My Daughter

My Daughter
Remember when you learned how to do this?

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Importance of Being Earnest

Earnest was my grandfather's name.

Almost everyone loves and respects their grandparents of course, but he was, bar none the best example of how to live your life as I have ever encountered. Seen through the loving granddad-colored glasses to be sure, but I have never met anyone who knew him, who didn't think the exact same thing.

Earnest

- Heartfelt, serious and diligent, emotionally intense and solemn.

A pretty good description really. All things considered, I can only hope to live a life that reflects these values.

And why am I writing this on my depletion blog?

Because that's what I think is missing from many of our discussions about our collective future.

Absent an earnest treatment of this complex and world-changing topic, what's left is a cursory & misleading characterization of the challenges we face.

As a pessimist, it's tempting to think in terms of problems, rather than solutions; & the opposite is true as well I think. If we are to be heartfelt, serious and diligent, emotionally intense and solemn as we approach depletion issues, it demands that we remain open to the widest range of thinking considered realistic. True "due diligence" must include the ideas any one individual might find objectionable.

How inclusive of opposing viewpoints is the argument?

This is a yardstick for the "earnest" appraisal of the topic by the author(s).

Or lack thereof...

Or put in the colloquial euphemistic jargon of Southern Texas...

"The more ya think you're right... the less I'm gonna trust what you say."

And finally, here's an example of exactly what I mean.

http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic15992.html

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Production Peak - The Bottom Line

I'm a reader.

Love it... read everyday.

And from a wide variety of sources from fiction, to history, to historical fiction; & more recently technical papers on the geology of oil production & exploration of all things.

Like many of you, I'm more than a little interested in this idea that the midpoint of conventional hydrocarbon production looms near.

After 2 years of studying everything I can find on peak oil, I have distilled what I think are the most significant & compelling arguments regarding oil production.

As always, my friend Billy of Occam leads the way thru the foggy waters of reality.

And it goes something like this:

The determination of exactly when midpoint conventional oil production will occur hinges on exactly how much oil we can find & produce.

Our knowledge of estimated "known and probable" oil reserves rests with OPEC & the major oil companies.

There is significant financial advantage to OPEC & the oil majors in overstating their reserve estimates.

Which is the same as saying that OPEC & the oil majors are overstating their reserve estimates.

Since even the USGS predicts that conventional oil will eventually peak & decline around 2030, these over-stated reserve numbers shrink their estimate for peak.

Therefore:

It's really a question of just how inflated the OPEC & oil majors reserve reporting really is.

It's not hard to imagine that the world's oil producers have grossly exaggerated and the actual peak date is long since passed.

At the very least, it means that the 25 year window the USGS claims is fantasy, and the actual date will be much sooner.

What sounds more reasonable to you?

The major oil producers voluntarily gave up profits and made accurate reserve reports because it's the right thing to do?

or

The major oil producers inflate their reporting numbers to maximize profits regardless of other considerations?

Is there even any question?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Visit from Jevon

The subject of much debate, and more than a little misunderstanding, Jevon's Paradox is a simple observation with terrible consequences.

In a single stroke, Jevon has savaged the notion that conservation & efficiency are desirable, and are in fact at the root of the very problem we would like to overcome.

Peak Oil


"...to suppose that the economic use of fuel is equivalent to a diminished consumption.

The very contrary is the truth.

As a rule, the new modes of economy will lead to an increase of consumption according to a principle recognized in many parallel instances…. The same principles apply, with even greater force and distinctiveness to the use of such a general agent as coal. It is the very economy of its use which leads to its extensive consumption…. Nor is it difficult to see how this paradox arises….

If the quantity of coal used in a blast-furnace, for instance, be diminished in comparison with the yield, the profits of the trade will increase, new capital will be attracted, the price of pig-iron will fall, but the demand for it increase; and eventually the greater number of furnaces will more than make up for the diminished consumption of each.

And if such is not always the result within a single branch, it must be remembered that the progress of any branch of manufacture excites a new activity in most other branches and leads indirectly, if not directly, to increased inroads upon our seams of coal….

Civilization, says Baron Liebig, is the economy of power, and our power is coal. It is the very economy of the use of coal that makes our industry what it is; and the more we render it efficient and economical, the more will our industry thrive, and our works of civilization grow.

The contemporary significance of the Jevons paradox is seen with respect to the automobile in the United States. The introduction of more energy-efficient automobiles in this country in the 1970s did not curtail the demand for fuel because driving increased and the number of cars on the road soon doubled. Similarly, technological improvements in refrigeration simply led to more and larger refrigerators. The same tendencies are in effect within industry, independent of individual consumption. "


"...to the extent you make any useful commodity more affordable, you encourage it's consumption by that same margin."

Another way to put this is by looking at the difference between what any given commodity costs today, and what it would have cost absent the additional supplies which conservation & efficiency have provided.

Lower relative cost = greater relative consumption.

And unless you plan on invading China, India, South America & Africa and force them to comply with your conservation plans, the net effect will be generating energy subsidies for these emerging energy consumers in the form of lower energy commodity prices.

This is why all efforts at conservation & efficiency are actually counterproductive, and lead us even further into the quagmire of Hubbert's Peak.

It is indeed this sobering analysis, coupled with the notion that so many believe otherwise, which makes me the pessimist I am today.

I have said so many times, but it bears repeating...

Be aware of peak oil.
Be afraid of how your neighbors will react to it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sustainability: An Elusive Goal in an Entropy World

I have lived on this planet for 54 years. Much of that time has been spent observing and protecting nature, while developing a great respect for the intricate complex web of Mother Nature. To many, it has been a great party; but is that all man will ever be able to say of himself? He partied well? Face it, we found a "stash" of easy, cheap, party material in 1859, and we have been living it up ever since while ignoring the consequences with an utterly cavalier attitude that I have found repugnant and unbelievingly short-sighted.

One evening in Yellowstone NP, where I worked as a park ranger, I was having dinner at the Yellowstone Lake Hotel; a magnificent old framed structure that was built in 1892. Most of the conversation seemed to be steeped in how far and how fast the diners had come to be there. Few, if any, seemed to be concerned one way or another about what might be out there in the wild expanse of protected wilderness. But is it any wonder, really, when you stop to think about it?

Our civilization has grown increasingly alienated from the processes of nature, and therefore hardly knows where to begin thinking about the likes of ecology, much less the consequences of increased entropy due to the use of fossil fuels and the technology that came with them. To them, the park experience is enjoying some scenery, gawking at a few geysers, roadside stops to set to Kodak the often seen elk or bison herd, and dealing with crowded campgrounds and slow motor homes. In fact, it is viewed much like a trip to Disneyland, where wild animals should be kept locked up if they are dangerous. I recall a woman trying to photograph her grandchildren not ten feet from a 1500 lb. bison. When I warned her to move away, that the bison was a wild animal and quite dangerous, she replied with obvious indignation, "Well! If they're so dangerous, why do you let them out?"

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that no one cares about the wilds of Yellowstone. Of course they do. But of the three million plus visitors to Yellowstone National Park each year, the vast majority of them see the park through their windshield in about four hours. Cars and motor homes clog the roadways. By ten in the morning, all of the campgrounds are full, every day. Conversely, if you go more than a quarter of a mile off the road, you are alone.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the American citizenry's conscious relation to the park is woefully inadequate to insure it's long-term protection, much in the way that it is inadequate to truly comprehend the ramifications of peak-oil. Yellowstone, to continue to be Yellowstone must be appreciated as more than a place to go camping, fishing, and rollerblading.

Think about it. Do you really know what must be preserved and how to do it? If Yellowstone was kept safe and nice, it would cease to be the place we set aside to preserve. After all, Yellowstone didn't require any human guidance to become what it is before the ignorant intervention of mankind. This same kind of ignorance of the natural and physical world is going to plague us with the crisis of peak-oil and finding a sustainable solution. So, I am going to make my case once again and do it really simple. You 2nd Law purists can go pound sand if you don't like the analogy.

If you drop a plate in your kitchen and it breaks, does it take more energy to bend over and pick up the broken plate that it did to break it? Of course, we all can agree on that. Does it take more energy to use a broom to sweep up the same pieces? Many will say, no, the utility of the broom makes it easier and faster. Now if you go get the vacuum and suck up the broken pieces, does this take less energy? Sure, you say. Even easier and much faster.

Which method produced the least amount of entropy increase? Using your hands, of course. You converted sugars to ATP and burned it exerting physical effort. The broom, however, required that a tree be felled for the handle, or oil to be extracted and made into plastic for the bristles and handle, and all the other myriad of energy conversions that gave off wasted energy in the process (2nd Law). The vacuum required plastics, steel, cooper, rubber, etc, all to be mined, manufactured and assembled. Think of all the energy conversions that took place. The more complex the technology, the more entropy was increased, and the more energy it will take to combat the entropy increase somewhere else. We have stepped on the gas (pun intended). We clean up one mess and make a bigger one somewhere else as a result. In a finite world of limited energy resources does continuing this make sense? Is it sustainable? We know it is not.

In an entropy world, nothing is actually sustainable; but somewhere between using our hands and using the vacuum, there is an increase in entropy that we can live with without exceeding the carrying capacity of our world.

Our goal is to find it. How long an existence, with how many people, and at what standard of living should we desire for mankind?

We are hopefully smarter than bacteria in a Petri dish, but we are susceptible to the same laws that limit growth in a finite world.

"There is no such thing as a free lunch."

