DrumBeat: September 9, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 09/09/06 at 9:21 AM EDT]

Shell Says Cost, Lack of Gas Are Slowing Saudi Plans

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said a lack of natural gas and rising construction costs are slowing down the planned expansion of a chemicals plant in Saudi Arabia that it owns with Saudi Basic Industries Corp.

The plans call for expanding the Saudi Arabia Petrochemical Co., or Sadaf, petrochemicals complex in Jubail by adding a second plant for the production of ethylene, a gas derivative commonly used to make chemicals. The project is suffering from a shortage of natural gas in the country, said Robert Weener, the chairman of Shell Companies in Saudi Arabia, yesterday at a London conference.

[Update by Super G on 09/09/06 at 9:54 AM EDT] Paul Salopek has been freed from prison in the Sudan. He is author of the Chicago Tribune's great series on peak oil.
[Update by Leanan on 09/09/06 at 9:47 AM EDT]

Gaffes prompt re-examination of BP CEO's record

"People will ask why has BP been able to keep costs so low and to pay so much cash back to shareholders in dividends and buybacks. Has it been at the expense of necessary maintenance?" Hoozemans said.

BP corrosion expert job open year before spill

Problems in the pipeline. Jeremy Leggett asks:

In June Lord Browne tried to persuade the markets that the oil price will come down again to $25 at some point, and he regularly insists that premature peak of production is a fiction. Investors should perhaps ask themselves two things. Would you buy a used refinery from this man? And, if the answer to that one is no, is it wise to believe him on peak oil?

Experts Debate Energy Issues and Outlook

Following Wednesday’s presentation on peak oil by Craig R. Smith, President and CEO of Swiss America Trading Corp. and co-author of Blackgold Stranglehold, the notorious non-believer of the peak oil theory, Dr. Michael Economides of the University of Houston & Texas Energy Center, delivered a presentation on energy and the peak oil debate. Later in the day, both Smith and Economides together participated in a discussion panel. Both addressed a number of important issues.

The Hubbert Parabola

Massive Oil Find In Gulf of Mexico Brings Gloom to 'Peak Oil' Pranksters

I hate to say "I told you so," but the news of a big new oil discovery by Chevron and two partners in the Gulf of Mexico confirms what I've been saying for years: Oil is not scarce. Big Oil's price manipulators only want us to think it is.

Clarification of the Huge Chevron Gulf Oil Discovery

Non-OPEC production plentiful in next 5 years

Substantial increases in oil production in Africa and the former Soviet Union, along with slowing demand, will put the squeeze on oil cartel OPEC in the next five years, a strategic analyst said on Thursday.

"There's enough non-OPEC supply to meet demand," said Sarah Emerson, managing director of Energy Security Analysis Inc.

Acoustic Data May Reveal Hidden Gas, Oil Supplies

Bigger IEA Role Needed in Oil Market

The International Energy Agency needs to be more active in releasing crude oil from its stocks to help calm volatile oil markets, as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is doing enough on its part to supply the market, a former OPEC president said Friday.

Can’t see the Future for the Trees

According to Business Week, ethanol is the ‘white-knight fuel’. Recent studies from the University of Minnesota claim biodiesel is even better.

I think both contribute to the very problems they seek to address.

Peak oil in Yellow Springs Ohio

ASPO-USA Peak Oil Convention in Boston has extended the early-registraton period

Plug-in hybrids get big push from Calif. utility

LOS ANGELES - California's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., is asking its 5.1 million customers to petition automakers to speed up development of plug-in electric-gasoline hybrid vehicles.

Along with their power and gas bills for September, PG&E customers are getting a request to lobby the automakers.

I'll just throw this out there.


Shows where prices have been and where they "should be" if they ever get there. No need to worry. Long way to go. Hehe.

So $100 oil/barrel = $4.00 gasoline?
Yeah, if you wanna look at it that way. But basically this is saying it could happen anywhere from $3.60 to $4.40. There's a huge range obviously. But you can see it here. The same holds true vertically for oil, depending on gasoline. I've got another one using numbers going back to 2002. Different, but not by much.
Let's see the one with the numbers going back to 2002!

It gives different numbers. I don't think it matters. You can take your pick. I didn't use the pink on this one. I'll explain details if you ask.

It's a nice graph.  I've always wondered about he relationship, but I am also wondering if it's valid to use a straight line. The price of gas may be  more asymptotic as the price of oil approaches a particular value.  You can almost see that kind of  behavior in tail of the graph.

PS: Don't let the use of the word "asymptotic" fool anyone into thinking I know how to do the math involved.  I haven't used those parts of my brain in 20 years.

I made these about two months ago I think. Nothing has really changed since then.

I was originally interested in knowing when we might hit $4 gasoline, or what gasoline would cost at $100 oil.

Here's the deal - I keep very close track of average gasoline and oil prices(in the US) as most of you know. In fact I make my own averages out of daily prices. So the numbers are cool.

So it's a simple plot with excel. You match a week's oil price with the price of retail gasoline. Two columns. I use raw numbers and moving averages, I can manipulate them any way I want, and I do, and I found there wasn't much difference in this particular case, so I just stuck with my four-week averages. You can see in the one how the pink correlation, which was one shift variation I used doesn't really differ too much from the blue. In fact, I removed the pink trendline in that case because it almost perfectly overlapped the shown blue one. In other words, the dots may be in different places, the trends are not.

Then I let excel draw what it calls a "trendline" through the datapoints. This is the line in the middle.

I then used the drawing function in Excel to copy that line (twice) and moved those copied lines north and south and extended them to form what looks like the barrel of a gun.

I moved those parallel "outriggers" to just about the outer bounds of where the known points lay. I don't know if they hold the key to the future.

I did one graph with data from Jan 2002 to present and one from Jan 2004 to present.

The best part about these two graphs and why they are two of my favorites is the fact that they work for me.

Uh, yeah, to actually answer this question - I have no idea. I stare at this stuff for days and play with it certain ways and think about asymptotes and higher-level polynomials and whatever you got. I got no answers. Throw me in a room with Khebab, a computer, a pencil, and a stack of graph paper and I'm sure we could come up with something. There's a couple other things you could throw in that room but I won't mention them here.
I guess I'm just wondering if the psychology and market forces are the same between the price a refinery is willing to pay at any given time and what a consumer is willing to pay.  A consumer is more likely to panic and pay any price. While a refinery will have long term contracts and savvy purchasing agents willing to negotiate down to the last cent.   I would also thing that at a certain price the government will step in with rationing.  This would create a black market with even higher prices.  

It's and interesting concept to ponder.  Eventually reality will step in and give us an answer.

 Our current government believes only in rationing by price. In other words, poor people can do without. And they count on apathy, we didn't protest the election frauds in two succesive national elections, we have allowed our votes to be manipulated by fraudulent refusals to count and by illegitematly disenfranchising huge numbers of people- oh shit, they're right! Mexicans have more cojones!
could adult beverages be one of them?
I was thinking more like basic office supplies. It's amazing what you can achieve with paper clips, magic markers, and a stapler.
Fishing trip

Or should that be fission trip?

CEO - nice charts - I've grabbed both for my TOD folder that now has so much stuff in I can't find anything.

I'm working on a post on demand destruction - so here's the $50,000 question - at what gasoline price do Americans stop driving, start sharing, trade down to SUVs from Hummers.  Where is the pain threshold?

And here's the fishing part - how about doing the same for the UK (I can hear you howling).

There is an interesting paradox about the different tax regimes in Europe and the US.  In the US you have low tax, burn gas like there is no tomorrow, but when the price of crude goes up you get the full force at the gas pump - I think your blue line shows a 1:1 correlation - did xl really draw that?

In Europe, we have a lot more tax and this acts to de-gear the price rises at the pump - so crude prices will have to go a lot higher before we begin to howl.  In other words there may be different demand destruction regimes in the US and Europe.

UK premium "petrol" is around £1 / litre right now - that's $7 / US gallon (this sum has been checked by all members of my family apart from the dogs).

So here'e the potentially clever part.  Higher prices in Europe are compensated for by normally smaller more fuel efficient cars.  So on average, does it cost the same for Europeans and Americans to drive 100 miles?

Fusion, I'd prefer. 50 megatons and more rocks my boat.
On a serious note, I'm considering your questions, each and every one, very carefully. The UK sets a great example that the US needs to mirror if it wants to survive. And it will. It has no choice. You already know this. And you also know we will be working more closely soon.
Uk is different than most of US, with regards to the transportation infrastructure. Many small towns (pop-50K) also have a bus system, and the trains that will take you into London. Most every town has a highstreet with all the necessary shops, where parking is largely restricted or very tight.
And the parking is metered, where lovely Rita, the meter maid checks your ticket, and may often write you one.

The US is mostly sprawled out, where a car is necessary to get from one point to the next. There is not really an efficient transportation infrastructure, much less a good bus system. New Orleans, Chicago, New York City are the ones that come to mind for me, maybe Boston too, where transportation infrastructure excels.

I don't think the US could reburbish a medium sized town in short order to accomodate the infrastructure. esp. a town of 50K or more.
Clearly most of the US population is East Coast, West Coast and Gulf Coast to some extent Florida.
The rest of the nation is really mostly small towns where a railroad comes through or the Interstate Highways pass by. Of course each state has its populated cities, St. louis MO, or Shreveport, LA. Las Vegas NV, Denver, CO etc...
But the rest of the nation is either farming, forests or desert!
in a nutshell.

What I've noticed at least here in Michigan gas price is about $/bbl/42+$1. This makes $100/bbl work out to $3.38/gal.
I'm using the Triple-A(AAA) average weekly price for retail. I've noticed over the years that it is pretty goddamn accurate. There's a wide swing on this price, which you note. State to State, station to station, this swing is huge. I'm hoping you and others with start to follow the national trend and peg your local situations to the average. It's hard. I know. But I've done it myself

When my family and my relatives discuss gasoline prices with me, I gotta re-adjust. But that's OK. I just gotta move by about 20 cents. It ain't no big deal. I do this because I have a larger agenda and I can accomodate.

Yes. I have a larger agenda. It's called Peak Oil.

This is an issue some of us deal with here.

I'm doing my homework on the restoration of regional passenger rail. We have a lot going on around the NYC region, which I've been writing more about on the NYC Page. NJ Transit is expanding rapidly with another trans-Hudson tunnel (2013?) and considering links to Scranton (2012?) if they do that they might further link up to Binghamton and Syracuse. New York's MTA is effectively doubling Long Island's rail capacity with the East Side Access project (2013) and building the Second Ave. Subway (first phase complete in 2012), extending the #7 train (2010?). BRT is coming in 2008 In 5-10 years a whole a transportation infrastructure will be in place with a much higher level of service and capacity. We have also seen a nice uptick in mass transit usage in the region.

What's going on in other areas? What mass transit infrastructure is in the works? or serious planning stages?

SERIOUS birth control by Bush Administration

Two biggest are Miami and Denver.  Miami has local funding (over 25 years) for a total of 103 miles of "Subway in the Sky".  90% of current population within 3 miles of a station, half within 2 miles, many within walking or bicycling distance.  In 2004, I saw 15 of 23 building cranes within 3 blocks of a Metro station, so TOD is taking off.

