DrumBeat: August 22, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/22/06 at 9:15 AM EDT]

CERA's Rosy Oil Forecast – Pabulum to the People

by Randy Udall and Matthew R. Simmons

At a moment when a tank full of gasoline costs $75, the Chinese are eagerly trading bicycles for cars, and Americans are consuming their body weight in petroleum each week, it would be nice to know how much oil will be readily available a decade from now. In a thirsty world, will supply be adequate to satisfy demand?

The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities:

"The biggest lesson of all from Katrina is the one that nobody's talking about: It's coming, it's coming to all of us," Tidwell told me. "As I argue in the book, what really wiped out New Orleans was a combination of two things: three feet of relative sea-level rise over the last 100 years followed by a massive storm.

"Now (with global warming), we're looking at up to three feet of absolute sea-level rise worldwide, and hurricanes are becoming more intense, much stronger. Category four and five storms are becoming more frequent. Do all of us Americans want to become New Orleanians as well?"

Pipeline crisis 'could halve flow of oil'

The price of crude oil could hit $300 (£158) a barrel if BP's pipeline corrosion crisis in Alaska turns out to be an endemic problem for the industry, according to the leading oil industry analyst Matthew Simmons.

BP denies it manipulated Alaska pipeline data

Nuclear energy in U.S. fights for a second act.

Wind power's gusty forecast: The U.S. is seeing a big rise in this cleaner energy.

Turkey: Power Outages to Follow if Drought Continues

Romanian oil rig comes under Iranian fire

BUCHAREST, Romania - A Romanian oil rig off the coast of Iran came under fire Tuesday from an Iranian military warship and was later occupied by Iranian troops, a company spokesman said.

Politics adds to Nigeria’s volatility: Violence centered around oil and who it enriches.

Six militants, one soldier die in Niger Delta gun battle.

Nepal gas dealers begin indefinite strike

Kathmandu - After two days of violent protests over the steep hike in fuel prices, Nepal’s energy crisis took a new turn Tuesday with gas dealers beginning an indefinite strike in retaliation to the government withdrawing the price raise.

In Oil Rigs, It's China to the Rescue

The US Department of Interior looks at gas hydrates and other alternative energy sources.

Gulf of Mexico over 70% depleted.

Yesterday I was messing around in the US Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service web pages trying to find out how much of the GOM was still offline from Katrina and Rita. I did not find that because they seem to have stopped giving out that information but I did find out a whole lot more.

The MMS as well as the USGS both fall under the Department of Interior while the EIA comes under the Department of Energy. At any rate I it looks like they, the MMS, are look looking at many possible sources of alternative energy including gas hydrates, wind farms and other things:


Also I found some other startling news. The Gulf of Mexico was, three and one half years ago, 70% depleted.


The above points to a rather long PDF file, but on page 7, or page v if you go by the page number of the file itself, you will find the abstract. It says that as of December 31, 2002, the estimated UUR of the Gulf of Mexico was 18.75 billion barrels, of which 13.04 billion barrels had already been produced at that time. Remaining proven reserves were 5.71 billion barrels, unproved reserves were 1.35 billion barrels while not reported reserves, whatever that is, was 2.5 billion barrels.

Note: Before Katrina and Rita, the GOM produced about .55 billion barrels of oil per year or 1.5 million barrels per day. Now it is slightly less than that. But after BPs Thunder Horse comes on line next year then GOM production should jump to a little over .6 billion barrels per year. They expect Thunder Horse, after it gets fully ramped up, to be producing about 300,000 barrels per day. Of course by that time, late next year, the rest of the GOM will be depleted a bit more and producing a little less than it is today.

A further note: I assume this article refers to the area of the GOM that is open to drilling. That is the area off the Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas Coast.  It probably does not include the area off the Florida coast. But since the oil starts to peter out as the field approaches the Alabama coast, I have serious doubts as to how much can be found off the Gulf Coast of Florida.

On the Florida coast issue - you are correct. I don't have the figures right in front of me, but I have looked at them recently. The expected oil off of Florida is minimal, the real target there is the NG. It is believed to be fairly substantial.
Our trader friend, SAT, continues to assert that the prevailing media position is that they are predicting rising oil prices. I don't see it.  IMO, most of the talking heads, especially on CNBC, are talking about lower oil prices.  A case in point, this morning they had a guy on who predicted $50 this year, if everything goes okay, and $30 within a few years.  I guess he believes the CERA report.

I think that SAT's prediction of oil below $60 this fall reflects the conventional wisdom.  

The price could hit $300 as Simmons suggests or the price could hit $30 as the guy you mention suggests.  If the pipeline problems are epidemic, if there is a world-wide depression respectively.  It really doesn't change what we ought to be working on - and that is remaking and rebuilding a society that is not dependent on large amounts of energy to do basic stuff of living.  The speculators are interested in price of course, but the fundamental argument is between those that think we need to change the way we live before cicumstances force that change in an ugly way, and those that think we can either continue as we are on fossil fuels or with help of a techno fix.  I know, there are some that think techno fix can buy time while we change the lifestyle part. It could, but it also gives the impression that we can continue business as usual.  

I see Westtexas, you got a shout-out on Kunstler's Daily Grunt.  I'm jealous.  

"I see Westtexas, you got a shout-out on Kunstler's Daily Grunt.  I'm jealous."

I guess that Jim and I are both now persona non grata in certain circles.  

In regard to the conventional wisdom stuff about oil prices,  I keep having this vision of the various members of the "Iron Triangle" linking hands and chanting "We have plenty of oil. .. We have plenty of oil," thinking if they repeat it often enough, it will be true.  

"When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you

If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star as dreamers do

Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you thru
When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true"

-Jiminy Cricket

With respect to petroleum, America has been sleepwalking toward disaster for twenty years. The nation desperately needs a wakeup call, not a fairy tale masquerading as a forecast.

That is the way Simmons & Udall end their EB piece.

Our society is deeply infected with fairy tales. It starts at childhood and goes on and on: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Jack and the Oil Beanstalk ...

Our beanstalk. Our Golden Goose: Oil gushing up from the ground, forever and happily ever after.

Why the hell is that kid holding a chicken? It is because a goose would be nearly as large as he is?
What? They gave him a "chicken"? I can't believe it!

Reminds me of a joke:

Two old friends bump into each other as they walk their dogs in a downtown area. "Hey, let's do drinks at that bar across the street," says one. "Can't, we got these dogs" the other explains. "No problem" says the first, "Still got your sunglasses? OK, then do as I do."

The second guy watches with amazement as his friend puts on a pair of sunglasses and approaches the bouncer. "No dogs allowed." "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm blind. This is my seeing eye dog." Oh sorry man, that's different, go on in.

Second guy tries the same thing. The bouncer says, No way dude, I've never seen a Chiwawa as a seeing eye dog.

What! They gave me a Chee wah wah?

The Oil Fairy will refill the oil wells after we empty them. But only if you believe! ;-)

where can I buy one of these?
stepback you gotta move to urban America. I see that babe everyday here in Chicago and a while back I dated her (it was problematic).
Sur it's the same or better in LA San Fran NYC
OK Leanan...fess up.  That's really you isn't it.  That's how you can grab all these news articles before anyone else even wakes up every morning.
I am enthralled with the oil fairy.  I would believe anything she told me :)
Too late. I just spotted Sailorman slipping off from dock with her. He was using his slick (oil) toungue to make her gush and ooze for him. Oil's fair in love and war --war over the oil fairy that is. Better luck at your next bore site. ;-)
Oh, man. Every pirate's dream come true. Long ago, and I'm talking long, long ago. I clicked on Leanan's user info and it led to some site with photos, and that was on it. And I always wondered why she hadn't posted it yet. I mean - it's the Oil Fairy. Why wouldn't she post it? It is totally appropriate. And everybody loves The Oil Fairy. My mother used to read me stories about her when I was a kid. Needless to say, I would only trust Leanan with the history and the truth surrounding The Oil Fairy.*

*better protect your rights to name. I've got a screen play almost finished and a comic-book in the works. I'm gonna be snapping up the copyright soon. Last chance.

Naahh. We havn't been sleepwalking toward disaster, but we all took a hit of Ambien and have been sleepdriving!
Re: CD of  Simmons/Kunstler Interview 11/1/05

I don't have the transcript yet, but you can now buy the CD (details follow).  Matt and Jim had never met until that night, and I don't think that they had even talked to each other.  Jim was in the studio with Glenn Mitchell at KERA (the local PBS station) and Matt was calling in on a phone line, after giving a speech at the Petroleum Club.  (The previous day, I had driven Jim and John Galvin, a reporter, all over the suburban wasteland that is the DFW Metroplex, in search of little pockets of New Urbanism--a memorable experience, I can assure you.)

In any case, Matt and Jim, coming from vastly different backgrounds, were basically finishing each other's sentences.  I highly recommend this CD.  It's about 50 minutes long, and it is a great way to introduce people to Peak Oil.  They can listen to the CD in their cars going to and from work (a little ironic don't you think?).  

From KERA 90.1:  

KERA 90.1 can provide additional CDs for $10 each. Interested parties should send a check or money order along with details about the program (date, etc.) to:

Talk Show CD Request
KERA 90.1
3000 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75201

As Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, famously said, "Repeat a lie often enough and the people will believe it!"
/I guess that Jim and I are both now persona non grata in certain circles. /


About a decade ago a man named Alan Sokal became 'persona non grata' in postmodernist circles. In both cases these circles consisted of people believing themself morally superiour to the rest of us.

And in both cases these people are really nothing more than filth.

I just got done reading Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere by Kunstler. Great books about the probrem of suburbanism. We have painted ourselves into a corner with inventing the drive-only society. It's an awful good thing gas don't cost 3 CENTS a gallon. We'd be driving Harriers to commute, and if sprawl is bad with cars, it would be 10 times worse with Harriers.

Compared to all pre-car transportation methods for personal use, it's tantamount to all of us being given pilots licenses and jets by comparison. Could someone with a 50 mile commute do it on a mere bicycle? No. The sheer speed created the sprawl we face today. For those who grew up in the suburbs, 10 miles is close while someone like me who grew up in a city with a carless family would call it appropriately far. But take away the car, and suburbanites are in for a shock! By public transit, a visit to my dad (after a divorce) took all day, but a car trip was like an hour to a town 70 miles away.

An interesting thing about my mindset comes up. As a kid, separated from my dad by the great distance, I developed an interest in aviation due to a wish to reconnect with him. I daydreamed of a car-sized jet plane to drive to that town!

It really is amazing, how it's changed.  My office is about four miles from the downtown of a small city.  It's surrounded by sprawl now: office buildings, strip malls, fast food joints, etc.  But many of the old-timers remember when the area was way out in the boonies.  It was all apple orchards then.  And a "speedway" (racetrack).  They remember occasionally visiting the speedway as kids, but very rarely, because it was so far away.

The "arterials" made a huge difference.  Two one-way, three-lane roads running through the city.   Many of the residents still harbor great resentment over those arterials.  They cut through many fine old neighborhoods, doing very bad things to property values and quality of life.  And of course, traffic has increased so much that it takes just about as long as before the arterials were built.

Re:  Jim Kunstler's blog

You never know who reads this stuff.  I just got an e-mail from a researcher at Sandia Labs.  They are deeply concerned about the energy situation.  From his e-mail:  'We are all researchers with strong interests in helping our nation with whatever challenges confront it.  Right now, we believe that is energy."

Well, that's just a bit disconcerting that he felt the need to elaborate that - since they are under the Department of Energy (aren't they?)

Anyhow, ask him what he can do about people who drive 20 miles to work every day, drive their kids to school and to soccer practice, drive to the movies, drive to visit their friends, drive to get groceries, and have 3000+ sq ft homes.  How about moving all that stuff close enough together so that they can walk?  Can Sandia figure out a way to do that ?  Then we can get them started on how to grow food locally.  

Saw this on World News Tonight. A handful of suburbanites are growing gardens with veggies in their otherwise useless front yards. Mixing in indiginous vegitation with the food plants, they are on the vanguard of permaculture. I guess they have very lenient homeowners associations. (California) Now, to replace those cars....
Mad Maxout, some places don't have Homeowner's Associations. The neighborhood I live in, in the Southeast, I choose specifically because it lacked one. I have to much of the anarchist and rebel in me to stand for someone telling me what color I can paint my shutters and how I have to trim my bushes. This will come in handy next year, when I expand my garden to include my front yard!
Most (if not nearly all) newer developments do have associations. I wonder if the original developer gets a cut of the fees. While with condos associations are inevitable, the idea of associations remove half the point of homeownership. You may as well have a landlord!
They are under the Department of Energy but heavily involved in weapons so the Pentagon has their hand in there too.
Mad Money's Jim Cramer had a piece on his investing website, theStreet.com, this morning entitled, "It's an Oil Scarcity, Not a Bubble", that criticizes the people who say that oil prices are a bubble and that there's plenty of oil:

"...The idea that hedge funds can hold up oil for two years now to me seems just plain stupid. I think we should recognize that someone, some company, some country, would have woken up to the idea that it was hedge funds that are holding it up and flood the world with oil. But no one can. They can't even get the pipelines working to take advantage of it, for heaven's sake..."

At least some people are starting to wake up.
You are not alone. I make it a policy to bypass the Cramer Shout Show because his boohaha's give me headaches. But just as I was flipping through CNBC, there he was talking about "oil scarcity" as the new reality.

I'm not sure whether the Investor Heads who watch his show understand what that means on a personal level or to our society as a whole. They're probably just trying to rearrange their investment portfolios to make tons of cash from the coming oil collapse. Do as Vinod would do. Buy ethanol. Buy "alternative technologies" --there's the answer. Isn't capitalism cool?   :-(

(P.S. I'm waiting for the Cramer show on how make money from the coming extinction level asteroid impact. The $ROI should be, well, "astronomical".)

You have made me laugh out loud.  Cramer, the ultimte cynic.
Capitalism is cool, just not perfect.  At least with Capitalism you have the freedom to act in response to Peak Oil, get the job you want, live where you want, drive the car you want and not be taxed to death by the government.

It's not perfect but beats the crap out of the alternatives.

"get the job you want, live where you want, drive the car you want"

Isn't that exactly the problem?

Actually, the problem is lack of personal responsibility. Freedom is great, but it, like every other privilege, must be balanced by responsibility.

The problem is that it hasn't been.

Hey, it's not my freedom that's the problem, it's everybody else's...
Capitalism's weakness is its inability to provide essential services to folks who can't afford them especially education and health care.  The lack of universal health care in the US is something every visiting European head of state should emphasise as something shameful. The lack of consistent educational standards with equitable funding is also a source of shame. But OTOH these things show how successful the GOP has been in upholding its core beliefs.
Yeah, I thought America worked a lot better when there was regulated capitalism and some of the better aspects of socialism, especially in the educational system.

Now it's just a shell being looted by the world's rich ...

Very sad.

At least with Capitalism you have the freedom to act in response to Peak Oil

First off, don't label me a commie. I know what that system is about & I don't advocate it. (It is the ultimate cronyism system.)

