“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Wall Street Journal or Rufus?

Who the f*** is Rufus?

rufus said...

The Wall Street Journal has some of the worst reporting on the planet. They've never written an article that I knew anything about that was even remotely accurate.

A few years back we had twelve oil fields that were producing a million barrels/day. Today, we have four, and Cantarell will drop out pretty quickly. It went down 26% last year.

Today there are five hundred and sixty some-odd Giants. The Peak year for discovery of Giants was 1972 I believe. Dry land Giants go into decline somewhere between age 25 and forty usually. Offshore Giants go into decline much quicker. 5 of the 6 Saudi Giants are flat, or declining, and everyone is suspicious of Ghawar.

We're finding about One Giant a year, now.

Look, I could go on, and on, but the bottom line is we peaked in crude production in June, I think it was, of 05'. You add up the consumption, and subtract the Production and you get a difference of about 1.8 million barrels/day.

No one can point to where much more crude is coming from Next Year, or the two (or twenty) years after that. But, China, and India are growing like weeds. About 10%/year between the two.

We have about 250 working offshore rigs, and they have an average age of 20 some-odd years (well past their expiry date.) Nobody much is finding squat.

As for lifting costs: Ask Norway what it costs to spend two years drilling a "Sure Thing" in the North Sea and hitting a "Dry Hole," as they just finished doing.

5 of the 6 largest oil companies saw production "Decrease" last year. The North Sea is falling rapidly. Cantarell has fallen off a cliff. The Gulf of Mexico peaked in 02'.

Iran? It used to produce Six Million Barrels/Day; now, it produces a little over Three. Venezuela used to produce a little over 3.2; now, it's 2.2. Alaska peaked several years, ago. Our Crude production is now about 5 mbpd. That means we're importing about 13. Russia's flat. Saudi is flat. Kuwait is struggling to remain flat.

China used to "export;" now they're "Importing." Indonesia's production is Falling. Now, they're importing. Even the U.K. is starting to Import.

With production falling off a cliff, when does Mexico put a "Cap" on exports? Getting oil out of "tar sands," and "shale" is a Nightmare. Goddawful expensive, energy intensive, and an ecological disaster. We're probably getting about all out of the Canadian tar sands as we're going to get. Shale? Fuggedaboutit.

Think Ethanol. It's where we're going. PDQ. The "Jig is Up." Believe me, or believe the WSJ. Pick wisely.


  1. I agree, it's probably ethanol for mobile fuel needs, and nuclear for fixed power. Problem is, ethanol from WHERE?

    Any land based ethanol source is simply a stopgap measure.

  2. No one disputes that world peak oil is inevitable (if not already here), but people keep assuming that demand is a constant. Rufus said India and China were on a 10% annual growth curve as if that was a law of the universe and we have to move out of the way for it. But how is China going to keep making Barbie dolls with lead paint for $5 a unit in the era of $100 oil? How long can Bernanke keep excluding the price of oil (and corn!) from the "core inflation rate" so he can keep lowering interest rates to stimulate the economy while Americans are shelling out $3-$4 a gallon for gas, are seeing sticker shock at the grocery checkout line and with their heating bills and are scaling back their Christmas shopping lists accordingly...which means no Barbie dolls with lead paint for little Missy this year. The sub-prime mess is going to take at least another year to work out. We are probably in the first stages of a sustained bear market and a recession, while the oil speculators flirt with oil at a C note for one barrel.

  3. Man, you guys don't do politics.
    Nuclear makes the most sense, it is the least likely to occur, in the next phase of "Energy Independence".

    There is no "nuclear lobby", not of signifigance. We'll be burnin' King Coal for the next few decades.

    As for ethanol, I have high hopes. Algea or corn stalks, wheat or chaff.

    Problem is that with imports from Hugo at 1.1 million barrels, 44 million gallons, per day, it's gonna take a bunch of distilleries to even replace his supply. About 400 of 'em.

    There are what, rufus, 75 units up and running, with another 100 or so in the pipeline.
    The timeline, to that pipeline, is years to completion of a marginal number of distilleries.

