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News from November 2015

What it costs to produce a barrel of oil

What it costs to produce a barrel of oil thumbnail

Everyone in the energy industry is suffering as crude oil prices have slumped. But some oil producing countries are hurting more than others. In the United Kingdom, it costs $52.50 to produce a barrel of oil — which is trading right now around $42. Oil production in Brazil costs nearly $49 per barrel. Production costs […]


Driving in the US is at an all-time high

Driving in the US is at an all-time high thumbnail

Remember peak car? Over the past five years, various analysts and writers have been wondering whether driving in the United States might finally be going out of style. Their reasons: Overall road travel has been dropping since 2008. And there was at least anecdotal evidence that younger Americans preferred city life to suburban sprawl. Well… it’s […]


Let’s be thankful that now is a fantastic time to be alive

Let’s be thankful that now is a fantastic time to be alive thumbnail

Thanksgiving celebrates human cooperation. And even though the European colonization of America was not exactly a cooperative venture, the inaugural 1621 Plymouth Thanksgiving feast certainly was. That historical reality reminds us why Thanksgiving is worth celebrating today — that one of humanity’s best traits is our ability to take something dark and make it bright. […]


Daniel Yergin: US shale boom shaking up the global energy order

Daniel Yergin: US shale boom shaking up the global energy order thumbnail

TOKYO Oil prices remain stuck at low levels, unaffected by the waves of risk washing over the world amid mounting geopolitical tension. What is driving that trend, and how long will it last? The Nikkei Asian Review put these and other questions to Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of research company IHS and a world-renowned expert […]


Saudis surge oil output even as prices drop

Saudis surge oil output even as prices drop thumbnail

Saudi Arabia has raced ahead of Russia to become the world’s leading oil producer, Sputnik news agency has quoted a the Emirati news website Aliqtisadi as saying in a report on Wednesday. Although oil prices are at a multi-year low, Saudi Arabia has ramped up production, offering discounts to buyers as it aims to drive up its market share. Saudi Arabia previously said […]


A Surprising Look At Oil Consumption

A Surprising Look At Oil Consumption thumbnail

The EIA publishes oil consumption numbers for all major nations. However, they have data for most nations only through 2013. They do have data for some nations through 2014. Nevertheless, a lot can be gleaned from just looking at those consumption numbers. If oil consumption numbers are growing year after year, then there is a […]


Russia Halts Natural Gas Supplies to Ukraine

Russia Halts Natural Gas Supplies to Ukraine thumbnail

Gazprom will resume supply when Ukraine pays for more fuel Ukraine said no need for Russian gas now given low consumption Russia halted natural gas supplies to Ukraine after its western neighbor said it wouldn’t buy more this year amid ample supply. Ukraine’s NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy received its final prepaid volumes of Russian gas on Wednesday, […]


Home, Sweet Kleptocracy

Home, Sweet Kleptocracy thumbnail

A top government official with energy industry holdings huddles in secret with oil company executives to work out the details of a potentially lucrative “national energy policy.” Later, that same official steers billions of government dollars to his former oil-field services company. Well-paid elected representatives act with impunity, routinely trading government contracts and other favors […]


Saudi Aramco seeks discounts on drilling

Saudi Aramco seeks discounts on drilling thumbnail

State-run Saudi Aramco has asked oilfield service companies to extend discounts to next year as the oil giant cuts costs amid falling oil prices, industry sources familiar with the matter said. “The oilfield service companies have been asked to give discounts and they will do it since discounts granted this year are due to expire […]


ITER nuclear fusion energy test a decade away

ITER nuclear fusion energy test a decade away thumbnail

Humanity will wait 10 years for a major trial of a different form of nuclear energy regarded as a game changer in the centuries ahead. So far man-made nuclear energy has involved fission, the release of energy with the splitting of atoms of uranium and plutonium. However in southern France, 35 nations including the US, […]


The Revision of China’s Energy and Coal Consumption Data

The Revision of China’s Energy and Coal Consumption Data thumbnail

The New York Times has recently carried two important stories on China’s coal consumption, indicating that the situation is even more serious than previously appeared to be the case. On November 3 the NYT carried a front page report that China has revised its estimates of how much coal it has been burning, and concluding that its carbon emissions […]


Hedge Fund Short Positions And Oil Prices In 2015

Hedge Fund Short Positions And Oil Prices In 2015 thumbnail

U.S. oil prices have cycled between $40 and $60 per barrel since the start of 2015 and the rise and fall has corresponded with the accumulation and liquidation of hedge fund short positions. There have been at least three cycles in WTI prices and hedge fund positions in the main NYMEX light sweet crude contract […]


A Surprising Look at Oil Consumption

A Surprising Look at Oil Consumption thumbnail

The EIA publishes oil consumption numbers for all major nations. However they have data for most nations only through 2013. They do have data for some nations through 2014. Nevertheless a lot can be gleaned from just looking at those consumption numbers. If oil consumption numbers are growing year after year, then there is a good chance that […]


Shrinking the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Shrinking the Strategic Petroleum Reserve thumbnail

Selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of the Congressional budget compromise raises serious questions about the SPR’s future role. Shrinking the SPR without first bringing its coverage into line with 21st century needs risks strengthening OPEC’s hand.  Last month’s Congressional budget compromise included plans to sell 58 million barrels of oil from the US Strategic […]


Of Pigs, Peasants, and Pastoralists

Of Pigs, Peasants, and Pastoralists thumbnail

I’ve been meaning to write a simple little blog post about the pigs I’ve been raising on my holding this year. But here at Small Farm Future we like to go for big picture analysis, and somehow the post has turned into a redesign for British agriculture in its entirety. Ah well, at least it […]


