ASPO-USA: 2006 Boston World Oil Conference

2006 Boston World Oil Conference, Time for Action: A Midnight Ride for Peak Oil. Co-Hosted by ASPO-USA and Boston University.

ASPO-USA announces our second "Dialogue with the Experts," a high-level conference to discuss impacts of and responses to a peak in world oil production.

Dates Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27, 2006 (plus pre- and post-conference events)
Location Boston University; Boston, Massachusetts

Speakers include Matt Simmons, Richard Heinberg, and many others, including our own Stuart Staniford. This is a conference you can't afford to miss!
This is a conference you can't afford to miss!
This is a conference I can't afford to go to.  Have you seen the price of GAS lately?
can we pay a fee and skype in?
Skyping in would save a lot of airfare and CO2 emissions. I'm not sure if ASPO is that green.


Have YOU seen the price of gas lately?  I don't know where you are, but in the South (KY, TN, AL) I can get it for $2.29.  Sadly, I drive a Diesel, so I would still pay out the wazoo, with the gas/Diesel spread as wide as I have EVER seen it, a fantistic 40 to 50 cents a gallon in this area (!!!)  Another "conservation" effort of mine that has now blown up in my face, as that works out to an $8.00 penelty for every 20 gallon fill up! :-(  :-(  :-(  Astounding.

I could afford the fuel, though, to go to Boston.  However, as most of these conferences always seem to, this one falls right in the busiest season where I work, and I will be demanded to not only work regular hours, but much overtime  (ahhhh, how I must envy those with free schedules to go to these events in these "hard, hard" economic times!  (irony intended!)

The other deal breaker would be the cost of registristration, a fantastic $240 bucks for the public.  I went to an energy conference in the late 1970's in Louisville, Kentucky, displaying the wares of solar manufacturers, wind turbine designers, a hydrogen car and promotion for the "syn fuel plant" that was to be built on the Ohio River in Kentucky, intended to convert KY coal to a liquid fuel (gee does all this sould familiar?).  Even the Governor of the state, at that time John Y. Brown Jr., helicoptered in to made all the press.  The cost of admission was $15 dollars, (it was a lot to me then!), but a very educational experience for me then, I still treasure many of the ideas it opened up to me.  

Sadly, many of the companies displaying there that day, and the young technicians and adventerous business people showing their products would soon be out of business, as the oil price began to fall and then collapse, destroying the alternative energy industry, and losing much of the ground they had made.

Oh, one more minor point.  If you look at the cost of these type of "Conferences" from then to now, you will see that the price of conferences has inflated at easily several times the inflation of crude oil and gasoline, despite the so called "catastrophic" and economy threatening rise in fuel prices   (!!!!!!)   Kind of makes you think......, he said with furrowed brow?.:-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

  1. I thought Stuart Staniford was dead.

  2. I paid BU tens of thousands of dollars over a number of years. Could I have a free ticket?

  3. Why was the early registration discount moved? Could it be that nobody is signing up for these ridiculously high prices.

  4. I already paid Matt Simmons $29.95 or whatever for the harcover. Why would I pay this kind of money to hear him tell me stuff I already know and dodge my questions?

  5. What are these high prices designed for? So only Oil CEO's can sign up? My hairdresser in Kenmore square wants to go, she says she's always been a huge fan of Heinberg, but these prices are keeping her at home. She says she's sad, but reruns of Desperate Housewives are going to have to fill the bill.

  6. These prices are ridiculous. The only people that can afford this are the Saudi students at Hairiri's new Business school. Next to the Burger King. You know where it is. The people you really want are the full-time working adults who take night classes and are paying $25 to park when the Sox are in town.

  7. Peak oil is screwed if it is going to take this pay-to-play elitist attitude.

  8. Where does the money go?

  9. What is going to happen when people figure out that Stuart is dead? Does everybody get a refund?

  10. Yeah. I will be there. And I'll pay full price if I have to. Study-up for any question and answer sessions you're planning on doing.

ouch!  This is gonna' be a tough crowd! :-)

Roger  ThatsItImout

Wry wit and dry humor. Hard to do consistently but the man is a master at it, I do observe. Hats off! Right hand salute! I only saw it this well on some old Y2K forums and yet I note that the questions are valid still in all.(this is called a 'suckup')

I too live in Ky and I  did go by 2 wheels to the last IBM stockholders meeting in Louisville held there some time back(2002 or so). I vowed then that Looeyville would be permanently off my list of travel to cities. I suffered 50 miles of hard rain on the return , sans DryRider yet, if this event were to be in L'ville I would pay the money and go. Boston is out of the question for me and the number of wheels would not change that.