Doubling Time & the Limits to Growth

3 1/2 % growth per year means the original quantity doubles in 20 years.

Is there anyone left who thinks that by 2025 our world will be consuming 170 million barrels of oil per day?

... or even 100 MBPD?

We have reached the limits of our most productive source of energy.

The black ceiling.

Since it is this expanding base of hydrocarbon resources which has enabled the growth of world economies these last 100 years, it becomes obvious that expectations of further growth are unfounded.

This is our achilles heel.

Our economies require growth to function.

From ancient barter economies, through 10,000 years of growth into today's massive markets, yesterday's debts are paid with tomorrow's growth.

So what if growth is over?

With the inertia of hundreds of generations of rolling debt, what happens when these debts come due?

Last one out, please turn off the lights.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Drilling for Oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

George Bush said recently that drilling ANWR would increase our domestic energy supply and help lower gasoline prices and utility bills.

I'm not so sure about that. Let’s do the math, shall we?

The first lease sales will not be issued until 2007, followed by development seven to 10 years later.

This puts it in the realm of 2014-2017 when USA demand is projected to be 40% higher at 29.4 mbpd with about 80 percent of the increase expected in fuel use for transportation. ANWR can only produce and deliver via the Alaskan pipeline approximately 1 mbpd as the 2 mbpd pipeline is running about half full ( 908 thousand barrels per day) with Prudhoe Bay oil. Depletion of the oil resource base in the North Slope, NPR-A, and southern Alaska oil fields is expected to lead to a decline in the State’s total production to about 610,000 barrels per day in 2025.

An EIA analysis projects that if drilling were allowed in ANWR, production would start 10 years later and reach 900,000 barrels per day in 2025 if the area contains the mean level of resources (10.4 billion barrels) estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey.

In the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2005 with Projections to 2025, released in January 2005, they estimated that lower 48 production would not drop until after 2009, and then it would be from 5.4 mbpd to 4.1 mbpd in 2025. 5.4 mbpd was the total USA production at the end of 2004.

Factoring in oil prices, they projected total USA production from high world oil prices at 5.2 mbpd, and at low world oil price, 4.5 mbpd in 2025. And average of about 4.9 mbpd.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/gas.html

Current total USA crude oil production is a little over 4 mbpd, down from 5.4 mbpd in August, 2005. Much of this drop can obviously be attributed to the hurricane damage.

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/wcrfpus2w.htm

Conclusion:
1 mbpd is a little over 3% of projected US oil consumption in 2019. Not only will it not lower gasoline prices, I doubt it will even offset domestic decline, much less increase supply.

43 minutes of oil supply per day is the bottom line.

And now a tiny band of moderate House Republicans stands in the way.

Republicans? What is the world coming to?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Persian Gulf Address

Over one hundred years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new energy source, conceived in Pennsylvania, and dedicated to the proposition that all resources are not created equal. Now we are engaged in a great energy conflict, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that oil might flow.

It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this oil, underground, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that energy of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Aaron Dunlap

BP Investment Strategy

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Tyranny of Leisure

Idle hands are the Devil's Workshop.

We are at our best, when things are at their worst.

Change is often frightening & painful.

Progress is more often the result of failure, than success.

You never really know how far you can go... until you fall.

All these ideas have a common theme... the hardest steel is forged by the hottest furnace. As a species and as individuals, we are pushed to greatness through adversity. The more difficult our circumstance, the greater the motivation to change.

So what happens when you're satisfied?

Absent the "cattle-prod" of difficulty to spur us to change... we don't.

Should it then be a surprise to any of us that the opposite condition is true as well? That mediocrity is fueled by success. When things are going well... don't rock the boat yes? Why would you?

We recognize and even celebrate those individuals who overcame great adversity. But how many of them actually sought out this adversity intentionally? Precious few...

Pain, it seems, produces tempered steel.

Pleasure produces cookie dough.

It is the inescapable tyranny of leisure which defines our plight today.

Makes cookie dough of us all.

It is the difference between competence and comfort, balanced against each other, which drives the process. We are truly victims of our own success.

The diminishing returns of past triumphs, are the failures of tomorrow.

Our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness... where fear & fruition meet.

Our prosperity is a beacon; a harbinger of things to come. Having overcome many of the difficulties of the human experience, we seemed poised to face our age old nemesis. This pendulum between failure & success. A never ending battle between the forge of adversity & the tyranny of leisure.

What is the greatest source of human suffering?

Our happiness.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Peak Oil and the New Media

Are websites like peakoil.com threatening or even replacing the television and print media?

Does our culture of "information overload" make us more or less vunerable to an energy crisis?
Or perhaps the monetizing of human attention has distracted many of us from the boring facts of oil well depletion into some kind of sensationalist killer zombie movie....

Does it even matter considering that news and informative media is less then 1% of all media content produced?
Consider that Google is now the #1 largest media company in the world.

Or these new stats from PEW
  • 33 percent of Americans now get their news online
  • 76 percent of teens get their news online
  • 61 percent of Internet users go online for news at least once a week
  • 46 percent of broadband users get their news online
  • 27 percent of users who get news online every day
  • 18 percent of those who get news online at least once a week say they use other sources less often, up from 11 percent two years ago
  • 53 percent of Internet users watch television news
  • 26 percent of of Internet users say they regularly watch a nightly network news broadcast
These guys did a survey on the problems with online news?
  • one in every five visitors to a news site leaves unhappy
  • poor content is cited as the number one reason Web surfers go to another site
  • shallow coverage is the next leading turnoff among Web news site defectors
  • since the beginning of 2005, customer satisfaction with the online news industry has declined 9 percent

Most people learned about peak oil from the internet. Perhaps the organic growth of new media like Peak Oil New and Message Boards is filling a temporary gap in these awkward years before the 6 largest media conglomerates catch up with us. Will the the blatant absuridty of old media polarize and strengthen Peakers? Or is Peak doomed to be packaged, spun, and otherwise re-absorbed? Doesn't every used-to-be-edgy media eventually sell out?

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Real Problem

Peak oil, terrorism, poverty, environmental destruction, war.

What we are really talking about is human nature.

By habit or convention we view these issues as the challenges we face. But the reality is that we visit these things upon ourselves and our planet. The root cause of these 5 "challenges" have a common origin... and it's us. Absent human intervention, not one of these issues would exist at all in the way we know them today.

Our advances as a species seem to come with a hefty price.

The traditional approach to solving the dilemma of human nature is attempts to control. To prevent our human nature from expressing itself in harmful ways. As the reader knows, it's been a mixed bag of results to say the least. But it's at the root of all human civilization... stuff you are not supposed to be doing.

There's an old axiom which says that you can't legislate intent.

Human Nature.

Our failures to control the expression of our natures is the descendant of this idea.

The heart wants what the heart wants.

Even the ancients recognized this basic truth. By attempted selected breeding programs, several populations have managed to preserve a certain clarity of genetic drift in their genotype over the centuries. But even the venerable Hebrew & Chinese bloodlines have begun to drift... You can't legislate intent.

Modern science has opened a Pandora's box of possibilities to humanity, including the miracle of cloning.

We are on the journey to uncover & map the mysteries of why you are you, and I'm me. Does anyone really doubt that someday, (maybe even some day in the past), that man will come to understand the processes of life so thoroughly, that we can literally redesign ourselves generation by generation? If we learn to treat diseases born of genetic defects, how long till we begin to manipulate other things? Think of the expression of genetic power across the history of life on Earth. From the greatest dinosaur, to the smallest virus... what if we become free to borrow the code which supports these creatures for ourselves?

What parent would deny their child the guarantee of freedom from genetic disease?

But what if you could choose other things? Hair, eyes, strength, intelligence, size, etc... If science could guarantee your child to be born strong, attractive, brilliant & compassionate, would you say no?

So what about human nature?

Could genetics hold the key to disposition in a breeding population?

What's your biggest grip? Mine is stupid people... people are pretty stupid.

Could we imagine a world without stupidity?

Is it possible that our only hope, is to reinvent humanity?

Send in the clones.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Peak Oil Crisis: The First Casualty

Tom Whipple
Falls Church News Press
3 October 2005

When the historians come to write the history of the 21st Century, they may well record that the African nation of Zimbabwe was the first to succumb to peak oil.

For students of African economies, the current Zimbabwean meltdown comes as no surprise. During the last decade, Zimbabwe 's dysfunctional government got itself involved in war that drained the treasury and then implemented a land redistribution program that drove out the white farmers. These actions devastated exports and led to runaway inflation. The Mugabe government finally got into so much trouble with the International Monetary Fund for failure to make meaningful reforms and repayments, that it is constantly on the verge of being thrown out of the IMF and in turn, can no longer avail itself of the Fund's services When the price of oil started climbing into the $65+ range, official oil imports simply stopped.

The country currently does not have the foreign exchange to purchase oil and it seems nobody is willing to extend credit on acceptable terms. Rigged elections and expropriated land have left the country at odds with the usual foreign aid donors so that only humanitarian food shipments are currently arriving in the country. A few years ago, the government turned much of the oil import business over to the private sector while retaining price caps on retail gasoline.

Obviously, when the cost of oil got higher than the permissible sales price, gas stations went dry.