But in so far as "Capitalism" is concerned, George Bush gets it right when he says we are the "ownership society".

Ownership means being able to lock everyone else out from "your property". GM and Ford "own" the means of production for making hybrid plug-in vehicles, not me. I don't have "freedom" to use their facilities as I please --to build PEHV's for example. Quite the opposite. Unless I can raise the Venture Capital funding for capitalizing an enterpise, I do not have any real ability to respond in scale to the Peak Oil problem.

The "freedom" you think we have is an illusion.
But if you must, keep believing.

The car I want exists but is not sold in the capitalist American market. Too small and my demographic too small. They say..
"It's not perfect but beats the crap out of the alternatives."

Maybe you can briefly describe the alternatives, or point to some literature.

I'm also curious to know how you suggest that growth, the sine qua non of capitalism, can be everlastingly fuelled.

I believe that Tony Blair made the ultimate comment.  You measure the true value of a nation by "how many people are trying to get in and how many people are trying to get out"

Obviously we have more people wanting to get in - and not just the illegals.  Last time I looked we are thinking about building a fence to keep people out.

Hmmm... maybe with all our problems this this is a good place to live, and that we have more freedoms compared to other places.

My suggestion - if there is a political system that suites you better find that country and move there.  We won't stop you.

You are not considering sustainability.  Everyone's trying to move here now.  Will they still want to move here 10 or 20 or 50 years from now?

Everyone wanted to be on the Titanic once, too.

One hopes Capitalism makes for a working market-based economy.  Market failure occurs for a number of well known reasons.  One is information asymmetry where buyer or seller knows something the other does not.  Lack of transparency about oil reserves is slowly breaking down.  Relevant to missing consumer response is marketing (automakers spend the most of any industry advertising), paucity of time for consumers to spend making informed, forward-looking decisions, profit optimization (only sell most profitable, i.e. largest vehicles in US market) and utter lack of government willpower to regulate the market, not to limit choices, but to increase them.  ...and when I say choice I mean encouraging lots of small auto startups like Tesla Motors.
Off topic, but I wanted to post something here with regards to the Iraq situation.

In news which seems to have gone largely ignored here at TOD, Iraq has gotten their oil production back up to 2.5 million barrels a day:

http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?dist=newsfinder&siteid=google&guid=%7B2395C FE1-F843-41E2-8336-6293779F7D63%7D&keyword=


Of course, this may prove temporary, again, but over the past 3 or 4 months, it does seem that the Iraqi government has gotten a better hand on energy security, especially in the north.

The American media, meanwhile, continues to insist on their doom and gloom analysis of Iraq as a whole, failing to take note of the incredible progress this Iraqi government has made in winning over the respect of Iraqis themselves and of Middle Easterners in general.

Remember, this is a government which many originally wrote off as either a U.S. puppet or a weak, place-filler which wouldn't even make it through to the end of its term.

Among the most encouraging recent developments:

  1. Iraqi government firmly supports Iran with respect to its nuclear ambitions.

  2. Iraqi government firmly supports Hezbollah and its goals with respect to Israel.

  3. Iraqi government says that state to maintain, "complete control," over Iraq's oil industry, but notes that Iraq will also be willing to utilize foreign companies and foreign capital, "where necessary."

The bottom line is, this is a fiercly independent government which represents the views of the majority of Iraqis on the full spectrum of issues they find important.  At this point, no one can claim that Iraq is governed by a, "puppet regime."

Why is this so important?  It was only be winning over the respect of the Iraqi people that this government was going to survive and bring long-term stability and prosperity to Iraq.  They have done this by doing what any good government should do, listening to the people and respecting their views.  It took a lot of balls, but this is exactly what Iraq's leaders have done.  This bodes very well for the future of Iraq.  

Also, with regards to the 2.5 million barrels per day number mentioned above, note that this has been achieved without a penny of foreign investment.  This is a 100% Iraqi owned and operated business, with 100% of the revenue and profits going to the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people.  Look for that number to continue to rise, with occassional setbacks, in the years to come.    

Personally, I have been very impressed with everything this government has said and done of late.  They definitely seem to, "get it," as far as who they need to answer to: Iraqis, not Americans.  They have also reached out to their neighbors, Iran, Syria etc. in ways which will be very beneficial to the Iraqi economy in the longterm, although, again, it took a lot of balls to do it in the face of American pressure.

Will Iraq be able to deliver on their production goals of 6-8 million barrels per day within 10 years?  Many challenges remain (the insurgency, corruption, etc.), but the way this government has performed recently, I wouldn't put it past them.  

Why does the American media insist on painting such a bleak picture with regards to the future of Iraq?  After all, if Iraqis could have asked for one thing to emerge in the aftermath of this horrible war, it would have been exactly what they have gotten: a fiercly independent government which reponds to their needs and not to the needs of the occupiers.  The heroic actions of both ordinary Iraqis and their leaders have been completly ignored by the American media.  Ten years from now, Iraq will be a far more proseperous place than it is today, even pessimists would probably give them 5 million barrels a day of production by that point, and Iraqis will be able to look back with pride and honor at the way they contronted the challenges of the last few years.  I, for one, admire the way they have handled it.      

...as far as oil prices, we have bounced off the recent low  in the high 69's, after the current uptick, look for a new lower-low below 69 within the next couple of weeks.  

Why does the American media insist on painting such a bleak picture with regards to the future of Iraq?

Playing it safe. Until now anyone painting a positive picture has ended up looking like a fool.

Ten years from now, Iraq will be a far more proseperous place than it is today,

In ten years there won't be an Iraq. Iraq is an artificial state invented by the british that is now falling apart into 3 seperate entities.

I don't think they're, "playing it safe," I think they're profoundly confused.

As for Iraq not being a country in ten years, I don't see that happening either.  There are many countries around (maybe all countries) with disgruntled minorities (think Canada) who toy with the idea of separating.  It doen't tend to happen, though, as long as the majority wants the country to remain together.  In Iraq, the majority, both Shia and Sunni, want nothing to do with a breakup of Iraq.  Sure, there are Kurds who might want their own state, but you could say the same thing about Turkey.  And I don't hear anyone talking about Turkey not being a country in ten years.  

I guess I just feel like something good is happening in the ME.  The way these people handle incredibly complex and difficult situations with ease amazes me.  The average American would pee his pants just being within a thousand miles of a place like Iraq, but the average Middle Easterner just goes about his business, as calmly and with as much composure as ever.  If you look at history, it's not hard to see that great cultures often emerge out of very difficult situations.  In fact, I'm not sure a great culture ever emerged without that sort of, "trial by fire."  A great example of this is the Jewish culture which emerged in the early 20th century. They had developed such an incredible culture (a superior culture, in many respects) that the rest of humanity became terrified of them.  The people of the Middle East have been suffering the same kind of persecution that the Jews once suffered for many years now.   I wouldn't be surprised if the end effect of this persecution doesn't end up being similar too.                  

In Iraq, the majority, both Shia and Sunni, want nothing to do with a breakup of Iraq.

I don't think that is true any more.  The violence is getting so bad that many people who never considered partition are now seeing it as a possible answer.

The problem is the oil.  The Sunni would be left without any, and they're not likely to accept that.

You're right, if the Sunnis had any oil, they would want to separate from the rest of Iraq, but since they don't, that isn't an option for them.  As the ruling majority, the Shias have made it very clear that they want to keep Iraq in one piece.  That leaves the Kurds, who find themselves in the same position as the Kurds in Turkey, or in several other countries.    

This idea that Iraqis are just cruising through life with smooth equinimity is a bit deluded, I think. In the US the equivalent carnage would claim a new 9/11 every 3 days or so. We still talk about that day like it was a tragedy without parallel in human history (and I was a very short distance away that morning and watched it all happen, so I hardly would minimize its horror.) In Iraq, the entire professional class -- not just the petroleum engineers -- has emigrated en masse. An unfailing indicator of a society that's failing catastrophically. I read recently that as much as 90% of the population of Baghdad now has PTSD or other psychological problems from living in abject terror and watching the slaughter day after day -- yet there is not a single child psychologist left in the entire city, and only a very small number of psychiatrists.

I'm a pretty voracious reader of news and current events and I have not seen much to support the perspective that you speak of. Instead, I see in the New York Times last week that many inside the Bush administration (hardly pessimists when it comes to Iraq!) are beginning to acknowledge that democracy might not work as a political system in Iraq and are considering "alternatives". (The story got a lot of play, and is easy to find if you haven't seen it.)

So, a challenge: I don't buy that nobody is getting the Iraq story right (except you). Can you provide some links or names of journalists who are covering the situation consistently and capturing this burgeoning and robust political culture?

I have trouble believing news outfits like the Economist and the LA Times and the General Electric corp are really sandbagging this coverage. But prove me wrong.

I'm not saying that what they report with regards to the civil war going on in Iraq right now is wrong, but let's face it, that was the inevitable result of an invasion and takeover by a hated foreign power.  What I'm saying is that something profoudly right has occurred in the last year or so, which has gone completely unnoticed by the media, and that is the formation of a fiercly independent Iraqi government, not at all beholden to U.S. influence, and very responsive to the will of the majority of Iraqis.  It didn't necessarily have to happen this way, in fact, it wasn't supposed to.  By this point, a U.S. frontman was supposed to be firmly in power over there (think Alawi or Chalabi), the oil industry was supposed to have been privatized and taken over by ExxonMobil and Begin Pedaling (BP), and the Iraqi government was supposed to be spending what little money they did receive from their oil industry on weapons made by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, instead, we have a very anti-american regime in place (anti-american, but pro-iraqi), the oil industry is firmly in state hands, and they're buying most of their weaponry from Russia.  I celebrate this!  The Iraqi people deserve an independent government and, remarkably, and I think they deserve all the credit in the world for this, since it flew in the face of everything the U.S. had planned for them, they managed to get one.  The media is doing a good job covering the Iraqi civil war, but a lousy job covering the emergence of this startlingly independent and increasingly succesful and respected, pro-iraqi government.  You mention that the Bush administration is now turning against democracy in Iraq...that's my point!    
Let's go visit those wonderful Shiite militias ... maybe they'll invite us to a picnic!

They might be staking out independent positions, but that doesn't mean they're a viable entity. There is certainly some fierce independence in any failed state -- doesn't mean it's not a catastrophic outcome. Read this recently:

"A minimally viable central government is built on at least three foundations: the coercive capacity to maintain order, an administrative apparatus that can deliver government services and directives to society, and the resources to manage these functions. The Iraqi government has none of these attributes -- and no prospect of developing them. It has no coercive capacity. The national army we hear so much about is actually trained and commanded by the Americans, while the police forces are largely controlled by local governments and have few, if any, viable links to the central government in Baghdad. (Only the Special Forces, whose death-squad activities in the capital have lately been in the news, have any formal relationship with the elected government; and they have more enduring ties to the U.S. military that created them and the Shia militias who staffed them.)

Administratively, the Iraqi government has no existence outside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone -- and little presence within it. Whatever local apparatus exists elsewhere in the country is led by local leaders, usually with little or no loyalty to the central government and not dependent on it for resources it doesn't, in any case, possess. In Baghdad itself, this is clearly illustrated in the vast Shiite slum of Sadr city, controlled by Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and his elaborate network of political clerics. (Even U.S. occupation forces enter that enormous swath of the capital only in large brigades, braced for significant firefights.) In the major city of the Shia south, Basra, local clerics lead a government that alternately ignores and defies the central government on all policy issues from oil to women's rights; in Sunni cities like Tal Afar and Ramadi, where major battles with the Americans alternate with insurgent control, the government simply has no presence whatsoever. In Kurdistan in the north, the Kurdish leadership maintains full control of all local governments.

As for resources, with 85% of the country's revenues deriving from oil, all you really need to know is that oil-rich Iraq is also suffering from an "acute fuel shortage" (including soaring prices, all-night lines at gas stations, and a deal to get help from neighboring Syria which itself has minimal refining capacity). The almost helpless Iraqi government has had little choice but to accept the dictates of American advisors and of the International Monetary Fund about exactly how what energy resources exist will be used. Paying off Saddam-era debt, reparations to Kuwait from the Gulf War of 1990, and the needs of the U.S.-controlled national army have had first claim. With what remains so meager that it cannot sustain a viable administrative apparatus in Baghdad, let alone the rest of the country, there is barely enough to spare for the government leadership to line their own pockets.

Reading your first post I was wondering if this was some kind of strange dark humor or if you really believed this.
Let's just start nasty little colonial wars every place we can think of and watch the world become a better place. If you believe hard enough it will be true.
Yeah, and if you believe hard enough (no pun intended) you might actually think you dated someone who bore a resemblance to that oil fairy Leanan posted a picture of above.  Come on now!
Take the wings off the model and you get a Goth Chick found in any mall in the USA.  My step daughter though a redhead makes Goth look cool.  Take it from me, There are a lot of Ladies that dress like that or less so that I could have dated if I wanted to, but I doubt you would believe me.   Goth and Pre-Goth looking ladies have been around in the sub-culture Hippie and Flower children and Back to Nature groups for decades.  I just happen to have been a Fringe person most of my life.  My current female interest could dress in the black and thigh high boots and you could easily paste on wings, Not My thing, But hey.  

You should be careful in your Blanket statements that OldHippie or anyone else could only dream of dating a lady like the Oil Fairy of above.  I am almost positive they were not wearing wings at the time.  

The ones wearing wings in public are usually men.
I've always thought that W has an uncanny resemblance to the Angel Gabriel.
As for Iraq not being a country in ten years, I don't see that happening either.

SelfAggravating, one of our greatest beloved bullshitters at TOD.

See the rationale at the Armed Forces Journal.

I see that the "Arab Shia State" gets about 40% of the world's remaining oil !
Years of in-breeding develops a superior culture? um...
This is a good article that discusses the global personnel shortage.  

BTW, based on the 2004 list of top 10 net oil exporters (Iraq was not in the top 10), production by the top 10, relative to December, fell at an annual rate of about 7% through May (EIA).  This suggests that their net exports are probably falling at double digit annual rates.

Brain drain slows flow of Iraqi oil

 Tuesday, August 22, 2006 By Chip Cummins, The Wall Street Journal


Mr. Jibouri's tumultuous experiences in the Iraqi (oil) industry illustrate why it is struggling.

 Mr. Jibouri hails from a prominent Sunni farming family near the city of Mosul in the north. After studying petroleum economics in Scotland, he returned to Iraq in the early 1980s and joined the oil-marketing agency. He was part of a team of 14 who worked two shifts, fielding bids for Iraq's crude oil from Asian, European and American buyers by phone, fax and telex machine.

 After Iraq's first free elections last year, politicians sounded out Mr. Jibouri about staying on as trade minister or taking the top job again at Somo. But he says many of the top technicians he had worked with had left, and political appointees bloated the agency.

His other worry was violence. Last year, just before Mr. Jibouri stepped down as trade minister, gunmen killed one of his deputies, riddling the man's car with bullets as he drove to work.

