DrumBeat: September 19, 2006

Rig shortage to stunt oil output growth for years

A global shortage of rigs will hamper attempts to raise global oil and gas output for years, oil service company executives and consultants said on Monday.

As producers look to boost crude and gas output to meet soaring demand growth, the global supply of rigs is stretched to the limit and is insufficient to meet industry needs.

"To get up to speed to meet the drilling needs of the industry, it's going to take a lot of time," said Pete Miller, Chief Executive of oil drilling equipment maker National Oilwell Varco.

Many rigs in service need to be replaced, Miller told an oil industry conference in London. He said the average age of rigs worldwide is now older than the average age at which they would typically be scrapped.

[Update by Leanan on 09/19/06 at 9:50 AM EDT]

Those quick to deride peak oil theory also don't know Jack

Chevron: Steamflood pilot in Saudi neutral zone 'quite promising'

Russian pressure on Shell alarms EU, Japan

Mexico may double nuclear plant output

Mexico may become the latest oil-rich country looking seriously at nuclear power as a hedge against declining energy reserves, according to a plan outlined Monday by Energy Minister Fernando Canales Clariond.

Tanzania: Country Turns to Cassava for Energy

Nigeria to restore oil production loss

Amaranth faces billions of dollars in natgas losses

Amaranth Advisors' hedge fund said on Monday it may suffer billions of dollars in natural gas losses, becoming the latest hedge fund to be stung by energy price volatility this year.

The Connecticut-based company, which had over $9 billion in capital under management, said year-to-date losses may top 35 percent as it liquidates its natural gas positions.

BP investors demand meeting

Farmer planning diesel tree biofuel

They say that money doesn't grow on trees, but a Queensland farmer believes fuel does.

Mike Jubow, a nursery wholesaler from Mackay, has begun importing seed from Brazil to plant diesel trees.

An Interview with Dennis Meadows - Co-Author of 'Limits to Growth'

Study: A Strategy Based on Fuel Economy Provides Best Outcome for Domestic Automakers

The only way to kick our oil habit

Russian firm rolls out U.S. gas stations

Bolstered by ambitions to grab a foothold in the United States and take on gasoline brands like Mobil and BP, Lukoil is mounting a $35 million (U.S.) campaign to stamp its name across a vast network of U.S. gas stations.

A 100mpg DIY car costing $2500

Gore Calls for Immediate Freeze on Heat-Trapping Gas Emissions

Fiddling While the Planet Burns

Will the Wall Street Journal's editorial writers accept a challenge to learn the truth about the science of global climate change?

Floating Ocean Windmills Designed to Generate More Power

Good morning.

Yesterday I was at blooomberg.com and listened to a Jim Rogers phone interview. One of the the "correspondents" asked if Jim suscribed to the "peak oil theory". Jim, essentially evaded the label and said oil supply is in decline...

anyway, thought I'd mention that.


oops, here's a link:


third one down

Rogers used the right words. The average person has been conditioned by the MSM so that when they hear "Peak Oil", they think they are hearing "UFO" or "Y2K" or "jump in your backyard bomb shelter the Russkies are coming".It is likely that the term "Peak Oil" is no longer useful in communicating to the layperson the mechanics of oil depletion.
Yes, it's time for a euphemism:

From Wikipedia:

A euphemism is an expression intended by the speaker to be less offensive, disturbing, or troubling to the listener than the word or phrase it replaces, or in the case of doublespeak to make it less troublesome for the speaker.

So, what are some euphemisms for Peak Oil?

Supply-constrained,supply/demand imbalances, etc....

Anymore out there we can use as covert buzzwords?

"Oil supply crunch point"
"Fresh out"?

"Running on empty"?

"Hitting the bottom of the tank"?

Hmmm.... maybe I don't have quite the temprament for the marketing world...

"Fresh out"?

"Running on empty"?

"Hitting the bottom of the tank"?

Don't you guys get it? The gas gauge is only down to 1/2 full - maybe not even that low yet. We're talking maybe 50% consumed, not 90+%. I prefer the phrase "the end of cheap oil" - and even that remains to be seen...

It's just a metaphor. If it is being applied to the ability to increase production, and the meter is measuring "ability to increase", well, then at that point your rate is zero and then, eh, negative. aka depletion

So in that case your little meter that you have there is not measuring ability-to-increase, rather, it represents reserves. Two different considerations.

Just depends on how you market the metaphor, so to speak. For instance, Richard Heinberg's new book, based on the Rimini Protocol, has a meter showing "less than zero"--which is clearly indicating an ability to increase not an absolute zero. The world is presently around 85mbpd or something like that. I'm pretty sure Heinberg is aware of this given that his job is essentially knowing such mudane yet lurid details. Even at a global 2% conventional oil depletion rate there is obviously oil left, and will be for a very long time... The debate consists of: is there capacity left, and at what price increases, and at what rate of price increases to offset conventional depletion? The biggest question of all is that geological and mathematical point where we've hit highest production crest and begin a dismal decent into the trough of our future. 1970 in the US can be cited as just one example.

This inveigh in the form of "we're not outta gas yet" is appropriate if you're being literalist. But you become an apologist with a snipe at the idea that cheap oil is still around after putting up a straw man with the doubly disengenious tank half empty lament--which, btw, is the same illogical and fatuous argument that people like Greg Pallast and various others make to decry the idea that more is wrong in the US than simply the neocons securing "our interests", a translation for "invading countries".

Everyone should know that something has gone awry. All you have to do is turn on a TV, good thing I don't own one. Alas, there is enough BS in the newspaper--why in the world would I need a TV?

I think I'll make that previous paragraph my signiture on here...

I use "oil supply and demand imbalances" or "growing oil demand vs. oil supply constraints." The supply/demand imbalance concept is the camel's nose, and it is easily plugged into a capitalist mindset. After you have talked about price rises and capacity constraints, it is an easy step to "why is it caled a fossil fuel?"
shit hitting the fan
OK, I amend my
"Oil supply crunch point"
"Oil supply splat point"
All this is kind of like saying:

            "He passed over"         vs

            "He died"

I'll stick to "Peak Oil".  The truth shouldn't be diluted to the point we don't recognize the problem.  

The emerging energy inconvenience.  You could add 'eternal' in there if you are so inclined.  
As much as the 70's one came and went, I don't think that the term 'ENERGY CRISIS' has been destroyed yet.  For the time being, it might be as good to describe a "Looming Energy Crisis"..  I don't think most people are going to tell you there's NO chance that we might get pinched again, even if they don't believe it will be the death-knell for Oil-fuels..
Oil depletion works for me!! People seem to understand what you're talking when it comes to depletion of resources..
Petroleumly Challenged?
I'm using "oil depletion" with very good results.  It gets the point across, and the term is likely to remain unloaded for quite some time because it's value neutral.  Any catchphrase like "Peak Oil" can be turned back on its users in a way that a simple factual description cannot.
A euphemism is an expression intended by the speaker to be less offensive, disturbing, or troubling to the listener than the word or phrase it replaces, or in the case of doublespeak to make it less troublesome for the speaker.

What are we going to do about, you know ........,

"That Addicted-to-Oil Thing"?

Euphemisms? Here are some:

1.World ending crisis #638
3. Business Opportunity

How about this for a slogan, "Peak Oil is the new Black...Death"

Excellent contributions, one and all.  Now, do NOT ever use the words "Peak Oil" again because it has been successful "framed" into a nutjob, lunatic theory.
But what *ssholes you'll look like when you start scurrying for cover under terms like "oil depletion."

Kinda like creationism redubbed as "intelligent design."

In reality, I was just poking fun at all "euphemims" you see out there in financial / economic / political rags.  

They can't use the "PO" phrase or the thin veneer will chip away and the lonely little wizard pulling the strings will be revealed.

... successful "framed" into a nutjob, lunatic theory.

Let's all repeat together, "the MSM did that" and create OUR consensual reality.

Some questions for pondering: Given the evidence of the recent fall in gasoline prices combined with the statements from the major oil companies about the adequacy of the crude oil supply, what is the majority of John Q. Public most likely to conclude? How will John Q. Public behave? Go back to buying more SUV's? Conclude that Peak Oilers are "chicken littles"? Many intelligent older people remember the Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth" and have concluded, perhaps erroneously, that those predictions were wrong. Is there a major danger of sort of a reverse of Malcolm Gladwell's "Tipping Point" in all this where John Q. becomes immunized against concern? What would move the public to a "wait and see" mode, waiting for further evidence?
I like reading something like 'where John Q. becomes immunized against concern'. Do you really think American John Q has been concerned in the least since ca. 1982?

John Q is as immunized as American society can make him, up to and including using his tax money (or for the cynical, his future money to pay tomorrow's taxes for yesterday's expenditures) to invade an oil rich country.

You must be one of those people who think peak oil is a movement or something. Personally, I think peak oil is  essentially an observation, along the lines that peak sun occurs around June 21 every year in the northern hemisphere. I don't base any religious or cultural importance on that fact, though it is certainly possible to base a calendar on it.

John Q.'s belief in peak oil has nothing to do with peak oil occurring. His preparations - or lack - will have something to do with how John Q. deals with that reality.

Personally, John Q. will deserve everything likely to be coming his way when oil production begins to decline, but that is a personal flaw in my perspective, and not part of the secret handshake of any movement I belong to.

Unfortunately John Q will drag us all down with him, including those of us who are doing everything we can to prepare.
all the John Qs I know are busy busy busy. Frantic.

by the way...what part of Maine are you from? I'm in Cumberland County. Small town.

Busy and frantic are two different ways to describe people who are doing their best to not see the future by focusing on the present.

Of course, Americans know the future is coming, and any of them over the age of roughly 35 also know about gas lines, stagflation, declining standards of living, etc.

But then, they convinced themselves that the past is not a predictor of future performance - unless it came to rising stock prices, rising home prices, etc.

Limington, by way of NYC
Hm. I'm in the next town over from you.
Just over the Standish border, 11 Moses Chick Lane. You are welcome to stop by, I like showing people my solar systems. Ed
I have already been hearing the comments "there is no peak oil" from people I have tried to educate. They are backing this up with the news of the deep water GOM discovery and media produced opinions predicting oil prices as low as $15. Most do not have the time or inclination to delve into analysis as presented in TOD or even read a Peak Oil book. They judge by the current price of oil and media sound bites. They don't think too far ahead. The decline in real estate, shut down of home equity lines and increasing rates is going to have a much greater impact on behavior. The only time education will be effective is when prices are high and moving higher. As many have said only pain will induce a change in behavior. The rabble (tumultuous crowd) is going to determine whether or not we prepare and how we prepare. Their emotional reactions determine who gets elected.
I believe you are correct in your concerns - there will be no preparation on anything other than a personal level.
Is it the same in all of the USA or are some states prepairing for global warming and the post peak oil times in a serious way?
Maybe others will have a different view, but I have not yet seen any sort of response other than the generic "how do we replace oil?" sorts of efforts. There is some lip service for conservation efforts, but thats about it. Anyone see anything more?
The upward trend since circa Y2K in the price of deisel is having significant impacts in the transportation industry.

On one level there is in North America significant growth in intermodal loadings, indicating a shift from long haul trucking to train transport.  Trucking industry resistance to this shift has faded.  Government increasingly is supporting this shift through measures ranging from local zoning/transportation planning to accommodate intermodal terminals to financial aid.

You can get some idea of the growth in intermodal with the data available here: http://www.intermodal.org/statistics_files/index.shtml

At another level, important parts of the trucking industry are now lining up behind proposals to mandate speed limiters in heavy trucks.  Industry representatives cite public safety and environmental concerns, and no doubt some of them actually are sincere on this front.  The major concern though relates to the economic, i.e. fuel (and insurance)cost of pulling 80,000 - 130,000 lbs at high speed.  Mandated use of speed limiters are proposed because in the economically dre-regulated transportation industry entry costs are low, margins are thin, delivery schedules are tight (just-in-time) and the 'good guys' need to be able to compete with those that cheat on speed limits in order to provide faster delivery.  The cheaters are in the immediate self-interest mode, while the 'good guys' are concerned about competition from rail and water.

