DrumBeat: September 23, 2006

Experts look for the floor on oil prices

An oil economist who accurately predicted two years ago that oil would reach $70 a barrel has reversed course, saying recent steep declines could foreshadow a sell-off to $20 or less.

"Nobody in the government sector who thinks about policy thinks it can happen. That's the greatest danger," said Philip Verleger, an independent economist who heads PK Verleger in Aspen, Colo.

[Update by Leanan on 09/23/06 at 10:34 AM EDT]

Get ready for oil supplies to dwindle, experts warn

Some observers predict a social and economic meltdown as severe as the Great Depression

Clinton raises billions for world issues

A conference hosted by Bill Clinton on world problems ended Friday with the former president announcing a total of $7.3 billion in pledges to help reduce global warming and fight Third World poverty, disease and ethnic strife.

U.S. doubts Moscow on energy

The State Department yesterday sharply criticized a recent move by the Russian government to curb a major Western oil-and-gas-investment project in Siberia, saying it put in doubt Moscow's willingness to honor major energy deals with foreign investors.

A Gusher For Big Oil Is Drying Up

Western giants used to have easy pickings in Russia. Now Moscow is taking a harder line.

Jan Lundberg: (How can we already be) looking at the end of the age of oil and abundant energy

James Howard Kunstler on relocalization and peak oil: transcript, video, and audio.

Put crudely, petrol panic runs out of puff

The doomsday scenarios of Peak Oil theory - that we have already found most of the oil available and are rapidly running out - gained fevered currency. That interest has since subsided and the theory itself has been dismissed by oil companies. "Peak oil predictions are not new," ExxonMobil Australia chairman Mark Nolan said at the Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference last week. "They have been occurring, particularly at times of high prices, regularly since the 1920s."

Nigeria to Pull Shell Ogoni License

Alberta Expects $111M Extra from Cancelling Royalty Tax Credit Program

Alberta expects to gain a further $111 million by ending a 32-year-old royalty tax credit program to energy companies.

Energy Minister Greg Melchin says it's time for the program to go because oil and natural gas prices are trading at much higher prices than historical averages.

Silicon Valley explores solar technology

Engineers and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are taking advantage of their expertise in computer chips to design and manufacture electricity-generating solar cells that they hope will be increasingly competitive with traditional energy sources such as coal and natural gas. Most solar cells and chips are made from the same raw material from which the valley gets its name.

Iraq to tap Ahdab oilfield

Japanese makers give ethanol a gander

While Detroit ballyhoos ethanol, Japanese automakers are quietly positioning themselves in case the gasoline alternative becomes more popular.
Did the recent story by the MSM about Chevron's big discovery in the Gulf of Mexico derailed everything peak oil advocate have been stating for the past year or so??

I recently attended a task force meeting by our mayor on energy and efficiencies and afterwards mentioned peak oil to several people. They all acknowledged they were familiar with peak oil but then every one of them pointed the news they heard about the discovery in the gulf.. I pointed out that the discovery would in no way change the course of peakk oil worldwide but they seemed reserved in their opinions..

I believe the MSM story put any worry the people had about peak oil behind them.. It no longer on their radar..

It did,  but I think the falling prices have had an even greater effect on perceptions.

It's all about population!

or, it's all about perceptions.  

What part of the elephant are you fondling???

Feed the Homo Saps their usual diet of sound bites all day long and see how quietly they sleep...:

"Houston-based oil consultant Dan Lippe of Petral Worldwide said that with worldwide supplies growing, he wouldn't be surprised to see oil back below $50 a barrel, and perhaps as low as $40, within a few years -- if not sooner."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/oil_prices;_ylt=Atiq40jhT7EJJg40U0dsDT6AsnsA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwM lJVRPUCUl

Same with poliTICS too -  just "trust us" says the UN and Coffin Anan... (and the gullible in Israel say let Iran have the bomb... ):

"Nasrallah said his guerrillas have replenished their arsenal and have more than 20,000 rockets which they will never give up unless a stronger Lebanese government takes over.

The Iranian-backed leader's tough stance was aimed at demonstrating that Hezbollah was not weakened by U.N. peacekeepers..."

And where are those Israeli Soldiers again... ???


Planet Earth is currently experiencing a Wiley Coyote Moment.  Festivities will resume again shortly.  Energy is Non-negotable and the Oil Dealers in the middle east are barely sane so it is not a good idea to take poliTICS too seriously when dealing witht them.

Speaking of the Barely Sane...

"I don't want to harp on this, but when you have a lot of Americans thinking, really, that God is going to come down and save them... you know, I joke about it and you smile, but when they get up in the morning they just know, that's reality for them! "


I think the same applies to all of godz childrens.

Perceptions and "simple" godz-fearing/hearing folk do not mix well in a Peak Oil world.   Whether it's The Second Helping of Christ or the 12th Imam, whatever, it doesn't look good for the Sap team.

just replace god with science and you capture the other half.
Festivitis will resume again shortly with US Economic growth slowing?
Oh that's right, economic recessions and depressions always prevent warfare. Never mind. My bad.

Its not warfare its ensuring demand destruction occurs outside the US to protect our way of life.

Their going to die soon anyway right ?

Investors are thinking that where's there is one Jack there could easily be more.  The new deep water techniques will open up vast new areas for exploration.  And they may be right.  $50 oil may make 20,000 foot wells economically viable.  The arctic area is another place where new oil might be found.
If that's how investors "think" I've got a bridge for sale.
Yup, you read exactly the same kind of reports and thinking when Buzzard was found in June 2001. Lots more oil would be found, this proves it, North Sea will boom again, etc. Of course reality is that it was the largest found in a decade at the time, and nothing like it has been found since, despite a big new push, new tech, etc..

But if you look at the way it was announced at the time, all North Sea concerns were over.

Regarding the Jack2 "discovery".  To repeat the discovery of a few hundred million barrels at Jack occured in 2004.  Chevron Texaco at that time was partnered with Encana, who subsequently sold their interest.

"The Jack discovery on Walker Ridge block 759 was drilled in 2004. The discovery well encountered more than 350 net feet of pay. The Jack #2 well was drilled to delineate the discovery. (...)    Four Lower Tertiary Discoveries
Jack is one of four discoveries by Devon in the lower Tertiary trend of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The others are St. Malo drilled in 2003, Cascade drilled in 2002 and the 2006 Kaskida discovery." http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/09-05-2006/0004426162& ;EDATE=

Jack2 will be followed by another production test next year.   The Jack2 production test took place in the spring of this year.

"The test was conducted during the second quarter of 2006 and was designed to evaluate a portion of the total pay interval. During the test, the well sustained a flow rate of more that 6,000 barrels of crude oil per day with the test representing approximately 40 percent of the total net pay measured in the Jack #2 well. Chevron and its co-owners plan to drill an additional appraisal well in 2007." http://www.chevron.com/news/press/2006/2006-09-05.asp

Note that the test results were announced after the Labour Day long-weekend.  One might speculate that the delay in the announcement may have been because of bureaucratic inefficiency.

Chevron-Texaco's geologists have been speculating on a possible 3 to 15 billion barrel recovery from the Lower Tertiary Wilcox trend in the deep waters of the Gulf of M. since at least the spring of 2005.  The nine discoveries to date offer potential recoveries from 30 to 400 million barrels of oil each.  Chevron's geologists had this to say in 2005:

"Key technical challenges for trend commerciality are: 1) reservoir quality and flow capability; 2) drilling and completion technology; and 3) development of infrastructure. Continued discoveries in the trend and successful flow tests planned in early 2006 could very well transform the Lower Tertiary Wilcox into a world-class petroleum system in the deepwater GoM."  http://www.worldoil.com/magazine/MAGAZINE_DETAIL.asp?ART_ID=2596&MONTH_YEAR=May-2005

The Jack2 production test last spring was one in series of events in a long term process, which began in the 1990's, to determine the amount of recoverable oil in the deepwater GoM and the technical feasibility of recovering oil in the conditions present there.

An additional concern affecting the feasability of transforming the Tertiary into a "world-class" petroleum system relates to Hurricane activity.

Why did the media turn a minor springtime step in a long march, that may be leading nowhere, into a major September event and evidence of the wrongness of the Peak Oil 'theory'?  

Disclosure:  The millions Chevron-Texaco gives to Republicans and a few oil industry friendly Democrats exceeds even Exxon-Mobil's 'generosity' in Washington. http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/taxonomy/term/219

The words 'to repeat' in the first paragraph should be struck as they confuse the meaning.  Sorry.

Is there anyone out there who knows the normal time between production test and announcement of same?  

I recognize that I'm suggesting that the timing of the announcement was delayed in order to maximixe the political impact.  This may not have been the case.  Either way, the facts of the so-called 'discovery' this year belie the claimed significance of the find.

A real problem lies with lazy journalism and concentration of media ownership.

and just a few weeks earlier  exxon etal announced a $ 110 million dry hole blackbeard or some such prospect
Hello Toilforoil,

Most Americans are totally unaware of the enormous scale of deepwater 'desperation exploration' ongoing throughout the world.


Did the conversions: 2,400 meters of seawater = 7,874 feet, 7200 meters of drill depth = 23,622 ft or 4.47 miles.  The  hopeful potential of 6-8 billion barrels is approx 1/2 of the optimistic potential of the 15 billion barrels of Jack. Ideal working conditions in the GoM vs the cold, wet weather off Newfoundland.  My guess is that if icebergs come down this far: tugboats  will have to lasso them, then drag them away to prevent a berg from hitting any platforms.

Consider the Hibernia platform:
The Hibernia platform is located off Canada's east coast, on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Hibernia is recognized as one of the most significant artic offshore developments.  It serves as a study in oil exploration and production under extreme conditions. Hibernia is the only platform in the world designed to withstand the direct impact from an iceberg.
Famous last words? Consider this really close call:
But one day in the 1980s, a complacent observer on a now-defunct floating rig somehow let an iceberg get to within five or six miles of the rig. Typically, bergs move at a clip of about one knot.

There was a mad scramble, Baker says. The weather was too rough to tow the iceberg. Three of the deckhands on one boat and two on another were washed around the deck and got hurt. The only option left was to try to pull the rig's eight massive anchors up and move the rig out of danger. But one of the anchor chains on the rig got tangled; there was no question of breaking free. It was far too late to deploy helicopters or use rig-to-ship baskets to evacuate the crew on the rig.

The guys on the rig were watching to see which way the berg was going, Baker says. At the last minute, the supply boats managed to pull the rig 100 meters sideways. The berg came straight over the wellhead where the rig had just been. That was the closest call. In times like those, says Baker, your heart rate starts going up and you hit maximum blood pressure. There are so many things that can go wrong.