Too bad the Brown,
is not in Elizabethtown.  

Hi Oil CEO,

22 speakers in 2 days! That's nuts. Explains the price.

Personally, I can't stand Heinberg and his (ASPO's) depletion protocol. He wants countries to ration oil use to keep the price down. That just keeps us dependant on oil instead of doing alternatives. If you go to the conference, ask him why he's such an (economic) jerk.

PS I'm listening to Jimi Hendrix right now. Those were the days. Cheap gas, big V8s and little things like optimism.

He wants countries to ration oil use to keep the price down. That just keeps us dependant on oil instead of doing alternatives.

Uh?  If it's rationed there will be plenty of reason to "do alternatives".  There will be some black market, but at high prices.  Even the legit stuff will be expensive, but not as volatile as would be without rationing.  I suppose some will object to such non-market ideas, but it'll be rationing in any case, even if based on price.  Want the rich to drive hummers and the poor to freeze in the dark?  You're sure you'll be one of the rich?  The "free market" is about to fail spectacularly, time for new ideas.  And tradeable quotas are a market mechanism too.

Problem with rationing is ppl blame the govt for the shortages, and focus goes to any cheaters or insiders rather than the source of the problem. Still, it may be necessary at some point...
Globalized Market Failure....ooops.
Registration for scientific conferences of 2/3 days usually cost something between 400 and 600 €.

Registration for ASPO-5 costed 150 €.


I can't compare. I'm so poor I can't even understand these numbers. Plus, I've never been to a single one of these conferences. Probably because I can't afford a plane ticket. Please compare for me. I am grateful my sister let's me look at her computer.
Early registration for Hydrovision (1 day longer, less compensation for speakers, 4 sessions concurrent, 2,000+ attendees) was $650.  Large exhibition hall got more $ from commerical companies exhibiting.

Best Hopes,


It looks like volunteering to help is the way to get a zero cost ticket.

And echoing CEO's concerns - Stuart where are you?

Not heard from Don Sailorman for a long while either - Don - do you fancy a sailing trip to Scotland - I could meet you on the west coast.

Stuart is a Brit and is probably taking a European size vacation.
I understand the pain in deciding whether to spend your hard-earned money to attend a conference, which includes a collection of speakers - some of whom you've heard from before, or you may have read their books.   "Am I going to learn anything new from this?" is a legitimate question.

And we're exquisitely aware of the irony of burning quantities of fossil fuels to bring together 500 people to talk about alternatives to fossil sources, and using less fossil fuels, and climate change, among other topics.

Put this in the context of the mission of ASPO-USA.  We intend to make a difference.  Not by preaching to the choir, obviously, but by provoking a broad-based non-partisan discussion about energy policy, climate change, and personal commitment to reducing our individual impacts on the resources and climate of this planet.  Face it: most U.S. citizens only know about energy via the price of gasoline or the cost of winter heating, and they're oblivious to the myriad forces that determine that price, depletion in particular.  We need to break through that barrier and get people to understand what's happening, to start thinking about it, and finally to begin doing something about it.  We know this is a necessary prerequisite to achieving anything like a "soft landing" on the downslope of the depletion curve.

We're not deluding ourselves into thinking we're going to save the world.  But we are committed to doing what we can to raise the visibility of energy issues, to advocate for change, and to act as a credible source of information to counter some of the cornucopian proclamations like the recent statements from CERA.  If 500 to 700 people walk out of Boston University's conference center with their eyes opened and their heads filled with a lot more useful and credible information than they had before, and if they each talk to their colleagues, friends, and neighbors, and if the  conference gets some national as well as regional TV and newspaper coverage, we've begun to succeed.  It's very hard to turn the present supertanker of national policy around, the inertia is huge, but we have to push it every way we know how.

As far as presentation content and your personal enlightenment, we're working closely with presenters to ensure that each collection of talks covers the topic in as much depth as time allows, without overlap, and with new material wherever possible.  We can't cover every aspect of each topic, obviously, as we only have 20-some presentation hours to work with spread across 3 days, with non-podium time for questions, breaks, and meals.

To briefly address the financial aspect - at the risk of exposing some of the boring / unseemly / scary machinations of conference organising:

  1. I'm sure you realize nobody's going to make a profit on this; BU and ASPO-USA are doing their best to break even, and if revenues don't meet expenses, it comes out of our PERSONAL pockets.  How many people would be willing to make that kind of commitment?