Why “Supply & Demand” Doesn’t Work For Oil

Why “Supply & Demand” Doesn’t Work For Oil thumbnail

The traditional understanding of supply and demand works in some limited cases–will a manufacturer make red dresses or blue dresses? The manufacturer’s choice doesn’t make much difference to the economic system as a whole, except perhaps in the amount of red and blue dye sold, so it is easy to accommodate. A gradual switch in […]


The Local Economy Solution

The Local Economy Solution thumbnail

Serving as mayor provides one with an array of opportunities to demean oneself on a regular basis—funny hats and dunk tanks tend to be involved. However, for me, and for most of the mayors I know, the lowest moments occur in the grandest corporate offices during economic development ‘recruitment’ trips. After schlepping the best and […]


Kunstler: Boundary Problems

Kunstler: Boundary Problems thumbnail

It’s no accident that Donald Trump’s vaunted wall along the US-Mexico border became such a potent metaphor for a floundering American polity. The US has boundary problems — and not just with illegal immigrants (whoops, undocumented visitors). A mighty flux of standards and principles is symptomatic of an economy in freefall. Nothing is settled. All […]


Is Saudi Global Oil Dominance Ending?

Is Saudi Global Oil Dominance Ending? thumbnail

Saudi Arabia’s world oil leadership position is under duress.  Although this huge Arabian Desert peninsula had been sparsely, tribally populated, when the Ottoman Empire was crumbling by the end of World War I, a combination of positive factors vaulted Saudi Arabia (named after its founder Ibn Saud) into a world oil power leadership position: 1) […]


Goldman Predicts $20 Oil

Goldman Predicts $20 Oil thumbnail

Oil prices may fall another 50 percent from their current levels of about $40 a barrel if the world runs out of storage space and mild weather reduces heating demand. “Goldman Sachs told clients that the increasing glut of oil on the global market has combined with mild weather from a freak El Nino this […]


The “Syrian Sickness”: What Crude Oil Gives, Crude Oil Can Take Back.

The “Syrian Sickness”: What Crude Oil Gives, Crude Oil Can Take Back. thumbnail

  Syria is one of the greatest disasters of recent times. Here, I argue that the origins of the Syrian collapse are to be found in the economic downturn generated by the gradual depletion of the Syrian oil reserves. Crude oil had created modern Syria, crude oil has destroyed it. This phenomenon can be termed […]


Despite Cheap Gas, Coming Back to Peak Oil

Despite Cheap Gas, Coming Back to Peak Oil thumbnail

Yesterday, in Virginia, I filled up my gas tank for $2.75 a gallon. At that price, even old peak oilers like my wife and I hardly think about poor old King Hubbard’s theory much these days. And though gas has been cheap in the U.S. for the last six months or more, I still think Hubbard […]


Heinberg: Can We Afford The Future?

Heinberg: Can We Afford The Future? thumbnail

A logging truck transporting rainforest timber in Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. (Photo: Rainforest Action Network) As a child of the 1950s I grew up immersed in a near-universal expectation of progress. Everybody expected a shiny new future; the only thing that might have prevented us from having it was nuclear war, and thankfully that hasn’t […]


Blowback Paris: Exxonomics 102

Blowback Paris: Exxonomics 102 thumbnail

“‘If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks, they’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions.’ – George W. Bush, 2006″   This past week a number of our respected readers took us to task for our post, Exxonomics 101, not because we […]


Kunstler: Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart

Kunstler: Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart thumbnail

MP3 Download Chatting with Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart, authors of Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting. Both Chris and Adam were corporate executives who dropped out to pursue more a resilient way of life in a rapidly and increasingly hazardous changing world. Chris Martenson began that phase […]


The Oil War Against ISIS: Why Bombs Won’t Cut Off The Flow

The Oil War Against ISIS: Why Bombs Won’t Cut Off The Flow thumbnail

Needless to say, the world’s attention is now concentrated on the activities of ISIS and the prescriptions for defeating (as opposed to containing) them. Their finances are a major part of this. The Western powers have had some success curtailing hostile groups by attacking their financial flows, restricting movements of cash from ideological supporters and/or […]


Should We Worry As Oil Stocks Hit 3 billion barrels?

Should We Worry As Oil Stocks Hit 3 billion barrels? thumbnail

Nearly 3 billion barrels of crude petroleum and refined products are being stored by oil firms in the advanced economies according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Commentators have seized on the 3 billion figure as a shorthand way to convey how oversupplied the oil market has become. Large round numbers exert a powerful pull […]


The World’s 3 Billion Barrel Oil Glut

The World’s 3 Billion Barrel Oil Glut thumbnail

While talk of record backlogs of supertankers and an unprecented 3 billion barrels of crude oil stock-piles sound impressive – and are weighing on crude prices – the following stunning image provides some context for just what this means…   If the 3 billion barrels of crude oil gluttiness was put into tankers, the line […]


Oil Crash Means Biggest Boomers Halt Supply Growth in 2016

Oil Crash Means Biggest Boomers Halt Supply Growth in 2016 thumbnail

To understand what the oil price crash will mean for global crude supplies next year, look no further than the two nations that added more barrels to world markets in 2015 than anyone else. The U.S. and Iraq, whose extra crude this year equates to about 80 percent of the global surplus, will fail to […]


Obama, Putin Agree on One Thing: Bombing Islamic State’s Oil

Obama, Putin Agree on One Thing: Bombing Islamic State’s Oil thumbnail

When Vladimir Putin met with Barack Obama in Turkey on Sunday to discuss the terrorist attacks in Paris, he brought along some photos. The satellite images showed rows of trucks laden with Islamic State oil stretching into the Syrian horizon, a person familiar with matter said. Putin’s point was that U.S. bombing alone can’t eliminate […]


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