Category Archives: Peak Oil

Orlov Hits One Out of the Park

I don’t agree with every single things he says, but for the most part he is spot on.

Club Orlov

Fantastic writing.


Using wood for fuel?

Since I became Peak Oil aware I’ve always wondered about the assumption that as Americans we’ll just go back to using wood for heating and cooking with no problems.  Most people assume that we’ll just start using wood again and there it is.  Finally a blog writer touches this subject.

Click over here to read the first two parts of her series about wood.

Here in the heartland it seems unlikely that we’ll use a whole lot of wood for fuel, mostly because it’s not as readily available as other place.  If I had to guess, I’d say we might see people burning corn cobs.  I know that’s a strange thought, but it’s pretty easy to grow and it acts a lot like wood when it burns, although you would need some large fields of it to do much good.

Anyone have any thoughts on how this might get resolved?  Read the 2 parts of the series first and see the potential magnitude of the problem.

A couple interesting articles

Fiscal Cat 5 Warning via MEOW

Economics 101 via Mises

Good intro primer on Peak Oil via The Energy Bulletin

Midwest could have oil shortage soon

Below is an article that is from Reuters that came out of Singapore.
Here is the money quote:

The explosion on Wednesday about 3.0 miles (4.8 km) southeast of its Clearbrook, Minnesota, terminal shut down a line that carries nearly one-fifth of U.S. crude oil imports.

SINGAPORE, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Middle East crude traders are bracing for higher prices after a blast crippled the main pipeline shipping Canada’s heavier crude to the U.S. Midwest, anticipating refiners may have to scramble for supplies.

Pipeline operator Enbridge (ENB.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) shut down its network of four parallel pipelines that pump Canadian crude to the United States, and warned that the larger two lines carrying mainly medium and heavy grades could remain shut for a while.

Landlocked inland refiners such as Flint Hills Resources’ 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Rosmount, Minnesota, that rely on the pipeline for the baseload supplies, would have to drag additional shipments inland from the Gulf or East Coast that could reverberate.

“The only way to supply refiners that do not have Canadian crude is to send crudes from the Gulf Coast up the pipelines. These are mostly light sweet crude,” a Singapore-based trader said.

That will create a knock-on impact for demand for similar high-sulphur, dense crudes that can be shipped to the United States such as Russia’s main Urals blend or Middle East grades such as Oman, which rarely travels to U.S. shores.

Much will now depend on the duration of the outage, and whether the U.S. government reaches into its 700 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to try to fill the gap — although logistics may make that tricky.

“The problem is that the SPR oil is all in PADD III Gulf Coast, while the crude imports that have been lost are all in PADD II Midwest, and there is limited transport capacity between the two,” Sempra analyst John Kemp said.

Traders are also looking to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase output when it meets on Dec. 5 in Abu Dhabi, which might help temper the impact of the outage.


The explosion on Wednesday about 3.0 miles (4.8 km) southeast of its Clearbrook, Minnesota, terminal shut down a line that carries nearly one-fifth of U.S. crude oil imports.

One of the set of four pipelines will require repairs and regulator inspections, while the largest is “not likely” to start up any time soon, Larry Springer, a spokesman for Calgary, Alberta-based operator Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: Quote, Profile, Research), said on Thursday.

Traders said the Brent-Dubai spread, used as a proxy for the premium of sweet grades of high-sulphur or sour crude, could narrow as a result of the stronger pull.

The spread has hovered above $5 a barrel for the past month and a half, indicating stronger demand for light sweet crude, and rose toward $6 as Brent futures prices outpaced the less liquid over-the-counter Dubai swaps market.

But in Early August last year, when BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) shut down its Alaska Prudhoe Bay field due to a pipeline leak, the Brent-Dubai Exchange for Swaps (EFS) halved from around $5.65 to $2.80 a barrel within one month, as West Coast refiners rushed for Asian cargoes.

Even if U.S. refiners do not pull Middle East crudes directly, European markets facing the loss of Urals may see increased demand, setting up a West versus East tug-of-war during the peak of season demand for the northern hemisphere winter.

Only about a handful of Middle East crudes from Oman, Abu Dhabi and Qatari crude are traded freely on the market, amounting to around 4 million barrels per day (bpd), but even some of that volume is contracted under annual contracts.