Consider the ERoEI of this Hibernia project with cool photos: PDF warning.

If the MSM actually reported on the many deepwater efforts it would scare the people.  Most sheeple act & think like all that is required is to just poke a hole in the ground safely onshore with a dinky rig and then petroleum products ready to use come gushing out of the ground.

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

Deep water drilling technology has its own set of unique problems:


But basically, money cures all problems. If you have enough money, then you can do most anything until the value of the resource falls to: at, near or below the value of the money you wish to invest / risk.

I understand that Thunderhorse is subject to some corrosion problems as we speak.

Deep sea (High pressure solubility) corrosion should not really come as a surprise. The Titanic and the Bismark are disolving, the passengers and crew that made it to the bottom have already disolved. Ceramics do quite well though.

As with all things, Thunderhorse, Jack, etc. They are affected by the theory of diminishing returns. Some call it a law. Once you get beyond peak, you spend more and more money* chasing less and less value. It doesnt have to be oil. It could be a copper or gold mine; it could be the North Atlantic Sperm Whale population, it could be the Cod population in the North Sea or Grand Banks.

*Money is just another way of representing energy.

There isn't even one Jack, at least no significant amount of oil from there, as you can see by what happened to Thunder Horse.
The last few EIA reports a greater than expected build in distillates, mostly ultra low sulfur diesel- not heating oil.(Despite CNBC's analysis that this lowers worries about heating oil supply in the winter.) With the new regulations for all on road diesel to be ULSD on Oct. 15th, wouldn't this account for the build, similar to the dumping of unleaded just before the new reformulated gasoline regulations took effect in the spring of this year?
 Do Electric Cars Have A Future?

I am using Future in a larger sense, as in "Do electric cars have the ability to displace the internal combustion engine? Or will they be instrumental in crashing the electric grid, becoming far more despised than the SUV?"

In a  smaller sense I hope electric cars have a future, if for no other reason that I would like to have one and hook it up to our off-grid, solar-electric system. But in the larger sense, they are extremely problematic.

Electric vehicles have a fatal flaw vis a vis scaling. Once enough people convert to them, the overstretched electric grid crashes and not only does transport suffer, but the entire electric based system crashes as well.  To prevent this would require an enormous investment to upgrade the grid.

But even if the investment capital were there, it is not at all clear that the energy to create additional electricity is available.

Coal provides 51% of electricity generated; nuclear 20%;  natural gas 17%; hydro 7%, petroleum 3%, biomass, geothermal, wind and solar 2%.

Hydro and petrol are static sources, natural gas is set to decline in the near term, and, unless more nukes are put online, the decommissioning of the old ones will cause an additional decline. Wind and solar (1%) will have to grow exponentially even to be relevant.

Which means coal will have to expand to cover these other declines, as well as covering new demand  -- or there will be shortages and rolling blackouts. So if large numbers of households switch from internal combustion engines to electric cars, thus doubling or tripling their electricity usage, they will place a burden on the grid which will at some point cause it to crash. This will not only stall a lot of transportation, but will also crash the infrastructure and damage the economy. If the blackouts persist, everything comes to a standstill; you won't even be able to buy groceries with cash, since the cash registers are electric.  

If rolling blackouts become routine, and are blamed on proliferating electric cars, you can bet the backlash against these vehicles will be fierce.  

Isn't it true that we could convert 20% of our current auto fleet to electric and recharge those vehicles at night within the current base load, thus not requiring additional capacity or generation? If not, I apologize, because this is from memory.

It seems premature to worry about an impact that would not kick in until we converted more than 20% of the current fleet. Convert  90% of the rest of the fleet to hybrid or other vehicles that got 50 mpg per gallon and one has reduced oil consumption by over 60%.   Impose severe restrictions on the use of vehicles that get less than 50mpg.   In other words, restrict the use of big trucks to uses that actually require the hauling capacity of those trucks.  My personal observation is that the vast majority of trucks are driven around and to the city with one passenger and empty beds.  Not to mention that the vast majority of 4 wheel drive vehicles are never driven off road.

The above doesn't even take into account additional savings that could be garnered by more compact cities, bicyling,walking, and more mass transit, including light rail.

We should be so lucky as to be in a position to actually have to worry about PHEV or BEVs exceeding 20%.  And besides, it can still make a valuable contribution without being the entire solution.

The above is a pipedream, of course, but the problem is technically solvable without having a major impact on the grid.  

This is all theoretical, of course, given our current leadership who think  that 10 year $3 billion technology programs are actually going to address peak energy and global warming.

It's all way too little, way too late.  I am sorry but I fear we just have to prepare for the deluge.  Read today that European forces will start to emit large quanities of nitrous oxide which will exponentially impact global warming. It's been a good ride, but I think we may have to bid the planet adieu.


Electric vehicles have a fatal flaw vis a vis scaling. Once enough people convert to them, the overstretched electric grid crashes and not only does transport suffer, but the entire electric based system crashes as well. To prevent this would require an enormous investment to upgrade the grid.

Back of the envelope numbers, current consumption figures from the EIA:

Annual US energy consumption is 100 quads (quadrillion BTUs). Of that, 40 quads goes into generating electricity and 28 quads goes into transportation. The transportation quads are, for this purpose, all petroleum. On an end-to-end basis, electric vehicles are about twice as efficient as petroleum-powered ICEs at converting raw BTUs into miles traveled. There are a variety of factors, but the end-to-end calculation is dominated by ICE efficiency at about 20% and current average generating efficiency at about 40%. Given that 2:1 advantage, if the transport fleet were converted to electricity, it would require additional generating capacity equivalent to about 14 quads, about a 35% increase over the current level. Today's generating capacity is 35% greater than it was in 1989, suggesting that such an increase could almost certainly be accommodated over a period of 20 years. Coincidentally, 20 years is about the time that it normally takes to turn over the transportation fleet.

New generating sources could easily be more efficient than the current average. Integrated-cycle gas-fired plants are about 60% efficient; coal-fired plants that use gasification should be about 60% efficient; and plants based on direct-carbon fuel cells should approach 70% efficiency. If you assume 60% generating efficiency rather than 40% -- and that's not really a fair comparison, since it will be a long time before the grid average reaches that point -- then the all-electric path would have roughly a 3:1 advantage over ICEs and the generating capacity measured in terms of BTUs of fuel would have to increase by a little less than 25%. And of course, some of that increase might not need to occur if electricity use in other sectors (eg, residential lighting) was decreased through improved efficiency.

IMO, though, the real reason to convert to electric transport is because that's the form of energy that is most likely to be readily available in the future. The easiest way to convert wind and solar to useful forms is to use them to generate electricity; the same for advanced nuclear, if you like that; and biomass run through a direct-carbon fuel cell to power an electric vehicle is going to be much more efficient than converting it to ethanol or butanol to power an ICE.

Darn, if humans haven't been here, done that:
"A century before I began typing this page, battery-powered electric automobiles were abundant. They were planned to recharge and refill quickly and cleanly at the electrical equivalent of "gas stations" and also at curbside charging poles. Eventually, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford planned to make them universal in a forgotten project that briefly took the country by storm but then faded. That effort, swallowed by history, was undermined in favor of internal combustion machines.

What's more, modern, gadget-filled, energy-self-sufficient homes were constructed almost a century before I began typing this page. The idea, also crafted by Edison, would have eliminated central utilities operated by Wall Street connivers and manipulators in favor of compact generators in basements or backyards, eventually connected to small windmills. These tiny units were to power the smallest and most remote residence, as well as great urban factories. That effort too was swept away in the forgotten struggle over Edison's war against internal combustion.

The evolved dependence on oil hinged on a supply always known to be diminishing. In 1919, America and its allies concluded that their countries would soon run out of petroleum--unless they drilled for it in Mesopotamia, the Middle Eastern country reshaped, reformed, and renamed by Western oil imperialism as the oil state Iraq.

The lies about energy have now found their second century, this amid the turmoil of natural catastrophes, Mideast terrorism, petropolitical and nuclear blackmail, and national strife over the next tanks of gas. Now the world is being fed half-truths, quarter-truths, and outright lies about ethanol, about coal, and about the real alternatives and energy salvations that are too simple, too easy to achieve to be harnessed by a giant corporation or a foreign capital. They are as endless and free as the howling wind, the frothing waves, and the magic of molecules.

This is a sorry saga that will surely anger all. You will discover how many good ideas were sabotaged, how many bad ones triumphed--at the expense of all society-- for the transient benefit of a few, and how we are operating under those same heartless distortions today. But this saga can also infuse hope to many who will discover the simple truth: clean, renewable energy independence is not a distant dream. It is available right now. This triumph will never be achieved by public policy, an inert gas that has failed so consistently over so many centuries to ignite the needed change. But it is achievable with the concerted action of individuals, energizing themselves." Introduction

, Internal Combustion
This is not a real problem. The gas you don't put in the tank for your ICE car you take home to power a staionary engine, probably a small tubine, that runs a generator and charges your EV. If the grid can't handle it you go off-grid. A stationary engine will always be more efficient than what can be built into a car.
This is a clumsy way to do it. More elegant fixes are possible. But you are creating a fake issue.
Are you really suggesting that tens of millions of electic car owners (and that's what we're talking about, if electric is to supplant gasoline) will use gas generators to power their electric cars?
  It is abundantly clear that the proponents of EV's are not looking at a future with as many cars/trucks using the highways as we have today.  They are also the ones advocating Carpooling, Biking and Walking, more Trains or Buses, redesigning our cities and towns to require less transportation.  Your argument is hyperbolic, taking the point to the far extreme.

  The suggestion of using generators at home was, similarly, not asked to be extrapolated into the norm for this future, but he said clearly that there were many, more elegant ways that people would be able to adapt for charging EV's, that would be unapproachable with ICE's.. with the possible exception of BioDiesel.

