DrumBeat: August 3, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 08/03/06 at 9:35 AM EDT]

King Abdullah’s First Year

Lost in the swirl of controversy surrounding this new analysis by some people of world energy dynamics is that few publications have noted that the accompanying scare was originally the result of writings by Matthew Simmons. The latter has been and remains a controversial source. Simmons’ analytical credentials, if not also his prognostic ones as well, are considered by many to be dubious given that he has long been an American investment banker based in Houston, Texas.

Even now, relatively few people outside the publications and conferences where Simmons has argued this case would have known the frequency with which his contentions have been soundly rebutted by geologists, petroleum engineers, and oil reservoir technical specialists. These quite differently situated individuals and specialists, almost all of whom have had decades of firsthand experience working with the oil fields in question and whose work has required that they carefully monitor and report on such matters every day, all year round, continue to contest and argue the exact opposite of the “peak” oil theorists.

Saudi Arabia rules out oil weapon

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, believes oil should not be used as a weapon because it is the economic lifeline of Arab states, its foreign minister said.

Asked whether the oil weapon should be used if the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah escalates, Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "The two issues should not be mixed because oil is among the economic capabilities that countries... need to meet their obligations toward their citizens.

"If we ignore this reality and start asking that the foundations of our life (be used) and enter into reckless adventures, the first to be hurt will be our citizens and no wise government can accept this," he told a news conference.

Tropical Storm Chris weakened unexpectedly overnight, and is no longer expected to become a hurricane.

Q&A with Jeremy Rifkin

Let me put it this way: The power companies and energy companies understand that we’re heading toward peak oil. That’s No. 1.

Biofuels May Not Be Sustainability Panacea

Japan's Itochu to build world's largest geothermal plant in Indonesia

Energy From the Restless Sea

An end to subsidized parking

Let's get serious about oil

When Mexico runs dry

Mexico's economy and government are living on borrowed time, and the day of reckoning may be coming sooner rather than later.

A third of the country's federal revenues come from the profits from government-run oil fields. A single field known as Cantarell provides most of the oil and the profits. While the exact condition of this field is a closely kept secret, news leaks and the limited published data suggest that Cantarell is quickly passing its pumping prime. Production in May was down 7 percent from just the beginning of the year, according to the Los Angeles Times. The demise of an oil field can be rather sudden. As one former Mexican oil executive told the Times, "Cantarell is going to fall a lot, and quickly."

Senate Approves Bill to Expand Oil, Gas Drilling; Gulf States Would Get Share of Royalties.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas: Political issues might motivate Russian oil blockage

Bangladesh: Power office ransacked in Jhalakati for power outage

Angry demonstrators deprived of regular electricity supply ransacked the power office in the town during their three-hour demonstration programme Wednesday, leaving an engineer and five police injured.

Road Projects a Casualty of Oil Crisis

Asphalt prices escalate as oil prices climb, making highway projects more expensive.

U.K.: Vegetable prices to soar as heatwave blights harvest

Global Production Changes
According to the EIA's statistics, Chinese oil production is still increasing despite the Daqing having peaked.

Does anybody have any idea when total Chinese oil production  might be due to peak? Has anyone carried out a Hubbert linearisation of Chinese oil production?

Great work Oil CEO.

When presented like that you can see a definite shortfall.

More than half way through the year and we have a net decrease of Half (.5) a million barrels per day.  

I recall that either the EIA or IEA revised new demand to around 1 Million new barrels per day.    So,  either a supergiant is coming online in September, or its going to be a very expensive and cold winter.

A question for the more wise,  if you reduce gasoline demand can you produce more heating oil from a barrel of oil?  ie. I don't know if you can change the mix of extractables from a barrel of crude.

BTW,  when do we decide peak has occurred?    It's starting to look like Deffeyes was right,  maybe.

It's all about population!

IEA says June production averaged 85.2 mb/d on increases from GOM, Canda, Russia, China, Iraq.  If this stands it would exceed December '05.

PDF:  http://omrpublic.iea.org/currentissues/full.pdf

Isn't the IEA always high, and the EIA more conservative?

It's all about population!

Isn't the IEA always high, and the EIA more conservative?

Yes Exactly! The IEA data is always premature and usually too high. But there is a huge discrepancy between the EIA's Short Term Energy Report and the IEA data. The EIA's Short Term Energy Report had OPEC production, December to May down by 855,000 bp/d. But the IEA, for the same period, had OPEC production up by 300,000 bp/d. That is a discrepancy of 1,155,000 bp/d. It is hard to reconcile that kind of difference.

December to June the discrepancy closes from down by 555,000 bp/d (EIA) to up by 500 bp/d, (IEA) a difference of only 1,055,000 bp/d. Still a difference too large to be reconciled.

But you must wait until the EIA publishes its International Petroleum Monthly to get data that is checked and cross checked and far more accurate than the IEA's premature data. The latest issue has the May data. That data has OPEC production down by 607,000 bp/d, December to May and World production down by 981,000 December to May, crude + condensate.

There is absolutely no chance that the world will produce more crude oil in June 06 than in December of 05. I am expecting a slight increase in June however but a subsequent drop in July.


Did anyone notice that Iraq's figures are exactly the same three months in a row?

OPEC has been taking hits for publishing bogus data on oil production; the US colonial masters dont' seem any different.

Copy and Paste.
Wait a minute..... Oil CEO????

How can this character post good research like this one moment, and act like a drunk 13-year old the next moment?

Hey Oil CEO!!!! Matt's site RULEZ!!! Matt is da Man!! You have to go read Tainter and dieoff.org!!!! No one site is Number One they're all different views of Peak Oil!!

Cussing and lunacy should soon follow.....

Yeah, like Jekyll and Hyde. And downthread there's discussion of Israel and Jews and Lebanon and OilCEO doesn't take the bait. I have lots of respect for OilCEO when he posts on oil but that other persona is wild.
The other persona? Where on earth did you get the idea there were just two?

Bait. I don't think so. It's you little fishies that are always falling for the bait. Two down. Where's smekhovo?

You know what? I think your name is Oil CEO but some kid was on here as Oil_CEO or OilCEO and was well, acting like a little kid.
Cool. Are you the same fleam who smoked a little dope, read a little Chomsky, decided he understood the world better than everybody else and started calling Jews Nazis and Americans... what was it?...NaZionists?

Correct me if I'm wrong. I wouldn't want to misrepresent your views. That was you, right? Not some other fleam?

Funny thing was, I was going to write a cute little, humorous piece in the attempt to put this behind us. I read your initial response to my "Oil" post just previous to having to go out. Didn't have a chance to respond. Unfortunately, oldhippie preempted this attempt.

Take the fig-leaf, dude. (Yeah, I'm trying to teach a lesson in diplomacy - unless you'd rather get steamrolled, of course).

Go on, tell us all about how you can "fucking" read what you like, etc etc etc it's cute,

And watch Dad's Seagram's 7, you'll have one heck of a headache later.

You ZioNazi.

Oh, here we go with the foul language. Should have capitalized that. Sorry I mispelled that Nazi thing of yours. Can never get that stuff straight. Remind me which way the wings on the swastika are supposed to rotate. Try again tomorrow. I think you should try starting a site called "The Water Cooler." You can lead-off with commenters contributing made-up stories of Palestinian "moms" trying to cook soup while their sons watch with wide eyes as Jews across the barbed-wire play in the sprinkler. Bring it....Oh, OK, I'll give you one more chance. Take the fig-leaf. I'm serious. Where's smekhovo? Figure he would have stopped by to back you up by now. Call me a nitwit or something constructive. He's usually good for at least 8 words.

Take the fig-leaf and stop reading the Chomsky.

If you reduce demand for gasoline, you probably could make more diesel per barrel of light, but my guess it'll be easier to make diesel from heavy so to get more diesel we merely import more heavy! Heating oil (and jet fuel) are quite similar to diesel, a lot closer than to gasoline. Now, getting heavy sweet crude, that might be a challenge.

If my guess is correct, reducing gasoline demand and increasing diesel demand will move the prices of light and heavy crude closer. But sour will be cheaper per barrel than sweet becuse sour is a pain to refine to get the sulfur out.

A question for the more wise, if you reduce gasoline demand can you produce more heating oil from a barrel of oil? ie. I don't know if you can change the mix of extractables from a barrel of crude.
The answer is yes. By changing the feedpointon distillation columns, reflux rate, etc, we can change the characteristics of the basic mix. We also use various cracking and reforming techniques. That's why there is a "switchover" of refineries to increase distillate oil production.

In theory, with enough processing you can make any crude come out with whatever final product you want. However, the energy requirements to stray that far away from the natural distillation curve starts becoming quite large.

Down 509 divided by 84776 gives -0.60 percent. We are down less than 1% from the top, correct?
It all depends on how you want to measure things. I only went back to January here. The official EIA peak is December 2005 at 85,051 - so that would make it about a .9 percent decline by your count.

May of 2005 comes in close at 85,008. Keep in mind that the EIA revises its figures every month by as much as 500,000 bpd, and will frequently re-revise them later.

The margin of error is huge. The more I work with these numbers, the more I come to believe they are useless and that we are wasting our time depending on them for anything.

I like moving averages. If you use a six-month trailing moving average and then compare these figures to the corresponding month twelve months ago, you won't find any declines in the last two years. Although we are starting to cut it close. May comes in at 100.29%(.29% above May 2005's 6-month SMA) using this method - the lowest in the last 2 years at least. To put that in perspective, using that method, we were seeing up to 5% gains per month in 2004.

May of 2005 comes in close at 85,008. Keep in mind that the EIA revises its figures every month by as much as 500,000 bpd, and will frequently re-revise them later.

I consider this a gross exaggeration. The IEA often revises its figures by almost 500,000 bpd but never the EIA. I do not believe anyond follows the EIA dater closer than I and I have never seen a revision anywhere even close to half a million barrels per day.

The EIA revises its totals because it gets revisions from each individual country. These revisions are usually in the range to 10 to 20 thousand barrels per day or less. Sometimes these revisions will go back several months. But they never amount to more than peanuts as far as the totals go.

February 2006 was initially reported as 84,330. It has been revised to 84,776. Four questions.

  1. Is 446,000 barrels-per-day peanuts?

  2. How close is 446,000 to my initial estimate of 500,000 - which you characterized as a "gross exaggeration"?

  3. Why did you put the word "never" in bold?

  4. Do you work for the EIA statistics department?
Well no, the last backup I has the data for March 06. That report has February 06 data, all liquids, at 84,410. That puts the revision for all liquids at 366,000 bp/d. A lot more than I have ever seen before but still a long ways from half a million.

Which is another point. All liquids is crap! It includes propane, butane, ethanol, biodiesel, refinery process gain, and a host of other things that have nothing to do with crude oil. The revision for February 06, crude + condensate was miniscule, as it always is with the EIA data. Same report:
Crude + condensate
Feb. 06 73,807,000 bp/d
Revized latest figures
Feb. 06 73,825,000 bp/d
A revision on 18,000 bp/d.

And this is an extremely large revision for crude + condensate. I have never seen a revision much larger than this for crude + condensate. I put that in bold because I wished to.

Revisions in crude + condensate are always peanuts.

No I do not work for the EIA but I gather and keep data every month. I back up my data every two or three months. The data above is from my last backup as compared to the latest data.

Okay, I apologize for not realizing how crappy the data for "All Liquids" really was. My bad, but it gives me another reason for using only crude oil in my data, never biodiesel, ethanol, propane or butane. The EIA gathers these figures for crude + condensate only by totalling up the data from each nation. Therefore there can be no revision greater than the total revisions for the individual nations. And there is usually only one or two nations revised with each report. Therefore the total revisions is always only peanuts as far as the total goes.

I posted a couple more graphs on the next thread the Stuart posted. They plot crude+condensate and all liquids on the same graph. The discrepancy between the two has been growing for some time. I agree that it makes a lot of sense to focus more on crude only.
What is the standard deviation of the EIA series over, say, 5 years (STDEV function in Excel)?
3.166 million barrels per day since Jan 2001.

4.506 million barrels per day since Jan 1995. Does that seem right? I'll send you a copy of the spreadsheet if you've got an email drop.

If about 2/3 of the measurements are within +/- 3.166 mbpd (or 4.506 mbpd on the Jan numbers) then that STDEV would seem right. You will have to judge.