 A few months later, Mr. Jibouri packed up and moved his wife and three children to Amman. "I wanted to stay in Baghdad," Mr. Jibouri said on a recent afternoon over grilled fish at a new Amman restaurant serving Iraqi dishes and filled with exiles. "But it was impossible. If you are honest you will be killed."

Unfortunately, Iraqi Sunnis like the one you described above will probably end up suffering the same fate as African-Americans and other minorites here in the U.S., marginalization.  The oil industry in Iraq, which is already largely Shia dominated, will no doubt become even more so, but then again, when was the last time a major U.S. oil company was run by a black CEO?  Let's not confuse the typical persecution of minorities which takes place in every democracy on earth (after all, that's what democracy is all about, majority rule, which must sound pretty horrifying if you happen to be a minority), with the idea that the Iraqi government can't effectively manage their oil industry.  Just look at how well they're doing now, finding a way to INCREASE production to 2.5 million barrels a day in the midst of a civil war, to get an idea of what they might be capable of in the future.        
I try to avoid personalizing the discussions on these boards as it is always better to debate ideas rather than question a person's character.  However, I agree that many of SAT's statements have been very strange, such as the idea that grocery baggers are fully invested in oil futures and created a commodity bubble.  If SAT really is a commodities trader of any sort, he most likely is a very inexperienced youngster playing with other people's money.  I remember my own days as an intern when I thought I knew it all.

The Last Sasquatch is a much more credible source of market views.

Don't bag on grocery baggers.  Don't you know that they're one of the most reliable, "leading contrarian indicators?"  These people have made me a lot of money in the past, The Last Sasquatch probably doesn't even give them the time of day.

Paper or plastic?


Iraq obviously has tremendous oil potential, which is the primary reason that we have 135,000 troops there.  And Iraq, depending on how long it takes to resolve the civil war, can and will increase oil production.  So what?  Cherry picking one of the very few regions left in the world that can increase production means nothing.  

How about the fact that the top 10 net oil exporters are showing declining oil production--and probably showing a double digit annual decline in net oil exports.  Focusing on Iraq is like focusing on the 14% increase in producing wells in Texas, from 1972 to 1982--and ignoring the 30% drop in total oil production.

I agree that many of SAT's statements have been very strange,

It is becoming more and more obvious that the SelfAggravatedTrader is yet another subsidized PR Troll who is here to muddy the questions.

On the positive side this means that TOD looks "serious enough" to deserve some counter-measures budget.

Max Mayfield, director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center, foresees a 'mega-disaster':

"People think we have seen the worst. We haven't," Mayfield told Reuters in an interview at the fortress-like hurricane center in Florida.

"I think the day is coming. I think eventually we're going to have a very powerful hurricane in a major metropolitan area worse than what we saw in Katrina and it's going to be a mega-disaster. With lots of lost lives," Mayfield said.

Speaking of which, it does seem to have been pretty quiet on the tropical Atlantic storm front this month. The Atlantic basin is only about a week away from the climatological peak in hurricanes, while the tropical cyclone heat potential in the GOM looks pacific. The calm before the storm?
Worry not, Debbie is a coming.
Maybe she'll bring some friends along?
Is that the Debbie in ''Debbie does Dallas''?
nah the only way people might wake up to the facts is if this 'Debbie' does new york like a one night stand.
The Last storm of last years season was in Jan 2006.  Just because the past several years the Peak of storms was in August does not mean that things will always stay the same.  

We might never see the likes of Katrina again, Then again we might have a Wilma in November and see it take out one of our bigger sea coast cities.  Climate change means a lot of Climate Change,  Our old rules need not apply!

The season is not over till the season is over and 5 greek letters last year threw a lot of people's thinking curve way out of whack.

Just gotta love those hurricanes in the postseason! I was waiting for the preseason exhibition hurricanes.
I suppose the key word there is "eventually." Not big news, with that qualification. He's got a great chance of being right, someday.
Back in the 1930s a hurricane cut across Long Island and then hit Connecticut. Back then this was mostly rural but now it is all densly packed suburbia. How well will the ticky-tack houses of Levittown hold up in 100+ mph winds?
That was the 1938 "Long Island Express", and it was exploding barns all the way up into New Hampshire before it was done.
Probably like many,   I never really considered the GW consequences on Hydroelectric generation as in the Turkey news item above.

I imagine the effect of reservoirs getting too low is indefinite blackouts,  which to some degree makes rolling or peak blackouts from nuclear or gas plants seem like a joke.

It really gets difficult to be optimistic when even the relative stable and clean hydropower could get screwed up by this conjunction of events.

It's all about population!

This is a particular concern of cities that depend on glacier melt for their water.  South America, some parts of Europe.  The glaciers may be gone in as little as ten years, and when they are, millions of people will be without water or power.
Glaciers gone in as little as ten years?????

Source please.

That article discusses one (1) glacier, not glaciers in general.
Don't go deep denial on us now. Almost all the glaciers are receding --round the whole world. Try to get your grand kids to Glacier National Park now, before it's gone forever.

Global Warming means never having to say you're chilly in Chile. :-)

Why are you replying to me?

Don "Big Prick" Sailorman was unable to find the reference useful. Despite the links to other related material as well as a bibliography that went beyond the usual DS "hey, have you seen my penis?" "It's really big!"

You really should be grabbing his manhood and giving it the big stroke. Or small stroke, as reality always rears its ugly small head.

I think jason replies to Don here

I didn't know Brokeback Mountain has glaciers ;-)

Maybe the hot sex action melted them.
Yes, it's the Andes glaciers that are the most vulnerable.  

Small Glaciers Of The Andes May Vanish In 10-15 Years

And here's article describing the water stress that already exists in the area:

On the Roof of Peru, Omens in the Ice

An estimated 2 million of Lima's 8 million people have no water service. Some live decades without it, buying water at as much as 30 times the price per gallon paid by customers whose homes are connected to the government-owned water utility. They are organizing to demand service from a government they say is corrupt and uncaring. But they have no doubt who will be deprived if the melting glaciers make Lima's water even scarcer.

Glaciers are vanishing around the world

Chacaltaya, a frozen storehouse of such water, will be gone in seven to eight years, said Ramirez, a Bolivian glaciologist, or ice specialist.

"Some small glaciers like this have already disappeared," he said as melting icicles dripped on nearby rock, exposed for the first time in millennia. "In the next 10 years, many more will."

...In Peru, endowed with vast Andean ice caps and glaciers, 70% of the power comes from hydroelectric dams catching runoff, but officials fear much of it could be gone within a decade.

The Quechua Indians believe that when the snow disappears from the mountain, the world will end.


You had me worried for a minute, but it seems that the glaciers in Glacier National Park (Montana) and those in Alaska will be around for quite a while;-)

Glacier National Park is a Global Warming Laboratory

If nothing is done to curb global warming, by the year 2030 Park scientists predict there may not be a single glacier left in Glacier National Park.

Same view in Glacier National Park in 1932 v. 1988

EPA: Global Warming - Impacts: Western Mountains

If scientists' predictions are accurate, Grinnell and all of the park's other glaciers will disappear entirely within the next 30 years.

Glacier National Park Biodiversity Paper #7

How will global warming affect Glacier? Alpine zones may shrink or be eliminated from the park altogether; Logan Pass, for example, might eventually be forested. Many populations in Glacier are at the limits of their range; the ones at their southern limit will likely be the first to disappear from the park as temperature zones shift northward. Rare plants found only in Glacier may be particularly susceptible to extinction. Fisheries may decline as well, as hydrologic patterns shift. If thunderstorm activity increases, fires may become more common and further shift community and landscape patterns away from what we think of as "normal" for this area. Aesthetic values in Glacier may be affected as well (Shelton 1988). The fifty-odd small glaciers in the park may disappear completely within a matter of decades; on the other hand, they may increase in size if, as some models predict, precipitation increases at northern latitudes (Key & Marnell 1990). Water levels in rivers and lakes may change, and present patterns of landscape diversity which create scenic vistas (see Information Paper 1) may be rearranged and, perhaps, simplified as individual species disappear.

Modeled Climate-Induced Glacier Change in Glacier National Park, 1850-2100

We determined the melt rate and spatial distribution of glaciers under two possible future climate scenarios, one based on carbon dioxide-induced global warming and the other on a linear temperature extrapolation. Under the former scenario, all glaciers in the basin will disappear by the year 2030, despite predicted increases in precipitation; under the latter, melting is slower.

There's much more, of course, but I think that's sufficient to get the point across.

Yes they can melt really fast, remember it's a vicious cycle, the more they melt, the more dark area is around them and ..... the more they melt.

Stephen King has nothing on James Lovelock.

Your're an arrogant mouthy fuck. Why don't you just go and hide in your rich friend's compounds? How many are there? Like one hundred plus? Goodness gracious me, how much you suffer being so much better than your surroundings. Why do you waste your time here? Oh wait, I know! You're leading the great unwashed into enlightenment. At such great personal cost. For there is no greater burden than yours. You sit before your keyboard, stroking gently, knowing all the while you "are" doing the right thing. Ignorance can only be countered by the full force of pure intellect. Thanks DS, you've saved us all. Each and every one of us. You're gunna need a bigger fucking boat.
I think it's more than just the Andes. At least as far as I gathered from RealClimate. Maybe I'm just a stupid bastard, but the problem seems to kinda follow the Equator, in a kinda wide band, maybe thirty degress either side, and the results of the process may be like those adverts where the disclaimer says "your mileage may vary." So, a little freeze here and a big melt there...

Good luck when the Midwest becomes the desert Americans deserve for choosing to accept servitude over freedom. For chhosing to accept ignorance over truth. For choosing to accept the path of least resistance even as it leads to a pool of shit. I hope you like the Italy of 1930's. Because your so far down that road there's no turning back. Hello Mussolini! Ooops, that should be "hello Dubya!"

Hmm, big cattle drives going on right now to slaughter them lil' dogies because the drought makes them too expensive to feed, a new Dust Bowl going on right now, a possible 'nother big 'cane due for LA or TX or someplace.... and Pat Buchanan's book is #1 on Amazon right now, I never thought I'd see one of his books make #1, that takes selling a LOT of books you know.

Nah, it will be worse than Italy, the Italians had style. And real ice cream.

And as I typed this, I heard on the radio the US has set a new record for driving deaths, higher than it's been in about 15 years, W00T! We're Number One!
I'm trying to think of some rebuttal to this, but unfortunately, no, I cannot.
"servitude over freedom"
"ignorance over truth"

Dontcha know:

All Icelandic glaciers are in retreat and a couple of smaller ones have effectively disappeared.
An even bigger problem for Asia...
 As Gore notes, the glaciers on the Himalayas "contain 100 times as much ice as the Alps and provide more than half the drinking water for 40% of the world's population" via seven major Asian rivers, including the Ganges and the Indus. As the glaciers shrink, so will Asia's water supply. As the planet swelters, heat waves of the sort that killed 35,000 people in Europe during the summer of 2003 will become more common.
Glacial melt (would that be peak water?) is the visible tip of a deeper problem, whose origin is in population growth and resource mis-use.

One-third of the world's population is living in water-scarce areas, say scientists behind a 5-year analysis of global water resources. The finding is a worrying update to an older study by the same team, who had previously predicted that such a situation would not arrive until 2025.
The BBC has this interesting map:

On Wisconsin Public Radio this morning they interviewed a DNR employee in Central Wisconsin who told about trout streams drying up there. He stressed the fact that this is not due solely to the dry summer we've had, but in large part it is due to the irrigation practices of large farms in the area.

I was sort of stunned. I'd always thought Wisconsin was safe in regards to water availability, but I guess it ain't necessarily so...

Also relevant for Alberta and Saskatchewan.  I'll try to find the reference.
Couldn't find the particular piece I saw some months back, but the curious can google - Dr.David Schindler Alberta Water glacier - and get a lot of material.

A good piece at http://www.phschool.com/science/science_news/articles/on_thinning_ice.html

The disappearance of glaciers will change the seasonality of river flow (a BIG deal BTW in many cases) but not the amount.

In the case of Glacier Nat'l Park, they expect MORE water, but no ice.

Water falls in late fall and runs downriver, instead of freezing and melting in spring.  Enough headwater dams can often adjust that timing if need be.

BTW, one of the weaknesses of hydro is the variablity by year.  Wind, on average, has half the annual variability of rain/snow (presentation at Hydro conference in Portland).

I was reading the Sunday Drumbeat Thread when I found the Tiny homes mentioned in WesTexas's post, it being 6 AM I decided not to post to the thread.  While in the Garage this morning, ( Van has an oil leak but I am not a car person beyond a few minor items ) I found the August 21st 2006 Issue of Time.  Lo and Behold,  Tiny Houses, front page mention.   They talk with Tumbleweedshouses owner and the guys at WeeHomes, or was it WeeHouses.  The trend toward smaller living is making inroads in the BIG house market too.

My family, Father, Mother, Brother and I lived in a less than 900 SqFt house.  My Dad and Mom and I live here now, and though it has been packed to the ceilings with a lot of junk, most of it is not mine so I can't get rid of it.  I thinned my own junk down to half of a 10 by 12 foot shed.

I have lived on a boat, I have lived out of my car, I have lived in a Tent Camper.  My dad and I turned that same tent camper into a hauling trailer just last month.   If you build and make use of vertical spaces, have living spaces that are also open to the outdoors, I do not see why you can't live in under 800 square feet for a family of 4.

Look at Japanese Apartments and then say it can't be done.

My dream home was an earth shelter, the one I Designed was not much over 500 Sqft.  My latest design is a 2 story 12 by 12 foot home, with porchs and balconies, and that is still under 500 Sqft and would be big enough for me and a future 3rd wife, or Female room mate.  

The need to have bigger and bigger homes is what is draining our barrels lower and lower.   My dad has all the tools needed to build a house, I can design and he can fill in the blanks.  Will I get my dream house?  Most likely not, but I am willing to live there if I do.

We talk about powerdown and then we swear up and down that we can't live without 1,000 Sqft or more of living space.  I ask you.  Are you even willing to powerdown? Are you even willing to see that we could get by on less?  I gave away Most of a 3 bedroom house to get the rest, mostly books and stuff I still have to sort into HALF of 10 by 12 Shed.

Inside I have only clothes, one dog and one cat, everything else is out in that shed.

What are you willing to do to change things in the Future?

I wish you were a woman and lived next door to me.  

I really, really do.  

I don't have 1,000 SF.  It's probably about 500.  Old apartment.  

I don't need as much room as I have.  There are families with kids living in apartments the size of mine (though of course, they all dream of owning their own homes).  

However, I do insist on indoor plumbing.  

400 sf here, and more than I need, if I didn't need some space for storage. A single person with a studio apartment all to themselves is doing pretty well in the US. People dream and dream of having houses, but what I see is lots of people with a partner or even partner and kids in a place the size of mine, and the "haves" having a McMansion and one or more "vacation" or "rental" etc properties.