This has resulted in a black market where gasoline is selling for ten times the controlled price. While Zimbabwe 's multiple economic problems make it an atypical case, it is the first country to run almost completely out of oil. This, in turn, gives us a look at what will happen as the consequences of expensive and scarce oil spreads around the globe. By last week, nearly all buses and commuter taxis in the capitol, Harare , had stopped running, forcing tens of thousands to walk to work. While there are still a lot of private cars on the road, they are being fueled with $36 a gallon black market gasoline. Municipal services have stopped. There are no trash collections, no ambulances, or operating public works vehicles. Only one fire truck has any fuel left. The police immediately commandeer any fuel they come across. Clean water and electricity are available sporadically. Hospitals are out of supplies and the staff is fleeing. What was once one of the cleanest, most modern cities in Africa is nearly finished.

The long-term effects on the Zimbabwean economy are equally dire. The only sugar refinery is shut due to a lack of coal caused by a lack of fuel for the coal-transporting railroad. Production of tobacco, a major export crop, is already down to 30 percent of pre-land reform levels. It now appears that only about five percent of the normal crop will be planted this year. Large numbers of Zimbabweans are fleeing the county in the midst of what is clearly an economic death spiral. Famine, mass movements of peoples, and political turmoil cannot be far behind.

In the case of Zimbabwe , all this human misery is not completely attributable to peak oil and unaffordable gasoline; an abysmally incompetent government is playing a major part in the country's economic demise well in advance of better governed nations. It is, however, representative of what we will see again and again as oil depletion sets in. In the US , we are discussing whether tax cuts are the proper remedy for expensive gasoline.

In Africa , people are starting to starve. Somewhere in the future, peak oil will evolve a test of mankind's humanity to our less fortunate fellows. Will some sort of oil depletion protocol come to pass allowing at least of modicum of oil to support every country's essential services? Or will peak oil be marked by survival of the richest?

This will soon be seen as the heart of the peak oil moral dilemma.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

One Year on

After a long time I've finally managed to get my blog off the ground!!! About time.

What an appropriate time to choose to start. It is exactly one year ago that I joined the PO.com forum.....and what a year it's been.

How have I changed and how has my outlook on the world changed in the last year? Well I can say for one thing that there are times when I wish that I had never known about Peak Oil. Ignorance is bliss and there many times when I wish that I was just down the pub with my mates, drinking beer and being completly carefree and not actually giving a shit about the world....Unfortunately those days are now long gone. The beer will still be drunk but the way I look at the world has completly changed.

My friend said something to me the other day that summed up everything. He said that when I had found out about PO I had finally found what I was looking for. Allow me to explain. I'm the kind of guy who grows up being told that Adam and Eve were the first people on the planet. However I was also told that we evolved from Gorillas. Obviously these two theories cannot be the same. However my curiousity has always got the better of me and this has led me to investigate things such as religion and conspiracy theories in some kind of quest for the truth. As soon as I started learning about the importance of energy sources in human society then the penny finally dropped. That was it. It was so obvious. Yet I'd never even thought about it. Instead I was too busy enjoying the luxuries that oil was able to provide instead of appreciating it's importance.

Learning about PO has led me to one simple basic conclusion. All living things require a source of energy. NO SHIT!!! I hear you cry. If that statement is so obvious to all of us then why are we on the verge of the greatest energy crisis that our species has ever seen?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

An Undisclosed Source Reveals

Hurricane Ivan destroyed 7 platforms and 100 pipelines and 0 rigs.Katrina & Rita destroyed (so far) 90 platforms and (who knows) pipelines and 100?rigs.

There are typically around 130 rigs working in the Gulf. Today, there are 23.

There will be virtually no new exploration in the Gulf for the next year or so, assuming everything stays the way it is right now. Plus, with the rigs left in operation, there are several countries bidding to have them work in their waters. Guess who wins? Highest bidder.

Gasoline was up $0.40 at my test location just since last night. Expectations are that it will rise over $1.00 by Sunday night. Two years ago, I could fill my SUV (26 gal tank) for $28. Today, it cost me $28 to fill my buzzie with a 10 gal tank.

Service companies are strained to the max. There is very little equipment available. Dive equipment, generators, winches and the whole lot were destroyed in the storms. Rentals are going out all over the world to get the equipment to do the job.

Right now, everything is on an even keel, but one more surprise could put the whole remediation effort over the edge, as well.Still working on the refinery data for you.

Don't trust the happy talk. These are eyeball numbers. We are keeping a large wall map up-to-date in the war room. (Oilman1 is at an oil service company that does offshore work -

It's not only bad, it's very bad.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Oil & Gas to Skyrocket

paste of CWEI post by: ivorytowersecho 09/27/05 09:25 pm Msg: 177778 of 177779

If you didn't think I was crazy before

by: Todd1956 09/27/05 10:14 am Msg: 123996 of 124331

The following ideas (opinion based on privy data) will surely confirm your suspicions. I cannot believe that the street is as ignorant as the masses with regard to our energy situation. However they are confirming my opinion that less than 1% of the brokers/traders on Walls Street have any knowledge at all of the timeframe to bring production to market much less the time to repair the damages that have been inflicted in the GOM. This isn't just adding sand to the sandbox to fix the childrens wishes.

The lack of equipment , manpower, etc was bad before the storms , now its critical and not going to be fixed with money as everyone is loaded in this sector with nowhere to spend it because of the aformentioned problems. My source at BP has a preliminary report that would blow away the wildest of expectations with regard to lost production, damages, timeframe to return to a partial number of GOM production, as there will never be what there was before the storms. Right now the repairs have not even been contemplated as they feel that damage assessment will take till XMAS since the sub surface reviews were not anywhere near being finished from Katrina and now the scope is almost all of the GOM vs a relatively smaller area affected before.

The more relavent number IMO is that after Katrina an initial estimate of daily production to be abandoned was 100k bbl/day and 500 MMCFD of gas and it appears to now be low by a factor of 2. The risk premium being applied to the ROI for existing wells is going much higher in BP's calcs and the CAPEX for future GOM development is currently being slashed for the time being. I'm not saying reduced slighlty , I'm on record as saying slashed significantly. If the giant in the pen is doing this the smaller animals in the herd will surely follow suit. This information will not be supplied to the media or the government nor the public for obvious reasons.

The repair CAPEX is now almost equal to what would have been 2006 CAPEX and there is a ton of unknown damage below thw surface as I post. Until the shore facilities are repaired there will be NO pipeline assessments done and definitely no CL put through them until they are assured to be in perfect working order for environmental reasons. These additional costs have not even been factored in yet as the EPA hasn't attacked the pocketbooks yet , but they surely will at some point is the feeling in the War Room , still not operating in Houston. Once again the lack of news from the giant will be noticed through time as they will have the worst effect on the future pricing and carryn the most weight .

You can rest assured as winter gets closer without GOM production the concern will turn to worry then to panic and the spike associated in NG with the clearing picture of shortages by spring could easily cause a buying LDC panic in many large consumer markets in the North. I have predicted after Katrina that a spike to 24 is in my crystal ball with normal winter and after this am's info that I've been allowed to digest I'll stick my neck out and post a spike intraday price of $30 is not going to surprise me one bit.

Ther now the bears got all they need to commit me to a white suit... Time will tell but IF winter is colder than normal there should be NG rationing in our future IMHO.


GSF HIGH ISLAND 3 - Beached in West Cameron
GSF ADRIATIC 7 - Beached in Eugene Island
GSF ADRIATIC 4 - Sunk on location
ROWAN LOUISIANA - Beached in West Cameron
ROWAN FORT WORTH - Beached in West Cameron
ROWAN MIDDLETOWN - Missing
NOBLE JOE ALFORD - Beached in West Cameron
ROWAN HALIFAX - Beached in East Cameron
ROWAN ODESSA - Missing Semis
NOBLE AMOS RUNNER - Aground in Vermilion
NOBLE MAX SMITH - Aground in Eugene Island
NOBLE PAUL ROMANO - Aground in Vermilion
NOBLE LORRIS BOUZIGARD - Adrift 240 miles out
NOBLE THERALD MARTIN - Adrfit 250 miles out
FALCON 100 - Aground
OCEAN SARATOGA - Aground
OCEAN STAR - Aground
TRANSOCEAN DEEPWATER NAUTILUS - Aground in South Timbalier
TRANSOCEAN MARIANAS - Aground in Eugene Island Spars/TLPs
CHEVRONTEXACO / BHP BILLITON - TYPHOON - Upside down in Eugene Island

Friday, September 16, 2005

Greetings From Mexico

Hola Amigos,

Just taking a break from life down in Isla Mujeres Mexico and wanted to say hi to all the folks.

Hi folks...

No phone, no news, nada...

Ahhh depletion... the cause of... and solution to... all life´s problems.

See everyone next week.

http://lasbrisasisla.com/images/Las_Brisas_0001.wmv
Aaron

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

PO.com down for Upgrade

We are performing a server upgrade today to accommodate the growing traffic.

Thanks to everyone for your patience.

Back shortly!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Shooting the Messenger

One of the most contemptible techniques in debating is the "ad hominem" attack, where you simply ignore the substance of your opponent's argument and attack them personally. You focus on their credibility, their motives, anything that will discredit them—without addressing the points they raise.

It's far easier to blame, and often even severely punish, the messenger than to accept bad news—especially news that upsets one's view of the world. In the peakoil debate, they may even go so far as to call you a hypocrite for driving a car or being dependent on oil. Myself, I love all the things that cheap oil brings, but I am also concerned about society, global warming, the loss of biodiversity, and I want to help people think about, and begin preparing for, the future ahead.