    Lack of production increases, in the face of rising revenues from existing production, is not unheard of in the real world.

    Profits are exploding for the producers, those producers not reinvesting in their product, they are milkin' their cash cow, instead.

    They have demands for cash, the production required to fulfill the cash need, all that's required, today.

    Like any addict, US to oil, them to cash.

    See it all the time, until the cow dies. But in the case of the US, we're the ultimate milk buyer, not successful dairymen.

    No planning for the day after tomorrow, no vision beyond the last, or the next, quarterly statement.

  4. Boy, I was just depressing about the War, rufus. How mismanaged our efforts were.

    You bring out the most depressing of all scenarios, short of a nuclear exchange with the Russians.

    Fives years, at a minimum, of really traumatic disruption and creative destruction throughout the economy. The clock starting right after after the "War on Oil" is announced.

    Oil, our addiction to it, that is the Enemy. Our first step as an addict, to control the source. That has not gone as well as hoped.

    Public support for the effort has cratered, since the public has no idea that the light in the tunnel is a frieght train.

    The Economist has an interesting piece concerning Pakistan.

    I thought it reasonably balanced, tilting against the General President, but presenting his side of the story.

    Rock and hard place, Pakistan.

  5. Kelo, Eminent Domain, & the Lust for Land
    By Heather Wilhelm

    Bulldozed: "Kelo," Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land
    By Carla T. Main
    Encounter Books, October 2007

    Since the dawn of humanity, there have been a few classic, sure-fire incentives to get people to do all sorts of crazy things. Love is one of them. Money is another. And if recent history is any indication, another age-old ingredient for unhinged behavior will loom especially large in the American psyche and public debate for years to come.

    The ingredient in question, of course, is land.

    Ever since the Supreme Court's infamous Kelo ruling in June of 2005, America has struggled with the case's grim implications: the seizure of private property, often from people who can't afford to fight back. For those who have followed the pre- and post-Kelo saga of eminent domain in the United States, two questions often surface. First: "How the heck did we get to this point?" And second, usually after reading about some little old lady getting kicked to the curb: "Who are these people? Who would do this sort of thing?"

  6. There is no time like the present, as despotic rulers go from bad to worse, fronting for US in the region. But then not getting the job we hired him to do done, either. Makes one wonder.

    (CBS/AP) Pakistani police backed by armored vehicles placed opposition leader Benazir Bhutto under house arrest in Islamabad Friday and reportedly rounded up 5,000 of her supporters to block a mass protest against emergency rule.

    Bhutto tried twice to leave by car but was blocked by police amid scuffles with her supporters who tried to remove barricades. The former prime minister had planned to address a rally in nearby Rawalpindi, defying a ban on public gatherings.

    Police parked an armored personnel carrier in the street to block Bhutto's white Landcruiser. Bhutto got out of the vehicle and stood alongside dozens of supporters who shouted "Go Musharraf Go!" in reference to Pakistani President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

    Meanwhile, a bomb explosion at the home of a government minister in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed at least four people, police said.

    The attack happened at the residence of the minister for political affairs, Amir Muqam, and also wounded three people, said Aslam Khan, a local police official.

    Muqam said he saw two or three dead in the blast - members of his security staff. Police said the bombing was a suicide attack.

    Kamal Shah, a top Interior Ministry official, said a district magistrate had served a "detention order" on Bhutto so she could not leave her home. Rehman, however, said no arrest papers had been served on Bhutto.

    The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that officials did try to serve arrest papers to Bhutto, but she refused to take them and went back inside. According to the BBC report, the detention order is valid for 30 days.

    Speaking by phone from the scene, Bhutto said that no arrest papers had been served on her.

    "If I'm arrested the People's Party of Pakistan workers will continue to fight for democracy and the rule of law," she told reporters who heard the call via speakerphone.

    CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports Bhutto's home was surrounded by armed security forces, armored vehicles and barbed wire in the early morning hours.

