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29 June, 2009

Shocking Decline In World's 2nd Largest Oil Field & What To Expect Next

In this very interesting article, the author makes some good points about coming changes in the ways we measure energy supply versus demand, etc., but what I find most enlightening are the ideas and statistics discussed in the subtext.

First, he does a good job of explaining the Export Land Model introduced by geologist Jeffrey Brown. Basically, it boils down to the fact that oil producing countries will begin to export less and less of their oil once a worldwide peak becomes obvious, thus meaning less and less oil will be available to import and causing greater stress on non-oil producing nations. Amazingly, the associated charts show that these exports would essentially flat-line within 9 years, meaning there would be no oil at all available on the world market to import after less than a decade past the peak!

Also, this article delves much deeper into something I touched upon in a recent post about Mexico's current woes as a nation: the steep and unexpected (by mainstream sources) decline of the Cantarell oil field. Overall, Mexico's oil production has fallen by about 9%, but the decline at Cantarell is a shocking 38% since it reached peak production of 2.1 million barrels per day in just 2003. It seems that the shockingly rapid fall down the rear slope of the bell curve can be blamed on "production enhancement techniques causing faster short-term oil extraction at the expense of field longevity." So, in short, they've sacrificed the future for better results today. Brilliant. And, being that it is Mexico's largest oil field, you better believe that its rapid decline and subsequent quickly approaching demise will drag that 9% national slump higher and higher in very short order. Barring a miracle, Mexico is up shit creek (if you'll pardon my language).

And, the rest of the world isn't far behind.

Why do I say that? Because Cantarell is what's known as a super giant oil field, the second largest one on the entire planet in fact. That being established, it's easy to see that, for it not only to be well past its peak but quite obviously in its death throes, is a rather bad sign. What's worse is that the only super giant field larger is Ghawar in Saudi Arabia. Now, if you believe the BS that has been pushed for years by the Saudis, you won't understand why this is worrisome, since-- to hear the Shieks tell it-- they still have just gobs and gobs of the stuff left in the ground over there. Nevermind the fact that those numbers they throw out over there have long ago been proven to be suspect. All one has to do to understand that Ghawar, the world's largest super giant oil field, is in trouble is to realize that they're utilzing many of the same "production enhancement techniques" that effectively killed Cantarell in barely 6 years. Why, oh why, would they be pumping sea water into Ghawar by the millions of gallons in an effort to increase the pressure and bring the oil to the surface if they weren't experiencing problems with the production rate? Whether they admit it or not, there is simply no reason to use such practices unless the field in question is in decline.

It's going to be a bumpy ride, folks.


27 June, 2009

Scientists Confirm U.S. Has World’s Biggest Oil Reserves

The linked article is, in a word, misleading.

First, what they're talking about here when they say "... technically recoverable oil...," is, essentially, Oil Shale and not the pretty black Texas Tea stuff you just pump right out of the ground and into a barrel and ship it off to be refined. Oil Shale is solid and must be separated from the surrounding rock and earth, heated up to melt it, and so on before you can even get it to the stage where we would think of it as oil for our purposes. Because it must go through all of these processes, it is much, MUCH more expensive to get it to a point where it is useful. In many instances, it is doubtful our refineries could even handle processing the material without requiring a major refit that would cost a lot of money. Therefore, oil, as we think of it, must be EXTREMELY expensive before it makes sense economically to use our shale deposits. That is why the big oil companies aren't racing out there to dig up Big Sky Country as we speak instead of continuing to deal with foreign providers. The idea presented in the article that this oil can be had for $16 a barrel with current technologies is quite simply a bald-faced lie.

Also, the claims made by the researcher quoted in the article that the Bakken Formation "... has more oil in this one compact area than the entire Middle East..." also fails to hold up to simple mathematics. The U.S. Geological Survey states that Bakken contains approximately 3.65 billion barrels of oil. And, while that most recent estimate is the best news so far regarding Bakken as it is much higher than the previous estimate, it still only brings the total approximate U.S. Oil Reserves up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 billion barrels. And then you have Saudi Arabia, who by themselves have reserves of about 264 billion barrels. See what I meant when I said it doesn't hold up to simple mathematics?

Technically, I for one don't buy that the Saudis have that much of the stuff left either as there has always been something shady about their calculations, but look at those 2006 numbers again at all the Middle East countries with higher reserves than us. There's simply no way a 45 billion barrel reserve puts us even in the same league as the big boys. This is especially true when you consider that a good portion of what we do have will be so expensive to produce that I have serious doubts it will ever be made available to the general public. It is more likely that oil from the shale at Bakken will be what keeps Air Force One in the air while the rest of America riots and starves below and I hide in my bunker with my can of beans, my Glock, and my hand-crank lantern.

Peak Oil is real, folks, and it's coming. Stop allowing them to try to placate you with Bread and Circuses and start prepping!


26 June, 2009

Plan to protect D.C. from nuke EMP attack

World Net Daily reports that President Obama, to his credit, has greenlighted plans to ensure continuity of the federal government in the event that the U.S. is unexpectedly attacked through the use of an electromagnetic pulse weapon. We have discussed the devastating effects that such a weapon could cause as well as the United State's vulnerability to such an attack previously here on the blog, but such things become even more urgent with the current tensions between Iran and the west as well as North Korea going so far as to be planning a missile launch test in the direction of Hawaii even as I type these words.