The idea is to try to guage "significant" deviations within the data. I'm just trying to be a math nut here. A report of around +/- 3.166 mbpd would be a "1 standard deviation" event. A report of around +/- 6.332 would be a 2 standard deviation event, which should occur no more than 1 time out of 40 (2.5% of the time).

If the data is "normal" you'd have to pretty much ignore any event less than 1 standard deviation -- from a noise standpoint. And you'd have to ignore *sequential* events as well, unless you change timeframes and re-normalize your data.

I don't really understand what knowledge you are gaining here. Because oil production is increasing almost every year except a few, or has been so far, the more years you include the greater the standard deviation will be. Doing the function for the last five years on crude + condensate, including this year, I get 3.027 million. But doing it on every year since 1970, I get 6.727 million. But since the data is generally increasing, this tells me nothing.

Or does it and I am just too dumb to see it?

If the STDEV increases as you go back and include more data then the data was more volatile back then. Increasing and decreasing don't have anything to do with it because the changes are squared when doing to calculation.

What you are gaining in the calculation is a sense of perspective on the noise. Rather than get caught up in a prediction based on a short series of sequential, but possibly normally distributed numbers, you look for a significant change based on the statistics of the series.

Since (or if) the data is really getting less volitile then it could be easier to see a true downturn.

Well hell. I read a book called "The Bell Curve" and it described a standard deviation as the average difference between any two points in the sample. That is if all your data points are close to gether, then the standard deviation would be small. But if there was a very wide difference between the data points, then the standard deviation would be large.

So, beginning in 1970 the total world crude production was just over 45 mb/d and this year it is averaging over 73 mb/d. So the average difference between now and 1970 would be much greater than between now and 2001.

And I just proved this on my Excel spreadsheet. I placed the numbers from 1 thru 50 in a colum and did a "stdev" on the entire column. My answer was 14.577. Then I did the same "stdev" on just the last five data points. My answer was 1.58. And since every point increased by juse 1, according to your definition, I should have gotten the same answer for both.

No. One standard deviation is the average difference between any two data points of the complete set of data points.

You have to look at the STDEV of the *changes*, and the changes are all 1. In that case the STDEV is 0. What you have calculated is the "average difference" from the mean (which in that case is 25.5). You are correct that that is not particularly meaningful.

Sorry about leaving "the changes are squared" detail out until my last post. This was not particularly clear by me. I'm so familiar with this junk that I assume that what I'm saying is immediately clear.

Can you try again with the changes in the data?

Good points. Looking at the variability of these numbers is important, especially since the data is weak. Put another way: if one believes the ultimate monthly peak production will be 86 or 88 or 90mbpd, our current output is not significantly different. Statistically, we are at peak.

I was speaking with another PO person, who feels we may get a "cushion" of another 1mbpd of net new production, which sounds plausible to me. But this is only about 1.2% of daily production, and a fraction of one standard deviation. We have too much noise, and not enough signal.

One must consider when looking at these stats that Q2 is always the lowest production quarter of the year.  Always.
Except in 2005 when it was the highest quarter, and except in 2004 when the first quarter was the lowest quarter...
...Q2 is always the lowest production quarter of the year.  Always.

And yet I see this graph at trendlines.ca:

Either I'm misinterpreting what I see here, or "always" means different things to different people.

Maby that site was made by Freddy's lying twin.
Oh that's rich, using Freddy's own website to disprove Freddy. Well done!
Hello TOD'ers,
First time post. I'm meeting today with Senator Russ Feingold's staff, not as a lobbyist or as a member of a special interest group, but as a constituent from Wisconsin.
I sent a letter to him a month ago detailing my concerns in relation to peak oil. I stated that Ethanol production was non-viable (EROEI) and damaging to cropland. I spoke of bolstering rail services, both for industry and transit. Finally, I asked him to acknowledge the challenges ahead and to create policies that inform and assist his constituents during the coming decline.
I received a letter back from his office that was a stock response regarding "Alternative Fuels". In it, he states his efforts for bolstering the Ethanol industry. HaHaHaHaHa! I feel more strongly than ever that we won't be getting any help from our federal government when TSHTF.
I need some help from you. If you were given the chance to meet with Feingold's staff today at 4pm, what would you discuss during the meeting?
Tom Anderson-Brown
Seems like Feingold's already doing a lot of good things.  Not sure there's any reason to suggest otherwise.

As he is a senator from a corn-producing state, I can understand his interest in promoting the ethanol industry.

You might point him to the Cornell-Berkeley study:


He supports higher gas mileage requirements, no ANWR drilling, reduced reliance on foreign oil, and alternative energy.  Presidential timbre?

Texas oilman Boone Pickens, a lifelong Republican, has proposed increasing the gasoline tax up to where we would be paying the same price for gasoline as Europe, offset by cuts to the Payroll (Social Security + Medicare) Tax.  The primary purpose is to encourage conservation by offering a carrot and stick approach.   Those concerned about Global Warming would also endorse this approach.

I would ask the good senator to reach across the partisan divide and embrace this proposal by a lifelong Republican.

I would give them printouts of RR's ethanol commentary. They are direct and unambiguous. The numbers are damning. I would ask them to respond.

I would have Patzak and Pimental ready to go if they say they've never heard of RR.

I would read RR's comments on those two Khosla threads last week. He did a lot of prep for that phone call and shared his talking points. Lot of material, well organized there.

Good luck!

Tom, I'd give them the following pieces:

"The Politics of Oil: The Discourse Must Change" post:


Our recent analysis of the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act (DOER):


Our recent posts debunking venture capitalist Vinod Khosla on the efficacy of ethanol:


and of course, our "first time here?" intro:


that's about as good of a summary as I can give you.

and Stuart's post today wouldn't be bad either, just for the chart's power if nothing else.
I'm not sure this is the right approach. If I were a politician and a guy came into my office, starting to talk doom and gloom, and showing a huge stack of papes into my face. I think my reaction would be to call security.

Maybe you should just explain what EROEI means, and give him two or three reasons why the numbers don't add up.

I recommend providing a copy of the Hirsch report as well...either the abbreviated version (http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/pdf/hirsch_world_oil_production.pdf) or the long form (http://www.julianj.v21hosting.co.uk/hirsch0502-DOE-US-report-with-peaking.pdf).
Give him the Roscoe Bartlett speech, Ask him if he was there ANY of the 3 or 4 TIMES he gave it IN FRONT OF CONGRESS. (since this topic is "Very Important to him").

Peak Oil Presentation in the US Congress


Congressman Bartlett discusses peak oil with President Bush

Transcript: Third Peak Oil Presentation by Congressman Bartlett

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

Ask him (since he is SOOOO Informed) if he has ever even HEARD of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett?


P.S.  You're wasting your time....  :-)

Personally? I'd give them all a good ear full. Throw in a few curse words too. (makes me feel better). Then i'd get my daughter to kick them all in the shins, while i spat on them.

Updated for May 2006 numbers from EIA's Petroleum International Monthly, August 2nd, 2006

Wow, I don't think I've seen this graph before. What's really striking is the 89-89 and 01-03 slumps in production growth, each of which looks like it could be "The Peak" if you don't look at the latter data.

Yeah.  Time will tell.

In particular we need to combine the production numbers with news of "how hard" everybody is trying.  If everybody is trying really hard, geopolitical issues are not clouding the image, and production continues to fall ...

A good indication of that would be to plot the price of oil along with the production. Oil prices where low in 2001 so there was little incentive to produce more. Prices are high at the momment but still we don't see much of an increase.
Crude Oil Production vs. Price

Oil prices are nominal/non-inflation-adjusted monthly averages.
Last price is $74.46 for July 2006

A declining price led  the decreases in production in the past. That is not the case this time. Very important difference ...
Agreed.  Very striking on that graph.
This is more convincing than the basic plateau plot.
Any way to plot investment per additional barrel of oil? I.E., what was the investment cost to get those additional barrels in preveious years?
The striking thing is not that production slumped in the past when there were global recessions or low oil prices. The striking thing is that production is stagnating or falling at a time of record high real oil prices and surging global demand. I don't think that we have seen THAT combination previously.
"The striking thing is that production is stagnating or falling at a time of record high real oil prices and surging global demand. I don't think that we have seen THAT combination previously."

We haven't seen in globally, but we have seen it locally, when Texas, in response to a 1,000% increase in oil prices, showed a 30% drop in production.

someone should plot prices and production on the same graph...

anyone know where i could get datasets for the two variables? i will run it on sas if someone can locate it

How much of this imbalance could be caused by speculation?  I don't really know much about how the futures market works but you can see that futures going out to 2009 are more expensive then current spot prices.  Might this and the large volume in oil futures trading be keeping oil off the spot market, artificially reducing current supply/driving up price?
I don't think that very much is caused by speculation. Consider the amount of oil consumed on a daily basis, and then compare that to the amount of oil that can be purchased and then held off the market, in storage, in private hands. Do not count government stockpiles, unless you believe that governments are engaged in the speculation. For me, I just do not see speculation taking that large a role in the three year run up in oil prices.
The fact that there are higher prices in the future is merely an indication of the predicament were in.  Don't get me wrong contango has happened before, but it ended.  What we see now is that all prices in the future are higher and that seems reasonable, not speculative.  With the last three years as your guide wouldn't you want a premium to hold an exercisable contract for the future?

I'm not advocating looking at the past as any indication of the future, but right now only a few people think gas is going to get expensive in the 2010's.  If you figure in a potential deflationary collapse you might not want to hold a long term future in oil.  Those in the game see increasing prices in the future, but no one knows how high.

 I think the previous production slumps you point out and the following production recoveries will be used by many to reinforce the "don't worry" arguement.
 Were the previous production slumps demand driven? ie. did production decrease because the market did not require it?
 I believe it can be argued that this production decline is not due to decreasing demand.
 This may be the first time world oil production is incapable of meeting demand. The first time we have long term conservation forced upon us aka demand destruction.
 The only way oil prices will decline is if we can reduce consumption  at a rate greater than the supply declines.
 When you take into account westtexas' export availability  data and Matt Simmons production info it does not seem logical that we can count on having a nice production recovery as we did in the past.
  Whoever said we won't realize we hit peak until years after the fact will be proven right.
  I hope very much this is just another interim peak and the long term production up trend continues but I don't think  all of the available information supports that hope.


Since conservation will be forced, it will be price-driven. As it goes up, people one by one will have to do something as the price gets too expensive. In my workplace, one long-range commuter quit, two others now carpool, one driver toward the end of the month takes the bus, and I'm moving closer to work.

I intend to get a 49cc scooter for the good weather days sooner or later, likely sooner. So, the demand destruction is occuring now, but it's only the start. Once we go on the downhill, the pace of the demand destruction will accellerate and it will be dislocating.

Those are the results of the collapse in oil prices following the financial meltdown in Asia, and the invasion of Iraq.

As to what's causing it this time, that's just the trillion dollar question isn't it.

 Yes, if the global oil supply/ demand function changes from being a facilitator of global growth to a cap or a drag on global growth, the cost will be measured in Trillions of US$ worldwide.
I am wondering how many here are experiencing brownout conditions.  Here in central Massachusetts, we have been in a mild to moderate continuous  brownout for at least a day.  Incandescents are noticeably dimmer and redder, and the microwave is taking 3 minutes to heat what usually takes 90 seconds. I measured 102 VAC in my home sockets this morning.
I'm in south central Mass, and I measure 115 in my wall sockets. Maybe you got a near hit with lighting yesterday? It was wild around here.
No significant problems in Tyngsboro MA, where I work.  And we use lots of electricity at work!  A couple of minor blips was all.  We did miss the thunderstorms, though...
  • "peak" oil theorists??? I thought everyone agreed it will happen and the only discussion is when.

  • On the Isreal-Hezbollah conflict:
West Bank-> river Jordan
Golan heights-> major aquafier
Souther Lebanon-> river Litani?
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1153292054929&pagename=JPost%2FJPArti cle%2FShowFull
"The general said the IDF was currently working according to an operational plan in which IDF troops would push their way through southern Lebanon until the Litani River, some 40 kilometers from the border with Israel"
To what extend can this conflict be over the scarce resource called water?