    I recall good old buddy larsen telling us that Pakistan was a sure bet, that the money men were assured of it. Those fellas at CitiBank and CountryWide and their ilk, genusises at judging cultural trends, at home and abroad, aye.

    Talk of peaks and bubbles, in gold and oil.

    Mexico City, November 8th.- On the Commodity Exchange (Comex) Thursday, a weaker US dollar on international markets continued to give the price of gold a lift.

    The gold contract for delivery in December advanced 4 dollars, or 0.5 percent, to end at 837.50 dollars an ounce, the highest close for the most active contract.

    On the same market, the silver contract that expires next month gained 19 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at 15.515 dollars per ounce.

    The steadily declining US dollar against the basket of six main global currencies and rising crude oil prices have been forcing investors to seek safe have's in precious metals. (Redacción El Financiero en línea/Finsat/GCE)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I mean, really, rufus.
    Your indictment of the Bush Administration, which focused on Iraq instead of Energy Independence, way beyond my complaints of mismanaging battle tactics.

    Now I know that Federal spending on research and such increased with Team 43, but 9-11-01 changed everything. But didn't.

    The realities of the current post 9-11 situation, the results of US Energy, Foreign and War Policies since, just put US even deeper into the Sauds pocket.

  9. Jeez, I went to bed, drunk; and woke up a "published author."

    What're them black helicopters doin in my back yard?

  10. NOW, for the "Good" News.

    This ethanol deal (by the way, Biodiesel is going to be very important, also; but I'm going to concentrate mostly on ethanol because that is the easiest, and fastest, thing that we can ramp up in the Americas) is going to be as easy as falling off a log.

    We, currently, as we discover the business have 130 ethanol plants operating (in the U.S.) producing 7.022 Billion Gallons of Ethanol, annually. We have another 70, or so, that will be producing within the next 18 months.

    Range just broke ground on the first 100 Million gallons/yr pure "cellulosic" plant in Georgia. It will use pine trees. Poet will shortly begin work on their first plant producing ethanol from corn cobs. Eventually, they will use about 1/3 of the stalk, plus the cobs to produce an extra 50%, approx., per acre of corn.

    DOE says we can produce about 1/3 of our current oil consumption just off of waste biomass from forests, etc.

    With the work the gene-splicers like Monsanto are doing with crops like Sorghum, and the Universities of Illinois, and Texas A&M are doing with Switchgrass, and Giant Miscantheus, we could probably double that, again.

    AND, Then there's BRAZIL.

  11. Now, About BRAZIL:

    Gennelmuns, and ladyz, this is our Ace-in-the-Hole. Forget the "Rain Forests." They have as much arable land lying fallow as WE have under cultivation.

    They produce "Sugar Cane" ethanol, and they've been doing it for over 30 years. They can ramp production in a heartbeat, and they can import profitably (with the tariff - which just offsets the blender's subsidy, btw) at $1.60/gallon wholesale (we're currently at $1.80.)

    Brazil, alone, could power Every Car in the U.S. Then we've gotta figure out what to do with all that unused land in Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, etc.

    Trust me, This is Easy.

  12. BTW,

    A Properly Tuned (High Compression) Ethanol Engines will deliver more H.P. per Gallon than Unleaded Gasoline. Don't take my word for it; the EPA, and NREL did the Research.

  13. I figure that about the time gasoline hits $4.00/gal in Michigan one of the Auto Companies will announce a pickemup truck with an e85 optimized engine (this means it CANNOT use unleaded, or anything else with an octane below 105.)

    This means the pickemup owner will be able to fill up for about $35.00 less, and enjoy the same H.P. and "Mileage" as he would have gotten with unleaded. It's at this point that the "Log-jam will Break!"

  14. No nuclear lobby?

    C'mon, Rat, bob's been a nuclear lobby of one, for years. ( All stolen from Dr. Wattenberg, KGO)

    With a lobbyist like myself, do you wonder why not much progress is being made?

  15. There won't be much Nuclear built. We're going toward Solar, Wind, Wave, Tidal, Biomass, Waste. It's an easier "sell," and it'll do the trick.