By 2013, Miami should have Phase I finished.  Basically a mirror image of the euro sign.

TriRail commuter rail from West Palm Beach to Miami airport just finished double tracking.  This allows faster, more reliable, more frequent service (and late trains as well).  It will be interesting to see ridership changes.

Where has the Bush Administration controled growth of rail - through financing formulas? or what specifically?

I have seen Denver's system, which is really nice.

Thanks Alan.

They are pushing BRT, Bus "Rapid Transit" (which has zero TOD effect and uses oil and has lower ridership, as well as a number of disaster projects).

They lowered FTA matching from 80% to 50% for new rail projects; but AFAIK, a city can still get 80% for BRT.  The hurdles are MUCH lower if a city opts for BRT instead of rail.

Several cities are recent "drop=outs" for rail. Indianopolis was the latest.

Best Hopes,


Hello AlanfromBigEasy,

Alan, as always, I am impressed with your RR & Mass-transit knowledge.  You are probably aware of the nominee for Transportation Secretary, Mary Peters, who hails from Arizona.  During her time in Az: this was the greatest period of freeway expansion and suburban sprawl in the Asphalt Wonderland.  I certainly hope that is not the mindset she will take to our Capital, but a Google search brings up some pessimistic editorials-- see "HIGHWAY TO HELL" at Jerome a Paris's website: dailykos.  May I suggest you try to contact/email her before she is overwhelmed by lobbyists?  Perhaps, if both of you are in AZ, you could arrange a meeting with her to present your viewpoints, or invite her to speak at the next ASPO-USA conference upcoming in Boston.


Sorry, I sure wish I had the political connections to arrange an formal introduction, or get her to email you her confidential email address.  Such is life.

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

Quick wishnote: I can't imagine a greater breakthrough success for TOD than for the new DOT Secretary to get RR & Alan on her executive staff.  One can dream!

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

Nashville opens the first leg of their commuter rail project Monday, September 18th. It is the first of an eventual 6 pointed star configuration linking downtown Nashville with the surrounding 8 counties.


That's very nice. When will the other legs individually or whole project be completed?

For everyone else's benefit, here's a nice picture of the system when it's completed.

Commuter rail is totally the new Interstate Highway system!

Well, it is an ongoing process. The first route is Nashville - Mt. Juliet - Lebanon, roughly parralelling I-40 Westbound. It took 8 years to become a reality.

The next leg will be Nashville - Hendersonville - Gallatin, roughly paralelling I-65 Northbound.  However, the involved governmental entities (city, county, and state govts, plus the regional transportation commission) are working towards pulling the funds together to pay for the initial long range transportation study for that corridor and county pairing, estimated to run $800,000,as we speak.

The support for the light rail is evident in city and county governments, and the demand for it will only become greater as this first leg shows the rest of the metro area what commuting is all about.

The Nashville Tennnessean Newspaper has been on the side of light rail for at least the last couple of years, and has provided decent coverage of the ins and outs of the project over that last 8 years.


I forgot to mention that the Lebanon - Nashville branch was undertaken first because of the railroad that owns the tracks, The Tennessee Central a local shortline that also runs a railroad museum and train excursion, was willing to share its tracks with the commuter rail project.

The most populous corridor, the Nashville - Brentwood - Franklin - Columbia route, paralleling I-65 Southbound, was stymied by CSX not being willing to share its tracks, claiming that there is no excess capacity.

The Nashville - Hendersonville - Gallatin segment due to be built next is also along CSX tracks, and will become a test case for figuring out how to deal with convincing a recalcitraint CSX to play nice.

Nashville, and then Austin, are being looked at with interest.

Every other city in the world (AFAIK) built commuter rail AFTER building a local urban rail system.  

Salt Lake City and Portland are more typical.  Both have working Light Rail lines and are about to add commuter rail (diesel on freight lines) to feed existing Light Rail lines.

Miami has an elevated "Rapid rail" system (think subway) and a TriRail commuter rail line that feeds it.  NYC and DC have subways at their commuter train stations to move people around.

The question is "How easy is it to get to destinations from the Nashville train station without a circulating light rail system ?"

BTW, I will post differences between commuter rail, light rail, rapid rail and streetcars soon.

Nashville is offering free shuttles or bus service to work. They've even got a system to connect you with a city bus for free if the shuttles don't go by where you work.

You also have free parking at all of the stations outside of downtown, for those who do not live close enough to walk to the stations.


Elsewhere shuttle transfers for the "last mile" have had disappointing ridership #s.  Some of course, but a major drop vs. transfers to Urban Rail.

This is not what I would have designed, but it will be interesting to see what develops.  I wonder how many people with go to Nashville, transfer and go to another suburb ?

A streetcar circulator system that serves the State Capital, downtown and the train system would be a useful adjunct.

I quite agree with you. I also wonder if they are going to be running free shuttles to, or adding a spur to the airport from the closest station.

As for shuttles in the downtown area, Nashville already has a well established trolley bus system in the downtown area. I expect that your ticket for the train will serve as a pass for the trolley.

Shuttles get stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. Why would you want to do that?

That said, when I lived in Stamford, my own building set up a shuttle system to Connect to MetroNorth which was beautiful and free. It was their enticement to Manhattan commuters.

I agree with your assesment on the traffic woes. I do not agree with their lack of redeveloping a true trolley system (Nashivlle was one of the cities that GM/Standard Oil/Firestone bought out and tore up their trolley system)

However, Nashville has been working against a populace that is  clueless on the benefits of or need for light rail, hence the 8 year gestation period for this first leg.

I think the current plan is a start, but not the best solution it could be.

In the Grand Rapids area the majority of commutes bypass downtown. It's mostly suburb to suburb with the heaviest travel south of town. It's just a guess but I believe the suburb to suburb pattern is typical of most urban areas. The Nashville plan ignores this tendency.
Ideally a transit rail system would follow a spoke and rim layout allowing riders a shorter commute between suburban locations. For instance why would a commuter who lives in Gallitan but works in Lebanon bother with a train ride into and then out of downtown Nashville?
Your point is one that I have voiced myself. I think the plan we have will help, bit it is not what it could be. The current plan bypasses the airport, in my opinion a major no-no for transportation planning. I agree that the needed rim routes are missing.

However in its defense, Nashville's development pattern has been to spread out along the spokes of the interstate system which has 3 major interstates  (I-24, I-40, I-65) which meet at the downtown core. It has evolved into a TOD style pattern, based around the interstates rather than rail. Most commutes from one spoke to another involves a trip into the downtown area on the interstates, as the congestion of the local streets between the spokes render the interstates a quicker route (unless there is a wreck along the inner loop).

The current plan for the most part parrallels these spokes. I believe the hope is that the spokes will allow the rail system to capture the current commuting along the interstate system.

Twin Cities, MN has a recently-completed light rail line from DT Minneapolis to the airport (and Mall of America). That line hit 10 million riders in 17 months.

They are in the budgeting phase of a new light rail line to (finally) connect DT Minneapolis w/ DT St. Paul, and there is a regional commuter route also in final budgeting phase that will run to the northern suburban fringe.

Thanks - do you know of a good link to read more about this?
Dallas has a light rail line under construction and another in planning that will double the size of their network, from 45 miles now to 93 miles by 2013. Information can be found on their DART's expansion page.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority has a 6-mile extension to their Gold Line light rail under construction to East Los Angeles, and will break ground on an 8.5 mile light rail line on Exposition Boulevard this year. The county is studying three new rail extensions - The "Subway to the Beach" (a continuation of the Red Line subway along Wilshire Boulevard to Santa Monica), a second phase of the Exposition line from Culver City to Santa Monica, and an eastward extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Montclair. A number of rapid bus and bus rapid transit lines are funded as well.

This is quite a turn around from a few years back, when MTA's rail program was widely ridiculed, and Westside politicians stopped the Wilshire Subway from extending west. The current Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, is a big rail booster and promoter of transit-oriented development, and former foes of the subway like County Supervisor Yaroslavsky and Congressman Waxman are making conciliatory comments about the Wilshire subway.

Thanks - that's very helpfult Rose
Portland is working on the Green Line (goes straight south ~6.5 miles from junction of Red Line with Blue Line) in East Portland.

In West Portland the Green Line goes on bus only mall and then to Portland State University.  This is at right angles to Red, Blue & Yellow lines.

They are also working on commuter line that feeds into Red & Blue Lines just west of the mountian at Beaverton, west of West Portland.

Streetcar plans to be on both sides of river instead of just West Portland.  Still a smaller system.

Maps at


click magnifying glass for better view of Green Line and second proposed South Line.

Overall system at


All right, a line to OMSI, and down to the Clackamas Town Center. Can't wait to see these in operation. Way to go Portland! :o)

It would also be nice to see a line connect Tigard, which is one of the larger suburbs of the area. Maybe have it go out as far as Sherwood or Newburg. Also, it might be time to stretch the line from Hillsboro westward to Forest Grove, home of Pacific University, and a region of exurbs. Many people commute from Forest Grove into Portland--and even from further. I know some that commute from Vernonia.

The East & West downtown Portland light rail line has 14 stops in about 3 miles (my guess).  This limits travel through downtown on TriMax.  (No one from Hillsboro takes Max to the airport due to crawl through downtown, Intel workers that live in East Portland do take rail to their jobs "west of the mountain").

East of downtown there is a fast stretch next to RR tracks and west of downtown is another fast stretch in the tunnel (with that great deep subway stop underneath the park & zoo).

My favorite addition to Portland would be a subway from East of the Lloyd center (follow RR tracks on turn south) with a single East Portland stop (south of Convention center) and a single West Portland stop underneath Pioneer Square.  Escalators would take people up in 4 directions, each 2 blocks from Pioneer Square and elevators up to Pioneer Square.  From there the subway would merge back into existing tunnel underneath the mountain.

Trains in Portland are limited to the 200' long blocks of Portland.  Longer express trains could come from East Portland on the Blue Line, take the subway, and keep going to the Western terminus of Hillsboro.

This would get people into the heart of downtown West Portland faster (save 10 to 15 minutes IMHO) and allow for pax to go through downtown.

The Yellow & Green lines could stay on their current routes and a streetcar/single LRV could shuttle from Beaverton to just past the Lloyd Center to the subway entrance.

Also, I think linking the under construction Green Line with the proposed South Line in a loop would be good.  Two advantages.  People in South Portland could travel either direction on the "Green Loop" to whereever they wanted to go and if the Steel Bridge ever has a problem, the Red & Blue Lines could be routed over the Green Loop during repairs.

At current gas prices, I question serving exurbs with Light Rail.  Demand & density are not large enough IMHO.  And as gas prices climb, should we "save their bacon" or spend capital monies closer to the Urban core ?

Portland has a LONG East-West corridor now (about 25 miles from memory).  Is money better spent on spurs off that core, improving the existing line or lengthening it ?

Best Hopes,


Dallas has a light rail line under construction and another in planning that will double the size of their network, from 45 miles now to 93 miles by 2013. Information can be found on their DART's expansion page.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority has a 6-mile extension to their Gold Line light rail under construction to East Los Angeles, and will break ground on an 8.5 mile light rail line on Exposition Boulevard this year. The county is studying three new rail extensions - The "Subway to the Beach" (a continuation of the Red Line subway along Wilshire Boulevard to Santa Monica), a second phase of the Exposition line from Culver City to Santa Monica, and an eastward extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Montclair. A number of rapid bus and bus rapid transit lines are funded as well.