Having a house with a room for each kid and wife and yourself, and a yard big enough to grow stuff, takes some real wealth, wealth almost all real-life Americans, don't have.

You know, it's a good thing Americans are taught that the world outside our borders is awful and scary, and most of us can't afford to leave anyway, or a lot of us would leave like the rats off of a sinking ship.

Size of my house is 6 x 7 meters, 2 story's. I share it with my wife and 2 kids. My wife and I, and the 2 kids have their own bedrooms. There is an attick to store items not used so often. All windows are double glazed. Our garden behind it is 15 meters long, 6 meters wide.

Really normal family house here in Holland.

Your garden is larger than one floor of your home...That's awesome!
Here in Italy a 200 sqf (60-70 mq.) house is very common for 3-4 people. Your american standard house, for the normal european citizen, is incredible wide! I cannot think about living in 1500 sqf house (may be the cost of the heating will be horrible).
I think because we have ancient and small cities and towns, so
the space is not so much.

Thinking: what about the psychological effects of people forced to live in narrow space, but not used to? Before to sell tiny houses better forbid to own guns...or follow courses for submarines :-)

Something tells me guns will always be in the hands of private citizens so long as the Constitution reamins on display in Washington, DC.
We may need them as protection against the administrations unwarranted search policies. The 2nd Amendment may be live and well but those others just get in the way of the War on Terror.
Here in Italy a 200 sqf (60-70 mq.)

What's an 'mq'? Square metre? In which case 60 mq = approx 600 square feet, not 200. My one bedroomed apartment is 400 square feet (and cramped by UK standards). I covet 50 square metres :)

I think that 65 m^2 is 700 ft^2 not 200.
(65 m^2)*(((3ft)^2)/(m)^2))= 585 ft^2
Unfortunately, an approximation squared leads to a rather large error!!

1m = 3.28 ft

1 m2 = 10.76 ft2  

65 m2 = 700 ft2

ha ha...quite true.
Because I readily recognized the original computation error, I didn't bother to look up the conversion factor (which I thought was a little smaller than that).  I tend to use all the decimal places I can find, "significant" or not, but definitely got caught out on that.

You'll notice the poster's original computation probably went something a bit like this:
(65m^2 * 3 ft) = 195 "ft^2" which is erroneous because the conversion factor of "3ft" is linear feet.  So in order to compare apples to apples, the unit of conversion has to be squared.
(65 m^2) * ((3.28^2)(1m^2)) = 700/

Amazingly, using the correct conversion units will yeild the correct answer ;)

Immediately after marriage our first home was a twelve by sixty foot mobile home--two bedrooms, plenty of room for two adults and then one baby; we could have fitted in two small kids in the small bedroom. The only problem was lack of storage space, which we solved with an inexpensive metal shed.

Contrary to popular stereotypes, lots of nice people live in trailer parks.

Mobile home living has much to recommend it, and if heat is a problem you can build a roof with eves for shade over your abode; mobile homes are easy to heat in winter and very low maintenance.

Nowadays the twelve by sixties are all old, but a well-maintained mobile home that was good to start with (e.g. a Marshfield or Rollohome) can last for forty years or more.

Those mobilhomes have morphed into 'manufactured homes' and have gotten much better. Lots of people in my rural county have them on their small farms and even in the towns. I came across a small 674 sq ft unit that Silvercrest is marketing as a guest house and granny unit. PDF brochure here:


Modular home designs seem superior in my mind for many reasons, yet their cost is usually lower including all the utility hookups and the like.

You're building a house in a climate controlled environment under direct supervision in a factory.  We build so many others things this way, why are houses so different?  Modular homes designs in my area anyway meets all federal housing codes and in fact are better, especially in the joints.  

I find it kinda neat to show up with a bunch of boxes and have a home "built" in a day.  

"Little boxes on a hillside ..."

(Famous pop song from the '60s, tate ...)

Similar to the WEEDS on Showtime series opening song about ticky tacky homes and ticky tacky doctors, lawyers, etc.

Favorite entertainment show by far.

It's the same song ...

I built my house with foot-thick, ground-up polystyrene blocks (recycled) just so I'd never have to live in a "ticky-tack" home.

Weeds is a good show, I like it.

Is there a link to this ?

Type "Rastra Block" into google to learn about the blocks.

Try looking at Deltec homes.  Built on site.  Highwind proof, energy eff. etc.

Great stuff.


Click on the Deltec Difference link

Well yes.  All of this goes to prove that people can live with one-fifth of the energy they presently consume, and still live fairly well.  

That fact is probably what drives the optimists -- we can gently scale down as energy becomes more expensive.

My wife and I live in a 2500 sq ft house and have 3 cars.  It just worked out that way; we don't use it all or heat it all -- and we try to lend out the cars and take in people for the extra room.  But things aren't dire enough yet for ordinary people to have to share abundance -- let alone feel privation.

Of course, predicting the course of the "powerdown" is the fun of this site -- it's like great science fiction.  The science is solid, the fiction part of it is sometimes really good, but always interesting

As a Science Fiction writer I like your comment.  

My Fiction is set in a present about yesterday going to a bit over the hill toward the future.  Though in some of it you can look back at the past from a Future up to 100 years from now.  

I am suprised that we have so much fiction in the predictions of a wonderfully rich energy world up to 2020 ot 2035 or 2056 when suddenly all Hell breaks loose and we go crying to bed and want our mommies.  They predict that nothing bad will happen if all things work out.  Nothing in the world stays the same.  Most of us are growing older and finding health problems we never thought of as kids.  

I'll have to put a ramp inside my design, so my aches and pains don't have to climb the ladder up to bed.

"What are you willing to do to change things in the Future?"

I am the first to argue the US lifestyle is incredibly wasteful, but I am primarily encouraging voluntary downsizing now because of my belief that it won't be voluntary in the future.   You might as well get ahead of the avalanche of home sales (many via foreclosure proceedings).

One little irony of encouraging the Peak Oil aware to unload their suburban McMansions is that someone else just gets stuck with them, in a game of Musical McMansions.  Ultimately, we will all pay the price, probably when Fannie Mae implodes (BTW, I don't think that they have sumbitted audited financial statements for quite a while).  In any case, this just brings us back to where we started--It's a good idea to downsize now.  

There is one little caveat here.  If you have several kids, starting, in, or out of college, you might want to consider the possibilty/probability that they may be coming back home--permanently.  This is another reason that I keep suggesting buying small organic farms--it gives your unemployed college graduates something constructive to do, and it may provide you with a food supply in the years ahead.  This (the possibility of boomerang kids--you throw them out and they come right back) is another reason I am not absolutely insisting that my wife and I rent something small in a Kunstler Kommune (New Urbanism) area.  

I am the first to argue the US lifestyle is incredibly wasteful, but I am primarily encouraging voluntary downsizing now because of my belief that it won't be voluntary in the future.   You might as well get ahead of the avalanche of home sales (many via foreclosure proceedings).

I love informing people the very same thing you posted here. If we don't do it now, we will have to do in the future. There is no way around it..

But not only are we a wasteful society, we are one that is in deep denial about our own future. We grew up in the ME FIRST generation and could care less about future generations. When I speak to people about peak oil I ask them to think about their children and how much of a difference living with less oil will have on their livelyhoods.  I get the most intense stares.. I love it!

I get the most intense stares.. love it!

That crazy moving guy must be inhaling too many of his own diesel fumes.  :-)

I just love informing people that their world may change because fo oil. As you posted above, most people live in a make believe world..  
A couple of additional caveats.  First, few urban/suburban people have the umpteen skills necessary to survive once things break.  Most successful country people have skills upon skills (engine mechcanics, plumbing, welding, food production, carpentry, et.al.).  They may not be journeymen but the can at least muddle through.

This leads to the reality that most people won't have the correct tools either.

Second, things take longer than immaginable.  Nothing goes quickly.  If someone is serious about moving to a farm, they need to do it now.

My suggestion is to find a mentor who is doing it.  It will save a lot of grief.

"This leads to the reality that most people won't have the correct tools either."

I've thought about the tools aspect, also.  I think that investing in gardening and hand building tools will pay off better than even gold, when TSHTF.

Imaging the following conversation in about 10 years:
"I hear you have some tools for sale.  How much for a hammer and hoe?"
"What you got to trade"
"I have 10 ounces of gold, worth $10,000,000"
"Nah, too heavy.  If you don't have anything valuable, get out"
"I have bullets, 38 calibur"
"Now were talking.  It's 10 boxes for each tool"
"No, I mean in this here gun"
"Hey, Ralph, confiscate this guys gun, and escort him out"

I'd love to have my grandfather's tools.  He was a great carpenter.  (Not professionally; it was just something that all men knew how to do back then.  He built his own house, and his own very seaworthy boat, as well as furniture, etc.)  

No one else is interested in them, because they're old, ugly (many with handmade handles), and strictly manual.  He used to let me play with them when I was a kid, though, and I loved it.  

I have some handtools from each grandparent, from Drafting and Painting to Woodworking tools.  I agree that the basic tools are pretty much overlooked, undervalued.  I love being able to work with Quiet, Simple, Dependable handtools to make things, make repairs..

I have also been putting together Pedal-tools, using old "Treadle" Style sewing-machine tables, exercise bikes (which get thrown out on a very steady basis, certainly under-used).  I think we can take advantage of a lot of improvements in materials, bearings, etc, to make even better 'peoplepowered' tools.

There's going to be an utter shitwad of raw materials, scrap metal, etc to build tools out of though, and "Amish" tools are not hard to learn to make! If there's one silver lining to the cloud of our overshoot and dieoff, it's that there will be tons of left over stuff for tools for a few generations. That's the one soft landing we may be able to leave.
Like Fiskar Axes from Norway...best Axe I've found so far.
My vote goes to the swedes

I have a Gransfors felling axe and a carving axe. The downside is they are so expensive I can't bring myself to use them. My Gransfors hang on the wall while I get cheap axes from Home Depot to use.
Heirlooms for my kids I guess.


Cheap axes can be dangerous.

I live in Paul Bunyan country, and we take our axes seriously. Quality hardware stores have good axes, though for the best quality you probably will have to go online.

A double-bladed axe of highest quality will last an expert logger for about half a year of full-time work before it has been sharpened so many times that it becomes too small and too light. A cheap axe can break at any time and cause serious injury--bad choice.

BTW, get an old logger to show you a few tricks for safe and effective axe use; few who work outside the woods truly understand axe work.

Is that a wooden handle?  

This is the one I prefer and it defies logic as this smallish head is designed in such a way to act as a maul axe.  4.5 pounds but it works as well as a 10 lb head.


In this case my parents totally own this house.  My dad has low debt.  I have higher debt due to some medical bills,  Blood clots in the lungs so bad Both doctors treated me wondered why I was still alive.  As an extreme risk taker in my younger days, I am kinda wondering how I made it far enough to get the blood clots in the first place, but I digress.

Driving back from the Auto-shop, I saw plenty of older homes that all fit in the family of 4 size range and all of them could have been paid for by the original owners, before of course they sold them.  I just do not see the House farms that are springing up in the "Sticks" lasting that long.  Anyone that has lived in a house more than 20 years old sees the home repairs in the future.  My dad can fix anything in this house that breaks.  I was here when he gutted the bathroom to the dirt under the house, I helped him put things back together, to put jacks under the joists and relevel the house.   When the McMansions start failing, hopefully someone will still be living in them, be it one family of 4 or 20, or 4 families of 4.

How many of them can be filled if the mortgage company has foreclosed on them and they sit idle?  When do the guys move back in when the prices to get there are more than what they make at the job?  Sure some of them are built on former farm land, but a lot of them are built where nothing much but scrub oak and pine grows and making a living off your land is not an easy thing in poor soils.

I am just trying to be realistic in how I think about the future.  After all I do sometimes have to think of living in it someday.

Ultimately, we will all pay the price, probably when Fannie Mae implodes (BTW, I don't think that they have sumbitted audited financial statements for quite a while).

Don't mean to beat a dead horse, but that sentence is significant.  If you actually stop and comprehend the seriousness of fannie mae failing, which I think it will it's just timing, the US can do little but print money to give to them or declare them bankrupt and in effect, the US since this is the greatest source of assets in the country.  They've got nearly a Trillion in bonds as we speak and when the people can't pay Fannie Mae and Fannie Mae can't pay their bond obligations (which has never happened to the tune of 700 Billion) then we're beyond screwed.

The WSJ has an article today on "stated income" loans.  Something like 40% of all current US mortgages have less than full documentation.  

On a radio talk show a few months ago, a landlord called in and said that he had turned down a couple as prospective tenants--who ended qualifying to buy a comparable house outright.  

Recessions--like low tides--show what had previously been hidden.

Here is Fannie Mae Report, that reveals the extent of the bi-partisan corruption, basically used by both Ds and Rs as a place to reward hacks.

When it was released, Jerry Knight a columnist with the Post wrote:

Congress dares not complain because it is culpable. Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's lobbyists have so totally ingratiated themselves with lawmakers that they've been able to fend off regulatory initiatives for the past two decades.

The White House is hardly in a position to provide leadership since presidents Bush and Clinton have significant responsibility for what went wrong. They appointed board members at Fannie and Freddie, reflecting their unique status....

... their eventual privatization created the housing equivalent of the military-industrial complex, a Washington-Wall Street axis of money. Wall Street has made billions of dollars buying, selling and trading the bonds that the mortgage twins use to raise money. Wall Street has eagerly helped them sell stock -- collecting the usual investment banking fees along the way. And Wall Street has just as eagerly bought Fannie's and Freddie's shares and bonds, parking them in their mutual funds and other accounts they manage.

So goes the best government money can buy and why it would seem long before we run out of oil, we're going to have a significant global finanical shakeout, that will, as they say, create quite the "demand destruction."

Wall Street has proven no more accountable than DC.
Try a couple of these from Catherine Austin Fitts. These will be well worth the read. MEL,WHERE IS THE $59 BILLION? (fannie Mae and HUD) http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0403/S00177.htm http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0403/S00190.htm http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0408/S00277.htm America's Black Budget & Manipulation Of Markets http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0405/S00268.htm JC
How much worse is this compared to the S&L debacle of the 80s and early 90s. At that time the Reagan and Bush I administrations decided to pay back all depositors every dollar invested not just up to the insured limit. What makes you think Dubya and his rubber stamp Congress will act differently if Freddy and Fannie go belly up?
Have you read the 5 year, 100% inflation scenario over at ITulip.com? It's an interesting thesis and would suggest deliberate collusion by US bankers to leave US debt holders "holding the bag" so to speak, as their debt paper declines in value while it restores equity value to US homeowners (so as to play the consumption cycle all over again). I don't believe ITulip.com deals with resource shortage issues, or peak oil particularly so these sorts of problems could be quite a monkey wrench in this sort of scenario. But perhaps TPTB are thinking they can replay the late 1970s all over again for half a decade, shed massive amounts of US debt via inflation, and then fire up another bubble cycle? If this is true, then the actual timing of peak becomes of considerable concern, because if peak is near right now, you don't want to have that debt. But if peak is more than 5 years out, taking on that debt (assuming you can ride the predicted deflation/inflation roller coaster) would leave one coming out ahead in a very short time period.
It also depends on what the Chinese and other foreign central banks decide to do with their large holding of U.S. treasuries. If they stop buying U.S. treasuries (at the rate of $2 billion/day) or, God forbid, start selling them, the U.S. dollar is toast. It's probably good to hold some gold. It will go up in an inflationary environment, and not do too badly in a deflationary environment. If the U.S. dollar collapses, gold will go to the moon.
Greyzone they do know about peak oil.  Janszen has written a piece about oil scarcity and what it means long term.  His focus is short term housing as the financial bell weather so to speak.  He's spot on as much as I've read there.