  16. By the way, if it's Rufus vs The Wall Street Urinal, I'll take Rufus. Among other things, he doesn't seem to hate farmers, which is the feeling I've gotten about the Urinal, all these years.

  17. Now, them Ideeho farmers? Well, we're still thinkin about that one :)

  18. The Economist:

    "Miss Bhutto's rally in Karachi provided a second reason for scepticism about her clarion call. It was interrupted by twin suicide-bomb blasts that killed 150 people. Taliban militants in north-western Pakistan were probably to blame."

    Here's a better idea: It wasn't the Taliban; and it wasn't intended to kill her.

  19. "In the wake of Kelo, a backlash swept the country, with dozens of states passing various reforms. As to their impact, Main remains skeptical. With a few exceptions, most of the measures leave room for "blight" loopholes, which, as Main notes, "is in the eye of the beholder." The most obvious consequence is that future victims of eminent domain abuse, like many present victims, will likely be poor. And, unlike the Gores, whose business was soaked of $450,000 in legal fees, most will be unable to fight back."

    Kelo always gets my blood pressure up. That city council described in the article--that's what our's might have become if the lease hadn't been yanked a little, lately. I don't know what blight loopholes might be in our state law, and I don't want anyone to have to find out, the hard way.

  20. "This worm is the stuff that legends and fairytales are made of. What kid wouldn't want to play with a three-foot-long, lily-smelling, soft pink worm that spits? A pity we're losing it," said Paulson.

    I have talked with members of three other families around here that were here from the beginning, and no on, not an ancestor, has ever seen one.

  21. Eco-terrorists file Suit I'm coming to the opinion, things were better when we had no government.

  22. "The giant Palouse earthworm lives only in the increasingly rare grassland habitats of the Palouse region of southeastern Washington and west-central Idaho, which have been decimated by a combination of agricultural and suburban development, invasive species, disease, and pesticide pollution. Today, less than one percent of native Palouse prairie remains, endangering the earthworm and many other species. Scientists consider the Palouse prairie to be one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the United States."

    What a lot of shit. If it wasn't for us farmers and developers these assholes wouldn't be here, cause it's too damned cold. Cold, no food, it's why the Nez Perce lived along the rivers.

  23. "In 1897, the giant Palouse earthworm was described as "very abundant." But the last confirmed sighting of the species was in 2005 by a University of Idaho researcher"

    my ass

  24. Do you think it was the General President's folk, trish, that set off the blast and fired at the windscreen of her vehicle?

    Did they mean to miss?

  25. It always amazes me when the ethanol-bashers write an article about ethanol, and give, as an example, plants with ten, or twenty year old technology.

    They never use as an example a modern plant Like THIS ONE that opened Wednesday. (e.g. notice the water usage)

  26. "Do you think it was the General President's folk, trish, that set off the blast and fired at the windscreen of her vehicle?

    "Did they mean to miss?"

    Yes and yes.

  27. What's really worrisome about this worm situation is, the court of Appeals is the U.S. Ninth Circus in San Francisco. I stop now, or I'll ruin my whole day.

  28. I had considered that possibility, pretext for shutting her down, as they are doing.

    It would amaze me if the Supreme Judge fellow was a Talabanista or a Jihadi.

    So the Government is cracking down on it's civil opponents, while letting the jihadi hold sway in the hinterlands. Holding US hostage over those self-same hinterlands.

    We're not gettin' Swat out of the deal.

    The idea, rufus, of airstrikes, it could be sold to me, but not against Iran. Use those big birds over Talibanstan, there is still a bill due there.

    We shouldn't be letting the Iranians get credit on futures, not while we should be out collecting, on past debts.

  29. Recent violence was an excuse, not a justification, for his move. His targets make his real fears clear beyond doubt.

    The police jailed or put under house arrest lawyers, secular politicians, journalists and human rights defenders - including Asma Jahangir, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and our fellow Crisis Group board member. The day after the coup, the military actually released 28 jihadi militants in South Waziristan who were convicted on terrorism charges in exchange for soldiers. Among those militants were three who had been arrested with suicide bomb vests.