*The best reason why growing your own food is worth the effort: taste

Water is a huge issue for Israel.  They're downstream of everyone.  And it causes a lot of friction with the Palestinians.  West Bank settlers watering their lawns, washing their cars, and splashing in their backyard pools while Palestinian taps are dry causes a certain amount of resentment.

The solution is supposed to be gas-fired desalination plants, but perhaps it's occurred to them that there are flaws with that plan...

Why don't the Israelis try solar desalination setups? It's only a minor adaptation of a normal solar heating panel, so it shouldn't be that expensive. And you can use windmills to operate the pumps! The result is desalination plants that only require the energy of manufacture, and the sun runs the rest. It should have a great "WRoEI"
Yeah, dumb Israeli's, what do they know about solar? :-)
120C at the price of cheap flat panel sounds great. You run the seawater under pressure (to prevent premature boiling) and let it boil after a valve in the chamber with the condenser. Just add windmills to do the pumps, and you're set to have off-grid desalination! Perfect! Having the plant off-grid is a great idea as it takes no imported energy inputs, so the Arabs can't get them to die of dehydration just by shutting a natural gas valve. Given their tough neighbourhood, that is quite a selling point!
you're not taking this in to consideration
most crops require one inch of water per week

I do however like the idea

I did say die of thirst not die from starvation. Scaling things up to irrigate farmland would sure help the Israelis with off-grid living. The more off-grid the Israelis can go, the better off they are, given the rough neighbourhood in which they live. The distilling plants are a good start.
To what extend can this conflict be over the scarce resource called water?

Very little, I would think.

That's what I would think as well, but as Leanan points out water is very important, so I welcome all opinions what role this vital asset plays in the region in general and in this conflict in particular.
Wars are still all about the acquisition of natural resources.  The ethnic/racial/religious reasons supported by gov'ts are smokescreens.  Looks likely to me that acquiring the water from that river is the goal here.  And probably some nice farmland in between.
Yet, they are very important smokescreen, yes?

When Hitler annhilated the Jews, was it really because he wanted their resources or because he simply hated them?

Or how about the problems in the former Yugoslavia?

It's not so cut-and-dried as you might think.

Actually the property and assets of the Jews helped to fund the Nazi War machine, furthermore the Jews themselves were a resource in the form of slave labor.  Lastly, the hatred he stirred against the Jews provided another resource in the form of willing manpower to further his aims in the political and military fronts.

The elimination of the Jews had quite a bit to do with resources.

As for the Yugoslavian problem, the simple premise there was one ethnic group didn't want another ethnic group remaining on a certain piece of land.  The people involved ultimately might not have been aware it was about "resources" but I can guarantee you, that there were leaders promising land grants, and riches in the event of a win.

We are territorial creatures, and we have repeatedly shown the willingness to excercise ruthlessness if not outright violence to maintain or gain territory.  And territory is not always specifically land.  Given our higher thought processes we perceive many things to be "territory".

For instance if an idiot wandered on these forums and cursed up a storm and was being generally anti-social, the natural reaction would be to kick him from this virtual space in an effort to guard this online "territory".  Or at least I would assume that would be the course of action.

Its all about resources or at the very least tied to resources in way or another.


Actually the property and assets of the Jews helped to fund the Nazi War machine, furthermore the Jews themselves were a resource in the form of slave labor.  Lastly, the hatred he stirred against the Jews provided another resource in the form of willing manpower to further his aims in the political and military fronts.

The elimination of the Jews had quite a bit to do with resources.

The Jewish population of pre-WWII Germany was something on the order of 1%. I.E. it would have been impossible to run the Nazi war machine on the seized assets and slave labor of the Jews.

You can argue Hitler's Social-Darwinist outlook drove his desire to conquer Eastern Europe, but his pathological persecution of the Jews was driven by little more than ideological hate.

As for the Yugoslavian problem, the simple premise there was one ethnic group didn't want another ethnic group remaining on a certain piece of land.  The people involved ultimately might not have been aware it was about "resources" but I can guarantee you, that there were leaders promising land grants, and riches in the event of a win.

Your explanation is little more than derivative Marxist interpretation of history -- materialist explanation for a situation where they don't apply. Instead of 'class conflict' you invoke 'resource competition' as the primary explanation. Please explain how 'scarce resources' pushed Yugoslavia into civil war in the 1990s when scarce resources hadn't resulted in civil war earlier.  

We are territorial creatures, and we have repeatedly shown the willingness to excercise ruthlessness if not outright violence to maintain or gain territory.  And territory is not always specifically land.  Given our higher thought processes we perceive many things to be "territory".


For instance if an idiot wandered on these forums and cursed up a storm and was being generally anti-social, the natural reaction would be to kick him from this virtual space in an effort to guard this online "territory".  Or at least I would assume that would be the course of action.

Its all about resources or at the very least tied to resources in way or another.

That makes no sense.

While Hitler's motivations were heavily influenced by his hatred, don't be fooled into thinking he just fried up the Jews well done for emotional reasons alone.  The Jews, while a small minority of the population had a large portion of the wealth.  It was in fact that wealth he pointed to help turn them into a scape goat in the first place.  

Furthermore due to Germany's dire financial straits (a fact that many of Hitler's advisors and commanders had to deal with while Hitler was off being a charismatic presenter of "glorious" Nazi ideals) , the Assets of the Jews, did quite a bit to fund the War Machine of Germany (note I never said ALL the funding).  Industrialists were quite often paid off in gold melted down from Jewish family heirlooms, and artworks formerly owned by the Jews.  Houses were seized and redistributed to officers of the SS and Nazi army.  Other Jewish owned facilities were used by state agencies for a myriad of purposes including administrative offices for industrialists, and military personnel and maternity homes for those women deemed Arian enough to be mated with SS.

Hitler's aggression against the Jews may have been seeded in emotional hate, but it was envy of Jewish wealth that allowed his hate to grow into genocidal movement embraced or at the least ignored by the Jews German neighbors.

As for Yugoslavia, its civil war was going on before Yugoslavia as a nation under the Soviet bloc.  The Soviets basically bashed some heads and told the kiddies to sit down for 80 years.  After its independence the fighting kicked up again.  That region has been in violent flux for centuries with one group Ethnic/political or otherwise always trying to get the one up and be in power over the rest.  Power mind you is the ability to use those resources within your realm of control any way you see fit.  Scarcity in this case has nothing to do with it, its pure simple human greed, and the desire to be the one with ALL the resources, and leave none for anyone else outside your group.

Resources are the ultimate reason for conflict, whether its Timmy and Bobby fighting over a lollipop, or Hirohito and Roosevelt duking it out over the Pacific.

Come on, you're really stretching it here. After the war, Germany and Japan got everything it needed and more through peaceful trade. No need for armies, no need for slaughter, just good German and Japanese engineering and open markets.

What they were fighting over, in the end, was over ideology and political preeminence among the major world powers, not scarce natural resources per se. Each country could have simply put aside their ideological disputes and traded peacefully for what they needed -- as happened with most of the world after the war. That they didn't indicates what they were really fighting over.

Of course, oil might be an exception. :-)

"After the war, Germany and Japan got everything it needed and more through peaceful trade. " What they needed, yes. What they wanted, no (at least not the things the nationalists wanted - "lebensraum").

Also, while there ideological hatred of the jews was probably not a blind hatred. I would suspect it was also in large part a cynical ploy to get a scapegoat, some convenient, imaginary enemy which wouldn't be costly to fight because they didn't have much real power. Anti-semitism through history has usually been a means as well as an ends.

Fair enough, but note the 'nationalists' didn't get what they wanted -- i.e. an ideology was defeated. Resources were more than enough for the non-nationalists, especially through trade.
Those nationalist got pretty damn close to getting what they wanted.  A few more months delay by the Americans and there was some serious concern that Britain would've finally lost, and no Western front on Fortress Europe would've been possible.

Japan also got unlucky.  If those carriers had been in Pearl Harbor at the time Japan had attacked, the US would've been in a MUCH deeper hole on that front also.  Enough perhaps to give the Germans enough time to develop "the bomb" before us, and then back their Japanese allies.

We look back on a lot of things in WWII with the rose colored lenses of a the victors.  There were several events during that war, that either proved the Allies should've been playing the lottery, or someone upstairs was watching out for them.  That war was very nearly lost a number of times.

And as for Japan and Germany getting more after WWII than they did by nationalist expansionist means, that was due largely in part by American/British willingness to forgive those populations and help rebuild those countries.  A mercy that historically has rarely been given by most conquerers perhaps because historically, resources have been harder to attain and the conquerers needed it more for themselves, than needed it as a show of mercy and goodwill.

Make no mistake, there are times when war is a more sound "investment oppurtunity" than peace when it comes to resource aquisition.  Generally speaking however, the World Governments currently in power thankfully see relative peace as a more profitable means.  But as the pie gets smaller, how long is that going to last for?

Call me a Cynic, but I think there are some pacifists on this board that don't properly appreciate the dog eat dog world we live.  And that applies from the lowest bacteria to the mighty human race.  This world is competitive a game, and humans have perhaps enjoyed their "timeout" for too long.  Barring some major paradigm shifts in thinking and some technological breakthrough, the human race had better be ready to re-enter the Darwinian race pretty soon.

I pray for the paradigm shift, or breakthroughs however.

Call me a Cynic, but I think there are some pacifists on this board that don't properly appreciate the dog eat dog world we live.

I study this stuff for a living, so, rest assured, I understand perfectly well how dog-eat-dog it is out there. :-)

Make no mistake, there are times when war is a more sound "investment oppurtunity" than peace when it comes to resource aquisition.

I don't disagree, but I think it's too simple an argument to say 'resource scarcity' is the end cause of war. It's too simple and, more to the point, often wrong. Resource constraints and resource scarcity are everywhere, but war, whether between states or peoples, is a relatively rare phenomenon. Why do you get resource scarcity and no war in one period or between one pair of actors, but resource scarcity and war in another period or between another set of actors?

Case in point, was the geopolitical competition between the US and the USSR over resources or ideology? If it was purely over access resources, why didn't Western Europe side with the Soviets during the Cold War? Why was the USSR seen as threat, but not the USA? Why is Russia seen as less of a threat today than it was some 30 years ago?

What I'm saying is that there are too many intervening variables that link 'resource scarcity' with 'war' to say definitively that resource scarcity causes war. Sometimes those variables push people into the world of Hobbes, and so makes resource scarcity a casus belli, sometimes those variables work to push people into more cooperative ventures with one another. It's just not that cut-and-dried.

What I'm saying is that there are too many intervening variables that link 'resource scarcity' with 'war' to say definitively that resource scarcity causes war.

And I think you are misreading what I've been saying.  I'm not saying resource scarcity = an automatic path to war.  I'm well aware of other influences which lead up to war.  What I'm saying is that Resource Scarcity has repeatedly been an impetus on the path to war.  Re-read my earlier posts.  I used terms such as "did quite a bit to fund the War Machine " or "The elimination of the Jews had quite a bit to do with resources".  Note I never say "had everything to do with"

I know resources are not the only, sole, or end-all reason for all wars.  My point in the earlier posts is that resources very often are a MAJOR (note not complete) reason to go to war.  Quite often they prove to be the final reason to push a group into war.

And you do yourself a discredit to present ideology as a somehow more important motivator for war when I personally would place ideology on par with resources when given the context of looking back through history.  Quite often ideology is a means to motivate the masses to perform the goals of the leadership(which may or may not sincerely believe in those ideaologies themselves) which are often interested in securing resources that will ensure their place of power.

Case in point, ideology is a major factor in getting muslim kids to be suicide bombers.  Do you honestly think a Bin Laden or Nasrallah(sp?) have the same confidence in that ideology to sacrifice themselves in a suicide bomb attempt on an Isreali Disco club?  I doubt it, they view themselves as more important than the ideology(or at least more important than the kids in reference to the ideology), and they view their children not as people but as a resource to wreak havoc on the enemy.

With diminishing Oil, and a growing desire for it there are going to be strains in political relationships.  Strains which will inflame already tense relations between countries which have ideological differences.  Those differences didn't escalate to war during plentiful oil, but with additional strains via resources, it is very likely that resources will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.  It also might be pointed out that in many cases nations didn't go to war, because the UN/US threatened to smack those nations upside the head if they did.  With depleting oil, will the UN/US be credible in their threats should two nations decide to go at it especially if the UN/US can't fuel their own war machine effectively?