I'm trying to find the article I read about Fannie Mae and the totality of their obligations.  It was a serious read that scared the crap out of me.  Google ain't helpin either.

Lastly you propose a good point about trying to chase inflation by loading up on debt now b/c it will be so small in short time.  However the structural changes to our economy that scarce oil occupies, as the mainstay of our portable energy, will be so disruptive that I can't see a bubble cycle following acknowledgement of peak oil. The cash will go into infrastructure creation. The country will struggle to redefine transportation into the Euro model and inadequete funding isn't going to make a dent.  Any thoughts?

Based on where we are right now, I'd bet we have at least 2-3 more years "in the clear" so to speak. If peak is about now, there is tremendous denial occurring and it will take a couple of serious incidents to finally shatter the complacency. I expect those to take a few years to fully play out from where we stand today. On the other hand if peak is further downstream, and Skrebowski and others argue, then you have more time in the clear to play the debt game. I am fairly convinced that TPTB will try at least one more inflationary debt blowoff, followed by another bubble cycle (if, as others note, debt holders like China let them).

But before you think China will automatically dump dollars, look at it from China's perspective too - buy US properties using existing paper, let the inflation kill part of the debt, and let someone else soak up the dollars along the way. So I guess if we could find any serious signals that China was on a mad buying spree using dollars then we might conclude that they think the "Ka-Poom" theory has merit too. And if not, then maybe they'll cut and run from the dollar, though that would seem to be a desperation move saved for when they believe everything was going to collapse anyway. Remember that China is tremendously lifting itself with dollars we paid it. Cutting those off is a two edged sword, one that I suspect will inevitably be used but not til China feels they must or that they have some great tactical gain to acquire from doing so.

"Remember that China is tremendously lifting itself with dollars we paid it"

Lifting takes heat and while paper can be useful starting a fire, it quickly flames out.

This is why I would guess that China is walking a tightrope, wishing to extract maximum value from US dollars but also wanting to abandon them when they perceive signs that the dollar may be too far overstretched (by internal financial issues or resource depletion issues). As long as China thinks they are getting more value from their dollars than they are losing, they will probably hold them, barring a sudden turn in human affairs by the actual arrival of one or more critical resource depletion scenarios.
If Europe were smart they would begin drawing down their dollar reserves and moving them into gold.  Russia is doing exactly that and they are the only one AFAIK.  Like you said China will hold them to trade with us pretty much no matter what.  Japan will too I believe.  So let China hold the bag, while Europe minimizes the damage.  
One sensible thing to do with McMansions is for people needing housing to wait until the bottom drops out of the market and several families go in together on a bargain-basement McMansion and turn it into a co-op house. Of course lots of covenants and the like would have to fall, not to mention social expectations.

Parking garages might become good homeless shelters...

I think at some point multiple families in one house will be the norm when the economy tanks (as a direct result of PO, or on its own) and it gets more and more expensive to maintain and heat a house.  People will move in together out of necessity and some houses will be abandoned.  When this happens there will be lots of free houses available, so you won't do too well if you work in real estate, but I would guess that there will be preferable areas where everyone will be moving where they will still fetch some value if you choose to sell one.

As soon as I figure out a timeline for all this to go down, and exactly where these preferable housing sites are, I'll let you all know. ;)

Preferable locations -  within 3 blocks of a subway, light rail or streetcar stop.  Within walking distance of two or more grocery stores.
I agree with your sentiments about boomerang kids.  Ours are 16 and 12 years old and I can see that there is a good chance that they will be with us for some time.  Many of our friends' children are back living at home after college.  We have been homeschooling our kids for the past five years and have included practical skills as part of their "curriculum" such as gardening, canning, sprouting, falconry (which included hunting), repairing (my husband manages real estate and can fix anything) among the traditional subjects.  Our oldest just passed the GED and is continuing taking classes at NYU in the film/animation department. (I am a fan of John Holt who advocated taking the shortest and least expensive route to pursue one's dream).  Anyway, we have built a barn on our three acres with plans to put in a kitchen and bath and an additional well.  We had some challenges with the zoning department about the septic and well but have just gotten approval.  Our plan is to be able to accomodate up to three or four families including our children if need be.  We could also put in a kitchen in our walkout basement and convert it to an apartment.  It may be against local zoning ordinances now to have several famililes living together but that will probably change in the future. We considered selling and downsizing but the cost of a building lot is what we paid for our house on three acres.  For us, it justs makes the most sense to stay where we are and create the most energy efficient, self-sustaining way of life possible.
The Japanese measure floor space in # of tatiami (spelling ?) mats.  4 tatiami is considered the absolute minimum; 6 or 7 tatiami is the minimum "decent" living space (with SMALL standup shower & exposed toilet).  A 15 to 18 tatiami apartment is considered an OK middle class apartment in Tokyo (but NOT oversized).

From memory 1 tatiami = 16.5 sq ft (some regional differences in size).

OTOH, FEMA found that the trailers used in Florida were "too comfortable" and it was difficult yo get people out of them after 18 months.  So, in order to make life easier on FEMA bureaucrats (our nation's highest priority), they commissioned a multi-million dollar study on what was the smallest and most uncomfortable minimum space that they could supply.

New Orleans did not get any "used" Florida trailers (which might be TOO comfortable; but only the new minimum sized "easy to repossess" trailers.  Impossible to put, say, a family of four into (several thousands of those larger trailers are parked on an old airstrip in Hope, AR but can only be installed in Mississippi and NOT New Orleans by bureaucratic rule.  Pays to elect Republicans !).

The japanese word is "tatami" pronounced like it looks "ta-ta-mi".  The unit of measurement of one tatami is "jo" which is roughly 1 1/2 sq meters, as you've correctly said.
6 or 7 jo makes a standard room size.
I built a small house (by Texas standards) a couple of years ago for use as rental property
It is 2 story, 1135 sq.ft., 3 bedrooms, 2baths. Sits on a 24ft.x 24ft. slab. Tenants love
it; a family of five lives there right now. I superinsulated
it so it has low utility bills as well. State of the art with
coax cable for internet service in all rooms.
When I built it everyone thought I was nuts and
it wouldn't be popular but they were wrong.
"What are you willing to do to change things in the Future?" Ultimately most here and elsewhere are not willing to do enough. For all the knowledge that is present on this board, wisdom is woefully lacking. Like the allopathic doctors that keep the westerner alive, the symptom reigns supreme over addressing the cause of the disease. Peak oil (a facet of resource depletion), like global warming, overpopulation and ecosystem destruction are symptoms of humanity's inability to recognise the limits of its host to support life and organise accordingly. In the end, the one question that has yet to be asked, and really should before any other, is how long do we really want to provide for the survival of humanity? If we want to make it until the sun reaches the far end of its life-cycle and begins to consume everything in its path during its red dwarf phase, we need to return to a stone age existence. If we want to live a little higher on the hog for somewhat less than a few billion years, we can attempt a form of iron age existence. If we want to survive less than a millennia further, we can approach any of the combination of silver bb's currently in vogue herein. All of the silver bb's use finite resources. No amount of recycling is going to get around the fact that sooner or later, sooner being the operative word, all that is basically mine-able will have been. Now couple that with the nature of ultisation rendering a percentage of each round of mining unrecoverable/unusable beyond one life cycle, and you have a recipe for disaster, not sustainability. It is a basic condition of wants being pursued instead of needs. The desire to continue this way of life at present is wrought out of a fear of loss. Life is fun now. Life is fulfilling now. Life can be fulfilling with a lot less. Just as we can talk about going through our stuff and paring down to fit into a smaller living space and find it rewarding, we can go through the trappings of modernity and do likewise and feel likewise. Science and its progeny technology are pursuits to satisfy curiosity. I will posit, so what? Do we really need to know anything more about the nature of matter for humanity to be complete? We could, with what is left of finite energy resources, embark upon a powering down that would result in a fully rewarding lifestyle that preserves knowledge, gives us a full enough understanding of existence and insures that humanity can successfully ride out the planet's life-cycle for a very long time. But that would require sacrificing our addiction to technology, a wholly unnecessary part of what it means to live and exist. For disclosure, I am not some doomer luddite hiding in the woods with a hoard of guns and beans. I am a degreed librarian at a R1 institute. I have utilised my education in researching the calories per capita per year consumption and compared it to the silver bb's potential for utilisation. I have researched the impact of continued mining of finite resources required for widget production. I have studied the history of the rise of civilisation and its attendant impacts. My life will not see the worst of PO and the mad dash to interject silver bb's. But my life is more than the total of its days. Even though I choose not to have children, I have a responsibility to those who will inhabit this planet after me. You do too. To that end, why are we not choosing to sustain needs as opposed to wants?
I think the proper use of "silver BBs" is to transition to a lower-energy, less complex, lower-tech way of life.  IOW, as a strictly temporary thing.  

Unfortunately, I do not see that is being politically possible.  We are locked in an "arms race" of complexity, and there's no way out until we all collapse.

yes we are locked in a arms race of complexity. though i do not really agree with your views on the silver bb idea, from what i have read all it will do is only prolong our current way of life for a little while longer while making the end of it all that more worse.
We cannot doubt that we too have been given the
intellectual vision,the spiritual insight,and
even the physical resources we need for carrying
out the transition that is demanded of these
times,transition from the period when humans
were a disruptive force on the planet Earth to
the period when humans become present to the
planet in a manner that is mutually enhancing.

   from The Great Work by Thomas Berry

 It ain't over 'til its over.


Well said, foolontheswill.  As an undergrad a quarter century ago, I recall studying briefly human energy equivalents - 2,500 calories/day or thereabouts.  I wonder how many HEE's we Westerners are consuming these days, as we consume the planet's capital?
E.F. Shumacher in "Small is Beautiful" stated that no society has ever defined how much is enough and said we need no more. Where in America are the Limosine Liberals who are giving away their money or just trying to maximise the number of people they employ?  If enough is well defined then what do we do for those who don't have enough and what do we do about those who have too much? The poor keep waiting through every cycle of economic growth for there to be enough for them but there never is. Shumacher's answer was we always have enough for every person's needs but never enough for one man's greed. Even through the transition of post peak oil there will be enough to go around and then some IF we invest in economic development of the poorest sectors of each society of and the world.
E.F. Shumacher in "Small is Beautiful" stated that no society has ever defined how much is enough and said we need no more.

Not true.  Some have.  Diamond writes about them in Collapse.

However, I don't think it's a coincidence that all the sustainable societies he described were pretty isolated from the rest of the world.  They were able to escape the complexity arms race that way.  

Without that isolation, the societies that say "we need more" overwhelm the ones that say "we need no more."

Boulder, Colorado, said it was finished growing in, I think, 1998. No more building permits, apparently.

I don't know how this worked out. The place seems swamped with complexity, and it's surrounded by the mega-sprawl that is the Front Range of Colorado.

Without that isolation, the societies that say "we need more" overwhelm the ones that say "we need no more."

This is what has to be "solved".
How to ENFORCE a "low profile" on potential competitors without entering a power contest.

Have you figured what the average Sudanese or other nearer to the ground citizen's calories per capita per year is like?   The USofA is awash in better than average consumtion of resourses even out poor folks are better than poor folks in other countries.  

As I have read in the past Sci-Fi likes to put us traveling the stars and living great lives in the next 1,000 years or so.  I love the idea of it, but I don't see it happening anytime soon.  I can dream and write my fictional accounts of space travel and new energy devices and such things, but I have to realize that the dreams or a young/old man looking up at the stars at night, are just that Dreams.

Soon the test will be on in full force.  Can we powerdown to a long future of simple living on what is left and hang around for 10,000 years, or will we go out with a bang in 100?  I don't know the answer.   I will though keep my notebook handy, and I will keep dreaming.  While of course designing a more simple house design built only with hand powered tools and seeing where I can store all the nails and screws that will become a hot commodity in the years or decades ahead.

While of course designing a more simple house design built only with hand powered tools

There is something DEFINITELY WRONG with that line of thought which shows up EVERYWHERE about"powering down".
You don't really want life to become more awkward and painful by using technologies with very poor efficiency.

What the goal IS really is to prevent the waste and the "sprawl".
Because, even with antiquated means there has been a lot of waste, this is not a matter of technology but a matter of "social values".
What we should be aiming at is efficient technologies AND RESTRAINT in their use.
To put this in an energy perspective and emphasize the point, have gas at 3c a gallon and YET spare it, no SUVs, no suburbia.

Getting back to "hand powered tools" is getting back to primitivism, this DOES NOT SOLVE any problems of growth, population and ressources, on the contrary it make them WORSE for lack of potential in problem solving.
THIS is the way to DOOM and anihilation.

In the energy perspective this amounts to voluntarily choosing low EROEI supplies.
Does that sound ridiculous enough for everybody to understand?

I think the issue is how you define "efficiency."  Technology such as power tools has hidden energy costs.  

I am concerned about the energy cost of the infrastructure that supports that kind of technology.  I am not sure it is sustainable.

First off This was me talking about my goals not about the general joe-fixer-upper.  My dad and I have enough Human powered tools and know how between us to build a small self designed home.  I have after all been Trained in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and Self taught in many related fields.  Its not in my bio.  

Before powerdown was a "trend" or "thing" out there I have practiced the 3 R's,  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  

Why doesn't getting back to power tools solve growth?

Look around you right now we are heading for a cliff even if most of the humans in the USA and a few other places do not seem to think so, that does not change the facts.  It'll take years to train people how to use there hands again.  Look around you I see people using Ipod's, Cell phones, GPS, the internet, and lots of other Technologies that have no clue how they really work of even how to do what they do without the "Power play toys".   I have been trained as a Map maker as well, I have been trained to fix Computers,  And I grew up when the Internet was Only DoD and College based information exchange system.  I know how those things work, I know how my dad's power tools work.
I can not say that for everyone.

In the real scope of my Last statement that you jumped on, I was only talking about me.  But I do think that the more people prepare themselves for a less energy dense life, the better off they will be, and maybe the better off we will all be.

"In the energy perspective this amounts to voluntarily choosing low EROEI supplies.
Does that sound ridiculous enough for everybody to understand?"

AND we are being forced to CHOOSE because the system is in the down hill. Better get used to it.  At one time in the not to distant past the Sun was our major source of power and we got along okay, we are here to talk about it now aren't we?  Keep drinking from the High EROEI barrel as long as you can, just realize it is not as full as it once was.