This is quite a turn around from a few years back, when MTA's rail program was widely ridiculed, and Westside politicians stopped the Wilshire Subway from extending west. The current Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, is a big rail booster and promoter of transit-oriented development, and former foes of the subway like County Supervisor Yaroslavsky and Congressman Waxman are making conciliatory comments about the Wilshire subway.

My Brother in Law in Florida just sent me this.

"The paper this morning says that there were 7,000 homes on the market in Sarasota in August and only 299 of them sold. Our former real estate agent called to say she's no longer selling homes. Now she's selling RVs at RV World. She says she couldn't make it as a real estate agent, no buyers. RVs, meanwhile, are selling for up to $400,000 each. It's incredible."

"From the frying pan into the fire." (My comment)

The ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference in Boston has extended the early registration period thru Sept 15th. The fee to register for the conference will now increase Sept. 16th.


Well, that's great!  You can get people to cash out of a house and sell them an RV.  When oil gets too expensive to drive the RV, you get to sell them another house!
Dunno EP... I think it's an over population and climate change play. When the crowd (or high water) finds you, you move. When the weather gets warm, head north. I figure it's cheaper to change latitudes twice a year than pay for heat and AC. Also avoids R.E. taxes.

I'm betting the choice RV parks in Baja and British Columbia are a lot less crowded these days.  

Yeh, but just think how close those RVs could be to work. Like in the employee parking lot. Or, for those big shoppers amongst us, in the Wal Mart parking lot.  :<)  Also, assuming one is not constantly driving these RVs across the country and just staying put, say, by moving just twice  a year with the winter/summer season, they would use a lot less energy than your typical 4,000 square foot plus McManision, especially considering that one could choose climates with low energy costs.  From   May to October here in the mountains of Colorado, cooling costs are zero.  When the snows come, move to Phoenix and your heating costs will be near zero.  
This only works when you have the flexibility to live the life of a nomad. I spent the last 4 years living in an RV borrowed from my grandparents while attending school.

When you are stuck in one place due to financial /contractural obligations,  you quickly realize that RV's are not very well insulated. In the late spring / summer / early fall in MS, I often had to turn on a second air conditioner to keep the tempurature out of the 90's inside. This was with being on a shady lot. In the winter, I was lucky because I was in the deep south, and was not subjected to true cold. Yet there were  still times where I had to deal with frozen water connections and the like.

There are thousands (tens of thousands ?) of RVs parked on city streets in New Orleans, in addition to the FEMA trailers.  Five are parked within two blocks of my home, in the 20% that escaped serious flooding.  Several have hooked up water and sewer connections accross the sidewalk but most have not.
Their use as homes for the hurricane displaced also stretch along the the MS gulf coast as well.

Having lived in one for an extended period in one place, the pitfalls of using them as your only home are quite evident to me. In the deep south, they can be quite pleasant at certain times of the year, namely the times when it is pleasant to cool outside with low humidity. They are energy hogs, nonetheless, as even with someone like myself who tried to minimize electricty use, I was still averaging $75-$150 a month in electricty bills, living by myself. This did not count the cost of propane for cooking /heating.

What is 'RV' spelt for? (sorry for asking - I'm german ..)
Recreational Vehicle.  Generally these are "motor homes", self powered things and not "travel trailers", but the catagories overlap.

Are all those "caravans" in Europe?  I don't remember.

Oh, thanks - yes, there are many RVs driving around in Europe, many of them from the Netherlands. But I think most of them are just for vacation, not for long-term housing (which would be a little cold in most of Europe).
And I remember talking to a guy from Nevada here in Germany who mentioned that his parents sold their house and bought a caravan to live in it.
In German the are called "Wohnmobil" - I don't know in the other european languages, there are way too many :-)
Meaning, literally, "mobile housing"? Interesting. In the USA, a "mobile home" is essentially a large RV that (almost) never is moved. Language is funny that way.
"Meaning, literally, "mobile housing"? Interesting. In the USA, a "mobile home" is essentially a large RV that (almost) never is moved. Language is funny that way."

Like driving on a parkway, and parking on a driveway...

I recently attended a meeting to Re-Energize America in Des Moines Iowa. I guess this is a nationwide effort to get more people interested in energy issues that hit home.

The meeting had 5 speaker, each with an agenda. The first on the list was a retired Admiral Dennis McGinn. He spoke to the crowd of about 200 and claimed that the era of oil will end someday but not in this generation. I thought he would mention peak oil but atlas he left it hanging.. I did speak the admiral later and ask his belief on peak oil and he claimed that he believes peak oil will occur sometime in the next 10 years. I wonder why he doesn't tell his audience??

The next speaker was Norm Olson who basically stated that we could REPLACE ALL oil product with plant material if only we had the money for more research and production. It was an unbelievable claim to say the least but one he firmly believes in..

The next speaker was Dale Bryk of the Natural Resouce Defence council and she spoke about conservation and alternative energy such as wind and solar. She also mentioned that need to conserve using Compact Fluorescent bulbs.  She also made the claim that we have the technology to overcome our energy problems if only we apply then.  I wish she mentioned more practical ideas for energyon ther.e.

Then Bishop Alan Scarfe of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa spoke and he was amazing..

Then came questions from the audience and there were various questions about ethanol and whether the costs were too high via water pollution..

But the last question asked just blew everyone anyway to put it lightly. A gentleman that I met afterwards as the panel if they had read the DOE sponsored Hirsch report Peaking Of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management. I must say the blank looks on everyone face told the story. And amazingly nobody on the panel, including the admiral, had every heard of the report.. But they all wanted to know more about it..

Afterward I met this individual, who stated he comes here and has known about peak oil since 1989(I hope that the correct date) and he's into building and designing alternative energy products..  

We both agreed that the Re-Energize group is really lost when it comes to peak oil and that if they had their way peak oil will be here before they could impliment their plans..

Thanks, reno, for that interesting summary.  I always wonder what kind of information is being disseminated in  community meetings hosted by either local or national organizations.

I checked the Re-Energize America website and the first lines on their homepage gave a clear indication they are technophiles who expect a combination of conservation and new technology will allow us to maintain the status quo but in a more energy efficient form.

"Americans have proven our ingenuity time and again. We invented the modern automobile, we put planes in the air, we landed rockets on the moon. [They also mention the glory of going to the moon on another page.]

But despite our technological know-how, America's energy practices are stuck in the last century."

I skimmed the website some more and there only appeared to be very superficial discussion of the current energy dynamics, global warming, and the need for less reliance on Middle Eastern oil.  It appears that they think pushing biofuels, hybrids, and solar is the Answer.

Judging by their sponsors, they appear to be well-intentioned left-wing neoliberals who, nontheless, are clueless about ERoEI.  I would bet they also don't recognize that the American economy is dependent on the dollar's role as the main currency for global oil sales.

I hope the panel reads the Hirsch report and then starts doing some in-depth research.  If they follow the peak-oil breadcrumbs they will have a rude awakening and I'm not sure this group has the wherewithall to handle the logical conclusions an in-depth inquiry will produce.  

It's tempting to send them an e-mail urging them to consider that the economic paradigm of infinite growth is the core problem and understanding ERoEI is critical when evaluating the viability of new technologies.  Re-Energize America would do well to also recognize that population growth and overshoot is fundamental to the energy equation.  As a group with a heavy evangelical component I doubt they would be receptive to the latter point.  

I checked the Re-Energize America website and the first lines on their homepage gave a clear indication they are technophiles who expect a combination of conservation and new technology will allow us to maintain the status quo but in a more energy efficient form.

I've looked in the past and that is my impression also.  They aren't quite cornucopians because they think we have to work hard to stay in the same place ... but they are toward that end of the scale if they don't expect a little belt-tightening and power-down.

On what to send them ... I'd just try to shift them a little, suggesting a greater emphasis on conservation and efficiency.  Get enough of those two, and it becomes power-down.

they are technophiles who expect a combination of conservation and new technology will allow us to maintain the status quo but in a more energy efficient form.

You are correct sir. They maintain that with a combination of technology and conservation we will be able to preserve our way of life.

But what really got my goat was their belief that everything can be grown on the farm and sustituted for oil. They believe they can have a closed-cycle carbon-neutral energy source, and this will be profitable for farmers while preserving the land.. Corn stovers and switchgrass was heavily tauted..

Were they aware of that other thing ....?

You know. Global Warming. Were they trying to deal with the "Re-Energize America While Not Frying the Planet" issue? Just curious. Thanks.

I wrote this supplement to the Hirsch, Bezdek & Wendling first report at:


Please forward this to anyone interested.  It covers some missed options.

Best Hopes,


I am wondering if anyone has done any studies on how much of the ridership on intercity light rail travel is replacing car travel and how much is "new" travel.
In talking at the barbershop (the center of the universe for information), almost everyone would like to go to more events in the big city 120 miles north of us but none want to face the hassle of driving in the traffic - especially trying to find a parking place - in the big city so we stay home. Most say that if there was a light rail system that would get them to places like the convention center, Mall of the Americas, State Fair grounds, etc.. that they would use it. Cost of the round trip fare would probably not be much more than the cost of parking in the big city alone - And then there is the cost of fuel!
And then there is trying to get to the big city - And Home late at night - in the WINTER here in Minnesota.
So, I'd make a heck of a lot more trips to events (woodworking shows, outdoor/recreational events, state fair, gun shows, etc.....   And all of these trips would be extra trips that I would not make if I have to drive (and find a place to park!).
Your thoughts on this?
Basically no. Sorry.  Better transportation always increases travel demand all other factors being equal. But let me talk about related issues.

The addition of the Chunnel has increased Paris-London and Brussels-London travel.  Perhaps 20% or 25% from memory.

Every study of a city with Light Rail has shown that the number of miles driven by car/SUV in a metropolitan area goes down more than the number of pax-miles riden on light rail goes up.  The total volume of travel declines.

The standard, and probably correct, explanation is that TOD changes in the Urban Form shrink the amount of travel.

I am aware of the impact of the Long Island RR and some studies of that (never read the studies though).

I will follow developments after the recent improvements to TriRail (78 mile commuter rail from West Palm Beach to Miami, interfaces with Miami's "Subway in the Sky").  The weather is NOTHING like MN :-) but it will encourage trips to Miami from Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale (and other trips up & down the Gold Coast).

I flew into FLL instead of MIA because of TriRail.  Extra rail mileage, less air mileage.

Best Hopes,


Every study of a city with Light Rail has shown that the number of miles driven by car/SUV in a metropolitan area goes down more than the number of pax-miles riden on light rail goes up. The total volume of travel declines.

The standard, and probably correct, explanation is that TOD changes in the Urban Form shrink the amount of travel.

Or, more likely, trips are shifted to nonmotorized transportation and the trips are simply not counted. This is one of the problems with planning WRT biking and walking. The information about trips is very sketchy, since all of the counts that are done are motor vehicle counts.

So, more correctly, TOD may or may not have any affect on total trips, but it likely reduces trip distances and converts significant numbers of trips to nonmotorized trips that aren't counted.