I can even see resource depletion reaching a level where countries of similar ideology go to war if the survival of each respective country's population is at stake.  Case in point, Japan and S Korea have been getting very tit for tat over those gas fields in the ocean between them.

Like I said, I pray for a paradigm shift and a way out in a peaceful way, but I'm not naive enough to say, that we will just work together through this and it will all be spiffyness.  In a way, depletion serves as a resource to burn the flames of ideology even hotter.

The Germans had most of the rest of the ingredients of a superpower. While they lacked nukes and computers, they did develop the cruise missile and the ballistic missile. They also invented the jet plane. They even tried to invent a "volksjager" - an easy to drive fighter plane in the form of the Heinkel 162 Salamander. But it turned out to be HARD to "drive" unlike the Volkswagen car.

By lacking the Computer they had no Flight Sim players to put behind the joystick of the VJ. In our case, if a push come to shove case came up, we have zillions of Flight Sim players just itching to get behind the joystick of any cheap easy to drive fighter jet. A former Domino's Driver who has done Flight Sim would be perfect for putting behind the joystick of a "volksjager". Where's the keys to a VJ?

Oh, come on. There was more to World War II than the Holocaust. There was this part of taking over nearby bits of territory -- like all of Poland, for instance.
The slave labor of the Jews inside Germany proper was small, mostly symbolic, however the assets of those Jews were huge. They were wealthy on a Bush Family scale. Not all of them, but as a group, it would be like seizing the assets of Jews within the US - a small group with wildly disproportionate wealth. The slave labor of people from the lands Germany conquered was significant since they only only took in Jews but Poles, Slaves, and anyone whose looks they didn't like.

What's chilling about WWII is the original resource wars were over simple soil. Germany didn't have enough soil to grow its wheat, potatoes, etc on to feed her people. Germany was a food importer. Germany wanted the rich lands to the east, but the Soviets wanted them too.

There are a LOT of other factors - crippling reparations being paid by Germany, something like the US's debt, Depression, and literal riots in the streets - there were very aggressive Communist groups rioting, backed by the Soviets, and trying to take over Germany. They almost did. Germans were being killed in the streets, old folks were starving every winter, the Communist groups were bloodthirsty and to the average German the Nazis looked pretty good. You or I would make the same decision under the same circumstances.

What's chilling about WWII is the original resource wars were over simple soil. Germany didn't have enough soil to grow its wheat, potatoes, etc on to feed her people. Germany was a food importer. Germany wanted the rich lands to the east, but the Soviets wanted them too.

Which goes to show the basic silliness of using 'scarce resources' as the cause of the war. All of these things could have been gotten by peaceful trade -- and were after the war -- yet they didn't choose this strategy. Why? You list them. Scarce resources are usually neither a necessary nor a sufficient reason for war. Folks usually get what they need a hell of a lot cheaper through trade.

Yeah no freakin' kidding!! this is what disgusts me about all this stuff, the Germans fighting over some land to grow potatoes, the US wrecking Iraq when we were getting more oil out of the place before we went in. If you don't buy the theory the Iraq was attacked to benefit Israel, you're left with the theory that it's about being able to sit on top of the cookie jar as cookies get more sparse, with our 14 permenant bases etc., but that's about fear of not getting the oil in the future.

So, wreck the place, get the whole world against us, and we'll be sure to not get it in the future, because the rest of the world will get together and wreck us now.

Kinda like an impulsive kid grabbing for the cookes and screaming for 'em, so Mom slaps his hand and he goes to his room without any. But ask nicely, work with ol Mom and you'll get your cookie.

What's a parallel? Japan after WWII. They got their asses handed to them and were banned from having a military. They realized the world is not obligated to love 'em and if they need stuff from the rest of the world, they'd better have something to trade. Oh, and little raw materials, so they even have to import their steel etc. Answer: Make such good products that the world beats a path to their door to buy 'em.

This is what the US should do, but noooo...... we're screaming and demanding a cookie and kicking Mom in the shin and about to get sent to our room with no dinner.

"Mein Kampf" was clear and open about acquiring "living space" in Eastern Europe- "The German sword will earn the sod for the German plough". The last sentence of chapter 14 explains his anti-semitism " .. When I am defending Germans against the Jews I feel I am doing the work of Almighty God"
The Neocons were also quite clear before the election of George W. Bush. On the neocon website for the New American Century, read Rumsfeld, Perle and Wolfowitz who thought it patriotic to increase US military expenditure to exceed 50% of Worldwide military expenditure. Why do that unless you intend if necessary to go to war if neeeds be without allies and against anyone you choose?
And you believe the word of Hitler?

Just because Hitler said Germany needed more land and resources didn't make it true. If resource scarcity drove the Germans to war, then why, after the war, did the West German standard of living incrase so much after half their country was taken from them? Worse position after the war, yet they do much better. Why? If the scarce resource hypothesis was true wouldn't Germany have starved to death after the war?

The Neocons were also quite clear before the election of George W. Bush. On the neocon website for the New American Century, read Rumsfeld, Perle and Wolfowitz who thought it patriotic to increase US military expenditure to exceed 50% of Worldwide military expenditure. Why do that unless you intend if necessary to go to war if neeeds be without allies and against anyone you choose?

So? What's your point? Lots of things can explain their motives -- ideology, the will to dominate and control, not necessarily 'scarce resources' per se.

No link, but IIRC I read that about half of Israel's water comes from the West bank, Golan Heights, and other occupied areas.  So I suspect it's a big thing.
I had never heard of the Litani River.  Looks like it is the lifeblood of Southern Lebanon:
A dam, a lake, lots of hectares of irrigated fields.  Nice thing to have in your pocket when you live in a desert...
Hello Sunspot,

Recall my earlier posts on possible Israeli Foundation planning.  This would necessitate eventual total postPeak biosolar control of the entire Litani drainage basin and the mountains for defensible Earthmarine buffer zones.  This is a much more desirable lower energy regimen than the building of indefensible water pipelines from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

If Israel is practicing long-range planning of predictive collapse and directed decline: their continued dependence on food imports, along with most other ME countries, is a non-viable postPeak strategy.  Reducing the regional pop. Overshoot now with cheap energy and grabbing water and land is better for Israel in the long run.

But I have no proof that Israel has a Foundation up and running, but if they do-- the Lebanese evacuating to Syria and elsewhere will not be allowed to return.  Time will tell.

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

Just laughable.  All you have to do is look at Israel's actions for the past 50 or so years to see that they have no long range plan for anything.  Israel is a highly dysfunctional state that is constantly wrestling with the fact it is nearly universally hated by all its neighbors, at least partly due to its own actions, and it can't figure out how to come to peace with them.  Planning for a collapse due to peak oil is the absolutely last thing motivating their actions.  
What exactly are you getting at? I guess I feel you are somewhat contradicting yourself. Would you be planning for peak-oil if all your neighbors were constantly shouting that they wanted to hang you at dawn? Of course not.

If their long range plan 50 years ago was to survive as they have(which I think it was), isn't that evidence of planning? What exactly are you seeing that others of us don't?

I will agree that internally one may consider Israel dysfunctional on many levels. However, in no way any more dysfunctional than the vast, overwhelming majority of states on this planet. Externally, they are ten times more functional than any of their peers(neighbors, Arabs, whatever).

And, interestingly, the relative functionality of any one of these same neighbors is directly relative to that particular state's ability to move towards peace and coexistence with Israel. Jordan being the prime example. Or maybe Turkey. Or Morocco. Would you rather live in Riyadh or Casablanca? My choice doesn't count. I've already lived in both places so I'd be biased.

Awaiting your response.

Israel is a highly dysfunctional state that is constantly wrestling with the fact it is nearly universally hated by all its neighbors, at least partly due to its own actions, and it can't figure out how to come to peace with them.

And by that same token James Bond is a highly dysfunctional person who is constantly wrestling with the fact he is nearly universally hated by all his neighbors (Mr. Goldfinger at the moment), at least partly due to his own actions, and he can't figure out how to come to peace with them.

Bond: So you want me to talk?
Fanatical FingerMan: No Mr. Bond, I want you to die.

Hello Nagorak,

Thxs for responding.  You are entitled to your opinion of course, but consider that planning never guarantees success, but not planning insures failure.  Alternative phrasing: People don't plan to fail, they just fail to plan.

The sad for all concerned parties in the Lebanon-Israeli Conflict is that it could very easily dissolve into an all out resource war as back in biblical times.  If all imports and aid were cutoff to these countries, the resulting stress for the remaining vital supplies would soon lead to a widespread decimation of the area ecology and infrastructure.  Far better for the long run ecology if one side wins, and usually it is the one that has planned ahead.

Foundation is merely sophisticated planning, execution, and feedback controls instead of a mish-mash of unfocused and untimely attempts.  Proper predictive collapse and directed decline is much more than mere war-gaming simulation.  Even Sun Tzu realized this way back in ancient Chinese times.

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

If all imports and aid were cutoff to these countries, the resulting stress for the remaining vital supplies would soon lead to a widespread decimation of the area ecology and infrastructure.

In this case may be the Israelis should think about what happened to Cuba when the USSR failed.
Would they be able to withstand a faltering US as well as the Cubans did with USSR, but in a much more ressource constrained world?

Even Sun Tzu...

Don't be derogatory to the ancient Chinese, they knew better than most do today.

I hope they can find peace with their neighbours, especially since the jewish culture is very productive in intellectual fields. It would be a tragedy if Israel failed by being overrun or becomming only a militaristic culture.
Yes, I do have a preference for Israel over the Mullahs but there is a LOT of questionable cultural traits on their side which have to be cleaned up.
Namely, all the "leftovers" from a crazy religion, you cannot claim to be the "choosen people" and not expect this to backfire.
Anyway, they will find out...

Israel & water - this has been a big deal for now nearly a century: At the WZO conference held during the Versailles peace negotiations after WWI, a plan was drawn up to split Lebanon - the (yet to be called) Israelis would seize Lebanon up to the Litani River and the Christian Maronites would take the north, leaving the Arabs nowhere. In 1950 (might have been 1951), Ben-Gurion revisited this idea, and Moshe Dayan was enthusiastic - a "revolt" by some of the officer corps of the Lebanese army would be fomented, and then Israel would sweep in up to the Litani to "save" Lebanon. Fortunately, Sharrett vetoed the idea as it would "bring international opprobrium on Israel." As for the Gaza Strip, the aquifer underlying it is collapsing and its heavily contaminated with nitrates and salt water incursions. There is no potable water in Gaza now and, according to a MIT study of a few years ago, the water will be so saline in about 10 years the all citrus trees will die. (One of the reasons Sharon so generously withdrew the settlers from Gaza last year; the other - and main - reason was it was costing about $3 billion per year in military expenditures to keep 7,000 settlers glued in place at a time the budget was under duress and Netanyhau was whacking back on social welfare payments.) As for the West Bank: After the '67 War the Israeli military seized 80-85% of the area's water supply, and a memo of 1969 said water would be provided to the Palestinians for a "minimal existence," and that would be an urban existence - Palestinian farms would go down the crapper. According to the Applied Institute-Jerusalem in a 1996 paper "Core Issues of the Palestinian-Israeli Water Dispute": "Palestinians are forced to pay extortionate rates for their water supply. Whereas settlers pay $.40 per cubic meter for domestic consumption and a highly subsidized rate of $.16 for agricultural use, Palestinians pay a standard rate of $1.20 for their piped water." (When the water situation gets really bad, it is not uncommon for some settlements to sell trucked water to the Ps - at an even more extortionate price.) The route of the still-abuilding "security" barrier was designed to put even more of the WB's water in Israeli hands: For those who have seen a map of the barrier's route, it takes a sweep east north of Jerusalem - where the large Yarkin Tannim (sp?) aqyufer is located. An article in Haaretz about a year ago estimated, that if the barrier went according to plan, up to 95% of the West Bank's water supply would be in Israeli hands, perhaps encouraging the Ps to "leave of their own accord?" While now forgotten, Eisenhower cut off all US foreign aid to Israel when plans were announced for the National Carrier, a pipeline to divert the Jordan River for Israel's benefit. (Eisenhower also cut off aid to get Israel to abandon the Sinai caputered in the '56 War, yet he received more Jewish votes in his second election run than the first, but that was before AIPAC et al.)
Righto. So, you're a Palestinian and used to your water being shut off, but you have a child who really needs a bath, water's shut off. Your wife wants to prepare some soup for tonight, but can't fill the put, water's shut off. You look across, through the barbed wire, and there are Jewish kids playing in the hose, in their yard where there's a fountain. But don't look too long, or look while outside in your own parched yard, because those kids' teenage older sons are encouraged by their dads and their gov't to shoot at you at random.

