, I stumbled upon this. If anybody has previously posted it, call it a refresher. Its got  graphs and alot of technical financial stuff.


 anybody who could ungarblelize it I would appreciate it. Perhaps it would explain V.K. statement:

"Today, even if ethanol prices were cut in half or more to $1.40 a gallon wholesale, corn ethanol producers would make adequate margins of profit."

still doesn't make sense,(This is why I let the wifey do the checkbook :)

There's a lot of new supply come on stream in June and July, in particular the BTC pipeline that will ramp up to 1 million bpd over two years from the Chirag Field in Azerbaijan.

Also, today, I don't know if you heard, but UK police just arrested 20 or so Asian gents who were believed to be planning to blow up planes with soda pop - and as you all know UK intelligence (especially Scottish intelligence) is the best in the world.  No dangers of any mistakes being made here.  British Airways ended the day down 5%.

The hedge funds do screw with the market, but I'm never sure that they screw with the oil price that much.  My guess is that "informed opinion" sees what it sees and may underestimate the power of capacity erosion throughout the world.  OIL CEO got an interesting table posted on "The Tar Pit" - to be rechristened CAD - Canadian Oil Drum.

Well, this appeared in completely the wrong place bringing into serious doubt the comments made about Scottish intelligence.  At any rate I now know how the reply to parent button works - you shoud never talk back to your parents.

This was supposed to be connected to those fretting over the oil price - like I am.

An excellent story on geosequestration on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 'Catalyst' program
It didn't discuss carbon taxes or quibble with a claimed 12-16% energy penalty. Angles covered included both gasification and oxyfiring of coal but not direct carbon, the Lake Nyos scenario of CO2 escape as well as geophysical monitoring of liquid CO2 underground. The story  questioned the retrofitting of older coal plants and those some distance from suitable rock formations.

The conclusion is to slow GW we have to use less coal. As if.

I thought our readers might find this of interest:


That is not the thinking of neocon policy makers, so it is well to remind Mr Blair what Henry Kissinger said to the World Affairs Council in 1999. 'In America, there has been a tendency to divide foreign policy into two schools of thought. One that identifies foreign policy as a subdivision of psychiatry and another that treats it as a subdivision of theology. The psychiatrists think relations among nations are like relations among people and you bring peace through this strenuous exercise of goodwill. The theologians believe that all foreign policies are a struggle between good and evil and the thing to do is to destroy the wrongdoer once and for all, after which normalcy returns.'

Kissinger was psychiatrist; the Prime Minister and President Bush are theologians. Unfortunately, they do not hear the guns of August.

and this:


Some senior officers have been mentioning the C-word in private conversations. They have been saying that a coup d'etat might be the only way to prevent an outcome in Lebanon that could embolden the Arab world to join forces with Syria and Iran in an all out assault on Israel, given the fact that such a development would be spurred entirely by the Arab and Moslem world's perception of Israel's leadership as weak, craven and vacillating, and therefore ripe for intimidation.

Seeing the once invincible IDF being stalemated by Hezbollah's 3,000 troops is a sure way to radiate an aura of weakness that in the Middle East could precipitate attacks by sharks smelling blood

FWIW, The September number of Scientific American is a special with the theme: "Energy's Future: Beyond Carbon."  I just got it in the mail, so I don't know when it might hit the newsstands, but it should be worth keeping  an eye out.

This is an article about world spare capacity and saudi production over the last year.

We're On Notice!

Click to Enlarge
Love it. Laugh or cry...

Say, if we in the USA are trying to get un-addicted to oil, why doesn't the President gather a bunch of politicians around him to say something like this:

"My fellow Americans: whereas we are trying to shake our addiction to oil, and whereas BP had to shut down about 8% of our domestic production recently, I declare that we will take steps to reduce our domestic consumption of petroleum by the same amount of production that we've just had shut in.

"This is an opportunity to reduce our dependency on oil -- let's just consider this a time to reduce total oil consumption, so that when this field is brought back on line, we can continue to reduce our total petroleum consumption.

"Not only will this reduce our dependence on foriegn oil, but if we further reduce petroleum consumption, maybe we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions too.

So, my fellow Americans, please join myself, the Vice President, and all members of the House and Senate as we lead in the 'Great American Powerdown.'"

Will we hear such a speech soon?

i have to ask, what are you smoking?
Nuthin. :)

Just got back from a long day of work and taking care of family  -just read a "Magic School Bus" book to my son, who is now asleep.

Funny thought that the political leadership might actually encourage us to conserve gasoline, eh?