"The meeting had 5 speaker, each with an agenda."


Imagine my shock.

No, the Reenergize people are not ignorant of Peak Oil. I've had correspondance with a few. What they are trying to do is put together something that is "politically palatable". [A problem with Kos as a whole - compassionate neoliberalism. Let alone their belief that legislation, typically at national level, is the route to take.] Anyone with sales training knows how devastating negotiating with oneself and not the prospect is. Unfortunately, nature will exert her own authority regardless. Nevertheless, their plan does have some good ideas and is good to have in back pocket as "for example".

cfm in Gray, ME

"No, the Reenergize people are not ignorant of Peak Oil."

How peak oil aware can an organization be if its panel has never heard of the Hirsch Report?

In my mind, anything that is "politically palatable" is going to be an inadequate response because the elites control our govt at the highest levels in order to protect their financial interests.  The only time the elites would ever give up their tried and true methods of manipulation and gaming the system is when the returns on their "investment" are not worth the effort.  They continue with their "Tapeworm Economy" strategy, sucking out the lifeblood and anything of value.  Read Catherine Austin Fitt's description of the tapeworm economy in order to understand that any meaningful change to the dysfunction business as usual system will have to come from the bottom up - grassroots activism is our best hope.

My apologies for sounding ungrateful to Re-Energize America putative peak oil activists, but it seems unwise to have so many groups around spreading false hope.  Such attempts are likely to become more of a distraction than a launching pad to rational debate.

At this time the conversion to higher efficiency and renewable energy is constrained by only by financing. There is a kind of catch 22 of investors won't invest in products unless there are customers but there won't be customers if there is no product for sale. This is where national, regional, and local governments have a big role to play. If government committed it self to being a guaranteed customer of higher efficiency and renewable energy products then Wall Street money would flood the sector.
At this time is the key phrase here. There are other "peaks" the world will need to adapt to. Peak fresh water, peak farmland, peak fossil CO2 and methane, and peak military capacity. The world can adapt to one and maybe two peaks at one time without a population collapse. Multiple simultaneous peak would overwhelm the world's manufacturing capacity. America's unwillingness to reduce arms manufacturing makes adaptation to even one peak highly unlikely.
I'm looking for historical oil production data for the USA, but for the first half of the 20th century.  Preferably by state.  Does this even exist as an on-line resource?
I don't know, dude. I wish. First half, like 1900-1950? By state? Online? If you find it, you better tell me. Hunting is fun.
I've looked before, and found nothing useful.  I figured that this was the place to find folks who might know where this data is - if it exists.

The possibility of CO2-enhanced oil recovery from long-abandoned fields should be on everyone's mind.

I think you thought right. This is the place. Only reason I'm here. I share anything I discover. Good Luck, brother.
Inidividual states record and report oil production;
The Illinois State Geological Survey (linked below) has a chart going back to 1905. During WWII, IL approached 160 million barrels per year. It dropped off pretty quick, though as recent as 1960, it was 80 million barrels annually.

I use this chart in peak oil presentations to help explain how, until the 1970s, the USA was king of oil, that our problem seemed to be how to burn it faster, and by solving this problem we inented the petroleum-based economy (cars, suburbs, etc.)


And here's Indiana going back to 1890; peaked in the early 1950s at just over 12 million barrels per year.


  The Oil Scouts Association used to publish a book with summaries on a field-by-field basis, and as I recall, a regional summary. The last copy I saw was published in the late 1960's in my father's library, and I wish I still had it. Sorry I can't describe it better. As I recall it had useful figures like the average production per well and the dry hole percentage in the field.
The International Oil Scouts Association is available at www.IOSA.org and they have a yearbook published at Mason Map Service in Austin.Its available online in PDF, I have no idea of the cost.
That link goes to some domain-seller's site for me.
Question about the referenced article "Clarification of the Huge Chevron Gulf Oil Discovery".

He states "4.The wells are located in deep water and will not be served by underground GOM pipelines. The oil will be pumped directly to tankers." and then goes on to state "5. The wells are most likely mainly natural gas".

My question:  How does one go about loading natural gas onto tankers?

Thanks in advance,
Rick D.

Re: The wells are most likely mainly natural gas

Not according to my sources. But there will be gas produced. It will have to be re-injected, used to power the rig & production or flared unless a pipeline is built. Naturally, natural gas does not get loaded on tankers unless it's liquified. Very large quantities of produced gas would be a problem.

Hi Dave,

Are there any analogues related to the depth of these finds that show the majority of extraction will be oil, not gas?

This is by Bubba from last year:

"There are three things that limit the possibility how deep in the earth one can drill to find oil (actually 4 but one is economics which changes with the price of oil).  These three are 1) thelack of reservoir quality rock, 2) the ground being too hot for liquid hydrocarbons, and 3) the source rock being completed "cooked out".

Let me explain.  The problems all have to do with the combination of heat and pressure inside the earth.  Depending on where one is on the earth and what the local heat gradient is, somewhere between 2 and 5 miles below the surface of the earth one will not find free-flowing accumulations of oil.  This is because 1) all of the holes in the sediment which holds the oil (pores) have been squeezed into oblivion.  Even if porosity still exists (think holes in a sponge), the pore throats have been constricted (connections between holes) and the oil can't flow anywhere.  This process is both a function of pressure and temperature, and it involves both physical and chemical changes with the reservoir sediment itself.  

At great enough depths the pores and pore throats become too constricted for even gas to flow through it.  In South Texas, a major gas producing area, this occurs between 17,000 ft and 21,000 ft below the surface of the earth.

At a certain depth it gets too hot for liquid hydrocarbons to exist.  Chemical bonds are broken and hydrocarbons break down into smaller molecules leaving creating natural gas and leaving behind coke (assuming a dearth of hydrogen).  At even greater depths and higher temperatures the gas itself will be coked.

Unless an acculation was formed fairly shallow then buried to great depth it won't be found at depth period.  This is because the kerogen-rich sediment, which is, by necessity, the mother of the oil, will have liberated all of its hydrocarbons at shallower depths as it too is buried.  The source gets "cooked out" and all the hydrocarbons start to migrate to shallower and shallower depths until they are trapped.

So those are the reasons why drilling deeper won't get it done either."

It's the depth of the find that raises my BS-Meeter regarding type of hydrocarbon(s) discovered and RR amount.

Someone said the reason they are hoping to get oil in this area is that it only dropped to its current depth relatively recently (as geologists measure such things).  For this reason, the temperatures in the area are much lower than they usually are at that depth.  So they hope the oil hasn't yet been turned into natural gas.

Is this because a metor hit the area in the past?  
And sunk it in the impact?

Leanan - that was me on geothermal gradients - do you want to know more?
Samsara - the area is sinking fast partly under the load of sediment getting washed down the Mississippi - this river system drains a huge area of N America transferring sediemnt from the Rocky Mountains to the GOM
Leanan - that was me on geothermal gradients - do you want to know more?

Post it on Monday.  Dave's going to discuss this find in detail on Monday.

I'm posting on this Monday, so please wait 'til then.

Thanks Dave. I await Monday.
I am glad the journalist, Paul Salopek, is out of jail, but I clicked on the link to his peak oil series, and I hope he leaves the newspaper business. Any time I read paragraphs like this:
"Every day, the jaded tanker drivers brought human stories echoing in their trucks. They plunked their long wooden measuring sticks into the Marathon station's 40,000-gallon underground tanks, and the resulting subterranean gong evoked--depending on the changing oil vintage--an Iraqi ex-colonel's cavernous loneliness. Or the laments of a West African fisherman named Sunday, afloat on a fishless stretch of the Atlantic. Or the songs of Marxist Indians reveling in their newfound oil wealth atop a dusty South American plateau."
...I wanna poke my eyes out. What a load of sewage. Let's play a game, everyone pick their own industry and write a needlessly sappy story about it. Make sure you build a narrative that says everyone is exploited or exploiting others. You get extra points for blaming corporations without acknowledging that people work there. I will go first.
Every day when a researcher turns on a scientific instrument, they are turning off another soul. The beeping of the analyzer evoked the crying of a molecular biology post-doc staring through a microscope instead of knitting hats for homeless, learning-disabled, quadriplegic, elderly, left-handed women. Or the bleating of a physician assistant, forced to use the old stethoscope rather than the new one with the cushioned ear inserts. Oh the humanity!
I wouldn't judge it too harshly. Its a nice way to lead into the different oil-producing regions he examines.
I think his story about oil was great, especially the part that brought the reality of oil down to the individual human level, including those who worked at the gas station. He did the research and actually visited these places and observed these people. Who are we to say that these observations are not real?
I am glad the journalist, Paul Salopek, is out of jail, but I clicked on the link to his peak oil series, and I hope he leaves the newspaper business.

You'd better hope the people who award Pulitzer Prizes leave their business too, then, because they've given him two.

Hello TODers,

As the never-ending pressure from Peakoil builds, Westexas's Export Depletion Theory is gaining ever more market proof.  In fact, it is now starting to break out INSIDE individual countries as detritovore political factions jockey for energetic advantage.  Consider this link found at EnergyBulletin:

TONY JONES: A row has erupted between Canberra and Perth over Western Australia's natural gas reserves. The Premier, Alan Carpenter, has declared that he wants to keep up to 20 per cent of his state's gas in WA to provide the state with cheap fuel. But the Federal Government is accusing the Premier of economic sabotage, and today the argument was aired in front of an international audience. Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: Against a background of rising energy prices Premier Alan Carpenter wants to siphon off up to a fifth of WA's gas production to provide cheap energy for the exclusive use of Western Australians. Today, he was taken to task by Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane who said such talk had already scared off two unnamed major gas investors.

Oh,Joy!  =(

Does it therefore seem postPeak likely that California will become hesitant to export fuel to AZ & NV, Texas to surrounding states, and so on?  What is the best way to effectively neutralize this fast growing energy-hoarding trend?

If the World is not interested in adopting ASPO's Energy Depletion Protocols as advocated for by Heinberg, Campbell, and notable others, then is it possible for the market energy trade system to breakdown into the Aesop's tale of the grasshoppers and ants [lazy consumer vs hoarding supplier]?

The Hubbert upslope of cheap, easily extractable energy favored the detritovore, the downslope will favor the prepared biosolar.  Never forget that a barrel of oil = 25,000 hours of labor.  The best way to continue market exchange of fossil fuels is for the exporters to demand real, long-term biosolar assets for the one-time use of detritus.  For example: Alan Carpenter, instead of hoarding 20% of the fuel, should instead demand adequate biosolar compensation to purchase large quantities of PV panels for his citizens, thus converting short burst entropy into long term, low level entropy.

I have posted about this before here on TOD: superior advantage will accrue to those detritus exporters that quickly leverage their societies to maximal biosolar lifestyles.

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

What is the best way to effectively neutralize this fast growing energy-hoarding trend?

Why should we?? Its their oil and resources,  not ours!! And as I have advocated on other forums, there will come a day when oil exporting countries reduce their collective exports and keep the remaining oil for themselves.. Then what will we do??