Really I am. C'mon, it's a thought experiment, just to show there's no problem in energy availability or access, starting from your assumptions.
Somewhat impractical but more reasonable than throwing in the towel in advance.
Very slowly now. You buy an EV. You retire the old ICE. No gas being purchased to power ICE. Maybe the grid is challnged to charge the EV, maybe not. The gas is still on the market. Go buy the gas and use it to power a charging system that is fundamentally more efficient than a variable speed variable load travelling ICE bolted into a car frame. Why is this so hard?
So if large numbers of households switch from internal combustion engines to electric cars, thus doubling or tripling their electricity usage, they will place a burden on the grid which will at some point cause it to crash.
Just a few problems with that "analysis":
  1. If all households switched 100% of transport-energy consumption from gasoline @ 126000 BTU/gallon (140 billion gallons/year) and 14.6% tank-to-wheels efficiency to 70% generator-to-wheels efficiency, the additional electric consumption would come to about 1080 billion kWh/year.  This is about 21% of current US consumption.
  2. This additional demand could be met by burning the equivalent of 53 billion gallons of gasoline in combined-cycle powerplants at 55% efficiency.  Such plants are cheap and quick to build, allowing rapid response to increased demand.
  3. Wind power could displace at least 35% of the oil required by the CC plants, perhaps more.
  4. DSM could increase the displacement further, but by a quantity I can't calculate at the moment and won't speculate on.
So, a complete switch could (assuming about 120 GW of new wind power on-line) eliminate 140 billion gallons/year of gasoline consumption and replace it with the aforementioned wind plus about 35 billion gallons-equivalent of petroleum.  Even before calculating the savings from reduced refining losses (not having to meet octane, aromatic or vapor-pressure requirements for motor fuel) that's 75% less.  The additional electric supply could easily be built out as fast as the vehicles hit the roads.

I don't give your collapse scenario much credibility.

Darn. I knew there had to be a better way to address that non-problem. Thank you.
... assuming about 120 GW of new wind power on-line

  • What's the timeframe for building 120.000 wind turbines?
  • Where are you going to locate them?
  • Where are the facilities to produce them?
  • Where will you get the steel?

  • Would you want wind power available for other purposes?
  • In other words produce, say, 250.000 turbines?
  • All above problems just became 2x as large?!

  • What's the timeframe for producing the vehicles, and the batteries?
  1. What's the timeframe for building 120.000 wind turbines?
  2. Where are you going to locate them?
  3. Where are the facilities to produce them?
  4. Where will you get the steel?

  1. It would probably be fewer; current turbines are ~1.5 MW, while 5 MW units were in testing last year and the optimum size is projected to be ~10 MW.  If the average unit over the span of the construction is 3 MW, it would be 40,000 turbines.  The USA is currently installing around 2000 units/year, so a mere doubling of this rate would accomplish the goal in 10 years.

  2. Where the wind blows, of course.  The resource is vastly under-used (though I did see a brand-new wind farm in Kansas last week, a bit east of Wichita).

  3. Any facility which can process a composite airliner wing (like the Boeing Dreamliner's) can build turbine blades.  The rest is just heavy machinery and not even that big by industrial standards.

  4. Maybe from the reduction in vehicle size and recycling of uneconomic SUV's?

  1. Would you want wind power available for other purposes?
  2. In other words produce, say, 250.000 turbines?
  3. All above problems just became 2x as large?!
  4. What's the timeframe for producing the vehicles, and the batteries?

  • Sure.  Additional demand for wind power just boosts the economies of scale.

  • The US wind resource is estimated to be ~1.2 TW.  80,000 3 MW turbines producing an average of ~85 GW wouldn't even make a dent in it.

  • I don't consider it a problem.  Why do you?

  • The half-life of the US light-duty vehicle fleet is about 8.5 years.  I don't see what point you're trying to make about batteries.

    The formatting on this looks somewhat screwy in preview, but I'm hoping it'll look right after posting.

  • Yeah, be careful with (multiple) lists. All text of all posts after your post is now italic. I tried to send Supergoose a mail. This is where you go wrong, right above the second box, the <i> there at the end does it:

    <li>Maybe from the reduction in vehicle size and recycling of uneconomic SUV's?</li></ol><blockquote><i><br>

    There are big issues with placing any turbines in the US. It's nice that there are bigger ones, but in these numbers that is a problem in itself. They are physically bigger as well. People don't want them. Offshore perhaps, but that brings its own set of problems. Location is a big headache. Anywhere the wind blows is no solution. Not all locations are even fit for 1MW turbines, and you'll need all locations you can get. 1 MW looks reasonable as an average.

    But OK, let's say, at 1.5 MW, you need 160.000 turbines. A windpark of 80 turbines is really big, certainly onshore. Hence, you're looking at 2000 windparks. That is an awful lot of locations. It will take many years of political struggle to find them, if at all. And then you get the point that they don't produce 24/7, so you would need spare capacity.

    If Boeing stops making planes, you <b>may</b> have a shot at facility. If not, you have to build. And recycling ain't likely to get you the required steel, it's probably cheaper still to mine. But demand for steel will soar if more countries want lots of wind.

    All I'm trying to do is say that in theory and on paper, it all looks feasible, but in practice, it's a different story.

    Germany has a third of all windpower in the world (some 20 GW of 60 GW), and it's taken them years to build that.

    There are some disconnects here on what is a real problem. If steel were in short supply, in fact and not in imagination, it would not be possible to keep on building cars and *#! SUVs. If you can still build cars you can certainly build wind turbines.
    If steel were short then cars would suddenly get smaller and lighter which would solve a lot of problems by itself.
    Well, I think the best case real-world replacement rates for the electric cars themselves is going to reduce this demand for "quick" electricity.

    On the other hand, if the electric car switch had to be quick (in response to a geopolitical catastrophe) small electrics like the GEM would need that much less electricty to fuel them.

    I would love it if we could convert from fossil fuels to wind, and power our cars on it. I just question whether it is possible.

    As I pointed out above, natural gas and nuclear constitute 37% of our electric capacity, and these are set to decline over the coming few years. Let's say over the coming decade we have to replace 10% with "other" sources.

    If we couple this with, say, 2% increase in electricity demand, that would add another 22%. We add those together, that's 32% of total electricity increase.

    In 2004, the US used 1,974 B KWh. 32% of that is 631 B KWh.

    This past 12 months, wind has contributed 17 B KWh.

    Does anyone really believe wind power will increase by a factor of 37 over the coming decade?

    Also, is there anyone reading this who seriously thinks the grid, as is, is robust?

    Let us remember that, by this back of the envelope guesstimate, we might have to replace/add a third to our elecric generation over the coming decade. (And if we judge by what is going on right now, it is primarily coal driven).

    What I am suggesting is the grid is in danger, even without the addition of a large number of electic vehicles.

    I am really curious. Do TOD readers really think this is a non-issue?

    What I am suggesting is the grid is in danger, even without the addition of a large number of electic vehicles.
    I am really curious. Do TOD readers really think this is a non-issue?

    It is an issue. What we can't fix it? Much of the endangering has happened since it was "privatized". How about a few re-regulations then?
    The big change in the grid since the Reagan years and the mania for deregulation is that power is shipped (distributed) over enormous distances, incurring enormous transmission losses along the way. This presently makes economic sense but is practically ridiculous. And it's done for political reasons, nothing else.
    The problems you are fixated on are social, not technical. If we were really to get serious about energy conservation, if we addressed global warming, if engineers were told that efficiency was #1 and marketing assholes were told to sit in the corner, all these "problems" would disappear.
    For the life of me I can't see why it's necessary to convince a 120# woman transporting herself and her 6 pound Yorkie that she is not safe unless driving a 5000# Explorer or larger. I would like to know why the lightest vehicle I can purchase new  is well over 2000# and precious few are available under 3000#. We are talking about social problems with social solutions, there is no technical problem. Engineers can easily give us 1000# vehicles that are safe, convenient, roomy, and give 100mpg. And we could socially engineer a large reduction in vehicle miles travelled. And so on. Do we want to?
    Well said, and to answer your question, no we don't want to.  I'd like to ride my bike to do work, errands, etc. but my fellow citizens' choices preclude this. I'd like to drive an electric or lightweight vehicle or even a scooter around town, but my fellow citizens' choices preclude this.  I'd like to be able to buy an extremely small dwelling but none are built here (I know, I know, when it comes down to it, I will build my own, but still...).
    5000# vehicle with a 300 hp v-8 capable of 140 mph while the speed limit is 65 ( except in backward states like nebraska where it is 75 )
    Raises an interesting point - one of the primary fuel efficiency bonuses of having a hybrid car isn't the regenerative breaking that everyone's on about.

    It's that acceleration is directly tied to horsepower on a pure ICE car, everyone wants good acceleration, and fuel efficiency is directly tied to horsepower.  If you're gonna sell a gas guzzler high performance car, you brag about top speed and horsepower and valves.

    With batteries, capacitors, and electric motors, however, you can get a shitload of torque from the second you press the gas pedal, and can temporarily deplete the charge of your caps/batteries on acceleration, and later make up for it while rolling when the engine is practically idling.

    Top speeds beyond about 90 are totally unnecessary on a conventional car, but they're a direct indication of highly valued acceleration.  On a hybrid, however, you can run a very low horsepower gas-sipping engine if you pick up some high wattage motors purely for acceleration.

    old habits die hard (no pun intended) it would seem that a better more efficient transmission would provide both acceleration and fuel economy at high speed  incidentally i saw a report a few months ago about mercedes box fish car (prototype) that got 85 mpg (diesel)based mainly on the shape of the car (boxfish) with an extremely low drag coefficient but mercedes said they wouldnt produce the car because, they claimed then that there wouldnt be sufficient market for it

    Man, that thing's so ugly it would sell like hotcakes!

    ...Despite its boxy, cube-shaped body, this tropical fish is in fact outstandingly streamlined and therefore represents an aerodynamic ideal. With an accurately constructed model of the boxfish the engineers in Stuttgart were able to achieve a wind drag coefficient of just 0.06 in the wind tunnel....

    DaimlerChrysler utilised the findings from this research during the development of the Mercedes-Benz bionic car, a fully functioning and roadworthy compact car with a length of 4.24 metres and space for four occupants plus luggage. With a Cd value of just 0.19 [Substrate note: this is GM EV1 territory but with a lot more interior space], this concept vehicle is among the most aerodynamically efficient in this size category.


    In addition to superb aerodynamics and a lightweight construction concept derived from nature, the 103 kW/ 140-hp diesel engine and innovative SCR technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction) greatly contribute to fuel economy and a further reduction in exhaust emissions. In the EU driving cycle the concept car has a fuel consumption of 4.3 litres per 100 kilometres - 20 less than a comparable series-production car. In accordance with the US measuring method (FTP 75) the range is around 70 miles per US gallon (combined), which is about 30 percent more than for a standard-production car. At a constant speed of 90 km/h the direct-injection diesel unit consumes only 2.8 litres per 100 kilometres- corresponding to a range of 84 miles per gallon in the US test cycle.


    The boxfish, the aerodynamic model for the concept car, is also a prime example of rigidity and light weight. Its skin consists of numerous hexagonal, bony plates which provide maximum strength with minimal weight and effectively protect the animal from injury.