The speed limiter issue is now on the agenda of relevant government bodies in Canada and is at least being discussed by US regulators.  Industry lobbyists are proposing that the speed limiters still allow trucks to maintain all too high speeds, but this reflects internal industry politics.  They know that the first hurdle is to make the limiters standard equipment and that once mandated and installed, the speed limit is adjustable.  Realpolitic.  In the end, speed limiters won't save the trucking industry from an inevitable reduction to a primarily local transport function, but they ease the transition.

Here is an article in a trucking industry trade publication dealing with this matter:  http://www.todaystrucking.com/news.cfm?intDocID=16714

So the inability of the hydrocarbon industry to keep prices down via an increase in supply is making a difference at an industry wide level and at a regulatory level.

Cheer up, lasting change occurs a step at a time.

The city of Portland has added a peak oil group to its transportation planning. Long term, rebuilding the cities  for walking and mass transit offers the best way to cope with peak oil, so this is just the kind of effort needed in every city.


That is my mantra.  Electrify transportation.  Freight railroads (Russians did Trans-Siberian in 2002, Artic in 2005), build massive amounts of Urban Rail and the some EVs.

A modest first step, reducing US Oil Use by 10% in ten to twelve years.


06-27) 04:00 PDT Washington -- The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a case that will determine whether the Bush administration must regulate greenhouse gases, which could have broad consequences for California's landmark law reining in vehicle emissions to fight global warming.
Friday, September 01, 2006
California Assembly Passes Foreign Oil Independence Legislation - Bill Heads to Governor
Gov. Schwarzenegger Signs Legislation to Complete Million Solar Roofs Plan
Automakers don't like us, cuz other states follow our lead..
Saturday, January 22, 2005

Strict car emission rules look likely
Dealers protest, but California limits have legislators' support


OLYMPIA -- Washington is likely to join California and six other states in adopting tighter vehicle emissions standards, despite protests from auto dealers.



Plug-in hybrids get big push from Calif. utility
5.1 million customers urged to lobby automakers to build them

On the surface, if it doesn't get watered down or blocked, this is the biggest government action I have seen to address both global warming and fuel economy in this country. I hope it clears. Maine also follows California vehicle emission standards.
I visited the U.S. over 3 weeks this summer for the first time since 2000.

Since America is a huge country, with lots of diversity, and so on, not every single American can be covered by a general statement.

But here it goes - Americans are seriously hoping the future never comes, because then they will have to pay for what they have done in the past.

You can take that on as many levels as you wish, from the eminently financial (debt statistics, from personal to corporate to government to international are astounding in their truly historic dimensions) to the ethical (no one is as ignorant as Americans generally claim to be - even Americans know that Iraq, for example, is rich in oil) to the metaphysical (to use a fairly common expression - 'payback is a bitch').

Unfortunately, probably the best hope for the rest of the world is the rapid and massive collapse of America's consumption based society, since that society seems utterly incapable of changing itself voluntarily.

I think you are right on the mark. And it increasingly appears a massive correction is on its way. That correction has been predicted for many years (perhaps since the mid 80s), but as the saying goes: if something can't go on forever, it won't.
I am getting a positive response on building more streetcar lines in New Orleans from the neighborhoods with the line that "I believe that we have seen just the first winds of the coming oil price storm".

Of course, New Orleans was, and is, America's most unique city.

All in all, our great rival, San Fransico is doing a decent job in preparation.

Why don't you ask John Q public, I do. But I probably have an advantage per I am in the public every day and I mention peak oil. I like to gage how they take the concepts of oil depletion and living in a world with less oil.
I think my view is shaped by the people who tell me "I'll change when the time comes."  I'd prefer it if they'd adapt sooner, but I have some hope that they are telling the truth.
Oh, and of course the current shift to smaller cars IS a quantitative measure of change.
So Reno,

What are your reports from the fringe?

Are they starting to feel it?
Are they starting to ask questions?
Has the thinking light flickered on?
Or is it business as usual?

The only thing that seems to get people's notice from my observations is "The Petro Price Noise" pounding into their wallets on occasion. Otherwise, there attitude is, "What's that got to do with me?"


Reading into your comments, you seem to be saying to that John Q was moving in the direction of understanding (or perhaps acknowledging) oil supply constraints when the price of gas was high, but now that it is dropping, John Q is less concerned about changing his ways. And thus, John Q is not going to get on board the train headed toward alternatives and sustainability.

If that's what you're saying, I agree. I don't think John Q is interested in hearing about Peak Oil, even when gas prices are high, and especially not when they've dropped. Did you read the interview above with Dennis Meadows, author of "Limits to Growth"? He says repeatedly in the interview that people aren't going to act.

In theory we could use peak oil as an opportunity to reconceptualise our society, and rethink our reliance on the military and so forth. In practice we're not going to do that.

I don't see John Q changing his ways until the point at which he can no longer afford to continue with the status quo. And this is going to happen on a worldwide scale as those in power (i.e., with money and vested interests in the current structure of things) do everything they can to maintain the status quo, until it just can't be preserved any longer.

It is my view that we are living on top of a house of cards that grows taller and less stable each day. The people of the world are going to do everything in their power to keep that house of cards standing, even as it grows. And you know just how spectacular a house of cards falls...

In my speeches sometimes, I say that if you think about the degree of change you saw in the last 100 years, social, technical, cultural, political, environmental, all those changes, its less that what you'll see in the next 20 years.
-- Dennis Meadows

..Should be interesting to say the least.

Tom Anderson-Brown

How does something like the recent California solar energy bill, or the future California wellhead tax, fit into this?

Is this non-action, or is there an implied bar here that we should be at such-and-such action in 2006, and any less that that is zero?

Hi odograph,

As you've heard many say, we need a 20-year head start before peak to beat this challenge. So I guess my view is that the actions of California are noble but aren't enough, even if all 50 states did what they are doing/proposing. The scale in which we (the worldwide community) need to act is so big that the actions of individual states amounts to inaction. In my view.

Tom Anderson-Brown

I agree with that broadly, but my refinement would be that the Hirsch report, etc., considers beating the problem to be maintaining energy growth.  I'm not that much of an optimist.

I think with "wedges" starting at peak the rate of depletion is reduced to something that will broadly speaking be painful but not deadly.

That makes me, to optimists, a dreaded pessimist.

That makes me, to pessimists, a dreaded optimist.

All of this is pretty much spitting into the wind since there is no energy policy - even a bad one.  You can't benchmark against something that doesn't exist.
Having just posted all we are doing here, I have to agree that we are just spitting in the wind. This is at least 10 years too late. My poor granddaughter. Well,that's why we live here,eh?
 I'm headed into town. If the bookmobile is there, I'll donate my copy of "Inconvenient Truth" to them. If not, Willits libe tomorrow. I'll let you know where it ends up.


HI Warf Rat,
You live in Willits?  Are you a member of WELL? Do you think what we are doing is having any impact or will amount to substantial change for your granddaughter?  
Thanks for all you've done.
Laytonville. (My sons live in W, altho I think they are gonna eventually end up back here, cuz they own 270 acres.  I go to the L'ville meetings when I can, but I work Fri. nights, which also means I haven't been involved with the community garden on Sat morning. (<:

Is WELL having an impact?  It is on me. PO wasn't new to me; first learned about it during the McGovern campaign. Originally, I wasn't gonna go solar for another few years, until after I retired. The signs going up at the Enviro Ctr. in 11/04 prompted me to do it now. Which got 2 others to do it. Made enuf of an impact that I started  burning copies of End of Suburbia and passing them out. I just gave my last copy to John Pinches' sister for him, and mentioned you in the note.(Rat droppings...Pinches is our newly elected county supervisor. I gave it to his sis at the general store; one of the advantages of a small town). Started a PO/sustainability chat room on Silicon Investor.

  Amount to substanial change for the Rug Rat? Let me answer that by quoting your wife (sometimes I work as  relief RT at Howard; I managed to corner her one day. Incidentally, she doesn't know it, but she just gave the Rug Rat a scrip for antibiotics...small world of small towns).  I asked her "what you two said about this in the middle of the night, when nobody else could hear? Do you really think we can make it?" She said, "I've got twins; I have to believe we'll make it."
  I know my sons and a lot of their friends are aware, and trying to get ready. The guys even talked about brewing their own BD. A friend of theirs out Sherwood Road is doing that.


This is helpful info WR.  I love all the personal connections of a small town.  I need to talk to John Pinches (I should be doing a lot of things!).  Thanks for sowing some seeds with him.  He has attended a few of our meetings. Sometimes, some people at those meetings get a bit la-la for his tastes I think, but he should be used to it by now living here his whole life.  

We are riding and creating a political turning of the tide around here it seems.  Hard to know if it will make a difference in the greater scheme of things, but what else is there to do but either try hard for what you believe in or become a dull, nihilistic cynic who is ashamed to look your children in the eyes.  

Isn't my wife fantastic!  I am so lucky to have her total support.

Best of luck with your health and keep it up in Laytonville!

"Sometimes, some people at those meetings get a bit la-la for his tastes I think"

  For my taste, too. And the Hog Farmers, too.This bothers me, in that it will turn off the people we need to reach; the loggers and ranchers and retired folks. Sometimes it gets a bit too New Age for me.
 But, when all is said and done, at least we are trying to prepare. I figure living here gives us the best chance we have; I can't really think of anywhere else I'd rather be. It's why a lot of us, including you and me, moved here. It's gonna take entire communities to be able to survive more or less intact. We can't, as indviduals, learn all the skills we need to survive. Most of the pioneers didn't even do that. They would find a blacksmith, or an itinerent furniture maker would pass by, etc. We have lots of resources and we have lots of skilled people. If we can't cope with PO here, nobody will be able to.

  I'm not sure what will be the strongest arguements for John. He's fiscally conservative, so I was thinking he might respond best to the pressures that oil prices will have on the operating budget. It's gonna get pretty expensive to run the sheriff's fleet of cars when gas is 5 bucks. I noticed Ukiah just purchased a few hybrids. Maybe the county can, too.

Take care.

Mike da Rat

I just named, two posts up, California's solar and wellhead changes, on top of our existing energy policies (half our electrictiy already comes from non-fossil fuels).

Do you really think it is fair therefore, to say there is "no energy policy?"

Or again, is "less than we would like" cast as "none?"

Energy conservation measures in Massachusetts:

State Tax deductions for usage of mass transit > $150.  (Max $750 deduction)

10% insurance deduction for taking Mass Transit.

The feds still have a $300 credit for certain home fuel efficency upgrades.

Also, your local utilities have a lot of great programs.  I'm getting a full home energy audit for free in 2.5 weeks on my house.  Supposedly it's a 2 hour process.  I'll report back on the full details once it happens...

I'm sorry, apparently this is still "no energy policy"
Exactly. We have a policy of politicians who try to use the state as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

Whatever happened to John Kerry? I think he's still our Senator or something.

Can you say Mitt Romney?...Oh, yeah, thanks for fixing those ceiling tiles, you'd make a great President. Duh.

One if by land, two if by sea. MIT? Harvard? BU Photonics Lab. Ken Kesey. Our Energy policy pretty much starts and ends with the likes of Menino. Huh? Exactly.

While it helps to have John Q know about peak oil, it is enough to have CEO Q know. If Ford understood peak oil, they would not be suffering a lack of fuel efficient cars.

I think peak oil will really break out when a diverse range of companies begin to realize that they are going to suffer because the oil companies are hiding the truth. They have the funds and leverage to push the story public.

I think it's naive to believe Ford/GM CEOs don't know about current oil supply/demand issues.  Yet, they have product to move, inventory to clear out.  What good would public admissions of PO be to their bottom line?
It's about all about future planning and the billions of dollars it takes to tool up a factory. Since I believe they would like to earn a profit, I honestly don't think they know. I think they believed Lynch (and others) that peak oil is a distant problem. That is why they have misallocated the tooling funds.