Ideologically, we need an ecological worldview; a paradigm shift in our thinking about the world about us. There is a bit of a conundrum though: it is difficult, if almost impossible for people of one paradigm to communicate with those who perceive and reason in terms dictated by another different paradigm. We all need to be on the same page and we are not.

Many people just cannot fathom an ecological worldview based upon limits and a balance with nature; to them it would be run by environmental tree-hugging whackos or worse. Shaking their heads at any mention of a departure from their Newtonian Mechanics worldview, they insist competent people need to knock these whackos aside in order to make real progress. In disgust, they venture forth in their insipid rants of personal attacks on the bearers of reality, thinking they have somehow performed a service to mankind in the frivolous exercise of their naive arrogance.

The cornucopians believe the “free hand of the market” will ride to the rescue. We will soon tool around in our hydrogen-powered golf-carts and cars, while counting our windfall profits from investments in the “right” sectors. They offer "solutions in isolation", advocating tar sands and shale oil while ignoring greenhouse gases.

At the root of any well-thought out “doomer” position is the realization that exponential growth in a finite world is unsustainable in the first place. There are limits. We have been able to circumvent these limits for some time by exploiting a one-time gift of cheap, non-renewable fossils fuels. There is currently no alternative basket of technologies capable of being scaled up in the manner we need to replace them. This will take time. Time we do not have.

Peak oil is tomorrow in planning terms. They know this, but cannot find the facts to dispute it, nor can they show you any of their so-called “techno-fix” progress. Thus, they resort to savaging your credibility. So, next time you are in a debate and someone resorts to an ad hominem attack, it's either an admission of failure and you have won the argument, or you are bumping up against an “old school” worldview.

A worldview that they are loathe to abandon in the face of another that they cannot fathom.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Lander & Doomers

This is a recurring theme around here.

Landers on one side & doomers on the other, with the moderates in between trying to keep the peace. First, if you think PO is about fluffy unicorns prancing around your bio fuels station after a mild road bump in hydrocarbon production... then why the hell are you here?
Voyeurism?

Boredom?

Ego-centrism?

It's as if you think mankind will just coast into the hydrogen filling station when your gas runs out.

I'll share with you my core reason for being a so called "doomer".

It's because of all you Landers. Your insane belief in the continued growth of human systems has brought us to this juncture, and threatens to plunge us into resource wars going forward. The market will solve right? Solve what? Oh yes, the problem is "How can we sustain our mad experiment in growth and continue trashing our planet on a geologic scale?" Smash up corn & turkeys? Extract exotic methane from the seafloor? Liquefy coal? Cooking oil? Anything to keep the machine growing yes?

Your "Emperors New Clothes" attitudes hold the seeds of our doom, and promises an unpleasant future for our descendants.

To be fair, I don't hold with the conspiracy crapola myself, so Ruppert & company do detract from the actual debate. It's not raving hoards of Illuminati warriors I fear, or 911 cover-up black ops, or alien sphincter probes. I fear you Lander's complacency in the face of reality... scarcity = conflict So while you choose the most outrageous doomer prescriptions for the future to rebut, the reality of depletion continues.

The Landers would have mankind continue dumping carbon into the environment without pause. While the largest ice sheet in the world sprints across Greenland at 100 feet per day, melting a hundred times faster than only 5 years ago.

One thing is certain... finding even more carbon to release is NOT a solution to our carbon dilemma. So unless you plan to panel China, & India with wall to wall solar panels, the collapse of the hydrocarbon economy is inevitable. And with that collapse comes war. Thanks... for nothing.

Forget the Skull & Bones nonsense... Ignore the NWO nonsense. You can even ignore the geologic aspects of peak oil itself. Pay attention to how your neighbors react to our hydrocarbon dilemma...

It's kinda like a first date... pay attention to how your date treats your server at the restaurant. Because that's how they will be treating you in 6 weeks.

Most of you have never experienced real hardship. Your naive Pollyanna attitudes tell the tale. Your holier than thou attitudes make it clear you have never actually suffered with hunger or homelessness.

Think you are better than those poor skeletons in New Orleans? News Flash... you aren't. Landers demonstrate the validity of the observation that the only thing we learn from history, is that we learn little from history. As my favorite NWO, illuminati, Masonic, 911 causing, nutcase says: Doom

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

A timeless idiom. We just flat came up with “too little too late" for the suffering mass of humanity in New Orleans. We came within a cat’s whisker of crazed, starved-mobs-bent-on-violence rending what was left of the city into tatters. America literally declared itself unable to rescue its’ citizens from the ravages of nature, much less, the ineptitude of disaster planning. Where were the plans to evacuate the poor, the elderly, and those without cars or money for transportation? Why can we squander $300 billion on Iraq, but can only cough up a measly $10 billion dollars worth of relief for our own people right here at home?

Maybe the-powers-that-be didn’t think it was human beings that were stranded in, and on, their flood-engulfed homes. I think this response had a lot to do with the majority of the victims being poor black folks. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for a week?

No one can say they didn't see it coming. We even knew with a great degree of certitude exactly how this would play out. The Internet is replete with recent pre-Katrina articles and studies outlining the enormity of just how catastrophic such an event would be. Where was the armada of inflatable Zodiac boats that should have been stored to rescue people from their flooded homes?

As a nation, we tragically let down the people of New Orleans. They deserved better, and we should have provided it.

Ironically, New Orleans has now returned to the coastal wetlands that man once destroyed. Mother Nature always bats last. For some reason, she just doesn’t like to be "managed."

We were fore-warned and they say hindsight is 20/20, but will we ever be fore-armed? I doubt it. We weren’t prepared for 911, we weren’t prepared for hurricane Katrina, and we aren’t prepared for peak-oil.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Peak Oil Dodgeball

I'm not sure what politically correct, weeny version of dodge ball the kids play today; probably wearing helmets & throwing marshmallows.

But back in the day, we played real dodge ball.

With nothing but your wits to protect you, we took the field of honor with the knowledge of certain pain and humiliation to come. Stalking through a sea of bodies, alert to incoming salvos of small red kick-balls, we played our ancient game.

Domination

We played a version where the side boundaries changed through the game, ending up with the final competitors only feet from one another. The times we played with volleyballs were a brutal and frightening dance with danger & pain.

Sounds fun huh? What's funny is... it was fun.

Pitted, against our own will, in a contest of domination & pain, we learned to enjoy the art of combat. We quickly learned that the pain and humiliation came no matter what we did, so we were taught to stalk and execute, to prey upon each other.

You don't get to choose sides in dodge ball do you?

The side chooses you.

Flash forward a quarter of a century... we find ourselves in the same situation.

By virtue of geography, creed, religion or just luck, your side has chosen you.

And it is only the utter futility of your situation which will force you to finally accept the status quo... and play. Just like in dodge ball.

As we see plainly in New Orleans today, humanity isn't nearly as advanced & sophisticated as we like to think it is. Rather we are all one step away from violence and chaos; cruelty and retribution, panic and pain.

Just like in dodge ball...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Oil Storm Deja Vu

Back in June, FX aired a docu-drama entitled, “Oil Storm.” The movie was sub-titled, 1 million barrels of oil gone. The movie began with a hurricane taking out Port Fourchon, the major entry point for oil into the United States. Circa, late summer, 2005. Eerily prophetic.

The US government ends up tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to make up for the shortfall. We call on the Saudis to bail us out, but the radical Islamic fundies put the kibosh on that maneuver. Russia finally comes to our aid with a big oil shipment. China initially outbids us while the oil is in transit, until we up the bid and invest heavily in Russian oil infrastructure. We all live somewhat happily ever after.

On the LA 1 Coaltion website they state:
http://www.la1coalition.org/highway_02.html:

Louisiana’s southernmost port is Port Fourchon, strategically located in the central Gulf region where it serves as a focal point of deepwater oil and gas activities...Analysts predict that losing access to Port Fourchon could choke our national energy supply, sending gas prices to over $3 per gallon.”

Before hurricane Katrina was forever etched into our memory, the US was suffering from an oil refinery capacity problem; one of the main causes of the recent run-up in oil and gasoline prices. Refinery capacity, therefore, is still a problem. Katrina will just exacerbate it to new heights.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the first and only offshore oil terminal operating in the United States capable of off-loading the huge, deep draft supertankers, is located less than 20 miles south of Port Fourchon in the Gulf of Mexico. LOOP connects to over 30 percent of this nation’s refining capacity, some of which is in St. Bernard’s parish near New Orleans--almost directly in the path of the hurricane. The homes in St. Bernard's parish are currently under water.

The world has recently been suffering from “infrastructure peak,” as a result of increasing demand, a lack of refining capacity, and other bottlenecks; not to mention, the peaking of light sweet crude oil. Many of the refineries are just not able to handle the heavier sour crude grades that are now becoming an ever-increasing share of global oil production.

Oil has now breached $70/barrel and is destined to possibly soar when the reports on the damage to production facilities in the Gulf come in.

Will we call on the Saudis and OPEC to increase production? Will we tap the SPR? Will gas be over $3 by Labor Day?

As Paul Harvey would say, “stand by for news!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hijacking Reality



I attended a peak oil mini-conference recently hosted by the Green Party of Texas.

It was surprising to see see so man people in one place, who are interested in Peak Oil and resource depletion. I suppose I was half expecting 12 weirdo's sitting in a circle and swapping conspiracy theories. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the disaffected conspiracy crowd always seem to be early adopters of any issue which predicts problems for humanity.