    DaimlerChrysler researchers examined this bionic structure and transferred this principle to the Mercedes-Benz bionic car study with the help of a special calculation process. The process is based on the principles of bone formation and for instance allows up to 40 percent more rigidity to be achieved in the external door panelling than would be possible with conventional designs. If the entire bodyshell is calculated according to this bionic principle, the total weight is reduced by around one third with undiminished strength and crash safety.

    i thought i looked ugly when i saw a photo of it but after i read about it is saw the beauty of the design
    It kind of grows on you, doesn't it?
    any conservation will be canceled out by growth.
    If everybody believes that it will b true
    I've had this conversation with someone else (can't remember who), but it's more likely that any conservation at this point will be cancelled out by depletion.
    but it's more likely that any conservation at this point will be cancelled out by depletion.

    Does that mean depletion will be cancelled out by conservation? ;-)

    No, it means that from some point on conservation will always be lagging behind depletion until TSHTF big time.  

    <shrug> I knocked another 30w off my computer system's power draw, switching to a bigger screen which "Meets TCO'99 and ENERGY standards."  We all do what we can.

    I know you think the die is cast, but I still see it as a horserace (or a chariot race for a more dangerous image?), between adaption and depletion.

    Hello OldHippie,

    The masses do not want to socially engineer a large reduction in vehicle miles travelled until it will be far too late.  I suggest having a scooter or street-legal ATV, and a sturdy bicycle with baskets to be prepared for the crunch.  The best way to increase MPG is to slow down and VASTLY SHRINK the vehicle weight/person weight ratio to even more than your suggested 1,000 lb vehicle.  People will have to get over the idea of being in a sheltered cocoon when warm clothing and/or a raincoat is much, much cheaper.

    For those who can't ride two wheels: A Honda Sport ATV weighs 360 lbs--this will get much lighter when designed for street only use -- they are currently ruggedized for hard off-road use and air-borne jumping.  Or check out the 3-wheel trike from Piaggio called the MP3, only 200 kg or 440 lbs.

    America unfortunately will forced to have lots of big delivery trucks running around our cities until relocalization and TOD is completed [Go AlanfromBigEasy!], but during the interim, if lots of people car-pool, bicycle, bus, or ride these vehicles linked above, our roads will become much less congested.  We are probably already close to the point where no more freeways will be built because of the costs and nimbyism, but if most people are forced by fuel prices to dinky rides: a four lane freeway automatically becomes an eight-lane freeway.  It will be no problem passing these big-rigs when lane-splitting becomes legal nationwide.

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

    Hello TODers,

    Did a quick google of gasoline prices of Phx vs Las Vegas: roughly $2.20 compared to $2.50 per gallon -- about 30 cents a gallon different!  Recall my earlier postings on how Vegas has only one pipeline, running at near max transfer capacity, coming from California, but Phx is supplied by CA & TX.  I wonder if this price differential is to keep gas prices in Vegas high enough to limit demand so they don't have massive shortages.  Who knows?  Maybe Vegas is destined to become the scooter capital of the US first.  There were/are various proposals to build another pipeline to Vegas, but maybe the ERoEI will preclude building it.  In the meantime, that is very profitable fuel/gal going to Vegas.  Wish I had a piece of that action.

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

    1000# was just a round number. Early Mini Minors aka Mini Coopers were 1100 to 1200, worked fine. I have been in a  heavily modified Mini that weighed 900 and had air conditioning. Any modern production engineering could bring that down. Persons too big or insufficiently flexible to get into a mini can be issued electric wheelchairs and sedatives.

    You're right that the masses will not go towards the obvious until it's much too late. In the meantime I don't understand why the TOD group accepts the status quo of monster trucks as personal transport. All these threads devoted to coming up with enough juice to duplicate the status quo post peak are inane. America drives monster trucks because we were sold monster trucks, there is no natural urge or genetic code that impels anyone to purchase an Escalade. Social engineering by those who want to sell oil, sell steel, sell rubber, sell asphalt. Talking about an energy future that maintains existing fashions with less FF input is just endorsing the crap that Detroit and Madison Avenue have saddled us with.

    Around here your favored transport - what I call a 4-wheel motorcycle - is not so practical. A roof and a heater are pretty much required. Cars that weigh no more than current motorcycles are perfectly possible - you just can't buy them. Current lightweight vehicles made abroad are mostly aimed at the absolute bottom of the market, low quality, cheap materials, obsolete engineering.

    The other part of the obvious is go slower. I have been drriving about 8000 miles a year with some consistency for some time now. My work won't let me go much lower than that and I do have to carry the heavy and the bulky. Everyone else thinks I need a fullsize van to do what I do out of a Civic. I figure I sit behind the wheel 800 to 1000 hours a year. How fast am I going?

    Hello OldHippie,

    Thxs for responding.  Maybe we will have super-efficient cars, maybe not--detritus entropy will determine our future lifestyles if we don't have sufficient biosolar powerup.

    Snowmobilers ride in snowsuits quite comfortably, no reason someone on an ATV couldn't do the same on their work commute.  I think employees, to save their jobs, will gladly accept seasonal temperature swings versus unemployment.  Construction workers do this now.  We could see office employees warmly dressed when the only building heat is what comes off their computers and lighting.  Wearing longjohns beats unemployment by a long shot.

    Years ago in Phx, I had a retail furniture warehouse job-- the salesfloor was the only part of the building that had A/C. The warehouse section did not even have swamp-cooling.  The warehouse ceiling was uninsulated tin-roofing about 40 feet above the floor, and the furniture storage racks went all the way up.  The forklifts took the driver all the way up as required to hand-lift the furniture to the platform, and believe me: I could feel the temperature rise the higher I went--near 125 F or more near the roof! Soaked with sweat in the summer, but the winters were nice here in Phx.  Eventually energy will get so expensive in Phx that outside workers and inside workers will almost sweat equally.  No A/C, and/or just minimal heat will be gladly accepted vs starvation and freezing to death from unemployment.  Virtually all natgas will be going to make fertilizers and other essentials.

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

    I know you love two wheeled things, but there's a practical limit to the fuel economy they can achieve because of their aerodynamics.  Motorcycles and ATV's are damn near like parachutes going through the air, it's the nature of the beast and they're only as efficienct as they are because they're magnitudes lighter than cars.  Most motorcycles will get around 50mpg, most scooters around 80mpg.  A 1989 Honda Civic hatchback which can take 4 passengers in climate controlled comfort and still have room to carry stuff gets about 40 mpg.  This thing that someone just pointed out (http://www.worldcarfans.com/news.cfm?newsid=2050607.004/country/gcf) will carry 4 people and get 84mpg.  The Loremo (http://www.loremo.com/daten_en.php) will carry 2+2 (i.e. two adults plus two children or one cramped and contorted adult) again in climate controlled comfort and get 160mpg.  In order to control the air about a vehicle, you really need to have an enclosed shell.  Else you'll run into some seriously hard limits.  Why ride a scooter which tops out at 25 mph getting 80mpg when you can ride in a car at 55mph with three of your friends getting 86mpg?  Or in the Loremo with one (or two) other people at 55mph getting 160mpg?  Where's the benefit in being exposed to the elements with no crash protection at a lower speed and getting half the fuel economy?
    I agree, but I also wonder how well a partially faired, recumbent, scooter could do.  (The upright position is good for visibility but means a higher crossection.)
    Better than they do now, no doubt.  That's the thing about air resistance.  Colorless, odorless gasses...that weigh approximately (depends on altitude) 1.225 kg/m3 (about 2.25 pounds/square yard).  F=MA and Work=FD.  So as you go down the road you're pushing air out of the way, dragging it along with you...and you're moving it faster and swirling more the faster you go.  So over the course of a couple miles you'll quite literally move tons of air far exceeding the weight of the vehicle.  A lot of people don't realize that.  With a properly designed body you can control the airflow and prevent many of the little turbulent dealios that sap efficiency, and that just tends to be easier with a car chassis than a motorbike chassis(plus the much welcomed benefits of climate control and crash protection).

    Along those lines, these guys always trip me out: http://www.wisil.recumbents.com/wisil/racing2006/MaplePark/JohnFrasierTT.htm
    A lot of these guys that race low racers and faired recumbents go around slaughtering guys half their age on upright bicycles (because of superior physics!).

    Then there's the world speed record streamliners:
    Current WHPSC Records:
    In 2002, Sam Whittingham broke the world speed record for the third year in a row by going 81.00 MPH!
    In 2005, Damjan Zabovnik broke the European speed record by going 72.9 MPH facing backwards!
    In 2005, Lisa Vetterlein set a new Women's world speed record, with a speed of 66.58 MPH.


    And because you never can tell...
    5.05 l/100km  ~46mpg

    Those are cool pics.
    Hello Substrate and other replies,

    No disagreement from me--wind resistance is a real physical bitch always blocking movement down the road.  I just think most people will do nothing until it is too late, then only the fairly rich will have access to to advanced high-tech cars.  The rest of us will be scrambling for the bus while waiting for TOD to be finally built, or buying what is available on the new and used market now.

    Carpooling is great for those that can organize it, but many people have erratic work schedules forcing them to single transport or mass-trans.  Consider the current prevalence of scooters, motorcycles, and bicycles elsewhere around the world as the best indicator of our future 4wheel-2wheel ratio.

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

    The grid in the Texas electrical island of ERCOT is fairly robust, with (last time I checked two years ago) reasonable expansions scheduled.  Some new lines just for new wind generation.

    The biggest problem is Houston, with several transmission corridors "at capacity".  No more wires can be added.  But not critical (San Francico & NYC are critical for electrical transmission in).

    Even ERCOT could be "better", but is has a reasonable level of redundancy in all critical areas, including trnamsission capacity when large electrical plants drop out. IMO.

    Best Hopes,


    How much could Houston move over the existing wires via e.g. conversion to HVDC?
    There has been some talk about increasing voltage (AC) on those lines.  But a "short" segment of higher voltage degrades the stability of the grid.

    From memory, Houston has the only ERCOT interconnect with the rest of the world, a 600 MW HV DC connection to Beaumont.

    Reducing Houston air conditioning demand would be a better method :-)

    Jim Burke said;
    "What I am suggesting is the grid is in danger, even without the addition of a large number of electic vehicles.
    I am really curious. Do TOD readers really think this is a non-issue? "

    I firmly believe that Dr. Duncan had it right.  
    Especially after listening to Electric Veh.discussion about plugging in a few million cars for charging.

    I believe that the grid's fate will be closely like Duncan's  Figure #4 in this paper. I think he now says we will start having problems in 2008.

    Take another Look at one of the most copied and referenced Peak Oil Graphs on the internet.  Simmons even had it in one of his presentations.

    Figure #4 and it's ledgend.


    Hello Samsara,

    That link is good, but now dated.  Here is the link to the updated version [it brings further badnews]:


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


    "When the electricity goes out, you are back in the Dark Age. And the Stone Age is just around the corner."