How many billion dollar losses does a company have to suffer before they start asking for reliable oil production numbers?

I agree with your original post, and that if Ford and GM had understood the risk of peak oil, they would not have trapped themsleves so firmly.

I think it's a classic problem of a large organization creating its own reality by consensus.  When everyone in a group says prices will be X, you've got to be kind of a jerk, and risk your position in the group to disagree.

I saved this quote from just July of last year, 2005:

[...] Sherrie Childers Arb, director of environment and energy communications for GM, said it's wrong to assume higher oil prices.

"Our indicators show that oil will go down, not up," she said, pointing to information she gets from the federal Energy Information Agency, which is part of the Department of Energy.

By 2010, the agency expects a barrel of oil to fall to $26, she said.

I suppose the EIA did say that ... and who within GM (or Ford) would speak up to disagree when so much of the corporate mission depended on it being true?

(What I've long held they should have done is have a range of car lines, positioned to prosper at with a range of car prices.  Kinda like Toyota with everything from a Prius to a ... whatever they call their monster truck.)

It does give us another angle to pursue to get better data. The Automotive companies, the Unions, those who depend on them, are going to be receptive to the peak oil story. We just need a way to raise the topic...
Re: Rig shortage to stunt oil output growth for years

While extensively citing Matt Simmons, the article make no mention of oil peaking. This way, the rig shortage can be used to argue that there is no real peak in oil, just a temporary lack of equipment.

But it is still what comes out of the pipeline that counts - and if less oil comes out, year after year, while the price (as an indicator of demand) keeps rising, the reason why less is coming out is not really the point. The point is that peak has arrived.

It's all the more strange to see it omitted when Simmons is so prominent.

Maybe it's innocent, maybe it's as devious as Leanan.

But the impression remains: a temporary problem.

It's like how Stalin airbrushed Trotsky from Soviet history. Mention him, but not his ideas.

Has anyone done any estimates on what rig shortage will mean for production rates?  (or dare I say the decline rate?)

Can we do a comparison of number of rigs (or wells) of the US at peak in 1970, versus now?  What if we had been unable to drill all the neccessary wells in the US?  What would depletion have been like?

Presumably you would have to do that, project by project, against the Big Projects database, to see how sensitive they are to this constraint. Since there is a bidding war going on for drilling capacity, I guess the more profitable projects are going to get the rigs. That could be factored in.

This is one of my arguments for a potential cliff ocurring on the back side of peak oil.

Maybe the the wavelet anaylisis could include such effects if we could use historical data to guess the effect of drill rate on production.

Probably a bigger issue is water cut and water handling facilities these could get overwhelmed or you could lose your pressure in fields.

Ageing infrastructure problems.

Accelerated rate in the loss of quality of the oil resulting in some simple refineries facing shortages.

If you think about it worldwide there are a large number of problems that won't be solved post peak. In fact even if oil was not peaking now we would be hard pressed to increase our production rates without finding another  huge onshore oil field just considering depletion and production abilities. All of these factors can be quantified from known data sets and extrapolated to create a better world model. The global warming models for example are pretty good these days.

I don't have the knowledge to make even an informed guess, but it just seems to me that if you hold off decline by doubling the number of wells (infill drilling) sooner rather then later we are going to hit a brick wall.
Here is questions which is running around my head.

From a Consumer Watchdog report :

Increases in the "spot" market price of crude oil accounted for a maximum of 17 cents per gallon. Even accounting for local tax increases, most of the price increases went to refinery and marketing profit margins for the oil companies

Thinking about it, it's astonishing how hypnotised we are by
the "spot price", of a small and shrinking "benchmark crude"
 which is likely being gamed.

I suppose what I want is a discussion of how prices are really fixed, for the bulk of the oil that fuels the world economy, and what the real price trends are, and how they have historically differed from the universally-quoted spot prices.

I imagine that it is difficult or even impossible to calculate the average world price of a barrel of crude : for
one thing, the varieties of product vary a whole lot, and for another, a lot of the data is presumably unobtainable, being commercially or geostrategically sensitive. And what price would we be talking about? At the wellhead, at the refinery?

But I observe that the question of where the money goes seems to get short shrift around here. There seems to be an overriding, fatalistic assumption that the price at the pump
is geologically determined. Which is clearly not so.

What it looks like to me is :
When the spot price rises, everyone in the supply chain calculates the cost price of finished product from that barrel price, and raises their own product price to meet it.
So who is "everyone"?

  • Oil majors, which are players in every stage from well to pump
  • and all the intermediaries involved in single steps : refiners, distributors etc...

Just an illustration (BP data) : Refining margins for West Texas sour coking, in $US.
oct-01     1.79
janv-02     2.04
avr-02     2.62
juil-02     1.82
oct-02     2.98
janv-03     6.14
avr-03     3.59
juil-03     5.61
oct-03     3.52
janv-04     6.92
avr-04     9.18
juil-04     6.99
oct-04     5.52
janv-05     7.3
avr-05     9.37
juil-05    17.12
oct-05    11.64

Sort of evocative.

Are these dollar amounts or a %?
Refining margin expressed in Dollars per barrel.
I can't see how it could be cost-related. More of a "what the market will bear" markup.
I'm not sure I understand. Are you surprised that the refining margin is what the market will bear? Of course it would and should be this. That's how markets work.

Perhaps I'm missing your point.

Since this is only four months a year, my graph looks disjointed.  I can't really fit a decent looking curve to it either, but what would help it the corresponding spot prices for oil.  If I could compare % it would be uber easy to determine wether or not they are increasing their margins or just enjoying higher nominal gains b/c of their margins.
When the spot price rises, everyone in the supply chain calculates the cost price of finished product from that barrel price, and raises their own product price to meet it.

No, that is not remotely how it works. Prices are changed in response to supply, not how much costs have changed. This is the major misconception that people have about gasoline prices: That we figure up our costs, and determine a price. In reality, what happens with respect to prices depends on whether product is moving, and how fast. If it is moving too fast for production to keep up with, prices rise. Right now, inventories are chock full and product is moving slowly, so prices are falling.

Robert Rapier wrote:

Prices are changed in response to supply, not how much costs have changed. This is the major misconception that people have about gasoline prices: That we figure up our costs, and determine a price. In reality, what happens with respect to prices depends on whether product is moving, and how fast. If it is moving too fast for production to keep up with, prices rise. Right now, inventories are chock full and product is moving slowly, so prices are falling.

Robert, I agree. I have argued that point on other lists for years. Yet most others disagree with me, and you also apparently. They argued that the price of oil is determined by the traders on the NYMEX. If they bid up the price of oil, the price of oil all over the whole damn world goes up. And if they bid it down, then everyone, including OPEC, lowers the price they charge for oil.

I contende this was the tail wagging the dog and I simply did not believe it. But I could never prove it. In fact, the falling price on the NYMEX lately, because of no hurricanes, peace breaking out and the fear factor disappearing, seems to prove my opponents right.

Can you explain this?

Hey Darwinian,

For starters, check out piece Jerome did on DailyKos yesterday. Pay careful attention to HiD's comments. You'll find link on Robert's blog. Or it's here yesterday in one of my posts. I'm not going to look for it now.

Also, have you ever read the testimony of all the major Oil CEO's to joint session of Senate last November I believe it was?

CEO testimony on price-gouging Maybe you can look up discussion of it here. It's a 361 page pdf. Scroll through, pay particular attention to discussion between Lee Raymond and Domenici. But this is good stuff. It gets into Exxon's dealings with the Kingdom.

I'll try to look up more material for you. There is great stuff out there. I just never have time to compile it.

Also check James D Hamilton's piece on http://www.econbrowser.com a few days ago.

The NYMEX influences prices, but when we are trying to determine whether or not to change prices, we aren't looking at the NYMEX. We are looking at inventories. The NYMEX is a good indicator of what's going to happen, because real product does exchange hands on the NYMEX. If prices are falling on the NYMEX, they will eventually fall on the street, because you can't have NYMEX too far out of whack with what's going on at the refinery, or traders for oil companies will buy product off the NYMEX.

In summary, it is not that you were wrong or your opponents were wrong. It is just that the NYMEX does directly influence what happens on the street, but day to day pricing is not being set based on the NYMEX. Occasionally, you will see a NYMEX way out of whack with street prices. It happened right after Hurricane Katrina. But that is not a sustainable situation.

It just occurred to me that a good analogy is to consider prices in a department store. If an item is selling so fast that the store has trouble keeping it in stock, they will probably raise prices. This price might be affected by a similar product at a competing store (if price gets too high, buyers go to the competing store) but day to day pricing decisions are not based on what the competing store is doing - only how the competing store's pricing decisions affect the store's inventories.

Peace breaking out? You have got to be kidding. You are almost ( not quite ) the last person I would expect to drink that Kool-Aid. Tell me you were being ironic, restore my faith.


Here is a link to what is called The Pigou Club on Greg Mankiw's blog. This is a list of notable economists, politicians, and journalists who support higher gasoline taxes.
Do not know if it was the same fund, but cnbc just had a segment on a hedge fund trader (Brian Hunter) that lost 5 Billion last week on NG futures.

your homework for today, if you feel like it, and if it's your alley

the stories about hedge fund losses, are interesting, but they make me think of something potentially bigger (if not necessarily in total amounts):

in the past 2 decades, since investing in stocks etc. has taken an enormous flight, many countries have moved to loosen laws that restricted what pension funds could invest in.
which means many of them are heavily invested in risk-bearing assets

of course the potential is that the risk will come home to roost, and many people will see their pensions disappear (that will happen for other reasons too)

any idea what the laws stipulate in the US, and where the cracks are beginning to show? are fund investments public knowledge?

Great questions.  I will delve into this later today, I'm strapped for time at the moment.  I know I've done some small reading and this is how I know some things work.  Regulation K I believe it is says that if you buy more than a 5% stake in a company you must disclose it.  With Pension cash, this can happen quicker due to the size.  I know some legalese was being ironed out in terms of how pensions can use this vehicles b/c pensions have a contractual obligation to their dependents.  

When hedge funds take money from a pension system, the way it was viewed that once a 5% threshold was crossed in some way(wish I bookmarked this article) then the hedge funds become liable for the pension fund itself.  So basically if the hedge fund made up more than 5% of the pension fund, then the hedge fund would some how defacto be on the hook for the pension fund.  Sorry this is convulated, but off the top of my head, it might get some dialogue started.

Don't worry about the speed, better get it right. I am pressed for time too, but am trying to read this:

Who Owns Exxon?,

and guess/understand that Peter Drucker might be a good source.
Sometime later today, hopefully.

While I understand the short term thinking that is going on in the minds of most when it comes to hedge funds, I wish more people would stop to understand WHY they get outsized results.  For starters they are engaging in complex bets so complex that as soon as the most wealthy investor, Buffett, bought Re Insurance he analyzed the derivative instruments used as hedges and determined it was no business he was to be in.  Now this is the richest investor and he wants no part?  There is a reason hedge funds make crazy returns and that's b/c of the part of the Capital Asset Pricing Model called Risk Premium.  

Hedge funds make LARGE gambles on risky investments that any company is not allowed to make.  There is a reason they aren't allowed to make it and we watched the NG contract fiasco this week.   It took all summer to rack up 25%+ gains and it took one week to turn that into billion dollar losses!  Janszen over at itulip.com calls these unregulated investment pools.

This paper here details the risks associated with massive hedge funds operating unregulated in the market.


Hedge funds operate outside of public scrutiny.  They do not fall under the jurisdiction of the SEC currently.  The SEC was recently over turned in their proposal to at least begin to register all of them and begin reform.  The courts threw that out though.  I found this interesting piece from India on the announcement of the Hedge Fund fiasco.


It's very short, and lacking a whole lot of structure, but in India they do know whats going on.