Why doesn't getting back to power tools solve growth?

Should read "Hand, or Human power tools"

I know how ... things work

The problem with our Adam Smith-driven system is that no one knows how everything works, how it all comes together. You may think you know, but if that is the case, you are fooling yourself.

Sure you may know how to plug a Pentium Chip into its socket on the mother board of your computer, but do you know how to build a plasma etch reactor for patterning the metal interconnect in that chip? How are Black & Decker power tools gonna help you build the computer chip that is needed for "fixing" the computer? There is a certain point where the whole concept of self-reliance falls apart. Does your tool chest include a set scalpels and suture needles for doing your own appendectomy in case you need one? Got a dentist drill for that cavity developing in your upper molar?

Economist Milton Freidman declared that no one person in our Smithian society even knows how to build a pencil --and that's the beauty of the system.

Laugh as you may at that notion. Then tell me which type of graphite you are going to use for the lead in the pencil, which mine are you going to get it from and how are you going to machine the graphite into a thin cylindrical rod? Do you wrap the wood around the lead or push the lead into a hole in the wood of the pencil? Still think we can each be self reliant?

I laughed pretty hard on this one...

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyid=2006-08-22T003104Z_01_N 21200756_RTRUKOC_0_US-LIFE-USA-BICYCLES.xml&src=rss&rpc=22

THREE POINTS, Arizona (Reuters) - Illegal immigrants and drug traffickers are using dilapidated bicycles to make a swift, night-time dash over the desert to Arizona from Mexico, border police say.

Someone's got it right!

I meant to add this at the end about water shortages and how SEVERE we were wrong!


Scientists had forecast in 2000 that one in three would face water shortages by 2025, but water experts have been shocked to find that this threshold has already been crossed.

Was it crossed IN 2000?

Then the border patrol needs these...


As see on the internet....$2200.  My schwiin I bought 8 years ago wasn't more than $750 and it's barely broken in.  Might need to make some modifications though...
pabulum.  my favorite word for all of this crap that's been going on for way too long.  good piece by Randy and Matt.
Yeah, I just spoke to Randy and sent both him and Matt Simmons an e-mail about my recent stuff on the subject.

Part 1
Part 2

I think I still prefer nonsense, as in

Something that does not have or make sense: balderdash, blather, bunkum, claptrap, drivel, garbage, idiocy, piffle, poppycock, rigmarole, rubbish, tomfoolery, trash, twaddle. Informal tommyrot. Slang applesauce, baloney, bilge, bull, bunk, crap, hooey, malarkey.
"there are no problems below ground" and the myriad problems aboveground, although real, are likely to be short-lived, and thus can be ignored in their Reference Case. This is an absurd and dangerous nostrum, false on both counts.

Thank Godz for Simmons.

This is what stuns me about DannyBoy Yergin - he writes "the Prize" book and gets a booby prize for it but then just completely ignores the most imporant lesson of his own story:  Faith in Manz, PoliTICS and Technology is no better than faith in Allah, Jehovah etc...

The DannyBoy Yergins like to think someone has Control.  Like the Creationists, they see an end result and in hindsight mistake that result for "intelligent design."  But History is more like "bumbling stumbles" than "intelligent design" and only in hindsight does it appear anyone really had much control along the way.

Planz and projections on Drawingz Boards might keep the Fat and Happy Complacent, but when they get cold and hungry ... well maybe let Dannyboy "Jerkin" Yergin consult the History Books for that part.

Here's an article discussing the Washington, D.C. power grid and possible capacity shortfalls in the next few years for the US capital.
Thanks greyzone.  Another good example of the state of decay at the core of our First World.  The electric grid will turn into a nice filament as we Fuel Twitch to electricity-by-default, due to declining fossil fuels and a lack of alternatives other than cute equations and graphs on Drawingz boards.

And this one from last week (I think I picked up here thanks to the wonderful Leanan):

Corroding Sewers, Not Alaskan Oil pipes, Are The Real Danger

By Thomas Rooney | August 15, 2006

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2006/08/15/corroding_sewers_not_ala skan_oil_pipes_are_the_real_danger/


As long as oil was cheap, raw materials were also cheap but even now at PEAK Civilization we could just barely keep up with our growth.  Now the cities will start to rot - but someday most will become habitable again I bet! (I am always being accused of being an 'Eternal Optimist')..  At least that seems to be the way it goes most of these TimezUp... ebb and flow, ebb and flow - HUGE EBB this time (tidal wave-like... fishes floppin' on the beach an' shit...).

I hope Global Warming brings back the Inland Sea to Nort AmeriKa and that Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada invade Iowa so we can have some great Beach Front Property for my grandkids later this century.

"The City Streets are empty now,
The Lights don't shine no more
and so the sun sinks way down low, -Burnin', Burning..."

What is this thing with the letter "z," SendOil?
I see dead people and they tell me the future and they always are dressed like Zorro.
Hello Greyzone,

If D.C. loses AC and A/C due to their local grid failing--Perhaps then they will stop fooling around and actually lead in detritus powerdown and biosolar Powerup.  More likely: they will flail about uselessly with stupid programs and lead the masses to Olduvai Gorge.

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

When the power goes out in DC, they'll come home to their districts and tell us what they're doing to fix everyone elses!
In an endnote to Udall/Simmons, EnergyBulletin tells us that ASPO-USA is preparing a more detailed rebuttal of the CERA report, so perhaps a more informed debate will be possible when the rebuttal is published. Their summary as is stands contains nothing much that is new to TOD readers (though that as such is not a criticism, since it's intended for a wider public).

Allow me to act the male bitch in respect of a few points:

The report might be reassuring if CERA did not have a checkered forecasting record, and if its findings were not hedged six ways to Sunday.

Who among the prophets shall cast the first stone? How `uncheckered' is the forecasting record of the peak oil community? How often has ASPO shifted the peak year? Twice? Thrice? Four times? Remember Odell's joke about our running into oil rather than out of it? To raise the forecasting issue is to provoke the Enemy to reply: the same goes for you.

As to CERA's findings being hedged - well, what shrewd forecaster doesn't throw in a couple of `parameters' and working assumptions so as to leave herself a backdoor to tiptoe out of if the prediction goes awry? For example, Laherrere never fails to mention the possibility of `demand constraint' as a result of economic depression or bird flue or whatever. Skrebowski gives `net' capacity growth figures (`business as usual' scenario) and `net net' capacity growth figures (`unpleasant surprises' scenario) ...

In truth, the energy business is plagued by problems in Nigeria (violent insurgency), Venezuela (Chavez), Alaska (pipeline corrosion), the Gulf of Mexico (hurricane damage), Canada (cost overruns), Iraq (civil war), Sudan (ditto), Mexico (declining production), the North Sea (ditto), and Iran (new project delays, saber rattling).

Apples and oranges: these problems contain a mix of two totally different categories which may have the opposite effect on future extraction capacity.

In Mexico and The North Sea oil extraction efforts are accelerating in order to suck out the last economically recoverable drops. Peak oil year comes closer.

In all the other problem countries oil extraction is decelerating for purely political ot technical reasons or due to force majeure (hurricanes etc.). The oil remains in place and will be available for extraction (hopefully) at some future date. Peak oil year recedes.

More later (if I'm not burnt at the stake in the meantime)...

"Who among the prophets shall cast the first stone? How `uncheckered' is the forecasting record of the peak oil community?"

A brief note while I go gather some kindling.

Deffeyes has never changed his forecast--for a peak between 2004 and 2008, most likely around late 2005.  He made an observation in 2003 that he may have been wrong, and that we peaked in 2000, because of the production decline in 2001 and 2002, but he never changed his prediction regarding the 2004 to 2008 time frame for the peak.  Some of the Peak Oil debunkers have described Deffeyes' observation as a prediction.    

The problem for the Peak Oil debunkers is explaining how we are supposed to have rising oil production when we have credible reports that the four largest oil fields in the world are all declining.


I'm not a peak oil debunker - far from it - but I am agnostic as to the trajectory of the oil production curve over the next five years if only because of the wide range of forecasts within the peak oil community itself.

Let me harp on (4th time in one week) about Skrebowksi's Megaprojects projections as published in Petroleum Review last April (title: "Prices holding steady, despite massive planned capacity additions").

Skrebowski states:

The Petroleum Review database - based on public sources of information
- now identifies some 21.3mn b/d of new capacity due onstream by 2010.

That's gross capacity. Subtract `capacity erosion' for 2005 thru 2010 [1,226 + 1,400 + 1,600 +1,750 +1,800 +1,850 = 9.6mn b/d] and we get 11.7 mn b/d.

Let me spell it out: The latest Megaprojects study forecasts a net capacity increase of 11.7 mn b/d by 2010.

Incidentally, CERA's estimates of potential net capacity growth for the same period 2005 to 2010 are in the region of 16.0 mn b/d [in their latest press report they forecast 13.3 mn b/d for 2006 thru 2010, so I've added 2.7 mn b/d [i.e. 13.3 / 5] to factor in 2005 and make their prediction comparable with Skrebowski's]. There's a big difference but there's hardly a whopping one - both forecasts are pretty `optimistic'.

So who is debunking whom? At any rate I'm awaiting not only a rebuttal of CERA's `rosy oil forecast' but also a rebuttal of the Megaprojects findings.

What was the projected increase in demand?

That's what I would like to know too.

"So who is debunking whom? At any rate I'm awaiting not only a rebuttal of CERA's `rosy oil forecast' but also a rebuttal of the Megaprojects findings."

I'm hanging my hat on the Hubbert Lineariztion (HL) method.  I would turn the argument around, why don't you try to debunk the HL method?

Repetitive information follows

Following comments based on HL method.  Qt = URR.

The Lower 48 peaked at about 50% of Qt in 1970.  Using only production data through 1970, actual post-1970 cumulative production through 2004 was 99% of what the HL method predicted it would be.

Russia peaked, in 1984,  in a broad plateau centered on 50% of Qt.  Using only production data through 1984, actual post-1984 cumulative production through 2004 was 95% of what the HL method predicted it would be.

The North Sea peaked at about 50% of Qt in 1999.

The world, based on Deffeyes work, hit the 50% mark in late 2005, and world crude + condensate production is down 1.3% since December.

Saudi Arabia, in 2005, was at the same point at which Texas started declining.  Saudi production is down by as much as 5% to 7% since December.

The top oil exporters, based on Khebab's HL work, are more depleted than the world is overall.  In January, based on Khebab's work I predicted an export crisis this year.  I estimate that exports from the top 10 net oil exporters are probably now falling at double digit rates.

Will we add new production?  Yes--just like the 14% increase in producing wells that Texas put on line between 1972 and 1982, as total production fell by about 30%.  Why?  The big fields like East Texas started a permanent decline.

Today, it's highly likely that the world's four largest producing fields are all declining.  Cantarell is crashing.  Ghawar may be crashing too.

 The world is declining--just like the Lower 48; Russia and the North Sea.


I've been a Hubbertian since I first encountered his curve in Garrett Hardin's book 'Living within Limits'. I'm not a debunker -- it's just that I think bottom-up approaches can't be ignored or pooh-poohed. Let's follow the data wherever they go -- if they remain on the straight and narrow HL path, that's fine. But if they don't, the path will have to follow them.

I think that CERA is smoking some good stuff.  I think that the Megaprojects effort is underestimating depletion.  

So far, Saudi Arabia, the top exporters and the world are following the HL model.

I've posted this before, so apologies if necessary.

The megaprojects update underestimates depletion in at least one quantifiable way that I wish someone could bring up to Skrebowski so he can either correct the report or say where my premise is wrong.

To get his erosion rate, he took the increase in production from 2004 to 2005 and subtracted the new project numbers for what came on during that time (this was from an energybulletin clarification he published 1-2 mos ago). He took this resulting number as the baseline for worldwide existing field depletion and added a small amount to it annually to get anticipated increasing depletion going forward to 2010. The problem was he neglected the production increase that came from spare capacity during that time, estimated 400,000-500,000 bpd, which masked declines elsewhere. His "capacity erosion" number is therefore underestimated by at least this much in his report.

The other problem is difficult to quantify, but comes from the fact that in that time, major oilfields (Cantarell, ?Ghawar, Burgan, etc) were just entering/approaching a decline phase and wouldn't have shown up in the erosion statistic. However, these appear to be entering an accelerated decline now, and will produce a discontinuity in worldwide production decline rates not included in his linear calculation drawn from the 2004 baseline.

No apololgies necessary in my opinion.  Good analysis should be stated again and again.  Heaven knows (oops, there's that religious thing again) how often bad analysis is repeated.
Thanks, appreciated!
About half of all reports on climate change cite scientists exclaiming that they are surprised at the rate of depletion, warming, melting etc. Help, that's not what our models predicted! (change model?). There comes a time when that sounds annoyingly repetitiove. Acceleration and exponentiality are not accidental, they are essential factors in these processes. The "experts" are forever erring on this side of caution, because they have been told that is prudent, or as they would prefer: "scientific".

The past few days, there's a ton of stories about the doubts about the link between warming and storms, and about a 100-year long melt of Greenland glaciers (so it's not manmade, is the conclusion). These stories serve one single purpose: doubt. If storms cannot be positively linked to warming, then warming is not so much of a problem.

The same goes for oil depletion. As Jeff very correctly states, the numbers are staggering (double digits, no, it can't be true...). Once more,  we are still on this side of caution. But what happens to the climate will happen to oil: accelerating numbers and exponential decline rates.
It's simply how the process works. System dynamics.

But wait, it gets much worse: there is one extra force in the game: once we all realize to what extent Jeff's numbers are true, an enormous amount of the oil that is left will not be available on any market.

50% of oil in the US is consumed by the "corporate/military structure". (The number comes from Derrick Jensen, no use fighting over a few percentage points) This structure will hoard as much oil as it can, and move from 50% on a free market to at least 75% on a depleted market. The US army will make sure, always, that it has at least 10 years of reserves.They are doing it as we speak. (does the army believe in peak oil? they have no choice, they have to err on their side of caution) And corporations will try to do the same. Their very existence in threatened, they have no choice. They have a lot more buying power than you and me, though, rest assured.

That will be one of the main consequences of mass peak oil awakening. The ride will not be smooth, there will be insane prices and insane shortages from one day to the other. Just like the effects of climate change, sudden and violent.

Oh, and the next step of course is governments making sure that essential services have gas. After all that, filling your tank will be a real challenge. How does $50 a gallon sound?

Here you can find a list of UK essential services set in 2000, when French strikers cut down oil supplies to Britain. It's a long list. And remember, you are last in line, after everybody else has been serviced. As in NOT.

Alright, alright, thar she blows: (still a nice article though...go read it.)
NOTE: Prisons and bankers are more important than hospitals and drinking water. Say no more, Guv, say no more...