The beauty of having state and local governments is they can experiment. Let the hoarders hoard if that is what they think is best, other communities should figure out their own solutions.
Hello Keithster and Reno,

Forgive me guys.  Maybe I misunderstand your replies.  The market will determine the price attained for this natgas, and hoarding can result in a higher price/btu, but is equally offset by an equivalent rise in development costs.  Recall how, in that original link, it froze the desire of infrastructure build-out contractors.

Nothing depletes faster than a natgas source.  If I owned a gasfield--I would gladly trade that short energy burst for cash to buy low entropy real assets like good farmland, PV panels, building windmills and hydrodams, desalinization plants if in drought area, etc.  To hoard the natgas, then burn it locally in continuance of detritovore wasteful methods is sub-optimal.  

Holding back 20% of the field without biosolar change might only locally gain them 5 years of detritus lifestyle.  Far better to gradually sell it at the maximum rate possible to outsiders, to maximize wealth transference back to the exporting area, to buy 20-30 years of far greater PV power.  Again, best postPeak strategy is to trade high value, high rate entropy for low-entropy goods.  Would you rather cook with natgas for five years, or electrically cook from PV juice for 20-30 years?

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

This hints at a bigger idea whose time has not yet come. Namely that we use remaining oil and gas to prepare for a fossil free future.

Clearly exporters must be thinking their oil and gas will run out. Otherwise they would take whatever they needed for domestic use without putting a percentage on it.

In my opinion, watch the action after the first global year over year decrease in oil production.  At that point, TOD'ers will have lots of ready ears for their ideas.

There is limited preparation going on now, but it lakes the motivation of PO in the rearview mirror.

(PO combined with bad things on the strategic and economic could confuse taht signal.)

Back in the late '70's there was a bumper sticker in Texas "Let 'em Freeze in the Dark", and I don't think it was very good public relations for the oil patch.
Albertans, who think their oil has been stolen by eastern Canadians used to have a bumper sticker, "Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark".
I was listening to NPR last night, and they were interviewing a guy in Dallas who called the Chevron GOM find 'the biggest in human history' and was laughing at the people who said we wouldn't find any more oil.

Talk about spin. Anyone want to write to Marketplace and debunk that guy?

Naw. Marketplace is just a half-hour show. They have a lot of good pieces and a lot of shit. They get you all riled up cuz you're listening to NPR so you think it might be important. Let it go. I guarrantee you, if you listen every night, it'll happen to you every other day.

One thing I'm happy about is that you've(apparently) given up on the evening news - network style, that is. The ads will drive you insane.

I've noticed they are often half drug ads, and another 1/4 or so for large retailers. Makes you wonder how they can be objective with some subjects...or any, for that matter.
Good dope is the solution. With Oxycontin, who cares about objectivity? Listen to Rush Limbaugh some afternoon. I you want independent confirmation of my hypothesis.
P.S. Do you wonder how he got the nickname Rush?
Give up on network news?  Sacrilege!  We are talking about State TV at its very finest.

As a teenager and into my early twenties I always wondered how it was possible that typically the lead stories were reported from the same viewpoint and in the same order on all 3 networks.  Moreover, it was mystery why so many of the lead stories were either irrevelant to most people or invariably left the viewer with more questions than answers.

I heard that comment. It was by their regular Friday guest the "Dallas Stock Broker and Business Analyst" Took it as a joke coming from him. He is prone to exaggeration.
on Massive Oil Find In Gulf of Mexico Brings Gloom to 'Peak Oil' Pranksters

I was less surprised at the article than at the poor citizen in the comments section who is still waiting for hydrogen cars to save us.  Word percolates slowly.

I'm feeling pretty cheerful this weekend.

TOD Team Befuddled After Lower
Tertiary Gulf of Mexico Find

How did we go from "doomers" pushing a "controversial" issue to "pranksters"?  Peak oil--just a big trick played on the world by us crazies?

Prankster Jeremy Gilbert
Born and educated in Ireland. Moderatorship in Mathematics from DublinUniversity. Joined BP in 1964, worked as production engineer in Libya and then helped introduce the new technique of reservoir simulation into BP - working in Libya, US, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi - prior to eight years in Iran in reservoir engineering posts and as Planning Manager. From 1979, supervised BP's North Sea reservoir engineering and later managed all BP's UK petroleum and reservoir engineering activities. Worked in San Francisco as Vice President of BP Alaska Exploration before returning to UK in1987 as Technical Manager for the development of Wytch Farm field. Appointed BP's Chief Petroleum Engineer, responsible for the company's worldwide petroleum engineering performance and for an associated R. and D. program, in 1988; later became Resource Development Manager...
Great picture! The doomers were always crazy to me. I try to be something in between.

Is this guy a sophomore in high school or something?

Peak oil--just a big trick played on the world by us crazies?

Yeah - I've been hiding it all in my backyard.  Sorry about that; I'll stop now and put it back on the market.

Re: Furthermore, this find, according to Chevron, confirms that oil deposits in older rock formations -- the lower Tertiary is 35 million years old... -- Score 1 for Raymond!

Then, too, there are trillions of barrels of oil to be recovered from sedimentary rock in the Western United States as well as from the Canadian tar sands. But more about that in a future posting....

Raymond J. Learsy is the author of the book Over a Barrel: Breaking the Middle East Oil Cartel. A graduate of the Wharton School, he made his life in the fast-paced, risk-filled world of commodities trading, beginning in 1959. In 1963, he started his own firm and over twenty years expanded from the U.S. into Canada, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Brazil, and Pakistan, trading in an array of bulk raw materials and commodities, shipping to customers worldwide. In the 1980s, he shifted gears as a private investor, from 1982 to 1988, served as a Reagan appointee to the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently, he serves on the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art and is a member of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Learsy's richly-informed analysis of the international oil trade, OPEC, and its impact on the American and world economy has been featured in the National Review Online and the New York Times. He currently resides in Connecticut, and can be reached at triduane@aol.com.
Re:  The Empire Strikes Back

Anyone else get the impression that the Cornucopians are fighting back as hard as they can?

I am seeing an interesting trend, where the Cornucopians seize on anomalies and then use the anomaly to claim that Peak Oil is "garbage," using the eloquent language of our friends at CERA.

Some examples:

At the recent Peak Oil debate on PBS (not shown yet), Michael Lynch said that the UK was a case history of Hubbert Linearization (HL) not working, because it predicted an early peak. Of course, it's interesting that Lynch used an example of a country whose production is crashing, but two points:  (1)  the HL method was unambiguous for the total North Sea region and (2)  the UK data was just too immature.   Again, it's odd that Lynch used an example of a post-peak country to refute Peak Oil.

Jim Kunstler sent me an e-mail from a petroleum engineer stating that a properly engineered field can achieve very high recovery rates, citing the Piper Field in the North Sea.  I pointed out to Jim that the engineer was using one field in a region where the peak precisely fit the HL model, and the North Sea is now down 30% since peaking in 1999.  So, what is the point about Piper?

We then come to the great white hope, the recent deep GOM discovery that "proves" that Peak Oil is "garbage."  Of course there will be new field discoveries post-peak.  I'm developing new and overlooked fields in Texas--34 years after we peaked.  Can Chevron make money in ultra deep water?  Yes.  Can I make money looking for small overlooked oil fields in Texas?  Yes.  Will our combined efforts have any real effect on Peak Oil scenarios?  No.  (At least not based on current data on ultra deep discoveries.)   Look at the coverage of the possible reserve potential of this ultra deep discovery versus the minimal coverage of the ongoing probable crash in production at Cantarell.  

Speaking of cornucopian ideas how about this one.

While I am skeptical about the claims made in this article,
if true, we could have a serious problem on our hands.
In just a few short years PEAK GARBAGE!


But, fortunately, we are years away from peak dinosaurs.
While I am skeptical about the claims made in this article,

Interesting experiment anyway, it's an existing technology :

Circeo said that both plants operating in Japan, where emissions standards are more stringent than in the U.S., are producing far less pollution than regulations require.

They claim a 3:1 EROEI on the vaporizing process :

The facility will operate on about a third of the power it generates, free from outside electricity.

And they also have claims about the ROI :

Geoplasma expects to recoup its $425 million investment, funded by bonds, within 20 years through the sale of electricity and slag.

So they will find out, unless there are untold subsidies...

Jeffrey and the rest of you --

I would like to point out a simple truth here. When they start saying your theory is "garbage" or resort to calling you "pranksters" or whatever, it indicates that

We are winning

They used to ignore us, they laughed at us and now some of them are calling us names. Others are arguing with us. It can be a bit disturbing for all the smart people here to be called doomers, pranksters, "garbage-in, garbage-out" thinkers, etcetera. However, just as the latest Gulf of Mexico play is extreme, so are the attacks on us. Somebody is a little worried today and it isn't me -- except, of course, for the usual reasons...

The Cornucopian position is inherently unstable and must fall apart. Exponential growth must end. This is a logical necessity. The planet is finite, there's just so much space. The physically & economically exploitable resources are finite. How it will end is our concern. Yes, Homo Sapiens looks like a disaster right now. Yes, it doesn't look good. But all we can do is keep pointing out the obvious and maybe eventually we'll get through before events make our point for us.

The Cornucopian position is inherently unstable and must fall apart. Exponential growth must end. This is a logical necessity. The planet is finite, there's just so much space. The physically & economically exploitable resources are finite. How it will end is our concern. Yes, Homo Sapiens looks like a disaster right now. Yes, it doesn't look good. But all we can do is keep pointing out the obvious and maybe eventually we'll get through before events make our point for us.

Time for Happy Motoring is running out!
Sloppy work, but:

Where do you guys get those cool clock images from?

I did a Google image search, looking for the billboard that's been used on TOD before (see below) and ended up finding the clock at Mystic Unicorn.

That one really needs GE shaking hands with Reddy Kilowatt.
Awesome fotochop :)
We have already "Made it".  

5 years ago how many "Peak XXX" articles did you see?

SO far I have seen, (Of course Peak Oil was first)

Peak Debt
Peak Water
Peak Wealth
Peak Garbage

What ones did I miss?

After WaterGate,  Everything was XxxxGate.

Now everything is Peak xxx

We have made it into the Lexicon.


We've made it in, but we've only made it in because of India, China, price manipulators, Katrina, and the resulting $3/gas.

We have not had any major structural changes in our economy/industry/gas use in the last five years.  If oil was still priced at the same level as five years ago, peak oil would still be considered a cult.

Depressing reality, meet blatant exploitation of circumstances.  I think we can get along just fine.

Be the first on your block to try the Marianas Deep.
   I have this image of Matt Simmons running around short-sheeting beds, dropping water balloons, and writing "Twilight in the Desert".
The biofuel danger is put on steroids

While there are serious concerns over EROEI from biofuels, as well as soil destruction through massive monoculture practices, these worries may soon be perceived as trivial compared to what bioengineering has in store.

Redesigning Crops to Harvest Fuel

Developing energy crops could mean new applications of genetic engineering, which for years has been aimed at making plants resistant to insects and herbicides, but would now include altering their fundamental structure.
One goal, for example, is to reduce the amount of lignin, a substance that gives plants the stiffness to stand upright but interferes with turning a plant's cellulose into ethanol.
 ....the enzyme, known as amylase, is made in vats of bacteria. Ethanol manufacturers add the enzyme to corn to break down starch into sugar, which can be fermented into ethanol.
To get corn to produce its own amylase, Syngenta inserted a gene borrowed from a type of microbe called archaea that live near hot-water vents on the floor of the ocean.