As commodity prices collapse the hedge funds are in the middle of blood baths. Meltdown of hedge funds have started - Connecticut hedge fund Amarnath lost 50% asset value on wrong bets on natural gas.
The hedge funds have started betting entirely wrong on certain commodities and are losing their shirts. Instead of hedging they are betting outright in a gambling mood to outperform each other. Every day a few hedge funds are getting killed. Soon there will a very few left that just deal with commodities.
The outfall from Amarnath's debacle is far reaching. While hedge fund investors are getting lifes'' best lessons, the hedge fund managers are agressive like never before. They are trying to outperfom each other and in the process taking enormous risks.
Are hedge funds forgetting to hedge?
Found it!


The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday struck down a US Securities and Exchange Commission [official website] rule [PDF text; JURIST report] regulating hedge funds. The rule required hedge fund advisors responsible for at least $30 million in assets to register with the SEC, thus subjecting them to legal scrutiny for potential fraud. In a unanimous decision [PDF text] Friday in Goldstein v. SEC, Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote that hedge funds escape SEC regulation under the Investment Company Act of 1940 [PDF text] because "investment vehicles that remain private and available only to highly sophisticated private investors have historically been understood not to present the same dangers to public markets as more widely available public investment companies."

Responding to the decision, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said the SEC will work on drafting alternative rules [press release] to oversee hedge fund activity to "protect investors, maintain fair and orderly markets, and promote capital formation." The Managed Funds Association [advocacy website], a trade organization of hedge funds, has previously criticized the SEC rule [MFA comment paper] as overburdensome in cost and unnecessary given other reporting requirements already imposed by other regulatory bodies on hedge funds. Bloomberg has more.

Lots of links in there for those who want to delve deeper.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Farmer-planning-diesel-tree-biofuel/2006/09/19/1158431695812.htm l

The article talking about growing diesel trees seems interesting.  However from what I've read around the webostuff, I've found info that pushes using hemp as a fuel is THE most energy efficient plant on the planet.  I realize there are amazon plants that grow feet in a day, but when you can grow more than one rotation per season, there is some major upside to growing this en mass.  Just a thought.

BTW...anyone hear about W Nelson?  And he walks with tickets?

Hemp is not as good as the hype.  Most of the studies you see were done on relatively small plots, for short periods of time.  If you grew hemp the way we grow corn - in massive monocrops, year after year after year - you would have the same problems you have with corn.  Nutrient depletion, pests, etc.  

The promising thing about tree crops is that you don't have to replant every year.  You don't kill the plant to harvest it.  So it would presumably be less wasteful.  

Dunno if this "diesel tree" is for real, though. I remember there were rumors of them in the '70s, during the energy crisis.  Supposedly, Big Oil was suppressing them.

I think you are correct to point out the dangers of monoculture practices. Don't blame this on hemp, though (or even on corn, really). Hemp grows perfectly well in the wild and does not destroy the soil. Modern corn, though, is a highly domesticated plant and its nitrogen obsorbing properties are a side affect of our other efforts to use it as a multi-purpose food source. Hemp, however, is very high in biomass and is (if memory serves me) a nitrogen fixer.

I'm not supportive of any monoculture efforts (they are what destroyed the perfectly good social arrangements that existed prior to "civilization") and that would include hemp. But hemp could be a valuable helper plant if used appropriately and if we would get rid of the nonsensical laws against it.

Correct.  Hemp is a perennial nitrogen fixer that does not require herbicides but does require pesticides.  AG Canada recommends fertilizer usage for 'optimum' yield, however, you can grow hemp organically quite well.

Hemp has very good potential to be used as a DEC, however, you cannot grow it in the U.S. due to irresponsible regulatory status.

The State of California is currently trying to remediate this situation.

 I haven't seen data; just anecdotal stuff like this, re soil depletion

First of all, just growing hemp is good for the environment. It is a hardy, no-nonsense, drought-resistant plant. With few natural predators, hemp needs little to no pesticides. Herbicides are also virtually unnecessary as the plants grow 6 to 16 feet tall in only 110 days. The complex root structure prevents erosion and decays quickly after harvest. Hemp does not deplete the nutrients in soil, and even purifies the earth by absorbing heavy-metal contaminants. Hemp farmers around the world agree that any crop planted in the wake of a hemp crop will flourish.
Canadian study...3.9 dry tons/ acre; feel they can get 20% greater in Cal. I can't find it, but I think this is the article that suggest California can get 2 crops/year


Slightly off topic, a cannabis puffer for Multiple Sclerosis.
There is a hemp bill sitting on Gov. Roidboy's desk right now.


The commercial marijuana growers use large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides.  Why are they doing this, if it's not necessary?
That's the difference between hemp and marijuana. But they don't use pesticides/herbicides; no need, really. Pests are usually bigger, eg deer, wild pigs, 2 legged carbon units, and, I'm sorry to say, rats.

Did you ever hear of the Palmyra murder case?  (Some believe Palmyra is cursed, so many bad things have happened there.)

A couple were murdered there for their boat and supplies.  The couple who did it had gone to Palmyra Island planning to grow marijuana, and make money that way.

But bugs ate all their marijuana plants, forcing them to find some other way to get supplies.

To speed up growth, maximize profits.

Rat, the heavy metals catch my eye. Would you happen to know which trees and plants are best at absorbing them, perhaps different ones for different metals? With current and future contamination levels all over the place, my guess is it will become a crucial element in farming/gardening. Plant trees, everybody!

You mean plant hemp...thats pulling the metals out of the soil or did I misread?
I've seen this heavy metal thing before, also, though in a rather different context. While I was living in Hawai'i the local anti-pot forces were fond of arguing that the local "product" was as potent as it was because it was pulling the high levels of mercury from the volcanic soil. As you might have guessed, this didn't have nearly the impact they expected.
here's a nice link for you
"With current and future contamination levels all over the place, my guess is it will become a crucial element in farming/gardening."
my guess is this a great business opportunity as well
Methinks someone feels I don't have enough to read yet.*)
Google 'hyperaccumulation'.

Its thought to have evolved by some plants to actively fight herbivory.  Species commonnly found on serpentine soils (high in magnesium and nickel ?) disproportionately have this ability.

Recent work has looked at the potential to clean up mine tailings and other contaminated sites with these plants.

How did I get the yellow highlighting to show up?
I would guess you used yellow  < code > < / code >


 I don't think so. Never have B4. Didn't this time. Certainly not 3 times.


b4 and after
are there no other <hilight>colors</hilight>?
Any thought on the bill your speaking of?  I talked about it a couple weeks ago when I found out it got passed.  Not out of the ordinary really.  It would be nice to see some large scale production numbers in the climates around the country.  
Smoke enough, you'll drive less. Saves gas. That's good for the environment.
I dont like driving anyway....that works.
Castor beans are a sort of brush-like-tree that's long-lived and produces high quality feedstock for bio-diesel.
Tomorrow's news tonight..
Tides around Golden Gate are potential energy source

French Puzzle: Where are the pickup trucks?>

I just got back from my first visit to France, and in two weeks of vehicle watching, city and country, I did not see a single open-bed pickup truck. There were numerous panel vans and plenty of large trucks, and even a sprinkling of small SUVs, but I saw no pickups.

Can anyone here explain this? Are there licensing issues in France that make light trucks a non-starter for private use?

I'll have a try at this. I grew up in NZ, where a pickup truck is called a ute, and I live in France. There are in fact a (very) few utes around, sort of a yuppie status symbol, a step up from the RV because it's even less useful.

I guess it's a cultural issue. What, exactly, would you use a pickup for around here? What is it really useful for in the US? Tradesmen all have little vans. If they put their gear in a pickup, it would get stolen.

Pickup trucks are useful in the U.S.  Around here, almost everyone who owns a home has one.  If you don't, you get a friend who has one to help you, or rent one for the weekend.  

You can put things in a pickup that you can't easily fit in a van or SUV.  Like a load of topsoil for the yard or garden.  Stacks of firewood for the wood stove.  A new appliance from the mall, or a new couch for the living room.  A deer carcass if you've been hunting.  Bags of trash to take to the dump.  Trees and bushes from the nursery for your landscaping project.  Etc.

Interesting question, France has an extensive rural population. Maybe the answer lies in what Americans did before pick-ups, or in other countries that don't have them to this day. Is it mostly a US phenomenon? I don't remember seeing them anywhere in Europe.
If all else fails, there's also the option that the French really are lazy. And never pick up anything.
It might be related to the fact that we have more cars than drivers in the U.S.  The multiple-car family is the rule, not the exception.  Houses have two, three, four, even six garage bays.  It's not unsual for even single people who live alone to have two or three cars.

A pickup truck isn't convenient as your only car, but as an extra vehicle, it's great.  They tend to be cheap, and so what if you can't fit a child safety seat in it?  You have your other cars for that.

France has an extensive rural population, but said population is all a lot closer to small town centers where they can get most of their needs. Shorter distances means it's as convenient to use small horse carts for lugging heavy things. They also work smaller farms (que the old "I once had a truck like that too" joke), which are shared by more extended families, although that is changing (merci beaucoup, Bruxelles...)

And factor in the more pronounced willingness of Americans to leave their effects unguarded.

Well, yes. When I need to do this stuff, I borrow a trailer. I don't need to have it built into my car and lug it around everywhere with me, using up valuable road (and parking) space.

Therein lies a clue. Roads are narrower, parking is hard enough. Unnecessary vehicle length is an un-European thing. (This is in addition to the fuel penalty of lugging around that dead weight

This was my thought as well. I lived in Scotland for a year without a vehicle. From what I saw, I certainly would not want to drive or especially park a large American style pickup due to the narrow roads and even smaller parking spaces.
But it doesn't have to be a large pickup.  In fact, I'd say most of the pickups you see on the road are small ones.  Compact trucks, you could say.

One thing that's different in Europe: merchants will deliver there.  Here, they often will not.  Well, they do in big cities, like NY and Boston, but not in most of the country.  

For example, I was discussing the difficulties I had getting my 75 gallon fishtank from the store to my home with a friend from Scotland, he was amazed that the store wouldn't deliver it.  That's how he got his home.

P/U's are very emblematic and are sold as macho momentos/ symbols of rugged individualism/cowboy. Just think of all the ads you've seen over the years. Disclosure: I have a trailer hitch and no P/U.
Agreed. Pickup trucks are also few and far between in Germany, and for the same reasons. If you want to haul something you hook up a trailer, but otherwise you need a vehicle that is as small as possible for daily life. Parking is a bitch, the roads are narrow (even in the wide-open northern lowlands), and gas is ~$5.76 a gallon.
Over here in Sweden it is very common to mount a towing hook on your car and then buy or rent an apropriately sized trailer for your needs. You can not (legally) drive at full speed with it but it is a lot cheaper then a pickup, dont draw extra fuel when you dont need it and you dont have to lift heavy loads as high up.

Pickups are mostly bought by craftsmen such as plumbers who need them in their business.

Why few pickups in Europe?  That's an interesting question that I've never thought of.  I think Europeans tend to think of hatchbacks as their equivilant of pickup trucks.

Europeans prefer hatchbacks because they can hold quite a bit with the seats down, yet still have 4 seats for travel or friends, are much easier to park in cities with limited parking, are better a preventing theft of the contents, and generally get better gas mileage (due to both aerodynamics and engine size).

Culturally, the pickup truck is perceived very work related or farm related.  Most Europeans would not want to drive what they perceive as a work truck around.  They also tend to handle poorly at higher speeds, which isn't good.

Finally, most pickup trucks come with larger engines to ensure they can carry heavy cargo when necessary.  Most European countries tax cars based on engine size.

I have a 20 year old Toyotal PU with a rack that I use for everything: hauling concrete, rebar, 12' 2x4s, metal roof sections, compost, straw bales, hay bales, large rocks, you name it. Damn useful.

That said, the roads here in the west are clogged with ENORMOUS pickup trucks, without racks, that appear to be never used for anything that might scratch them or get them dirty.