    *    Armed forces
    *    Prison staff
    *    Coastguards and lifeboat crews
    *    Fuel and energy suppliers
    *    Essential financial services staff including those involved in the delivery of cash and cheques
    *    Essential workers at nuclear sites
    *    Water, sewerage and drainage
    *    Central and local government workers
    *    Refuse collection and industrial waste
    *    Health and social workers
    *    Funeral services
    *    Emergency services
    *    Food industry
    *    Public transport
    *    Licensed taxis
    *    Airport and airline workers
    *    Postal, media, telecommunications
    *    Special schools and colleges for the disabled
    *    Essential foreign diplomatic workers
    *    Agriculture, veterinary and animal welfare (10)

Great post. Anyone know how much of the US's 21m bpd of demand goes directly to the military?

I wonder if operations in the Middle East are even included as US demand proper.

In 1990, the United States military used about 500,000 barrels of oil per day or about 2%-3% of total oil consumption at that time.

I have no reason to believe that US military oil consumption has grown from 1990's 500,000 bpd to 10,000,000 bpd, which you appear to be asserting. Documentation please. You are making an incredible claim, and no, somebody's blog is not evidence.

Ok, I found another reference. During 2004, the height of the Iraq war, the US military was using 395,000 barrels per day of oil. This is DOWN from the 1990 figure.

What you call the "corporate/military structure" is so vague that anyone could make any sort of absurd and useless claim about it. I'll bet that your "source" lumps all energy usage by companies like GM, Boeing, Westinghouse, GE, IBM, and others rather than trying to break out what is military and what is not (probably because these companies don't track energy usage that way). And the excuse for doing this will be more leftist conspiracy or borderline conspiracy.

I'm not buying those conclusions unless you come up with better documentation of what appears to be absurd claims.

The reference is in a review of Derrick Jensen's book End Game. Yes, it appears a bit out there, as does Jensen's entire mindset (though I must say I haven't read the book:
If we look at the United States alone, which currently consumes more oil (50 percent going to its corporate/military structure) than the next four largest oil consumers combined, [..]

However, I see little reason to doubt that military and industry combined make for about half of US oil use. And the trend towards hoarding is the "claim", not any particular percentage.

My point is that a large extra part of the remaining oil will go off the market once the peak is reached. The same can be said on an international level: richer countries will makes less available for poorer ones. Whether that is through physical storage or exclusive contracts or armed protection, is another story.

My RSS feed for this site isnt working. Anyone else have same problem? Im using firefox.
Was about to post that myself ... Feedburner isn't updating.
Iran offers West 'serious' talks (BBC) Which is more polite than telling us to take a walk. I can't see them backing down from pursuing an autonomous fuel cycle for their nuclear reactors. I can't honestly see what they have to fear in the way of sanctions. And military threats will not make them back down. They probably feel they are on a roll, and that the US will learn from recent misadventures. The principal danger being that the US hasn't learned anything.

Do you know if "sanctions" means some kind of naval blockade?

I can't believe the world would remove Iran's oil exports from the market.

This late in the game, Iran would be stupid to abandon their nuclear cycle.  

In reality, Iran is a largely mis-understood nation, I really do not think the PTB in Iran are truely as nuts as they portray (and yes, they do sound like nuts if you read their news http://www.irna.ir/en/).  

Put yourself in their shoes... you have a mainiac running the western world (Mr. Bush) invading as deemed necessary in order to fight "terrorism"; you have been specifically named as a proud member of the axis of evil; you are watching what Israel has done to Lebanon and more specifically what the international community's (lack of) response was.

Additionally you have the capability of pumping 3.5 or 3.8 Mbpd of oil. (is that number correct? I think so)  Oil that would be very appealing to a western country full of Hummers and McMansions; along with other western countries trying to figure out how to heat their homes in the next couple years

I can completely understand them desiring, and not giving up the capability to have a future energy source (full cycle nuclear), and honestly though I hate to say it, I completely understand why they would want an atomic bomb.

They are sitting on oil that is desperately needed right now, so they are holding some good cards... What is Bush going to do?  Invade them and loose the production?  The US is already spread too thin as it is with Iraq.

ON a side note... I heard North Korea might be getting ready for an underground test


I have not really heard very much about this... but is that because N Korea has nothing we really need?

I've been seeing discussion of it for about a week now but them again, I don't restrict myself to just MSM news sources from the US so maybe I saw it somewhere else. It's fairly irrelevant at the moment because the US has let itself be pushed around on this issue while trying to carry a tougher policy than was possible and because South Korea wants appeasement with the north. So what I actually expect from the fruitcake dictator of North Korea is an atomic weapon attack on South Korea someday, at which point the South Koreans will cry to the rest of the world to save them from their folly, the Japanese will go nuclear and destroy North Korea, and China will then have a mess in its own backyard.

Of course at that point we will get the obligatory "it's the USA's fault!!" screams from whomever finds it politically expedient.

Oh just shreads of empire hang tattered in the winds.

Gotta laugh reading this article. The U.S. is fully and unequivecolly threatening to "denounce" them if they detonate one.

I wonder if they are brave enough to risk George's denunciation. Sure would take some guts.

Well you know those Iranians are regular trouble makers

I mean , look at them: always invading somewhere or other with their Cataphracti, Parthian horse-archers and Sassanid Persian Armies.

Not like us (or US) of course.

Maybe, just maybe, a nation with a burgeoning youth, a high standard of education and perhaps a reasonable knowledge of Oil depletion, they reckon that nuclear power might just help them keep the lights on two decades hence.

After all, genies trapped in lamps peaked some centuries ago. (Except perhaps in the bedtime stories that Cheney reads to your president at nine every night).

Exxon, Money, and Alternative Energy

The company says its not interested in renewables. But when your business relies on a finite resource, is this really the best strategy?
In the short term for the benefit of the shareholders (who vote in the board), yes... it is the best strategy.  
Um...is that how the Invisible Hand is supposed to work?
Something like that :-)

Didn't say I think it's the best policy... just a fact of life...

That was the topic of the first essay I wrote for TOD:

Big Oil and Alternative Energy

More on the Romanian oil rig seizure by Iran, this time from Bloomberg. Real friendly fellows, these Iranian chaps, eh?
Mad Max on the high seas...over oil rigs.

Y'know, we peak oilers really shouldn't be surprised...

Y'know, we peak oilers really shouldn't be surprised...

I, for one, am not in the least bit surprised.

Welcome back to the days of Piracy.

That doesn't seem very optimistic of you.  ;-)
No one says you have to be unrealistic to be an optimist.

Besides, I kind of like pirates. Especially when they're played by Keira Kneightly. ;-)

Hoist the Jolly Roger and set sail me mateys! We're off to find more rum. We's drank it all on shoreleave. Set course for the nearest rummery!

This pirate stuff bugs me, because I've known people who had to float in the water and play dead while pirates killed/tortured/raped everyone they thought was still alive. They were Vietnamese "boat people" and they really went through hell. I read, when I get them, the various magazines by and for the boating communities on the West Coast and there are always pirate stories - not cute gruff but lovable old characters with parrots on their shoulders, but the maritime equivalents of freeway and truckstop serial killers. Think of the various sickos on the highways, carjackers, etc., On boats. Think of type like that Ng guy and the Green River Killer etc - on boats. It's international waters out there, and all kinds of crazy shit happens all the time.

And, I've also known someone who talked like a pirate, all the time! I'm sure his first words as a child were in pirate lingo, and were gleefully encouraged by his Mum and Dad, in more pirate lingo! Why? Because this is a working-class New Zealander, and speaks the very same English dialect we associate with "pirates". It's a scream, and it doesn't help that the silly guy wears a gold earring in one ear, "because he's been shipwrecked"  - he got stranded on a reef once.

Ditto. Well-stated.
In case y'all didn't notice, it was an attempt at light-hearted humor in reference to one of the great myths of Western civilization.

Please lighten up.

Here ya go.

Maybe Kunstler's right about the pirates...

Welcome back?

There are over 200 documented cases of piracy a year.


16 men on a dead man's rig...
Yo ho ho and a barrel of crude!
From what I understand they were in Iranian waters.
Hello Tate423,

I find this situation fascinating.  Was this equipment in Iranian waters with Iranian Govt. approval originally?  Is it a ship-type drilling platform that could move to safety relatively easy? Or is a stationary moored platform that takes a long time to dis-assemble and move with tugboats?

If in Iranian waters, why would the Iranians have to shoot it up, commandeer it, and hold the Romanians as hostages?  Wouldn't the Iranians have known this rig was operated at the behest of Halliburton?  I admit I am confused--a lot of things are not making sense.

If this rig was actually in neutral waters, or some other country's offshore waters: I would have thought they would have sent a fighter jet and naval gunboat to splash this Iranian helicopter attack and takeover.  My guess is the insurance rates for Hormuz VLCC transit and offshore rigs just jumped.

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

good questions

Suspense builds as MSM fails to investigate.

Im still diggin for info on specifics but as oldhippie points out, it's hard to find in MSM.  This is interesting to me as well, since they talked the 22nd up like crazy and all that happens is a packet is delivered to Washington and they commandere an oil rig off their shores.

The rig itself I thought was a able to dig deeper than the area it operates in.  As to why they took the actions they did...think about this.

We systematically removed Saddam with precision guided missiles.  No matter what anyone tells me, we did it for oil.  Iran is asserting their rights to use military force(albeit a little lower tech) and make a statement in such a way that we did.  I could be off, but it would be a great hindsight kind of moment if things escalate out there.

Rather coincidental that the Iranian military has commandeered a floating drilling rig close to the Straits of Hormuz on the same day they respond to the UN over their uranium enrichment.

The rig Orizont has a depth rating of 300ft and we can see from Britanica [page 2] that the Straits are rarely deeper than 300ft...

Would this be an ideal object with which to blockade the Straits of Hormuz without actually laying naval mines. You could load it with explosives and park it in the middle of the channel, possibly with some rocket launchers etc on-board...

Holding the Straits of Hormuz is the equivalent of holding the World's economy (and Uncle Sam in particular) by the short-and-curlies.
ABAPer re:
<Would this be an ideal object with which to blockade the Straits of Hormuz without actually laying naval mines. You could load it with explosives and park it in the middle of the channel, possibly with some rocket launchers etc on-board...>

It seems like it would be easier to just drop some partially submerged mines off of the back of a high speed patrol boat some night.
 Especially if the mines were made in croatia or somewhere. With foreign made mines  they would even be able to deny they did it if they wanted to.

But they would not be able to defend the mines nor would the mines be selective. If they use something like t Orizont they can allow tankers past, only then stopping the flow of oil when it suited them... Would the US attempt to attack the craft and risk blocking the channel...? With mines it is blocked and that is that, then the US has every reason to get stuck in...

I didn't think the Iranians were particularily loking for an easy path here in any case...

ABAPer -

As I understand it, while the Strait of Hormuz is roughly 30-some miles wide, there are but two deep navigation channels, one coming and one going, that are each only a little over a mile wide.  Due to their very deep draft, super tanker traffic is confined to these channels. While a large oil rig would represent a serious obstruction, it is still not a mile wide, and tankers could sail around it, albeit with some difficulty.  

The far greater danger is from a variety of mines, torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and possibly explosive-packed, low-flying suicide small aircraft.

 Even though super tankers are humongous, they are not particularly robustly built, at least not in comparison to naval warships. They are little more than  huge floating water (or more accurately, oil) balloons. As such, it would not take all that much to put a super tanker out of action by either damaging its power plant (note: most have but one propeller), rupturing its hull (many are single-hulled), or sinking it completely.  A crippled super tanker would be as hard to ignore as a seriously injured elephant.

And hitting a super tanker is like hitting the proverbial broad side of a barn. If the Iranians can't hit a super tanker with at least 'something', then they ought to call it quits and make nice with the US and Israel.

While the Iranians would suffer greatly in a military confrontation with the US, they are still capable of dropping one big turd in the global punch bowl.

Yeppers. Brings me back to the Audubon Magazine article I read as a kid, titled "oilberg".

It's probably archived somewhere, great stuff!

If Hezbollah can hit an Israeli warship with an Iranian made missile, you can be certain the Iranian military can sink an oil tanker.

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-07-15T130158Z_01_ALL546 893_RTRIDST_0_OZATP-MIDEAST-ISRAEL-SHIP-20060715.XML&archived=False

The article says the C802 missile has a range of 60 miles.


remember the uss cole
I coulda pulled that one off in my sleep. I have to wonder what provisions have been made to deal with this type of low tech tactic. anyone know?
Hello Earldaily,

My guess is any warship from any country that pulls into a port somewhere [even its homeport] puts  buoys out at a safe distance from the ship.  These buoys have a message that declares that anything going past these buoys has entered a 'free-fire zone', and warships can carry an incredible array of weapons.  You will never again see a boat approach a warship until it has been boarded and thoroughly checked by that warship's MP sailors.  If the warship is against a dock--they establish the same kind of perimeter on land and MPs carefully inspect all approaching vehicles and cargo.

Of course, antiship missiles don't have time to heed the warnings.....that is why Thatcher threatened France with annihilation unless they gave her the disabling codes [frequencies?] for the Argentinians' Exocet missiles in the Falklands War.

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

Argentina had 5 Exocet missiles and sunk two British ships.

Among other cruise missiles, Iran has the Sunburn.  Good-bye to any boat of any size or armament in the Strait of Hormuz if push comes to shove.

By the way, how exactly was Thatcher planning to blow nuclear armed France to so many parts per trillion?

"Among other cruise missiles, Iran has the Sunburn.  Good-bye to any boat of any size or armament in the Strait of Hormuz if push comes to shove."

The US navy has a point defense system that kicks ass

Hello ToilforOil,

Oops--got my recall facts slightly wrong--memory starting to fail.  Thatcher told Mitterand she was going to nuke Buenos Aires unless she got the Exocet codes.

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

Thatcher threatened France with annihilation

Thatcher threatened Mitterand with Buenos Aires annihilation and he folded.

Go-fast bombs are a good weapon for a blockade. But a nuke in that strait - becuse it's so shallow - would make for a permanent blockade by causing a tsunami. Spice up your nuke with lithium deteuride and a shell of natural uranium, and you make a better tsunami.

What'll happen is a crater is made underwater, as water is pushed out... but as it fills back in, you get a second, better one! The tsunamis wipe out the oil ports for a long time. With a nuke, Iran can weaponise tsunamis! I dreamed up this exact scenario after that Y2K4 "Boxing Day" tsunami.

The largest nuke ever detonated, something on the order of about 50 megatons by the USSR and intended to be the trigger for a 100 MT device, is still a fraction of the total energy released when that tsunami was formed. A typical nuke is not going to make an appreciable tsunami. If they have a nuke and want to close Saudi facilities, then nuke the facilities.

The 2004 tsunami originated from a quake that involved 0.25 gigatons of TNT energy equivalent (or about 250 megatons). The average nuclear weapon today in the US and Russian arsenals is in the low to medium hundreds of thousands of kilotons (KT) range. An Iranian nuke would likely be between 10KT and 100KT. Further, an Iranian nuke is likely to be a fission device which has some practical upper limits on size due to engineering, delivery mechanism, etc.