You guys have no idea what the Pals go through. I didn't have any idea myself for the longest time.

So how do the Israelis separate these disadvantaged thirsty Pals from the ones who say that Israel doesn't have a right to exist and must be wiped from the face of the Earth?
No, no, a good Palestinian is a dead Palestinian, nits will be lice, etc. They just kill them all.
It doesn't even bother to try.  
In other words, from those who won't ignore the obvious truth.
"The next war in the Near East will not be about politics, but over water." -Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali

"King Hussein of Jordan identified water as the only reason that might lead him to war with the Jewish state."

The next major conflict in the Middle East - Water Wars
A Lecture by Adel Darwish- Geneva conference on Environment and Quality of Life, June 1994.

Prescient, perhaps?

On the contrary, the survival of Israel depends on access to the very limited water in the region, something Israelis have been aware of for decades and a serious consideration in every dealing with its neighbors (who also have serious water problems).  Water was a primary reason, even the main reason, Israel refused to vacate the Golan Heights.  The Sea of Galilee is one of only 3 sources of fresh water in the entire country.  Any threat to the northern part of the country is going to result in the source of disturbances we are seeing now.

It is hard to understate the seriousness of water security to countries in the Mid-East.  In additon to the global struggles for oil resource, there will be many regional wars over water, which is even more fundamental for survival.

Michael Klare: "Resource Wars"
I've read it, but the link between resource scarcity and warfare is not as clear as the book's author would necessarily make it out to be.
How difficult would a tunnel to the dead sea, with hydro electric desalinization be? How costly a project for how much fresh water/electricity generated?
I don't know, but the Dead Sea is a lot saltier than sea-water.
The Dead Sea is 9 times more salted up than normal seawater. In fact, due to chemical salts extraction (by letting it evapourate in intentional ponds) it is drying up, getting even more salted up.
"If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst."  

Probably everyone has seen this Thomas Hardy quote.  I'm afraid all of the recent data that I have reviewed suggest something at least approaching the worst.

Based on 2004 data, the top 10 net oil exporters, in descending order were:  Saudi Arabia; Russia; Norway; Iran; Venezuela; UAE; Kuwait; Nigerian; Mexico  Algeria.  

Based on available EIA crude + condensate data (through April/May), seven of the top ten exporters are showing production declines since December.  The other three--Venezuela,  UAE and Algeria are showing no increase.   However, the WSJ reports that Venezuelan production is falling.

In a guest post on TOD, in January, 2006 (based on Khebab's technical work), I focused on the top three exporters (SA; Russia and Norway), and I predicted that we would face a net export crisis--this year--before we saw a substantial decrease in world oil production.  We knew that Norway was declining.  The two question marks were SA and Russia.  As noted above, the available EIA crude + condensate data are showing that all three have declined, relative to December.

Based on the HL plots, the Lower 48 and the North Sea peaked at about 50%.  Russia peaked at a broad plateau centered on 50%.  Based on Khebab's HL plot, Mexico is 50% depleted, and they are now declining.  

Deffeyes put the world (conventional) 50% mark in late 2005, and the world is now declining.

What about unconventional?  

The most recent EIA data on Canada are stunning.  Through May, Canadian crude + condensate production is down 11% from December.  The other great unconventional hope, Venezuela, is either down or flat.

In going about my daily activities, I am almost continually reminded of the scene in the movie "Titanic" where the ship's designer, Thomas Andrews, walked about the ship, in wonderment that it would soon be at the bottom of the Atlantic, and that most of the people on the ship would soon be dead.

Following is an excerpt from a website focused on Thomas Andrews:



Knowing as he did that there was no time to lose, Andrews set out to do whatever he could to save as many lives as possible. At first he spent time searching staterooms for passengers to evacuate. Running into stewardess Annie Robinson on deck A, he told her to put her lifejacket on. "I thought it rather mean to wear it," she explained. "Never mind that!" he answered, "Put it on--walk about--let the passengers see you." When she protested further he told her again, "Put it on! If you value your life, put it on."Knowing as he did that there was no time to lose, Andrews set out to do whatever he could to save as many lives as possible. At first he spent time searching staterooms for passengers to evacuate. Running into stewardess Annie Robinson on deck A, he told her to put her lifejacket on. "I thought it rather mean to wear it," she explained. "Never mind that!" he answered, "Put it on--walk about--let the passengers see you." When she protested further he told her again, "Put it on! If you value your life, put it on."


Definitely Sobering...

The problem is I am still building my life vest,  can we postpone the sinking for a while?

It's hard to discuss this subject with many people since they often bring up various outcomes that you cannot dispute...too many possible outcomes...I always try to tell them to be prepared (as much as possible) for the worst, and the rest is gravy.

It's all about population!

With populations growing and internal needs expanding,  I would love to see a graph of a country's production and on the same graph,  it's internal consumption.

Take SA for example.  What would that look like?
How about Mexico's Production vs consumption
China's?  How about 1 billion new car drivers?

The oil they "Will" be producing will increasingly be for their own??


If you look at the table,  it looks like Libya and Iraq of the top 30 are producing more, that could be exported.   China, Russia, USA, UK and India while producing more, don't seem to producing enough more to offset internal consumption.  

The rest of the world seems the only producers that might have excess capacity other than Libya and Iraq as noted.

Makes you think that the Iraq invasion was more deeply considered in many ways.   Assuming they can get more online in the future.

It's all about population!

If it was so deeply considered then why did it end up being such a mess?  If there really was some master plan, I'd like to think it would have been better than this.  
accidentally had a double post of the Andrews excerpt
I did not see Titanic until last week.  Of course being an OF i had seen older version.  I think of Inertial Mass.  Hard to turn or steer.  Andrews design did not include sufficient rudder!  We are the Titanic.
I continue to wonder what the demand destruction of a major economic recession in the US would do to the supply/demand/price equation.

With the US economy consuming 25% of global oil, a recession here at or near peak would result in substantial increase in spare capacity.

Do we have a situation where we repeatedly run into the impacts of an "Oil Production Ceiling" without it being a simple peak?


IM starting to believe that being the case more & more.
The long term oil price / GDP feedback loop doesn't get enough analysis here.  You might think automakers anticipate a recession and subsequent drop in gasoline prices.  However pure cost avoidance satisfies Occam's rule better.
I've long drawn analogies with the "Titanic" disaster from the Peak Oil meme, quite apt.
There's an interesting interview with a Chemical Engineering Prof Jefferson Tester in MIT's Technology Review.

He argues that geothermal "heat mining" could be made practical even if there are no nearby geysers or hot springs. You dig a hole, inject a lot of water, and harvest the superheated steam from another hole, which you use to generate electricity. You also have to create/expand the network of fractures between your injection well and your harvesting well.
All the technology that goes into drilling and completing oil and gas production systems, [such as] stimulation of wells, hydraulic fracturing, deep-well completion, and multiple horizontal laterals, could in principle be extended to deep heat mining. Hydraulic methods have been the ones that hold the most promise, where you go into the system and you pressurize the rock -- just water pressure. If you go higher than the confinement stress, you will reopen the small fractures. We're just talking about using a few thousand pounds per square inch pressure -- it's surprising how easy this is to do. This is a technique that's used almost every single day to stimulate oil and gas reservoirs.
Of course, the downside of using the same technology used for oil drilling is that you have to outbid the oil companies for access to the equipment and people. That might be tough, given the ongoing shortages of rigs, people, etc.

The advantages include zero carbon emissions (although you do have to watch emmissions of sulfer and other pollutants), and near-zero concern about depletion of the earth's heat (there's quite a lot of it, and it is replenished by radioactive decay). Finally, the potential world wide capacity is orders of magnitude more than we could ever need.

I don't think I've seen this discussed here before. Why isn't geothermal considered as promising as solar or wind?
This is just my memory here, nothing more reliable, but I've read in the past that the locations that support long-term geothermal power are rare.  Near-surface heat sources can be used up(?) as they give up their heat.  Rock heats water but water cools rock(?).

I'm not sure if the Prof above has a new method that changes this, or if he just goes with it, and proposes a continuous process of drilling wells, using their heat, and them moving on.

"Rock heats water but water cools rock(?)."

Rock breaks sissors also.  Rock wins.

scissors.  wrote my supposedly humorous comment too fast
Interesting...but where do we find the spare water?

Energy inputs might be high - pumping water continuously - as well.

It's all about population!

I posted this comment elsewhere:

Besides the large temperature gradient needed for efficient heat extraction (which you can get anywhere if you drill deep enough), and an efficient thermal exchange at those depths (which you might get by fracturing rock), you also need a larger enough heat flux from below than the rate at which you are extracting it.

The typical heat flux towards the earth surface is .06 watts per sq. meter--much smaller than the solar energy flux. To generate 1 MW of power, you would need to collect 100% of the geothermal energy over an area of 6.4 square miles. That's a lot of deep drilling.

Abundant energy does not equal abundant power.

"larger enough heat flux from below than the rate at which you are extracting it"

Is it significant that the size of the "heated sphere" gets smaller the farther you down down? Or is this too minor a variable in the flux calculation?

I'm picturing a very very hot golf ball, inside a very hot baseball, inside a rather hot bowling ball, incide a nice comfortable soccer ball. Is there a better picture?

That is mostly true, although not enough is know about the distribution of the decaying uranium (which is producing the heat) to know the exact heat profile as you get very deep.

What is clear is that at any reasonable drilling depth (a few miles), the change in the heat flux from that at the surface is very small since the earth's radius is 4000 miles. If you drill 10 miles down, for example, the flux goes up by 0.5%

So is it possible in theory that (in currently unknown locations) you could drill down 10 miles and find some "fracture" or whatever that allows a bunch of heat to flow which could then be tapped for geothermal nirvana forever?
Can't recall where but I once read that the geothermal heat flux averages about 40 watts/sq meter.Fairly small compared to solar. I see depleted oil and gas wells as compressed air storage sites.
More like 0.075 watts per square meter; estimates vary somewhat. Not a significant long-term energy source except in the very few spots where volcanic effects concentrate it greatly.
Even if he gets it to work it's going to be very capital intensive.
"Lost in the swirl of controversy surrounding this new analysis by some people of world energy dynamics is that few publications have noted that the accompanying scare was originally the result of writings by Matthew Simmons."

This whole essay is almost a satire of bad writing.  I mean it is world class Elements of Style violation.  I can't believe the writer is a native English speaker.

Lost in the swirl of mixed constructions is the fact the Saudis could refute Simmons any time by simply opening their records.

Poor english aside, I was struck by the fact that although they attempt to discredit Simmons, they never actually say he is wrong.
"The cruelest lies are often told in silence."  Robert Louis Stevenson

"Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer."  Muhammad Ali

"Your very silence shows you agree."   Euripedes

"Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute." Josh Billings

The last one is possibly the biggest reason they don't talk,  no one can challenge them.  There is no dicussion on the matter.

It's all about population!

Matthew Simmons is one of my big heros, along with Colin Campbell.

For years Dr. Campbell worked in obscurity, publishing ASPO newsletters to mere hundreds of people worldwide, while being attacked mercilessly by guys like Michael Lynch, who seemed to make a career out of attacking him. I remember the beginning of every month, looking for the ASPO newsletter (which was usually late, sometimes by a week or more. Since it was "the only game in town" I would sometimes search the web two or three times a day, looking for it).

Dr. Campbell kept the topic alive, and when it became fashionable for other retired oil geologists (like Ken Deffeyes) to jump aboard, he faded back into his (well deserved) retirement. Luckily for me, about this time TOD came into existence, and I've been able to get my fix here (along with Energy Bulletin -- one goes broad, the other deep.)

Matthew Simmons represents an entirely new front, since he's not only not retired, but has a very large, successful business which has nothing to gain, and a lot to lose, by his being on the forefront. Getting trashed by heavies like Saudi Arabia and CERA doesn't do a lot to generate new investment business.