It's a status symbol, for the most part. i.e. my pecker is bigger than yours, and if I really had to, I really COULD haul my own firewood (but since I have NG, no need to, really)

right  BIG pecker syndrome  !!!!!!
Instead of asking "why are there so few pickup trucks in Europe" reframe the question to "why are there so many pickup trucks in North America". The answer isn't logical but cultural.

Try this next time you look down on a highway from an overpass. Count the number of pickup trucks with loads compared to the ones with no useful loads inside the box. You will find that most pickup boxes are either emppty of filled with stuff that doesn't really need to be there, such as dogs or tool boxes. A lot of the stuff that's in the box is there simply because the owner is too lazy to take it out. Without a pickup truck, you would simply not carry as much junk around.

How on earth do you suppose people would drive an F-150 on the streets of Paris?  London?  Amsterdam?  Rome?

There's no room.  North American streets are huge in comparison.  That's why there's no pickup trucks.

Excellent points. I'm trying to find my photos of Greek trash-trucks. They will blow people away. When you see them in action, you still can't understand how they make the corners.
Japanese fire trucks for me.
A few links -

Crude up; Energy Dept. to cut 2007 output forecast
http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=%7B05C93D39%2DF6AD%2D424C%2DBBE5%2D6ED2A552488 B%7D&source=blq%2Fyhoo&dist=yhoo&siteid=yhoo
- Note that Thunderhose was part of the future production, which is still looking oh so rosy, right?

Amaranth Says Funds Lost 50% on Gas Trades This Month (Update3)
- Predicting prices, even in a market where suppliers have peaked, is not a cakewalk.

As I've said already, the failure of Thunder Horse at less extreme pressure and temperature shows how little should really be expected from the putative Jack.

The Oil Market post peak.

I've argued that the first indicator of decline will be rapidly rising prices for residual oil products that cost less then the original oil, basically the waste of the oil industry. This is driven by two factors.

1.) Refineries becoming more complex so less oil is wasted in low value products.
2.) Real shortages.

Bunker Fuel for ships has a inelastic use profile like other transportation uses for oil is a good indicator of the situation. The only controlling factor is the size of the world economy or GWP.

As we approach peak the demand for these products will outstrip supply leading to a increase in the price until
they approach the price of oil.

Now the next question is will they actually become more expensive then oil  and begin to compete with other more refined products such as gasoline ?

I argue they will because the world market for oil will fundamentally change post peak and take on scarcity economics and rationing will happen.

I feel that we will see the market become driven not by price as the primary motivator by by the need to ensure the availability of oil regardless of price. This means the spot market will basically disappear accept as a mechanism to set the price for long term contracts. Less and less real oil will actually trade on the spot market.

This results in the real prices for former wast products not only rising to the same value as crude but rising steadily above it till they are at a  refining discount vs the cost of more refined products such as gasoline. Considering that bunker fuel and other uses of residual fuel oil drive the heart of our economy this does not bode well for the future of a globalized economy.

Surprisingly I cannot find any papers on a market naturally adopting rationing it seems to be a disgusting concept to economists.

Rationing will not happen. Who would set the rules? Who would enforce it?

The UN? the WTO?

Seems rather idealistic. The market will set the price.
Ships will burn coal. Or use sails. Or both.

In the same vein : how about taxing aviation fuel?
Need to set an international rate, applied by everyone. Won't happen. Will be sabotaged by the US and Europe, who will have dying aeroplane manufacturers on life support.

Very little of the worlds oil is sold today on the spot market and you can by forward or purchase future production. Both lead to a natural rationing effect. By rationing I mean that most current and future production has been sold under contract.  If we can get the amount of real oil actually sold on the spot market over the last few years we can readily see if I'm correct or not. You should see the amount decrease with time.

Coal? We can't afford to convert on the timescales of oil depletion. Long term I think the world will go sail but that's not till well after peak oil. How shipping will evolve is interesting but not really relevant to the 5-10 critical post peak years. I don't know what the average life of a ship is but it has to be decades. We can convert or fleet of cars to be more efficient in time much less our ships.

Here, in the UK, is the government's list of Essential Users of fuel - in order of priority:

  • Armed forces

  • Prison staff

  • Coastguards and lifeboat crews

  • Fuel and energy suppliers

  • Essential financial services staff including those involved in the delivery of cash and cheques

  • Essential workers at nuclear sites

  • Water, sewerage and drainage

  • Central and local government workers

  • Refuse collection and industrial waste

  • Health and social workers

  • Funeral services

  • Emergency services

  • Food industry

  • Public transport

  • Licensed taxis

  • Airport and airline workers

  • Postal, media, telecommunications

  • Special schools and colleges for the disabled

  • Essential foreign diplomatic workers

  • Agriculture, veterinary and animal welfare  

Food...dead last....OK time to start MY garden.
Make sure you plant the barbed-wire and claymores first.
I haven't seen anything here at TOD about this article from the Santa Fe New Mexican via the FTW blog:


"DOE predicts gasoline shortages"

"Gasoline shortages and even higher prices loom, a new government report says, and it will take decades and trillions of dollars to replace American dependence on foreign oil.

The U.S. Department of Energy report directly addressed the concept of peak oil and how to deal with it. Peak oil means oil production is maximized and supply goes down from that point forward. Coupled with a surge in demand from countries like China and India, some energy experts say this could be a problem for America's economy.

"The world is consuming more oil than it is finding, and at some point within the next decade or two, world production of conventional oil will likely peak," the report says.

A DEO report accepting PO?  This seems newsworthy to me!  But I don't see this story anywhere else.  I googled the news tab for "DOE report gas shortages", and it's a googlewhack, I only get the New Mexican article.  Shouldn't this info generate some sort of media interest?  I've gotta think John Q (I call him Joe Sixpack myself) would be interested.

That was posted here last month, when it was published.

They are referring to the "new Hirsch report."

Oh,OK.  I thought it might be something else.  I'd still like to see that headline more widely used.
This week's Economist has an interesting article about solar power

... Commercial silicon cells have efficiencies of 15% to 20%. In the laboratory, some have been made with an efficiency of 30%. The figure for non-traditional cells is far lower. A typical cell based on electrically conductive plastic has an efficiency of just 3% or 4%. What is needed is a way to boost the efficiency of cells made from cheap materials, and three new ways of doing so were unveiled this week in San Francisco, at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Solar cells work by the action of light on electrons. An electron held in a chemical bond in the cell absorbs a photon (a particle of light) and, thus energised, breaks free. Such electrons can move about and, if they all move in the same direction, create an electric current. But they will not all travel in the same direction without a little persuasion. With silicon, this is achieved using a secondary electrical field across the cell. Non-silicon cells usually have a built-in "electrochemical potential" that encourages the electrons to move away from areas where they are concentrated and towards places where they have more breathing space.

Kwanghee Lee of Pusan National University, in South Korea, and Alan Heeger of the University of California, Santa Barbara, work on solar cells made of electrically conductive plastics. (Indeed, Dr Heeger won a Nobel prize for discovering that some plastics can be made to conduct electricity.) They found that by adding titanium oxide to such a cell and then baking it in an oven, they could increase the efficiency with which it converted solar energy into electricity.

The trick is to put the titanium oxide in as a layer between the part of the cell where the electrons are liberated and the part where they are collected for dispatch into the wider world. This makes the electrically conductive plastic more sensitive to light at wavelengths where sunlight is more intense. Pop the resulting sandwich in the oven for a few minutes at 150°C and the plastic layer becomes crystalline. This improves the efficiency of the process, because the electrons find it easier to move through crystalline structures.

The technique used by Dr Lee and Dr Heeger boosts the efficiency of plastic cells to 5.6%. That is still poor compared with silicon, but it is a big improvement on what was previously possible. Dr Lee concedes that there is still a long way to go, but says that even an efficiency of 7% would bring plastic cells into competition with their silicon cousins, given how cheap they are to manufacture.

A second approach, taken by Michael Grätzel of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, is to copy nature. Plants absorb solar energy during photosynthesis. They use it to split water into hydrogen ions, electrons and oxygen. The electrons released by this reaction are taken up by carrier molecules and then passed along a chain of such molecules before being used to power the chemical reactions that ultimately make sugar.

Dye-sensitised solar cells seek to mimic this assembly line. The dye acts like chlorophyll, the pigment that makes plants green and that is responsible for absorbing sunlight and liberating electrons. The electrons are passed via a semiconductor to an electrode, through which they leave the cell. By using a dye called phthalocyanine, which absorbs not only visible light but also infra-red wavelengths, Dr Grätzel has been able to raise the efficiency of the process to 11%. That, he says, should be enough to make dye-sensitised cells competitive with silicon.

The third technique, being developed by Prashant Kamat of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and his colleagues, uses that fashionable scientific tool, the carbon nanotube. This is a cylinder composed solely of carbon atoms, and one of its properties is good electrical conductivity. In effect, nanotubes act as wires a few billionths of a metre in diameter.

Dr Kamat and his team covered the surface of an experimental cell made of cadmium sulphide, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide with nanotubes, so that the tubes stuck up from the surface like hairs. The tubes then eased the passage of the liberated electrons from the cell to the electrode that collected them. Using this technique doubled the efficiency of Dr Kamat's cell from 5% to 10% at ultraviolet wavelengths and he reckons it would create similar increases in efficiency in both plastic and dye-based cells....

I hadn't heard before about making PV cells out of plastic. Even though they are far less efficient, the cost reduction could make all the difference.

My question is how long they would last. Plastics break down pretty quickly under the sun, and doping them only works to a certain extent. (plastic water jugs left by illegal immigrants turn to powdery flakes in a couple months.)

it's a long way from the lab to peoples hands. till you can buy it with your hard cash(even how un-likely that is), consider it a advertisement for more funding into research by people willing the throw money at other people.
This may have been posted here before.

This company has figured out how to "print" solar cells using a nano-tech "ink".


They built the worlds largest solar cell fab with just $100.00 million investment. It goes into production next year, so the truth about cost and efficiency will be out soon.

Here we have an item regarding Iran and sanctions that brings in the oil angle, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HI19Ak01.html
"The only discernible result of US sanctions on Iran has been to delay Iran's development of its energy resources."
Al Gore speech New York University September 18

Many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several "tipping points" that could -- within as little as 10 years -- make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet's habitability for human civilization.

Gore says we have less than 10 years. And he is surely referring to the 60-70% emissions reduction numbers that scientists agree are needed just to halt the increase in CO2. After all, as Tim Flannery points out in The Weather Makers, even if we cut all emissions today, temperatures will rise for another 50 years, due to CO2 absorption delays in the system. Today's effects come from emissions released decades ago.

... after all, because the world still regards us -- in spite of our recent moral lapses -- as the natural leader of the community of nations.

Gore is delusional. "The world" largely thinks of the US as a pest by now.

.....we should start by immediately freezing CO2 emissions and then beginning sharp reductions...

Good plan, Al. Care to elaborate, tell us how? It's not just words, is it?

It is true that not all countries are yet on track to meet their targets, but the first targets don't have to be met until 2008 and the largest and most important reductions typically take longer than the near term in any case.

Wait, we only have 10 years left, and you're suggesting we waste the first 2 of them? And that's just the first Kyoto steps, right? Kyoto's full effect date is 2012, and that's just 6% reduction on average. That's 6%, maybe, in 6 years. Leaves 4 years for the other 54-64%.

As pointed out by the "25 by 25' movement (aimed at securing 25% of America's power and transportation fuels from agricultural sources by the year 2025)...

In 10 years it will be 2016, Al. "25 by 25" doesn't comply with your own statements.

We can restore the health of depleted soils by encouraging and rewarding the growing of fuel source crops like switchgrass and saw-grass...

Excuse me? With monoculture?

Nevertheless, it is time to recognize that the phrase "clean coal technology" is devoid of meaning unless it means "zero carbon emissions" technology.

Slippery term, that, "zero emissions", gets you into murky thermodynamics waters. Besides, no realistic report on "clean coal" (whatever that may be) claims zero.