While you may fantasize about nuke generated tsunamis, they aren't going to happen anytime soon.

Ok, but that was also a deeper starting point.  If this strait is so shallow wouldn't this affect how big the tsunami would be?
Exactly. The strait in question is 300 feet deep and fairly narrow. While the Boxing Day tsunami would be impossible to make with a nuke in an ocean, a real shallow strait leading to a small body of water is perfect to weaponise a tsunami. Besides taking out Saudi ports, you take all the Straits or Hormuz ports! That would be a case of optimising the productivity of your firepower. You set off the bomb on the sea floor at the mouth of the strait.
I agree with you Mad Maxout...I was hoping for Greyzone to consider what I said.
From same article:

''Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suspended Oriental Oil's activities in 2005 on alleged corruption activity and ties to Halliburton Co. of the U.S. The U.A.E.-registered drilling company had signed a preliminary contract with Halliburton after winning an estimated $310 million contract to develop phases 9 and 10 of Iran's offshore South Pars gas reservoir''.

Wot? (allegedly) Halliburton doing business (allegedly) in Iran? (allegedly)via intermediaries (allegedly)

Shurly Shome Mishtake.... Is it not part of the axis of evil? (Iran that is, not (allegedly) Halliburton...)

That'll be (allegedly) Halliburton, I whimsy, just as (allegedly)it was throughout all the years of the Libyan embargo.(allegedly).

plus ca change (allegedly)

Worsening fuel crisis in Iraq

Fuel prices in Iraq have reached peak levels - with gasoline costing approximately $6 per gallon.

The costs of diesel, liquid propane gas used for cooking, and kerosene have risen to levels totally disproportionate to Iraqi's incomes - having a huge impact on day to day life for regular people.

Many people in Baghdad have abandoned their cars - even selling them. Those who can afford to buy gas go through extreme frustration to get it - sometimes waiting all night in endless lines to fill up their tanks - or are forced to buy gas on the black market at extremely inflated prices.

Electricity is also a problem:

Elsewhere, the major problem for people remains electricity. The state power supply average is just four hours a day! That's been my personal experience in my neighborhood and the same goes across Baghdad from what I've gathered chatting with people on gas lines and elsewhere.

That means that most Iraqis are left relying on private generators in their neighborhoods to get power - and forced to pay whatever the owners of the generators are charging.

But at last they have democracy.

dorme bien

Effective demand destruction, so BP can buy up an extra couple hundred kila barrels per day to send over to fulfill their contracts.  

They needed more NET export...and they can engineer that.  

***ok ok...but its a theory.

It's all about population!

I know we can't use this as the model, but I think it's fair to say that as the gas runs dry, inflation will spiral everything to become exponentially more expensive.  In a few months the cost of a bus ride doubled!  We're on here talking about mass transit and I'm not against it, but it will still cost you and I a fee to hop on.  Will it need to be subsidized to allow most to ride?  

Gee...food is more expensive in Iraq too.  Oh and 4 hrs of electricity?  Here in STL when our power was out for a week (I wasn't affected luckily) there were police being called to keep angry people from the repair crews.  Sad, but people are ignorant at best.

I've been down at the economic level where the cost of a bus pass is a major thing, and a bicycle is a bargain compared to the bus. Heck, in one area I calculated that a scooter (50cc minimalist job bought used, or a slightly larger one, find a used somewhat decrepit one) worked out cheaper than the bus, and a monthly bus pass is still the cheapest way to ride the bus if you ride it a lot.

Not saying buses won't see a lot more ridership, they can be a lot more comfortable than a bike, dryer in the rain, etc.


Ugh - news bulletin - dead person on the BART tracks, they're turning all the trains around ......

One time I worked at a factory 2 and 1/2 miles from home. If I took the bus, I'd have to take 2 of them, making for at least a 40 minute commute as well as cost money. At my usual walking speed (before I blew out a knee) the same trip took 40 minutes and cost me nothing. Walking in this case was a no-brainer.

Sure, I could have used a bicycle, but that'll cost something and be riskier, having to ride in the street. And a car was out of the question no matter the distance.

This short distance made walking the best possible choice due to my walking speed cutting the time. Fast walking creates the same benefit to a pedestrian that running speed gives to Kenyan schoolkids who commute by running. (HINT: That helps explain why Marathon winners are often from Kenya.) While American cities are not "New Urbanist" except some neighbourhoods, they are vastly better on foot than suburbs. To compensate for not being like European cities, you pick up the speed.

$6 a gallon there would be like $60 or $100 a gallon here.
This was burried in today's WSJ article on Iraq oil. Sounds a little like a peak oil statement:

"Some fear that after decades of pumping, mankind has finally begun exhausting the earth's reserves of crude oil."

Hello TODers,

Arizona has been trying to build a refinery for years so that we are not so entirely dependent upon two corroding importing finished petrol product pipelines [one from CA 60%, the other from Tx 40%].  AZ only extracts 142 barrels/day total from 18 stripper wells-- in short, our vehicles probably drip more oil than we mine.

The proposed refinery for Yuma,Az area has numerous big problems that need to be solved, and my guess is that Peakoil will prevent this refinery from ever being built:

1. The oil majors are against a new refinery being built:
He has talked with "majors" in the oil industry enough to know they don't believe there's a "significant economic driving force" for a new refinery in this country. Their approach is to expand capacity at existing refineries, which have dwindled from 324 operable refineries in 1981 to 148 today.

But that approach hasn't kept pace with demand and won't in the future, McGinnis said.

"We're not saying we're going to solve the problems in the world here with one oil refinery," he said. "But we believe -- and think the economics will show -- that there is a need for not only expansions in existing facilities, but there is a need for a new refinery."

So the IOCs are telling him we are going postPeak soon, and AZ, along with much of the US Southwest can expect to be economically hammered very hard.  Why build a refinery if they cannot even get sufficient crude for an already existing TX refinery?

Foundation concepts of predictive collapse and directed decline from extensive supercomputer simulation would probably indicate much the same outcome--Cascadia, are you ready for the multi-million people migration influx?  With open arms, or arms-length by Earthmarines?

Sounds to me like McGinnis needs to be informed on Peakoil, but it is hard to disagree with his desire to make AZ safer by having its own refinery.  AZ could than export finished products to Las Vegas, making them safer too.  Recall my recent posting on how Vegas will be shortly maxed on pipeline shipping capacity.  Or Maybe-- McGinnis is Peakoil aware, but is trying to max his personal fortune first by prodding us ever forward along the infinite growth path to our doom.

  1. Peakoil and politics is making it impossible for this refinery to secure sufficient initial, guaranteed crude contracts to ever be built.  The idea is to build a Pacific seaport off the Baja coast and offload Canadian oilsands crude, then pipe it the 250 miles inland across Mexican land to the refinery.  It could also offload other crudes from VLCCs relieving the growing congestion at the CA oilports.

  2. Another big problem is getting a guaranteed Mexican crude supply to this refinery, either by VLCCs or a pipeline from the Mexican oilfields.  Us TODers are quite aware of PEMEX's financial problems and Cantarell's output crashing.

That is why I think the Mexican election standoff is crucial to the US's and AZ's future.  Hopefully, there was no covert US influence in their election process.  If the Mexican populace wants to prepare early for the eventual division into mostly discrete biosolar and detritus lifestyles--that is their right.  The Zapatistas appear to be an early vanguard in this biosolar movement by their refusal to participate in detritovore politics.  Are the survivalists on this forum the future American vanguard equivalent of the Zapatistas?

AMLO would probably gradually shutoff the nearly 2 mmbl/day exports to the US as Cantarell declines to be used internally for the Mexican poor.  Calderon, if he wins, will probably invite SUPERNAFTA and having the IOCs come in with their big bucks finances to develop the remaining oil resources, but keep the exports going to the US at the expense of the poor Mexicans.  Mexico is oil-rich [and depleting], but refinery poor -- they import alot of gasoline.  AMLO would rather build Mexican refineries [possibly financed by Chavez from Venezuela?], Calderon may be induced by economic hitmen to provide crude to the proposed AZ refinery.  I really have no idea what is the best answer here from a Foundation viewpoint.

Here in the Asphalt Wonderland-- nearly all Arizonans that are Peakoil-unaware, are in favor of this refinery.  This Narcosphere article provides an interesting alternative viewpoint as it encourages Mexico to do all it can to not support the AZ refinery:

Selected excerpts [but I recommend reading the article]
Catching a Sneaky Fox in A Pipeline Scandal: Oil and the Power of Arizona Big Shots

By Marcel Miranda,
Posted on Tue Mar 29th, 2005 at 01:17:56 AM EST

Arizona has approved the construction of an oil refinery based on Mexican oil and a pipeline from Guaymas. The 3 to 4 billion dollar project is bad for Mexico. Jobs and income will be lost and a dangerous dependency on the US will increase.

Exporting more oil to the US is a great mistake economically speaking. There is plenty of demand worldwide and no shortage of willing long-tern contract buyers. The US has a problem (well more than one) with oil refining - it has not built a new refinery in 30 years, many small ones have closed and some of the newest ones seem to be blowing up.

Enigmas abound in this deal. Why build a refinery far from oil? And why would Mexico send cheap oil just across its border to be refined into gasoline when Mexico imports almost a quarter of its gasoline costing the country more than one billion dollars a year. (3) Mexico could build a refinery in Hermosillo or Guaymas and sell gasoline to the US at a high profit. This would create many jobs and save Mexico precious foreign currency reserves (dollars). And a new Mexican refinery could supply petrochemicals that the country must also import (4).

Oh, I forgot the oil pipeline may be built or owned by the Carlyle Group (Bush-Cheney-Powell) (2)

The Arizona oil pipeline is a threat to Mexico's national security - it's a one-way deal that will be enforced forever. Right now Mexico is dependent on the US for a significant amount of its gasoline imports. The new pipeline will increase this dependence. Worse yet, once it is built the Mexican government could never dare stop sending oil north as this would shut down the refinery and cause severe problems for the US. Well actually it would cause severe problems for Mexico as the US would never tolerate a disruption in supplies to its new refinery.

Gringos joke that pelicans are the Mexican Air Force, while AZ's Luke Air Force Base is a top jetfighter training base.

A worldwide Foundation would determine using ASPO's Depletion Protocols what would be the best course of action.

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

I tend to joke that the Canada geese are the Royal Canadian Air Force. Now that they could carry bird fly, they come armed with a bioweapon.
Another interesting post, Bob ... There's a full-page ad in the Denver Post today raising alarm about the NAFTA Superhighway. End of national borders, etc.

Anything like that in the AZ newspapers?

Hello Don in Colorado,

Thxs for responding.  Unfortunately--Nothing in my local MSM.  Consider the 'Fifteen Favored States' in the latest Hirsch Report Update and see how much of it dovetails with this 'official' Supernafta website.

If one considers the remaining US FF detritus to be developed, and how much our detritus infrastructure spiderweb will ultimately shrink to a sustainable minimum, a lot of this thinking makes commonsense.  I believe this will be a primary postPeak 'seasonal' population migration route along with being a year-round supply route.  Of course, this implies that much of the rest of North America will become largely biosolar with somewhat discrete detritovore outposts.  My speculation of course,FWIW.

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

Here is some more recent info on SuperNafta:


Arizona has 18 stripper wells... always wondered where they came from.

so the oil fairies come out of the ground and fly to Vegas to seek employment?

I wrote the following as a second draft (start, not finished) of my response to the recent DoE report by Hirsch, Bezdek and Wendling written by my father's bedside.  Dumping quickly at a WiFi driveby >;-) Surgery went well and my father is "ahead of the curve" on recovery.

This is (IMHO) more polemic and less persuasive.  Comments appreciated.
The recent Peak Oil paper [insert title] prepared by Hirsch, Bezdek and Wendling overlooked the "best" solution.  This overlooked approach can have a quicker and larger impact than any one of your proposed mitigations; and quite possibly more than all four together.  In extremis, it is technically and socially possible (see historical precedents below) for this one solution plus declining US domestic production to provide all of our transportation needs without resorting to coal-to-liquids, oil shale, heavy oil or enhanced oil recovery.  And do so in an environmentally positive way.

The first of the two linked, and overlooked, approaches is to electrify our inter-city freight railroads (with some enhancements) and promote inter-modal transfers with free market and other incentives (such as Interstate Highway tolls).  The other is to build Urban Rail on a scale comparable (or better than) the Interstate Highway system.

A conservative estimate, based on a major but not a crash effort, is that these two approaches can save 10% of US Oil use in ten to twelve years.  A crash effort could do more than the "Peak Streetcar" building era from 1897 to 1916.  A nation of less than 100 million people, a majority still rural, with a GNP (inflation adjusted) of just 3% {need real #] of today and primitive technology built 500 streetcar systems.  Most towns of 25,000 or larger got electrified transportation.  Clearly the United States has the technology and resources to do much more today than a century ago.

The changes in the urban form brought about by an abundance of electrified Urban Rail and a paucity of liquid transportation fuels would be of the magnitude of the changes brought about by deliberate federal policy from 1950 to 1970; when almost all downtown shopping and business districts died, most established neighborhoods declined and suburbia and shopping malls boomed.

We did it once, we can do it again !

Oil, or "Liquid Transportation Fuels" are not required to support an advanced Western industrial society with a vibrant democracy and a decent quality of life.  A premier example is Switzerland of WW II.  Due to strategic decisions made in the 1920s, and subsequent investments, they were able to function with 1/600th of current US per capita oil use in 1945.  Three years later, they were still at 5% of current US oil use, a level that would allow the United States of today to join OPEC.

Tellingly, in 1998 Swiss voters approved a twenty year, 31 billion Swiss franc program to improve their already excellent electric rail system.  Adjusted for population and currency, this is equivalent to the United States voting $1 trillion !  The dominant goal, of several goals, is to move all heavy freight by rail and not truck.  Semi-high speed passenger service and quieter rail cars are other goals.

The Swiss are not alone in taking strongly pro-active actions to get off oil today.  The Thais have budgeted 550 billion baht (~US$14 billion) for mass transit, are building a 95% renewable electricity grid and developing small scale rural biogas.  And the French are in the midst of adding one tram line to every city of 150,000 and two tram lines to every city of 250,000 as well as finishing their renowned TGV system.

Much clearer - and I started to say, more succinct until I realized that it isn't finished!  Good going, Alan.  
And I'm glad the surgery went well.

A prediction that the Iron triangle is going to get hammered on all three sides here rgemonitor

  • First, consumer confidence is sharply down as consumers are in a foul mood...
  • Second, all indicators of the housing sector show not just a slowdown...
  • Third, consistent with this housing rout, lending indicators for housing and consumer loans are also headed south...
  • Fourth, car sales are now falling in real terms...
  • Fifth, other business cycle indicators are also signaling weakness...
In conclusion, the "bad" news are really bad while the "good" news are only lagging indicators or actually "semi-bad" news...

cfm in Gray, ME