Archaea are a completely different "family of organisms" on the tree of life. We know very little about them, and should ask ourselves if we want their genes in our food.

Biofuels are set to greatly expand the application of GMO "science". There is a consistent pattern of cross-contamination from GMO genes to "normal" plants, and once an altered gene spreads, it's virtually impossible to ever get rid of it.

There are two main flaws in how we deal with GMO:
1/ If a negative effect doesn't show up in a short time, the claim is made that it is "safe". If it takes 10 or 20 years for the effect to appear, too bad and too late.
2/ If separate altered genes start "recombining", in any of a myriad of ways, we are helpless, since nobody has ever seriously looked at such risks.

By then our food may be laced with genes that combine traits of a mix of GMO "implanted" genes from bacteria, plants, animals, people and archea. All are presently under consideration. How this could be looked upon as carrying a low risk, god knows. It looks more like Russian roulette on steroids. Anything goes if there's a trillion dollar promise. Think Khosla is invested in Monsanto and Syngenta?

trivial compared to what bioengineering has in store.


The GM klebsiella planticola produced alcohol from post-harvest crop residue. The leftover organic sludge, containing the bacteria, would be returned to fields as fertiliser.

"virtually impossible" should be "completely impossible".
Otherwise, thank you, amen.
I'd imagine that there's plenty of archaea in your gut feasting on methane, unless you've been taking strong antibiotics.

GMOs could be complex frankencreatures, though right now the modfication used is quite limited.  That doesn't make them automatically dangerous.  "We are helpless," against...  cultivated plants.  Keeping them alive is hard enough most of the time.  We plant them from seed.  How are these rogue genes going to take over the world?  Yes, some cross-contamination is inevitable...  but so what?  Give me a worst case scenario.

I think we have FAR greater things to worry about when(not if) governments begin developing transmissable GM pathogens - virii and bacteria.  If anyone develops the expertise and motive to give Ebola a 30 day incubation period, for example, we are set for a plague pandemic.

The danger lies in combining organisms that have a repertoire of techniques to destroy us, not domesticated crops.


On the topic of lignin - Assuming that they are able to produce the enzyme, the gene is in direct opposition to wild competitiveness, as it turns the plant into a quivering mass of goo.

It's obvious that there are great dangers in genetic engineering with the goal of creating malevolent plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, viruses etc. But that is not the topic.

Neither is things "beng automatically dangerous", it's that they are far too easily, in light of available experience and knowledge, assumed to be "automatically safe". Once genetic changes are spread in plants, there is no way back. But there definitely is a possibility of a way forward, where altered genes react with each other.

Worst-case scenario: us turning into quivering masses of goo.

What worries me is the development of "Terminator Genes" that make the seed sterile so farmers can not save seed to plant next year, but have to buy it every year from the Seed suppliers.
If it got loose into the seed suppliers fields - No seed for the next many years.
Can you imagine the problems if corn and soybean production were both suddenly cut by 80% to 90%. Talk about a terrorists dream - And our nightmare!
Remember the farmer in Canada that saved his own seed every year all his life and then some patented genes managed to cross into his field from neighbors corn. He had to pay the holder of the patent even though he had no desire for the gene. Imagine if that had been a "Terminator Gene" that had crossed over and wiped out the whole years production for that farmer and all future years - Unless he bought the gene patented seed!
That's darn scary!
What worries me is the development of "Terminator Genes" that make the seed sterile so farmers can not save seed to plant next year, but have to buy it every year from the Seed suppliers.
If it got loose into the seed suppliers fields - No seed for the next many years.

Er, no.  Terminator genes mix into plants, N% of seeds have them, N% of seeds don't sprout, people have to buy 100/(100-N%) more seeds and get cranky at the seed distributors, seed distributors work harder on their field security.  It's not like the terminator gene is contagious or runs around saying "I'll be back" and killing the other genes or anything - it just means you get some seeds that don't sprout from the contaminated part of the field.

(That's not to say I think terminator genes are a good idea, but the main problems with them are socioeconomic, rather than environmental.)

Remember the farmer in Canada that saved his own seed every year all his life and then some patented genes managed to cross into his field from neighbors corn. He had to pay the holder of the patent even though he had no desire for the gene.

Actually, that case is apparently much less clear-cut than that.  From this discussion of the case:

A widespread misunderstanding of the case is that at issue was the question of accidental contamination, and that a victory for Monsanto would place farmers in jeopardy for contamination of their fields which was beyond their control. In fact, the courts at all three levels noted that the case of accidental contamination beyond the farmer's control was not under consideration but rather that Mr. Schmeiser's action of having identified, isolated and saved the Roundup-resistant seed placed the case in a different category.

Mr. Schmeiser intentionally harvested the patented seed separately, saved it, and used it to plant 1,000 acres the next year.  The court ruled that was patent infringement, although did not require Mr. Schmeiser to pay any damages.

Jon Kutz stated: " so farmers can not save seed to plant next year, but have to buy it every year from the Seed suppliers."

Question :What exactly do you mean by 'save seed'? Do you mean the unplanted seed that he might keep for the next sowing season? Or do you mean keeping some of the harvested seed to plant the following sowing season?

It doesn't matter in the end because if the seed is hybrid, and most are with the usual exception of wheat(soft red winter wheat that we plant here I mean) ..with that exception then soybeans and corn are almost always hybird and therefore saving them is of NO value for they will not reproduce true to form.

Also much seed differs based on current soil conditions,type of soil and other factors(creek bottom ground,etc. ) and therefore what the farmer MIGHT have saved may not fit the next years conditions.

Yes the operator I work with does have some leftover but he will usually return it for a refund(IIRC).

Summary: The seed companies are already totally in control. You dance their dance or you go home.

That being said they have really done wonders with the differing varieties. I realized that when I boilded some 'open pollen' corn from the past. The kind we all used to grow. Right it was damn near inedible. The kernels came right off in my mouth. The taste was not that pleasant. The days in was in edible milk stage were few.

Comparing that to the nearby Golden Queen and Silver Queen(hybrid) was like night and day.

However they could have just as well working on improving the open pollen varieties but that would have bordered on the ridiculous then , given their desire to make money and to hell with everything else.

And make money they most surely do.

Genetics. Someone booed and hissed about the subject of eugentics. How do they think we get improved breeds of cattle?Horses...in fact all livestock?

 What happened to the father who wanted his daughters and sons to 'marry well'?   Oh....love...thats the answer...."the boy is a drugaddict daughter!"..."But..but daddy I LOVE HIM!"....."ohhhhh sure forgive me...you love him...here is some money...hie thee to the preacher..."....years later we look again and surmise ..what? A soap opera charade.

So eugentics? Nasty word. Yet all we read about is how precious DNA is and being obsese is really genetic,and whatever else?..why its all DNA, and that companies may start looking at DNA when hiring...soooo whence eugentics?

Give me a break..please.

Sorry for slipping into rantland. Just the seed part is all I really had to say but I wonder how this loveshit will all play out when chaos-city comes. Will we be still concerned with the adventures of Katie Couric and will she make it as anchor? What about those movies stars 'get'? Can we ever get over seeing those lovely pix of the little goobers? The name to be chosen by the scientology dickhead actor?

Really? How about the twitch toys? Nintendos and its ilk?
I would almost welcome a meltdown just to see those gone forever....ahhh more rants...sorry..

The next 'agenda' to be played out by the MSM?
Farming and farmlife. Possible soap operas or perhaps 'reality'based shows about driving combines and grain elevator diving, doing it in the dirt...divorce farmstyle...
Yeehaw reruns. Buxom wimmen driving tractors. Disrobing in front of a mule considered a felony...I can't wait.  

A) A multicellular animal consuming DNA of another creature does not cause mutation.  You don't develop leaves because you're eating corn.

B) Lignin as I understand it is a part of the cell wall, which animals don't have.

C) How is there no way back?  Back to what?  These plants are nurtured from protected seedstocks.  You're acting as if the gene was an intelligent entity bent on our destruction, rather than a bit of genetic code.

Worst case is that nature takes the goo-producing bit of code, transcodes it onto a virus, which happens to mutate into a form that can transcode it onto other foliage, and spreads as a new anti-tree pandemic.

The thing is, these viruses have been busy for the last few billion years playing with genetic code in the same way.  Inevitably, resistant strains develop.  This is and has always been a constant struggle - immune systems date back to the innovations of sexual reproduction, as a way of passing resistance, and the cell wall to keep out invaders.  We see plenty of plant pathogens spread from mere globalization - invariably, some form of rot, fungus, bacteria, or insect is devouring a forest somewhere near you.  It isn't the end of the world.

And if it turns out to cause CancerUlcersAcneToefungus?  Someone's gonna find out, and someone's gonna get sued.  I find it unlikely that nearly as many people will die in such a scenario as have died of starvation, exposure, industrial accidents of every other major field.

a/ you work for Monsanto

b/ you should, because you have their mindset

c. you really ain't getting it at all

no idea how or why you get back to viruses all the time (and resistamt strians?), nor why you pretend to be sure that cross-contamination is no problem at all, or why destroying forests is such a party time.

yeah, who knows, someone might get sued.

Just trying to imagine that worst case scenario.  Virii can theoretically acquire the gene and carry it through the species jump to successful weeds - whereas that mystical, say, nerve-gas-synthesizing cornfield gets cut down and stays cut down as soon as a few people get sick.  There is just nothing in an ear of corn that we'd have to nuke from orbit.  Maybe it's just that some of the posters here veer into eschatology, and we're seriously discussing events that could lead to the end of civilization - I just feel it's necessary to keep worst case scenarios in mind.  And I'm really not feelin' much of a threat from GM corn - the most likely major disaster is that all the corn in a region develops a trait that a large portion of the population is allergic to - causing a few deaths, a few hundred emergency room visits, followed by a massive class action suit.

That's what 'risking it' with agri-biotech gets us.  Not 'risking it' and banning all GM crops prevents us from a potential Green Revolution v2.0, and a thousand other innovations.  Do I believe that a widespread plant explicitly designed to produce a pesticide should be submitted to the same safety standards  as the pesticide being applied to the natural plant?  Yes.  But most of the anti-GMO people are demanding a moratorium.

The 1903 and on Chestnut Blight was a devastating ecological disaster.  Some have argued that it did more damage to Eastern US ecosystems than either first settlement of homo sapiens or later European settlement.

Some millenia ago, Eastern hemlock was the dominant tree in the Eastern US.  Before humans appeared, hemlocks effectively disappeared.  Today it is fairly rare tree.

So, yes, forests have undergone a series of dramatic species changes.  Which does not mean that it is a good thing, or that we should tolerate avoidable negative changes.

BTW, two disease resistant American chestnuts are about to be released.  One has bred Chinese chestnut resistant genes into an otherwise Americna chestnut over 50 years.  The other splices genes from wheat.  I liek having two disperate sources of resistance to the blight.

I grew up on a Chestnut Lane, and was amused and depressed at the same time when I found out a few years back that chestnuts are virtually extinct in the wild in the area.  What will we roast on an open fire now?  Good to hear on the resistant strains, though as roel will note, one of them is ebil.

