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News from February 2015

Have You Done the Transition Health Check Yet?

Have You Done the Transition Health Check Yet? thumbnail

Believe or not the Transition Health Check is not about measuring everyone’s blood pressure in your Transition group or seeing how fit you all are. It’s actually a great tool for you to use to see how your group is doing, one that many Transition groups have already found to be really useful. It is […]


The shale oil “miracle”: how growth may falsely signal abundance

The shale oil “miracle”: how growth may falsely signal abundance thumbnail

    Oil production (all liquids in barrels per day) in the US and Canada. (From Ron Patterson’s blog). Does this rapid growth indicate that the resources are abundant and that all the worries about peak oil are misplaced? Maybe not…. Sometimes, we use a simple metric to evaluate complex systems. For instance, a war […]


Are We In The Midst Of An Epic Battle Between Interest Rates And The Oil Price?

Are We In The Midst Of An Epic Battle Between Interest Rates And The Oil Price? thumbnail

What follows are the continuance of my research, discussions, observations and thoughts around the nexus of debts, interest rates and the oil price. I now believe these relations are poorly understood and with total global debt levels at all time highs (and growing), years of low interest rates, which are kept low (by concerted efforts […]


Where do we look for oil?

Where do we look for oil? thumbnail

In 2008, Canadian economist Jeff Rubin stunned the oil market with a bold prediction: With the world economy growing at 5% a year, oil demand would grow with it, outpacing supply, thus lifting the oil price from $147 to over $200 a barrel. The former chief economist at CIBC World Markets was so convinced of […]


OPEC Said Not to Plan Emergency Meeting Amid Falling Oil Prices

OPEC Said Not to Plan Emergency Meeting Amid Falling Oil Prices thumbnail

  The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has no plans to hold an emergency meeting amid falling oil prices, according to a delegate from the group. Crude prices have dropped almost 50 percent from a June peak as OPEC refused to cut production and U.S. output reached a three-decade high. There have been no concrete […]


The Amherst Cauldron

The Amherst Cauldron thumbnail

We have been fortunate to be outside the United States for these past three months, and able to take our news unfogged by the media cabal. The parallel universe occupied by US news is especially poignant when viewing something like the situation in the Ukraine. Lately we have been watching a rebel counteroffensive that had […]


Is Oil Returning To $100 Or Dropping To $10?

Is Oil Returning To $100 Or Dropping To $10? thumbnail

If you have been following the price of oil over the last few months, the chances are you’re a little confused. On the one hand you have the likes of A. Gary Shilling who, in this Bloomberg article, loudly trumpets the prospect of oil at $10/Barrel, and on the other there is T. Boone Pickens, who, at […]


Oil Depletion Analysis Centre

Oil Depletion Analysis Centre thumbnail

The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) is an independent, UK-registered educational charity. The centre is working to raise international public awareness and promote better understanding of the world’s oil depletion and peak oil problem. It is based in London and belongs to the New Economics Foundation. ODAC was founded in June 2001 on the belief […]


Why Was Al Fin Predicting an “Oil Glut” in 2006 At the Height of Peak Oil Hysteria?

Why Was Al Fin Predicting an “Oil Glut” in 2006 At the Height of Peak Oil Hysteria? thumbnail

A Lot More Energy Where That Came From Global Hydrocarbon Endowment In 2015, at a time of a relative oversupply of and underdemand for oil, it is easy for oil journalists to write about an “oil glut,” as if they had invented the concept. But in the years leading up to 2008, an oil glut […]


Is Oil Becoming Obsolete?

Is Oil Becoming Obsolete? thumbnail

  The big oil price crash is a question that seems to be front and center on the mind of financial markets these past few months, but, not to worry, it’ll come back up, it always does! So goes the reasoning of oil analysts and investors, but what if something other than supply temporarily overriding […]


Workers at nation’s largest oil refinery join growing strike

Workers at nation’s largest oil refinery join growing strike thumbnail

Workers at the nation’s largest oil refinery have joined a strike that now includes more than 6,500 workers. The United Steelworkers union says the nation’s oil producers aren’t taking seriously the safety concerns of its 30,000 members. The oil industry says it shares the union’s commitment to safety, but rejects the union’s concerns about non-union […]


A Lesson in Oil Pricing

A Lesson in Oil Pricing thumbnail

The recent oil-price collapse confirms what we should have learned in 2007-8 about the influence of the last increments of supply and demand on price. This also means that future oil prices should be largely independent of the size of the oil market, even in a decarbonizing world. In 2008, near the peak of a […]


Oil’s Plunge Could Help Send Its Price Back Up

Oil’s Plunge Could Help Send Its Price Back Up thumbnail

If something is cheaper, people will likely buy more of it. That core principle of economics is proving to be especially true with oil after its recent plunge. Over the past six months, 53% of vehicle purchases in the U.S. were light trucks or sport-utility vehicles, which tend to consume more gas than cars, according […]


The oil price: The Saudi project, part two

The oil price: The Saudi project, part two thumbnail

Stage one of Saudi Arabia’s plan — or perhaps hope — to restructure the oil market is taking longer than expected. By refusing to rein in production while prices fell, the Saudis permitted a big surplus to grow and served notice on higher-cost rivals (Russia, Venezuela, American shale-oil producers) that they would not prop up […]


One thing we have learnt this week – energy outlook 2035

One thing we have learnt this week – energy outlook 2035 thumbnail

BP produces two important energy documents a year, the “Statistical Review of World Energy” and the “Energy outlook”.  The energy outlook has just been published looking forward to 2035.  This post will pick out some of the most salient points and make some comments on them. BP see energy demand rising inexorably.  They say that […]


New Fukushima Leak Sees 70x Increase In Radiation

New Fukushima Leak Sees 70x Increase In Radiation thumbnail

  It has been a disturbing week for Japan, not due to any recent economic calamity resulting from Abenomics, but because for the first time since the catastrophic 2011 earthquake, the nation has been rocked with a series of ever stronger tremors, with two 6.0+ stronger quakes recorded in just the past 2 days: The […]


What is Saudi Arabia not telling us about its oil future?