Also, he doesn't rely on graphs and mathmatical projections, but approaches the problem through analyzing Saudi oilfields using SPE reports. It is impossible to read "Twiligt in the Desert" without seeing that their oil fields are nearly exhausted. Indeed, Simmons was probably shocked by his own findings, as he completely wimped out in his concluding chapter, and left the conclusions to the reader. Later he has stiffened his spine, and compares PO to the threat of nuclear war.

It has probably already been discussed here, but his presentation to the Department of Defense is stunning. He states that "Middle East Oil production will not rise any further" and predicts SA oil to decline to 5M BBL/Day by 2012,  and to 3.5 MBBL/Day by 2018. He predicts total ME oil to decline by half during that period, and that "The world is probably beyond peak oil and gas."

 "Even now, relatively few people outside the publications and conferences where Simmons has argued this case would have known the frequency with which his contentions have been soundly rebutted by geologists, petroleum engineers, and oil reservoir technical specialists."

Other than Yergin, Lynch and others with an axe to grind, have there actually been a significant number of sound rebuttals?

Note that production in the Western Hemisphere is flat to declining. Although oil is considered a global commodity, we in the US have been blessed with abundant resources in our near neighbors. How do we replace the just in time supplies to our refineries from the Canadian and Mexican pipelines, and the short haul tankers from Venezuela? I sense a coming disconnect between what we have to pay for oil, and what Eurasian countries have to pay. The swing will not be in our favor, I fear. Refining margins may grom substantially in the near term, as refiners buy the declining available Western Hemisphere supplies on long term fixed price contracts, and sell into the (much tighter) spot market.
Do Inventories tell us anything about oil supply?


In this article, the author makes an argument that because US inventories are at an eight year high, then lack of supply is not much of a factor in current oil prices. I don't know much about oil inventories or what they're for, but I wonder if he is misusing this statistic. If you compare the oil inventories over the years against consumption, they're not that high. In fact they look lower than they were before about 1996.

And we don't know what percentage of crude oil inventories are heavy, sour versus light, sweet.
Do we know how much of the SPR is heavy sour? And has there been any jiggering of the mix in the SPR in the last few years? I had heard that there was some "swapping out" of the lighter, sweeter portion of the SPR for heavier and mroe sour crude in the past three years. Can anyone confirm this?
Last time I read anything about this (last fall) it was 2/3 heavy/sour, 1/3 other.
" I don't know much about oil inventories or what they're for"

I won't comment on what they "Were" for,  but I would be willing to bet that while people may have to walk miles to get food because of the "No Gas" signs at the stations,  I bet the last ones to get filled up will be F16's, Blackhawks, and Carriers and subs.  So I hope that the general population doesn't get to secure in their feeling that the SPR is there for "Their" emergency needs.

Just a guess on priorities.


"We'll keep doing what we're doing, until we can't,  then we won't.

I agree that nuclear powered submarines will be the last in line at the gas station but the military will get first pick for other uses.
well last in line for the gas line because the sub doesn't use oil products for fuel. on the other hand, the uranium mining equipment which is powered by oil products would be in the top 5 spot somewhere so the subs can still be powered as well as stocked with warheads.
Good news. While a powerplant has to be refuelled every 6 months, a sub can go for YEARS on one core of fuel.
The author simply seems unable to grasp what is happening around him. In the past supply rose and fell in some distinct pattern related to price. Now price has shot up eightfold and the old pattern does not hold yet he can't conceive of any reason why except manipulation. It's just beyond the author's ability to conceive that maybe, possibly, the old patterns are invalid because there just is not going to be enough to go around. Even the slight buildup in oil stocks indicates supply issues because someone is willing to buy and hold now rather than rely on the market later. This shortfall in supply is also a great cause for speculation, because prices are high and people simply must have oil. This means they can play that market far more safely than a market where people can substitute alternatives rapidly and readily.

For instance, if beef goes into short supply, you switch to chicken or fish on a moment's notice. But the average person (and the average corporation) has deep investments in its oil based modes of operation. Replacing those is not just picking up something different for dinner. It requires a massive reinvestment, which people may not be able to instantly do, and which they may fear doing because there have been prior price shocks that went away.

So past history gives experience that says "don't switch" which coupled with the size of the cost of switching both discourage changing away from oil based systems. The consequence is people keep driving that SUV because it's paid in full. They keep using the oil based furnace because it's expensive to replace and this one is running fine. So people look and say, "Gee, my SUV will cost me $2000 per year in gasoline costs and a Prius would cost me $450, but I own the SUV outright and the Prius will cost me $25,000 to buy so I'll stick with the SUV for 5 more years."

 I think you're on it. The price of oil futures historically go down/ get cheaper the farther out the contract date was,, so it made no sense to incur the cost of storage.
 If big players think contract prices will move away from that pattern and begin getting more expensive the farther out the contract date  building inventory makes sense.


If one expects a serious hike in the price of a commodity, one which exceeds the cost of storage plus the opportunity cost of the investment,  does it not make sense to carry the largest inventory possible?
If you want to make that comparison, one divides inventory by daily refinery runs to stills over the eight year period. I haven't done that, but I know that the US uses about 21.1 million barrels per day these days and that EIA said yesterday that the US had 333 million barrels of crude on hand as of July 28. A 16+ day supply doesn't sound like a big fat cushion to me, given the ever present risks posed by weather and/ or geopolitical disturbances.

Just to make things clear: one would never say that, for example, Chevron is in trouble because they are carrying more inventory than they carried eight years ago. Financial analysts care about a company's inventory/ sales ratio, measured in days' sales outstanding. Fluctuations in that ratio tell us if the corporation is running so lean as to risk shortages (a possible concern with oil refining & marketing) or has too much working capital tied up in carrying excessive, slow selling inventory (which would likely raise a red flag if true for a retailer like Wal-Mart or Best Buy).

I misspoke. Proper inventory terminology is days' worth of inventory. Days sales outstanding refers to the volume of receivables not yet paid for by customers. Otherwise the post is fine.
This Jeremy Rifkin guy is totally nuts! (From Leanan's link above, Q&A with Jeremy Rifkin.) He sees a hydrogen cornucopia:

You have to imagine companies like Southern and the public -- millions and millions of fuel cells in 30 years. Portable fuel cell cartridges, which are coming out in the market this year. Stationary fuel cells. Every home every office, every factory, every business, every industrial park has a power plant. Every car, every truck, every bus is a power plant as well as a vehicle. So that when you generate power, you become your own power company, not Southern. So then, what do you do when you generate power -- your own home, your own business, your factory, your own industrial park -- you're going to have more than you need. You're going to send it back to the grid.

So . . . everyone will buy cheap hydrogen (from where?) and sell expensive electricity to, um, everyone else!

and then...we'll build starships that travel at 2000 times the speed of light.  and we'll discover immortality.  and we'll genetically engineer humans so they can flap their arms and fly.
Laws of Physics?  We'll just have to revise them!!
They cannot be revised! But they can be subsidized!
President Bush has added a "Signing Statement" onto the First Law of Thermodynamics indicating instances where it can be ignored. Details at 11:00...
And after that we'll punch-out god for good measure.
The hydrogen comes from renewables. He indicates it will be used to store excess energy for times when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine.

"But the point is you can't actually go to a renewable energy society without a way to store the energy. The problem with renewable energy is that it's intermittent. The sun isn't always shining. The wind isn't always blowing. Your water tables can be down for hydroelectric on the dams. Even biomass has yearly differences in terms of yield although it's more predictable. The point is that when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing and the water tables are up, you generate electricity with these renewable sources of energy. Now, you'll have surplus because electricity can't be stored in any major way, even with lithium batteries. ... So, electricity blows as soon as you generate it. But if you have a surplus when it's cheap, you take some of that surplus electricity generated with renewable energy, and you electrolize the water, just like in high school chemistry, with the anode and cathode, and grab the hydrogen. Hydrogen's the way to store renewable energy so that you have backup for power, and you have it for transport, because with transport you have to have stored energy. ... It [hydrogen] is a medium to store renewable energy. ..."

The more pertinent point is that you can't have a "Hydrogen Economy" until you get renewable energy on such a massive scale that it is "cheap". Hydrogen may or may not be the best way to store excess energy in a fixed location. It is clearly not the best way to transport energy around.

Money and energy spent on that boondoggle will only hasten Peak Oil rather than alleviate it.

Who says we need to "store renewable energy"? Just put it on the electric grid, it'll displace some natural gas.

OK, I can think of two reasons to store renewable energy: (1) Portablility, for vehicles and anywhere we use batteries, and (2) if we're generating more renewable electricity than we can use off-peak, i.e. at night.

For vehicles and portables, the horrendous efficiency losses (like half in electrolysis and half again in the fuel cell) make batteries look better to me. And you can recharge batteries off-peak, and don't need a new distribution system. For larger applications, more energy per pound can be stored in a tank of hydrogen plus fuel cell than in a bank of batteries, but every joule delivered costs you more primary energy.

As for excess off-peak generation by renewables, that's not a problem just yet! Hydropower has its own storage. Solar hours are peak hours. Wind power, when spread geographically and shared over the grid, can average out nicely and contribute even to the nighttime load.

Rifkin says biomass needs to be converted to hydrogen for seasonal storage -- haha.

Where do we stand with the UNrenewable parts of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells now?  I understand that both Hydrolysis and Fuel Cells depend on Platinum, which is another mined material which faces supply limits.

This paper is years old, I'll try to find some newer research..

This describes a few different chemistries, most requiring Platinum, the nickel-plate versions running much hotter, not Approp for Auto or prob. Home use..

"Ten tons of ore and a five-month process are needed to make just one ounce of it."

"While new uses for platinum are being discovered almost daily, its supply is extremely restricted. Remarkable difficulties exist in its mining and production, with more than 130 metric tons of new platinum reaching the world market each year; that figure is less than 5% of gold production. All of the platinum ever mined would fill a room measuring less than twenty-five feet on a side. Refining the metal poses its own problems; platinum occurs naturally in combination with other metals, necessitating an intricate process that takes about six months.

This problem is exacerbated by the limited sources of platinum production. The world's growing appetite for platinum is essentially satisfied by the mining activities in just two regions. The Bushveld Complex, which is just north of South Africa's capital, Pretoria, is one. The mines in this area produce more than two thirds of the platinum that reaches the markets each year. The other site is in the Noril'sk-Talnakh region in the extreme north of Siberia in Russia. It is estimated that at least one quarter of the world's supply is either currently mined here or is from above ground stocks that were accumulated over many years. Russia is the only nation with significant stocks of platinum and it is believed that these may be running out.


There's plenty of Hydrogen around, but can we make enough 'platinum keys' to first box it, and then unlock it again?
Is this a basic bottleneck, or do we have usable workarounds?

OK, in comes 'NanoNickel', to the rescue!
('Nano is the new Meta' - Mork Knew, he knew!)
"The efficient generation of hydrogen from a source other than petroleum (i.e. Hydrolysis cells) and the efficient conversion of hydrogen into energy (i.e. Fuel cells) are two of the most pressing needs of the century. Platinum is currently the only known catalyst to satisfy this development need and there is not enough platinum available in the world. Through this twofold effort between QSI and DSE, we hope to electrochemically demonstrate that nano-materials are an excellent replacement for platinum."

Bob Fiske

Pumped storage, both water (80% cycle efficiency) and air (~60% cycle efficiency) are better storage mediums of renewable energy than hydrogen,
I dont see hydrogen as energy storage but as interruptible production. When you have plenty of electricity make hydrogen, buffer it in tanks and use it to upgrade heavy oil or to get more diesel when making FT-diesel out of biomass or for making nitrogen fertilizer or other chemical synthesis.

That is, do something more valuble then electricity out of the hydrogen when you have manufactured it. If it is electricity you need build more nuclear powerplants, wind powerplants, combined heat and power powerplants, solar powerplants and so on.

Another good buffer by usage is nighttime or excess capacity production of ice or salt solution to buffer large AC systems such as district cooling systems.

The Rifkin article is good. He's come around a little and realizes the difficulties ahead. He talks about Peak Oil admiting he doesn't know if it's ten or twenty years away, but it's a huge problem.

It's a good read. He does talk about decentralization of energy production, the convergence of communication and decentralized energy production, and the corporate cultures that allow/force change.