I'm not a fan of environmental destruction, far from it, I just think that the potential that GM crops, in particular highly domesticated seed-planted crops, have to actually destroy (rather than impact slightly) nature pales in comparison to the devastation wrought by, say, the plow.  Or farming subsidies.  Or the Big Mac.

We live in a world where those things exist, and we take advantage of them.  The nature of the threat that GM opponents see is mostly random.  The belief system does not know what to avoid, and so it forswears all genetic modification.  The thing is, genetic modification will happen somewhere in the world, regardless of their beliefs, or their country's.  And if random chance does manage to make an uncontrollable, very harmful plant out of our frankengenes, we're not gonna be able to prevent its spread - intervention in the case of invader species has thus far almost always failed.  We can barely exterminate something as large and menacing as the wild boar.

thinking about making a sig:
Pro conservation
Pro sustainable living
Pro environment
Pro hemp
Anti-hippy (pro nuclear, pro GM, pro reality)

Pro business
Pro growth
Pro police state
Pro lobbying

You forgot...
Roel and Alan are correct.  You don't seem to get it.

These types of genetic manipulations pose real dangers to the environment.

It has been awhile since I took Conservation Biology in grad school but the fundamentals are the same and I have a broad enough background in molecular genetics to understand the potential long-term ramifications of these alterations.  MonSatan (as AMPOD puts it) and similar groups are playing a dangerous game of ecological Russian roulette.  

Well come on, don't leave me hanging - what are the potential long-term ramifications?  Quivering Goo disease?

Not really a fan of Monsanto, but that has more to do with a general dislike of corporations (as CEO, you are legally required by your shareholders to ignore any potential "corporate conscience" if doing so produces greater profits), that their business model requires patenting lifeforms, and that they appear prepared to legally attack victims of inadvertant GM pollination.

Not really a fan of Monsanto

Aventis then?
John Innes?

as CEO, you are legally required by your shareholders to ignore any potential "corporate conscience" if doing so produces greater profits

So you have a "non-corporate conscience" ?

Is is fairly cheap and easy to objectively defend GMO business interests while pretending to be "disliking" the companies who will benefit from your propaganda.
But not very convincing.

Cui bono ("Good for whom?", or "Who benefits?") is a Latin adage which means that the person or people guilty of committing a crime may be found amongst those who have something to gain, perhaps financially.

How is there no way back? Back to what?

Back to not having the nasty genes ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Either playing an idiot for deception purposes or being a REAL ONE?

You're acting as if the gene was an intelligent entity bent on our destruction, rather than a bit of genetic code.

As an afterthought, you are rather bent on deception...

The gene does not need to be "intelligent" to spread nor to be "bent on destruction" of anything (not necessarily of "us") because the GMO bastards will have designed the nasty properties from the start.

Inevitably, resistant strains develop. This is and has always been a constant struggle

Of course, but NOT IN A COUPLE OF YEARS.
This is what is always willingly or stupidly forgotten by the cornucopians, natural equilibriums take dozen, hundreds, thousands or even millions years to settle at the cost of MANY deaths of the "unfit".
We are NOT living on the same time scale as geological/biological selection process, a few disastrous years of SOME supply is enough to wreak havoc on our societies and civilisation.
We will NOT like to see things dying, if not our childs, our pets or favorite food or even flowers.

We see plenty of plant pathogens spread from mere globalization - invariably, some form of rot, fungus, bacteria, or insect is devouring a forest somewhere near you. It isn't the end of the world.

Bit by bit we DESTROY the whole environment, yet another FINITE ressource.

And if it turns out to cause CancerUlcersAcneToefungus? Someone's gonna find out, and someone's gonna get sued.

Suing will bring back the victims from the dead and cure their ailments.
And all the incurred costs will grow the GNP, super!

You are really a son of a bitch!
I am glad I just met a new friend on TOD.

As for the natural cost -
We are consistently screwing up the natural balance of the planet.  By typing here, you're using a dozen servers and routers that we're burning coal to run.  Coal which was mined by disassembling a mountain and dumping it into the valley next door.  A common ecosystem is in all cases not involving extinction(and this biotech stuff?  It'll help there), a renewable resource.  As soon as we decide not to live somewhere, nature springs back.  Mountains do not.  You cannot really advocate destroying humanity in favor of nature, without being really unpopular at parties.  If mining out all our coal, causing acid rain and radioactive isotopes to spread through the air and raising sealevels by 10-20m is the alternative, I'll vote for developing that GM tree that turns itself into liquid biofuel in the middle of its lifecycle, and risk killing the wild trees nearby.  And I'll happily argue it from an environment > human or a human > environment stance, thank you very much.  Likewise on nuclear power.

As for the potential human cost -
Every new development of applied science claims lives before we figure out how to do it right, and often afterwards.  In 1900, you would be the one saying "what do we do about the people that die in airplane accidents!!! You're evil for advocating flight."

I choose what to advocate based on the inherent potential value to human beings.  I assign a high value to the environment, and try to consider all alternatives, without enshrining anything as sacred.  At the same time, I try to narrow it down to things with a chance of acceptance.

The Soviets bioengineered the small pox virus to make it "bypass" Western vaccines.  EVIL

They disposed of the virus (mixed with bleach) on an island in the Aral Sea.

That island is now a penisula as the Aral Sea has evaporated.  And al Queda is quite active in Uzbekistan, where teh island is.

It looks like they want a heat activated amylase, which is why the source is a thermophilic archaebacteria instead of something more familiar.  You wouldn't want a "room temperature" amylase breaking down starch before you are ready.  I would think a thermostable cellulase would be more desirable for cellulosic ethanol, but maybe archea don't produce cellulases.  I haven't been keeping up on my microbiology literature.

I don't know that the addition of a single enzyme would pose alot of risk, as long as the enzyme is proven not to be toxic.  An amylase is unlikely to produce any toxic secondary metabolites, but I would still feel better if genes from non-food sources were kept out of food crops.

What concerns me more is that this type of research contributes to the food vs. fuel problem.  A person requires far fewer grain calories than a car fueled with grain alcohol.  I'd rather see living arrangements that required less liquid fuel for transportation as a remedy for oil depletion.  Furthermore,I'm pretty sure you would be better off just burning the corn to directly heat you home and using the saved natural gas for transportation.  

Better than God

Yes, I will admit, there are things that scare me more than GMO plants. The for some obscure reason still venerated publication "The Economist" (isn't the name enough of a clue?) goes from cellulosic ethanol, just about solved if they're to be believed, more of an afterthought really, through Craig Venter (wish he were solved), to a bunch of Sorcerer's Apprentices with big dreams: new organisms from scratch.

If it makes me a doomer, much as I hate the term, to sometimes actively wish for the entire nonsense to collapse, so be it. What exactly are we trying so hard to save, is this culture? The same civilization that brought us Fear Factor is now reinventing life. Talk about a confidence booster.

The best word to describe what I see before my eyes, Biblical and all:

Hello TODers,

Recall my Bloomberg posting from late last night whereby Mexico's Cantarell oilfield is projected to decline 8% in 2006, and 10% in 2007--not good.  Combine that bad news with this update concerning the quick destruction of Mexican ballots to prevent investigation of voting fraud.  Mexican Peakoil meeting political strife is an ugly combination.  Denying  detritus entropy and needed social change can only bring violence.

This link appears to be a fair roundup of Oaxacan news, and this link points to future upheaval in Chiapas whereby the far-right is protesting the election win of a leftist candidate.  I would argue that a carefully prepared Mexican Peakoil mitigation program would do much to diffuse this ever-growing social polarization.

Contrast the Zapatistas with my speculative growth of Cascadian Microsoftistas.  As Peakoil Outreach grows, the billionaires, multi-millionaires, and millionaires in the NorthWest US will gradually become incentivized to environmentally tread microsoftly within their ecosystem.
They can easily afford the intense Foundation based computational analysis required for Cascadian optimization of detritus Powerdown and biosolar Powerup.  I predict that they will also become the primary bootstrap political force driving eventual legislative Secession in response to the shrinking spiderwebs of detritus-fueled infrastructure.

Just as Bush & Cheney already have advanced Eco-Tech homes with lifelong Secret Service protection, we can expect the Microsoftistas to lead the required social change in the Northwest with a biosolar-optimized lifestyle that automatically will generate Earthmarines to protect this habitat from being overrun.  

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

Bob, I wanted to thank you for your excellent coverage of Mexican developments !  MUCH better than the MSM.

I do read you often, but comment rarely.

Best Hopes,


Bob, I too enjoy your updated information on the Mexican situation. Thank You!
I suppose this means the USA can expect more illegals really soon.
Bob:  Maybe it's because it's late Pacific Time, but I'm not following you here.  Can you elaborate on your Pacific NW Microsoftistas post?  
Hello LoveOregon,

Thxs for responding.  I'm busy this weekend so I can't really elaborate, but remember this is just speculation.  Please use your imagination to mentally enlarge this scenario--that is what I do.  I have never been to the Northwest, but since you live there: feel free to use your knowledge of this area to post speculation that can go into much greater detail than I can.  I would love reading it.

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

In this article http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060906.RGULF06/TPStory/Business
the projected output of "Jack" is 6000 bpd. This really is Jack (squat).  Could somebody verify this?
Sorry this is the output of the appraiser well.  Does anyone know the projected output for a well of this sort?
Upper end of this estimate of 15 billion barrels will last for less than 2 years - provided we could get it all at once. But oil fields don't work that way. If prudhoe bay is any indication, the field should peak between 1-2 million barrels per day towards the later part of next decade. This is just a drop in the bucket. World  is expected to produce 120 million barrels per day by 2020.


The Jack Field has an estimated URR of 300 million barrels.  They are giving the entire play, a group of related fields, an URR of between 3 Gb and 15 Gb.  

The media is taking the upper end estimate for the play and then asserting that the field is about the same size as the Prudhoe Bay Field.  Meanwhile, there is very little coverage of the fact that the second largest producing field in the world, Cantarell, is declining--probably crashing.

The following article at World Net Daily deserves some kind of award for the most lies and misrepresentations per paragraph:  http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51837

The oil column of about 825' at Cantarell is thinning at the rate of about 300' per year.  The worst case--and probably most realistic--decline rate is as high as 40% per year.

The Ghawar Field, is at about the same stage of depletion at which the Yibal Field (same pay zone as Ghawar also redeveloped with horizontal wells) started crashing.   Heinberg reports that Ghawar is crashing.  The Saudis have admitted to August production of 9 mbpd, versus 9.5 in December.

These two fields account, or accounted, for 10% of world crude + condensate production.  

On a scale of one to ten, the Ghawar/Cantarell stories should be a 10+.  The "Jack" Field discovery is about a 0.5.


This is an August 18, 2006 article that has some good numbers on Mexico.  It's probably been posted earlier, but I was very interested in the  fall in oil exports from June to July--an annual decline rate of 9.4%.  This is very close to my estimate for the overall annual decline rate of 9.2% in net exports (based on 12/05 to 6/06 data) for the top 10 net oil exporters.

IMO, we are in the calm before the next oil storm.

The one month decline rate in heavy oil production, cited in the above article, was 3.5%.   I realize one month does not a trend make, but we know Cantarell (a heavy oil field) is declining.  3.5% on an annual basis is 40% plus.  