What is Saudi Arabia not telling us about its oil future? thumbnail

It is popular these days to speculate about why Saudi Arabia cajoled its OPEC allies into maintaining oil production in the face of flagging world demand. As the price the world pays for oil and oil products has plummeted, the price OPEC members are paying in terms of lower revenues is high, even unbearable for […]


Conservation of Living Resources in a Post-Peak Oil World

Conservation of Living Resources in a Post-Peak Oil World thumbnail

Summary: In a world overrun with humans, what fate awaits wildlife, fisheries, and forests when the fuels run short?   Several years ago I was working as a biological consultant to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, helping this federal agency prepare a long-term management plan for Innoko National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Alaska. This […]


The 5 Most Powerful Empires in History

The 5 Most Powerful Empires in History thumbnail

Of all the empires that arose and thrived on the face of this earth, which were the five most powerful? And how is it even possible to select five empires from among the hundreds that have flourished over the past five thousand years? Truth be told, any formulation of the “five most powerful empires” will […]


Anarchy in Rojava: A libertarian revolution in the Middle East

Anarchy in Rojava: A libertarian revolution in the Middle East thumbnail

In this sedition, we look at the fierce men and women, who have been fighting the head chopping Islamists of I.S.I.S. to create libertarian commune along the border between Syria, Iraq and Turkey. On the music break we have Kurdish rapper Rezan with “Em Kurdin.” Our guest this week is Chris Dixon, author of “Another […]


Canada’s Oilsands Face ‘Death Spiral’ If They Don’t Cut Costs

Canada’s Oilsands Face ‘Death Spiral’ If They Don’t Cut Costs thumbnail

As the world’s oil glut continues to build, wiping out hopes of a price recovery, the head of one of Canada’s largest oilsands operators is warning the industry faces a “death spiral” if it doesn’t figure out how to cut costs. Speaking before the Chamber of Commerce in Fort McMurray, Steve Laut, president of Canadian […]


Oil-Drop Pain Spreads to Saudi Aramco

Oil-Drop Pain Spreads to Saudi Aramco thumbnail

Saudi Arabia’s refusal late last year to rein in oil production helped trigger the price crash that has hurt oil-producing countries and publicly listed energy companies alike. And now even the kingdom’s own oil company is feeling the pain. As a result, state-owned Saudi Aramco is looking for ways to cut costs everywhere, from pushing […]


White House Proposes First-Ever Rules For Oil Drilling In The Arctic

White House Proposes First-Ever Rules For Oil Drilling In The Arctic thumbnail

The Obama administration has proposed the first-ever safety regulations for drilling in the U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean, where big oil companies have long been hoping to lay their claim. The proposed rule, which is preliminary and is expected to take at least a year to reach its final version, would for the first […]


Ireland’s energy crisis

Ireland’s energy crisis thumbnail

  Energy is not one of Ireland’s strengths: we import almost 90 per cent of our power, we’ve made little progress in renewables, and we’re at the mercy of an unstable global market. Where will Ireland get its energy in years to come? Besides worries about climate change and security of supply, Ireland faces a […]


Nigeria: Will oil ever return to $120 per barrel?

Nigeria: Will oil ever return to $120 per barrel? thumbnail

Many events contributed to the increase in oil prices that characterised 2006 to 2009, and those events occurred in quick succession. The events include the PDVSA workers’ strike in Venezuela and the anticipation of war in Iran in 2006, which alone increased the price of oil to a little above $60 per barrel. The bad […]


Islamic State attack ‘kills 40’ in al-Qubbah Libya

Islamic State attack ‘kills 40’ in al-Qubbah Libya thumbnail

A bombing by suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in Libya has killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens in the eastern town of al-Qubbah. Three bombs exploded, targeting a petrol station, a police station and the home of parliamentary speaker Agila Salah, a security source told BBC News. According to an online statement, IS […]


Hyperinflation To Start in 2015: Economist Says Get Supplies : “Gold, Silver, Canned Goods, Toilet Paper, Bottled Water…”

Hyperinflation To Start in 2015: Economist Says Get Supplies : “Gold, Silver, Canned Goods, Toilet Paper, Bottled Water…” thumbnail

If and when hyperinflation starts people will quickly realize that their dollars are worthless It’s impossible to predict when and how our economy will finally reach a breaking point, but according to contrarian Shadow Stats economist John Williams  it’s coming one way or the other. The only thing we can do now is to prepare […]


Why crude prices must go up

Why crude prices must go up thumbnail

It may be difficult to look beyond the current pricing environment for crude oil, but the depletion of low-cost reserves and the increasing inability to find major new discoveries ensures a future of expensive oil. While analyzing the short-term trajectory of oil prices is certainly important, it obscures the fact that over the long-term, oil […]


Natural gas production breaking records

Natural gas production breaking records thumbnail

Pennsylvania’s unconventional gas wells continued to blast production records out of the water last year, pumping out nearly 4 trillion cubic feet of gas. According to data the state Department of Environmental Protection released Tuesday, Feb. 17, operators working in the Marcellus Shale industry reported producing nearly 1 trillion cubic feet more gas in 2014 […]


China’s water grab

China’s water grab thumbnail

Marxists a century or so ago believed that what they called “Oriental despotism” arose in Asia because of the need in China and elsewhere to control the water supply. In 1957, Karl Wittfogel’s work on the subject, “Oriental Despotism,” was published, warning that the need to control water for irrigation and other purposes in the […]


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