Higher demand from Japan and South Korea in winter for kerosene-rich Abu Dhabi crude, could further limit available supplies and help push prices higher. (Additional reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Jonathan Leff/Ramthan Hussain)

Despondant lately…

Since I returned from the Community Solutions conference I’ve been feeling a little down about our world, and it’s future.  After you spend a weekend in an environment like that, talking about all the things that are wrong with the world, and how the general public doesn’t seem to notice these problems, I think it’s understandable, but it’s not charecteristic of me to be like that.

Since I’ve returned I’ve felt this sudden urge to make changes now!  To do everything right now!  At once!  It hasn’t helped that I had to travel the following weekend, into a world where all these environmentally issues don’t exist.  As I drove across Iowa I saw hog barn after hog barn only sporadically replaced by massive fields of corn or beans and the occassional feedlot or wind turbine.

One thing I’m sick of is this green gadget mentality of a lot of people.  People think that gadgets like a plug in hybrid or an LED light or some other gimmick will be our salvation.  I don’t see it that way, and I’m kind of sick of hearing about all these stupid gadgets.  They get all the press while the real meat and potatoes of the issues don’t get any coverage.  It’s a sick mental block we have, and unfortunately it seems like it might be our undoing.  

It’s not good enough to get to these things as I have time.  I have this sudden sense of urgency that I didn’t have before.  I think some of this stems from the sudden realization, to me, that yes the world has peaked in oil production, and the speakers at the conference all backed this statement up.  It’s not just something I personally believe, but a lot of darn smart people think so too.

I have this urge to get my debt paid down every more quickly.  I need to find more space to grow more food for my family.  I need to figure out how to inexpensively conserve even more energy in my housing and transportation needs.  I have this sudden urge to get to work right now.

Sharon spoke about this topic eloquently at the conference, and she wrote it up on her blog as well.  There is this little voice in the back of my head telling me that I don’t have time to waste on these things.  I need to get them done right now!

Around the blogosphere it also seem like more and more of the writers I read are coming to this same realization.  I can’t figure out what’s driving this mass realization, but it seem to be a very realy phenomenon.  I just have to figure out how to deal with it.

One thing that I came back from the conference rearing to do was futher insulate and tighten up our house.  This weekend I’ll be crawling into the crawl space to insulate the walls of the foundation, the floor of our family room and place plastic over the ground to keep the moisture and cold down.  Hopefully this will help keep our family room more comfortable. 

I don’t know why I haven’t done these things already.  It’s not an expensive remedy and it should make a large difference in our comfort.  I guess I didn’t do it because I was being lazy.  That’s the problem though.  We’re all being lazy and we don’t have time for that.

While this is going on I’ve been removing some nice faux wood paneling in our family room so that I can either fill the cavity with blown in insulation or pay a professional to do it.  Either way we’re planning to fill those walls up.  Finally.  I just hope it’s not too much money. 

Either way, I don’t think we have time to waste right now.

Update: As usual Aaron has a great post up, and it’s theme mimics some of what I’m feeling.

Tuesday roundup

I like doing this roundup thing so you can expect to see it more often. A lot of my topics don’t merit a post on their own, but in something like this they are OK.

The busy task of collecting leaves for the garden has already started. While I won’t be competing to collect leaves like last year, I will be collecting as many as I can. The garden ended up being quite successful this summer. Between it and the market our basement is packed with things to eat this winter. I’m still putting together a lessons learned about this past summer.

The conference was great. I’ll have some thoughts up soon about it when I collect them all. Right now I’m floating all over the place trying to figure out what my plan should be in the future. The conference was held in Yellow Spring, OH, which is a great little town. They had some great restaurants and everyone there was really into the environment and being concious of their impact on the earth. Great environment to be in, and tons of great stimulation and conversation.

A few things I am going to work on over the next few months are window insulators, insulation for our walls and sill plates as well as working to seal up all the air leaks in our house. This winter I also have plans to build a trellis outside to help shade our front south facing windows and who knows what else.

I have some cider hardening on our table and it’s starting to look all cloudy and kind of funky. I’m not sure if it’s any good anymore. If you’re reading this Wendy I wouldn’t mind having some input, or anyone else. 10-30-07-014.jpg

When in Yellow Springs I met some online people for the first time. I met Steve, Aaron, E4 and Sharon, among others. Aaron brought gifts. He brought up a luffa for us to have and also this mix cd cleverly title “The world peaked in oil production and all I got was this damn cd”.

We had a new shower installed recently. It’s a ReBath system. I highly recommend it. It’s very nice. Our previous shower was tile and had that standard problem where water got behind it and then the walls started to crack and buckle.

That’s all for now.


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