The math is relentless regarding an 825' oil column that is thinning at the rate of about 300' per year.  This is why I keep citing the worst case 40% decline rate for Cantarell.

Point taken. Jeff. Well taken, indeed.
And no reason that I can see to doubt you, much as I would like to, because the consequences are potentially so severe, and the decline so steep, that it needs time to sink in.

Linking this number with Bob's much appreciated posts on the political shenanigans already vibrating, you have to ask what will happen there a year from now, or earlier? Want to try X-mas? When will the Mexicans be in the know?

Pemex is such a substantial part of the Mexican federal revenues, and Cantarell is a huge chunk of Pemex.

That is a funny article.  They better watch it, or they will start mixing up their pseudo-scientific religious fairy tales.  

"Scientists believe Mexico's richest oil field complex was created when the prehistoric, massive Chicxulub meteor impacted the Earth. "

But, the earth is only 6,000 years old.  There is no way there could have been a meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs (and opened up the creamy oily center of the earth), there were no dinosaurs.  Otherwise, Noah would have had them on the Ark, right?

I guess the real answer is that god whacked the GOM with his magic hammer at 2:34 pm on the third day in order to make all that oil available to help us subdue the earth.

The creation science newspapers are always at this kind of things. I think the paid writers have a sense of humour.

They have a long scholarly article on subjects like carbon dating or Noah vs. Gilgamesh and then a final paragraph saying that as there are one or two minor disagreements about the details you better just accept the bible.  

Nice link, Westexas!  I like that one.  So this discovery proves the abiotic oil theory.  Who woulda thunk?  I had to establish another folder on my computer called "oil bullshit".
What is absurd about the whole "peak oil pranksters disproven" drivel being spewed out of every crack by the MSM is that even a find of 15 billion barrels is a joke.  We need to find 31 billion barrels of new oil every year at current consumption rates to keep the easy motoring paradise going.  Finds on the order of 10 billion barrels every 6 years just won't cut it.  There is an extremely high probability that the size of this find is closer to 3 billion than to 15 billion barrels and there is no evidence of an increase in oil discovery rates based on the statistics of the last 40 years.
Folks, I hate to disillsion the Cornucopians, but what Chevron/Devon/Statoil claimed was:
  1. discovery of an ultradeep reservoir that drill-stem tested 6,000 BOPD. The test probably did not last for 24 hours and give a true potential. The well has not been cased and completed, and a potential cannot be run until they have pipe in the hole and some way to produce and store the oil so they can see how much the reservoir pressure draws down during the potential test.
  2.They claimed 600,000,000 bbl of proved reservervs, with a potential of 3 billion to 15 billion barrels over a 300 square mile area. Even six hundred million barrels is suspect as they have only drilled 2 wells (this was the Jack #2 well). Its enough to start planning a production installation, but it isn't enough to claim discovery of a Giant oil field...
3.If they are correct in claiming a 600 million barrel reservoir, and both wells produced at 6,000 barrels a day, then they would have to produce for 82 years to make that much oil at that rate. Not very likely, so just to get 600 million barrels they will have to drill several hundred wells at $100 million each plus pay for the production installation.
  1. The North Slope oil field has about 8 square miles of surface area and several thousand wells. The lower tertiary trend has 300 square miles. They are not claiming one giant oilfield, but rather an area which has potential for several commercial fields. So what we have is hype by the people that WestTexas so lovingly refers to as the "Iron Triangle"
  2. IMHO, even the claims that this is an oilfield and not a gas field are suspect. Just a few questions-How in the hell do you get a core up through thousands of feet of uncased well and 8,000 ft of water intact? How can you judge the permeability and porosity? Whats the gravity of the liquids?

I'm not a Doomer. I really do hope they have a Giant and I'm talking through my hat, I'm a landman and not a geologist or engineer. But question everything, particularily this close to an election with a dicey economy.
Looks good. Hope you didn't take the wind out of Dave's sails for his Monday post.
Thank you for mentioning how close we aree to an election. That is the story.

I suppose that would be a good way to rig the stock price of an oil company. Declare a huge find that couldn't be developed for a few years. Plenty of time to wheel and deal and cash out.

The nations that are taking back control over their resources are exactly right. Likewise, it would be prudent for states and communities to take control of their forests and topsoil. Otherwise their resources will be vacuumed away before they know it.

I don't for half a heartbeat expect a state - like Maine - not to turn around and give plundering rights to brothers and cousins, so it will have to be done much closer to the ground. Leanan posted a link a couple days back about the Chinese taking on authorities over environmental destruction at a local level. We need to get to that point. Won't until every merican has lost their pension fund.

cfm in Gray, ME

This is the post we should refer people to, not the Energybulletin analysis that's being tossed around the blogosphere as a response to the cornucopians.
Hello TODers,

Opposing links on the Mexican Election Court rulings of the election.  This link by a Canadian writer for sovereignty warns of topdog plans for pushing SuperNafta, while this link say 76% of Indiana Hoosiers want a border fence.

It is hard to recall when all of North America has been this confused and conflicted, IMO.  Signs of change?

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

smells like big signs of change are coming!
Oil's fluid dynamics can be elegant.

Every day in the U.S., scores of different gasolines or crudes gurgle simultaneously through a vast system of pipelines. No physical barriers separate these disparate shipments of fuel. Instead, engineers have designed the pipes to "roll" their contents forward rather than squirt them in laminar flows, like water gushing from a garden hose. In this way, a carefully calibrated degree of turbulence keeps the fuels from blending. What little does get mixed is called "slop" and must be refined all over again. The complexity, cost and frailty of this circulatory system are beyond the comprehension of all but a few Americans.

- Paul Salopek
"The nature of oil"

That is AWESOME. Fluid dynamics is fun and extremely difficult. I had no idea gasoline pipelines were so intricately designed. Anyone here want to elaborate more on this design? My background is physics, so get as technical as you want =)

This probably won't completely answer your question, but check out this post:


SALOPEK is nearly an anagram of SLOP PEAK.
Anybody here think "Peak Oil" is history ? I am in the Ken Deffeyes Camp. Not only did he say peak oil was December 2005, but he also commented that at the end of the decade, oil production will still be 90-95% of the 2005 production.
Forgive the repeat but I posted this late last night when many would not see it. By the way,  I love "The adventures of CC Eggum"
        Thought I'd drop in a little fiction. The year is 2015.  It is 12:35 Central standard time and a fusion burp unleashes a few billion photons from the surface of the sun. Only one in 10 billion actually heads in the direction of the earth, but less than 9 minutes later that energized photon hits the surface of a six month old, 45% efficient, thin film solar panel on the roof of a home in St.Louis. This breaks loose two electrons and they flow through circuits to a super capacitor which is part of the PV energy collection system on the home. Placed on the house 5 years ago it has recently been upgraded to allow supplying both power for the home and for the one electric car the 12 occupants own. There the electrons sit until they are suddenly transferred to the nanotech lithium ion batteries in the electric car about to be driven by one of the occupants. As it turns out, her short trip to the corner store does not use these electrons and they later find themselves traveling through plug in  additional circuits to the electric grid as part of the distributed electric generation and storage system of which this house is a part. The distributed electric generation and storage system is the brainchild of present energy secretary Roger Conner, and his brainstorming trust of Bob Shaw and Don Sailorman.  Roger, and his under secretary Stuart Staniford had both predicted the problems before the "BIG Upheaval" and the loss of the internet.
    The world is just starting to adjust to the turmoil created when it became obvious that oil production worldwide was starting to decline which precipitated the worldwide stock market crash, the localized Mad Max wars of 2008, the subsequent  quiet revolution in 2009, and the present world population of 4 billion. The imposition of Marshall Law by President Pelosi ( She was third in line when the terrorist bomb blew up the White House in 2007) in January of 2009 stopped the turmoil, the catastrophic freefall of the various American currencies, including the Yergins, and allowed the creation of the Combined Americas, which was now competing with the Asian bloc (China, including what used to be  the middle east, eastern Russia, all of India, the Stans,  Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia) and the European conglomeration which includes Turkey, western Russia and the rest of old Europe and Africa. Somehow we avoided nuclear exchanges but the economic wars were almost as debilitating, as were the Chinese land wars which viciously quieted the muslim uprisings. The rapidly declining mideast oil is presently under the control of the Asian bloc.
The first item of business, for the Combined Americas, after securing all oil and gas production under one central control, (adios Hugo) was the Electric car Apollo project, which interestingly enough did not include any of the previous big three auto makers. Much of the industrial capability of the rust belt was taken out by the fairly rapid Mad Max wars of late 2008, which also decimated much of the sunbelt but, fortunately little of central and South America. This project was managed by Robert Rapier and was already to the state of 45% replacement of the fleet. The addition of the distributed generation and storage system was implemented in 2012 and, under the control of Rapid Transit Intl. chairman Alan Drake, a long time advocate of electric mass transit, the electric grid was back to 30% and was expected to provide widespread minimal service within 7 more years. Population is still falling but time will tell how well we cope. The unemployment rate is estimated to be down to 28%.soon. There are few wild animals or pets left but food sources are beginning to crop up as more people learn organic techniques. It looks like we may recover, over time, but it has been one hell of a ride.
This breaks loose two electrons and they flow through circuits to a super capacitor which is part of the PV energy collection system on the home. Placed on the house 5 years ago it has recently been upgraded to allow supplying both power for the home and for the one electric car the 12 occupants own. There the electrons sit until they are suddenly transferred to the nanotech lithium ion batteries in the electric car about to be driven by one of the occupants. As it turns out, her short trip to the corner store does not use these electrons and they later find themselves traveling through plug in  additional circuits to the electric grid as part of the distributed electric generation and storage system of which this house is a part.

Couple of things with that paragraph.

One is you don't really "use" electrons. Its actually the EMF electromotive force that is being used to power things.
Second, while this EMF moves along at the speed of light, the actual electrons move very slowy along a wire.
Third, If its an AC system the electrons don't really go anywhere, they just jiggle back and force 60 times a second (but tranfer the EMF along).

Now its been quite a few years since I studied this in school. So someone please correct me if I goofed anywhere.


I never studied it in school. That is probably the problem.
And it's been many years since the commenter studied it in school, another part of the problem.

Actually, we do use electrons. When a charged particle (such as an electron) moves along a wire, it generates a magnetic flux field circling the wire. Coil that wire and place in the appropriate pole position of a electromagnetic machine and you have yourself something called an electric motor. Electrons flowing through the coils generate magnetic flux fields. The flux creates attraction force across tiny air gaps and the force causes the motor to turn.

In a photovoltaic cell, two oppositely charged particles are generated when a photon is absorbed. One is an electron and the other (the positive charge) is referred to as a hole. It is actually a vacancy or a missing electron in the crystel structure of the semiconductor. When an electron rushes in to fill the vacancy, it creates a new hole from where it departed. Holes therefore appear to travel just as electrons may travel or "drift" through a semiconductor body. A conventional PV cell is just a big area PN diode. Electrons accumulate in the N side and holes in the P side. The voltage is fairly low, around 0.6 volt for silicon cells. But string a bunch of those cells in series and the total voltage adds up.

(Aren't you glad you asked :-))