For the last fourteen years, I have advocated the elimination of all payroll taxes -- including those for social security and unemployment compensation -- and the replacement of that revenue in the form of pollution taxes -- principally on CO2. The overall level of taxation would remain exactly the same. It would be, in other words, a revenue neutral tax swap.

Now that I like, that sounds good. I would take it one step further, don't tax pollution, go for overall energy consumption. All you have to do is dust off Hubbert and/or Odum, and off you go. But if you like pollution better, go for it. You did single out CO2 before, though, so which is it, ALL pollution or just carbon? And how long do you think it will take to implement an entirely new tax system? Less than 10 years, right? Please?

What is motivating millions of Americans to think differently about solutions to the climate crisis is the growing realization that this challenge is bringing us unprecedented opportunity.

You mean economic growth opportunity, don't you, you rascal? Sorry, Al, you have to leave that one behind.
Come to think of it, haven't seen much about reducing consumption, just about consuming more efficiently. That leaves room for more consumption, right? What about oil and gas peaking? Any thoughts?

You obviously think that the only way to sell this to Americans is by dangling a new kind of American Dream in front of them, a carrot bigger and better than ever or something. Maybe you're right in that assessment, but doesn't it defeat its own purpose? It's tempting to deliver visions of tens of millions of new cars that use less fuel, and save GM/Ford, but is that realistic in 10 years? How many windmills and solar panels can you produce in 10 years? And isn't all that production terribly polluting? What do you propose to offset that additional pollution?

I know it's political suicide to tell people they'll get much less, and very soon, but you're not in politics anymore, am I right? You can tell the truth now?!

Started out laughing at your telling Al Gore off. Ended up with a sinking feeling in my gut over our desperate situation. And Al Gore is on your side relative to the powers that be.
Al Gore is on your side relative to the powers that be.

Yeah right. And you know this because you're on the Good side of the Force, too?

Al Gore's "book" isn't a book. It's a thing you flip through in Barnes and Noble and go "geez!" what a bunch of cool pictures of glaciers melting and irrelevent graphs. It's not even hardcover.

For $26.95 I can take it home and put it on my coffee table. I can flip through it with my friends over a nice Merlot. And then after five minutes of feeling that we care about the environment, we can turn our attention through the bay windows to the beautiful sunset falling over our $60,000 SUVS parked in the gravel driveway and the perfectly manicured landscape.

Pretty typical, CEO.  You said a lot right there.
Well, give him a break.  He has never been accused of being effective, but he has always been further out on our side than any other politician, maybe tilting at windmills so much that he lost the election. Had he won there is no doubt that we would have signed kyoto, and would be devoting some effort towards reducing co2, even though the majority republicans would have been kicking and crying all the way.
Consider that he has no need to be doing anything at all now, and what he is doing, maybe raising public awareness just a little in getting books onto coffee tables, is getting him back on the joke circuit.  Pretty thankless.

Maybe your frustration is that he lost... it is certainly mine.  Blame the blue dress.

No, don't get me wrong. I got nothing against Al Gore. He's just washed up and he should take the opportunity to go all out. You only live once.

Some other time I'll tell you a long story about Bill Clinton. But there's reasons why I won't tonight. I'll tell you the end, though. Bill Clinton would make the best President right about now. No diggity, No doubt.

We all know that. Kinda sucks that we voted ourselves a system that doesn't allow it. I'll say that one more time. Just a little bit louder.

Bill Clinton would be the best President right about now. Or in 2008.

Shit. Too bad we can't go back in time. Do things a little different then we done before.

if not for the power vacuum at the end of clinton's  .......   uh....... presidency     wooden al be president ?
"Bill Clinton would be the best president right now"

Just because he read Heinberg's book? Is he going all out in some way we are missing? What we need is a dictator who can force through the accelerated changes to confront peak oil, global warming and over population head on. What we will get is a dictator who promises to make the tough decisions in making us secure. He will then bomb other countries to secure oil and create perpetual warfare to secure our anxiety and his position. Oh - we already tried that. We will get a president with unlimited dictatorial powers which the constitution gves him in a time of war, but he won't solve our problems. All other paths lead to more gridlock.

Looking at all those out there, I would agree except for mccain - a real shame he didn't get the nomination in 2000... gore would not have been contesting. Hillary is not on bill's level, or anywhere close, might be as insulated as bush is.
I never read or saw Gore's book so can't comment on that. I did see the movie though and recommend it.

I'm happy with my vegetable garden and subcompact. Don't feel a need for an SUV or manicured landscape. There is a direct relationship between consumption, use of energy and the environment. We are moving down parallel and connected paths towards lower quality energy and a degraded environment. I believe in the force of thermodynamics, particularly the second law. It is neither good nor bad.

I don't know what you have accomplished in your life or want to, but in my book "washed up Gore" made a hell of a good movie.


Thanks for a great deconstruction of Gore's speech.

Re: "You can tell the truth now?!"

I guess old habits are hard to break.  Maybe he has convinced himself he can change things by working from the inside.  He must be too far gone into the indoctrination process to even realize that the system is not amenable to rehabilitation.  

I remember when Gore came out to endorse Howard Dean for the 2000 election and he said something to the effect that he would no longer hold back his real views.  I waited for some important Gore revelations to unfold but when they were not forthcoming I decided that either Gore must have lost his nerve or someone reminded him that he wasn't running the asylum.

I'm not trying to put him down or anything, but Gore really contradicts himself, which can be "not helpful"/dangerous. Why the contradictions are there is hard to say for me. He has obviously read a lot, talked to a lot of people, he has access to scientists and places we do not. So the information is present.

Maybe, also, the acceleration factor that keeps on popping up in climate change reports catches him by surprise. But still, he started out saying there are 10 years left.

I reviewed his book in spring, think it's very well done, but towards the end he lost me when he started talking about growth opportunities.

Maybe he truly believes that, maybe, as I said, he thinks it's the only way to sell the message (and that may well be right), and maybe he weighs his 2008 chances and options.

Tim Flannery in The Weather Makers, also a great book, has the same thing: optimism that flies in the face of the very facts he's stated a few pages before, like there's a fear of drawing the conclusions that these facts would lead to.

I think the key is that it's too late to take half measures, and Gore's own 10-year window says exactly that. There is no room for some slow learning process, we are much further into the game than anyone realizes, and that includes me. I try to keep looking at the acceleration and exponential elements in the process, but it's hard to prepare for this:

'We used to think that it would take 10,000 years for melting at the surface of an ice sheet to penetrate down to the bottom. Now we know it doesn't take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds.'
I just finished reading "The Revenge of Gaia", by James Lovelock.   Great book!

Rick DeZeeuw

I had the same reaction to Flannery's book. The facts as laid out are convincingly dire. The solutions looked stuffed in there to create a happy ending. They don't want to say it is hopeless. I think Flannery comes closest to a possible future without chaos in  his alternative solution in the Carbon Dictatorship chapter.

 "Inevitably, one day some commissioner will suggest that their work would be more effectively done were they to concentrate on the root cause of the issue - the total number of people on the planet" And with such a move the Earth Commissioner for Thermostatic Control will have transformed itself into an Orwellian-style world government with its own currency, army, and control over every person and every inch of our planet"  

The key is to get people to look into the issue (which I feel he has done very well). Once they start to read about global warming, the full truth will come clear. But at that point they will be partly invested and instead of putting them into paralysis, it will encourage them to try harder.

At least, that is how my discovery process worked.


I'm honestly not trying to pick on you but get real.  People have not rushed out to buy Gore's book.  Probably less people than the number who watch Survivor each week saw the movie.  Further, less than 50%+/- of people even bother to vote.

Then we throw in conflation of "Yes, global heating (or peak oil or peak water or peak food...) is real." and "No, it isn't."

Further, you get into what is to be done about it.  Yesterday there was a discussion about increasing the tax on fuel.  I think it's brain dead not only because an elected body won't undertake such a bill but also because it doesn't deal with population growth.  And no one seems to acknowledge that if it's revenue neutral, people won't care (and the idea that you get the "rebate/tax credit" once a year is equally brain dead).

The soccer mom isn't going to tell the kid, "Tough luck.  We're saving the planet so you have to stay home."  Nor is hubby going to come in and tell his wife he found a nice 800SF house closer to town and they'll have to give up the 6,000SF McMansion.

I'm a realist and people are going to "destroy" the planet rather than give up everything that defines who and what they are.  This is a crucial point.  When I decided to leave the chemical industry years ago, all my buddies said they'd like to do the same thing followed by "but...".  They had defined themselves by their business card and status.  Take that away and they, I believe, felt they would become non-entities.  Ever notice that people with PhD's always use "Dr. So and So"?  Most PhD's I've worked with (and there have been many) have been as useless as tits on a boar when it came to dealing with the real world where things aren't cut and dried and you don't have unlimited funds or time to gather all the data necesary to make a PhD-style decision.

Todd; a Realist.

I don't feel picked on. I should have quoted the section of his post I was trying to reply to. That being "why doesn't he tell the whole truth right up front."

Global warming knowledge, like a book, should start with a good lead in. Once people start reading, they will reach the end themselves. Those of us who have reached the end, may be impatient, but let others follow that process.

As to your doubts that we can overcome this crisis... well, I have the same doubts. Exponential growth has served us too well in the past, and I don't know if we can escape it. On the other hand, there is some hope. Human societies trapped on fairly small islands have lived sustainably for thousands of years. Societies can make the changes needed. We should push ours to change.

>On the other hand, there is some hope. Human societies trapped on fairly small islands have lived sustainably for thousands of years. Societies can make the changes needed.

The problem is that once societies adapt to a modern industrialized economy they don't want to revert back. As Todd suggested few people will give up thier lifestyle. The phrase "They would have to pry it from my cold, dead hands" comes to mind. How many americas do you think would ever consider permanently adopting the amish lifestyle?  Then there are those that won't do it until everyone else has.

My guess is that you fall in to the category, "I'll start after everyone else does". By then it it will be to late.

We need to teach as many people we can and learn as much as we can. Only in this way, when the collective pain is great enough will an unrealist like Gandhi or Martin Luther King find a receptive audience. No guarantees here. In the meantime, downsize, simplify and prepare for the worst. It is too bad the wanna be CEO's of the world think everyone with a sensitivity to the environment are SUV driving, merlot sipping hypocrites.
As usual, Non Sequitur nails it:

Look at it this way-people aren't going to buy radical changes right now. I think the best we can do is start to address the problem(s), and as things get worse and the science gets better we have at least started to implement the changes necessary.
Or he can come out and say 'it's too late, our way of life is in for some major changes in the next twenty years and things are going to be worse for your children than for you, probably even if we start my crash program of austerity and investment in alternative energy'. Personally I think alot of people would be happy partying until the end if they heard that, and there would be plenty of people who just wouldn't believe it's possible.
Give us more ...
I cut Gore a lot of slack because he isn't really trying to do science.  He is trying to run a campaign.  And I think at this point it is a campaign for action on GW, and that he isn't stealth-running for President.  We'll see on that though.

I'll tell you in a year or two how much I like the "we've got 10 years slogan."

... I'll like it if it works, and motivates people to action.

I am wondering if he will drop that to 9 years next year and so on and so on.  You know we're going to do little to cope, so what's he going to do a decade from now when he's still bitching about this?
What would you do, five years out, if we were still digging this hole deeper?

I'd guess that if the science behind these 10 year warnings is solid, we will have to say something new.  In a worst case we'll have to say we are deep in damage control.

IIRC, the 10 year warnnig comes from scientists like James Hansen:


I don't disagree with you, but is he going to be saying we've got 10 years left in another 2 years?  Or is he going to keep dropping each year off and try adding to the GW argument?  You know I heard some gumbling that Bush was to admit to GW b/c of Gore's speech, yet I find little substance to this.

Oh and about what I would be doing in another 5 years.  It's hardly consistent to really compare what I can do in five years to Gore's ability to affect change.  

I meant if you were in his boots, so to speak.

(Or is it the other guy who wears boots?)