  30. ah, jeez, I promise this is the last. The Search Is On Worm evades discovery.

  31. Absence of evidence, bob ...
    is not evidence of absence

    Earthworms or WMD

  32. Just depends upon perspective and perceptions.

    Can we afford to be wrong?

  33. :)

    Here's a good look at nuclear reactor designs around the world and other information.

  34. Let 'em go ...
    Ms Bhutto
    The Talabanistas
    The Iranians captured in Iraq ...
    The U.S. called for the restrictions to be lifted, and the acting deputy commissioner for Islamabad, Aamir Ali Ahmed, said late Friday that Bhutto was again free to move about. But barriers and police remained outside her home.

    Party members said she would try to leave Saturday morning.

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information.

    The path to peace. we must be willing to sacrifice ...
    or some such thing Mr Olmert said.

    BAGHDAD (Associated Press) -- In a possible break in the U.S.-Iranian standoff in Iraq, the U.S. military on Friday released nine Iranians no longer deemed a threat, including two accused of membership in an elite force suspected of arming Shiite militias.

    The handover _ planned for several days _ still leaves at least three high-profile Iranians in U.S. custody and doesn't significantly ease the many disputes between Washington and Tehran in Iraq. But it could open the door for another round of groundbreaking talks between the two nations, which have been without diplomatic relations for 28 years.

    It also is seen as a possible gesture for Iran's pledge to block suspected cross-border weapons shipments to armed Shiite factions, whose attacks have been sharply reduced.

    American soldiers delivered the nine men to the offices of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, where they were met by Iran's ambassador, according to Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. The former captives arrived in Tehran later Friday, Iranian state TV said.

    The group included two men _ identified by the military as Brujerd Chegini and Hamid Reza Asgari Shukuh _ who were among five captured when U.S. forces stormed an Iranian government office in the northern city of Irbil in January.

    At the time, U.S. officials accused them of being members of Iran's Quds Force

    Mr Olmert, he's our number one proxy in the area. He's reading from a US script, mat always tells US.

  35. "I had considered that possibility, pretext for shutting her down..."

    And delivering that big steaming cup of STFU to a noisy minority of lawyers and activists.

    Creating a show of crisis for domestic and international purposes.

  36. Crap!
    My guess was it was HER ploy.
    That fit in with all her weird "explanations."
    100 Dead bought her a lot of sympathy.
    Instant Hero.
    Like Bush.

  37. Nothing will look more stupid in the future than all the "Conservatives" on the record up til the last 2 years proclaiming Oil was nearly infinite, more and more was being discovered, and Rufus's (and me since 1970) were scare mongers.

  38. Well,
    Global Warming will look more stupid than ANYTHING.
    That's a given.

  39. First Solar's stock: From $20 to $220 in a year
    It's official. First Solar is the Google of solar companies.

    The Phoenix, Ariz.-based maker of cadmium telluride solar cells and panels has soared past the $200 a share mark. It was up to $230 today and is currently trading at about $219.

    Remarkably, First Solar had an initial public offering in the middle of November 2006. The stock went out at $20 a share, so effectively, it has gone up in value by 11 times in a little less than a year. Google went out at $85 a few years ago and is now above $700. The numbers are bigger, but the multiple isn't.

    First Solar's stock is being driven by rapid growth in revenue and profit. In the third quarter, revenue came to $159 million, more than triple the $40.8 million for the same period the year before. Revenue for the second quarter came to $77.2 million, so revenue essentially doubled in three months.
    Unlike silicon solar-cell makers or the armies of CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) manufacturers, First Solar extracts electricity from thin films of cadmium telluride (a semiconductor made from cadmium and tellurium) on glass.

    Although they are not as efficient as silicon cells, cadmium tellurium cells are comparatively cheap to make and are fairly robust. They operate in a wide temperature range and in a variety of light conditions, including dawn and dusk. In other words, cadmium telluride is the Honda Civic of solar-panel material.

    The company isn't facing a material shortage, like silicon manufacturers, and it is producing product, unlike the vast majority of CIGS companies.