    The two Dakotas, Texas and Kansas have 4500 billion kWh of wind energy potential between them ( source pdf). Just 5% of that is 225 billion kWh. Farmers seem to like the extra income that wind farms generate for them while not hindering other cropping in any way. What is not to like?
    I love it. 225 billion KWh (per year, I presume).

    However, by the above calculations, we need over 600 billion to account for declines in natural gas and nukes, as well as 2% growth per year.

    THEN we have to start counting the additions for electric vehicles (and judging from the evolution of hybrids, people will "demand" something that will protect them when hit by a mack truck, thus being larger and require more energy to move).

    225 b WHh/year of wind energy is a 13 fold increase over today's capacity. If we were doubling capacity each year, that would start to get somewhere; it is tragic and incredibly shortsighted that NIMBY's are beginning to block progress on the wind front.

    By the way, the American Wind Energy Association is predicting the addition of "at least 5,000 megawatts of wind  capacity in the US over the next five years."

    We have a very long way to go.

    (electrics to protect them from a mac truck)

    You now, it still seems to me that we are holding too much a vision of "our world" in this future, beyond the "end of the world as we know it."

    Surely, if the US got hit with a big enough energy hammer to force a march to 100% electric vehicles, that hammer might also force:  reduced car ownership, reduced distances travelled, and reduced vehicle size.

    FWIW, I think "if" we had to do it, we'd find a way.  Even if that meant GEMs for 30% of all drivers.

    You mean low tech solutions?  Like just drive less?  

    What if governments at all levels just quit repairing roads (or reduced repairs to a select few routes)?  Make driving miserable enough and see how much fuel we can save.  "Small government" is a political buzzword, this should fit under that umbrella, and it would be cheap too.

    I think it would be sad if things got to that state, because light little electrics might need smooth roads, though perhaps not so wide.
    I haven't done any homework on light little electric cars, but I'm picturing golf cart sizes things.  Could these things safely share bike paths with bicyclists.  You're right that it would be sad to let all roads fall apart, but clearly widening them to allow more car traffic is short sighted.  
    The current crop of "neighborhood electric vehicles" (NEVs) are very much like golf carts.  I wouldn't want them in my bike line, but a current car lane might have room for an electric and bike split.

    In the future, I hope we can get to something a little more like a NEV designed by Burt Rutan.  Low, aero, long-distance.

    Funny, but strangely appealing:


    What if governments at all levels just quit repairing roads (or reduced repairs to a select few routes)?  

    I think this is likely to happen anyway.  The roads are maintained by gas taxes, so if we do cut back, it will reduce the money available for highway maintenance.

    This is why I think the car is doomed.  Even the wealthy can't afford to build their own highway system.  And a car is of limited use without roads.

    If fleet mileage was 50 mpg instead of 25- mpg, we'd obviously need twice the per-gallon fuel tax to maintain current spending.  Multiply that by higher effecitve mpgs, etc.

    Ultimately it will come down to what the cost-per mile is for these post oil autos, and whether a per-mile maintenance fee is too burdensome on top of that.

    Since we don't know, we don't know.

    I think that's what will probably happen also.  It would be nice if we could plan ahead and put in bike paths, or light rail - anything to lessen the dependency on automobiles, but I think for the most part roads will stop being maintained when it is no longer affordable.  I don't think that will be pretty.
    Then you get vehicles with a lot of suspension travel and a lot of ground clearance. The Model T comes to mind. Did very well on poor roads. For bicycles the simplest way is tall wheels with wide tires. Sort of like the standard bikes of the Model T era. Raleigh DL-1 style for those who know. That's where we're headed.
    Yes,  I think it will happen that way.  The highway system will unwind, in much the same way it was built.  People will not stop driving overnight.  Just more and more people will find themselves unable or unwilling to drive, meaning the roads get worse and worse, and driving becomes less and less convenient and affordable.  Eventually, cars will be the toys of the wealthy again.  Until even they cannot maintain them any more.
    Perhaps something can be done to make more efficient use of juice and free some capacity for transport:
    • Mandatory reflector shades for outdoor lights (esp. street lights and lights on signs) to put light on the target ONLY and eliminate glare.  Less wasted light = fewer watts needed.

    • The aforementioned compact-fluorescent promotion.

    • Buy down the cost of more-efficient air conditioners with trade-in of inefficient models.  Tax less-efficient models to make them as pricey as the good ones.

    • Promote (and require landlords to install) awnings and other measures to reduce A/C loads.

    • Require solar DHW in all new construction or remodels.  Require addition for buildings to meet code after a certain date, forcing installation before they can be sold.

    I'm sure folks can add a lot to this.
    I agree with you completely. There is tremendous waste in our present energy usage.

    My primary concern is that a switch from IC engines to electric batteries is, in reality, a switch from oil to coal, with all the attendent problems (strip mining, mountaintop removal, Greenhouse gasses....)

    True, there would be at least a partial conversion to coal (at least in the short term).

    But it's not all bad news.  Compared to CTL, it would be several times as efficient.  If you compare the carbon emissions per mile, electric would cut emissions by 32% on today's grid.  Contrast this to roughly doubling emissions with coal-to-liquids.

    Last, an EV or high-capacity PHEV improves its emissions roughly as much as the grid improves.  If coal was replaced with wind, nuclear and biomass, the whole fleet would improve with it - not just the new production.

    Hello Jim Burke,

    Don't worry, plans are rapidly moving into place to suck the energy waste out of the system by ERoEI monopoly control of the oil distribution spiderweb [See my post upthread on how Vegas is currently getting screwed to the tune of 30 cents a gallon].  When postPeak prices rise high enough in Phx so pipeline volume really drops off: I predict the TX pipeline leg to my city will be shutoff forever, leaving only the CA pipeline to supply us.  When this happens, the Asphalt Wonderland will then be screwed by CA pricing-volume limitations like Vegas is now.  Just as OPEC is sucking the wealth out of America, we can expect Southern CA to start sucking the wealth out of Phx unless we become very energy efficient early--not likely.

    How many TODers have investigated their neighborhoods for Westexas's Exportland Model?  This applies everywhere, not just between countries on an international basis.  

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

    "I love it. 225 billion KWh (per year, I presume). However, by the above calculations, we need over 600 billion to account for declines in natural gas and nukes, as well as 2% growth per year."

    The Dakotas, Texas and Kansas have the top wind resources, however with declining wind potentials that still leaves 46 states to go.

    "Replacing steel in a car body with carbon fiber could cut the vehicle's weight two-thirds, according to Energy Department research." Carbon fiber sparkles with diamondlike appeal

    A steel structure isn't the only way to protect against collisions.

    Dr. Andy Frank, Professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at UC Davis and Director of the UC Davis Advanced Hybrid Vehicle Research Center has been working on PHEV's for over a decade. If I recall correctly, in a presentation on PHEV's he stated that because the electrical grid is sized to handle the peak loads that occur miday and the evening load is sufficiently less than the daytime load, the electrical grid could easily handle the load of everyone converting to PHEVs. On one of his graphs (stuck faintly in my mind) for California the projected increased load from PHEVs was about half way between current nighttime loads and peak daytime load.

    His group's site is Team Fate

    On a cursory search, this document may contain that analysis:

    Another PHEV site with a lot of info is CalCars

    With a global economic slow down that's certainly possible, the question is what's the probability of that? Place your bets.
    Actually I think $20 oil could freak people out. Same as bad hurricanes one year and picnic weather the next. There must be a gear loose in the machine.
    One salutory effect of a few seasons of ultra low oil prices, is that the Canadian tar sands projects might fold.
    If the saudis or Iran or any other/all OPEC producers Decide to pinch supply, then this could lead to a classic case of pilot induced oscillation where the up swing in price will be violent. So views could not be more polarised I think!

    Many oil companies in the past year have started investing heavily in deeper, harder to get to, heavier oil  - all on the back of the high oil prices. Oil price plummiting to such low levels as $20 would pull the carpet from underneath theri feed which they would not allow to happen

    Any idea of SUSTAINED oil prices below $60 is wishful thinking. Nothing has changed the fundamentals of supply and demand right now.

    Even OPEC have hinted at pinching supply!


    Actually forcing the situation so that OPEC is the bad guy may actually be occurring. OPEC could even be playing along with the game at least KSA this way they can hide depletion behind announcing cuts to support prices for quite some time.

    Now that peak oil has finally made it out into the public and seeing the backlash against the concept I'm becoming more convinced that the powers that be are reacting as a herd and in collusion to prevent the public from becoming peak oil aware. I'm not saying there is a grand conspiracy but it the effort is concerted caused by similar opinions and some cooperation to prevent peak oil from becoming another global warming debate.

    As some point the continuous and increasingly more outrageous KSA spin stories point to a high probability of serious problems with production inside the Kingdom.

    Sort of like Bush's WM's.

    Agreed, as if OPEC are now saying  "see, now we need to reduce supply!",

    instead of

    "We can't supply any more"!

    Speaking of which, is a monthly crude EIA/IEA/AEI/IAE update not due some time? (That's my fix!).
    I have repeatedly pointed out that the energy consultant--recommended by Saudi Aramco--on the PBS Peak Oil debate, that we taped in August, said that the ME oil exporters were not going to be producing the amount of oil that everyone expected them to.  He implied that they would be cutting back to prolong the life of the fields.  

    I stand by my prediction that--absent a severe recession--we will see a bidding war for oil exports in the fourth quarter.    BTW, insofar as I know, previous voluntary reductions in production followed sustained low oil prices.  

    In the first half of 2006 we saw a falloff in world oil production following a sustained increase in oil prices.  Isn't this very strong evidence that, at least at the present time, there is no excess productive capacity, or at least no excess light, sweet productive capacity?

    IMO, production is falling because of depletion, and not because of a voluntary reduction.   I submit the following article for your consideration.  Note that Petrologistics was right about the previous falloff in Saudi production.   You do recall Richard Heinberg's report on Ghawa.  

    "It's over now, the lifestyle we once knew. . . "

    Posted to the web on: 22 September 2006
    Oil edges higher near $62 after six-week slide

    Preliminary data from tanker tracker Petrologistics showed Opec pumped 400 000 barrels per day less crude so far in September, compared with the whole of last month, on lower production from the group's top two producers, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
    Re: Saudi Arabia & Russia

    I would be very interested to see how July, 2006 Russian oil exports compared to December, 2005 oil exports, but note that July, 2006 oil exports were down 11.5% year on year.

    When I posted my first comments on net oil exports (based on Khebab's excellent graphs), in January, 2006, both Saudi Arabia and Russia were producing at (recent) record high levels.  I predicted production declines for both Russia and Saudi Arabia, and I predicted that net oil exports would fall more sharply than overall production did.