  2. The Denver conference had expenses just north of $100K, and income matched expenses almost exactly.  Smart, or lucky? we don't speculate.  We just hope to do as well this time around.

  3. Biggest expense is food - for 4 meals, plus mid-AM and mid-PM snacks, we're spending over $70 per person.  I suppose we could consider a category of attendee who pays less, and supplies all their own food - but most conference attendees expect to be fed, and it would be enormously disruptive and time-consuming for the entire audience to head out onto the streets of Boston looking for take-out lunch and returning for a lunchtime speaker.  That's a non-starter for an efficient conference.

  4. Other fixed expenses obviously are travel and hotel expenses, for our speakers.  No way around this; air travel and hotels in Boston aren't cheap.  

Thanks for your considered comments and interest.


   Dick Lawrence

Good points. So do I get a free ticket?
Oil CEO,
  Send me a copy of your 2005 federal tax return and we'll decide if you qualify for a free ticket.

Or, you could just volunteer a few hours of your time and reduce those exhorbitant expenses.

Dick Lawrence

Why hold it in Boston? There must be cheaper places for hotels and airfare (las vegas comes to mind).
It might be cheaper for some of the expenses in Vegas, but I doubt if you could find a co-sponser like Boston Univ. They pay the university a fee but I know it is less then what they had to pay last year in Denver for where the Conference was held. I think they also want to hold it in different secions of the country different years.

Besides, in Vegas everyone would be out gambling. We are already gambling with our future with Peak Oil.

Hello TODers,

Unfortunately, I cannot afford the time and money for ASPO-USA either, but I hope Chris Skrebowski can display his countdown with a big display on the main meeting hall wall--aren't we down to about 1430 days left [if my failing memory is correct]?

Has Chris explicitly defined when he expects the 'rearview mirror' method to confirm his prediction?  I think 24 months of world production declines should be adequate for a crystal clear rearview mirror.  This should eliminate any short-term distortional statistic effects caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and short wars like the recent Lebanese-Israeli battles.

I enjoy the changing quote box in the top right corner--clever idea.  May I make a suggestion for a TOD countdown clock to join the rotation?

My gut-feel is that most of us here on TOD have a 'peakoil window' between Deffeyes's and Stuart Staniford's Peakoil is about now and Skrebowski's and Duncan's Olduvai approximation of roughly 1500 days till the Peak rollover.  I think a countdown clock joining the rotation will help keep us at our TODer best.  If new info comes in, either pro or con, the homecrew of TOD principals can mutually decide to either add days or subtract even more days from the countdown [Yikes!] until the 'rear view mirror' method is crystal clear for the experts.

Should we split the above difference and start the clock at 750 days till confirmation by the rear-view mirror method?  That is where I am at, but I will accept whatever the Senior Staff of Prof. Goose, HO, SS, Dave Cohen, Leanan, and RR decide.

Then, all the rest of the forum membership can refer to this clock in their postings to numerically justify their Peakdate prediction and resulting confirmation.  In short, we will all be forced to be more factually rigorous in our postings unless we state our posting is to be considered as speculation as most of my feeble posts are.

For example: IMO, TODers Khebab & Westexas, and Darwinian have done a excellent empirical job for their Peakoil predictions, which is now--I think they would accept 750 days as sufficient time for the rear-view mirror method to confirm their prognostications now [but hey guys, feel feel to choose your own numbers!].  Perhaps Halfin, Freddy Hutter, and LouGrinzo would choose numbers greater than 1500 days.  Of course, we already know Yergin would choose infinity, and beyond!!!!

I hope Chris Skrebowski makes everyone at ASPO-USA pick a countdown number, as he has done, along with a confirmation date & criteria too--Kudos to him for having the cojones!

I wish we could pass a law requiring every IOC & NOC to prominantly display their internal predicted Peakdate & Confirmation date and criteria on their respective websites too.  Same for organizations like MMS, IEA, USGS, CERA, DOE, etc.  Then we would all see less MSM confusion and a bigger push for true data transparency by auditing as Matt Simmons suggests in "Twilight in the Desert".

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

Bob,  why would 24 months be anywhere near enough time to prove peak in the rearview?  Look at the 1980's, and you will see that production can drop for a decade (maybe more) and it proves nothing.