More on Thunder Horse:

Thunder Horse still in the stall

Corrosion could slow startup of BP Gulf platform

Corrosion may be to blame for yet another problem for oil giant BP, this time a lengthy delay in the startup of its already overdue Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company said Monday a key piece of undersea production equipment, called a manifold, failed during testing, possibly the result of a kind of corrosion that made the steel brittle.

The company plans to retrieve all four manifolds -- equipment resting on the ocean floor that helps control the flow of oil and natural gas from multiple wells -- for tests onshore.

Retrieving them is far from simple or cheap. The multimillion-dollar manifolds are sitting in about 6,000 feet of water, weigh 635,000 pounds each and are about the size of two tractor-trailer trucks parked side by side.

In the olden days when I worked, this field was called Crazy Horse - name change I believe was forced by native Indian superstition.
Sure it wasnt a trademark fight with a brothel?
Le "Crazy" - Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris (www.lecrazyhorseparis.com) is not a brothel.

I was once seen by my ex chatting with a Scots girl/dancer from Crazy across the road at "le Grand Corona". What a scene. Last I saw of the Scots lass.

Nothing new there then. The current prime minister's party "Thai loves Thai" was created by Thailand's wealthiest man and wins elections where vote-buying is common. Before him generals and admirals were normally in Governments and in the early 1990s there was a military Government which among things shot demonstrating students. The King has a very powerfule role in Thailand being venerated by the Thai Buddists. He  opposed the appointment as Prime minister of the Defence Minister who had ordered the army to shoot students and the prime minister was replaced. The current prime minister has authorised police shootings of thousands of people called "Drug dealers" and &lso arrests and killing of muslims in Southern Thailand. If the King tolerates the military coup it will probably last a few years with business as usual. If the King denounces the military takeover it will end quickly.
Markets were rattled as they remembered the asian fiscal crisis that began with Thailand. This crisis is not fiscal and it won't spread.
I agree in general. While there have been many coups in Thailand, this is the first in 15 years. So while not new, it is unusual.

The Thai King is revered by all Thais including Muslims. He met the coup leaders last night at midnight, which seems to indicate his "tolerance" at very least.

Following the 1991 coup, the generals nominated as prime minister Narong Wongwan, a man banned from the US for suspicion of drug involvement. when this was rejected. The lead coup general Suchinda "nominated" himself. This preceded and was the cause of the shooting of protesters.

The King then gathered Suchinda and the head of the protesters and told them they were behaving like little children and were going to detroy the country, at which point, they both stepped down.

Saw this headline today: "Auto giants turn to each other to survive".

I didn't see this mentioned elsewhere on DrumBeat, maybe I missed it.

I was surprised at the frankness of the AP headline using the term "survive".  Looks like the auto and airline industries are soon to be dead men walking and the media is getting ready to write them off.

I find the name for Ford's plan to slash jobs, The Way Forward, to be a mildly amusing case of doublespeak.  They should have called it The Path Towards The Abyss, maybe a little dramatic but more accurate.

One has to wonder if a massive scaling down of auto production will translate into much higher prices due to a loss of economies of scale.  Higher prices would also seem to be a likely outcome of a further loss of competition.  Add to all that rising fuel prices feeding into production costs and autos may become a luxury item sooner rather than later.

As a side note, I think domestic automakers have seen the writing on the wall for some time.  A few years ago I read an article in Newsweek about how GM was on the verge of losing its number one position to Toyota.  I was shocked that the GM executive in the interview didn't try to put an optimistic face on the competition and suggest his company would rally to the challenge.  Instead, he just said that he saw GM's loss of world market share as inevitable.  I wondered when they started teaching the class 'Defeatism' to MBA students.

I think it will take quite a cut in production to lose any economy of scale. I never understood why the American car co.'s needed so many different nameplates and so many different versions of the same exact car just with a different name and slightly different options. With the demise of Oldsmobile (it's dead now, right?) maybe this is starting to go away...
"I think it will take quite a cut in production to lose any economy of scale."

You are absolutely correct.  I overstated that variable.  It would have been more on point to mention the fact that automakers have been heavily dependent on SUV sales to generate profit and, as I understand it, domestic automakers were able to sell cars at low profit or even at a loss because they more than made up the difference with SUVs.  

In the larger scheme of things, it will be interesting to see how a GM/Ford merger and a further scaling down of auto production will play out in the economy.  

The auto industry released a study a few years ago in which it calculated that in 2001 auto manufacturing and sales employed some 6.7 million Americans and the downstream or indirect employment from their industry was roughly another 7.2 million.  Given that the Dept of Labor estimated in 2001 the estimated employment level was 135 million, the auto industry study concluded that they contributed 1 in 10 workers to the American labor force.  If that estimate holds, a sizeable downturn in the auto industry would cause some major translocations in the jobs sector.

I agree with your observation that there has been an overabundance of car models and options.  Hopefully, the mergers will force automakers to rethink their business models instead of simply having a scaled down version of what they are doing now.

I realize this may be a bit off topic, but its the drumbeat after all.



Harle said that at 2:45 a.m. EDT (0645 GMT), just after Atlantis completed a check of its reaction control thrusters, the instrumentation and communications officer at NASA's shuttle Mission Control room at Johnson Space Center noted an object between the orbiter and Earth, and traveling at about the same speed of the spacecraft.

Flight controllers are now using video cameras mounted along Atlantis' robotic arm and payload bay to survey visible areas of the orbiter, including its wing leading edges and other vital heat shield areas, Harle said.

Anyone care to offer their opinions as to what this could be?

Little Green Men?
Something that fell off the shuttle, I would guess.  Why else would it have the same velocity?

Hopefully, it's nothing they'll need later...

How about the bolts they lost on the space walk the other day?
space.com is running these pictures, if you can believe them...


Maybe a space squid?

A space squid that followed the shuttle.

Here's a video of them swarming a tether that was lost on STS-75 http://youtube.com/watch?v=myin2MllsEA&mode=related&search=

This segment is part of a collection of film recorded by a local tv editor in Vancouver who was using the station's dish to capture live video link from NASA before it was encrypted.

Decide what you will.

Looks like a section of a white tube, flattened and split down the middle of the flat side. It is tumbling. The top exposure is looking down the tube (and the split looks like a gap). The bottom exposure is showing motion blur from the tumble. The translucent part of the image shows the top edge. The more solid part is a side view, looking at the split.
So it's a UFO.
Or a zero-gravity prophylactic.
Yeah, but that would be an Un-identified Fucking Object. Those are a lot harder to come by (no double-pun intended, of course).

Hey! It wasn't me. Consume More started it. I had nothing to do with it.

A white tube that made it through re-entry?
monica lewenski's  diaphram ?
WOW, never would have thought of this one!

OK, about time somebody said something. This is frickin' hilarious. Don't get me started, though.

What makes it funny - it's true.

If you suffer a case of MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) when the subject turns to Russian oil exports, skip this item.

The Russian ministry responsible for industry and energy has released its fourth quarter schedule for oil exports via pipeline, according to today's issue of Lietuvos Rytas ( http://www.lrytas.lt , subscription unfortunately required). Apologies in advance for inaccurate placename spellings -- I'm going from Lithuanian into English, so the Russian placenames may be off a bit.

The details:
To be exported to non-CIS countries: 54.205 million tons.
To be exported to CIS countries: 9.9 million tons.

For the non-CIS, the routes will be as follows:
Primorsk terminal - 17 million tons
Novorossisk - 11.4 million tons
Odessa - 3.8 million tons
Ukraine's Yuzhny - 3.7 million tons
Gdansk - 1.864 million tons
Tuapse - 1.23 million tons
to Germany - 5.976 million tons
to Poland - 4.935 million tons
to Hungary - 1.75 million tons
to Czech Republic - 1.35 million tons
to Slovakia - 1.2 million tons
(These numbers add to 54.205 million tons.)

Okay, notice the absence of Lithuania from this list. The local refinery has a capacity of 27,000 tons per day. Since the pipeline cutoff in late July, crude has been imported by tanker. Last week, a shipment came in from Venezuela (??). Here's an example of where increased bidding for exports (per Khebab and westexas) would start. In order to replace the volume of crude not received from Russia, the local refinery has to go out on the world market and bid the crude away from somebody else.

This is why it's important to keep an eye on Russian exports. If they drop (and I'm not saying they are!), that would have consequences -- namely, disappointed buyers going out onto the world market and finding alternative suppliers. Sure, much of the oil brought in by tanker since late July is in fact Russian crude -- but if Russian net exports decline (an if), the absence will have to be made up somehow. As last week's Venezuelan shipment shows.

I'm looking for an expert on Russian oil numbers.
Check out this item from MSN:
Extra! Extra! Extra!!! Read all about it!!! Gas to go back down to $1.15 per gallon!!!!

Or so says the article. <snort>We'll see</snort>

Those of us who lived thru the 70's (I was in my 20's) know very well it could happen again. We had PO in the 70's and now we have it again. History may not repeat itself - but it sure rhymes.
Oil is down over $2 today and Unleaded is below $1.50. World is awash in oil - nat gas supplies are so large that they are going to run out of places to put it.
We are down to about $2.20/gal here in NE Atlanta - I expect after today we will see maybe $2.10 or lower by Friday.
That production decline was political. Those who turned off the flows could turn them back on.

The peak oil concept discussed here is the flow declines controlled by geology (and falling discovery rates). It is important not to mix up the idea of oil shortage, caused by many different reasons, with peak oil.

NA huge stocks of ng is true, world huge stocks of oil is not. OECD stocks, which include the US, are down 1 day's coverage from last year per the EIA, maybe 50mmb, are at a ten year low as consumption is at at ten year high.
The average in Orange County California is still $2.778 ... that sure gives us a different perspective.
MSM: Canada's biggest paper slams ethanol

How do you convince consumers that what's bad for you is good for you? You feed them a load of bull, and hope they don't catch on. So it is with the Ontario and federal governments, which are spinning their pro-ethanol campaigns as consumer-friendly solutions to our energy and environmental problems.

Ontario's new ethanol pamphlet is a masterpiece of creative propaganda. The pamphlet is to be distributed at gas stations between now and January, when gas containing 5-per-cent ethanol -- that's the law -- arrives at a pump near you. The ad features a little girl in a pink sundress. She's frolicking in a green field and carrying a butterfly net. "Feel better about filling up," the ad says.

I watched about 30 minutes. Beginning, parts in middle, and 15 minutes at end. Not bad. I'll watch the whole thing when I have time.

But I already knew this story. Nobody really disputes this. People just make a big deal about it because the US was able to sustain itself without an income-tax before 1913.

I was really hoping for some 9/11 material, though. Where's the 9/11 conspiracy movie? And I don't want any amateur crap. I want the full-on, full-length, hour and forty-seven minute deal - just like that.

I'm just going to throw these comments out there so I don't forget.

23 minutes in. Choppers. Flashes? View is North-South. 10 AM. Sun is to left. Clearly the case with shadows and clouds. With slo-mo/freeze-frame light spots are too long to be flashes.

They are reflections off windshields or side-windows of choppers.

Oil, try to stay away from these fly by night videos.  They are full of flaws.  I don't even bother watching them.  Stick with Steven Jones who is using the scientific method in arriving at his conclusions.   The best site on the web for research after Steven Jones is http://911research.wtc7.net/index.html
They do not use wild speculation either.  Check out the section on the Pentagon.  People that say no plane hit the Pentagon are just falling into a straw man argument that can be easily debunked.  There is amble evidence flight 77 hit the Pentagon.  This is exactly why the government is suppressing video evidence that would clearly show flight 77 hitting the Pentagon:

By creating the doubt about what hit the Pentagon by surpassing video footage wild theories start spinning out that are easily debunked.  If you ever what new coverage with people from 9/11 truth on, the host always attack the Pentagon theory.  What happened to the plane?  What happened to the bodies?  Did the government murder the people and sink flight 77 in the ocean?  Etc etc...  


If you do not feel like reading so much information and must watch a video, this is one of the BEST you can are going to find:



Let me know wht you think...


Oil, No comments???