The largest problem with fuel cells is the catalyst - platinum as I recall. I also remember reading statements that we only have enough platinum worldwide to run society for about 18 months in any fashion remotely approaching how we currently do it.

Now I also recall there were people researching other catalysts for use in fuel cells in order to bring down costs and make them more sustainable. Has anyone read anything about that?

I agree, there's not enough Platinum to run a hydrogen fuel-cell world. The precious metals are called "precious" for a good reason--they aren't that abundant. There are many indispensible resources civilization needs to survive; oil is obviously the one we talk about most around here. But resource scarcity of any essential resource will cause problems. The economists "we'll find substitutes" only works until you run out of substitutes. Then it's Liebig's Law: The carrying capacity is limited by the essential resource in shortest supply.
I recall seeing a news item about a nobel prize winning scientist joining the board of a privately held company that has a solution to the platinum problem. Internal money or VCs are funding them apparently, no IPO forthcoming. They are even offering to fund appropriate ideas and research that make use of their technology.
That's why I asked if anyone had heard anything. Do you recall any names or anything else that could be a starting point for doing a search? I've not found anything really clear on the topic.
I just put some links above on the platinum question.  Not hardly conclusive or exhaustive, but they may help..

Bob Fiske

Try www.qsinano.com
Bob G -

I tend to agree with you that this Rifkin guy is nuts.

It seems like he has been around forever.  He is an opportunist and a self-styled expert on any topic that is currently hot.  I have read some of his earlier books and articles, and my impression is that he is just another hack trying to come across as some sort of  brilliant futurist.

Most of his pronouncments have little basis in technical reality, and I don't think he has a very good understanding of science and technology.

Guys like Rifkin can do more harm than good, because they give the layman the impression that a future better world is easy to attain if we jsut do the smart thing (his own idea of the smart thing, of course).

Attention must not be paid.

It seems like he has been around forever.  He is an opportunist and a self-styled expert on any topic that is currently hot.  I have read some of his earlier books and articles, and my impression is that he is just another hack trying to come across as some sort of  brilliant futurist.

Most of his pronouncments have little basis in technical reality, and I don't think he has a very good understanding of science and technology.

Might the same be said about Kunstler?

...they give the layman the impression that a future better world is easy to attain if we jsut do the smart thing...

Is this not true?

Consume More -

Yes, the same CAN be said for Kunstler.  My impression is that his intense hatred for the American version of suburbia is more esthetic than technical: he just doesn't like the way suburbia looks, and  the corny suburban lifestyle is beneath an urbane intellectual as himself.

While he makes some good points, and is an extremely good writer, there is something very self-serving about him that I do not like. He is also pretty lose with factual material and careless with numbers.

Regarding the last comment: we must do the smart thing, but it won't be easy or pleasant.  

Yes Rifkin's been around forever. He's Kunstler+strunk&white+spellcheck.

joule said it best - perfect description.

While he may not be a technical expert in all of the areas he tackles, I find Kunstler's arguments hold up MUCH better than Rifkin's. And I also abhor "suburbia"--or as I like to call it, the suburban wasteland.
I actually have very fond memories of growing up in suburbia. Growing stuff, knowing all the neighbors, a swarm of us kids playing together, building forts, having treehouses, etc. It was a great time. The way modern suburbs are done isn't so great, treehouses and forts and bean and peanut and corn gardens are against the landscaping rules. We even had ducks and chickens! It was freakin' great! With some work and learning, we could have grown a surprising amount of our own food.

I'm sorry, but in my own opinion, throw Kunstler in a room and toss in Strunk & White and a spellchecker in with him and you get the "black box" equivalent of Rifkin.

fleam -

Man, don't let me get started about suburbia during the 'old days'! (But I will.)

It was great!  I grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey roughly 12 miles, as the crow flies from, Times Square (but at least 50 minutes if you had to take a bus). Regardless of its proximity to NYC, culturally, it might as well have been a small town in rural Ohio or Indiana.  

 To prove that point, my home town was also the home town of none other than Ozzie Nelson, that quintessential icon of the now mythical Fifties (though he never set foot in it once after he had become famous; but that, I suppose, is forgivable. He did, however, once mention us briefly on the Ozzie & Harriet Show, and that set everyone in town totally bonkers).

But the point is: it was classical small-town America ...  from out little Main Street, where you could buy almost anything you needed within walking distance, to the truly Hollywood-set Fouth of July celebrations we used to have. It was right out of a Frank Capra movie. In fact, if it were a movie, you would say it was too corny.

The old guy who lived next door to us was a veteran of the Spanish American War!  During the Fouth of July parade (circa 1956) they would ride him in the back of a Cadillac convertible, where he'd be smiling and waving at everyone. Spanish American War!

At the time, when I was a kid, I found all this stuff tedious and boring, but today I wish I were able to go  back and revist that time and that lost piece of American culture. What has replaced it is something I don't even want to think about.

Forgive me - it is just a bout of old-fartism raising its ugly head.  

But to get back to the point at hand: those suburbs back then were NOT anything like Kunstler's vision of the sterile, excessive, American nightmare.

No, it was the solid expression of the post-War American Dream for working men and women, many from second-generation immigrant families.

So, what's so bad about that?

I'm happy you both enjoyed growing up where you did. Both places sounds nothing like the suburbs I know (I'm in my early 20s). Try cookie-cutter houses, tiny yards, and strip malls and box stores galore. No ducks. No chickens. No treehouses. My mom's old neighborhood near Albany, NY used to have a forest in the backyard--can you guess what's there now?

And it's not "Kunstler's vision of the sterile, excessive, American nightmare." Anyone who can look with unclouded eyes sees the same thing. Pick a point here at home, yes the picture's the same.

I'm a lot older than you Pat, but my memories of growing up in suburbia in the 50's and 60's resemble your experience more than that of Fleam and Joule. Anyone who dared to raise chickens would have created a neighbourhood scandal.  Tree forts were found only in the yards of a lucky few who had large trees, most of the trees having been cut down when the subdivision was built.  

Kunstler is overdramatic and very negativistic, but when he flails suburbia, I understand where he is coming from.

I grew up in that town!
wouldn't be ridgewood nj, would it?  (and, if so, the old veterans still march in the 4th of july parade. best part of the parade, in my opinion).
jasonstone -

No, the town I grew up in was Ridgefield Park, NJ, which is just south of Teaneck and east of Hackensack.

Ridgewood was (is) a far more upscale yuppish town, whereas Ridgefield Park was more of a high-end working-class town.

The irory is that the town has gone downhill since I was a kid but the real estate prices have gone through the roof, mainly due to the fact that it is within commuting distance to Manhatten.

Joule writes:

It seems like he has been around forever. He is an opportunist and a self-styled expert on any topic that is currently hot. I have read some of his earlier books and articles, and my impression is that he is just another hack trying to come across as some sort of brilliant futurist.
Most of his pronouncments have little basis in technical reality, and I don't think he has a very good understanding of science and technology.?

Consume More replies:

Might the same be said about Kunstler?

No, the same cannot be said about Kunstler. Kunstler comes across as everything but a brilliant futurist. No one paints a bleaker future than Kunstler. And Kunstler is dead right to hate suburban sprawl. We Americans live in a world built around the automobile and we are swiftly beginning to see why that is such a folly. If you do not see the folly in suburban sprawl, then you have a problem. And Kunstler understands the difference between technology and energy. Rifkin obviously does not, nor does a few other people on this list.

Joule writes:

...they give the layman the impression that a future better world is easy to attain if we just do the smart thing...

Consume More replies:

Is this not true?

What smart thing could we do that would solve the energy crisis? Do you think it is likely that we could convince everyone on earth "to do the smart thing?" No there is no "smart thing" we can do that will get us out of this damn mess. The population is going skyward while carrying capacity is plunging like a rock. We are already deep into overshoot. There is no easy or smart thing we can do to fix everything. It is so naive to believe we can just fix everything.

The population is going skyward while carrying capacity is plunging like a rock. We are already deep into overshoot. There is no easy or smart thing we can do to fix everything. It is so naive to believe we can just fix everything.

Exactly. I need not say more.


I'm happy as hell that you have chosen to post here rather than the other forum.



Thanks for playing.

You say

What smart thing could we do that would solve the energy crisis?...No there is no "smart thing" we can do that will get us out of this damn mess.

So it's over?  Should we all throw up our hands and buy Hummers?  Party down?  Cuz hell, if we're screwed anyway...
Consume More, no you should not throw up your hands and do nothing. Remember there will be survivors, or at least I hope there will be survivors. You should do everything you can to try to insure that you and your children will be among those survivors.

There is no "fix" for the world. There is no "smart thing" you or anyone else can do to fix the problems with the world. Just try to save your own ass because that is the best you can hope for.

August 30th could be Steve Forbes Day:

I think in 12 months, your going to see oil down to 35-40 dollars US a barrel.

(Steve Forbes speaking during the Forbes Conference, Sydney, Australia, August 30th 2005).

We just need oil to be at 80$ by the end of the month.

Metal shortages are starting to crop up too! See below URL & partial article.


Shortages in U.S. stocks of specialty metals are leading to critical spare parts shortages for Army helicopters flying in Iraq, a top Army aviation general said.

Spare parts manufacturers are unduly constrained by the Berry Amendment -- it contains the so-called "Buy American" rules for Pentagon purchases -- and it is causing critical shortages in the specialty steel that goes into bearings used in helicopters, said Maj. Gen. James Pillsbury, commander of the Army's Aviation and Missile Command.

Pillsbury said shortages in U.S. stocks of other specialty metals, such as titanium, are also leading to supply chain backups. Titanium shortages in the aerospace industry are getting worse and the problems are likely to multiply in the future, Pillsbury said. He advised manufacturers to increase their stocks of specialty metals in anticipation of future spare parts needs for Army helicopters that will be flying in Iraq for years to come.

I'm glad I got my new titanium leg before they use it all to build bombs. (Seriously, I have a titanium rod in my femur).
More on metal shortage problems/possibilities (which are going to affect our capability to build rail infrastructure and vehicles and other things to mitigate Peak Oil problems):

http://www.aluminum.org/Template.cfm?Section=Home&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm &ContentID=6700



Over the past year, much has been said about the rise in oil prices and shortages of supply. For the engineering sector there has been an even bigger concern. The price of many metals has risen beyond comprehension.

Commodity price rises were fuelled by a combination of acute shortages and hedge fund buying. Those metal shortages will diminish somewhat in a slowdown.

While China was listed as a top concern, distributors also pointed to other issues that are affecting their ability to compete. Steel prices, surcharges, shortages, and scrap metal prices are creating havoc in the channel, according to respondents.

"Scrap metal shortages are dramatic-ally increasing material costs and decreasing product availability," said one Midwest distributor.

Unprecedented inflation strained economic gains in 2005. Metal prices continued to rise coupled with metal shortages due to increasing global demand, particularly in China and the greater Pacific Rim. Utility prices have skyrocketed, increasing 50% from 2004 to 2006. Both electric and particularly natural gas will continue to drive up the cost of sales. Battening down the hatches to benefit from solely internal efficiency gains can't possibly offset the onslaught of unprecedented inflation expected to continue to rise well into 2006. Prices will have to increase and be passed on to our customers.

Re:  Scrap Metal Prices

There was a story in the Dallas paper a couple of weeks ago about a guy that electrocuted himself trying to steal the copper wire in a live power line.

Same thing happened to a guy up here in Denver who was trying to break into an electric transformer for the copper.

Hey, maybe this is how we'll be able to solve that difficult overpopulation problem!

Natural Selection in action.
Darwin Awards anyone?
Darwin, or Dickens?

"Scrooge kept his office door open, that he might prevent his assistant from meddling with the thermostat. And so he heard the door open, and saw the visitor enter. A moment later Cratchit announced, "A gentleman from the Transportation Coalition to see you, sir. A mister..."

"I know who he is," growled Scrooge. "Since you seem to be incapable of getting rid of him, send him in and I'll do it myself."

Despite this inauspicious welcome, the caller began, "Mr. Scrooge, in light of your vast experience in the oil business, I would like to solicit your support for our Clean Air Initiative. We..."

"What, have the shoe stores all closed?" Scrooge interrupted.

"Uh, not as far as I know," said the caller.

"And are not bicycles still available?", Scrooge asked.