By the way, I pulled the chart from a third party website, simply because it was the clearest ASPO chart available, but it is already out of date, in that it was based on numbers showing the world never reaching 85 mbd, EVER, which of course it already has....this is a fast moving target we're shooting at.

I enjoyed your post, but would not see how anyone, even years out, will be able to prove when peak occured.  The closest we could get might be peak all liquids but with NGL and natural gas advancing into liquids by way of GTL even that number is useless.  But I take Laharrere's 2020 on that one...peak crude may have already occured (depending on how you count heavy oil, because viscosity can be moved, and the heavy vs. light designation is purely a legal one), but we don't know if it is geological peak or logistical peak (i.e. like the 1980's), and it would be hard to know until a decade after the fact.  

I know this makes people mad when you say it, but the whole "waiting for the return of the gods, especially the great one, PEAK!, is becoming a bore.

The exciting ones are the ones building solutions.

Is that a blast or WHAT?!  PLEASE, just one or two laps around Silverstone or Elkhart Lake in this baby!! :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Hello Roger,

Thxs for responding.  I agree that focusing on solutions is best too, but I think the clock can help serve the purpose of concentrating this focus as the days tick away.  I will leave it to the expertise of the TOD Senior Staff as to countdown amount and the criteria for a clear rear view mirror for the follow on confirmation date.

The Peakclock = 0 for Deffeyes already, has been since Dec. '05.  I need to start reading to see what criteria he expects to confirm his position.  It maybe as simple as: if monthly crude production nevers exceeds the Dec. '05 amount in the next five years, and the lowest amount is 80% of his Peakdate, then he is proven correct.  Therefore, his confirmation clock= 5 x 365 = 1825 days - 9 months[270]= roughly 1550 days.

Roger, what is your criteria for your crystal clear rear view mirror?

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


Roger, what is your criteria for your crystal clear rear view mirror?

First, let me admit, I am at a lose.  I really don't know.   I have never been able to accept the ability to time and prove peak accurately as I have made clear.

I am certain that due to the risk of peak within ten to even twenty years, we must be getting the alternatives (and I, unlike many here, do accept that there are alternatives that will be even superior to crude oil, I have never accepted crude as a "omnipotent" fuel in the way many do...I think there are other alternatives more secure, cleaner by far, and better for a nation of our population and design) and due to the greenhouse risk, we must reduce consuption NOW and have put more thinking there than in "peak" and timing per se....

But, I don't want to cop out either....I would think that anything about 100 mbd (million barrel per day) worldwide would be unsustainable for long, purely from a logistical point of view if not a geological one, so that would put us at within 15 mbd now, and if you accept most of the conjecture, we would arrive at 100 mbd around 2015 to 2020.  That's my loose fitting working assumption, but how to get a clock from that number (remember, if technology breaks out  (takeoff on the line from the movie, "if this peace bug breaks out...:-), we could have a very shocking downslide in demand....which kills my confecture)...

So, if we are not at 95 mbd by 2015, and still not there by 2020 all liquids, (?) would that qualify, being no number over 95 mbd for the five years between 2015 amd 2020?  That really doesn't work either though, because there could be a recession or a geo-political issue for at least that long (ala WWII was a half decade, as has been the Iraq war), so how would that affect things?  

I am giving myself a headache, and coming up with absolutely nothing valid, so let me go this route...if we have not topped and held for at last 3 of the next 6 years 90 mbd, then we are probably peaked, or straining so hard that we might as well proof, no three years somewhere in the period out  to 2012 at 90 mbd plus.

Bob, I have to be honest, the attempt at this exercise has given me real reason to ask myself about the whole direction of my own thinking, and caused me to realize that I have, even though I disavow it, gotten my own thinking far too bogged down in the "time the peak" movement, or even the "guess next years production" gaming.  Hmmm, time for some thinking on this, but first, sleep!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout


Hello Roger,

Thxs for your thoughtful reply--I agree it is difficult to reach solid criteria for a global definition of a crystal clear rear view mirror.  After trying my best to ELP, for me personally, my Peakoil roller-coaster downslope ride begins when finances get so tight that I am forced to choose between food vs minimal electricity for a small refrigerator and stove.   Loss of ICE transport, loss of computer and phone access, even the loss of hot water, heating, swamp-cooling, and house-lighting is no big deal in my mind.

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

Happy to see Stuart on the speakers list. Does anybody know what issue(s) will he tackle?

I congratulate the organizers for inviting Samsam Bakhtiari.