    Since then the production data speaks for itself.   Russia is reporting a rebound in production, but I predict that it will be short-lived as the declines in the older fields overwhelm the new production.  I also continue to have doubts about the accuracy of reported Russian production data, given the Russian government's--and presumably Russian officials'--financial interest in seeing the Rosneft IPO (or perhaps more accurately the Rosneft "Pump and Dump") succeed.  I would think that it is easier to fake production reports than to fake export data.


    Russian oil exports down 1.7% in Jan-July- Statistics Agency



    MOSCOW. Sept 22 (Interfax) - Oil exports from Russia in January-July 2006 fell 1.7% year-on-year to 144.6 million tonnes, the Federal State Statistics Service said, quoting Federal Customs Service data.

     According to the statistics (including figures for Belarus), Russian oil exports in July amounted to 19.5 million tonnes (down 11.5% year-on-year).

    In January-July 2006 Russia exported 52.3% of its oil production, and in July this indicator amounted to 47.8%.

    Interesting that they say it is going into storage. In your article. We speculated in the past that a lot of this years production could have well be storage draw downs and this leads me to believe both KSA and the US are playing games with their storage capacity to try and level supply.

    I really wonder if the Strategic Reserve is not being tapped or filled more often then is reported. I know they report draws and fills but as far as I know the US government is not obligated to disclose the state of the strategic reserve. Especially if for example draws are being made to supply military interests. I suspect if we get a democratic president after Bush he will find the Strategic Reserve close to empty on taking office.

    The game continues.


    Is it stealing if I take something from you and then return it before you knew it was gone?

    Is it a draw if I sell it on the market, but intend to buy it back in, oh 30-40 days or something???

    I think they take it out, put it back when ever they want to.  I think they are playing craps with it, and using it as their bank....

    Even OPEC have hinted at pinching supply!

    Yes they have hinted at it but most of the hints come from Iran and Venezuela, who cannot meet their current quota.

    "We are not close to the 5 million bpd target of the fourth plan. More than 80% of the current total oil output is being provided from aged oilfields that need serious investment to increase production," he said.

    Iranian oil production is about to hit the skids. And so is that of Kuwait. The Kuwaiti folks are now in Canada trying to figure out how they can pump CO2 into their heavy oil reservoirs to coax more of it out.

    Kuwait's Burgan oil field -- the world's second-largest -- is "exhausted" after six decades of production, according to the Bloomberg news service.

    The Burgan field, which was brought into production in 1948 and accounts for half of Kuwait's oil reserves (or 55 billion barrels) -- currently produces about 1.7 million barrels per day.

    And even that is wrong. Kuwait produces about 2.5 million barrels per day which means that if Burgan is producing 1.7 of that then it is producing over two thirds of all Kuwait's oil. And can anyone in their right mind believe that an "exhausted" field has 55 billion barrels of reserves still left in it? If there are 55 billion barrels left in Burgan then it is far, far from exhausted. That much oil left would mean Burgan would be in the very young prime of life.

    Ron Patterson

    A useful overview of (only) the environmental impact of the oilsands developments.

    For a sense of scale, and remember they want to quintuple the size of the operations:
    "Syncrude's dam, which holds back nearly three decades of [highly toxic] waste water, is the second-largest on Earth after the Three Gorges Dam in China."

    Oil sands: the price of money

    Along the river's edge, existing oil-sands operations and approved developments soon to follow have been granted licences to siphon 349 million cubic metres of the river's flow each year -- roughly the amount of water used by Calgary and Edmonton annually combined -- to extract heavy crude oil from the black muck that holds it. Including other projects awaiting approval, that allocation swells to 529 million cubic metres. "I don't think anybody who thinks about this realistically can believe it's sustainable," says David Schindler, the pre-eminent scholar on ecological policy and hydrology at the University of Alberta.

    Schindler has participated in several public hearings, preaching prudence and moderation in the oil sands' growth to mediate the impact. His 30-year study on the river's flow level shows a disquieting trend: a decline in volume of 30 per cent over that span. And the river's banks have receded by nearly two metres over that time.

    But industry's demand for the water will only grow. To free the crude oil, as many as 4 1/2 barrels of water are needed to yield a single barrel of oil. The leftover petrochemical brew, too toxic to be returned to the river, accumulates in tailing ponds with a combined surface area of 50 square kilometres, visible from space, that have been growing for decades.

    Meanwhile, on the surface, millions of cubic metres of river water, thick with toxic by-products like naphthenic acid, bubble and build in the ponds, never to be returned. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Syncrude's dam, which holds back nearly three decades of waste water, is the second-largest on Earth after the Three Gorges Dam in China.

    "If any one of those were ever to breach and discharge into the river, you're talking about a world-scale ecological disaster," Schindler says.

    In just a few years, the Fort McMurray area has become the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in Canada. By 2015, it's estimated the town -- projected population 100,000 -- will emit more greenhouse gases than the entire nation of Denmark, population 5.4 million.

    The lands, most acknowledge, are gone, and for good. Companies have reclaimed abut 5,200 hectares of land by filling in expended pits, creating grasslands and nascent forests; so far, not one hectare has been approved by the province as certified reclamation.
    While many companies say they can put the land back exactly as they found it, Schindler calls the claim to rebuild centuries-old muskegs and fens "total nonsense. Wetlands experts from all over the world know there's no way to put it back, period.
    Oh crap! Thanks for posting this...truly scary stuff. It'll certainly get much worse before it gets better, if it ever does. Oh Canada!
    Alberta Expects $111M Extra from Cancelling Royalty Tax Credit Program

    The total new revenue of $111 million likely indicates that oil companies still 'get away with murder': total oilsands revenue in 2004 was $14.9 billion, in 2006 it must be $25 billion or more (higher production, higher prices), so the new spoils are less than 0.5%. Looks like the laws are built by stacking one loophole on top on the next.

    The Globe and Mail said this earlier this year (now paywall):

    A barrel of bitumen that sells for $54.23 brings the Alberta government only 25 cents.

    Alberta eyes greater share of oil wealth

    It might seem paradoxical that Alberta is concerned about losing out on royalties at a time when oil is selling for more than $70 (U.S.) a barrel, and the province is awash in energy revenues. Although the oil sands account for a quarter of Alberta's production of oil and gas, they make up just over a tenth of its total income from non-renewable resources, a reflection of the extremely low royalty rates much of the sector is currently paying.

    In addition, most oil sands projects do not pay royalties on expensive crude oil; instead, they pay the levy on much cheaper bitumen, which this winter sold for less than $40 a barrel.

    That discrepancy has caught the eye of the Alberta government, which is now trying to determine why bitumen is selling at such a steep discount -- and whether it needs to intervene to increase its revenue from the oil sands.

    A barrel of bitumen that sells for $54.23 brings the Alberta government only 25 cents.

    A decade ago, Alberta scrapped a welter of special deals with oil sands projects in favour of a generic royalty regime. Here are the basics of that structure:

    Projects pay 1 per cent of gross revenues in their early years, until they have earned profits equal to their capital costs, an event called payout.

    At payout, the royalty rate rises to 25 per cent of net revenues, for an eight- to tenfold increase.

    Unlike the royalty structure for conventional production, oil sands projects do not pay a higher rate as prices rise.

    Project operators can choose to pay royalties on either raw bitumen or upgraded synthetic crude. If royalties are paid on bitumen, an operator cannot include the capital expense of upgrading, which means the payout point will arrive sooner.

    New capital investment can delay payout for a project, but only if it is deemed to be part of the existing operations.

    The terms apply to all new projects. The two operators in business in 1996, Suncor Energy Inc. and Syncrude Canada Ltd., will be able to move to the generic regime toward the end of this decade.

    By the numbers . . .

    1- The royalty percentage rate applied to gross revenues in the early years of an oil sands project

    10- The maximum factor by which royalties rise after a project exhausts capital-spending credits

    40- The top royalty percentage rate paid by conventional oil producers

    2020- Year by which oil sands investment would reach $25-billion, according to 1995 projections

    2003- Year that goal was reached

    $14.9-billion- Oil sands sector revenue in 2004

    $700-million- Oil sands royalties paid, 2004

    This leads to an interesting point.  Those folks racing to set up shop and house in Alberta are heading to a province whose balleyhooed fiscal surpluses are built on natural gas and conventional oil revenues.  Whatever, the gross revenue from the tar pit operations, the net income generated is severely constrained by a low eroei, as well as increasingly scarce water and natural gas.  These latter are essentially subsidies for the operation, but a declining subsidy.

    It won't be long (2-4 decades, maybe sooner) before Alberta is looking as dry and poor as it did before the Leduc discovery in 1947.  The tar pits will always remain an economically marginal operation incapable, no matter the price of oil, to pay much into the treasury to support the provincial infrastructure.

    Drillers Report Strong Activity Despite Weakening Prices
    Addressing the offshore market, Lee Ahlstrom, director of investor relations at Noble Corp. (NE), pointed out that most deepwater drilling projects remain profitable even when oil hits $30 or $40 a barrel, let alone Thursday's closing price of $61.59 in NYMEX futures.
    Rain causes flooding of crop lands.

    Its being reported that our area just experienced a 100 year flood. Currently many crops in lower areas appear to be damaged , not certain how much until they are surveyed.  Impossible to gain access to some areas.

    Trees were blown down all over and people were trapped by rising water last night as our 9/11 and emergency services were pushed to the extreme.  

    Milo and soybeans will likely be very much affected.

    All of this appears to be very bad news for farmers.

    Assessment is just beginning. It might take boats to even access some areas of croplands.  

    What was starting to look like a very good crop season might now have to be revised.

    Forgive me for not being an American, but where is your 'area' exactly?
    I live near the confluence of four major rivers in the USA.

    The Mississippi, the Ohio ,Tennessee and the Cumberland. The last two were dammed by the TVA and Corp of Engineers and provide some hydroelectric.

    The current flooding appears to reach as far as Louisville and to the west into the bootheel of Missouri. The rain is still falling and likely has now exceeded 10 inches in less than two days.

    I had a empty 5 gallon plastic bucket sitting on my back porch. This morning it was overflowing.

    Crops surveyed look damaged , those that can be observed without boats. Prognosis is unknown at this time.

    The bootheel of Missouri is a huge delta that produces an enormous amount of grain. Its so flat that if the levee that protects it were to break it would flood 30 miles inland(perhaps further) towards the west. There is no danger of that but it was very likely some years back..This just gives you an idea of just how flat the land is.

    This flooding comes right in the middle of the fall harvest.