  40. Phoenix Rat got in early, got in BIG!
    Great move, 'Rat!
    You da Man!
    er, Rat.

  41. Rudy, he da man, he can Mob Up if anybody can! It's damned sad. There's hardly an honest man in America. Cept Mitt of course. And he probably can't get elected.

  42. "100 Dead bought her a lot of sympathy."

    Our gal in Pakistan.

    How long before she's reviled as "our gal in Pakistan"?

    We've got your president; we've got your prime minister, too.

  43. Mormon Boners Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound

    Journalists Williams, who lives on Cape Cod, and Whitcomb, who has family ties to the area, do a bang-up job of chronicling Gordon's tenacity in the face of the brazen machinations of various politicians, especially Senator Edward Kennedy and then governor and current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This true-life tale of a blinding love of place, outrageously irresponsible propaganda, shameful congressional maneuvering, and egregious social injustice.
    She says Romney's Family are long time buds w/the Kennedys!

  44. To equate Romney with a Snake is doing a serious disservice to the snake!

  45. Dennis Miller was at a function w/Ms Bhutto in Vail or somewhere, about a week before she went back!

  46. "A small but powerful group of people, which include not only the Kennedy family but Mitt Romney, former governor and current candidate for President, are bound and determined not to have their view of the "pristine" waters around they summer mansions. Cape Wind would be a comedy, with its spectacle of Lear Jet liberals, who say they support clean energy in the abstract, twisting themselves into knot trying to justify opposition to clean energy just because it is in their back yard. But the book is all too true and mores the pity."
    5 MILES Offshore!
    (Spoils the Yacht Outtings)

  47. Defending our windswept shores

    ...Much talk was about the recent Cape Cod Commission vote on the transmission line from the wind farm to the mainland, and its manifest hypocrisy. In 2004, an identical cable, using the same jet plow digging technique, was approved with only a cursory review for Nantucket power transmission, hooking up to the same switching station as the Cape Wind cable.
    Amongst Commission excuses, Cape Wind's cable was voted down over ecological factors like eelgrass beds.

    This all sounds very reasonable until you consider that Cape Wind's cable actually skirts the edge of the eelgrass, while the Nantucket cable plows right through it.

    When asked about it, National Grid said that while the electric cable did run through the beds, they just chopped eelgrass away and it grew right back. Of course, that was for the right kind of electricity.

    Fossil fuels burned at the dirty Canal Electric plant might damage the paint on cars in Bourne, but you can't see the plume of smoke very clearly from Hyannisport.

    Note: Click here to read this Column by Cynthia Stead in the Cape Cod Times

  48. Dang Doug don't criticise poor ol Mitt so much. You'll get me agreeing with Rufus on politicians too--that they're all pricks.

  49. W has left me permanently soured, I think!

  50. U.S. Strategy for Pakistan Looks More Fragile

    Moderate Pakistani analysts argue that a concerted American push for fair elections could produce a moderate pro-Western government with a stronger mandate to fight terrorism.

    But continued discussion of a power-sharing agreement, they say, reinforces perceptions that the United States is manipulating Pakistan’s politics and that General Musharraf and Ms. Bhutto are its pawns.

    They fear that American officials, convinced that General Musharraf is their only option in Pakistan, will eventually accept half-measures from the general. In that case, they said, the Pakistani leader would retain his post as army chief, the central source of his power, and win tightly controlled elections. The United States is underestimating popular discontent with military rule, they say, and the ability of open elections to stabilize the country.

    Ultimately, administration officials are counting on their belief that Ms. Bhutto and General Musharraf need each other to survive politically.

    “Benazir Bhutto desperately wants to be the prime minister, and Musharraf needs her vis-à-vis the United States,” said Robert Oakley, a former United States ambassador to Pakistan.

    Mr. Oakley added: “Now I don’t think they’re going to make that work. But I don’t think that doesn’t mean they won’t try.”

  51. Mr. Oakley added: “Now I don’t think they’re going to make that work."

    What, Ataturk and Mary Poppins? Gee, I don't know why not.