Chill, dude, I'm still watching it. I can only watch like 5 to 20 minutes at a time. Then I gotta go back and find the link, which takes about 20 minutes. We may have to post some of this stuff on my site. Go do some research ya frickin' nutbag :)
Go do some research ya frickin' nutbag :)

Or better yet start your own blog.

Out of curiousity, how many different websites do you (AC) haunt with these conspiracy theories? At first, I thought you were a TOD lurker with a side interest in the WTC.

However, you post relentlessly on this like some strange advertising agency. Do you spend your day posting WTC links on dozens of websites? Or are we just the (un)lucky ones?

There is a small presentation on video from Jones here:

This isn't a movie but a slide show from BYU Professor Steven Jones.  You will find it interesting.

Right click Save As:

You may want to look at my posts here at TOD.  Very bottom of page.



Iran says they are running out of oil and natural gas

I just heard United Nations Secretary John Bolton on CNN say "Iran says they want nuclear power because they are running out of oil and natural gas. According to our caculations they will run out of oil and natural gas in about 300 to 400 years."

Just thought I would pass that on, for what it's worth.

I knew Colin Powell was right about him. He's totally going to screw-up our chances for $53. I thought Condi was going to talk to him about that. The Germans are the good cops. We're the bad cops. And then we switch and become good, too - making $40 possible by Nov. 7th. Bolton was supposed to stay out of it. What happened?
bolton always does what he wants to do.
bolton is 2nd degree ignorant     dont know what he is talking about and  dont know that he dont know  
Totonella et al,

Yesterday Zimbabwe, today it's Bangla Desh

We can call this the Duncan (or Olduvai) countdown: 2 down, 200 to go. Unless I missed some.

At Kansat, a village in northern Bangladesh, hundreds of demonstrators agitating over power shortages fought pitched battles with the police. Several people were killed in the violence.

In Phulbari, a small town in northern Bangladesh, police fired on protesters worried that that an open pit coal project would eat up their land and destroy their homes and livelihood.
At least five people were killed.

The country has acute energy shortages, with hardly any office or factory not being affected by power cuts, sometimes lasting several hours.

The benefits of more energy are obvious: offices with air conditioning, homes with lights for children, and farms with irrigation pumps. But on the other hand, open pit coal projects - and other forms of energy development - are not environmentally friendly. They eat up scarce land resources and destroy homes.

NOTE: Bangla Desh population density is 32x that in US

Hello Roel,

FWIW, consider this impressive article: "U.S. Electric Grid Is Reaching the End Game", linked here.

Tanzania [home of Olduvai Gorge] may be next as they are losing power from water shortages and turbine breakdowns.

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

... this extraordinarily complex and fragile system has been degraded into a hodgepodge of hundreds of competing interests, run not by engineers, but by financiers and lawyers, where states are increasingly losing regulatory oversight, and reliability has taken a backseat to shareholder values

Another sign of Tainter's theory of collapse due to increased complexity.  In my view the increasing social entropy displayed in our economic, legal, and political systems is accelerating the physical entropy of the planet.
Hello Liferaft,

Thxs for responding.  I google electrical blackouts fairly often to see what and where the problems are occuring.  Purely anecdotal of course, but it seems that some places, around the globe, are having ever-growing problems with electricity generation and distribution.

Here is a good article on how electric utility workers are threatened by consumers--what a lousy job!  I doubt if Americans will act any better when we start descending into Olduvai Gorge.

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

Check out this map....you might like it.


Nice URL by way of political personality cult, you've got there.

Larouche for Fearless Leader!

Or however it's spelt...

15% to 20% of the land is only 1 metre above sea level as well. They have global warming to look forward to.


Of Bangladesh I should have said - my post was moved down.

To follow will the Central Bank have to raise interest rates to support TBills ?
They wont do that tomorrow, but they aren't cutting them either.  If they raise then housing takes a blood bath faster...if they maintain rates they monetize the debt best as they can through Carribean.  We should be looking for carribean increases in the coming months from the federal flow of funds report.  

Can you translate that to english ?
I did translate this this morning and it took awhile and then my comp crashed and I lost it.  khaos3 has it down pat though.
I believe what tate is saying is the US buys back its own debt, thus turning debt into dollars. We do this secretively thru Carribean channels. It is a short term expedient to fool everyone into thinking there is real deamnd. Obviously it doesn't work in the long term. Typically investors in currencies look for economic growth in the country they are investing in, political stability and interest rates. I have a fear shared by many that the slowing housing market is going to finally impact our unsustainable debt level. There goes growth and there goes one leg of our currency. We need over $2 billion a day of foreign funds just to stay even If the Fed allows the currency to decline we import inflation. If they raise rates (or keeps them high relative to other currencies) it further depresses the economy. The Fed is between a rock and a hard place.
Sold my house last year and put the proceeds in 4 week bills thru treasurydirect.gov. This week only 1/3 of of the 4 week bills available at auction were bought. This always seems to happen in the week b4 the fed meeting. They are meeting tomorrow on the 20th.
I didn't see mention yet of the shape of today's oil price curve... talk about falling off a cliff! Down to 61.66. Maybe all those guys who predicted 53 before 73 in the weekend poll weren't as crazy as they seemed.

I think everyone is scared after Amaranth lost billions on natural gas speculation. Everybody thought it could only go up. Probably a lot of hedge funds still out there with long positions who are jumping ship now. This should produce a shor-term spike down and then over the next few weeks it should restrain upward pressure. It's going to be some time before the market forgets this event and everyone rushes back in.

I'm surprised you'd say this. It's only been two days. Two months is a long time - about 40 days. We made 1.40 in two days off a lucky speech by our boy George. We are not "as crazy." We are crazier.

I was hoping you'd comment on the Amaranth thing. Is this really about being long or being greedy and using spread bets? A "hedge fund" thing. Where these players think they are smarter than the market and can devise a computer algorithm to make their dreams come true - the so-called "money machine?"

We've seen this before. I feel sorry for the investors that got conned. Stay the hell away from hedge funds.

Gretchen Morgenson wrote article in Times today. That's a great sign. Can't wait to get the dirt on this one. I hope Surowiecki at New Yorker is also on the case.

Oil CEO,

There were two excellent articles in the Wall Street Journal today about Amaranth.

How Giant Bets on Natural Gas Sank Brash Hedge-Fund Trader

Amaranth Natural-Gas Losses May Have Far-Reaching Effect

Paid subscription required for both articles; I can e-mail PDFs to you if you'd like.

Brian Hunter, the 32 year-old Amaranth energy trader who racked up the losses ($5 billion in one week alone), is a math wiz in financial modeling and derivatives with a colorful career (his is currently suing Deutsche Bank for defamation and a bonus he feels he should have received when he worked there). He works for Amaranth from his home town of Calgary.

The second of the two articles speculates that they were leveraged about 8:1. Less leverage than used by Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) but in a more volatile area: LTCM invested in less volatile debt markets while "natural gas is the most volatile of anything that trades in the futures markets."

Article #2 also points out that Amaranth's losses were so big that they are expected to hurt the results of institutional investors and funds of funds who had placed money with Amaranth. So there will likely be more repercussions. Still, it does not have quite the feel of the LTCM crash.

Here is a chart of NG futures prices which shows its extreme volatility:

yeah.email em. theoilceo at yahoo dot com. It's a great story. LTCM was the name I was trying to think of all day. Thank you. There's one more that hasn't failed yet. They ran a NYT magazine article on it about a year ago. You can always tell. Just look for the smugness. The smart ones, like Soros, don't get cocky until after they retire.
Brian Hunter, the 32 year-old Amaranth energy trader who racked up the losses ($5 billion in one week alone), is a math wiz in financial modeling and derivatives with a colorful career (his is currently suing Deutsche Bank for defamation and a bonus he feels he should have received when he worked there). He works for Amaranth from his home town of Calgary.

That's not a math wiz. That's a guy who can figure out that $5 Billion versus not-one-day-in-jail with everything in the middle coming to his side of the table - is a good deal. Hello? Did I miss something?

Oh,yeah. And apparently, he actually sucks at the math "wiz" part. Or his PC locked at the crucial moment. Who knows.

To understand how this failed, they were betting on spreads between march/april contracts next year which is considered a shoulder month.  They were up a shit load almost all year, and in one week it tanked.  

I think it was Keynes who said markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.  Whoever comes in and picks the pieces up will be doing KILLER business.  Not to mention they were losers are the futures market with natural gas.  Futures are a zero sum game, so there are winners out there like crazy too. Thus is why this isn't as severe as LTCM, not to mention liquidity is far higher now than when LTCM failed.

As jkissing noted yesterday, and bloomberg notes this AM - more short than long:

 Shorts Get Shorter

Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators have cut their bets on rising oil prices for each of the past four weeks, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Net long positions, the difference between bets on rising prices and bets on falling prices, fell by 22 percent to 37,020 contracts in the week ended Sept. 15. Short positions rose to their highest since March 14.

``Funds are looking at it right now and are saying this is not a market we want to be in,'' Gerbrands said. ``If they had long positions, they liquidate that. And if they were already short, they're going shorter.''

NPR story (All Things Considered) on Fort McMurray:
Welcome to boomtown. Fort McMurray is a town of 65,000 in northern Canada. Temperatures drop to 40 below in the winter. And now housing prices have skyrocketed, food prices are double what they are elsewhere and the tiny airport has 30 flights a day. Workers from four continents flock to the town. The reason? Oil, of course. But it's oil mixed with sand, which makes it expensive to extract. But high oil prices are driving billions of dollars every year to this town on the edge of a frozen wasteland. NPR's Frank Langfitt paid a visit and came back with an extraordinary report. One excerpt from him:

    I'm standing here in the bottom of one of Syncrude's oil sands pits. It's about 250 feet deep. And coming by right now is a giant dump truck -- it's got to be over 20 feet tall. And it's piled high with black oil sands. It looks about the size of a house. And the weight is so much; you can see the wheels sinking into the road. The people who drive these trucks make 80,000 to 100,000 a year with overtime in Canadian dollars.

link is dead
21 year olds with half a million dollar homes and jacked up F-350s are a dime a dozen in that province, however, NPR barely scratches the surface on Ft. McMuck's huge civic and environmental issues.

Things will get very interesting now that the Klein dynasty is done.  

Can someone give me the complete saying that starts `First they ignore you, then the attack you' etc. I want to use it in something I am writing and can't remember how the whole thing goes. I guess the mind goes first.


If memory serves, Ghandi said (referring to the British Empire):

First, they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.

Sound like what yer after?

I think its first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.
We're being attacked now.
If that is the case we are doing pretty well


How ironic that Mexico, a country blessed with vast amounts of available solar energy, should be building another nuclear plant.
Hello TODers,

Has this been discussed before on TOD?
Raphial Morgado, inventor of the Massive Yet Tiny (MYT) engine claims this minuscule 32-cylinder powerplant, just 14 inches in diameter and weighing 150 pounds, can crank out 850hp. The MYT engine is the result of a $4 million dollar R&D project undertaken by Angel Labs LLC to build the ultimate internal combusion engine. Inspired by drag racing, inventor Raphial Morgado designed the engine with a focus on power, torque, and fuel-efficiency to meet the hefty demands of the today's automotive applications in a lightweight package. The result was a revolutionary design with a power-to-weight ratio up to 40 to 1, over 3,000 ft/lbs of torque, and a diesel-mode mileage in excess of 150 mpg!
This is truly fascinating if it is as efficient as claimed.

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

OH MY GOODNESS! this engine is fantastic. I am surprised the GM/Ford/Toyota are not obtaining it.

Note I mentioned Toyota, The big 3 car manufacturers in the USA is not GM/Ford/Chrysler. Chrysler has been replaced by Toyota.

Nonetheless the presentations this guy gives are outstanding. I'd buy stock in this.

2 Thumbs up!

I wouldn't. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't.
Hello TODers,

Imagine what a CVT tranny could do for a bicycle, car, or windmill.  Read this Motortrend article and check out this wiki.

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