The crowd was roughly 100 people... Everybody from college students, housewives, blue collar guys, seniors, and even a few young children. So my conspiracy-nut fears soon dissolved amid this mixed crowd, and my attention shifted from the crowd to the message being delivered.

They screened The End of Suburbia of course, and conducted breakout sessions for those of us who had seen EOS already. The session I attended was presented by members of the Green Party sponsors. It began with a somewhat rambling introduction to peak oil, with frequent interruptions from a well-intentioned, but very annoying young lady with some agenda I never did quite catch. This was followed by a Green Party pitch, complete with little brochures and hand-outs. Much what I had expected I suppose. I didn't identify myself to anyone because I wanted to see the event from the perspective of a newcomer, and to avoid co-opting their time.

After the sessions and screenings were finished, a round-table of Green Party affiliates answered questions and made short presentations. These were focused on solutions and activism messages among a panel of around 8. I didn't know any of the speakers myself or by reputation. Urban planning and energy friendly homes were the mainstay of the Q & A.

That's when it dawned on me...

The people who organized & presented the seminar were "piggy-backing" on the Peak Oil buzzword as a method of promoting their own agenda... just like the conspiracy nuts I had anticipated. I could have attended this entire event, and never actually understood what Peak Oil is really about. Not to discount the mostly worthwhile goals of these groups, but it became clear that Peak Oil was not really among them.

One session speaker offered Mad Max DVDs for newcomers to understand post peak life...

I rest my case.

It reminded me of a favorite Simpson's episode actually.


Homer: "Okay, okay, it was me. I'm sorry I blew your secret! But you don't know what it's like to be a nobody! I just wanted to bask in your reflected glory! Reflected glory!!"

Kim: "Homer ... you betrayed our confidence. I just don't think we can be friends anymore."

Homer: "But ... where will I bask?"

Alec: "Anywhere but here.'

Homer: [puts his hand on Ron's shoulder] 'Come on, Ron. We're not wanted here. ' [Ron removes Homer's hand] 'All right, I'll go. But the next time you want someone to remind you which brother is which, or smell your hair while you're sleeping, just remember ... old Homer won't be here anymore!'

It's our greatest strength... & our worst failure.

Competition

Google News - peak oil

Google News - peak oil

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hoarding Gas and Oil

During the 1973-74 oil embargo, gas prices doubled within days. Gas rationing resulted in hoarding, and Western economies accustomed to cheap oil sputtered into recession. Rationing of gasoline forced many motorists to wait hours in long lines at gas stations to obtain just a few gallons. Drivers of vehicles with license plates having an odd number as the last digit were allowed to purchase gasoline for their cars only on odd-numbered days of the month, while drivers of vehicles with even-numbered license plates were allowed to purchase fuel only on even-numbered days. People rented their license plates for the day if they had gas and others didn’t.

People slept in their cars overnight to be in the front of the line. You couldn’t buy a locking gas cap, gas can, or siphon device to save your ass. People punched holes in your gas tank with a chisel to get around the locking cap. Fist fights broke out at the pump, tempers flared, guns were drawn; people got hurt.

There was some black market gasoline hoarding. Some people hoarded it for their own use. You would often see two or more 5 gallon Jerry-cans strapped to the bumper of cars or in the backseat. The “approved only” gas containers grew out of this time, as people would fill up milk jugs or glass bottles at the pump. It wasn’t about the price of gas; it was about getting any at all.

On the world scale, there is a degree of hoarding as well. It is called the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). This time around, I think it could have a far larger impact, as it will be a new source of global demand.

The U.S. SPR is the largest stockpile of government-owned emergency crude oil in the world (700 million barrels). The oil is stored in huge underground salt caverns along the coastline of Texas and Louisiana. Established in the aftermath of the 70’s oil embargo, the SPR provides the President with a powerful response option should a disruption in commercial oil supplies threaten the U.S. economy. It also allows the United States to meet part of its International Energy Agency obligation to maintain emergency oil stocks, and it provides a national defense fuel reserve.

Developed nations across the globe started to build their own strategic oil reserves in response to the oil crisis in the 1970s. Currently, oil reserves of the United States, Japan and Germany can meet these countries' oil demands for 158, 161 and 127 days, respectively. As oil prices continue to skyrocket, oil-guzzling developed nations are taking measures to increase their strategic oil storage.

China is building a national strategic petroleum reserve that will consist of three tank farms, co-located with major refineries, and will be built and filled in phases, with the first phase using its own oil. According to Zhenhai Strategic Oil Reserve Administration in east China's Zhejiang Province, 16 oil-tank facilities will be completed by the end of August 2005 and oil storage is expected to start by year-end.

Construction on four more oil reserve bases will be finished by the end of 2008. The strategic oil reserve will provide the equivalent of the country’s 30-day oil imports.

India is planning to set up a strategic petroleum reserve equal to 15 days of the country's oil consumption.

And who knows how much "speculator" hoarding we will see as oil prices head for the moon.

If gas rationing comes to your town, be prepared for the worst; it can and will get ugly.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Near Term Economic Effects of Peak Oil

If you don’t know it by now, peak oil means the end of cheap, readily available oil. This price increase will flow through our economy like a pandemic disease, causing higher commodity prices, economic decline and rising unemployment. But not just commodities; there will be inflation in the price of everything. We are seeing it already.

The most dependent countries on oil will be the most affected, and the least affluent countries will bear the first wave of economic onslaught as they will be the least able to afford the higher prices. Affluent countries like the US will have conservation and energy efficiency to initially fall back upon, followed by a decline in the standard of living. The poorer countries will just do without, having no huge gluttonous fat belly to sustain them for the harsh winter of oil decline.

Foreign aid and subsidies will fall to the wayside, and there will arise conflict between the natives and immigrants, especially the illegal ones. Homes and jobs will be lost, spurring competition for the remaining occupations that manage to survive the downsizing. As unemployment rises, there will be a migration into the military for work to support families. Families will double up in one home, while others will take in boarders to help cover expenses. Marginal business will fail and the rising dissent amongst the people will be squashed.

I have been trying to think of what I would cut out of my budget when it gets tight. I think most people will pay whatever price gas is, until they no longer can. The more affluent, and those more forward-thinking will buy more efficient vehicles. Maybe, like in the phrasing of James Howard Kunstler, there will be a “decanting” of the suburban population back into the city as the 150 mile per day commutes become foolish and totally unaffordable.

How chaotic will this transformation get? And remember, we are not talking about shortages yet, just higher prices. In the short term, I think we will see more rage at the pump. They sure fought in the gas lines I was in during the gas crisis of the 1970’s. I read the other day that a gas station owner had been run over and killed for $52.00 worth of gas in a “drive-away” incident.

The end of cheap fossil fuels is going to have some dire repercussions. And let’s hope we don’t have a Murphy’s Law event right away to start a domino effect that leads to utter chaos.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Conservation

To most people, conservation means using less of something. But in the larger picture, it means the care and protection, or management of natural resources. Sometimes, this means not using them at all.

In the post-peak oil world, we will have to explore the options before us in this finite world, from increasing the efficiency of energy use, to learning to do with less, and perhaps even finding our true place in the cosmos. Conservation and improving energy efficiency may be the most cost-effective thing that we can do in the short term. How much you will actually benefit from this depends on how you approach it. Every opportunity for saving energy requires significant effort if it is going to work and endure the test of time.

There is a difference between man and all other animals—he is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied. The wants of every other living thing are uniform and fixed. Of what nature offers them, be it ever so abundant, all living things, save man, take only enough to supply wants that are definite and fixed. The only use they can make of additional supplies or additional opportunities is to multiply.

But not so with man. No sooner are his animal wants satisfied than new ones arise. The beast never wants more; but the man has but set his foot on the first step of an infinite progression—a progression upon which the beast never enters. While the animal can but multiply; the man will develop. We must learn to develop within the boundaries of our ecosystem and the renewable energy resources that avail us. This will require a paradigm shift in our world view that is consistent with the parameters of this sustainable world.

In terms of anthropology, we need to explore our en masse experience; why have we journeyed down this path in particular, and what will we make of this journey in hindsight, and where will it take us from here. We must also concern ourselves with the awareness that we are inextricably woven into the web of life. Conservation-based thinking then entails a rich understanding of ourselves and our functioning within the grandness or our world system—not in it or of it, but with it. In other words, we will be required to revisit every single one of our assumptions about who we are, what we do and why we do it. We must think of ourselves in intimate detail and we must think of what the world thinks of us or how we would look to the “larger system.”

In essence, to conserve is to buy the time we require to make the transitions needed to continue the "human project" as per the Earth's ecological linmits, and then embrace the subsequent conservation values and ethics into the future for all time.

"Conservation is the key to self-sufficiency, and self-sufficiency it is the key to survival."
What’s Up at the Pump?
By Aaron Dunlap

Aug 16, 2005

Notice anything unusual at the gas station recently?

If you said yes, you’re not alone.

Across the nation & around the world, oil & gasoline have reached record high prices… and there’s no end in sight. Last year traders scoffed at predictions of $50 per barrel oil, until the price hit $50. At $66 per barrel today, last years prices have already become a fond memory.

I saw a report recently, which pointed to a gas station selling gas at $1.99 per gallon. How could this lone vendor be selling gas so cheap? The answer is a sign of the times.

Their pumps would only go up to $1.99.

So what is happening to oil prices?

Why so expensive?