"Yes, but I do not see the relevance," the visitor replied.

"The point, sir," said Scrooge, "is that if you Greens want cleaner air, you can all bloody well walk or ride a bicycle!"

"But Mr. Scrooge, that is hardly practical," came the reply. "Many stores have no provisions to reach them on foot. Few communities are still providing sidewalks. Those who must walk or bicycle in the streets are taking their lives in their hands!"

"All the better," replied Scrooge. "Let them be run down in the streets and thus rid the world of its excess population. Now that would do something positive for the environment. Good day!"

-I was poking around for the real script, but this was irresistable..  

Bob Fiske

"Are humans more compassionate than Blue-Green Algae?"

Stocking more specialty/mil spec metals is also logical if you anticipate fighting a large-scale war.

Like, USA against just about everyone else? We seem to be hell-bent on taking on the entire Muslim world*, while disgusting the non-Muslim world enough that they might just sit by and watch, tapping their foot, whistling, while we get our asses kicked.

*99% of which consists of really nice, decent people, but we seem to be declaring war on them en masse so they're going to be the counterparts of the really nice, decent people here who fought the Nazis in WWII. Now, we're the Nazis.

Hah just thought of this, NaZionists, that's what we are, the NaZionists. Rolls off the tongue nicely, doesn't it?
Very good Leanan.  Thanks for all the links.  The Rifkin path seems plausible.

Oil CEO...from price vs. production...is this historical, price increasing, yet supply falling?

I'm not exactly sure what you are asking. This data goes back to 1995. It's hard to pull together accurate data before that, since the EIA doesn't have excel spreadsheets previous to a certain point. Within this ten-year period, there are clearly two peaks in production. The reasons for them are what everybody here loves to argue about. If you look back at discussions here at the beginning of months previous(say for the last 3 months, I think) you will see discussion on this.

Global recession/lack of demand and a falling price previous or coincident with these production peaks/plateaus are the preferred explanations and I think valid. One interesting thing about this plateau is that it is longer and shallower than the other two. While high price is often cited as incentive to produce more, it is also a cause for demand destruction which would in turn limit the need for production.

I've also done a version of this graph in the past with Drilling activity, but I haven't updated it in about 3 months.

Keep in mind the investment-exploration-production cycle time-frame which is often cited as being as long as ten years. Maybe there is a bunch more oil about to come online, but it will just take a while. The oil industry has been burned before, maybe there are a bunch of companies that are in no real rush to pump more oil. They seem to be doing OK without it. See Jim Jubak's recent article on MSN money for some details.

Yesterday I realized that I hadn't seen anything on Who Killed the Electric Car? posted on Daily Kos, where a subset of the thousands of daily eyeballs are devoted readers of energy-related diaries (stories).  So I posted a diary and if you are a registered user I would greatly appreciate it if you would kindly go there quickly and give my diary a recommend. It's I can't believe no one's reviewed the Electric Car movie.  Thanks!  Of course, knowledgeable comments (including data on the greater efficiency of the electric motor over other alternatives) are always welcome.  And if you haven't seen it yourself, go this weekend!

The Arlington Star-Telegram had a column on Sunday in which Who Killed the Electric Car was reviewed. The columnist, Ed Wallace, included in his introduction this bit:

[For the first half of 2006, oil demand worldwide is up a mere 1.5%, with gasoline demand in America up between 1.1 - 1.9% (depending on which study you use). How does that small an increase in demand translate into additional profits of 32% for the oil majors -- on the heels of an all-time-record year for profits? Then came the real stunner: the General Accounting Office put the cost of the War on Terror at $430 billion over the past five years ... but claimed it was impossible to forecast future costs due to accounting irregularities at the Pentagon and further military actions in the Middle East. Take that figure from the GAO and combine it with the additional oil and refinery company profits from the past 4 years, and you easily come up with a figure far in excess of half a trillion dollars. From an economic viewpoint, this is unsustainable.
Wallace seems to feel that something like the EV-1 might be appropriate right about now.
Ed Wallace is a big time critic of Peak Oil.  He has asserted--quoting ExxonMobil of course--that we have only used about 12% of our total conventional + unconventional oil reserves.   He puts Peak Oil about 50 years away.
Maybe the numbers will reach him before the notion does..
In tracking down some info on the author of the SA piece leading off this drumbeat, I found this interesting page with many articles on early oil days in SA:


Great link, thanks!
One Jabal School pupil learned to type at 100 wpm and expressed an early aspiration to become Aramco's "first Saudi secretary." A Bedouin boy, he had been attracted to Aramco in the first place because of the opportunity for schooling, joining in 1947 at the age of 12. Not long after he returned from the U.S. in 1963 with two degrees, including a Stanford M.S. in geology, his name appeared in a lengthy Wall Street Journal article about Aramco. At the time only one Saudi had risen as high as department manager. Asked this time about his aspirations, the 30-year-old Ali Naimi replied, tongue-in-cheek, "Becoming the first Saudi president of Aramco." That was to transpire in 1984, and in 1995 he was named Saudi Arabia's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
Always had a way with words ...
Hello TODers,

Here is the latest on the Mexican saga, where tourism declines is also putting the hurt to the economy.

MEXICO CITY -- A human head washes up on an Acapulco beach. Protesters hassle visitors at makeshift checkpoints in the colonial city of Oaxaca. And in Mexico City, leftist demonstrators turn the tourist draws of Reforma Avenue and the Zocalo plaza into sprawling, ragtag protest camps.

Growing political unrest and drug violence are making foreigners think twice about visiting Mexico, where the $11.8 billion tourism industry is the country's third-largest legal source of income, after oil and remittances from migrants in the United States.

Mexico has been struggling since last fall, when Hurricane Wilma hit the country's biggest tourism moneymaker, Cancun.

So we have rapid Mexican oil depletion, rising poltical polarization, increasing drug violence and corruption, decreasing remittances going south from increasing US-mexican unemployment as construction decreases here in real estate, US inflation is reducing their monetary ability to create discretionary income to fund their remittances home, and the Mexican population is severely straining water and electricity availability.  Not a pretty picture at all, and decreasing tourism leverages Mexico into decline even more.

The next Presidente' is facing increasing pressure to roll back NAFTA.  AMLO protestors blockaded the Mexican stock market today, and  they hope to blockade the airports next.  Oh, joy!?

This STRATFOR Article posits that the oil infrastructure may be next for political shutdown.

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

Can you give us a summary of the Statfor article?  I'd like to know if they are aware that the depletion rate of Cantarell is accelerating and what, if anything, does Mexico plan to do about it.  For example, will Mexico, within a year or so, be importing oil from the US under some type of loan agreement financed or arranged by the US Treasury (not unlike the Tequila crisis of the early 1990s in the Clinton adminstration).  Not a far fetched question when you consider in the present they they are quickly adding to their gasoline imports from the US.
probably more like "immigrants for oil". we give them oil, they give us millions more illegal immigrants!

I'm just Jaded.

Thanks for the update, Tontotellia

Hello TODers,

YUKOS declared bankrupt--Is PEMEX to soon follow in the Global Oil Endgame?

Quote from the Kommersant article:
 "The YUKOS case will enter the textbooks not as a unique case of the bankruptcy of an oil company, but as an example of economic, political and juridical conniving."

Putin's economic hitmen must be celebrating.  Makes one wonder what the economic hitmen from the IMF, WTO, and World Bank are planning for PEMEX so its assets can be scooped up for pennies on the dollars.

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

Don't tell me you're weeping for YUKOS.
Hello Smekhovo,

Not weeping for YUKOS, but I am intrigued how Kommersant needed to compare YUKOS to PEMEX--if Zbigniew Brezinkski's Grand Chessboard is in play--all kinds of non-obvious subtle moves for advantage are afoot as the key players contest on a global scale.  Food for thought.

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

More signs of the shift from an economy focused on providing wants, to one focused on needs.  Get thee to the nondiscretionary side of the economy.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-restaurants3aug03,1,6052517.story?coll=la-headlines-business&a mp;ctrack=1&cset=true
Gas Costs Eat Into Restaurant Sales

Same-store sales at Macaroni Grill, which like Chili's is owned by Dallas-based Brinker International Inc., are falling at an almost 5% clip.

Applebee's International Inc., P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc. and even the typically successful Calabasas Hills-based Cheesecake Factory Inc. all have fallen victim to the same trend.

"The restaurants first started to see this in May. It was worse in June and the few numbers we have seen for July show that it is accelerating," Smith said.

Almost 30% of respondents in a June survey of 680 Californians by BIGresearch said they had cut back on eating out in response to high gasoline prices. That's up from 21% in the same survey a year earlier.

Hello TODers,

The rate of Peakoil denial in the average citizen and our Govt. is shocking -- ideally every American should have read the Hirsch Report and Carter's 1977 Sweater Speech by now.  But I doubt if most of Congress has carefully considered these two vital studies, and state and local authorities are probably even more unaware of their existence.  You would think at a very minimum that all govt. employees would receive these in their govt. email accounts to promulgate change.  Such is life.

Instead, as Matt Savinar suggests, we need to follow the money and the inherent corruption that arises from greed.  I think Zimbabwe is an instructive example as this former breadbasket of Africa could have easily hired the best economic advice possible years ago, but purposely chose not to do so.  Over twenty years of ignoring proper and realistic policy planning. The resulting economic decline and deprivation is shocking to outsiders, yet the insiders are still advancing their personal agendas for profit.

Excerpts from the editorial:
Over the last 26 years of independence he {Mugabe} has not been able to overcome the inertia of ZANU PF's encumbering liberation war or historical ties and the party's politics of patronage.

After all, some of the ministers are his liberation war colleagues who could, from a political point of view have helped him to exploit the power of incumbency to remain in the catbird seat. From that point of view, his situation is akin to that of someone who has malignant lung cancer. He knows he needs the lung. But if it is not removed then its malignancy spells doom.

This is why I, and indeed millions of Zimbabweans, feel that these failed ministers should simply walk the plank. Hoping that they will change is to me, hopefulness bereft of realism. It is not possible for them to change because they do not give a damn about the people. Self-enrichment is all that matters to them. And President Mugabe has acknowledged as much.  Or else plans to arrest the accelerating economic meltdown will go down the plughole because his ministers have now become the problem.

Zimbabwe has blown it for 26 years, yet America has blown it even longer since the the first oilshock and US Lower 48 peaked in the early seventies 35 years ago, or two whole generations of citizenry.  Thirty years minimum since the Sweater Speech and our leaders have further jeopardized our national security as we are now more dependent on energy imports than ever before.  Pres. Carter understood Prof. Bartlett's exponential growth, but every leader since then has preferred to remain silent while TPTB silently feathered their nests.

Are we better off than we were 35 years ago?  Is the US a more secure, happier, and more equitable society widely admired by the World at large?  Recall the recent MSNBC study that points to most Americans feeling that their children will be worse off than previous generations--they know something is up, but most just can't put their fingers on the exact reasons.

The Zimbabwean leaders had good and honest intentions since their independence so long ago, as did ours since the first OPEC oil shock.  What went so wrong that Americans are now willing to sacrifice their children's blood to an Iraqi sand dune?  Why can't people resist MPP and the Tragedy of the Commons if they understand these principles?

Zimbabwe has now shifted over 66% of their labor force {source CIA Factbook} to agricultural labor, yet they still must import food.  Will the postPeak US leadership have adequate Foundation plans ready-to-go to provide sufficient localized permaculture food growth and distribution?  Or is our leadership only looking out for themselves?  The CIA Factbook again states that farming, forestry, and fishing is only 0.7% of the US labor force, where are the postPeak plans for 66% of us to labor daily for our food?  WTSHTF, the world will have very little food to import to our shores.  Will our breadbasket go postPeak empty?


Our leaders take a pledge to defend the US Constitution and promote the general welfare-- I suggest they get moving to mitigate detritus entropy with proactive planning to ease, as peacefully as possible, the coming Paradigm Shift.  My theory is that Foundation planning of predictive collapse and directed decline is the best path forward.  Otherwise, Zimbabwe's paradigm shift will look like a picnic compared to ours.  'Nuke their Ass--I want Gas' and the '3 Days of the Condor' scenario is not a viable postPeak solution compared to localized permaculture.  Hoes and shovels grow more food than a gun ever will.

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