Just remember, however, that just because they will be upgrading their systems to ensure that the federal government survives and is able to continue operations, that means very little as to how the average citizen will fare when the lights go out and stay out for months on end or possibly even years. The fact remains that each and every one of us should be getting our logistics in order to be able to look after ourselves and our families in any disaster situation, and we should be encouraging an emergency preparedness friendly mindset among our families, friends, neighborhoods, etc.


17 June, 2009

H1N1 Influenza A - Mexican Swine Flu: strain 'has mutated, become more infectious'

Well, it appears that now one of the paramount fears held by all those of us who have been keeping an eye on this influenza pandemic has been realized. It appears now that the A(H1N1) Swine Influenza virus that is circling the world as the first official pandemic in more than four decades has now mutated into a new strain that is more infectious for humans.

According to Prof. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of Tokyo University's Institute of Medical Science, who has been part of a team conducting research on the virus, the new data involves thorn-shaped proteins called hemagglutinin (HA) that assist the disease to more easily grab onto human cells. He went on to say that the "same mutations have been found in HA of the H5N1 strain of influenza, the highly virulent bird flu, which kills about 60 percent of those it infects. Kawaoka said the virus is still in the process of mutating into a form even more infectious to humans." (source)

No report as yet on whether or not the new strain could be more/less aggressive than the current A(H1N1) virus.


Greenbrier Hotel In My Home State Of WV Hides Enormous Cold War Era Bunker

Click here to view the Youtube video clip, as embedding was disabled by the poster. I was a teenager when the Washington Post article came out in 1992 that blew the proverbial whistle on the whole thing, and I remember vividly how strange it felt to discover something like this existed just a few hours drive away.


11 June, 2009

Energy Bulletin: CERA official acknowledges “peak oil is here”

But don't get yourself all worked up just yet. As you read the article, you'll discover that the headline is somewhat misleading; they aren't talking about the geological peak (which I can scarcely imagine such mainstream sources EVER admitting as a fact, until long after it is too late). What the CERA official quoted in the article is referring to is a peak in the DEMAND for oil, which is something different altogether.

In truth, it's hard to make heads or tails of just what it is they're trying to say. It seems perhaps that they're trying to make the case that the global economy is now so weakened that there will no longer be any money to proceed with new discoveries or innovations, and thus we will have no choice but to use less oil as the existing finds are depleted. But, that doesn't jive with the established fact that our demand for oil seems to grow and grow with each passing year, especially now with India and China intent on joining the "happy motoring" lifestyle like never before.

Obviously, the economic crisis coupled with last year's outrageous gas prices served to create an environment of "demand destruction," wherein people forewent their usual vacations and such and thus used less gasoline. To my mind, though, that was a temporary blip on the radar that probably bought us a little time, but not much before our steady, serene ride across the plateau ends and the free-fall down the latter slope of the bell curve that Hubbert envisioned all those decades ago begins in earnest.

The point I would like to leave you with is this: the fact that they're calling it that we've hit peak demand, in my opinion, is sort of a reverse admission that the geological peak is not only real but very near. Otherwise, we would just keep ramping up production to meet the ever-increasing demand that, in their fantasy world, is going to magically stop rising as people just decide to use less even as prices remain comparatively low. That is ludicrous. The only reason that demand has not yet returned to its perpetual rise is because of the poor state of people's finances. They better hope for more of a crash followed by a long depression, because if the economy heals itself demand will skyrocket and rend their fantasy to pieces. Mark my words.

Peak of demand is temporary. Geological peak oil is for real.


08 June, 2009

A Few Words on Rocket Stoves

Rocket stoves can be used for cooking, heating/boiling water and even space heating, but I will concentrate mostly on the food production aspect and leave space heating for another time. These stoves use less wood/fuel "than a traditional open fire, can burn smaller diameter material, produces less pollution and can be easily constructed from low-cost materials." (source)

These stoves can also be purchased from many online vendors at varying prices, the lowest of which that I have seen being here. They don't list pricing or availability, as their business model is obviously geared toward selling directly to developing governments/aid organizations. I am told, however, that if you email them they will respond with which of their models are available for individual sale in the U.S. and their prices. Supposedly, several models sell for under $30, so I'll be contacting them myself soon.

The really cool thing is that you can basically use anything from wood, charcoal, leaves, pine cones, corn cobs, et cetera as fuel for your rocket stove. It seems to me that having one of these around makes great sense from the prospective of emergency preparedness.

Here's a video to show you how to cook with one:

Another video to show you how to build one using bricks:


06 June, 2009

The Next Big Thing: Neomedievalism

The author of this article argues that we're heading toward a future that shares a great many things in common with the distant Middle Ages "when city-states mattered as much as countries."

Further, he says "The fragmentation of societies from within is clear: From Bogotá to Bangalore, gated communities with private security are on the rise.

"This diffuse, fractured world will be run more by cities and city-states than countries. Once, Venice and Bruges formed an axis that spurred commercial expansion across Eurasia. Today, just 40 city-regions account for two thirds of the world economy and 90 percent of its innovation."

This article is clearly written from an economic standpoint, but I find it interesting because people in survivalist circles have long talked about a sort of pseudo-medieval feudalism rising out of a collapse scenario. In my opinion, however, I can only see that being a possibility in an absolute and total societal collapse.

With reference to economics, however, this is intriguing. I suppose I could see it.