    Post up on the weather, just south of Louisville KY in Hardin County KY (Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Fort Knox)  After raining hard early in the day on Saturday, the sky went clear at sunset and regional radar shows no more out behind us clear beyond MO and the plains....The most flooding in Central KY since 1997, with the bridge at Otter Creek being shut for only the second since 1997 when I started working in Hardin County due to flooding, and I-64 and I-65 both being closed due to flooding for last night and most of the day today.

    As far as crops, we have had a great year for both corn and soybeans, with rain falling in most places at just the right intervals.

    Despite a "hot" summer for a few weeks, not out of the historical norm here, and much better than the absolute cookers of the 1970's...

    In other words, Kentucky has felt like Kentucky...:-), and gasoline prices of $2.14 in most of the area.

    Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

    What you got over there? We got twice the amount. Some tornados reported, lots of wind damage.

    I measured close to 15 inches but average was more like 10" with 11" and more on farm rain guages.

    Folks here who have been farming all their lives never seen this type of water right in the middle of harvest.

    It was not related to river flooding but creek bottoms getting out. Houses that had never been flooded had 3 feet of standing water in them.

    The crop damage is unaccessed as of now. Looks like it might not be as bad as could be. Where washing occoured though and the current was strong on field crops? They are gone. In the mud.

    So its varied but mostly unknown as yet.

    S.E. Missouri got pounded severely I am hearing.

    Y'all have too much rain, and in most of the U.S. and especially the breadbasket, we don't have enough. Crops here are going to be down at least 30% this year.

    Expect price increases at the store this fall and winter.

    10-4 on the crops being down.

    The flooding is the worst I have ever seen in my immediate area over the last 50 years(and like I said...a 100 year local flood plan event). All firedepts are called out from all nearby towns, all the Diaster Emergency and Rescue Services are called out. The 9/11 dispatcher has not ceased traffic in over 24 hrs.

    I installed the first 9/11 system in my county(wrote the code and installed the hdwe) so I keep close track via my scanner of what is transpiring.

    Some houses are flooded and boats are being used to reach the people inside.

    The rains have ceased for now but the water is still causing havoc.I have a feeling our existing unharvested crops are in a lot of trouble.

    This is perhaps just the early edge of what can happen due to Global Warming ,abrupt weather changes and what the effects can be upon agriculture.

    Next two weeks at the grain elevators it will become evident as to how widespread this event was and its effects. Combines will not roll for at least another week until this ground dries out,if we aren't hit again. .

    America needs more wakeup calls before its way way too late.

    I offer these small observations in the rural farming areas so that others here can get a glimpse of how this all works.
    For myself I am worried. Nature maybe just flexing its muscles and getting ready for some big events.  

    This is a neat web site for precipitation analysis NOAA


    I am still in Georgetown, KY with my father after his knee replacement surgery.  No big deal here.  Tobacco is in the barn, 3-4 inches last night, more today.
    Drought? No problem!

    Rainmaking Tasmania way too successful

    WHILE much of drought-stricken Australia debates whether cloud-seeding is effective, Tasmania's west coast community complains it works too well.

    West Coast Mayor Darryl Gerrity said cloud-seeding - the use of chemicals to make rain - by power and water utility Hydro Tasmania was damaging tourism and making life wetter than nature intended.

    "We've got children at our schools who get cabin fever because they can't get out to play because it's raining so much," Mr Gerrity said.

    "It affects our tourism, our sport and our recreation.

    "It doesn't matter if it's our kids' footy final on the weekend, they'll be cloud-seeding with complete contempt for our way of life."

    Hydro Tasmania has been cloud-seeding across key water catchments since 1964 and adopted an annual program in 1998.

    Cloud-seeding occurs in Israel, China, the US, Thailand and France. But in Australia, only Hydro Tasmania has had a long-term program, while Snowy Hydro recently began a trial.

    The federal Government has said there is little scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of cloud-seeding - a position some experts and politicians believe is influenced by misleading advice from government scientists.

    From April to November, Hydro Tasmania uses "burners" attached to the wings of a small plane to release silver iodide crystals into clouds that are thick with "super-cool" water particles.

    That's the west coast of Tasmania that catches the Roaring 40s. I'm kinda on the edge with 1.5m (60") of rainfall which is great for growing potatoes not so much for solar PV. Mind you 70% of mainland Australia is desert and growing. Since the Hydro connected to the coal fired grid it has mothballed 3 windfarm proposals, a hydro station in a 4m rainfall area and is selling the natgas backup generator. I guess coal is cheaper than silver.
    We're still suffering from the 100 year drought here...

    Jesus doesn't drink bottled water

    The religious objection to bottled water extends beyond the excessive markup, however. Water is mentioned throughout the Bible and is an important sacramental item for religious rituals, such as baptism.

    That's why the objection to selling it can be intensely theological.

    Ms. Geraets, the Ottawa Lutheran, said water is "a sacred gift" from God, and humans should act as stewards and not debase it by turning it into a marketable item.

    "You don't sell a gift," she said.

    Funny, I would have expected that water in Biblical times to be delivered, and often paid for.  It was after all a lot more work back then.

    (Though anything that reduces use of bottled water is probably not that bad a thing.)

    US fundies never seem to object to selling anything.
    In December, Santa Monica will Host World's Largest Alt-Fuel Vehicle Show:

    The City of Santa Monica announced today it will sponsor and host the most comprehensive, technologically advanced exposition of alternative fuel and high MPG vehicles ever held. AltCar Expo, specifically designed for the public, will take place on December 9 and 10, 2006. Admission to the Expo, as well as a wide-ranging selection of seminars and advanced technology displays, will be free. The event will be held at Barker Hangar, located at the Santa Monica Air Center.

    - more here

    What electric vehicles need to be useable is an on-the-fly recharging system. Have an inductive system in some of the main streets so that when you dive these streets, a coil under your car would pick up power from the system. This would extend the range of delivery trucks and other urban vehicles. It wouldn't solve all of the range problems for electric cars and trucks, but it would help
    Another solution is trolley freight, still used in a few German cities, once iwdely used in the larger US cities.  Freight is delivered on streetcar tracks.

    Highly efficient overhead trolley freight using "existing" infrastructure off peak hours.

    Standard containers can fit in most cases on a light rail chassis.

    [overhead trolley freight in germany]

    Which german cities? I don't know just one. I read that Amsterdam is preparing such modes of freight transport in the inner city.

    Frankfurt a Main route to Hoemark still has a little trolley

    Several Japanese trolley lines still have freight among them Joshin Electric railway running 33 km from Takasaki to Shimonita.

    AND the Chicago South Shore to South Bend runs passengers on electric and frieght on diesel on the same tracks.

    Karlsruhr and Long Island Railroad (NYC) have combined pax & freight service on the same tracks.

    from others.


    CargoTram in Zurich and Dresden



    from others when I asked


    Oh good, thanks. I have to admit having been in Dresden several times last year and I didn't notice that light rail freight.

    Here is the link (in Dutch ..) to that Amsterdam light rail thing (news report):


    The text says they plan to build 200 new street cars, and - perhaps - ban all trucks from down town Amsterdam once the system works. And the Dresden street car to the VW factory is also mentioned there.



    If the lawsuits over EMF didn't kill the idea, the capital costs would.

    Wires worked a century ago.  They still work.  Why change?

    A good while back, I wrote a post endorsing this idea, and saying that the issue for long range transport was money, not oil, and if the interstate transport of goods and people stopped, it would be becuase as a culture we no longer liked it happening, but not because we were short of energy.

    Needless to say, the folks in the peanut gallery were ENRAGED!  What I was suggesting is that CARS could survive!!  It was so astonishing as to be beyond words!!

    But, the TECHNICAL as opposed to socio-philosophical-aesthetic fact is that the automobile could easily be propelled by electric lines embedded in the interstate, and then move to U.S. and state highways, with a small battery pack to operate at ranges under 10 miles in the neigborhoods, and transportation, variety and freedom (as human as opposable thumbs, despite how it is hated) could be done on a hint of the energy currently used.  At the pace solar cells are increasing n efficiency, sunlight and modern wind could supply most of the power.  With any development in battery efficiency and cycle life over the next decade, we are MUCH closer to this than people think.

    This is the fear of the OPEC gang, not peak oil (that's why they keep repeating over and over, hoping you will buy in, that "oil will be the principle fuel that drives the world over the next 50 years."

    The END OF THE AGE OF OIL is at hand.....but as the man said, it may end not with a bang, but with a whimper, by the choice of an advanced nation with good designers and engineers.

    Will that nation be America?  It depends on whether we want it to be and prepare it to be.

    Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

    Would someone with knowledge of the oil market be willing to explain the commodities market in detail and the oil markets in particular. I've seen several posts explaining how the commodities markets work but its been piecemeal at best. I think I have several misconceptions about the market.

    From there a lot of us don't even understand how the crude moves into production for say gasoline and the pricing decisions.

    We have no or little knowledge on how refineries operate why they shutdown for maintenance how often etc.

    There have been great posts on these topics but no compilation of the information.

    Finally it would be great for the people that understand these detail to tell us what they think will happen post peak as supply does not meet demand.

    How will refiners react ?
    How will OPEC react ?
    How will the population in exporters react ?
    How will Russia react ?
    How will the EU react to Russia ?
    Japan will have to become aggressive again ?
    China ?
    The US/Canada/Mexico ?
    South America ?
    India ?
    Poor Africa ?
    World markets ?

    Also I've noticed that a lot of oil producing nations
    don't have enough refinery capacity to support the internal usage leading to external imports of refined products.
    Nigeria,Iran,Iraq etc. Other poor countries have subsidized oil products. These subsidies are becoming ruinous. This is a problem that's not really been explored as the price of oil and finished products increases. The export land model has not addressed this and its important.

    If we start theorizing on these issues I think we will find
    that early indicators exist which can be watched to see if the hypothesis are correct.

    My opinion is they will become far more concerned about ensuring supply of oil not its price thus the spot market will change dramatically and become more a market for real oil supplies for a extended period of time.

    I just don't see how you can have a sport market like it works now under shortage conditions.

    When I read about how people manage to survive under war conditions we see that in general someone corners and hoards the limited supply and its sold at very high prices on the black market and next bartered for protection support or other non monetary returns between powerful players. So you have a cartel effect.

    It is really hard to find information on economics in shortage conditions mainly it seems war follows so quickly
    on top of resource shortages that it becomes the distorted economics of wartime production. In the past their was always some or some place where you could take what you needed.

    I agree - a full-on article on oil drilling, transport, and refining price mechanisms would be nice.
    A French newspaper cites a leaked government report that says bin Laden died late August from typhoid.

    Is bin Laden dead?

    Fugitive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, believed to be on the run in rugged terrain in the Afghan-Pakistani border region since the September 11 attacks five years ago, has become seriously ill and may have already died, a Saudi source tells TIME, echoing earlier reports in the French media.