Demand has grown to meet the available supply. Strong growth in consumption of oil, especially in the red-hot Chinese market, combined with anemic discoveries of new oil fields in recent years, has fundamentally altered the world oil markets.

As any first-year economics student can tell you, less supply & strong demand… means higher prices. These higher prices, in turn, provide a financial incentive for companies to find new sources of this highly profitable commodity. And for the last 100 years or so this has been the case. But what if something is different this time around? What happens if we simply can’t find enough new oil deposits to meet our growing demand? Just how high can oil go?

Welcome to peak oil.

Peak Oil is a term coined by geologist Colin Campbell, which describes the midpoint of conventional hydrocarbon production. Peak oil theory states: that any finite resource, (including oil), will have a beginning, middle, and an end of production, and at some point it will reach a level of maximum output as seen in the graph. In addition, the theory says that oil production, follows discovery of oil. We can only produce oil that we have found of course.

Oil production typically follows a bell shaped curve when charted on a graph, with the peak of production occurring when approximately half of the oil has been extracted. With some exceptions, this holds true for a single well, a whole field, an entire region, and presumably the world, after which oil becomes more difficult and expensive to extract as a field ages past the mid-point of its life.


In the US for example, oil production grew steadily until 1970 and declined thereafter, regardless of market price or improved technologies.

In 1956 M. King Hubbert, a geologist for Shell Oil, predicted the peaking of US oil production would occur in the late 1960's.
Although derided by most in the industry he was correct. He was the first to assert that oil discovery, and therefore production, would follow a bell shaped curve over its life. After his success in forecasting the US peak, this analysis became known as the Hubbert's Peak.
· The amount of oil discovered in the US has dropped since the late 1930s.
· 40 years later, US oil production had peaked, and has fallen ever since.
World discovery of oil peaked in the 1960s, and has declined since then. If the 40-year cycle seen in the US holds true for world oil production, that puts global peak oil production, right about now; after which oil becomes less available, and more expensive.
Campbell applies Hubbert's Peak to world oil production and estimates that approximately half of all oil that will be recovered has been recovered, and oil production may reach a peak in the near future, or perhaps already has.

Peak Oil is about the halfway point…


Almost nobody will argue that a peak in oil production won’t happen, they argue over when. There are a wide range of estimates for when peak oil will occur, from governments, companies & universities. The US Geological Survey estimates around 2030, while at least one Princeton professor contends we have already passed the peak. These estimates are only as good as the data they use of course, and that data is surprisingly difficult to come by, and of questionable accuracy. But before you dismiss Peak Oil as decades away, you might want to hear what some of these experts are saying.

I’m no Petro-Geologist by any means, and a born skeptic. It can be easy to dismiss some theories. But when noted geologists like Colin Campbell & investment bankers like Matt Simmons, oil insiders like T. Boone Pickens take this seriously… I’m all ears.

Dr. Richard Smalley, Director of Rice University's Nano Technology Lab and winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, thinks peak oil is very real. Lee Raymond former Chairman of Exxon thinks it's real. So does a report prepared for the US Dept of Energy. Representative Bartlett of Maryland thinks so to.


Still a skeptic?


Independent study of global oil production with the best data available indicates Peak Oil is as soon as 2007 according to the Association for the Study of Peak Oil. (peakoil.net)

Making matters worse, is the very real possibility that one or more OPEC members have dramatically overstated its actual oil reserves; pushing the Peak Oil date even closer.

And perhaps the most chilling observation of all comes from Professor Ken Deffeyes of Princeton. That there is a point in time, preceding peak oil, where we lose the ability to steer clear of the most potent consequences of midpoint oil production; and that this happens long before the actual peak. It takes time to make real changes.

A sobering thought.

The jury is still out to be sure, and much heated debate about oil & oil alternatives continue. (peakoil.com) But with a growing list of credible sources weighing in, and pump prices skyrocketing, it’s becoming difficult to ignore the possibility that oil will become more & more expensive going forward, creating enormous challenges & opportunities for us. Fortunes have been made and squandered over less; nations formed & toppled.

The smart money is long on oil.

Fighting

We fight.

Invade, kill, seize & govern... repeat as necessary.

Human history is a "how to" guide for seeking, obtaining & maintaining power. And since raw physical aggression is the supreme authority from which all other authority derives, it's not difficult to image why war is our defining attribute. Competition is at the root of almost every relationship you have ever had. Fathers & sons do it; Siblings do it too; You do it in work & in play. Sean Connery has a line in the movie "The Rock" with Nick Cage... "Losers are always whining about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen"

As offensive as that statement is, it is at the heart of every important social institution the world over.

To the victor go the spoils.

We define ourselves in this context. When you say you are good at something, what you mean is in the context of people who do something, you are better at it than many others... You're a winner.

No rational person would deny the endemic quality of competition to human nature... it's what we do.

Fast-forward to hydrocarbon depletion.

As appealing as the notion that mankind will transcend it's violent history & nature seems, the bitter reality is we fight about everything. As my father is fond of saying, "What you are doing today, is most likely what you will be doing tomorrow."

Makes sense. (Thanks dad)

We sit today enjoying the fantastic wealth created by hydrocarbon power... & still we fight.

If peak oil leads to less available oil, (which I believe it will), competition for these dwindling resources heats up as the stakes get higher. The game is afoot...

And as in any game, you must choose sides, or a side will be chosen for you. There are no spectators in the game of life & death... only winners & losers. Fence-sitting is simply not an option.

Hannibal ad portas

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Collapse of Ghawar

Not until the monstrous Saudi oil field of Ghawar collapses will there be an investment in older and smaller oil fields to increase production.

Why? Because there cannot be any chance of the price of a barrel of oil collapsing. It has to remain high. The industry has learned this lesson all too well.

The markets’ ability to anticipate this collapse is limited by the lack of transparency. No one really knows how much oil is still recoverable. Saudi Arabia keeps these necessary numbers under wraps. If the market doesn't anticipate the peak, the price signals needed to stimulate research and development may not arrive until after it is too late. And if the rate of Ghawar’s decline in production is high, that may be a moot concern.

Anticipating the peak is complicated further by the fact that multinational oil companies have relatively few places where they can increase production significantly — many OPEC nations forbid foreign investment in production. Non-conventional sources, like oil shale and tar sands, have their own production and scalability problems. The reserves may be enormous, but the ability to produce at conventional rates of production is a fantasy, not to mention the increased costs, both in dollars and impact on the environment—especially global warming.

Cheap, readily available fossil fuels, (primarily oil) means goods can be imported and exported at little extra cost while less than 2% of the work force feeds those that produce the goods and services. We can scurry to and fro with great mobility and freedom in our AC cooled SUV’s, shuttling soccer teams to practice and old couches to the dump.

These energy sources are rapidly becoming ever more expensive and less and less available. The planning for the peaking of world production should have been started the day we realized the US had peaked in oil production in the 1970’s. It should have been a major wakeup call, but we just hit the snooze button for 35 years.

Foresight does not rule our thinking, and the lessons from hindsight are seldom recalled. Until it becomes a crisis, we just seem to fail to act.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Demand Destruction? Not Yet…

Demand destruction is a modern way of saying catastrophic recessions and shortages.

Most economists pull the 1970’s oil crisis out as an example of how rising prices eventually crimp demand and send prices lower. But let me give you a few reasons why we are not seeing a drop in oil consumption this time around—not yet, anyway:

• First off, China’s 9.5% annual growth rate with India trying to emulate…need I say more? Well, I will, though. If there were ever a government that should have been able to plan for traffic and transportation, it should be China with its legacy of central planning and its ability to execute massive projects without a lot of guff from the common people. But the plan for Shanghai traffic — plenty of new highways and an extensive new subway system — didn't work. The plan was predicated on reaching a threshold of 2 million cars by 2020; that level was reached last fall. The Chinese equate owning a car with "personal freedom, prestige and success." Go figure. Guess they watched too many Bonanza episodes.

• Second, easy money from the refi-ATM; tapping into the perceived wealth of “inflated” real estate values world-wide.

• Third, the massive increase in the use of credit cards for gas purchases. Seems less painful to use the plastic.

• Last and not least, we have become even more dependent upon the private automobile, especially the sport utility vehicles (SUV’s); 95 percent of personal vehicle miles traveled in the United States (2.6 trillion miles) are now done in personal motor vehicles, as opposed to public transportation of all types. SUV’s were designed and built to meet this “addiction.”

And frankly, that’s the real crux of the matter…we are addicted and we can’t get the monkey off our back...nor do we want to. The value of auto-mobility can be summed up in one sentence: Cars allow people to go wherever they want whenever they want. If you can’t get around at will, life becomes limited—or so we believe. Now, China has had a “taste.”

How high will oil and gas have to go before we see people checking into rehab centers to kick the monkey?

“When you need the gas, you need it.”

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Nonsensical Ramblings of a Cornucopian

The debate over peak oil is increasing. A line is being drawn in the sand between those who see the tip of the iceberg, and those you have looked under the water. Here are one man’s ramblings from a recent debate I had. It is not edited, although I paraphrased the first paragraph, and much of what follows is out of context; however, the statements are so profound as to not matter, in my opinion. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

I write this not to bash one man’s views, but to point out just how much some are in denial about the issue and to what lengths they will go, and what straws they will grasp, just to insist it just ain’t so. We have our work cut out for us to persuade the masses to accept a much needed change in our world view, not just a change in energy policy.

So, without further ado:

“Peak oil is merely a possible point where an imbalance takes place between demand and lack of supply. In a nutshell, the problem has already been identified as too much road and air transport, as well as, plastic consumption, and the lack of a techno-fix at the time of writing on the demand or supply side coupled with the downstream effect of that.

It is a fact that several new energy sources have been invented by the use of new devices since 1750. Tomorrow one *could* be invented to supply all our needs for thousands of years simply by figuring out a way to transfer energy by use of resources. You stated oil is a primary energy source, when quite clearly even today it’s not. It was not important until 1950. Only the very rich and military had a few planes, there was hardly any cars about. I've told already, up until then it was a railway age, oil meant nothing.

There is also no evidence that *one* commodity, oil, or industrialized society has increased population more that it would have done *overall*. At present the earth could support 67 billion people on a minimal diet if farmers used the most advanced agricultural methods. There is no evidence that through substitution, public education and planning that the population cannot be sustained for the foreseeable future. Efficiency should offset price rises for the next 20 years or so.

No, fossil fuels did not create most of the infrastructure in many parts of the world! No, growth does not require production; money is also generated from services. Energy does not = economic growth. Some energy = economic growth. The reason I said some energy, because you need a certain amount. However energy = growth would imply it's proportional and it's not. There's plenty of economists that don't agree energy = growth. In fact, if anything, too much energy is less productivity and less growth. This is a very US idea energy = growth.

People breed when they see the need or out of sheer stupidity. It is incorrect to say oil created a population boom on its own and will shrink back as it declines. The Green Revolution was just a way to reduce costs and staffing, very similar to the actions of any other industry sector to stay competitive.

If oil wasn't available, we would be still living in a steam engine world, very probably with a similar level of industrialization and population we have now. ”

Author’s note:

People should start asking themselves how they can construct localized economies out of the rubble.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Yawn

No new blogs in a while.

Taking a break I suppose.

Although I rather suspect that things are marching on despite our malaise.

See you soon...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pearls of Wisdom on Peak Oil

Today, I have put together a blog that is the cumulative utterances of a group of people who just don’t quite get it as yet. The only editing I have done is for spelling and pronouns; otherwise, it is unaltered.

I think the whole “Peak Oil” concept is full of shit. They seem to imply that a loss of oil as an abundant fuel source will cause a great collapse. I believe the loss itself will be insignificant. If we witness a decrease in the availability of oil it is doubtful it will be abrupt. The USA has a lead in technology and military forces which should allow us to control the sea lanes and the relative availability of energy. Alternative energy sources will be developed. Inefficient machines can be improved. It is not logical to assume we will not.

It is cheaper to import and drill outside of the US, thus the decline in domestic production. Plus, in some cases, it is easier to refine... how many capped wells are in the US? It is far cheaper to drill in third world countries than here, unless the well will produce several million barrels—which is why they are drilling in selective offshore sites. Domestic oil production is down because someone else will pump it for cheaper. If you haven't seen this, you really need to open your eyes. It’s called strategy. We save the domestic oil for war.

If oil goes away or becomes expensive—then so what? It’s inflation. What does that have to do with me starving to death? The possibility that the supply of oil may be declining is insignificant in comparison to the infinite number of responses to that decline. It is unforeseen what scientific, socio/political and military responses will arise out of that decline. We can run out of oil in 5 years and it won't be a problem...something else will come along, that's what they fail to understand. We invent things as needed and wanted. The invention of nuclear power means that energy IS an infinite resource.

It would require a truly non-trivial investment, but we could eliminate our dependency on mined petroleum products completely and synthesize all that we need. It starts by growing enormous quantities of vegetable matter of any kind. Whatever grows in considerable bulk in a short time is ideal. The rest is organic chemistry. [Peak oil is] nonsense...we have all the oil we need for thousands of years in the form of coal.

And how about water for fuel? I think it is called a water fuel cell. I'll tell you all a story... I used to work in the Indy car series for about 12 years (btw they use methanol or as some say alcohol). About 8 to 9 years ago, a friend contacted me about a "new" team starting up to run Indy and they were sure they could win this race because they could run the whole race on about 2 gals of "fuel" so less pit stops, tires only.

He begin to explain to me about a guy that has invented a way to extract or make hydrogen from water and the byproduct from the burn in a combustion chamber was water, hence no environmental hazards...all this sounds to good to be true. I had to keep this to myself and the government would post guards at the garage doors at the speedway to prevent someone from stealing the technology, etc.

Well it never happened, because I was told that the oil industry is so big that it would cause so many to lose jobs, money, etc and the economy would be hurt. This technology exists now...can you imagine going from, say New York to California, and stopping at a rest stop to "piss" in your tank so you can go a few hundred more miles? Sounds kinda neat to me.

God help us all.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Weeping for the Future

In it's quest to define itself, each generation breaks through boundaries set by previous generations.

The young innovate, test limits, and challenge assumptions, driving the human race forward. All of us can point to historic figures who were seen as radical in their own time, who were venerated by later events and understanding. From Socrates to Einstein to Mozart, among countless others, harnessing this youthful abandon has fueled revolutions in human civilization.

These startling advances are born in the random chaos of youth, and mature with the generation which dared to dream it.

For countless eons, humanity has struggled generation by generation with this ancient formula. And as each generation is born matures and dies, they add to the tapestry of human endeavor. They leave their footprint upon history.

Casting our gaze back through time, we marvel at the rich and tragic adventures of our ancestors. From the obsessive and fierce warrior generations of ancient Sparta, to the sacrifice of the world war generations, to the selfish American 80's, all of this brings us to where we are today.

Today's young have striped the innocence of youth away, and replaced it with a brutal, quasi-pragmatic disdain for morality not only in practice, but as a principal itself.

As America causally embraces the values of it's new generations, as is the time honored tradition, it is changing our culture in fundamental ways. With Hip Hop & Rap music filling the air, angry young men & even young girls are being indoctrinated into a mindset of violence which exists in the moral vacuum which passes for a culture in today's America, and many other countries as well.

So enjoy yourselves America, as you sit ringside at the greatest show on Earth. I sincerely hope you are entertained by the antics of the violent, misogynistic, apathetic, immoral children you have sired.

Somebody get jiggy with something...

--------------------------------------------


Feb. 2, 1996
Moses Lake, Wash. Two students and one teacher killed, one other wounded when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his algebra class.
March 13, 1996
Dunblane, Scotland 16 children and one teacher killed at Dunblane Primary School by Thomas Hamilton, who then killed himself. 10 others wounded in attack.
Feb. 19, 1997
Bethel, Alaska Principal and one student killed, two others wounded by Evan Ramsey, 16.
March 1997
Sanaa, Yemen Eight people (six students and two others) at two schools killed by Mohammad Ahman al-Naziri.
Oct. 1, 1997
Pearl, Miss. Two students killed and seven wounded by Luke Woodham, 16, who was also accused of killing his mother. He and his friends were said to be outcasts who worshiped Satan.
Dec. 1, 1997
West Paducah, Ky. Three students killed, five wounded by Michael Carneal, 14, as they participated in a prayer circle at Heath High School.
Dec. 15, 1997
Stamps, Ark. Two students wounded. Colt Todd, 14, was hiding in the woods when he shot the students as they stood in the parking lot.
March 24, 1998
Jonesboro, Ark. Four students and one teacher killed, ten others wounded outside as Westside Middle School emptied during a false fire alarm. Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shot at their classmates and teachers from the woods.
April 24, 1998
Edinboro, Pa. One teacher, John Gillette, killed, two students wounded at a dance at James W. Parker Middle School. Andrew Wurst, 14, was charged.
May 19, 1998
Fayetteville, Tenn. One student killed in the parking lot at Lincoln County High School three days before he was to graduate. The victim was dating the ex-girlfriend of his killer, 18-year-old honor student Jacob Davis.
May 21, 1998
Springfield, Ore. Two students killed, 22 others wounded in the cafeteria at Thurston High School by 15-year-old Kip Kinkel. Kinkel had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home.
June 15, 1998
Richmond, Va. One teacher and one guidance counselor wounded by a 14-year-old boy in the school hallway.
April 20, 1999
Littleton, Colo. 14 students (including killers) and one teacher killed, 23 others wounded at Columbine High School in the nation's deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves.
April 28, 1999
Taber, Alberta, Canada One student killed, one wounded at W. R. Myers High School in first fatal high school shooting in Canada in 20 years. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, had dropped out of school after he was severely ostracized by his classmates.
May 20, 1999
Conyers, Ga. Six students injured at Heritage High School by Thomas Solomon, 15, who was reportedly depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend.
Nov. 19, 1999
Deming, N.M. Victor Cordova Jr., 12, shot and killed Araceli Tena, 13, in the lobby of Deming Middle School.
Dec. 6, 1999
Fort Gibson, Okla. Four students wounded as Seth Trickey, 13, opened fire with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun at Fort Gibson Middle School.
Dec. 7, 1999
Veghel, Netherlands One teacher and three students wounded by a 17-year-old student.
Feb. 29, 2000
Mount Morris Township, Mich. Six-year-old Kayla Rolland shot dead at Buell Elementary School near Flint, Mich. The assailant was identified as a six-year-old boy with a .32-caliber handgun.
March 2000
Branneburg, Germany One teacher killed by a 15-year-old student, who then shot himself. The shooter has been in a coma ever since.
March 10, 2000
Savannah, Ga. Two students killed by Darrell Ingram, 19, while leaving a dance sponsored by Beach High School.
May 26, 2000
Lake Worth, Fla. One teacher, Barry Grunow, shot and killed at Lake Worth Middle School by Nate Brazill, 13, with .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol on the last day of classes.
Sept. 26, 2000
New Orleans, La. Two students wounded with the same gun during a fight at Woodson Middle School.
Jan. 17, 2001
Baltimore, Md. One student shot and killed in front of Lake Clifton Eastern High School.
Jan. 18, 2001
Jan, Sweden One student killed by two boys, ages 17 and 19.
March 5, 2001
Santee, Calif. Two killed and 13 wounded by Charles Andrew Williams, 15, firing from a bathroom at Santana High School.
March 7, 2001
Williamsport, Pa. Elizabeth Catherine Bush, 14, wounded student Kimberly Marchese in the cafeteria of Bishop Neumann High School; she was depressed and frequently teased.
March 22, 2001
Granite Hills, Calif. One teacher and three students wounded by Jason Hoffman, 18, at Granite Hills High School. A policeman shot and wounded Hoffman.
March 30, 2001
Gary, Ind. One student killed by Donald R. Burt, Jr., a 17-year-old student who had been expelled from Lew Wallace High School.
Nov. 12, 2001
Caro, Mich. Chris Buschbacher, 17, took two hostages at the Caro Learning Center before killing himself.
Jan. 15, 2002
New York, N.Y. A teenager wounded two students at Martin Luther King Jr. High School.
Feb. 19, 2002
Freising, Germany Two killed in Eching by a man at the factory from which he had been fired; he then traveled to Freising and killed the headmaster of the technical school from which he had been expelled. He also wounded another teacher before killing himself.
April 26, 2002
Erfurt, Germany 13 teachers, two students, and one policeman killed, ten wounded by Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, at the Johann Gutenberg secondary school. Steinhaeuser then killed himself.
April 29, 2002
Vlasenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina One teacher killed, one wounded by Dragoslav Petkovic, 17, who then killed himself.
April 14, 2003
New Orleans, La. One 15-year-old killed, and three students wounded at John McDonogh High School by gunfire from four teenagers (none were students at the school). The motive was gang-related.
April 24, 2003
Red Lion, Pa. James Sheets, 14, killed principal Eugene Segro of Red Lion Area Junior High School before killing himself.
Sept. 24, 2003
Cold Spring, Minn. Two students are killed at Rocori High School by John Jason McLaughlin, 15.
Sept. 28, 2004
Carmen de Patagones, Argentina Three students killed and 6 wounded by a 15-year-old Argentininan student in a town 620 miles south of Buenos Aires.
March 21, 2005
Red Lake, Minn. Jeff Weise, 16, killed grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.