    The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that Saudi officials have received multiple credible reports over the last several weeks that Bin Laden has been suffering from a water-borne illness. The source believes that there is a "high probability" that Bin Laden has already died from the disease, but stressed that Saudi officials have thus far received no concrete evidence of Bin Laden's death.

    "This is not a rumor," says the source. "He is very ill. He got a water-related sickness and it could be terminal. There are a lot of serious facts about things that have actually happened. There is a lot to it. But we don't have any concrete information to say that he is dead."

    If he is, will the Bush family pay their respects to the  bin Laden family, being on such good business and personal friend terms with them, or has the family having disowned their son exempt Bush from all pleasantries?
    OBL has been dead for years.
    Death by natural causes, reported in an Egyptian newspaper December 2001 is extremely credible.  This is consistent with the hospitalization in Dubai 4 July 2001 and dialysis in Pakistan hospital on 10 Sept 2001.  Only through heroic efforts was OBL kept alive long enough to play the patsy role.  He is obviously wasting away on death's door in the last authentic video from Fall 2001.  (The fat, right handed, negroid looking, gold ring wearing actor who played Bin Laden in the "confession" video is a disgrace to tradecraft!)  The youthful healthy actor who played Bin Laden in the 2004 election video did a better job, but this video has also been overwhelmingly rejected as fake by arab speakers around the world and by Swiss analysts (not on US payroll).
    At this stage it's rather like discussing the state of Harry Potter's health. Like it or not, you just have to wait for the next instalment of the story to appear!
    The point is though, big brother uses him like the boogie man any time it needs to bolster is war on terror b****hit.

    They can't have him die yet(again), so they will deny it until the ycan 'confirm' it.

    A population in a state of fear is a population that can easily be controlled and manipulated.

    America is upset because the Russians are finally demanding that we pay for oil and gas what it is worth? Gosh, for years the USA has been preaching to them, "Capitalism, capitalism!." Now that they've finally got the hang of it, we're upset.

    As the old saying goes, "Watch what you wish for."

    (R^2 have you seen this?)
    I just ran across this at the Energy Blog:

    Khosla's Four Steps to Promote Ethanol

    CNNMoney.com reports (http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/22/news/economy/ethanol/index.htm) that, speaking at a Cleantech Venture Forum conference in New York City, Sun Microsystems co-founder and ethanol investor Vinod Khosla outlined four steps he said would help the country use more ethanol.

        * a government mandate that 70 percent of all cars sold in the U.S. be flex-fuel - which is having the ability to run on gas, ethanol or other alcohol-based fuels - by 2014, and that 10 percent of all major-branded gas stations in the U.S. sell E85, a fuel that contains 85 percent ethanol.
        * the current government ethanol subsidy of 50 cents a gallon should be based on a sliding scale corresponding to the price of oil: 25 cents a gallon if oil is at $75 a barrel ranging up to 75 cents a gallon if oil falls to $25 a barrel.
        * lifting tariffs on imports of ethanol from Brazil, a move strongly opposed by U.S. farmers, in exchange for increasing corn-derived ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent, a move he said was supported by some in the agriculture industry.
        * it would be up to to industry or the government to pay for these mandates. He said installing the gas pumps would cost something less than a billion dollars and making cars flex-fuel amounts to $35-$100 a vehicle.

    "The president loves biomass, the farmers love biomass, even evangelicals love biomass" because it decreases the county's reliance on the Middle East, he said. "As investors we should make this happen because its good for the country."

    I just ran across this at the Energy Blog

    This is only a blog, being from the BBC this might matter more:

    Biofuels: Green energy or grim reaper?

    It appears balanced at first glance but this seems only a trick to sell GMO by pretending to "rescue" biofuels deficiencies.

    It should be clear by now that Mr. Khosla just wants to set things up so as to ensure that he's able to get his snout in the government ethanol subsidy hog trough.

    Yes, ethanol from corn will make us slightly less dependent on foreign oil, but by the same token, it will make us more dependent upon increasingly tight supplies of natural gas and coal.  And of course he doesn't mention the very real possibility that the increased demand for corn is likely to increase the cost of food. As ethanol gets more and more embedded in our fuel mix, this conflict between fuel and food can only get worse.

    So, the general public is going to get hit with a double whammy: increased taxes to pay for the ethanol subsidy, plus increased food costs due to increased demand for corn. The only parties to benefit from this are Big Agribusiness and ethanol producers, such as Mr. Khosla.

    This guy is one smooth operator, and he sure knows how to work the system. It is but another very good example of how Big Business and politics are hopelessly intertwined, in a very chummy one-hand-washes-the-other relationship.  In the US we have neither a free market system nor a representative political system.

    It just made me do a double-take, because I hadn't seen his spiel outside of TOD.  He's slick all right.  
    Check out this one bit: "The president loves biomass, the farmers love biomass, even evangelicals love biomass" because it decreases the county's reliance on the Middle East, he said. "As investors we should make this happen because its good for the country."

    Hey... the president, yo mamma, and jesus loves it...why don't you love it?  Are you a freedom hatin', jesus despising, terrorist?

    Then there's this: "...increasing corn-derived ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent, a move he said was supported by some in the agriculture industry."

    Which, unless I'm having a bad moment is NOT GOOD.  Because in older vehicles, and newer vehicles not set up with flex fuel in mind, once you start going above 10% you start degrading fuel system components.

    Star Amaranth trader Brian Hunter who "blew up"  sounds remarkably like the character "John the Yield Trader" from Nassim Taleb's excellent book "Fooled by Randomness" (a highly recommended read).
    Biofuel boom worries Latin America

    "It is worrisome that a new economic cycle based on biofuels would trigger the expansion of monoculture crops and, consequently, deforestation," says Délcio Rodrigues, an energy expert with Vitae Civilis, a Brazilian non-governmental organisation that is active in fighting climate change.

    The sugarcane economy is not a good environmental model. In the southeastern state of Sao Paulo, which produces 70 percent of Brazil's alcohol, the companies generally do not obey the Forestry Code, which requires nature preservation of 20 percent of rural properties. Furthermore, the cane fields are burned to facilitate the harvest, which creates serious local air pollution, said Rodrigues in a Tierramérica interview.

    Soy, the main raw material for biodiesel in Brazil, due to its massive current production, "has already become one of the principal factors behind deforestation of the Amazon and the Cerrado, a biome of savannahs and scrub forests that covers the extensive central area of Brazil," said the expert.

    Biodiesel began to be added to petroleum-based diesel in Brazil at a proportion of two percent, and that will be increased to five percent in 2013. The country has opted for H-BIO, a process of hydroconversion developed by the state-run oil giant Petrobras, which adds up to 18 percent plant or animal oil in the petroleum refining process to produce diesel.

    Petrobras has already adapted three of its refineries, and plans to begin production in December, seeking to save on imports of 256 million litres of diesel next year, and a billion litres by 2010. Soybean oil will be the main input. H-BIO will not affect biodiesel because they are complementary, say energy authorities.

    Richard Branson put in $3 billion out of the $7.3 billion Clinton Global Initiative.  Last year's entire meeting was $2.5 billion.

    Here's him with Gore, who convinced him that global warming was real

    Now we just need him to make good on what he said two years ago(mov) - only $1 billion is devoted to for-profit alternative energy research, rather than GW mitigation.

    There's two layers of distraction to get past - the primary focus of the program is on global warming instead of alternative energy, and the media is ignoring even the primary focus to take bullshit potshots as election-year tithe.

    Not sure if this story's been posted already in a diff form, but here's some info on Greenland's ice sheet accelerating into the ocean, which has contributed, by my math, 0.075 inches to world sealevels in the last two years, while southern Greenland temperatures are up by over 4 degrees in the last 20 years.
    U.S. health care a miserable, costly failure

    When compared to nearly two dozen other industrialized countries, the U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy for people who have reached the age of 60.

    Those statistics were part of a sobering new look at the U.S. health care system released today by The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System.[..]

    The study looked at 37 national indicators of health outcomes, quality, access, equity and efficiency and assigned a score to each.
    The U.S. scored an average of 66 out of a possible 100, a failing grade.

    If performance were improved in key areas, the nation could save an estimated 150,000 lives and perhaps as much as $100 billion annually, the report's authors concluded.

    Full report here

    I think our lack of universal health care contributes to our high energy consumption (bear with me, I'll explain).  I don't have any statistics, this is just based on impressions I get from a good chunk of people in my social circle, but it seems to me that alot of people are sick of the rat-race and really would like to simplify, cut back to one income and have one partner stay home with the kids, plant a garden etc.  But quite a few people stay employed just for the health insurance, and a second job makes it more likely to keep it if one person gets laid off, which is pretty much a ubiquitous threat now.  So linking health insurance to employment pushes more people into the job market.  So what are the jobs that most people are doing?  Building McMansions and strip malls, pushing the papers to get mortgages, retailing disposable plastic crap from China, importing disposable plastic crap from China - basically big wastes of energy, not to mention everybody's drive to these jobs.  So, provide universal health care, fewer people need to be in the job market, less energy gets consumed.  The downside of course is that we would all be dying in the streets waiting for an MRI like those poor Canadians
    and reducing energy consumption would improve health as well  cleaner air and more exercise no doubt would be a big help  i didnt count but consume appears in your post a number of times really it is time for a paradyme shift away from our consumption based economy
    Johnny: Average life expectancy is higher in Canada. Don't know how our hospitals compare to the USA on average, but many studies have shown that the positive impact of hospitals in general on the population's health and life expectancy is highly exaggerated. As an example, Costa Rica has a life expectancy similar to the USA while spending a relative pittance.  
    I was joking about people dying in the streets in Canada.  There is alot of opposition to universal health care in the US and this opposition makes it sound like people are suffering in countries with universal health care, even though these countries have longer life expectancies than us, and I was trying to make fun of that.  It was a careless use of sarcasm on my part.
    Johnny: My sarcasm detector is really weak today. Another interesting stat I read (don't know if it is accurate) is that 50% of health care premiums in the USA go to cover insurance company expenses and administration (basically parasitic overhead). Pretty staggering stat if it is accurate.
    Don't know if your figure is accurate either but it is a fact that we spend an enormous amount of money on paperwork and bureaucracy in the healthcare system.
    and the parasite trial lawyers
    $100 billion annually

    That would probably mean 500,000 people in the medical/insurance field losing their job.  The system is set up to waste money, not save money.

    Everybody talks about saving money on health care in the United States.  Everybody ignores the fact that that is the only field of employment that is growing.  We start saving money on health care, and this country is even more screwed than it already is.

    More rhetoric supporting the idea that resource wars [trade] are imminent.