Quid Pro Quo

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Peak Oil Solutions: Ideology versus Reality

We have come to that point in time where we must see the difference between finding ways of enlarging human carrying capacity and finding ways to exceed it. Even some “alarmists” or doomers have yet to fathom our present predicament. These conditions we are seeing are not of recent origin, and will not soon go away. Peak oil is more of a milestone, rather than an initiating event. We have been in overshoot for some time now, living precariously on a phantom carrying capacity through the advent of fossil fuels. We have disregarded a plethora of instances in which populations of organisms so changed their own environments that they undermined their ability to support them. Most of us didn’t know that this was what these examples were showing us—and we surely never thought the pattern would ever apply to us.

So, with the dawn of peak oil looming on the horizon, just what do we do? While there are many camps of thought and ideals, it seems that there are two that are dominating. Here are two quotes from William Catton, the author of Overshoot; the Ecological Basis of Evolutionary change to illustrate those two camps. If you have not read this book, I encourage you to do so. Some excerpts can be found here:

“… people continue to advocate further technological breakthroughs as the supposedly sure cure for carrying capacity deficits. The very idea that technology caused overshoot, and that it made us too colossal to endure, remains alien to too many minds for"de-colossalization" to be a really feasible alternative to literal die-off. There is a persistent drive to apply remedies that aggravate the problem.”

This is cargoism: A faith in technology will stave off institutional change. The mere idea of a “powerdown” and accepting finite limits runs counter grain to their way of thinking. This solution entails accelerating the drawdown. It remedies the near future problems by shortening our future.

”If any substantial fraction of the more colossal segments of humanity did conscientiously give up part of their resource-devouring extensions out of humane concern for their less colossal brethren, there is no guarantee that this would avert die-off. It might only postpone it, permitting human numbers to continue increasing a bit longer, or less colossal peoples to become a bit more colossal, before we crash all the more resoundingly. All this tends to be disregarded by advocates of a "return to the simple life" as a gentle way out of the human predicament.”]

While many might call this realism, feeling that major changes must take place, the advocacy by some of a “powerdown” also has its myopic components. We can’t continue to do the same thing, but just less so. And whatever we do, everyone must participate or it becomes a fool’s errand. Conservation and energy efficiency get you nowhere if Jevon’s Paradox gets a part in the play. There must be a paradigm shift in our view of the world about what is important and what is not. This entails learning to live within the carrying capacity without trying to enlarge it. We must rely on renewable resources consumed no faster than at sustained yields. We must be modest in our being.

So, just who is winning this “battle for a solution”? Neither camp. For now, it is an intellectual battle of ideals while another battle rages and dominates. We are reverting back to the time-honored and time-tested takeover method of enhancing human carrying capacity, albeit a rather focused one on who gets enhanced. That is the reality of the “solution” in progress.

“America, declared Paul Wolfowitz, must be ready to go to war, and many should be prepared to die.” “No threats to our “global dominance” will be tolerated - that will be the “dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources [oil] would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

From society’s point of view, geopolitics is a Darwinian collective struggle for increased carrying capacity; but from the individual geostrategist’s viewpoint, it is a game they are convinced they can win. And that, my friends, is the game that is afoot. For the moment, we can forget a techno-fix or a powerdown, what we get instead as an answer and solution to Peak Oil is a Resource War disguised as a War on Terror.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Fear

Why does Peak Oil make me uncomfortable? It's really all about one thing: Fear.

As those who know me can attest, I'm not exactly one who's shy with my opinions in person. Yet, more a reader than a writer, I tend to chew my thoughts over obsessively before committing an essay to paper or screen. Often it's the key insight of a great writer who provides the final piece I need to understand how to express an idea I've been feeling an urge to share. Such was the case when I read Gore Vidal's latest interview by CityPages this morning.

Iraq is a symptom, not a cause. It's a symptom of the passion we have for oil, which is a declining resource in the world. Alternatives can be found, but they will not be found as long as there's one drop of oil or natural gas to be extracted from other nations, preferably by force by the current junta in charge of our affairs.

Although Vidal answers the interviewer's question in a matter-of-fact manner, his mention of Peak Oil, and even Iraq, is secondary to his larger point: we have allowed our national policies to be taken over by those who use fear as their motivator to achieve their own personal ends.

Fear of terrorism, fear of WMDs, fear of Muslims. Fear of penniless retirement. Fear of homosexuality, fear that God's very existence may be threatened by doubters.

Now, terrorism is a wonderful invention because it doesn't mean anything. It's an abstract noun. You can't have a war against an abstract noun; it's like having a war against dandruff. It's meaningless.

But you can terrify people. The art of government now, the art of control as practiced by the current junta, is: Keep the people frightened. It's exactly what Adolf Hitler and his gang did. Keep them frightened: The Russians are coming. The Poles are killing Germans who live within the borders of Poland. The Czechs are doing the same thing in the Sudetenland. These are evil people. We must go after them.

I've understood this viscerally, if not consciously, as it has grown around us over the last four years to become the modus operandi for US policy-making, or, more appropriately, policy-marketing to the public.

To the extent that the message of Peak Oil is one of alarm, and imminent catastrophe if we fail to act, I've felt a nameless discomfort in adding to the cries of warning. Not because the facts about Peak Oil are in doubt (to anyone who is "a reader", as Bill Hicks once confessed to be) but because without a clear plan for action, more fear is just more gasoline to the fire.

Fear, though, relies on disinformation to germinate and spread. Only Truth, delivered in calm tones, can dispel Fear. This is the vital contribution of you, the Peak Oil community, including this blog.

Keep everybody frightened, tell them lies--and the bigger the lie, the more they'll believe it. There's nothing the average American now believes (because he's been told it 10,000 times a day) that is true. Now how do you undo so much disinformation? Well, you have to have truth squads at work 24 hours a day every day. And we don't have them.

So let's go easy on the Fear, and think of ourselves as a Truth Squad. It's not too late to prevent things from going from bad to worse, but it can only be done by getting the real story out there. The challenge is to do it without adding to the fear, but by exposing the fear as a tool for control, and banishing it with facts and reason, we have a stronger chance for success.

A final valuable point Vidal makes that I think is worth stressing is the cost of the trade-offs we are already making. If presented with a choice, to spend the billions we are spending on "stability in the Middle East" (ok, quit chuckling) or on a long term solution to our energy needs, I confidently believe most Americans would choose the latter.

Ultimately the whole thing is about oil. We should be looking to hydrogen, or whatever is the latest replacement for fossil fuels. All the money we put into these wars in the Middle East, we should have put into that. Then we wouldn't be so desperate at the thought that in 2020, or in 2201 or whenever, there will be no more oil.

The only remaining question is whether the ever-present Fear, whipped up by a powerful few whose personal interests are opposed to such a solution, will be allowed to obscure the fact that it is our choice to make.